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Radha's Life of Service XVll

February 24, 2009 by Swami Durgananda

srnada-cropThis installment of Radha’s Life of Service tells of an ashram that, in 1974, was “expanding in many ways,” – including the garden and the addition of the Ashram’s Teepee – and attracting notable visitors such as Swami Nadabrahmananda and Peter Caddy (founder of the Findhorn community in Scotland.)

As Swami Radha’s story moves through 1974, Ascent magazine tells us about Swami Radha traveling in September to eastern Canada where she gave lectures and workshops in Ottawa and Toronto, “sharing her wisdom and Light with many people. She is now working hard on her first book, which tells of her spiritual quest and pilgrimage in India.” (Radha: Diary of a Woman’s Search).

Ascent magazine continues: “The Ashram is growing rapidly at this time, a process that is strengthening to each one of us and to those who come to visit here… During the spring we initiated a new six-week resident program called the Temporary Resident Program for people interested in coming to the Ashram for a short period of time. During the week participants took part in Ashram work projects, while weekends were spent in courses and workshops to aid in their spiritual growth.”

teepee & builders“During the spring program a thirty foot Indian tipi was built, which we used during the summer for Satsangs and gatherings. It was a fine group experience to share in the creation of the tipi, made from canvas and poles in the traditional Indian style, complete with a painted inner liner and stone-lined fire-pit.” (Now in 2009 we still have the teepee for various uses including the Teen Program. We take it down each fall and store it for the winter until the following spring.)

The Summer 1974 Ascent mentions that Peter Caddy, the founder of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, was in Spokane as a speaker in the Expo ’74 World’s Fair and was able to make his first visit to Canada by coming to the Ashram for a day. He was interested in our garden and had a tour led by Ron Holmes who was in charge of the vegetable garden.

Peter Caddy & others in the Ashram garden“The expansion of the farm and garden was a large part of our work this year. During the first resident program the fence around the farm was completed, and a new orchard with 50 fruit trees was planted. The garden kept us well supplied with vegetables, and our chickens are now laying around 3 dozen eggs a day. Developing self-sufficiency is an important goal for us, both on a spiritual level to connect ourselves with the earth on which we live, and also to provide us in the summer with fresh organic vegetables.

This summer Swami Nadabrahmananda came from Rishikesh, India, for a visit. “For several months he taught Mantras and many Bhajans (spiritual songs). Swamiji’s afternoon ‘Bhajan party’ became a regular feature of Ashram life during his stay. The music provided us with an excellent opportunity to practice concentration and to become attuned to our own rhythms. We made recordings of his music during his stay.”

Swami Radha, Swami Nadabrahmananda, and others at a bhajan session in Siva Hall

dsAnother highlight that was originally planned as one of the fall workshops on Community, “blossomed into a large gathering and a very high experience for all of us. Five people from the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, including Peter Caddy, and many others from the local area came here to share with one another. This year has been one of strengthening the bonds between Yasodhara and Findhorn, of sharing our visions with others in spiritual communities.

Swami Radha & Peter Caddy“One of the keynotes of the conference was the realization that living in harmony with others in this time of great social and personal changes necessitates having spiritual goals and vision. The way man has exploited his fellow man and nature must end if we are to survive and grow.

“The role of the group in spiritual life, as reflected in the eastern and western approaches to spirituality, was discussed during the conference…. Bringing out the best in all, loving our work and those with whom we work, learning to see the needs of the whole before one’s own self, knowing that it is only through giving that we can be free—these were some of the thoughts shared among us.”

It is obvious how the Ashram was expanding in many different ways and although it was important that this take place, it also reveals the demands placed on Swami Radha and the residents. They actually had to close the Ashram for part of September so Swami Radha could give workshops to the residents to train them for taking on more of the teaching.

~ Swami Durgananda


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  1. Having been back in Scotland for 3 months I am having to practice patience and trust. No job starting yet. Hatha classes going very slowly. Recently I have been questioning whether I am in the right place … whether I should be here at all. Here is Findhorn. And perhaps Divine Mother (through Lightwaves) has reassured me that it is OK to be here just now … a link between Findhorn Community and Yasodhara … building bridges as in the 70’s. Oh, Divine Mother, please accept my offering x

    Comment by Sue Powell — February 27, 2009 @ 6:30 am

  2. These comments remain applicable for now – it is so vital to honor the earth as the predicted earth changes are now upon us. And the generosity, gratitude and interdependence with one another – times are hard for many right now. Yet I’m seeing that more people are coming forward in their learning to live more simply and to help one another.

    Comment by Deborah Rose — March 2, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

  3. Thank you, Swami Durgananda,

    Very interesting and nice to see the history come alive!

    It’s like the work hasn’t changed over the years, and we are still working on many of the same issues toward harmony and selfless service during this time of great social and personal changes.

    Hari Om


    Comment by elizabeth shaw — March 4, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  4. sivananda…

    Your topic Articles for a Better Life & Better Living (Carnival #29) was interesting when I found it on Wednesday searching for sivananda…

    Trackback by sivananda — September 30, 2009 @ 12:14 am

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