Vision- We see
human beings coming together to live a life of virtue, experiencing the
divinity in all that is.
"We impart the wisdom of traditional Yoga to all individuals, and foster the
inner search to find peace by providing an inspirational environment,
teachings, and practical tools for personal growth, enabling them to be
positive contributors to society."
SonoMa Ashram's primary
service project is thriving in the holy city of Varanasi, India, under the
name of Bal Ashram (children's ashram) . Children without parents find a
loving home and high quality education at Bal Ashram.
Newly planned Bal Ashram's Ecovillage in Varanasi will raise awareness — in
an ancient sacred city now beset by many urban problems — about recycling,
renewable energy, sustainable farming, traditional Indian (ayurvedic) herbal
medicines, and handicrafts production. There is a vision of making Bal
Ashram and its ecovillage a model that can be copied not only in India but
anywhere in the world. Bal Ashram is also an ideal destination for those
wishing to experience the beauty and richness of India through pilgrimage
and cultural immersion.
We envisioned creating a place that would not only benefit the children of
India but visitors from the West as well, a place where the wisdom and gift
of two cultures could integrate. Creating a place that would provide an
opportunity for volunteers from the West to go and spend some time in a safe
environment doing seva while imbibing the wisdom that Indian culture has to
offer inspired us all.
In order to encapsulate the two ideas, we decided to call the new place an
Ashram, an extension of our Sonoma Ashram, in India. The main theme of the
Ashram is to be of service. That is why it is called Aghor Guru Seva Peeth,
Bal Ashram (Children’s Ashram) is the main aspect of this Ashram and is
dedicated solely to benefit the children.
An Ashram in a community becomes the source of inspiration to many. It also
becomes a place for members of the local community to come to and
participate in various activities and be a part of the Ashram community.
When Babaji visits the Ashram, it is a sight to see how so many people get
inspired by his presence and teachings.
The objectives of the Ashram as a whole remain the same as Aghoreshwar Baba
Bhagwan Ramji had envisioned for all his Ashrams in India and abroad. They
are as follows:
Promote brotherhood among all human beings irrespective of race, religion,
caste or social status.
Promote the feeling of Motherly reverence towards women.
Create a suitable environment for young children for proper education and
Serve the needy and neglected, helping them return to society with dignity,
and educate society to accept them without discrimination.
Bring out the essence of true spirituality without pomp and show, and
provide a secular stage for different ideologies to work together.
Make an active effort to eradicate the dowry system in India as well as
eliminate the huge sums spent on marriage and other ceremonies, and rectify
the inherent problems of the caste system.
Establish more Ashrams dedicated to these ideals and help other
organizations of a similar nature.
Bal Ashram provides a safe home for children who have no means to further in
their lives or who are caught in an extremely dysfunctional situation with
or without parents. Here, the children receive housing, food, clothing and
an opportunity to receive education and guidance. Most of all, they find a
home with love and care.
It is a place for cultural integration.
A part of Babaji’s vision is also to create a place for the Youth from the
Western countries to visit India and be in an environment where children
have less. While living at the Bal Ashram the visiting youth can be of
service by teaching and sharing their gifts with those who really appreciate
it. Such an integration of cultures and ideas could be a powerful tool for
transformation for the youth of both worlds.
The basic infrastructure is already in place. Since the year 2000 we have
been able to build the children’s dorm, kitchen, dining hall, office
building as well as a few rooms for the guests. There is a great need of
funds to finish the temple and meditation hall in the compound. Right now it
is a temporary structure with a thatched roof open to elements.
A day care school for other local children from poor homes is also run by
the Ashram. Many visitors from Europe and U.S. have already found the
concept working very well.
SonoMa Ashram's Residential School
The Ashram invites all who wish to make a directed commitment to
self-transformation and cultivation of divine attributes in their lives.
Upasana, the Ashram's residential school, offers sincere seekers the unique
opportunity to live at the Ashram , follow a daily routine of meditation,
yoga and seva, and keep good company. Daily activities and interactions
provide an ideal stage to practice mindfulness and living our highest
ideals, with emphasis on kindness, compassion, tolerance, acceptance,
forgiveness and maintaining our inner peace. As these divine attributes
become established within, we are able to realize our potential as real
human beings and live our lives with meaning, inspiration and a sense of
purpose. Spending this time living a disciplined life in Upasana strengthens
our connection with our Higher Self, our connection with the Divine.
As an Ashram resident, you will have the opportunity to participate in daily
morning and evening meditation, Hatha yoga, inspirational readings and
Darshan with Babaji. Setting aside time for seva (selfless service)
each day ensures that you become an integral part of the community while
helping you learn to maintain your practice in the midst of daily
Upasana begins with a one month trial residency. After one month and an
evaluation, you may request to continue your stay for as long as three
months. At the end of three months, you may reapply for this agreement to be
renewed for additional three months. Regular "check-ins" will support you in
realizing your intentions and aspirations while living at the Ashram and
working towards the goals you set for your personal growth. After
you have been taken part in the Residential School for at least 3 months,
you may apply for a "work exchange" in which case your room and board would
be provided in exchange for a fixed number of hours a day serving in a
particular area of the Ashram . Participants in the work exchange program
are accepted on an "as needed" basis.
Contact Info for Ashram in India
Aghor Guru Seva Peeth
Mahesh Nagar Colony