Building a Prema-Culture Community

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


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