Building a Prema-Culture Community

Growing Trees at Arunachala

December 26, 2013

BACKGROUND:

Arunachala is an Ashram (Monastery) located in the mountains of Perez Zeledón, by the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Central America,  at 1,100 altitude. Arunachala is the rural component of Sat Yoga (www.satyogainstitute.org). The 108 hectares of the Ashram land are blessed with patches of tropical rainforest, an abundance of creeks, a beautiful river and several springs.  Arunachala receives plenty of rainfall from May to December, the temperature ranges from 15C° to 28C° and the humidity varies from 70% to 95% annually .

During the past decades, a large percentage of the land was used as a cattle farm; this activity destroyed much of the forest and left the soil and waterways eroded and unprotected. When Sat Yoga acquired the land in 2009, the first step was to let natural regeneration occur;  namely removing the cattle and beginning the process of reforestation.

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Besides providing “Food for the Soul” through the practice of Yoga and silence, Sat Yoga is aware that the nurture of our physical bodies with healthy food, and also the restoration of the health of the entire ecosystem, is essencial to the unfolding of a growing, healthy Ashram community, especially in the midst of the collapsing financial, social, and natural systems (i.e. climate change).

Therefore, as soon as the land was acquired in 2009, we began planting trees and other edible crops in small quantities to to see how certain species adapted to the geo-biological conditions of the land. We have always employed principles and practices that work with nature, such as permaculture principles, organic agriculture practices, as well as other approaches, such as biodynamics.
Here is a short summary of the unfolding of agriculture at the Ashram:

  • In 2010, our first food forest, Anaban, was planted: 1-hectare of land that provides all the bananas we consume and some fruit trees like starfruit, soursop, and also some tropical roots like taro.
  • During 2011, small areas were planted of several short cycle crops. A great deal of work was done on landscaping around our Bhavans (cabins). We also continued caring for the previously planted areas like Anaban.
  • In 2012, Hridaya (the Sanskrit word for “Heart”) was co-created, and consists of 2 hectares around Mahatma Lodge, (our main gathering center) which were carefully landscaped as a hybrid between a beautiful garden and a productive farm, with great diversity of crops and trees. Hridaya is a living seed bank of diversity and beauty.
  • By 2012,  approximately 1400 trees of 140 different varieties had been planted, as well as many other annual and short cycle plants, that provide all of our salads and a big percentage of all the carbohydrates we consume.
  • Trees are the main structure of the farm and take a few years to produce (from 4 to 15 years depending on the species). This is why in 2013 it was decided to dedicate our time and energy to tree planting.

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Our vision as a growing community, is to be a refuge for all kinds of visitors with whom we can share a healthy inner and outer life. This vision includes lots of fruit; therefore, the amount of trees and areas to be planted is abundant.

THE PROCESS

With a clear vision and a well established team of community members and local workers, we then proceeded to the selection of the trees. When selecting the trees, it was necessary  to take into account a diverse community with a need for a wholesome and delicious vegetarian diet. Besides species that provide food, we chose to consider trees that would be healing for the ecosystem.These are some of their  functions:

  • Protection of water sources.
  • Beautiful landscaping.
  • Production of medicines, fibers and oils.
  • Wood for shelters.
  • Habitat for wildlife, flowers for our bees.
  • And many other ecological functions…

During this stage, we had the honor of a visit from  Rafael Ocampo–a well known botanist and naturist from Costa Rica, who contributed his wisdom and guidance in the selection of the species and  planting sites, as well as sharing with us his interesting cosmovision of nature and natural systems design.

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tree-chart-2tree-chart-3Finding all these species took us on field trips throughout Costa Rica, as we visited specialized Education and Research centers like CATIE, INTA and EARTH University that have selected varieties of fruit trees. We also visited commercial nurseries, like La Bonita, Zill Plants as well as trips  to smaller, highly specialized nurseries/gardens, like La Isla Botanical Garden and Vita Verde. Juan Carlos Herrera, the main grafter of Zill Plants, visited us to check our ecological conditions and then selected  specific varieties of mangoes and avocados- among other fruits- that will be better adapted to Arunachala.  We chose varieties based on the flavor of the fruit, hardiness, health and size of the trees. We also reproduced several of the trees at our own nursery and bought locally many living fence posts from nearby farms; at least 30% of the trees planted came from the immediate surroundings of Arunachala. By the end of this stage of the process, we had acquired/propagated around 3000 trees.

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A beautiful and multidimensional phase of the project was to find places to plant each tree, which lead us to taking long walks on the land. In addition, we used many resources previously generated by the Ashram team, such as:

  • The Ashram Master Plan, produced by Francisco Rojas, our architect. This plan is very important since it indicates all the areas where future buildings will be built.
  • The map of all the springs and waterways.
  • Some topographical maps, geological studies and the legal map of the property.

With this technical information and the inspiration from our beautiful tropical rainforest, we continued designing a food forest in each area and joyfully applying planting patterns that blended harmoniously with the existing vegetation, while respecting the specific needs of the species of trees.

tree5tree-box-1On a micro level, there are also the ecological considerations for each species of tree. For example, with the Cacao tree we have many  questions to consider before proceeding to buy it, place it and plant it.  Firstly, do we eat chocolate in our diet? (yes) how much? (a considerable amount). Does the community want it? (yes) Can the cacao tree grow in our climate and at our altitude? (maybe, it needs special conditions and we must find the lowest altitude terrain on the land, as well as being protected from wind)  Does it need shade? (yes) Which trees can be used as shade (bananas, plantain, peach palm, ingas)? How much in advance do we have to plant the “shade”? (at least 2 months).  Where can we get cacao trees that are diverse, free of diseases (monilia) and good quality fruit? (CATIE). When is the best time to plant them so they don’t need irrigation? (August).  What maintenance do they need?.   This is just an example to illustrate the numerous considerations that reflect the uniqueness of each tree.

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With the sites and species selected, the next step  is to prepare the land to plant the trees. This preparation involved the application of many permaculture practices, especially soil conservation. Some examples of the practices we used are: compost winrows on contour lines, swales, adaptation of the design to the existing natural regeneration, application of native microorganisms to the organic matter for a faster decomposition.

Finally after these steps, we reached the moment of planting! With great care and after receiving detailed training on tree planting, our crew of local workers began to plant.  With a mixture of worm compost (produced at the farm by some of our community members), good vegetable soil, and activated charcoal and mulch; each tree was grounded in Arunachala. Also, each tree had a painted stake placed next to it, to identify and map it with GPS, so as to create a Tree Map that will facilitate the maintenance, harvesting and future planning.

THE UNFOLDING

The tree planting season finished in late August 2013, but our relationship with the trees will never end, as we will continue enjoying their company, development, and fruit!

These trees offer us an invaluable opportunity to observe, learn and care for Arunachala. May we share their beauty and may they provide all the Ashram dwellers and visitors with their abundance. These trees are becoming another symbol of our own inner and outer growth as a whole community. Namaste

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Sat Yoga Ashram: “Paving the Way to Arunachala”

June 18, 2013

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The long and winding road to Arunachala took another huge turn recently. In May 2012, we began preparations for construction of our new road system. We have come a long way since then.

This project, necessary for any future expansion of our multi-dimensional ashram-eco-village-university-retreat-center-recovery-facility-and-Spanish school, needed to be planned with utmost care so dump trucks could deliver materials without getting bogged down in mud. This was also of course symbolic of our own need to stay out of the mud of maya.

Above a recent picture of Jadish and Marjiva’s house construction at Anaban, which is the first home being constructed at Arunachala.

Above a recent picture of Jadish and Marjiva’s house construction at Anaban, which is the first home being constructed at Arunachala.

The first step was consultation with Engineer Eduardo Barquero from GTZ-MOPT in San José. Mr. Barquero works with a German non-profit organization known as GTZ (Cooperación Técnica Alemana) dedicated to rural road development in communities all over the world. His insights offered foundational principles for our road construction and maintenance plan. They are as follows:

1) Invest in good drainage: Drainage is what keep all roads alive. “No drainages, no roads!” By guaranteeing good quality concrete culverts and drainage boxes, deep enough side-drainages, and maintaining a strong “crown” in the center of the road so rain water can properly flow, the side-drainages carry the water smoothly through the culverts and channels to nearby creeks. In Sat Yoga terms, this reflects the ease in which we learn to let every life situation flow without resistance, so that that consciousness, can return unobstructedly to our Source. Through the practice of staying focused on the center, all limiting egoic tendencies wash away.

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2) Know your material – use good aggregate!: Once your drainages are set, then you can securely lay the road aggregate – cascajo, crushed river stones or mountain rock – to build a stable and comfortable foundation for the entire road. This rocky layer prevents humidity from rising and allows water to drain more easily so the foundation soil remains dry. We can liken this step to the many teachings aggregated and synthesized in our approach to transformation that form a strong foundation for ego transcendence.

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3) Good compaction! After the aggregate is in place, then it is important to make sure all the material is well “linked” together. This is achieved with proper compaction. The desired result is that the harder rocky river material link with the softer clay, forming a perfect union of soft and hard as well as wet and dry elements. In Sat Yoga, we maintain the integration of opposites as a key requisite for lasting stability and happiness.

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4) Receiving the light! If a road uses mountain rock as aggregate, it is very important to trim the trees along the road to eliminate shadow over the road. It is essential the road receives the early morning sun to evaporate any humidity remaining from the previous day’s rains. A good tip is to reforest the roadsides with living fences made from poro or itabo which can be constantly trimmed and used for future erosion control projects. If we think of the road as a metaphor for the path to liberation, we can consider the shadow-creating flora as the unconscious shadow patterns of the ego. If we keep the ego surrendered to the divine light, then the rejuvenating and enlightening rays of the Self can keep our life’s road well lit, clear, and strong.

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5) Good erosion control measures: Very important! All road work should include in its planning a sound strategy for erosion control, and this is something that can be easily overlooked due to budget constraints and unwise planning. The ground above and below the road has to be properly secured with ecological terraces, drainages, gabions, plants, and trees that will prevent future landslides during the peak of rainy season. In the Sat Yoga Approach to transformation, we ensure that our path to spiritual liberation is well maintained and landscaped with the practice of the trivium: transformation (deep inner work and one-to-one transformational sessions), translation (wisdom teachings about the true nature of reality), and transcendence (meditation).

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These five principles have proven to be invaluable to the construction of our new road system that will bring pilgrims and yogis to the ashram for years to come. Mr. Barquero not only imparted specialized practical wisdom to our project, but valuable lessons to be reinterpreted through the psycho-spiritual map of Sat Yoga.

Since receiving the foundation of these principles, our road project has taken off.

With our compass set, we then sailed north to find our road building company. After months of interviewing, we were serendipitously led to a man named Freddy Altamirano. We visited Freddy’s company, saw his work, and after forming a strong connection with him, invited him to Arunachala. After several weeks of negotiations between ALBASA (Freddy´s family road company) and Sat Yoga’s road committee, we were ready to take action.

Above from left to right: Freddy (our road engineer), Cristian (grader specialist), Cesar (Freddy´s brother, on excavator), and Pablo (on road compaction).

Above from left to right: Freddy (our road engineer), Cristian (grader specialist), Cesar (Freddy´s brother, on excavator), and Pablo (on road compaction).

While executing phase one, we realized that it was important to create a new road of about 200 meters that eliminated two problematic, steep hills. Shunyamurti named this new road “Pythagoras Pass,” as it resolved the two hills by connecting them like a Pythagorean hypotenuse, with a healthier road with a smooth grade and proper drainage.

Since Pythagoras Pass is a new road, Durgá (our Ashram  Co-Coordinator and Premaculture Director) and our great team of workers are investing a lot of time and energy in creating proper erosion control measurements to secure the slopes and guarantee good drainage during peak rains.

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So after one month of intensive road work, our infrastructure was transformed into a more intelligent, reliable, and sustainable system. We know there is much more work ahead, but we are happy to have invested in long-term drainage structures as well as in dreaming a new and highly-improved road pass.

Erosion control method with natural terraces and vetiver plants at Pythagoras Pass.

Erosion control method with natural terraces and vetiver plants at Pythagoras Pass.

We would like to thank all who participated in this wonderful project. Their patience and dedication has and will inspire many beings to continue working ceaselessly for the much needed manifestation of Sat Yuga – the joyous and truthful Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. We are on the road to a new world!

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

October 11, 2011
Posted in: Permaculture

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


Sat Yoga Ashram: An Island of Bliss (San Isidro Del General, Costa Rica)

January 24, 2011

By the hand of Grace, Disciples of Sat Yoga have been granted an opportunity to usher in a new age of Divine community living.

The Sat Yoga ashram community is a place for those who are committed to transformation of the ego resulting in its death and re-formation, through which the love of the Absolute may flow uninterrupted in a dance of seamless unity.

Based on Prema-culture, the culture of Divine Love, members of Sat Yoga gather in daily meditation to absorb in Agape and prepare to become beacons of light for the darkness that envelopes our planet.

In Sat Yogis’ daily lives, the connection to the Supreme Love manifests as radiant poise inherent in the act of selfless giving,

magnified at Sat Yoga gatherings where the blending of a vaster array of individuals into an integrated  whole create a magnificent spread befitted for monarchs.

The irradiation of the soul reverberates in every corner of Sat Yoga community building, such as in Radha’s kitchen where ever more potent doses of love are poured into the culinary feasts culminating Sat Yoga satsang gatherings,

while in creative writing class, feelings rise like butterflies into a bouquet of word-verses, the result of overdosing on the eternal nectar.

…flowers, flowers everywhere

The sound of Love’s laughter;

I adore you Mother-Father-Friend,

For thee I die

As in the Pietá ,

In your lap beheld

For return to Life…

The mariposa (the Spanish word for butterfly) comes from the phrase Santa Maria posa or Saint Mary lands. Michaelangelo’s masterpiece, the Pietá, depicts Mary as the eternal youthful beauty of unconditional Love radiating from  a state of liberation through the death of the ego. Eternal freedom, beauty, and love are qualities attributed to the mariposa and to all those who transform into human butterflies.

Flowers are lovingly arranged in the meditation hall to celebrate Shunyamurti’s teachings, that like the butterfly point to the undying Spirit.

Guests of Sat Yoga arrive from home and abroad and are delivered into the presence of wisdom, love and energy from a living sage whose wisdom-message of hope and peace sheds light on the heart.

The return path to Spirit is filled with awe and mystery reflected in daylight’s Divine Dream,

and in the fullness of the night skies.

Genuine ashram life is the ultimate melting pot that unites not only the human race, but all of nature´s extended family, including subtler forms of existence.

THE ORB-SHRAM

For the Sat Yoga sangha, resident orbs at Arunachala are a stirring addition to the communal pot.

*Orb-shram is a term taken from Shunyamurti´s teachings.

Divine Attraction

Purification by love attracts refined forms of existence unseen through the filters of the ego’s opaque closed heartedness, yet easily captured through the crystalline lenses of digital cameras.

Being intoxicated on Divine love is a well-noted state of consciousness observed by saints throughout the ages. Sufi saint-poets such as Rabia, Rumi, and Hafiz have experienced and written about the bliss of Divine drunkeness.  In this Divine State of spiritual inebriation, subtle entities before not sensed come to be noticed, messenger-aids God sends to guide us back to the Light and to the Bliss of our Origin.

Light beings of many kinds are observed at the Sat Yoga ashram in Arunachala, Costa Rica — from ethereal orbs to possible UFO sightings.

While Wisdom-teachings rivet the mind-heart, orbs tantalize our senses, raise emotions to awe and aid in the human flowering of divine expression.

In regard to the nature of orbs, many answers are given. Some view them as beings of subtler divine manifestation, often referred to as angels, or nature entities,

Orbs Phenomena

while others prefer a more rationalist, modern scientific approach that tends to dismiss orbs as water droplets reflecting off camera lenses or some other type of causal phenomenal occurrence.

These latter hearts and minds tend to be unaware of the humbling majesty and exultation of spirit these images ignite in the former…

For seekers of Truth, the mystery of the orbs often aid consciousness to pierce through the veils of illusion and enter into the realm of the miraculous.

For those, orbs are often regarded as a version of Hermes, messenger-guides sent by the Absolute to assist the passing of souls from the phenomenal world into the Light realm. They gather at Arunachala as honor guards and guiding aids for today´s Arjunas of the Bhagavad Gita in the Divine Play.

With each trip to the ashram, the intensity of orb radiance increases, seemingly reflecting the sangha´s rising in consciousness. Harmony is the pitch of the gods, and man’s level of consciousness is the score that draws the gods to join in Earth’s chorus. The quality of each note is measured by the sangha´s liteness and the depth of its love. Dare we realize the connection between ourselves and the seemingly invisible, yet undeniably powerful radiance of the orbs…

Wandering blindly, we cease to see the wonder of all around us and the sacred majesty of Gaia. The Divine light-show staged for gods is out of bounds for earthly souls with ground-fixed gazes that observe no more than pinpricks of the Grand Tapestry.

It is time to open the eyes of the heart, to see light bursting forth where before there was darkness, observing ever deeper, drawing further and further inward, until the Source of Creation is reached. With such openness of sight, all sense of separation vanishes.  The ego lifts as smoke from a pyre on the Ganges, while the soul that witnesses the event from the river’s shore is now free to return to Spirit, liberated from the chains of bodily identity. All suffering is over.

Orbs create a magnificent welcome parade at the Sat Yoga ashram. Through the Vishnu gate, hordes flood in to greet the arrival of Sat Yoga’s future disciples and encourage them on the path of Liberation.

By the simple act of mankind’s ascent in consciousness, Generosity of Spirit inherent in the Godseed takes flight. The Garden of Eden returns:

the skies turn wild in joy and the angels sing.

Orbs are delicate beautiful creatures. They tend to consort with like-minded spirits, such as orchids,

the nighttime jasmine,

and the vibrant forests .

Saint Thomas Aquinas defined God as a hyper-dimensional sphere whose circumference is nowhere, and whose center is everywhere. Costa Rican Pre-Columbian spheres, the shape of a cell, a spider web, the orb, and man’s fingerprint are but a few examples of spherical shapes that point mankind to the all-encompassing Source of existence.

Indras´ Net

The Buddhist myth of Indra’s Net provides a poignant allegory to the sameness of apparently different life forms that precipitated out of the One. According to this Mahayana Buddhist Sutra, the net starts out in Indra’s  heavenly palace and extends infinitely in all directions. At the nodes of the net, individual threads cross, blending duality until singularity occurs; creating a perfectly unique gem reflecting all the other gems in the net. As individual gems reflect and contain all others, they affect every entity in the universe.

In the same way that the individual threads of Indra’s net bind the gems to the cosmic web, the collective consciousness becomes body-bound by misidentifying itself with the individual organism instead of the Whole it reflects. Raising consciousness’ identification from the separate thread to that of the node requires a 90 degree angle of ascension.  From that higher psychic –spiritual location, the interconnection of all returns to the Source. Consciousness then proceeds toward Emptiness. In the boundless Womb that contains the Fullness the synchronized dance of the Cosmos that includes orbs and all other beings as manifestations of the One is realized.

Orbs can also be regarded as reflections of God’s qualities: beauty, purity, benevolence, the good, the loving, and joy-full Self…

Orb Salt Cathedral

At the time we first became aware of the orbs at Arunachala, a sangha member was traveling in Columbia and visiting the underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá outside of Bogotá.  Unseen by the eye, and yet captured by the lens of a camera, were luminous orbs gathered in the most sacred part of the cathedral. On the cross surrounded by orbs a heart shows through in symbolic form as a sign to those who have chosen to see and listen: the way to Liberation is through Love.

Beyond the confines of time and space, in the Heart-cave of Divine Love, rests the archetypal wisdom. The meaning that orbs expound is consistent, whether found in the sacred caves of a Colombian salt mine or at the Sat Yoga Ashram in Arunachala, Costa  Rica. From the death of the ego symbolized by the cross, unconditional Love rises to become the fuel that propels transcendence. Orbs arrive to aid in the project of human liberation, while at the same time they feed from the Love that exudes from the human process of Salvation.

Tumultuous times  signs our skies. To the often posed question as what awaits us at this nearing end-phase of the cosmic cycle Shunyamurti answers that the powerful changes shortly to come, and that for many have already arrived, will affect individuals differently, depending on the preparation of each soul and its resonant location on the net of Indra.

Those who realize that the oncoming world changes are part of the new birth of unified consciousness and are prepared, says Shunyamurti, will fare well in comparison to others who cleave to their identification as separate, body-identified, mortal individuals.

Arunachala Noah’s Ark

At Arunachala, the Sat Yoga spiritual community builds a Noah´s Ark to weather the oncoming flood. To these efforts, the forces of nature respond. The gathering of orbs on the ashram land resonate to the energy being transmitted by the sangha.  In turn, the noticeable presence of orbs serves to propel the will of the yogis towards transformation and transcendence of the earthly plane into higher dimensions of reality.

Much like milkweed seeds that are carried from the pod of the mother-plant by silken, feather-light, traveling facilitators and returned to earth to take root, beautifying the world and feeding the next generation of Monarch caterpillars, those individuals who choose to die to their biological ties and be carried into the light-world can choose to return to this earth. They become the avatars who assist in birthing into existence a more beautiful and nurturing world.

Roble Negro Sacred Tree

Hundreds of life forms are vanishing every day around the planet. Many others are in danger of  extinction. At the Sat Yoga ashram  great efforts are being made to save remaining traces of endangered trees, plants and animal species. Seeds of the preciously rare oak, Roble Negro, are beginning to germinate in the ashram’s greenhouse.

The work to save the great Black Oak from extinction parallels yogic efforts to save the soul from extinction and rise to Spirit. Sat Yoga psycho-spiritual technology was developed to activate the godseed which lays dormant within every soul.  The work of recuperating the God seed begins within each person, as well as throughout karma yoga projects. Karma yoga transforms ego based service, which always expects something in return, into selfless giving that is in resonance with the Cosmic Flow.

Sat Yogis preparing to be disciples are like budding flowers growing into their full potential as selfless giving blooms.  Through assimilation of higher rays of knowledge  and the sacrifice of the ego’ s rigid and limited understandings, Sat Yogis are cultivated into becoming givers instead of takers. Like a flower to a bee, the love pouring out from a purified center nourishes visiting others.  This newly self-found potency from the yogic sattvic state of consciousness can then be used to pollinate other budding souls into fruition.

Psycho-spiritual transformative work often takes time to root and manifest visibly, much like the formation of a permaculture food forest.  Usually much time and work is dedicated to revitalization of the seed at the substrata level before activation begins to be noticed on the surface.  The fruits of the initial labors become manifest and a new fountain of spiritual nourishment is made available to all who choose to partake in the gift.

Many are invited to participate in the rise of the New Dawn. The Sat Yoga spiritual community at Arunachala, Costa Rica is one of a growing number of centers whose members hear the Divine Call and answer to it.

Classes and seminars on meditation and gyana yoga, the yoga of higher knowledge, as well as individual inner work prepare Sat Yoga students to live in Divine egoless community, a requirement for the creation of a true ashram and the passing into the new Sat Yuga.

Participation in Sat Yoga satsangs, which are traditional gatherings for the purpose of raising conscious through meditation and earnest interchange regarding the union with the True Self, is rapidly growing. Many friends are arriving to join in the transformational process offered at the Sat Yoga Institute under the loving, wise, radiant vibrations of patron sages such as Sri Ramana Maharshi and

those of our living teacher, Swami Shunyamurti.

Old souls manifesting in the young are increasingly called to the Sat Yoga Institute,

as are those of the young at heart in the eternal,

and the more inconspicuous light-forms…

In Arunachala sits a glorious manifestation of God’s Lila.

In its holding embrace, the Sat Yoga ashram grows from Love , Wisdom and the understated work of actants that labor behind the scenes.

Anandamayi Ma Orb-Shram

The Sat Yoga Ashram is an Orb-shram*:

Ethereal peace,

Beauty and light

Pointing to the Origen,

Womb from which all Creation derives

And to which all is summoned.

“All is He,” Anandamayi Ma

Reminds those who´ve forgotten

The Source of existence.

From the grossest to the most subtle

Signs He beams

To guide us back

Through a path of awe and magic.

Love for the Self swells

As the lens of the heart shut-opens.

Fear of what, if all is Love manifesting,

Dance, joy, play, sing, orb-it,

Celebration for royalty of celestial lineage.

The ashram is an Orb-shram

where Mahatmas come

To re-member, dissolve

And be guided

To the Om-Origin,

Becoming once more

Carriers of the Godseed

Returning planet-wide

And into to the spheres.

May we cleave to the Divine Force for the bringing in of the New Dawn… Prema for all,

Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti


Arunachala: Sacred Mountain of Light – Sat Yoga Ashram (San Isidro del General, Costa Rica)

September 23, 2010
The Sat Yoga Ashram at Arunachala Costa Rica

Whenever Sri Ramana Maharshi was asked if he visited any of the many holy mountains in India, he responded that he visited them all the time.  Although he headed for Arunachala soon after realizing enlightenment at the age of 16, Sri Ramana was quick to remind us that Arunachala was everywhere, and in everyone. Arunachala is now being recognized in Costa Rica, on the land where the Sat Yoga Institute presently builds an ashram. Only on the mountain of God, also known as the Mountain of Light, do we come to know the true Self that sits in the Heart, the pinnacle of human manifestation and expression on the spiritual map.

Long before we learn to pronounce it, Arunachala is within us. Some of us are immediately drawn to it upon hearing the name, stirring emotions of peace, joy and tranquility, like the sound of a lullaby to an infant. Arunachala is The Mother that calms all of our fears, heals our wounds, and instills deep seated happiness and completeness in the power of Her stillness.

On the horizontal, physical map of the phenomenal world, the Sat Yoga Ashram is located in the mountains of San Isidro del General on the San Marcos Ridge. Departing from San José, the Sierra de la Muerte is crossed (The Mountain of Death) on the way to Arunachala. Thus it was with Sri Ramana Maharshi, who, upon experiencing death of the ego, attained Liberation. This is the blissful reward of all those who are willing to die to the ego, while the body is still alive.

The ashram land bathes in divine light and mist clouds; holy water showers it year round.

In Costa Rica, Arunachala manifests as an evergreen rainforest comprised of approximately 100 hectarias, or 250 acres, blessed with an outpouring of bio-diversity.

Epiphytes, orchids, and ancient tree ferns are among the thousands of species found on Arunachala. Purusha through Prakriti expresses its majesty in exuberance on the ashram property.

Water abounds on this holy land. From above and bellow, the power of love´s nurturing force flows in divine beauty;

the wonder of God´s expression, often too subtle to be captured by normal sensory perception.

The design is too grand and perfect to deny. The most minute details are perfectly interwoven. And each part is cared for, impeccably. And each is always reflecting the whole.

Master Plan: Sat Yoga Ashram

Although the true Master Plan is a mysterious unfolding directed from above, its revelation comes to light through human thought and actions on earth. When it was time to create a master plan for the Sat Yoga Ashram property, great thought was also given to the needs of the whole, as well as to those of the individual residents and guests. Most suited to help us with the task of creating a master plan for Arunachala was Deppat´s professional services, a company with many years of reputable experience in the field of master plan design.

With our feet at the gate, we embarked to explore the land´s potential and inevitably found God´s planning far ahead of our arrival.

Instead of steep inclines typical of Costa Rica´s mountainous ranges, Arunachala was landscaped to meet all the needs of an ashram. Rolling hills with alternating terraces provide natural divisions for the different resident categories befitted to ashram life, from sannyasis, also known as renunciates, to occasional visitors.

The path of the Vaishnavites.
Vishnu Gate

Two gates access Arunachala. Shunyamurti recently renamed them Shiva Gate, and Vishnu Gate.

With great joy we follow the path, committed to peeling away all layers of the ego, the only obstacle to divine freedom. We may choose to enter the Mountain of Light through Vishnu Gate, the Bhakti path of spiritual devotion to Vishnu, the Archetype of sustenance, or through the portal of Knowledge offered by Shiva, the God of transformation and redemption of the true Self.

Those who choose the Vishnu path seek joyful communion with God through devotion in thought, word, and deeds. This includes celebration and engagement in Karma Yoga, selfless service. The true worshippers of Vishnu are committed to breaking through the barriers that separate them from union with the Supreme One.

The path of the Shaivites.
Shiva Gate

For those who seek the most direct path, the deep and narrow entry  into the mystery of the unknown Self that lies beyond duality, who are willing to silence the mind and dwell in the aloneness of the All-one, known only through the slaying of the ego illusion, the Shiva gate is the preferred way in. Their joy is equal to those who sing and dance with Vishnu, but it is a quiet, subtle joy of the inmost Heart. However, they come out to walk their talk with sword-like efficiency in all Karma yoga that they perform. And, like the power of the genie that comes from being locked up in the bottle, their radiance, wisdom and love, is transmitted to all others. Sri Ramana serves as a great example of this path of Gyana yoga.

Homes for Monks

Besides the two paths into the Sat Yoga Ashram, four categories of residency are available: Sannyasis (monks both male and female) and swamis, the most committed to transformation and spiritual liberation; disciples who are eco-villagers, who may only live at the ashram part-time; visiting retreatants who come for short periods to recharge the soul´s energies; and volunteers, who come for work/study opportunities. For the sannyasis, we will be building a neighborhood of quiet hermitages, in the furthest northern reaches of the property.

Shunyamurti has explained that, ¨Today, it is extremely unfashionable in the Western world to adopt the lifestyle of a sannyasi, or a monk. People are fearful of what they mistakenly perceive as extreme asceticism and loss of autonomy. But the life of a monk in a monastery or ashram can be a truly fulfilling and sublime way of living. It is the only life style that offers true autonomy, rather than the superficial appearance of autonomy that is actually enslavement to a godless system.¨

For those who feel the call of Arunachala, the opportunity to live a blessed existence in a true ashram refuge becomes an irresistible attraction, as soothing as mother’s milk to a hungry baby. The life of divine simplicity, offering sufficient amounts of time to contemplate God and attain the Supreme Liberation, is a priceless and rare option in our hyperactive world.

With ethereal views to mountains, forest and ocean, the monk´s enclave is the cave that draws out the deepest reaches of the soul. Where the two meet, union is achieved. The journey inward, to the heart of the matter, the Mater, the Matrix, the Mother, is destined for all, at some point and time. At the Sat Yoga Ashram, space is offered for all those whose time has come to return to the Light.

Over the hill and south from the monk´s homes, a communal temple is foreseen on a sphere-shaped terrace with views to the shoreline.

The communal temple area sits as a cup in a saucer with a forested cliff protruding as if in support from behind, outpouring from the front into infinite sky, across the valley bellow, into the ocean. The perfect site to take off in the flight of Enlightenment, whether in spirit, or aided by a flying saucer´s mystic launch.

Ashram Retreat Cabins & Hotel

Moving towards the center of  the property we find plans for retreat cabins, a hotel, and a restaurant. Retreat cabins are now going up near the meditation center, already built for us by the previous owners.

Mahatma Lodge

Mahatma Lodge, the future meditation center, is presently serving as the lodging for our karma yoga trips. It needs only minor adaptations to serve as a meditation hall. The ample space can seat dozens of great-souled yogis, while its glass walls attract the sun’s living energies into the indoor space where retreatants will transform into mahatmas (great souls).

Retreat Cabins

Six two-story retreat cabins are nearing completion. Our interior design committee is presently planning out the details of tiles, furniture, and paint colors that will aid retreatants to realize the perfection of their own colorful lives in the light of God’s Presence.

Postulant Homes

Postulants’ homes find their niche between two forest springs. Alone, or in groups, candidates for discipleship will come to contemplate on whether they are called to the blessed life of an ashram dweller. The art of discipleship means integrating the fragmented ego-mind into a higher unified order by following yogic principles and practices.

The vows include commitment to non-violence, both in act and in aggressive thought; not to covet what belongs to others; to refrain from lying to ourselves and others; to sublimate lustful thoughts into the drive for oneness with the Absolute; not to steal from others or ourselves, which ultimately includes the theft of integrity from all beings when the true Self is not seen in the other.

The vows also include maintaining inner and outer purity, the practice of contentment, daily deep meditation, the study of wise words of the sages, and the surrender of all actions to the Supreme One.

Discipleship entails the practice of locating and reuniting our projected fragments of fear and desire, and transforming them through Agape (Divine Love) into higher Wisdom that leads to ultimate Liberation.  During the period of postulation, the soul explores its readiness to commit to these goals.  Are we wiling to accept a higher mode of living to reap the benefits that may be gained for our souls?

In many religious orders, the period of postulation was symbolized by the new habits worn in the form of clothes. These varied slightly from the habits worn by the committed and confirmed monks. Postulants commit to temporarily storing away their old habits (ego woven), and to replace them with the new fabric of the yamas and niyamas. If they change their minds, their old clothed ways, kept in reserve until a final decision is made, can be retrieved for a return into the ego world.

Hermitages

Those wishing even more solitary quarters during their time as postulants, or as disciples, will find their place in more hidden enclaves throughout Arunachala.

Entering into an ashram is to retreat into the cave of the heart in order to find peace from which radiates both light and joy. Reuniting the mind with the inner power of silence becomes the foundation of stability and harmonious co-existence. Silence is the womb where peace resides, and Love the om-niotic fluid that sustains it. In the peace of solitude, the Atman which contains our consciousness is realized once more. The hermit, when she is ready to come out of her cave reborn, can refund the regained wisdom to the world.

Library

A research library has also been planned to house Shunyamurti’s large collection of books. The building will sit across the way from the meditation hall, offering Arunachula the written traces of the great wisdom of the ages. Thousands of books, encompassing many fields or knowledge, from the most ancient spiritual traditions to the most cutting edge research in quantum physics, psychoanalysis, and other disciplines, will be available to all interested in the search for Truth.

Karma Yoga Administration Building Location

An administration building and welcome center will be situated above and to the side of the library. From within its glass walls, visitors and karma yogis will have front row seats to view the food-forest below.

Eco-Village

For many, the eco-village will serve as a wonderful retirement community. Living close to the vibrant ashram, committed to an ecological lifestyle, with a cultural center, theater, music hall, and sports facilities next door provides many benefits that may well make this barrio a most sought-out homing destination.

The views may be an additional reason for choosing the Eco-village neighborhood. Beautiful views of forested rolling hills accent the whispering of the river running alongside the property boundaries.

Biological Corridor

A biological corridor was delineated and reforested, joining the river to the property springs. The biological corridor will soon facilitate, and increase, the movement of wildlife around Arunachala.

Our sisters and brothers from the animal and plant kingdom are protected at the Sat Yoga Ashram, as are all beings who enter its gates.

Unconditional love knows no bounds. Life at Arunachala is based on the Source of All,  seeing through all superficial differences, such as creed, race, gender, and color. An ashram is the ultimate experience in integrated living through the realization of our Oneness.

In the creation of an ashram, love and play in karma yoga rules the day. The development of a master plan for the ashram property becomes an opportunity to move pieces around on a board game in order to serve the highest goals for human communal living.

Here, we hop on quadricycles, to collect plants for the ashram gardens.

And we take time to check the view from the cabins that rise to the height of tree houses.

Every meal is cooked up in creative, delicious, nutritious ways that delights the soul…

…except a handful of potatoes from the cook´s pot to plant for next year´s crop.

Hands get dirty, making mud pies while planting what the kitchen will cook, and the residents will delight in.

We commune with the foals,

becoming farmers in retreat, as sons and daughters of modern city dwellers return to the humble work of the fields.

Some develop into fledgling carpenters, building duck houses, while the pros construct the cabins behind.

We gather in story telling circles…

and escapade to the river´s beach on a hot, sunny morning,

…or make excursions to the hill tops.

Arunachala, blessed be thy name, the Source from which the formless manifests into form. Through God´s Grace, in the building of the Sat Yoga Ashram, the process of becoming a divine sangha-community reveals itself. A master plan for human transformation and transcendence, if ever there was one.

Namaste. God Bless.


The Power of Love is Invincible – Karma Yoga Ashram Retreat Costa Rica

July 29, 2010
Creating a Prema-culture Community: “Love is the true essence of all that is.” – Shunyamurti

A wide variety of plants cohabitate on a single fallen log. A community committed to Prema-culture provides a similar support for building human eco (egoless)-systems based on integration, and unity. Such a community flourishes out of the love exuded from the decomposing ego structures of its members, the humus for the flowering of the real Self.

I was asked recently to describe the difference between ´Prema-culture,´ and Permaculture. Sustainability, integration and unity seem to be a common denominator between the two. The main difference arises from the recognition in Prema-culture that the sustainability of an eco-system, be it in nature or in a human community, is dependent on the ´Love´ coefficient. Without Divine Love as the governing principle, knowledgeable, well-intentional egos are too limited and conditioned to sustain natural diversity that is part of the Divine expression. As such, traditional intentional communities tend to disintegrate with time, despite their externalized successes.

Prema-culture realizes the non-dual aspect of life forms. The inner and the outer are ultimately the same with human beings acting as the calibraters of the energy frequency for the rest of nature. As long as the human soul remains split from its origin, the Essence, the sustainability of human efforts will be equally fragmented and weakened, with nature suffering in the process.

We return to the land with increasing love each time, giving our hearts and minds to the building of the Sat Yoga Ashram, overcoming our differences and ever more able to recognize the One in All. As the most depleted natural source in the human soul, love is what we come to plant and sow through every engagement. God has granted us a divine property for raising ourselves, and the rest of humanity from the bondages of the ego. Each nook and cranny calls our attention to the light behind the work at hand. For this week´s trip, landscaping around the lodge, and care for the horses were top on our list of chores.

Landscaping

Beatitude derives from a state of Presence. For too long, humanity has fallen asleep to the Divine Presence in All that is. Like the prince who comes to awaken Sleeping Beauty from her 100 year sleep, we too must cut through the thorny jungle around the heart-palace where nobility of spirit sleeps. The Divine play is being staged on the Ashram land so we may awaken to our own ego´s thorny jungle of projections and fantasies that block the soul from its Royal inheritance.

“When all of that [desire] has been transcended, then we will realize the bliss of what we have always been. We shall see through the mirage of this phenomenal world and recognize the sacredness of it. Its whole purpose was to lead us beyond illusion to the dimension of truth and bliss and light, to the Supreme Power that enables us to transform this world and not be victims of it, but be servants of God, Bodhisattvas, within it.” (From “Tragic Love to Blissful Love: The Path of Sat Yoga”), Shunyamurti.

The inhospitable brush that came down from the lodge and meditation center was cleared to reveal a perfect rolling landscape that sooths our spirits as it stretches into open vast clarity.

From the heights of the lodge, we become witnesses to the Revelation below us and within us. Above us, the white sky stillness, source of Revelation, blankets our worries and fears with loving containment of the never changing Bliss.

What now stands behind as lush, pristine forest settings, will soon turn the bend into the newly cleared fields of the lodge and meditation center.

In the forest openings, trees are sacrificed through lightning and thunder for the benefit of the new growth below it, which can then prosper by accessing sunlight before inaccessible to them.

Plants caught under fallen branches are removed for transplanting around the lodge and meditation center.

Outside the entrance hall, ground orchids and climbing philodendrons go into the ground. Roy and Hainer, two of the ashram’s field workers are becoming caring, observant caretakers of the forest and its plants.

Recently published scientific reports concur with what Sat Yogis have known all along: plants have a high degree of subtle, innate intelligence. These new findings, along with many others regarding the intelligence of animals, are dismantling the modern materialistic scientific paradigm that regards nature as mechanistically programmed.

Because nature´s intelligence runs on subtler dimensions than our senses and mind can perceive, it is imperative that human beings regain access to these more subtle frequencies for true communion with nature. The work of human transformation undertaken by Sat Yogis-in-preparation is a tri-partisan engagement known as the Trivium. Through the study of teachings of a higher nature, by working in private sessions that help integrate the mind by raising the unconscious to the conscious, and through meditation where all thoughts are arrested and stilled for transcending the ego-mind,  the higher dimensions of consciousness and nature are ultimately reached.

We develop landscaping skills by reaching under the surface of the material world to the subtler reaches of the creative forces of nature, which are those of Love and Wisdom.

Ashram tractor moving landscaping boulders.

Kind sharing of landscaping tips by Karen Arras from the Pro-Nativas organization is also received with gratitude. Their knowledge is helping us work with the processes of Nature. Upon Karen’s suggestion, the scattered boulders in front of the lodge have been placed in better-organized formations.

Positioned in groups, the rocks begin to support an array of vegetation, from tabacones, to orchids and ferns.

Jagdish, whose commitment to the Sat Yoga ashram has been a major pillar to the project, looks over the moving of the rocks. Gita, a karma yogi whose specialty on this trip was the caretaking of the horses, shared in the experience.

Food Forest

Our trip to the land was divided into two groups of visiting consultants and karma yoga participants. The first three days received our permaculture consultant, Itai Hauben, who came accompanied with his wife, Melina, an agronomist trained at EARTH University, and their young son, Nevo. Tamara, Heather, and Rafael formed part of the Sat Yoga karma yoga team for this leg of the trip.

Curiosity and playfulness in the field was augmented by our young visitor whose laughter and excitement resonated wherever he went.

Planting root vegetables at the Ashram.

Taro roots, sugar cane, ‘guandul,’ a type of bush bean, and ‘arracache,’ a root vegetable from the celery family, were planted between the existing fruit trees.

Itai holds a bush bean seedling for inspection of its nitrogen fixing properties. Bush beans are major nitrogen fixing plants with high nutritional value for human consumption.

Small, spherical, orange tinted nitrogen capsules are already visible on the exposed roots of the plants. They will burst into the soil, nourishing it with this much depleted nutrient.

The bananas planted on the last visit are one of the main beneficiaries of the nitrogen giving beans. Many have leaves shooting up within a month of being planted.

Most fruit trees, like the cas, are also flourishing.

The yuca sprouts its first leaves,

While a corn patch planted on the initiative of the farm workers rises towards the sun,

And our first harvest of beans has been pulled out; the survivors from the sacrificial bean crop used at the start of the food forest as nitrogen fixers.

At the end of Itai’s visit, a new crop footprint was left on the food forest terrain. Taro root seeds such as Malanga and Chamol, as well as sugar cane were obtained for planting from one of the two certified bio-dynamic farms in Costa Rica.

With the easing of farm chores, we walked past the food forest to the communal temple site, and what a sight did meet us. A long ocean coast line delighted our senses and filled our hearts with Nature’s unending slide show for our entertainment and upward ascension.

Greenhouse: Vegetable Garden

It was time to celebrate the green house from the outside. Ornamental plants were placed along its perimeter to create a green, flowering trail bridging the forest with the cabins, to the lodge and meditation center.

From within, the vegetable beds are exploding with greens. Lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, radishes, and mustard greens: many a salad made from the greenhouse treats was delighted upon by those participating on this karma yoga trip.

Roy’s sweet disposition appeals to the plants, as well as the horses. He has become a major player in garden, and in animal upkeep.

Animal Husbandry and Vermiculture

By the end of the week, the horses were the center of our attention when Jagdish, Ajata, Gita, and Alejandra arrived for the second facet of our karma yoga week. Gita, a long standing member of the Sat Yoga community, invited her friend and horse specialist, Alejandra, to the land to consult on the upkeep of the horses. The leader of the pack and her colt settled easily to the loving energy of the team.

Upon the purchase of the land, the horse stable was divided into two sections. One would shelter the horses, while the other was to house vermiculture. This project was headed from the start by Jagdish after previous months of practice and learning at The Butterfly Farm, a company he manages and owns in service to the ashram.

Earthworms are thought by many to be man´s best friend. These shy-like underground dwelling creatures are a main component for fertile soils and the successful harvest of our food crops.

Earthworms process decomposing organic matter to make rich humus. They dig tunnels through hard soil, aerating the soil and providing channels for water to sip in. In synchrony with animal manure, earthworms create the most nutrient rich compost available.

The food forest was greatly blessed by this team effort. Dozens of ready to use vermicompost sacks awaited in support of the planting.

The horses were in need of an upgrade in their facilities and attention. Their time had come to be pampered, and cared for.

Alejandra inspected hooves, diet, trimming of manes and all other general procedures regarding upkeep. Upon her recommendation, changes will be made to the present stalls to allow the horses more space. New floors will also be put in. Additions to their grass diet were also recommended, as well as instruction on how to tame the young colts.

Our karma yoga visitor, Alejandra, grew up on a farm, and later married into another farming family. Of all the farm chores, animals were her favorite, and horses, the crowning type. Her kindness, compassion, and heart-filled intention brought more light onto the land. We hope she will continue to visit the ashram animals throughout the year. In the meantime, she has volunteered to further train Ajata on her own farm in the Central Valley.

Our gratitude pours out to Alejandra; ´muchas bendiciones, querida amiga.´ (Many blessings, dear friend.)

Ajata warmed up to the task of caring for the horses at once. A natural with animals, the horses detect his loving touch from the start. His experience with taming the wild ways of the ego came in handy, no doubt, in the work of training the colts.

While the young were given love and law inside the stable by their human instructors, the mares looked on from the pasture. Those of us who entered Sat Yoga as parents can easily relate to the scene. Not so long ago, my husband and I passed on the job of instructing of our children to our spiritual teacher and guide, Shunyamurti. In traditional societies, the rite of passage for coming out of the family system into the social milieu was the work of a spiritual guide. The shaman, wiseman, and teacher were some of the titles attributed to tribal leaders who guided young generations into the world. This passage was undertaken in service to the Supreme Being. As animals are ready to show human beings, parental detachment is not indifference. As a matter of fact, detachment is an essential quality if the young are to be raised into adaptable individuals in the field.

Once the horses gained our trust, mothers stayed close to the babes, but never interfered in the training process going on inside. Soon, the colts will be separated from the mothers. They will be weaned and begin fending for themselves. In next week´s Prema-culture class, we´ll be discussing the book, The Human Nature of Birds. The author, Theodore Barber, provides extensive information on the intelligence of birds, as well as many other animals. Mr. Barber concludes, at times, that animals are often more intelligent than humans; they surpass human nature, at least the human nature that today´s egos display.

Like a proud mother, Gita celebrates the end of the training session for the youngest of the five colts. She would leave the next day back to the city to await the arrival of her own daughter visiting from the States.

Retreat Cabins

Having concluded with the horses, we strolled along to show Alejandra the cabins. We found all six units in different stages of construction.

The least advanced will soon have a roof to stand under.

One of the cabins set further from the rest, borders a creek. The sounds of passing spring water offers a special meditative treat to all six of the retreat cabins.

On the ashram land, the senses are in constant reminder of the awesomeness of Nature, pointing our minds towards the source of our divine planet in this special location we call Costa Rica.

From the Sat Yoga Ashram on the Mountain of Light – Arunachala – the sun sets with wise words resounding in the air, leading humanity out of its dark night with the call to Love:

¨The test of human love is the creation of a harmonious and purposeful transformational community. Let us be inspired by the vision of our divine potential, and organize into a global network of well-functioning transformational societies to bring the next age of higher consciousness into manifestation. The time to act is now. The Power of Love is invincible. From (“The Purification of Love” ), Shunyamurti.

Namaste to all Beings, Amen.


A Return to Purity – Sat Yoga Ashram Costa Rica

July 12, 2010

The stage was set for a karma yoga trip to the ashram at the end of June. We arrived to work on the greenhouse and to start an ornamental plant nursery. Work was also undertaken in the food forest and reforestation project, as well as in locating prime resident building sites. Founding members´ land options will soon be made available to Sat Yoga´s disciples-in-preparation.

The ´Palomas´ return

Welcoming us back onto the land was a white homing pigeon, known in Costa Rica as ´paloma.´ The white pigeon was an unexpected surprise. We could not help but wonder what message she was delivering, brought to light a few days latter by the farm´s caretaker, Victor Hugo, and his explanation of the palomas´ appearance.

Years ago, a pair of pigeons were brought to the land by previous owners. The bird couple made their home in the horse barn next to the caretaker´s house. Although Victor Hugo continued working on the land that became the ashram, he and his family moved to Ganeshapur, the ashram´s annex property. The palomas, who by then had multiplied, left their homesite with the caretaker´s departure, and had not been seen for many months: until a few days before our second June visit.

Love and safe stewardship is being felt by birds, mammals, butterflies and many other animals on the land with our repeated visits. Not only are the palomas returning, but coatis and agoutis are now common arrivals at the lodge vicinities, while butterflies and honey bees dance and sing out of the lodge windows.

For the month of July we´ve scheduled a book on the consciousness of birds for our Prema-Culture class. All those who have undergone the Institute´s orientation procedures are invited to join in the reading and discussion of this book, and learn more on the topic of birds and their connection with people.

An estimated 200 species of birds are thought to be represented on the ashram. Over 120 species have already been identified on a previous sangha bird-watching visit that took place in March of this year. The trip was kindly led by sangha participant, and renowned ornithologist, Margherita Bottazzi, and joined by sat yogis and visiting friends awed by the wonders of nature.

Green House

Homing in karma yogis dedicated a great portion of this visit to making space in the greenhouse for a plant nursery. Plants are also known as having a formidable subtle perception, able to read human intentions even before they are consciously known to the human ego-mind. Karma Sat yogis arduously work at purifying their minds not only to minimize the human footprint on the Earth, but also to purify unconscious negative energies that override good intentions  and lead the destruction of the planet.

Sadhananda took charge of the work in the greenhouse, organizing our karma yogis into diverse tasks…

…from organizing hundreds of seedlings planted on past karma yoga visits…

…to weeding the paths under the loving touch of Heather (left) and Saraswati…

…to rehabilitating long discarded planting beds. Sat Yogi amateur carpenters, Sadh and Ajata, sawed and fitted wood boards for supporting young seedlings.

Sage was also harvested and rolled in a meditative way for future purification ceremonies at the ashram facilities.

While outside the greenhouse a new area was prepared for planting additional fruit trees and the start of a ´naranjilla´ patch.

Greenhouse food crops were joined by our first batch of ornamental plants to be used for landscaping around the lodge and the retreat cabins presently under construction.

From the lodge, the view of the greenhouse was dearly enhanced by the prema of our team of yogis. The sacredness transpiring through the karma yoga of our members begins to speak for itself.

Reforestation and Landscaping

Once allowed back to its natural rhythms, the tropical forest quickly regenerates itself. Pioneering bushes and trees start to dot the landscape within a few years of lying fallow. Mankind may choose to give Mother Nature a helping hand in accelerating the reforestation process. This service results in great healing for its participants, as well as for the Earth.

Correcting  ego-based karma, both conscious and unconscious, becomes an imperative practice for Sat Yogis. This transformative work is greatly aided through the commitment to offering the service of karma yoga. What before was rendered to Caesar is now rendered to God, and the task of reforestation evolves into a sacred act of returning soil and soul back to our Source-Mother.

Seventy bamboo plants were incorporated in the reforestation project. Three varieties of premium construction bamboo will help revitalize deforested zones, as well as, serve our ecological building needs in the near future.

While clearing land for the planting of bamboo, we also collected the wild plants for transplanting in the ashram gardens. Taking the wise lead of our friends from the ProNativas organization, we hope to base the ashram´s landscaping needs on local botany.

ProNativas is a non-profit organization that champions the return of native plants back to Costa Rican gardens. They are specially concerned about invasive exotic varieties that take over fields and river banks, destroying the natural flora and fauna of the regions. A team of ProNativa members visited the ashram to offer consultation. They started an inventory of plants on the land, and found species yet to be documented in the national archives. Besides being renowned taxonomists and botanists, ProNativas members are also famed landscape artists who inspired us by explaining the extraordinary potential of our gardens. Their love and knowledge remain in our hearts and minds.

Pronativas recommended that we look in the ashram´s forests for insight on how to design our gardens. In their opinion, which concurs with ours, the Sat Yoga Ashram is blessed with nature´s perfect designs. Much of our surrounding forest has been left nearly untouched. Original combinations of forms and colors provide Divine inspiration for all who visit.

From cascading bushes of flaming ´lady´s lips´…

…to more subdued gems tucked away in the forest hollows…

…to the open field pioneers of Melatomastacias, nurturers of bees and many other pollinating species.

From the cleared fields for planting bamboo, a diverse variety of flowers and vines were gathered for the lodge gardens.

Palms, rattle snake plants, and spiral gingers are but three of the forest species that gracefully ´bloom wherever they are planted.´ The ideal, tropical rain cloud climate, and the loving energy emitted by our gardeners, also contribute to the uprooting of roots with minimal distress.

From our last visit, one spring remained for reforestation. To its banks were returned hardwood and flowering tree seedlings; thus, completing the biological corridor that now unites the five springs on the property.

Through reforestation efforts, the ´fingers,´ as the area of the springs are commonly referred to, now sustain a biological corridor within the open-hand silhouette traced by the land´s perimeter. The biological corridor was integrated into the ashram´s master plan from Itai Hauben’s permaculture design for the property.

Water: Source of Life

The ashram is blessed with a running river and feeding springs that originate on the land.

During this visit, water samples were taken from the springs for laboratory testing. A previously tested source showed pure, live water emanating from underground. Victor Hugo knows the ashram property like the back of his hand. From the spring´s pulsating rhythms of seasons, to the birds that sing on its banks and the trees on which they rest. Hugo has become a nature guide and companion to Sat Yoga´s return to the land.

All care is being taken to assure our future residents and visiting retreatants with this life giving treasure. Once an ever abundant resource, live water has become a rarity because of the greed and malice that plague humanity. Sadhananda leaves no room for mistake with the samples collected. Laboratory sealed tests were gathered and delivered to lab specifications.

Reteat Cabins

The retreat cabins are taking shape. More roofs are up, floors have come down, and walls are being raised. Once the water tests arrive, the cabins will be connected by gravity feed to fresh spring water for drinking and showers.

Shunyamurti and Radha recently visited the land to inspect the first cabin that serves as a model for others to follow.

Radha seems pleased with the work being done by our building constructor, Bay Igleheart. Radha and Tamara have graciously volunteered to help with the interior decoration of the cabins. Their fine tastes will undoubtedly help raise guests´ consciousness while on retreat.

Views out of the bedrooms are being framed. Sliding glass doors will keep retreatants close to nature even while inside.

Whether downstairs or upstairs, visitors’ rooms will be wonderful natural environments that will enhance the experience of inner transformation at the Sat Yoga Retreat Center. Bay and his partner, Lindsey, take a rest from their hard working efforts on the first upstairs suite, soon to be ready for finishing touches.

Bay is an ecological builder and self-taught architect who moved to Costa Rica from California several years ago.  He also manages an organic bamboo farm in the southern coast of Costa Rica. All the bamboo being used in the construction of our cabins comes from his eco-friendly project.

A dense, rich quality reverberates in the air of the food forest. The fruit trees grow robust, putting out new leaves, while the grasses slow down in growth, ceding to fruit trees. Intermittent bird calls intermingle with the sweet murmuring of the springs. On this visit, the stillness that envelops all Creation was palpably felt on this sacred land.

The ´Madero negro´ and ´poró´ branches, planted earlier in the month, have begun to sprout leaves. Even before roots are established, new leaves emerge to harness the sun´s energy for the creation of root systems. Poró and Madero negro trees are special nitrogen fixing varieties. Nitrogen has become the most depleted nutrient in the Earth´s soils.

A Sat Yogi functions within Nature´s rhythms, sprouting new and healthier leaves as he is planted anew in a spiritual community. By making the choice to split from the limited identification with a biological, corporeal family-tree, the yogi, like a branch cut off the old, sick tree, is now grounded to prepare for a higher connection to Super-Nature. A branch severed from a parent-tree finds itself rootless, having never had roots of his own from living in alienation from the main trunk. Such is the fate of a new spiritual student who leaves the familiarity of old landmarks to discover her own truth. The slightest affront can destabilize someone in this vulnerable intermediate state. A strong, nourishing foundation must act as a holding space until roots are established. The sangha, and soon the ashram, becomes such a containing womb for all who come in search of authentic existence. An ashram´s spiritual community steeped in Prema-Culture serves as the sap capable of healing all wounds of past egoic existence, while providing the nurturing needed in the development of genuine Self-realization.

Human beings must regain the ancient occupation of alchemy, and become nitrogen fixers that restore the soul of humanity to its pristine state, blanketing the Earth with flower carpets, lush green canopies, and fruits tender and sweet, capable of dissolving all clots from the heart of humanity.

The efforts of invisible actants work in tandem with human transformational intentions at the Sat Yoga ashram. Mountain microorganisms are sprayed religiously every week on the food forest, a ritual taken on gracefully by farm worker, Don Rafa. The decomposing force of MMs is rapidly changing unruly grasses into productive fertilizing agents.  Although slower and more costly at first, permaculture techniques provide great leaps of return after the first years of efforts working at invisible, subtle levels. Sat Yogis are followers and practitioners of organic transformative processes.

A new addition to the food forest was planted during this trip. Dozens of young Crotelaria bushes propagated in the green house will soon begin to contribute doses of nitrogen into the food forest.

Crotelaria saplings are planted between existing rows of fruit trees for a constant flow of nitrogen feeding.

Soon, the Crotolarias will dot the landscape with yellow blankets of flowers. Bumblebees and honey bees along with other pollinating insects will come to join  in the chorus of murmuring spring water, bird songs, and the ‘Om’ resonance of the Sat Yoga community.

At the end of the work day, we return to the lodge, abode for homing pigeon karma yogis.

Delicious fresh food prepared by Swati and Heather awaits the rest of the crew from the fields, feeling blessed and in joy by the gift that is Life.

Our path is being guided and protected by the ethereal Celestial Light, Mother Nature, and our teacher and guide, Shunyamurti. May we become ever more trusting, transparent and pure in reflecting the Divine Grace which is our one true inheritance and land right.

Until our next posting, many blessings to all beings.

Namaste


Karma Yoga Visit to the Ashram – June 7, 2010

June 26, 2010

A team of eight Sat Yoga karma yogis recently arrived at the Sat Yoga ashram with open hands, heart, and mind for the planting of our first food forest. Under the guidance of the cosmic forces that perfectly positioned the moon and constellations for the planting on Earth during this week, we embarked on the initial steps towards becoming an agricultural, self-sufficient spiritual community. The wise permaculturist and friend,  Itai Hauben, steered our direction on the planting fields.

The Sat Yoga Ashram is being built on the Saint Marcos’ Ridge (Fila de San Marcos) on the hill tops of Saint Isidro del General. Saint Isidro descends from El General (The General), a symbol for the Christ-Self.  As the name of the ashram’s physical location implies, the spiritual path is a razor´s edge, a ‘fila,’ a ridge.

As we gather on the land we are reminded of the sacred work at hand, aware of the nobility of spirit that Nature inspires and requires from us all. From ancient tree ferns to majestic oaks and life supporting Ficus trees we look for guidance in Nature’s signs as subtle as the high altitude air. We listen for messages from the silent source of Her breezes, the bird songs, and the howlers’ laughter. Our souls, the soil we commit to rejuvenation. On the Ashram land, we’ve come to find ourselves in communion with All that Is.

Through laboratory soil testing and traditional wisdom of recognizing plant species as indicators of recuperating soils, fields best prepared for cultivation were chosen for the ashram’s first food forest.

Carefully selecting between existing pioneering trees, grass begins to fall under the loving hands on our fellow farm workers. Instead of slash and burn, permaculture prefers the cut and drop method. Ancient wisdom would agree: that which dies becomes the muck from which the lotus can rise.

Natural springs are protected with walls of tall green vegetation. Water is one of Nature’s most sacred gifts of life. Springs are crowned with green canopies that cool the earth beneath for rainwater to penetrate, replenish and continue the cycle of precipitation; Heaven descends on Earth for Earth to return to Heaven.

A tractor was generously donated to the ashram just as the ground was being prepared for cultivation. Treading lightly along the edges of the food forest, the tractor aids in the cutting of grass and the shredding of brush that will later to be used as either fertilizer or mulch.

Branches and twigs are grated for mulching, while the leaves lay fallow for unaided decomposition. All that has been cut to make way for the food forest is returned to the land in service to higher purpose. Generosity of Spirit is nature’s trademark.

The alchemic process of transformation occurs from within as the mulch begins to heat-up within days of still sitting, decomposing and transforming bark and grain into fertilizing agents for the upcoming food forest.

The land’s natural contour lines guide Itai in the formation of swales that will channel rain water into the springs.

Ditches are dug by hand to serve as both  rain water channels in the rainy season months, and water retention in the dry season. Soil erosion and parchness are prevented through this method.

Beans are the first seeds planted on the food forest terrain. They will become sacrificial plants used for fixing nitrogen into the soil. Upon the very first signs of flowering, the bean plants will be cut, thus, releasing nitrogen into the earth that would otherwise be used for forming the bean. Future crops and food trees will greatly benefit from the selfless service of these unsung heroine sisters.

Channels and swales, apparent opposites, work together in a wholesome way guiding the flow of water to the springs that will ultimately return it to its ocean of origin. After our field chores we gather in meditation, becoming the channels of individual consciousness that unite with the whole of sangha-nature towards the return of humanity back to the ocean of consciousness.

Logs long ago fallen on what are today’s planting fields hold nature’s richest fertilizer, decomposed wood that is commonly known in Costa Rica as ‘uru.’

From the cavernous hollows of fallen logs, feather light cool humus is gathered for making a decomposing fertilizing agent known as ´mountain micro-organisms.´

Ingredients are gathered in the workshop for the making of ‘mountain micro-organisms,’ an organic spray  using ‘uru’  as a main ingredient.

A blend of three bacterial hosts along with rice husks and a sugar cane extract are lovingly mixed by hand by our farming team. Prema, Prana and Karma work their transformative magic in invisible and manifest ways. Our Karma Yogi team becomes increasingly attuned to life’s forces through participating in biodynamic preparations, as well as from the direct toiling of the earth. As we transform eroded soils on the ashram land we come to realize the simultaneous rejuvenation of our own souls.

The mountain micro-organism solution is stored in a barrel for a few days before being diluted in water and sprayed on the recently chopped fields of our future food forest.

Karma yogi, Guillermo, sprays ‘mountain micro-organisms,´ on the field before the planting of the fruit trees. Microorganisms are invisible actants that speed up the decomposition process of the pasture grass giving way for a vegetarian existence.

Biodynamic preparations are being used simultaneously with permaculture techniques on the ashram land. Itai and Purusha prepare preparation 500 which will also be sprayed before the planting of the trees.

Selfless action on the part of Sat Yoga community members comes in many forms, from inner transformational work, to physical labor and financial support. The act of giving without expecting anything in return is the surest way to the greatest attainable riches, accountable only to God. A much needed pick-up truck recently donated arrives with bequeathed fruit trees.

Fruit trees are positioned by Itai with the eye of a landscape artist and the knowledge of an agriculturist. Permaculture bases its philosophy on creating integrated systems, a concept much revered by Sat Yogis who tirelessly work to integrate human consciousness to its original state of wholeness and synchronicity with All.

Holes are dug for the grafted fruit trees. Poor soil is removed to make way for composted rich soil processed by the earth worms in the ashram’s compost barn.

The worm-compost barn was started last October as the initiating project towards the planting season.

At first, five mares and one stallion provided the manure for our worm barn. Today the numbers have been increased by five young foals.

Worm compost is mixed with sodium carbonate and soil to create the best possible humus for the newly planted crops.

Trees go into the ground to the symphonic sounds of bird songs and howler monkeys. We become increasingly synchronized to the land’s rhythms and signs as the days move on.

In La Fila de San Marcos scarce history remains of an agricultural past. Blessed with evergreen pastures, farmers long ago traded the planting of crops for the raising of cattle.

As we embark on new beginnings for sustainable living, careful inventory is made of all that is planted on the land; including, the approximate 60 varieties of bananas investigated at EARTH University that we will oversee for their applicability to our geographical area. With time, the ashram may provide a comprehensive agricultural study and application for farmers in the region.

Throughout the work day, pauses are made for taking in nourishment from the bounties of nature; from the typical Costa Rican lunch break never missing in rice and beans, to the more raw food tastes of the karma yogis.

Coconut palms are one of the main food trees being planted on the land. Eric added a delicious childhood favorite of his, ‘ants on a log’, to the coconut delight of ‘agua de pipa,’ (coconut water) and its soft unripened coconut meat. ‘Ants on a log’ are carrot sticks layered with peanut butter and sprinkled with raisons that symbolically serve as ants.

By the end of our first week of planting, several hundred small trees dotted the landscape of the food forest, from fruit bearing species to nitrogen fixers. Branches of ‘Madero negro’ and ‘Poró,’ stand naked in the fields, soon to take root and sprout leaves, becoming trees in themselves in a matter of a few months.

To culminate the planting activities, biodynamic ‘Preparation 500,’ was sprayed on the planted fields by the karma yogis visiting for the week.

A lift to the lodge in the tractor is an opportunity hard to pass up after long days in the field . Great joy and reverence is felt by all of us who participated in this blessed event. Many others will be joining in the ashram’s agricultural projects in the following months.

For permaculturalists, the food forest tries to replicate the integrated working of the natural forest where each member species works for the good of the whole and the whole works for the benefit of each individual. For a Sat Yoga community based on ‘Prema-culture’ or Sacred Love, the natural integrated wholistic system also orders the functioning of the realized sangha, where harmony, beauty, wisdom, and integrated diversity fueled by Divine energy and love are the governing principles.

We pray and meditate for the self-realization of our natural state so that we may become true stewards of nature, once more.

As the food forest breaks ground for our agricultural projects, the first retreat cabins lay the foundation for the ashram’s building projects. Six bamboo and wood cabins are planned for completion by September. Retreats will soon be scheduled for the end of the year.

Retreating to the clouds is nearing reality at the Sat Yoga Ashram. In the nebulae of hill tops, the ethereal meets the ground of being.

Our Zen style cabins with high ceiling bamboo roofs will delight all those earning for a return to the beauty of simplicity.

Forest cut by previous owners for cow pasture are presently being reforested.

Hundred’s of  native trees have been purchased for planting a wildlife corridor that will unite the existing forest, as well as, providing a radius of protection around the sources of the ashram’s springs.

The first seedling went into the ground under the loving care of  our Sat Yogi, Tamara, coordinator of the reforestation project,  and our fellow farm worker, Don Rafa, an old time farmer from a neighboring town.

We’ll be returning to the ashram land later this month to continue the planting of reforestation trees and oversee the progress of the food forest and cabin construction.

As well as the seedlings left maturing in the plant nursery. Stay tunned for the upcoming update on our latest karma yoga trip that took place on June 21rst.

May we manifest on the Sat Yoga ashram land a ray of Divine love and light for all of humanity.

Namaste and many Blessings


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