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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Nine Commitments

My Dzogchen teacher, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, published an article about some commitments he made when he started teaching. He wanted his students to know about them.

I also have personal commitments. These have emerged naturally over many years. They guide and organize my teaching and relationships to students and Jaya Kula. They are practical and at times very nitty gritty aspects of my day-to-day sadhana.

Reading my teacher’s article, I felt that it is a good idea to share my commitments with my students, other teachers and friends on the path. And this turned out to be the case.

On April 16, 2017, I gave a satsang elaborating on my commitments. Many people felt motivated to consider and write down their own commitments. Also, I believe there was more understanding that, although we may keep our commitments imperfectly at times, uncompromisingly making the effort to keep them gives us a wonderful foundation for sadhana and leads to the direct experience of our own essential goodness.

Here is the recording of the satsang and the lively discussion that followed.

Read On…


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 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…

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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.

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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…