Ashram,store house of spiritual energy—by swami satyananda
I would like to share how Ashram life transformed my whole personality-inner and outer, my thoughts, attitude, my behavior, my reactions, my emotions .I learnt to give unconditional love, to forgive, to serve others, to be selfless, to be compassionate. All this was not merely practicing different forms of Yog but due to Guruji’s way of teaching, the beautiful environment, which I felt more beautiful every other day.
People mistake Ashram as the place where one should go only after retirement or it is the perfect place for old people who aren’t taken care by their children.
Human being undergo through different stages in their life time like Brahmacharya ashram, Grihasthashram, Vanaprasthasram, Sanyasashram .
so what does ashram means then-----“A” means to , ”Shram” means toil or penance .
It all signifies that human being enters through different stages in his life which is like an ashram, where one learns in each stage from experiences. The Guru would differ in each stage of his life.
Modern men due to comforts and luxuries have become more lazy and unhealthy. In modern day-Ashram is place where one also goes to learn something to awaken spiritually. Here comforts are bare minimum, so that one learn to survive with basic needs .One becomes tougher physically and mentally as is required in modern day.
My first impression about the ashram-
I went to ashram first time in 2005 to learn more about Yog as Therapy so that I can help many of my students. As I came from the comforts and luxuries of city life never expected how ashram would be. When I first checked in to my room, Oh it was shock where I saw a tiny room shared between 2 students, where 2 cots and 2 small tables and one way moving space for two of us. I was expecting something different. That taught me first lesson that ashram is not about comforts, something more. So I learnt that if you have expectations you would have unnecessary pain and sufferings.
More than the course my stay in ashram and the lifestyle there taught me more. To work hard (penance) and nothing comes so easily in life, no creatures are dirty, all are beautiful love it, don’t kill any creature even if it’s the one which you hated it till you landed there.
Those were the days in Ashram which I can never forget as it taught me more than anyone or anything outside.
I with lots of hidden fears and complexes could come out with in a month’s stay.
My stay in ashram second time in 2010 was for a month during Oct –Nov 2010.I learnt more from life ,since it was advanced course which meant more tougher life and tougher course to deal with, and more transformation in me. It doesn’t mean that I will lead an ascetic life ,and give up my karma now. It taught me to give respect to all my ashramites irrespective of different countries, caste or creed. All of us together practiced Karma yoga, Mantra yog chanting, Hatha yog etc .
Karma yoga taught us to come together and do Seva to Guru ji and Ashram. We used to clean the whole ashram and cut vegetables ,clean utensils and we all forgot our material status we had achieved in our life and came together under one common platform and accepted Guruji’s words and his guidance.This helped us to grow further spiritually.
The ashram is at hillock .In ashram the day usually starts at 4:30 am with getting up early in the morning without electricity from night 10 pm to 5 am every day. Then have a nice cup of herbal drink, in ashram other meals later are sattvic ahar .Going for mantra chanting rejuvenates our mind before sunrise, in brahmamuhurta time and prepares us for 2 hrs session of asanas next.
My phobias of insects and flying insects and snakes all shooed off after staying there for a month. Snakes in ashram are as common as dogs in city. People talk as if they saw a huge snake crossing so they will ask us to be alert so that you don’t disturb its path as you have come to its apartment.
After few days, got used to hearing those comments and my mind prepared for any size snakes and what I have to do in case I landed on it anytime which never happened.
Different sizes jumping frogs and flying ,beautiful, lovely ,amazing ,black and different colored insects(according to many ashramites) of different sizes would enter to our room anytime and would be around the ashram as if we have taken over their area, so no one thinks to kill them . I have overcome those small phobias which I think I could have never end in my life.
Next big fear of mine was with the specific cleansing process or kriyas which is part of any course in any Yoga ashram esp,if one takes advanced or Therapy course. I had prepared mentally to do whatever our guru ji says. All Netis and Dhautis taught me more, I personally have overcome many mental blockages, like not able to swallow medicine with ease or choking feeling if water goes into nose while swimming etc.
ASHRAM taught me to accept things as they are without making fuss over it .So minor changes in material things doesn’t upset me even if you get or not. So attachment to material life is lessened.
My negativity turned into positivity and my self confidence improved, as I feel that nothing seems to be impossible in this world.
Ashram means simplicity ,disciplined, and spirituality and more towards understanding yourself, and I considered each stage in my life is kind of ashram life where I need to learn to live a disciplined life .We talk of children to be disciplined, what about adults who are in Grihstha ashram. How many of them need a guru to keep them reminding about their spiritual growth. I recommend everyone to experience Ashram life at least once a life time.