Jaya Kula is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization offering opportunities to learn and practice in the traditions of direct realization Tantra and Anandamayi Ma. Shambhavi Sarasvati is the spiritual director.

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Community Down and Dirty

Satsang with ShambhaviCommunity is a nitty gritty field of sadhana. The joys and difficulties of being part of a spiritual community are a zone of circumstances, a gateway, to help us wake-up, to help us discover who we really are.

Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.

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Anandamayi Ma Community God Karma Love Politics Sadhana Self-realization Tantra Teachers and students Uncategorized What is Real Work

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The Dalai Lama Gets Married

Spiritual awakening is about the universalization of love and compassion. Instead of our love and concern being focused on just a few people, we discover we have the innate capacity to express a deep, abiding and active desire for the well-being of all.

Sometimes people are disturbed by the idea that they might eventually love everyone equally. If a person is attached to the concept of romantic love, or to a belief that the nuclear family is the pinnacle of the expression of human love, they can even feel threatened by the very idea of universal love. These same people may enjoy it when they see universal love being expressed by someone such as the Dalai Lama. Universal love is okay for the Dalai Lama, but I don’t want that for myself, they think. It is too scary to imagine not having this exclusive, intense love for my family that gives my life shape and meaning and a feeling of importance.

I woke up this morning giggling. What if instead of teaching about the universalization of love, we tell the story in reverse? What if the Dalai Lama got married? Read On…

Jaya Kula students

Gender Karma in Spiritual Communities

The Hindu pantheon of deities presents us with a playground of playfully shifting gender expressions.  Nonetheless, the force of conventional gender role expectations and confusion plays itself out everywhere, including in spiritual communities.

The group of traditions and lineages that comprise what is called “Hinduism,” and Tantra, include the worship of deities that manifest all of the conventional gender roles. But we also have male deities who appear in half-male/ half-female forms, or even who show up as all-female at times. We have dancing male deities and male deities who give birth. We have female deities who ride lions and tigers and are fiercer warriors than their male counterparts. Everybody gets to wear jewelry and grow their hair long.

A rare image of Sri Vidya Ganesha - a female form of Ganesha

A rare image of Shri Vidya Ganesha, a female form of Ganesha

My Guru, Anandamayi Ma, at times incarnated as Durga or Chinnamasta, both female deities, and, at other times as Krishna or Lord Shiva. Read On…

Death, Community and Continuity

“Death, Community and Continuity” was written by Jaya Kula student Matridarshana Lamb.

bonnie initiation

Bonnie, summer 2014

Our friend Bonnie Jo showed up at Kashi House in the spring of 2014. She fell instantly in love with Anandamayi Ma, with our teacher Shambhavi and with the entire Jaya Kula community. She was initiated that summer, cured of Hep C in the fall and diagnosed with liver cancer in April of 2015.

As any of us would, she tried hard to survive. There was chemo, then radical liver surgery, then rehab. In late August, she learned that the cancer had returned with a vengeance, and she began preparing to die. Read On…

Anatomy of a Soft Cult

I think it’s time to start a conversation about soft cults.

Most, if not all of us, have been willing participants in a soft cult.

The primary marker for any cult is that it is populated by people who are attached to defining themselves as higher than, better than, more evolved than, or simply at the forefront of something, someone or everyone else. Cult leaders must defacto define themselves as having something that followers need, lack and couldn’t obtain anywhere else.

A soft cult serves the same needs as a regular cult, but in ways that are less recognizable as a cult because they are more socially acceptable. 

Read On…