The Ashram is meant for those who want to consecrate their lives to the Divine.The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
With this ideal as a basis, collective residential facilities are provided for concentrated sadhana (spiritual practice) in an ashram atmosphere.
The main purpose of Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham is to provide a place for the practice of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga which aims at an entire and integral transformation of the ego-centered human nature into the Divine nature. A commitment to live in the Ashram requires constant and intensive soul-searching.
There is in the Ashram no exterior discipline and no visible test. But the inner test is severe and constant, one must be very sincere in the aspiration to surmount all egoism and to conquer all vanity in order to be able to stay here. A complete surrender is not outwardly exacted but it is indispensable for those wish to stick on, and many things come to test the sincerity of this surrender. However, the Grace and the help are always there for those who aspire for them and their power is limitless when received with faith and confidence.Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
The rules are very few so that each one can enjoy the freedom needed for his development; but a few things are strictly forbidden; they are 1) politics, 2) smoking, 3) alcoholic drink (including all intoxicants and narcotics), and 4) sex enjoyment.The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Since our collaborative endeavor to sustain a place for sadhana currently requires a great deal of sacrifice on the part of every member, aspiring members should understand that the Ashram does not provide for the achievement of personal ambitions, plans, or lavish comforts. However, the Ashram does attempt to accommodate the yogic needs of those who sincerely wish to join, insofar as these needs do not unduly hinder its primary mission, to manifest an ideal which the Mother had envisioned from a young age:
To create a little world―oh! quite a small one, but still… a small world where people would be able to live without having to be preoccupied with food and lodging and clothing and the imperative necessities of life, so as to see whether all the energies freed by this certainty of a secure material living would turn spontaneously towards the divine life and the inner realisation.The Mother, Questions and Answers
At present, we are able to house up to 5 resident members at a time. The practical direction of the day-to-day operations is overseen by a board of directors, but no one plays the role of ‘spiritual leader’ in the Ashram. Instead, the cultivation of the inner Guru, an entire reliance on the Divine, and the force of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Presence and teachings provide the guiding principles.
Membership in Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham is conferred at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Members are residents of the Ashram by choice and are free to leave the community at any time of their choosing, or at the behest of the Board. There are three levels of membership: trial members, new members, and full members.
The newly arrived resident is considered a trial member for at least three months or until effectively integrated into the life of the community. Trial members are provided with room and board, incidental necessities, and a form of work in the Ashram. They are asked to observe and take an active part in the collective life, and volunteer eight hours per day to collective work with Sundays free. Trial members are encouraged to make a strong commitment to study the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, especially as they pertain to sadhana, personal conduct, and collective life. Trial members should appreciate that they may not be acquainted with the “big picture” and are asked to refrain from grumbling and criticism when priorities are not followed according to their expectations. This attitude will also help in the surrender of ego and of works which is expected of aspiring sadhaks.
After the trial period, there is a meeting of the prospective member with the SASP Board and if there is general agreement, the prospective member is accepted as a new member. (Otherwise, it may be concluded that the period of trial membership should be extended or that it would be best for the trial member to depart at this time.) The period as a new member lasts at least one year, and is indefinite, depending on the person. Generally during this time one would be given work with more responsibilities. New members are encouraged to actively assist in the ongoing operations of the Ashram. New members are required to fill out and sign the Membership Agreement.
After a year of new membership, at some point, the member may feel a kind of certainty in their commitment and dedication to the Ashram life and work. This would usually be felt also by the other members. At this point, the person would be considered for full membership, which requires a unanimous vote by the board. Full members have a considered voice in the affairs of the Ashram. Full members are afforded opportunities for spiritual pilgrimage to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Full members are encouraged to read the articles and bylaws of Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham and may also be invited by the Board of Directors to serve on the Board.
If you’d like to speak to someone about possible membership please feel free to call or write.