655 – What are Ashrams?

Ashray means shelter and shram means effort. Ashram originates from these two words. An ashram is a haven, which offers shelter to persons of all faiths, who are seeking the light.

There is another definition of Ashram, a place where a group of Hindus live together away from the rest of society or a place where seekers of truth can go in order to pray. Ashram originates from the word Shram, which means labor and the foundation of an ashram is based on the labor of love. This means that in order for an ashram to be a serene and spiritual living place, one has to put in hard work and discipline.

Ashram means a place where everything happens effortlessly according to Sri Sri Ravishankar. This is exactly what happens in an ashram, the guests, residents look upon it as their home and do unconditional service (Sewa). Once one understands the concept of karma yoga, then working is a joy.

Retreat for body, mind and soul

So, what happens in an ashram. It is a place where one gets lives in a family of likeminded and tolerant persons, with peace of mind, and one is exposed to spiritual activities like Yoga, Satsang, Kirtan and Mantra chanting. One comes to the ashram to seek refuge and protection from the troubles of the world, a place of retreat for body, mind and soul.

Traditionally an ashram was the resident of a sage, whom people visited for guidance, and many were gurukulams, spiritual schools. Kings in ancient times went for pilgrimage to the Rishi’s ashram. In the ashrams, instruction was given on the art of warfare o philosophical subjects. In the Ramayana, the princes Rama and Lakshman went to Rishi Vishvamitra’s Ashram to defend him from the demons sent by Ravana. The princes also received martial instructions and learnt how to use divine missiles.

Ashrams are a part of India’s Hindu identity and are open to all those who are in search of spiritual awareness.

Aim Hrim Klim

Photo by Manish Upadhyay on Unsplash

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