What is an Ashram?
Ashram or Ashrama comes from ‘Aa’ which means to come and Shrama, which means “making a meaningful effort in the path of Self-realization” or “selfless action” through Karma Yoga. Often an Ashram is the place or group of people who are together acquiring higher knowledge and realizing the “True Self”. Inner divinity awakens by dissolving ego in selfless actions.
In ancient India, seekers of knowledge would travel to enter into an Ashram. An Ashram in not intended to be a luxury resort or hotel or even a retreat, but rather a place for purification, learning, and attaining higher knowledge by dedication, devotion, and selfless action. An Ashram is not a place to fulfill your desire, lust or greed, but a place of discipline, practice, dedication, trust, and detachment.
A typical Indian Ashram is guided by a Guru, the center of the Ashram. The word “Guru” means “one who removes the darkness by light” or “dispeller of darkness” (gu, “darkness”, and ru, “that which dispels”).
A Guru is not a teacher, but a spiritual leader, mentor, and guide. The role of the Guru in an Ashram is to help the disciples to find liberation. The foundation of the Ashram is to help the disciple find the light within, your own Guru. The Guru will not ask disciple to follow him but instead to follow their heart. The Guru clears the way for you to become your own Master.
An Ashram does not necessarily need to be a physical place, just a space where you find the unity with your own light, awakening and liberation, the real Master.