While certainly not for everybody, the primary advantage of utilizing a residential ashram is the relative ease with which it can promote a total immersion in one's spiritual practice. It is a place for the work of sadhana (spiritual practice). Discipline is necessary. Laziness will undermine one's progress. People require sustenance and farms require maintenance (this ashram will be a farm). Various ashram duties are necessary in order to keep the operation functional. All of this is a form of karma yoga, or action which propels one toward liberation. When not engaged in ashram duties, there is the opportunity to engage in other forms of sadhana. The built-in sahgha (spiritual community), for example, affords the opportunity for regular chanting/kirtan and satsang (spiritual discourse). Meditation and self-enquiry are staple practices in or out of an ashram. Self-enquiry and mantra repetition should ideally be taking place 24/7. In this way it becomes easy, if one is open to the experience, to become constantly steeped in sadhana.
Ashram life does NOT necessitate that one wear the hair or dress a certain way. Devotees are NOT encouraged to burn bridges with family or friends. Guests are welcome to the extent that they are not disruptive of a disciplined lifestyle and that there are resources to accommodate them. Devotees are free to go as they please. There will be no drinking of suspicious Kool-aid. I do not want to be a master over anybody else. I want you to achieve self-mastery.
I will do whatever I can to offer an ashram environment to devotees. However, the scope of the matter is such that I will certainly be counting on the generosity and support of others if it is to happen.
The term, "Permaculture", was coined in 1978 by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. It is a portmanteau of the words, "permanent" and "agriculture". By simply taking a conscious inventory of each component that goes into a site of human settlement and agriculture, waste is virtually eliminated and systems become exponentially more productive. Noteworthy examples of this are the design of food forests/use of agroforestry, keyline design, sheet mulching, natural building, rainwater harvesting, and managed intensive rotational grazing ("tractoring").
Not only does adherence to the design principles that constitute Permaculture result in the elimination of waste - an issue of epidemic proportions in modern times - and not only is it simply a more productive form of agriculture, but it actually rehabilitates the landscape upon which this takes place. Geoff Lawton demonstrated the dramatic de-desertification of arid and salted Israeli land not once, but TWICE! The implications of this are staggering. Heaven on Earth is a legitimate option.
The ashram will also be a Permaculture farm, demonstration site, and learning center for devotees and the general public alike.
Saving the World
Please understand that it is not my ambition to save the world. That is not what this project is about and that is not what the Western Church of Sanatana Dharma is about. As an individual, I am not so arrogant as to presume to have either the power or the authority to dictate what should or shouldn't become of the world. That is between GOD and humanity as a collective. On the other hand, it is a fact that man must be engaged in activity while embodied on this earth planet. It is also a fact that the earth is our mother in a very real sense and should be honored as such. If there is no escaping action, then why not engage in action that honors our mother Earth rather than desecrates her? Why not choose to set a good example for our brothers and sisters? Let me be right with GOD and then let the chips fall where they may. This is my position and it is one which is in keeping with the Dharma. If you choose to adopt this outlook, I am confident it will serve you well also.