“I came originally to study traditional Tantra. Before coming here I had studied with a Śrī Vidyā teacher in southern India. At the time, it felt amazing, but there was still something missing. Then, by a friend’s recommendation I was told about Shri Kali Ashram. I assumed it was going to be superficial without any real depth in knowledge, but when I came here… whew… it was amazing. When I started reading the books, it brought all the spiritual concepts, all the knowledge, together. The questions, they really quieted down through doing the yoga, reading the books, and being with the community. Shri Kali, for me, has been… amazing. The whole system is complete in itself, and for me, the knowledge, the understanding from the source, from The Vedas, really is the glue of every spiritual philosophy. It’s all there for yourself, when you read this book [Divine Initiation], it’s there, and you can really read and interpret for yourself what is really going on, and understand from the bottom up, from the center. The teachers I had met before knew the stories, the knowledge, but they didn’t really know the science behind it. That’s what Shri Kali has, the science. The science is really simple. But if you don’t see it, then the books [Divine Initiation and Third Eye of the Buddhist] are basically written in a language that is impossible to understand if you don’t have the science behind it. So that is what is here – the code. It takes the mysticism out of it. The magic, there really is no magic… I mean it is magic but really simple magic… it’s accessible. There is no magical experience that you have to have.
I really love the whole system. We are being taught here, not to see the world as separate but as the whole so I could never say that I have a favorite part to this system. The āsanas are a good base to turn your attention from the outside to the inside and then on that journey to the inside, you complement it with both the pūjā and the reading. It is all there. If you take one thing out, or if you just choose one thing and take it out, it’s no longer complete.
I think coming here has really made me clearer in the philosophy of Tantra… it has really made it a conviction for me. I might have an idea about the Absolute or an idea about some people in the past who had this knowledge but coming here has really brought it home. It’s not just a way of life, it’s real, it is a principle, it’s living consciously. It has also made me more secure, a lot more. It has made me more peaceful, at least here, but when you take this outside, that’s a different story, that’s more difficult, to embody the Essence when the world is really going in a completely different direction and when people are really coming from a completely different mindset. I get sensitive… rrrrrrrr!
I think the non-linear structure at Shri Kali is amazing. It is really what I have been trying to get out of my whole life, when people are trying to impose this way of living on us… to get a certain job, to go to college, etc. I have always been fighting against this. I was really fighting with myself too because I was really just reacting. Since I wasn’t really adhering to what others imposed on me, I just reacted to this imposition. For me, this dynamism, is really the way of living, you can’t put it in a box. You have your penguin, and you want to walk your penguin but people keep telling you take your penguin to the zoo, but your real self, that dynamic part of you, doesn’t want to be put in a box where all the other penguins are.
The āsana practice I originally wasn’t really interested in. I was more in to the philosophy side of things, and I was like, I don’t really want to do yoga, but then I started doing the āsana and I… I fell in love with it. I really appreciate it now; my afternoon āsana time is really sacred to me now. I don’t think I really had any ideas of yoga at first. I just thought it was exercise. This āsana series has really shown me yoga from its wholesome perspective, not separate from the philosophy at all.
I really was looking for the traditional view. I had an idea that neo-Tantra was not really what Tantra was about so coming here it has thrown a light on what Tantra really is. It’s amazing. Tantra is not an Indian idea or a system of thought; it is principles that can be applied to any spiritual philosophy or religion around the world. For example, in Columbia you have these Cogis, a traditional culture, and they have the same understanding of the symbol of water. And they don’t see it, they don’t have the science behind it but when you know the science and you see them, you see it’s the same! They worship the dissolution aspect as well, the water, the flowers, etc. You can see Tantra as an understanding of the whole of Humanity; it’s as deep as you can go. It’s not like something that is Indian. Tantra is really human culture.
I love the teachers, the knowledge, and the community of Shri Kali. You always have people coming and going but you have a nice nucleus of people who stay. Shri Kali is amazing.
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