Swami Nityananda Giri (Speech delivered by SWAMI NITYANANDA GIRI at SATSANG III organized by ASHRAM AIKYA conference of Christian Ashrams and SNEHASADAN Institute for Study of Religion at Bangalore on 20th / 21st October 1983.)

Sadguru Gnanananda Giri Swamigal established his ashram, Sri Gnanananda Tapovanam on the northern bank of the river South Pennar in the South Arcot district of Tamil Nadu about 30 years ago. The sage himself gives an idea of the role he intended for it in his own explanation of the name of the ashram.

Niketan"Tapas" is intense heat with its derivations, zeal, fervour, austerity, asceticism. "VANA" (in Tamil 'Vanam') is a wood or forest. In olden days, there were huge jungles and forests in India, where hermits could retire far from other men, living off fruit and wild roots and spending their time contemplating the things of God. Nowadays, in this part of the land atleast, there are no longer any real forests. The trees have been felled and the countryside transformed. So, as there are no longer any forests, it is absolutely essential to set aside certain places so that those who wish to lead a quiet life of prayer and asceticism can do so. The ashram was founded for those who wish to devote even a fraction of their time to the pursuit of spiritual wisdom far from crowds and from the turmoil of the daily round. Here they can receive proper instruction and give themselves upto meditation.

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