Operating SKY Haven

Abiding by Swami Kripalu’s Standards 

The following is meant to provide more understanding of the purpose and operation of SKY Haven. Everything in this statement is a version of Kripalu’s own words minimally modified to apply to SKY Haven. The word ‘saint’ has been retained, as Swami Kripalu considered anyone doing this sadhana to be a saint.

The place should be beautiful so that everyone can get divine inspiration.

The main saint who resides there may live in solitude and should not have to go out. That person’s word should be final on everything. The board should work as per the orders of that saint. No one person on this board should have all the power; everyone must give cooperative selfless service.

Anyone who creates a dispute or causes trouble shall be immediately relieved of their position and/or evicted from the property. In this group there must be complete cooperation and selfless service. The owner of the land will keep the management of the physical property in their hands, but may accept cooperative help from other members.

It must be run only with a spiritual purpose, and not to amass wealth, which would create politics and make it into a commercial enterprise. Only unpleasantness would result, and no one would be happy and at peace. If peace and happiness are desired, and if we are to give peace and happiness to others, then only selfless service can be of use.

I am not supposed to have to think about any of this, but I have given this outline as Swami Kripalu gave it.

Jaya Bhagavan,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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SKY Haven

My motivation for the creation of SKY Haven is its Core as described in “Community“, on this website.

SKY Haven’s Core 

The full-time practice of Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga (Surrender Meditation) requires special conditions that do not presently exist elsewhere in the U.S. This refuge is desperately needed for those who wish to take this sadhana to its fulfillment. Such a place requires that individuals may live independently within the context of these special conditions.

Some of these conditions are that practitioners not have the usual distractions of having to earn a living, deal with snakes and predators (including human ones), noisy peacocks, traffic or other forms of pollution, and have special living conditions such as appropriate dwellings, privacy, abundant water and other provisions as stated in the shastras (spiritual texts). These practitioners will, of course, be few.

Durga Ma’s Onion, as described in Community, is much more complexed than I would actually like it to be, but I put it together this way as a means of including householders and other students who would like to be close by, or have access, without having to live in the Core and practice full time sadhana. However, there are other ways of accomplishing this that have already been successfully demonstrated by other groups whose model we could use as a guide. Until this strata is needed we will keep things simple and concentrate on the Core, keeping our minds open to different ways of accomplishing any expansion we need when we need it. Large, multi-strata communities are much more vulnerable to internal difficulties anyway, so we will start start simply, and see how things evolve.

Past Experience

I have learned through experience the hazards of putting things like this together, and I do not intend to make the same mistakes again. SKY Haven will not be a democracy, socialist, communist, or any other such political model, which will eliminate some of the flaws and temptations inherent in these systems. SKY Haven will be a benevolent monarchy.

The monarch will have an advisory board including at least one attorney and one qualified psychologist, and other experts. If such expertise is not among us, they will be hired. Persons desirous of residency will be screened. Laws, building codes and zoning laws will be carried out to the letter. Any illegal activities or substances will be prohibited and violators evicted. SKY Haven dharma will be short and sweet, and based primarily on the Yamas and Niyamas, and will include simple parameters for building dwellings.

My previous attempt at creating such a place started out well and ended in disaster. One person, who had contributed money and lived there, came to feel that he owned the place and anything and everything on it, including Durga Ma. He became abusive and I became concerned for the safety of all of us. There were seven dwellings, four people in residence and two more preparing to come, leaving one cabin for guests. He refused to leave, so I did, and things fell apart from there. I learned a great deal from this experience, hence the above mentioned monarchy with its advisory board and experts.

Trusting Each Other

What all this comes down to is that we will need to be able to trust each other. I need to be able to trust you, and you need to be able to trust me. We must be able to be kind and direct with each other. No one should ever be living in fear of being controlled or manipulated by anyone else. Nor should I. We must all be and behave as mature adults. As divine individuals, we are all equal in what it is that we really are, and we must keep this, and the significance of it, in mind in all our dealings.

I do hope that those of you who want to take up this sadhana full time, now or in the future, will find this approach reassuring. It may look a little tough and tight, but I believe these strategies are necessary to make a go of things and maintain them with the least amount of difficulty.

I have no particular wish to be a leader and will always take the simplest route, listen to the people involved, and do my homework … but I may ask for help.

Love,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

Spiritual Teachers – One or Many

For those of you who are stuck, up against doubts or misconceptions, or are simply impatient, it may be helpful to consider a spiritual teacher (guru, spiritual master). While searching it is a good idea to be mindful of some of the things associated with teachers, such as the practices they teach, and when to stop shopping around and settle on one—this is an inner conflict that many people have, especially in the West where information is God and searching can lead to interminable shopping. Never settling on any one teacher can lead to “guru hopping” or becoming an “eclectic”, neither of which will ever lead to the depths so desperately sought.

And then there is the vast difference between seeking knowledge and seeking a teacher, which are often confused.

The Teacher

Where spiritual practices are concerned, it is best to have only one teacher. Otherwise there can be no way for any teacher to correctly guide you. Because you cannot reflect things specific to any one practice, misunderstandings and mistakes will be made. This is a huge disadvantage to youSo as a matter of getting good guidance, having only one teacher is vitally important.

Also, if a teacher is in possession of oral teachings that cannot be written but conveyed only orally to individuals at crucial points in their practice, that teacher will have to know that a student is committed and loyal to that teacher and that path before these teachings can be passed on. From the teacher’s point of view, this is critically important. This situation exists in all spiritual paths, whether it is known about or not by those outside these teachings.

So shop, but find your spiritual home before you discover that you have spent years digging shallow holes when by digging deeply, there is gold to be found in them there hills! Think of your teacher as your Sadhana Teacher, the teacher that is home for you, where you can come by appropriate guidance and make the quickest progress. Stick to the sadhana (spiritual practices) that teacher gives you, and to his or her teachings concerning that sadhana.

But most people are not engaged in sadhana 24/7, so what do you do between times? There are a number of things you can do that would be consistent with your sadhana, but the favorite in the West is knowledge.

Knowledge 

Practice and learning are different things. Many teachers have strict guidelines on what their students and disciples can read and do outside of their formal practices (sadhana). This is very common in yoga. My first teacher, who led me to Swami Kripalu, was one of these. She had a list. We were not to read anything not on this list. As a teacher, I feel differently about this.

I do not object to the study of the spiritual texts of other paths or religions. This can be very enlightening and, by providing different points of view, can actually lead to a better understanding of your own path. We are all unique and I believe our differences must be acknowledged and respected. I do not believe in trying to limit anyone. This would be in direct conflict with the essential nature of an individual possessing unlimited potential.

On the other hand, some students automatically resist reading or studying anything outside of their guru’s teachings or the teachings of the lineage. I think during the ‘honeymoon’ phase of one’s association with the Sadhana Teacher, this is a wise move. Get grounded first, using these teachings as a springboard for gaining the ability to understand the teachings of your own path, and then you can read and understand anything. But before you become grounded in your own path, moving through the teachings of one path after another can make you crazy with doubts, confusions, and a multitude of misunderstandings … and your own sadhana can get stuck in the confusing mud of multiple view-points.

SKY Haven

I don’t think there ever need be any conflict regarding the scriptures and commentaries of realized masters regardless of their path (if you don’t know if a text fits this criteria, ask your Sadhana Teacher). Most seeming contradictions are merely a lack of understanding that could be instrumental to deeper knowledge. This is usually the case where various religions, teaching lineages and spiritual paths diverge.

In any case, the kinds of restrictions on learning required by many teachers do not fit my ideals for SKY Haven. Nothing would please me more that to have the opportunity to sit with all of you in discussions generated by new insights gained from the study of various scriptures.

The beauty of surrender sadhana, which is primarily Surrender Meditation, is that it recognizes these differences we have as natural, and that they will all come together in the end anyway. 

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

P.S. I am putting my Life Mastery hat back on again. Please pay a visit to the website and see what’s going on: LifeMasterySelfCoaching.com