A Season of Celebration


Summer at the BMCM is a lively time when many friends from around the world visit to attend retreats and programs. It’s a wonderful time for meeting friends, both old and new. We’re now transitioning and shifting our focus to October, the month when we invite all passage meditators to celebrate Easwaran’s life and teachings together.

As we’ve begun to plan for this month-long celebration, we’ve been reflecting on the ways in which we can deepen our practice, and the different sources of inspiration that we can draw upon. Easwaran left us a vibrant source of inspiration in the residential community of passage meditators he established: Ramagiri Ashram.

Read on to learn more about the upcoming Life Celebration and the four touchstones of daily life at Ramagiri. 

Easwaran and his wife Christine walking in Ramagiri Ashram

A Season of Celebration

When Easwaran shed his body in October 1999, friends from around the world gathered at Ramagiri Ashram for a Memorial to honor Easwaran’s life, and this gathering became an annual tradition for Ramagiri residents and local meditators. This event has evolved into a month-long season of reflection, rededication, and celebration. 

Ramagiri residents, BMCM staff, and volunteers set time aside in October to reflect on their practice, to rededicate themselves to their spiritual goals, and to deepen their relationship with Easwaran. Over the years this annual tradition has spread throughout the world, with local satsangs holding their own October gatherings, and individuals taking time for personal retreats.

In 2017, we published a flexible curriculum as part of an official invitation to all Easwaran’s world-wide audience to participate in this season of celebration. We’re pleased this year to continue this tradition, and next month we’ll be publishing a new set of study resources.

Our goal is to provide a way for anyone who is interested to engage in this event. There is enough material in the new curriculum for you to infuse inspiration into every day of your month. However, there is also plenty of flexibility, so no matter how much or how little time you have, you can mark this season of celebration in a way that works for you.

From Easwaran:

I have said many times that Saint Francis lives in the words of his prayer. Gandhi may be said to live in the second chapter of the Gita, on which he based his life.

Similarly, you can say that I live in my eight-point program, and I can assure you that I live in my audio and video recordings for those who are practicing my method of meditation to the best of their ability and following the instructions faithfully with an open heart.

So if you are following this method of meditation, I would encourage you to read my books over and over and follow the instructions very carefully. That is your safeguard.

You have to remember that when I started to meditate, my own spiritual teacher, my grandmother, had already passed away. At first I felt very much on my own, but at every stage, when I turned to her for guidance, I found answers to my questions.

You see, when a person becomes aware of God, he or she is no longer just a person, but a living force. My grandmother did not die; she merely shed her body. She was— she is— very much alive in me. Once I knew that, I knew that I was in her hands and that there was nothing to fear. She has protected and comforted me ever since. 

I am not just talking, you know. Jesus continues to guide us. The Buddha continues to guide us. These are eternal forces; their lives are eternal.

So don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that I am confined to this brown body. I am not confined to this brown body; I am in every one of you.

Easwaran giving a talk in Shanti, the meditation hall at Ramagiri

“A Well of Living Waters”

Easwaran is a living force that each of us can access through his books, talks and teachings. During his lifetime, he also established another rich resource – Ramagiri Ashram.

Easwaran describes Ramagiri as a “deep well of pure water” that is available to each of us. As we prepare for this year’s celebration of Easwaran’s life and teachings, we want to share some of the details of daily life at Ramagiri and to invite you to think about how you might participate in ashram life wherever you are.

Ramagiri, which means “hills of joy” in Sanskrit, was established by Easwaran in 1970 to demonstrate the daily practice of passage meditation for realizing the Supreme Goal of life.

Early Ramagiri residents working on the roof of the meditation hall, Shanti

Learn More About Ramagiri Ashram

Easwaran lived at Ramagiri for 30 years, meditating in Shanti, the meditation hall, and giving regular talks, or "giving class" as he described it, to his students. Through his own example, Easwaran created a community whose lifestyle and schedule are centered on continually striving to deepen their practice of the eight points for the purpose of Self-realization.

Quietly Changing the World

Watch this video series to learn more about the founding of Ramagiri Ashram

This ashram will be a well of living waters where people from around the world will come to quench their thirst.

– Eknath Easwaran

Today, Ramagiri residents participate in the daily life of the community by observing the four touchstones that Easwaran set in place and which Christine Easwaran has practiced unfailingly for the last five decades:

  • Morning meditation
  • Evening meditation
  • Spiritual fellowship of the communal evening meal
  • Inspiration from Easwaran through an evening videotaped talk.

These touchstones are the foundation of daily life at Ramagiri, and each of us can participate in them wherever we live.

Residents and local friends going into Shanti in 2017

Participate in the Four Touchstones 

Any time that we participate in any of the four touchstones, we’re deepening our own practice as well as connecting with Ramagiri and the larger community of passage meditators.

We offer these suggestions for ways you could participate in one or more of the touchstones wherever you are:

  • “Go to class.” Visit the Easwaran Digital Library to access a collection of video talks. Watch a whole 30-minute talk as the community does at Ramagiri, or watch for just a few minutes – it’s always wonderful inspiration!
  • Meditate with others by joining a satsang (fellowship group).
  • Whether or not you have a local satsang, you can join the Saturday morning virtual meditation. Starting at 6:30 a.m. Pacific Time, the meditation session syncs up with the meditation time at both Ramagiri and the BMCM retreat house.
  • Between 5:00–7:00 a.m. and 5:00–7:00 p.m. there are Ramagiri residents in Shanti, going through their passages silently in their minds. Regardless of what time you are meditating, when you are concentrating on your passages, you too can feel a connection.

We would love to hear from you in the comments below – how are you already practicing any of the touchstones? Are there any new ones that you would like to integrate into your daily life?

We look forward to sharing the curriculum and events for the worldwide celebration of Easwaran’s Life and Teachings next month. You can subscribe to our weekly digest, Wednesdays With the BMCM, to ensure you’ll receive the announcement. Perhaps some of the four touchstones will become part of your season of celebration, and even extend beyond October!

Wednesdays With the BMCM

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We’ll end with this quote from Easwaran:

When we can rest our mind at will, still our mind at will, we live in a world that is one. Today we don’t see the world as it is; we see only conflict, separateness, and ceaseless change. As the Bible says, we see “as through a glass darkly,” because we look through the distorting glass of a hurried mind – a mind subject to the fog of anger, fear, greed, and all the other negative emotions that are part of the human condition. As William Blake says, “When the doors of perception are cleansed, everything appears as it is, infinite.”

You and I, when the mind is still, see that the mountains and the seas, the forests and the rivers, the animals and the birds, the trees and the plants, all nations, all races, all men and women and children, are one. Once you see this in the silence of your heart, you will never be the same person again. You will return from this summit of spiritual awareness full of practical wisdom, passionate love, and untiring energy which you will want to use for the benefit of all.