Sacred dwelling of spiritual seekers under the guidance of a Guru, or spiritual Master.
▵ What Living in the Ashram Really Means
Sadhguru: What is the purpose of living in an ashram? There are various types of ashrams. People who have not been able to take care of themselves in the outside society, their food or their wellbeing or their housing, they move into certain types of ashrams. Isha Yoga Center is not one of those ashrams. This is an ashram created for a spiritual purpose. Why does one move into an ashram space like this, which is essentially for the spiritual process? What is the ingredient which makes it into that kind of a space? What is the significance and why be in such a space?
This is a spiritual space because the necessary energy has been invested in this space. If we were as strong as the other creatures who live on the Velliangiri Mountains, we wouldn’t have made this place ugly with all the buildings – we would have just slept on the field.
To be in the ashram means to be under the umbrella of this energy. What is the purpose of an energy like this when it is driving many people totally insane? You stay here, you can’t be here. If you leave this place, you cannot be anywhere else because the purpose of this energy is not to let you settle down.
The idea of creating an umbrella of this energy is to put your life on fast-forward.
The idea of creating an umbrella of this energy is to put your life on fast-forward. People on the spiritual path are people of unquenchable discontent. It is being propagated that spirituality means contentment. Contentment means you have contented yourself with what you have. A spiritual person means he is unwilling to settle for anything less than the Ultimate. If he is miserably discontent, he becomes ugly. If he is joyfully discontent, he is dynamic. He is a possibility all the time. He won’t stay in one place. It doesn’t matter how much comfort it offers, he will not stay. It is a longing not to stop, not to find a nest of comfort, not to end up in a nook that is comfortable, but to get onto the boiling main stream and go.
When we put life on a fast-forward, everything is exaggerated in your experience, both your joys and your miseries. When your pain gets exaggerated, you wonder, “Why the hell this spirituality? Why did I choose this? I thought this was going to be bliss…” That was the advertisement at least: “Inner Engineering – Peak of Wellbeing.” Yes, it is, but you need to understand, when you stand on the highest peak, wellbeing means you just manage to stand – that you are not blown off.
There is a beautiful story in the yogic lore. Once there was a blacksmith in a village, a very poor man. It looked like he acted like a magnet to all the problems in the world. They were visiting him too often. But he was a devout, very prayerful person. Once, a friend of his who did not believe in all this came and said, “What nonsense, you going on praying to your god. Look at your life! All the time you are in trouble.”
So the blacksmith said, “See, I know only this profession. Everything I have learned, I have learned by being a blacksmith. If I want to make a useful tool, I take a piece of steel, heat it, beat it, cool it, heat it, beat it… If a piece of steel cannot take the heating and beating and cooling, then I throw it on the scrap heap. Otherwise it becomes a useful tool. So my prayer is only this: “Dear god, heat me, beat me, cool me, do whatever– but don’t ever throw me on the scrap heap.”
The scrap heap is a comfortable place. Nobody beats you, nobody heats you, nobody does anything to you, but you are on the scrap heap. You should not be afraid of pain, you should not be afraid of hardship, you should not be afraid of death. “Don’t put me on the scrap heap.” That should be the only fear for a person on the spiritual path.
▵ What Living in the Ashram Really Means (Isha)