Meditation on the Supreme is true Tapas. Getting rid of cravings and focussing the mind on the Divine Reality is the purest and highest form of Tapas i.e. penance.
Sathgurudev established Thapovanam for this purpose. According to Sathgurudev “Tapas” is intense heat with its derivatives – zeal, fervour, austerity, asceticism. “Vanam” is a wood or forest. In olden days, there were dense forests and jungles in our country where hermits used to retire far from the madding crowd and live on fruits and wild roots and contemplate on God all the time. Nowadays, in this part of the land at least, there are no longer any forests. The trees have been felled and the country side transformed. So as there are no longer any forests, it is essential to have a secluded place for those men aspiring to pursue a spiritual life. This Ashram is founded for those who wish to devote their time in pursuit of spiritual wisdom, staying away from crowded towns and cities with its attendant turmoil. Here they can receive proper instructions and devote their time in meditation.
‘Vanam’ itself can be taken as mind an abode of peace and tranquillity, radiating from a divine personage. In short, “Gnanananda Thapovanam” embodies the conception of a hallowed spot where keen aspirants could engage themselves in unremitting efforts to realise the vedantic ideal in Swami Gnanananda by constant contemplation of the self.
Sathgurudev, however does not insist that a retreat like an Ashram is essential for realisation of self. As a Jivanmuktha, he ran the ashram in a special way. It is true that he insisted on strict discipline, austerity and Bakthi, but he did not run the ashram according to the popular notions of the organisation of ashrams. There was freedom from regulations and rules in his presence. The inmates of the ashram were a heterogeneous lot but Sathgurudev’s personality surcharged the atmosphere with purity, true love and surrender. Everything in the ashram was centred around him and around total dedication to him.
Sathgurudev established another ashram at Yercaud which is, according to Swamiji, “ a place of special significance” and ‘ideal for performing tapas’. He established a meditation centre called “Gnanananda Pranava Nilayam”. He frequently visited Yercaud Ashram. He reminisced that he had stayed there long before and said that a great number of siddhas were (and are) living in the caves of Yercaud hills. It is generally believed that the whole Kolli hills range is sacred. Sathgurudev is believed to have wandered about in these hills as an avaduta, living on jack fruits and honey.
It is significant to note that there is no ritual worship of any sort in Yercaud. It was set up for the pursuit of self-enquiry. Trainees newly initiated, were sent here to develop the necessary mental culture for their sadhana. Also some of the Sannyasins who were in the advances stages and trained by Swamiji were asked to go there and spend their days in deep contemplation.
(Adopted from: “Sathguru Gnanananda – His Teachings”)
OHM TAT SAT
JAI SARGURU MAHARAJ KI JAI
As per Tamilnadu Government Announcement, the Ashram will be open for devotees from September 1st onwards. The government has released Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for devotees visiting temples. We request devotees to abide by the rules and regulations in the Standard Operating Procedure.
Devotees are requested to call the ashram office to pre-book their poojas and stay at the ashram. To prevent the spread of the COVID virus through the public, it has been decided to restrict the number of Devotees visiting Thapovanam for some time, and hence the pre-booking is a necessity.
Please call at least two days ahead of time to book your stay at Ashram. Please travel to Thapovanam only after obtaining due permission from the office.