Each time I travel to India I spend part of my trip staying in or visiting ashrams. Over the years I have experienced quite a few. My friends at home often ask me “What is an ashram?” Ashrams are not all about ohms and navel-gazing but quite a lot more…
In the book “From Here To Nirvana” Anne Cushman describes ashrams the following way…”For the most part, gurus don’t start ashrams; disciples do. An ashram – which some books define as the abode of the guru – is a community of seekers that grows up around the teacher; all of the physical facilities exist only to facilitate the transmission of the teachings.”
Ashrams all have a different focus or feel. Some ashrams are centred around the teachings of that particular guru. Some are focused on yoga and meditation and others on service to others. Over the following weeks I will be doing a series on the ashrams of India that I have visited.
A great book to read if you are interested in looking more into ashrams is “From Here To Nirvana ~ The essential guide to the yogis and gurus, ashrams and temples of spiritual India” by Anne Cushman and Jerry Jones. It is an extremely useful guide to seeking out the best gurus and spiritual communities in India. It was published in 1998 so doesn’t have every ashram in India but is a great read and has lots of useful information.