Building a Prema-Culture Community

Update on the Creation of the Sat Yoga Ashram: In-Gagement in Humility

June 23, 2011
Virtues of a Karma Yogi

Unlike a plant seed that is programmed biologically to germinate, our inner Godseed can germinate only if we will that to happen. The hard shell around the heart must be opened through the earnest desire of the individual for Liberation. Once the ego´s defenses and demands for recognition from others is realized as the real cause of our suffering, we may fall into despair—but it is only then that the quest for freedom begins. At this stage, serious seekers of inner peace may recognize the value of spending time at an ashram. An ashram is a refuge from the ego-world, a community of individuals who have chosen a life of peace and quiet joy. Such a place of solitude, understanding, and power to transform can uniquely offer the nourishment of love and wisdom, the profound communion necessary to support and sustain the miracle of transfiguration and rebirth.

One of the benefits of suffering and despair is that the soul may gain humility. Humility is essential if the ego shell is to be cracked open. Then the shakti, the divine energy of Love can fill the heart, enabling the Godseed at last to blossom.

True humility (the word humble literally means the power of the Earth) gives one the power to dissolve the ego´s delusions of omnipotence, its private phantasies and its denials of the Truth of Being. The process of shedding the ego is aided further by a well-structured life, involving adherence to vows of ethical conduct, physical and psychic hygiene, and widening one’s circle of care. This is ideally accompanied by commitment to a regimen of spiritual practices, including meditation, study of authentic wisdom teachings and deep processing of the ego’s resistances. An Ashram can provide all that is needed to complete the journey to Liberation.

The practice of karma yoga is also encouraged. Egoless giving and work that is done not for profit but for the good of the whole community, purifies the soul.

Human transformation is often likened to the change that occurs when a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The human psyche, in its coiled and contracted ego-phase, tends to cover over deep anxieties with aggression, withdrawal, or attachment that serve as protection against the fear of a loveless world.

An ashram is a womb, a chrysalis. All who enter are encompassed by the healing light of Divine Love. The energy field of an ashram supports the sacred metamorphosis from the larvae stage of ego-mind to the angelic butterfly of free Spirit. This miracle of transformation shows up as unconditional love, radiance, understanding, nobility, empowerment, and spontaneous joy. An ashram produces such illumined sages out of ordinary people.

The creation and long-term sustainability of an ashram requires impeccable virtue on the part of its members,

while at the same time, participation in creating an ashram brings the blessings that make such virtue possible. The generous acts of ashram dwellers and retreatants constitute the sacrificial fire in which the refinement, healing and transformation of those souls can be achieved.

The Sat Yoga Ashram is being raised around the wisdom teachings and the Divine Love emanated by Swami Shunyamurti, director and founder of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. The virtues of a karma yogi are taught by Shunyamurti through nine guiding coordinates derived from the letters that make up the words “Karma Yoga:”

The Virtues of a Karma Yogi

1. Karmatita – This means you are beyond the pull of lower karmic tendencies. This makes you both generous and detached.

2. Ahimsa – This means you are nonviolent in thought, word, and action. This includes the virtues of Humility and Patience.

3. Radiant – This means you are serene, contented, joyous, and filled with loving kindness.

4. Mahavira – This means you are a great spiritual warrior. You have Courage and Perseverance, as well as Discernment and Spiritual Power.

5. Aparigraha – This means you are free from greed. This makes you Responsible and Trustworthy.

6. Yogyukt – This means you are always mindful, clear, and focused, abiding as the Atman.

7. Obedient Servant of God – This means you function harmoniously with all fellow yogis, with the high virtues of Loyalty and Cooperation, and with respect for seniority, honoring the well-earned positions of responsibility of yogis in charge of departments within the Institute.

8. God-conscious – This means that one is in the flow of transconceptual understanding, blissful divine energy, and realization of the oneness of all that is. Work in this state is wu-wei, effortless and loveful.

9. Austere – This means one is practicing tapas, not wasting time or doing anything unnecessary, but remaining simple, one-pointed, disciplined, truthful, and rooted in Sat, committed to building Sat Yuga, the Kingdom of Heaven, here and now on our planet.

The virtues of a Karma Yogi are readily observed in Nature. Let’s look at some examples:

Virtue #1

Karmatita – This means you are beyond the pull of lower karmic tendencies. This makes you both generous and detached.

From an over-grazed hillside left by previous landowners, a food forest was planted at the Sat Yoga Ashram nearly a year ago.

Today, the ashram’s food forest serves as a daily reminder to its members of the degree of transformation possible through discipline, love, and wisdom.

The food forest was planted using permaculture practices that recognize the powerful benefits of crop integration. Permaculture agriculture combines plants and trees which nourish each other with complementary nutrients. Its practices are also organic, using a variety of natural actants such as micro-organisms, worm compost, and natural insecticides to stimulate growth and health of the crops.

Biodynamic formulas, introduced into modern day agriculture by Rudolf Steiner, are also being used. These formulas identify energy vortexes as fundamental sources for health and growth.

In addition to using permaculture techniques and biodynamic formulas, Prema-culture (culture based on Divine Love) practices are undertaken by all Sat Yogis, which in turn form the basis for all the work performed at the ashram. Meditation and individual inner work to purify the soul raise levels of consciousness. This rise in consciousness by Sat Yoga practitioners extends into Nature as Prema (Divine Love) and Prana (Divine energy), subtler and most powerful nourishing agents that are not usually recognized in permaculture and biodynamic applications.

Many intentional communities today, including spiritual ones, apply Permaculture and Biodynamic techniques to their projects. However, the sustainability of these communities tend to be short lived due to unresolved ego conflicts among their members, which in turn often lead to the breakdown of their intentions. 

The applied science of Sat Yoga raises human consciousness to the Intelligence of nature. From the most inner depths of transformation being undertaken by Sat Yoga students results are already being seen and felt on the surface level of the ashram´s creation. The food forest beams in radiance, while in the greenhouse, many crops are being tested and proving to be natural matches for growing on Arunachala´s fields and in the food forest.

The Uchuva fruit resembles the northern blueberry in its size, shape and texture. In Costa Rica, they are commonly called “little fingers of love.” Seeds planted as an experiment in an old wheel barrow are now thriving and producing fruit throughout the property.

Peanuts appear to be another natural crop for Arunachula´s altitude and climate. Despite generous sharing with the resident agoutis, large healthy peanuts were harvested only a few months after being planted. Like the growing Sat Yoga sangha, the first crop may look small, but in it lay the seeds for a potential upcoming bumper crop.

In the place of peanuts, zucchini and cucumber seeds have been sowed as complementary crops that return nutrients to the soil absorbed by the former.

Alongside yucca, plants extend their roots for the upcoming harvest,

while mango trees sprout generous new leaves despite the mist and clouds of the region.

Banana and plantains reach for the sky, bridging the gap between natural and food forest.

Members of the Sat Yoga community practice the art of communal living that occurs instinctively in Nature… Yellow flowering Crotolarias stream nitrogen into the soil while simultaneously feeding honey bees; the bees return the act of selfless giving by pollinating the host plant that feeds them, as well as producing honey that is relished by human beings. Freed from egoic hoarding, participants in the Divine dance of Nature exemplify the fruits of detached generosity also manifested in human spiritual communities that practice and realize the virtue of Karmatita.

Virtue #2

Ahimsa – This means you are nonviolent in thought, word, and action. This includes the virtues of Humility and Patience.

While the food forest mirrors the Sat Yoga community’s capacity for Generosity of Spirit derived from detachment and generosity (Karmatita), the building of the ashram’s retreat cabins have been tests to the sangha’s virtue of Ahimsa.

As corrections in the structural design and choice of materials for the retreat cabins are being made to assure optimum conditions for visiting guests and students on retreat, the virtues of humility and patience simultaneously build within the sangha members overseeing the project.

The simple tranquil beauty of the retreat cabins nestled in astonishing natural surroundings signal the growing virtue of Ahimsa on the part of their caretakers.

Virtue #3

Radiant – This means you are serene, contented, joyous, and filled with loving kindness.

The flora of Arunachala can well be described as radiant presence. In a field overgrown with tall grasses and weeds barely passable, a large begonia, nearly the size of a bush, flowers in profusion. What gives it its vitality in the midst of suffocating weeds? The answer … a paramagnetic boulder.

Rocks impregnated with the vital energy of paramagnatism abound on Arunachala. On them grow a great variety of plants cascading in majestic perfection providing beauty that landscape artists dream to recreate in their gardens. Sat yogis refine the qualities of serenity, contentedness, and joyfulness so they, too, may come to serve as founding rocks on which others may anchor for growth while developing these higher qualities within their own souls.

Trees, on the other hand, are diamagnetic, which means they refract magnetic forces. Their charge is calm and relaxing. Trees are a major supplier of orgone energy, a great healing power felt vibrantly around the Ashram’s Sacred Forest.

Even when fallen from old age, the soothing energy of trees remains. Such logs are found throughout Arunachula.

Even after decades of laying fallow, they are as heavy as steel, requiring two strong men to drag them onto the tractor.

Some of these hollow logs are being used for landscaping around the retreat cabins where they continue to act as natural energizing agents for plants and people.

Among the species of trees on Arunachala, Murta is one of the forest elders. Their young red leafs dot the landscape as if offerings to the gods.

Hundreds of Murta seedlings have been found around the retreat cabins. They’ll soon be transplanted for the ashram´s ongoing reforestation project, and to supply neighbors with this vanishing species for their own reforestation efforts. The loving kindness displayed in nature propels Sat Yogis to act like-wise: egoless in community living.

Seeds of the Ajotillo tree are another recent find on the property. A member of the Mimosa family, these glowing seeds foretell the majestic appearance of the adult tree, not unlike the radiant loving kindness that begins to exude from a human Godseed in its period of gestation.

Virtue #4

Mahavira – This means you are a great spiritual warrior. You have Courage and Perseverance, as well as Discernment and Spiritual Power.

Throughout time, butterflies have served as a symbol of transformation for the human psycho-spiritual metamorphosis. The monarch butterfly’s migration adds the metaphor of it journey to the human allegory. Monarchs can fly up to 500 miles from wintering sites, baffling scientists who trail behind them in an attempt to discover the source of their power. The courage, perseverance, discernment and fortitude exemplified by the monarch’s unfathomable journey is awe inspiring to the spiritual warrior on the path to joining the One true Source of power.

The host plant for the Monarch butterfly is Milkweed. Monarchs lay their eggs on this plant for the special nutrients it contains for nourishing the larvae, Milkweeds have been planted around Mahatma Lodge to support monarch butterfly populations in the region, while symbolically, the visiting butterflies remind ashram dwellers of the awesome journey and beauty inherent in becoming a sovereign monarch over the ego.

Although the Costa Rican variety of Monarch does not migrate, the country has its own migrating butterfly, which technically speaking is a day-time flying moth. The Urania fulgens is seen throughout the dry season at Arunachala. They appear at the beginning of the dry season on their migration to the Atlantic coast and then again on their return to the Pacific at the start of the rainy season.

Dry season at Arunachala also draws many species of migrating birds together with the resident varieties. Both types are increasingly attracted to the Sat Yoga community forming in their midst. Chacalacas, guans, tanagers, toucans, to name just a few, flutter ever closer to the Mahatma Lodge and retreat cabins as they sense the community’s practice of ahimsa.

The increasing size of the human ego’s footprint on nature has become catastrophic. Recently acquired land adjacent to Arunachala named Madhyamaka (the Middle Way) has suffered such poor treatment in the past.

Hundreds of trees have been planted to help rejuvenate this stripped land site,

alongside Nature´s prompt sprouting of pioneering species the moment human destruction ceases.

As it heals and rejuvenates, Madhyamaka is being prepared to become the future seat of the Sat Yoga ashram´s eco-village.

Simultaneously, seedlings planted in the biological corridor at Arunachala less than a year ago persevere despite the low levels of nutrients found in the denuded areas of the property. The seedlings´ success rate of survival has far exceeded normal expectations.

Soon they will bridge the gaps between forest patches, facilitating bird flight and increasing the amount of forested area in which fauna and flora populations can rise. Nature´s inherent potential for Mahavira – the power, courage and perseverance to regain lost higher potential for creativity and expression is for the Spiritual Warrior a trait that is also cultivated and raised.

Virtue #5

Aparigraha – This means you are free from greed. This makes you responsible and trustworthy.

Preliminary selection of “founder’s lots” are being made on Arunachala. These lots will be offered to students of Sat Yoga, who through their inner work of purification of the ego and commitment to the Sat Yoga community, have proven responsible and trustworthy.

From breathtaking vistas.

to enchanting sky scenes on the mountains,

to galactic-like sunsets,

Founder’s lots express the inner paradise discovered by every spiritual warrior who surrenders all tendencies of greed (Aparigraha).

Virtue #6

Yogyukt – This means you are always mindful, clear and focused, abiding as the Atman.

The virtue of yogyukt doesn’t allow for any detail to be overlooked. Maintenance of the creation is as important as the creation itself. As creativity abounds in ashram life, upkeep is lovingly and mindfully performed.

The Mahatma Lodge is being repainted and polished in preparation for the upcoming inauguration of the retreat cabins and private dwellings that will be made available to those Sat Yogis who have committed their lives to abiding in the Atman.

Virtue #7:

Obedient Servant of God – this means you function harmoniously with all fellow yogis, with the high virtues of Loyalty and Cooperation and with respect for seniority, honoring the well-earned positions of responsibility of yogis in charge of departments.

At the ashram, we begin to train as apiculturists in order to become self-sustained in honey production. Honey is both a source of nutrition and medicinal properties. Bees are also responsible for the vital pollination of many food crops. In addition, bees have always served as inspiring teachers for harmonious human community living. The virtues of obedience, higher consciousness and austerity are an integral part of their social and individual structures that leave human beings in amazement.

A beehive is divided into work units and departments. A bee’s position within the hive varies between workers, drones, and the mother queen. Some of the workers tend to the care of the queen and her eggs, while the rest forge for nectar and pollen to sustain the colony. The drones are few in numbers and are the only males in the colony. They live for the chance of mating with a newly hatched virgin queen.

For the queen, there is but one. She hardly moves from the nest, yet she is the life-line of the colony. The queen is the only member that produces offspring. Without her, the colony disperses and dies out, unless another queen is found. The honey bee queen could well represent the state of pure Presence necessary on the the part of some members of an ashram community for a human colony to function creatively and harmoniously.

In today´s human communities, rare is the presence of such enlightened beings. Respect for seniority and well-earned positions of responsibility are also rare traits in community living. This may help to explain why the European honey bee is in danger of extinction, as are true ashrams worldwide, or any other type of human community that serves as a true steward of nature. The ego’s present low state of consciousness rooted in inferiority through its separation from God, hoards and pillages to fill this absence without regard for higher wisdom and law. Sacrifice of the individual for the benefit of the whole and vice-versa has become a nearly extinct characteristic in community building, yet imperative for its longevity. This is the reason why Sat Yoga places primary emphasis on the purification of the heart and mind and the death of the ego so that the higher Order may be returned to human civilization.

Virtue #8:

God-consciousness – This means that one is in the flow of trans-conceptual understanding, blissful divine energy and realization of the oneness of all that is. Work in this state is wu-wei, effortless and love-full.

As the bees retire with the sun´s descent on Arunachala,

the Mountain of Sacred Light reveals other more subtle manifestations of the One,

inviting its human residents to rise in consciousness to the mystical show alluded to in the darkness.

The Magic Mind behind the screenplay, once realized, is God-consciousness. What we have always been and have forgotten, we are reminded by an infinity of signs, from gross matter to the most subtle of entities, tirelessly calling our attention to the unconditional Love of the Blissful Self that we are. Once this is fully understood and penetrated by the heart, the ego prostrates and breaks in the face of the All-Powerful All-Mighty; the Godseed is then freed to blossom into God – Consciousness.

Virtue #9:

Austere – This means one is practicing tapas, not wasting time or doing anything unnecessary, but remaining simple, one-pointed, disciplined, truthful, and rooted in Sat, committed to building Sat Yuga, the Kingdom of Heaven, here and now on our planet.

The attentive practice of Austerity leads to in-gagement in humility, which can ultimately result in the act of ego-surrender. When the simple, one-pointed direction of consciousness shifts from the false self to Sat through connection with the inner light, the road to mystical Bethlehem is marked, and the meeting with the rebirth of the Godseed becomes inevitable for those on the path.

Transfixed by the light Origin behind all apparent entities, the ego dissolves into a non-doing, just Being, Light Being… spreading throughout the Earth and beyond as the One Blissful Self…

May the clouds of Maya ascend from human consciousness, leaving the Mountain of God clear for all sentient beings to rise into higher dimensional realities that include inter-galactic brethren reigning in peace, love, wisdom and harmony, as the Kingdom of Heaven is returned to Earth…

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti


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