Shri Kali Ashram
In South Goa, India, at the coast named Galgibaga (Turtle Beach), Shri Kali Ashram is situated, guided by Acharya Bhagavan Shanmukha Anantha Natha, named by his students simply Bhagavan or just Shan.
My stay at the ashram was a profound experience. Now, being a week back in Amsterdam, I find myself contemplating: what is commitment in each and every respect? Especially to oneself? What is real partaking, and what is understanding the depth offered: ‘You don’t need to meditate, you just need to be in daily life.’
Bhagavan Shan truly sees you within and without and he finds words for it that make it really matter to you. Bhagavan is open to your questions, taking time for you in his encouraging way.
It’s possible to come to the ashram for a month’s stay and the opportunety to obtain a yoga teacher’s certificate. Your education will contain a varied morning programm and extended yoga classes in the late afternoon. In the evenings you may be watching films recommended by Baghavan, participate in group talks, or a Puja ceremony. As a rule three times a week, Bhagavan gives evening talks to his students, providing them with an insight into and understanding of yoga. He will tell you about the unavoidable, harmful influence of a mainly intellectual way of thinking on a student’s development: the mental discussions that go with it, leading to obstruction or hindrance of the experience of unity.
Bhagavan talks about the Veda and the concept of the universe’s birth and growth and our being an integral part of it, while living on earth. Here again, he underlines the limited interpretation of the Vedic mantras, caused by the intellectualistic approach prevailing in western translations. This stands to lead to a superficial understanding of the Veda’s true meaning.
So Bhagavan advises you to study, foremost in the beautiful book he wrote on Veda: Divine Initiation, a traditional exposition of the Veda.
Besides, he offers you the opportunity of making a first acquaintance with Sanskrit: an Introduction to Sanskrit is available.
Moreover, Bhagavan talks about the various philosophies and religions, and about relevant books and scriptures that will smooth your voyage of discovery.
Some students come to the ashram just to obtain a teacher’s certificate, staying one month.
Retreats of one or two weeks, with an introduction into Tantra, are also being offered occasionally. I would advise you to get yourself well informed about the dates.
My own stay, too short, alas
So short: my stay in Shri Kali Ashram lasted only two weeks and a half. After that, I had to go home and back to work! Gradually, I realized I would have needed many more days, nay weeks, months even.
At first, I was not aware of my deep-felt wish for a long stay; two weeks seemed enough. Then unexpected things started to happen. For the process of absorbing them, seeing through them and tasting the fruits of it, I needed time. And time I did not have.
I decided to tell you, friend and reader, about my experience, hoping it may be of some use to you. What I want to tell you is, that the state of mind you arrive in, possibly unconscious to you, may withhold you to really open up and experience the beauty of the teachings of Acharya Bhagavan Shanmukha Anantha Natha.
You see, it happens often, that coming to an ashram, you may have your decent, valid expectations or even unnoticed unsolved issues, that may not bother you in daily life, but now unescapingly are bound to come out.
But possibly for you, you don’t have many issues: you’re just happy, so you stay happy.
Some students work in jobs on forehand, living simply and saving their money, to stay in the ashram for a longer period of time. This enables you to let sink in all that you experience, deepen your understanding and living it together with the other students, under guidance of bhagavan. Sometimes during their stay, students travel and come back, or return home to save again and… stay some months longer in the ashram.
Herewith I wished to give you an impression. The main thing is: here’s a real chance for developement all over.