By Sri Swami Satchidananda, founder of Yogaville
My vision of Yogaville is a little heaven on the earth. It is a village filled with people who follow the yogic principles. Everything conducive to Yoga will be seen there. Our goal is to make a beautiful Yoga community. If we can’t make this little world of ours a happy and harmonious place to live, there is no point in talking about global harmony or global peace.
Heaven is a place where love—and nothing but love—flows. There, we see real cosmic, universal love. Everybody is tied to that cosmic love. People love each other as they would love themselves. People love the animals, the plants, and all the things around them. People love even their trash cans. That’s heaven. And they all live as one big family. There is no “mine and yours.” There is only “ours.” It’s God’s home, and all feel that they are just children in that home.
It’s a collective life. Like parts of the same body, cells of the same body. Even if one part gets hurt all other parts will look into it. If your toe gets hurt, your eyes will immediately look into that. Your hands will go there to clean the wound. Every part takes care of that. Like that, even if one individual is unhappy, everybody will take care of that person and see that he or she becomes happy again. That is what you call a heaven. Our properties are common; our money is common; our kitchen is common; our school is common. In a way, everything belongs to everybody. That’s how people live in heaven. If we can live that way, certainly we will make a heaven here. That is exactly what the yogic life means—living a collective life, rising above the little, self-centered life. We share the joy of everybody; we share the pain of everybody. If even one is hurt, everybody should feel the hurt.
Our humble ambition in Yogaville is this: Let us make a better world in our miniature world here. Let us give up selfishness. Let us learn to live clean, healthy, happy lives. Let’s not allow anything that could disturb our physical health or mental peace. We believe in doing things that will bring us health and happiness. By keeping ourselves healthy and happy, we are preparing ourselves to offer our service to the larger community around us.
Living an ashram life doesn’t mean that you separate yourself from the world, go into seclusion and ignore the world. Not at all. In fact, an ashram is a ground to prepare yourself for it. In an ashram, you become fit to serve the world. We want a better world, but it’s impossible to transform the whole world overnight. We have to start somewhere.
Where should your world begin? Right around you. Yoga begins at home. The Yogaville land, by itself, is always heavenly. Wherever you go, God has created only heavenly places. But, to see the heavenly abode, we need that kind of eye, that kind of mind. Hell and heaven are in your own mind. You can make it into a heaven. If you are not peaceful, you cannot bring peace to others. If you are not a Yogi, you cannot spread Yoga. It’s not only charity that begins at home; even divinity begins at home. Everything begins at home. If you become a better person, that part of the world becomes better.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should not do anything for other parts of the world. Do it. But, at the same time, do something right in and around you. That is the most important part. If you want to help others, you have to equip yourself first.
In our own humble way, Yogaville is a small starting point for a better world. Yogaville is a place to learn to embrace the entire universe with the idea that God has a purpose for everybody. Nobody is superior; nobody is inferior. We are all doing God’s work. We are all working together for a goal. We are learning to share and care, love and give.
Building up a whole village is not that easy. Certainly, as a single individual, I cannot do anything. I look forward to all of your support, energy, goodwill. Maybe, one day, you will come to be citizens of Yogaville. If everything goes according to our present plan, we will have a township of our own with a yogic mayor with a Yoga police, Yoga fire service, more Yoga doctors. Yes, everything Yoga. God is giving us all that.
Remember that it is not built for one or two individuals. It is built for everybody. So, all of you should take as much interest as possible. Don’t just come for the Saturday satsang, sit, listen, and go. Everybody should think of Yogaville and do whatever you can in whatever way. It is a big project. Our aim is that we want this as a sort of exemplary world which we are all looking for.
It is easy to say that we want a peaceful world. Mahatma Gandhi called it Rama Rajayam. That means, The Kingdom of Rama. In the Kingdom of Rama, there is no fighting; there is no theft; there is no crime. Everything is beautiful. No animosity. Even the animals that would normally fight play together. A beautiful world, a heaven. How would that heaven be? Everybody will be loving and happy together. We can make a heaven like that. If we can’t make a heaven in this little place, then, what is the point of talking about a peaceful, heavenly world everywhere?
That is what our Father in the heaven looks for from all of us. Let us make the Father proud. Let us make His creation a better place to live and enjoy. Every one of us should put forward our best effort to make this little world a happy place. Mere talking will not take us anywhere. Let us act and set examples. Let people learn from your example.
We can make Yogaville a better place, a heavenly place so that people can feel that great vibration, that great energy. When they go home, let them take some of that energy with them. People who come here will feel the health and peace. The place will be filled with healthy vibrations, with nothing to pollute those vibrations. If you like, you can let the seeds that grow there spread out, so that one day you will see the whole world as a big Yogaville. May such a thing happen soon. May more people learn to be Yogis. That is my sincere wish and prayer. So let us do it. Let us change ourselves, and then change the whole world into a beautiful heaven.
Excerpted from the book, Heaven on Earth: My Vision of Yogaville By Sri Swami Satchidananda