"Light Reading" Vol.1 No.13 August, 1977
• An extensive service program has developed in which dozens of premies now have the opportunity to offer themselves practically.
Ashram: The Focus Point
"What is the function of a community? It's just to really provide a focus point. And ashram is going to provide a focus point for the community. And the community has to provide the focus point for the public. And that's what's really got to happen, you know?"
- Guru Maharaj Ji
January 31, 1977
Like baby teeth just coming in, Denver has recently seen the emergence of nine new applicant ashrams in addition to the seven ashrams existing here already. Maharaj Ji has been giving more and more attention to the ashram in the past few months, explaining that "the ashram is really our backbone" and that "it's the center focus for inspiration." By providing premies with a controlled environment, it helps enhance
the practice of Knowledge. "You cannot grow apples in the African desert," Guru Maharaj Ji explained in London, "Why not? Because there has to be a situation provided where there can be maximum growth for that plant. And in this world, where we are at, it is obviously not the kind of climate where it can be maximum progress for a person. So you make a greenhouse."
Eliot Brye, the first Ashram Supervisor appointed by Maharaj Ji, sums it up clearly, "Maharaj Ji talks about ashram as being the focal point of the community and that's, as I see it, a place where satsang, service and meditation takes place. That is the focal point of our lives within Guru Maharaj Ji.
To me, that's why ashram would be a focal point of the community, because it's a vehicle for us to do his agya. And that agya is the focal point of our lives. That's what is real. That's where the whole ashram will grow. Community will grow out of each individual's practice of Knowledge and connection with Guru Maharaj Ji.
The thing to focus on is Guru Maharaj Ji, otherwise your community experience, or your ashram experience will just be dry.
It's just empty without devotion and Guru Maharaj Ji's grace. We come to him inside, not through a vehicle of an ashram or community or other premies. Through what we experience inside, we find him there.
We experience there. We love him there. And out of that, the external things can grow and become beautiful supports."
And so, as each of us allows ourselves to be developed by our Guru Maharaj Ji, we discover the essence of what our life is for. Watching the external forms continue to change, from our bodies to the world community at large, we grow more deeply connected to that which is beyond all change, the nameless, unspeakable energy of love within our hearts.