Revelations from an Ashram Regular -
By Jack Hawley
in the canteen, I ask the man about his spiritual progress over the
many years he has been coming to the ashram.
"Oh, it's nothing,'" he jokes,
"You just transform your whole life, that's all. You become .yogi-like.
It's a rather audacious thing to do."
His voice shifts into a mock sarcasm, as if the worldly part of him
is reacting to his answer.
"What! You're moving to an ashram? Oh ...
And you've decided to dedicate your whole life to an ideal? Hmm,...
"Oh, and you're making your whole life God-based? ... Swell,
but isn't that sort of, urn... abstract?
"And you're giving up material comforts and even detaching from
your family and friends? Uh-huh.... Do they know about it yet?
"You're what? Reprogramming your mind? Actually learning to control
every thought? That's quite a rewiring job!
"And, oh ... you're not going to get disturbed about anything
any more? ... Terrific!
"This new life of yours sure sounds, well... um ... extreme,...
and gratifying, I guess."
voice leaves and he shifts back into his more settled ashram self
and continues his response to my question.
"This is what I think actually happens here at Prasanthi Nilayam—if
you're open to it...
"You gradually learn to love here, to really love\
"First, it's all-out love of Swami, and then, at Swami's insistence,
you try to go beyond even that—and after awhile it begins to
"It's as though each and every action in your life and each contact
with others becomes an act of devotion.
"This level of loving makes everything, everything else secondary.
"Your ego fades and becomes much less of a force in your life.
"Worldly 'things' don't matter as much to you any more. You don't
worry any more.
"You're not emotionally tossed and tumbled by the bumps and disasters
of the outer world; they happen, but it no longer
throws you off balance.
"Even your body becomes less insistent. Doctor visits are fewer.
Food becomes fuel, rather than a life ruling habit.
Shelter becomes, well, just a roof over your head instead of something
connected to the ego.
"You're happy literally every moment of the day.
"You hope for nothing. "You need nothing.
"You want nothing.
"You ask for nothing.
"You get to a point where you have no plan or program but to
do the work that is sent your way—and do it as well
as you can because you're doing it not for yourself but for Divinity's
sake—which means for the greater good of everyone in the world.
"You harm nothing or no one.
"Judging becomes less and less frequent, until you forget to
do it due to lack of interest.
"You're never angry or agitated. Arguing and demanding become
things of the past In fact, all your ego trips gradually
diminish until they're just temporary 'illnesses' that you endure
and laugh at.
"You smile inside at the too 'serious' and sober people. "You're
The man becomes quiet for a moment and then adds, "All this really
happens, Jack! When I think about it I'm so
grateful I get tears in my eyes."
Quietly he says, "If you write up any of
this for publication, please make it anonymous."
I agree, and I thank him for being so open-hearted.
(Jack Hawley is a management consultant, author of several
books and a long time devotee of Swami)