Updated: Jun 6, 2018
By Satya Dass
The long and winding road to Arunachala took another huge turn recently. In May 2012, we began preparations for construction of our new road system. We have come a long way since then.
This project, necessary for any future expansion of our multi-dimensional ashram-eco-village-university-retreat-center-recovery-facility-and-Spanish school, needed to be planned with utmost care so dump trucks could deliver materials without getting bogged down in mud. This was also of course symbolic of our own need to stay out of the mud of maya.
The first step was consultation with Engineer Eduardo Barquero from GTZ-MOPT in San José. Mr. Barquero works with a German non-profit organization known as GTZ (Cooperación Técnica Alemana) dedicated to rural road development in communities all over the world. His insights offered foundational principles for our road construction and maintenance plan. They are as follows:
1) Invest in good drainage: Drainage is what keep all roads alive. “No drainages, no roads!” By guaranteeing good quality concrete culverts and drainage boxes, deep enough side-drainages, and maintaining a strong “crown” in the center of the road so rain water can properly flow, the side-drainages carry the water smoothly through the culverts and channels to nearby creeks. In Sat Yoga terms, this reflects the ease in which we learn to let every life situation flow without resistance, so that that consciousness, can return unobstructedly to our Source. Through the practice of staying focused on the center, all limiting egoic tendencies wash away.
2) Know your material – use good aggregate!: Once your drainages are set, then you can securely lay the road aggregate – cascajo, crushed river stones or mountain rock – to build a stable and comfortable foundation for the entire road. This rocky layer prevents humidity from rising and allows water to drain more easily so the foundation soil remains dry. We can liken this step to the many teachings aggregated and synthesized in our approach to transformation that form a strong foundation for ego transcendence.
3) Good compaction! After the aggregate is in place, then it is important to make sure all the material is well “linked” together. This is achieved with proper compaction. The desired result is that the harder rocky river material link with the softer clay, forming a perfect union of soft and hard as well as wet and dry elements. In Sat Yoga, we maintain the integration of opposites as a key requisite for lasting stability and happiness.
4) Receiving the light! If a road uses mountain rock as aggregate, it is very important to trim the trees along the road to eliminate shadow over the road. It is essential the road receives the early morning sun to evaporate any humidity remaining from the previous day’s rains. A good tip is to reforest the roadsides with living fences made from poro or itabo which can be constantly trimmed and used for future erosion control projects. If we think of the road as a metaphor for the path to liberation, we can consider the shadow-creating flora as the unconscious shadow patterns of the ego. If we keep the ego surrendered to the divine light, then the rejuvenating and enlightening rays of the Self can keep our life’s road well lit, clear, and strong.
5) Good erosion control measures: Very important! All road work should include in its planning a sound strategy for erosion control, and this is something that can be easily overlooked due to budget constraints and unwise planning. The ground above and below the road has to be properly secured with ecological terraces, drainages, gabions, plants, and trees that will prevent future landslides during the peak of rainy season. In the Sat Yoga Approach to transformation, we ensure that our path to spiritual liberation is well maintained and landscaped with the practice of the trivium: transformation (deep inner work and one-to-one transformational sessions), translation (wisdom teachings about the true nature of reality), and transcendence (meditation).
These five principles have proven to be invaluable to the construction of our new road system that will bring pilgrims and yogis to the ashram for years to come. Mr. Barquero not only imparted specialized practical wisdom to our project, but valuable lessons to be reinterpreted through the psycho-spiritual map of Sat Yoga.
Since receiving the foundation of these principles, our road project has taken off.
With our compass set, we then sailed north to find our road building company. After months of interviewing, we were serendipitously led to a man named Freddy Altamirano. We visited Freddy’s company, saw his work, and after forming a strong connection with him, invited him to Arunachala. After several weeks of negotiations between ALBASA (Freddy´s family road company) and Sat Yoga’s road committee, we were ready to take action.
While executing phase one, we realized that it was important to create a new road of about 200 meters that eliminated two problematic, steep hills. Shunyamurti named this new road “Pythagoras Pass,” as it resolved the two hills by connecting them like a Pythagorean hypotenuse, with a healthier road with a smooth grade and proper drainage.
Since Pythagoras Pass is a new road, Durgá (our Ashram Co-Coordinator and Premaculture Director) and our great team of workers are investing a lot of time and energy in creating proper erosion control measurements to secure the slopes and guarantee good drainage during peak rains.
So after one month of intensive road work, our infrastructure was transformed into a more intelligent, reliable, and sustainable system. We know there is much more work ahead, but we are happy to have invested in long-term drainage structures as well as in dreaming a new and highly-improved road pass.
We would like to thank all who participated in this wonderful project. Their patience and dedication has and will inspire many beings to continue working ceaselessly for the much needed manifestation of Sat Yuga – the joyous and truthful Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. We are on the road to a new world!