Increasing Awareness

Paramahansa Yogananda: Inner Culture, October, 1935. All knowledge comes from the inner source, from the soul without limitation. How are you going to find out all the mysteries of the body and all the mystery of divine things in one short span of human life if you do not tap your inner source, which is omniscient? …

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Howling for Rishikesh

Inspired by Ginsberg, writer Akanksha Singh visits India’s meditation capital. Rishikesh is many things to many people. It is where the Ganges is, in some sense, the purest – having just slowed its path from the meltwaters of the Gangotri. To Hindus, Rishikesh is a site of pilgrimage. To aspiring yogis, it is the world’s …

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BBC: When a ‘heartbroken’ backpacker met The Beatles in India

BBC News 12 Sept 2020, by Soutik Biswas, India correspondent A Canadian backpacker’s meeting with The Beatles in a spiritual retreat In India half a century ago is the subject of a new documentary. For filmmaker Paul Saltzman it was a “life-changing” experience. When a 23-year-old Canadian man arrived at an ashram near India’s holy …

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Gujarat mystic Chunriwala Mataji who lived without food and water since 1940, dies in 2020

Extract from Ashrams of India Volume 2 Chundiwala Mataji Ashram Ashram of a breatharian monk who has lived without food and water since 1940, saying that the goddess Amba sustained him. Ambaji Area: Near Gabbar Hill Saint: Prahlad Jani aka Mataji (13 August 1929 – 26 May 2020). Indian Saint Prahlad Jani was formally known …

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Calcutta Yoga: How Modern Yoga Traveled to the World from the Streets of Calcutta by Jerome Armstrong

The epic story of how Buddha Bose, Bishnu Ghosh and Yogananda took yoga from Calcutta to the rest of the world. In Calcutta Yoga, Jerome Armstrong deftly weaves the multi-generational story of the first family of yoga and how they modernized the ancient practice. The saga covers four generations, the making of a city, personal …

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The New York Times: Alice Coltrane’s Ashram Recordings Finally Have a Wide Release

By Mike Rubin. May 2 2017. Surya Botofasina, 39, a keyboardist who lives in Brooklyn, has fond memories of growing up at the Shanti Anantam Ashram in Agoura, Calif., which was established in 1983 by Alice Coltrane, the jazz pianist, harpist and widow of the saxophone immortal John Coltrane. Mr. Botofasina’s favorite times were Sundays at …

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Holy Man, an article form LIFE Magazine 30 May 1949

Eliot Elisofon Eliot Elisofon was the photographer who took the pictures for Life Magazine’s long article about Ramana Maharshi. He was was one of the most famous and accomplished Western photographers of his day, with notable achievements in other fields as well. Life a general-interest magazine for the broad public, in its heyday was a very big …

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Mercedes de Acosta

Series: Westerners in India. The following article is an excerpt from Ashrams of India. Cuban-American writer Mercedes de Acosta (1893 – 1968) travelled to Arunachala to meet Ramana Maharshi in 1938 after reading Paul Brunton’s book A Search in Secret India, and stayed for three days. This visit made a tremendous impact on her. She later wrote in her 1960 autobiography Here Lies the Heart that these were the three most significant days of her life…

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The Razor’s Edge

Series: Westerners in India. The following article is an excerpt from Ashrams of India. The Razor’s Edge It is thought that sometime in the late 1920s a young traveller from America bumped into Swami Ramdas one night at the Meenakshi Temple in Madura, the two of them had previously met in the caves of Elephanta …

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The New York Times: Somerset Maugham’s Swami

Letter from India. By David Shaftel July 22 2010. Books about Westerners seeking enlightenment in India seem to be everywhere these days, including in India itself. In Mumbai, Elizabeth Gilbert’s juggernaut of a memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love,” is prominently displayed in street corner bookstalls and hotel bookstores. Bootlegged copies are hawked to tourists stuck in …

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At Ramana Maharshi’s ashram

In 1911, Frank Humphreys, a policeman stationed in India, became the first westerner to discover Sri Ramana Maharshi. He wrote articles about him which were first published in The International Psychic Gazette in 1913. Sri Ramana only became relatively well known in and out of India after the publication of two books in 1934 and 1935 by Paul Brunton, who had first visited him in January 1931. Some of the foreign visitors included …

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Swami Ramanagiri

Peer Wertin (Swami Ramanagiri) (his original name was Per Alexander Wertin) was a natural born Western mystic, a member of the Swedish Royal Family, who renounced an inheritance to become a holy man in India and attained Moksha (liberation) under Ramana Maharshi. In his youth he came across Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga and found he …

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