A Volunteer’s Statement

(While the Ashram has, naturally and subtly, changed with time and the passing of Ibu our founder, the concept of volunteering remains the same and the statement from a volunteer back in 1991 is still very much valid for those wishing to volunteer today, even if some opportunities, such as harvesting on the fields etc., have become somewhat less common etc. Please read and try to digest the article that was reproduced from an old guide-book to the Ashram. For a more recent late 2009 experience from a naturopath doctor/volunteer the travel blog keithandbeth travelpod is highly recommended)

Ekadasa Vrata (The Eleven Vows)

Ahimsa,Satya,Asteya,Brahmacharya,Asangraha,
Sarirashrama,Asvada, Sarvatra bhayavarjana,
Sarvadharma samanatva, Swadeshi, Sparshabhavana,
Vinamra vratanisthasye ye ekadasa sevya he.

(Non-violence, truth, non-stealing, chastity, non-possession, manual labour, control of palate, complete fearlessness, equality of religions, using native country goods, removal of untouchability, are the eleven vows to be followed humbly and strictly)

The life and philosophy at Çanti Dasa Ashram can be summed up by the Ashram vow. Members of this Gandhian community pursue a life that is honest, self-reliant, and spiritually-aware. Acting upon the Gandhian principles of social justice and action. The Ashram also engages in various outreach programs, serving the greater community of Bali.

As a volunteer, you are invited to join Çanti Dasa to observe, participate, and learn. Volunteers can contribute a specific skill, such as teaching, farming, or carpentry, but should also be willing to avail themselves of whatever tasks need to be done. The key is flexibility. If you come with a set notion of what you will accomplish, you will be disappointed and frustrated. This Balinese Ashram community operates in manner very different from what you may be used to in the West; here it is more important to discover how you can best fit into the whole. It is best, then, to spend time watching carefully, learning the rhythms of the Ashram and how you can become part of it. At times you may feel frustrated and confused, but if you maintain an open and accepting attitude, you will undoubtedly have an enriching experience.

At Çanti Dasa, the living conditions are simple but comfortable, and you are constantly surrounded by the lush beauty of nature. Sanitation facilities will meet all your needs; there is plenty of clean water at all times. The food is nourishing and delicious! The vegetarian diet consists mainly of rice, vegetables, and wonderful fresh fruit. The Ashram daily routine is rigorous, starting at 4.30 a.m. with prayers and Yoga, then continuing throughout the day with manual labour, prayers, and work-by 9 p.m. you are quite ready for sleep. Although there is basic structure to the days’ schedule, Balinese flexibility is ever-present, depending on whether a harvest is due, a festival day is occurring, or if there is a task that needs immediate attention. Some days are very busy, and others more relaxed, with time to visit with the Ashram members, learn more about Balinese life, read books in the excellent library, or simply enjoy the serene setting of palm trees, green hills, and rich blue ocean.

During your stay, you will be no doubt have opportunities to see more about the islands, but be clear about your intentions; if your goal is sight-seeing, better to come to Bali as a tourist, not a volunteer.
The most significant aspect of life at Çanti Dasa is the spiritual. Here you will not only engage in prayers four times a day, you will also discuss and consider issues of philosophy, religion, and Gandhian thought as it relates to current social problems. While the Ashram is primarily Hindu, people of all faiths are welcome and are encouraged to share their beliefs.

A stay at Çanti Dasa offers a unique respite from everyday life; here you can relax and enjoy, examine your spiritual needs, seek harmony, and become a contributing part of a community. This is an opportunity well worth considering. Perhaps the greatest pleasure comes in watching the essential principles of Ahimsa and Satya being carried out in the small details of everyday life. As the members believe, “it is a training ground for helping bring about the non-violent society of the future.”

Sincerely

Robin Tatu
1991 Ashram Volunteer

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