For the last few centuries the new religion of the world for many has become science and technology. On the positive side, we see the vast improvements in the quality of life for millions of people world-wide; on the negative side, the widespread pollution, global warming and so forth. But most insidiously, this new paradigm has encouraged us to deify materialism. We have assumed that the aim of life is to accumulate wealth.
Of course, we should be grateful that we have food in our bellies and a roof over our head – many don’t. But at the same time, this assumption that materialism and consumerism could make us happy and fulfilled, has been found by many to be an empty dream. For many, life seems arid even among relative wealth.
This is why yoga has become so popular in the present world: it brings not only tangible benefits into our lives – physical health, mental stability and emotionally well-being, but also awakens us to our spiritual potential. As yoga starts to help us to deepen our understanding of ourselves, and others, so many aspire to further deepen this process – to find deeper aspects of yoga. And, as we have said elsewhere, in India, ashrams have always been the guardians of yogic knowledge. This mantle has now passed on to ashrams which are starting to be established outside of India. Therefore, sincere seekers of knowledge will naturally gravitate to an ashram for further teachings and to deepen their practice. In fact, in many ways, ashrams are indispensable world-wide if there is to be widespread human fulfilment and social harmony.
Though there are very few authentic ashrams outside of India, there is great need for them in the modern world.