Good news for you! This spring ushers in the most prolific period of growth yet experienced at BSY. The beautiful hill which rises up majestically just opposite the ashram is now under the supervision of BSY and has been inaugurated as the new Sivananda Kutir Yogashram (SKY).
This commanding site which overlooks a vast sweep of the Ganges river and the pastoral beauty of verdant paddies and plains will provide a more spacious abode for the many aspirants seeking tuition at BSY. Viewing the limitless expanse from the top, you feel grandeur, eternity and infinity. Walking about this sequestered hill you are inspired by the pervading spiritual vibrations and silent peaceful atmosphere. If you don't believe it then come and experience it for yourself.
On top of the hill is a large palatial mansion with many underground rooms and surrounded by several outer buildings, all very old and dilapidated. Repairs are already under way, but the work and materials required are extensive. Due to man's indiscrimination, the hill has been bared, so we will be planting at least five hundred trees of different varieties: neem, bale, mango, guava, lichi, coconut, banana, etc. in order to restore its original ecological balance and aesthetic beauty. Along with the proposed research library and mental institution, we also plan to build living quarters with adequate facilities to accommodate all levels of aspirants: dormitories, single and double rooms with and without attached pantry and bathroom, small private sadhana cottages with and without amenities for single persons and larger ones for families.
In the new ashram everyone is welcome. Ashram life can no longer be reserved for sannyasins or any particular caste, sex or type of seeker. SKY will be on active centre, open and accessible to all, and encompassing the wisdom and means of every path found to be useful for the elimination of disease and the expansion of consciousness.
In the past, according to the Indian tradition, children were sent to the guru's ashram at about the age of eight. There they lived a simple life as part of the guru's family. They shared in all work and cleaning chores and were dedicated to spiritual studies. This was called the gurukul system and it really has not changed much since ancient times. Now at SKY children of all ages from seven to seventy will have an opportunity to live and work according to this same system in an environment conducive not only to spiritual development but to the unfolding of all their latent potentials and capacities.
Ashram is a Sanskrit word which means 'place of spiritual labour'. In the ashram all kinds of work - cooking, cleaning, gardening, research, writing, printing, teaching, etc. are going on all the time. Here spiritual efforts are not discussed, they are realized on the practical as well as the spiritual level. Sadhana, spiritual practice, is a continual striving both internally and externally to broaden the path of higher evolution so that more aspirants of varied backgrounds and capabilities can travel along it in a positive direction. The ashram is a dynamic hub of growth and integration through action. Here we learn to think and work with awareness which increases daily as the mind is progressively released from cumbersome personal problems. When the mind gathers in its dissipated thought processes and focuses them on the work at hand without any preconceptions of personal profit or reward, one-pointedness and relaxation automatically result. This is why karma yoga, our main sadhana, is such a powerful practice and perhaps the most off active moans of eliminating all psychosomatic illnesses. But karma yoga is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, to learn how to practice It correctly requires the ashram environment end the guidance of a master. Otherwise, one's work, no matter how wall intended, becomes karma bhoga (action leading to bondage).
Ashram life gives us something higher to work towards, internally as well as externally. Only by working for the fulfillment of a higher purpose or goal can we achieve satisfaction and peace of mind, can we find harmony within ourselves, our environment and universe. Thus, the ashram becomes an important centre or base upon which to re establish the balance and harmony between individuals and society which modern living with its alienation threatens to destroy altogether.
In response to the great need and innumerable requests of disciples, devotees and seekers around the globe, BSY has begun an extensive development project which promises to greatly increase facilities and accommodation space so that far more people can benefit from ashram life. This is the fountain head, the spiritual well, and though the source is inexhaustible, so many need to get in close and take a deep draught.
After being closed for more than a year due to overcrowded living conditions, BSY is now open again to aspirants who wish to come and stay for a week, a month or longer and receive yoga training and therapy courses. Those who wish to come for extensive periods of personal sadhana will also be accepted but they should make arrangements beforehand if they require private accommodation. Aspirants wishing to stay for long periods, live commonly and join in the ashram activities, are always welcome and will be accommodated more comfortably than was previously possible.
The new BSY, SKY ashram is a spiritual haven being built for the people, by the people. The success of this evolutionary development, which promises spiritual upliftment to so many, is dependent upon your dakshina, offerings to the guru. Now, while the building construction and renovation are going on, we need your help, and no contribution should be considered too large or too small. All of you who wish to promote the yogic culture on this earth should take advantage of this opportunity and donate generously, with a free mind, towards the establishment of this higher centre which will offer so much hope and inspiration to suffering humanity.