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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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…

Ditching the High Horse

“Ditching the High Horse” was written by Jaya Kula student Matridarshana Lamb.



Matri Lamb

A few years back, a fellow Jaya Kula community member broke up with her boyfriend. She had her eyes on a new guy and didn’t appear to be wasting much time grieving the end of a long-time relationship. Not nearly enough time according to the High Court of Matri!

For some reason, Lord knows why, she asked my advice about going after the new crush—did I think it was too soon? I advised her to observe a properly respectful period of sober, celibate reflection.

When Shambhavi heard about this her comment was, “Why is that, so she can suffer even more?”

This was the moment when I realized that people are free to do whatever the fuck they want. There’s no script. You can have two lovers at once! You can train fleas to do trapeze! You can live in an underground bunker and eat canned beans! The playing field is wide open. Wide. Open.

Read On…

Unborn in the U.S.A.

Ramblings of a Tantrik Renunciate at Large

hard meditationYou know. Renunciates. Those oh-so-spiritual folks sporting shaved heads and orange robes, or natty dreads and tattered loin cloths. You’ve seen photos of them sweeping floors in ashrams, blowing horns in monasteries, prostrating along mountain roads and proselytizing in airports. They don’t have sex or eat meat. They can’t get married, have kids or any fun at all. Right?

Wrong. Mostly.

I live in the U.S. I’m a renunciate householder. I don’t live in a monastery, wear robes, profess vegetarianism, or anything, really.

This essay is in part an attempt to open a few doors and windows with regard to renunciation.

It’s partly a coming out.

And it’s mostly the love song of a Western renunciate at large. Read On…

Being Yourself

Every Sunday and Tuesday evening, I give satsang. Satsang is a mix of dharma teachings, open discussion and chanting or meditation. Sunday’s satsang is based on the teachings of Anandamayi Ma.

Land, waterway, sky by Nandikesha Jungwirth

Positive Tantra

As Tantrikas, our attitude should be: How can I work with each and every circumstance? How can I participate positively? How, in spite of various compulsions, can I open my heart and find the freshness and potential in each moment?

Tantrikas are not fatalistic. We try not to let ourselves be swept forward by the momentum of compulsion and fixation. We do not baby ourselves with either hope or hopelessness.

We don’t focus on past or imagined future calamity. We understand that obstruction is a communication. Every obstruction is an invitation to go deeper, to expand one’s senses, to let go of limiting concepts, to reach for the subtlety of nature’s communication and to follow that.

Sometimes people take up negative, or fatalistic attitudes as a strategy for gaining control over others. Compulsive negativity hijacks attention, hijacks energy and is a drag on the collective efforts of other people. At the root of such negativity is competitiveness and fear of being exposed: fear of not being up to the task of living.

Negative thought stunts personality and stifles all effort. It kills initiative—Swami Sivananda Read On…