An ashram is a place where the spiritually inclined live practising a spiritual discipline that prepares them for accomplishing a spiritual end in terms of knowledge.

Not all ashrams are gurukulams because in a gurukulam students live as one family with a living teacher, being taught Vedanta systematically, following the traditional teaching methodology built into the shastras. As attainment of spiritual wisdom is the ultimate end, pursuit of knowledge through study of the scriptures is the main discipline. Living in close contact with the teacher, observing how he lives, observing his compassion, kindness, accommodation — sometimes his strictness too — they see how he is always helping them understand the way of life one has to live in order to fulfil their studies.

Therefore, a gurukulam, where this knowledge is imparted, where this discipline of study is maintained for spiritual wisdom, is also an ashram.

Arsha Vidya gurukulams have been established in India (Rishikesh, Coimbatore, Nagpur) and Pennsylvania, USA. They are available to UK students who wish to enter into longer periods of study in a conducive setting, undistracted by the bustle of town and city life.


A palm-leaf manuscript