The Ashrama culture is a very ancient culture. The problems that our society faces today were experienced by our ancestors too, and the administrators have always found it difficult to manage the problems of society. Therefore, they developed various schemes in order to contain the rajasic and tamasic nature of man. It was through these schemes that the Ashram culture evolved in India. Ashramas were managed by rishis and munis who were people of perception and vision. They were more concerned with humanity than with any political, social or economic system, and they realized that unless man’s tamasic nature was contained, it would not be possible to create an ideal society.

As long as the ashrams were intact and their administrators were unselfish and magnanimous, everything went well and our country produced intellectual, spiritual, political, military and philosophical stalwarts. Our literature bears evidence to this; even the medical books by Sushruta, Dhanvantari, Charaka and Madhava were written in excellent poetic form, not just in prose. Therefore, the Ashrama culture is not a mere monastic culture. It refers to those people who have dedicated themselves to a particular cause and do not just exist for their own family. Such are the people who have to look after Ashramas.

The Ashram was developed as a place where one has to work hard on two fronts - on the external front and at the same time on the spiritual front. One should understand that problems face a human being on both fronts. Problems with money and business, marriage and death, or management of the family create anxiety, anguish, depression, difficulties, worry and so on, which everybody is trying to solve. However, these are not the only difficulties our ancestors became aware of. If one does not solve the mental problems which come to him through birth and inheritance, then he will either face a disaster or not make any progress in life at all. A person who has no control over his mind cannot control his family affairs or the daily events of his life. Mental control is not suppression. The mind has to be educated; it has to be properly enlightened. That is the role of the Ashrama in everybody’s life.


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