Dharmikam Ashram is an idyllic space in which to retreat. As home to the world-renowned Indian School of Martial Arts, Kalari Chikilsa Healing Center, Anjaneya Swami Temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Traditional sun-filled accommodations, all with private baths and sit-outs. There are various gardens and a variety of ways to personalize a retreat. If you are interested in luxury suites with air conditioning and internet, those accommodations can be provided. You may wish to partake in any or all the modalities offered here, or you may wish to simply spend time in the rich, vibrant natural surroundings. The lush gardens and beautiful structures reflect the richness of the ancient teachings. One of the highlights of the Ashram, beautifully and dutifully planned and built by Guru Hanuman Das, is a stunning garden that houses a large stone idol of Hanuman, whose hand is open in a gesture of blessing to his devotees.
Amma, late Guruji's wife, and a spiritual companion had dedicated her life to her husband. She had immersed herself for years doing daily chants, poojas, and meditation to the Supreme Self. Often quiet, she is known for her silent strength and advice that she had provided to Guruji and all the other people. Kindhearted and loving, she spreads her message of love and peace as the Ashram's spiritual head overseeing all the activities at the Ashram.
Dr. Girish Balachandran Nair, son of the late Guruji, is the Director of the Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram. Trained since age 3 in Kalari and Kalari Chikitsa, he oversees the activities at the Ashram and determines future directions. He was initiated into the spiritual path at the age of 15 by Swami Swaroopanda. He is a practicing physician of modern medicine in Michigan, USA, and envisages integrating Eastern and Western medicine for healing patients.
Suji Kuriakose is the senior instructor. He has been training with Guruji since age 13 and has established a school at Muttom, Thodupuzha. He oversees the Kalari classes and treatment.
Nancy Kollander is a senior devotee of the Ashram from the United States. She first met Swamiji in April 2001 and came to India at least once a year since then. She now spends most of her time, dedicating her life to doing good in the world, including seva and education. She is the communication head of Ashram.
All day-to-day management questions regarding the Ashram should be addressed to the Ashram Manager.
There are several areas around the Ashram immersed in Nature, including waterfalls, caves, gardens, lotus ponds, and open areas, which are all conducive to reflection and attaining a quiet and present mind. These areas were designed to not only showcase the natural beauty but to enhance meditative practices.
Meditation is any practice that connects the mind and the body. Its purpose is to help increase both physical and mental peace and calm, which also helps one to live more fully in the present moment. It is also considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine, as it can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind to facilitate healing.
The central attraction located within the Ashram grounds is the magnificent temple, Anjaneya Swami Temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, where daily rituals and celebrations take place. The Temple itself has been a destination for pilgrims from Kerala and all over India. All are welcome to join the daily, weekly, and monthly elaborate ceremonies that are awe-inspiring and showcase the devotion for which Hindu Temples and India in general, are known. Individual Poojas and Homes can be scheduled and performed at the Temple and would be booked through our office.
For many, many centuries, Gurus have passed down this rich spiritual heritage to their disciples. Guru Balachandran Nair, also known as Satguru Dharmanandha Swaroopa Hanuman Das Swamiji, is the one responsible for this preservation at the Ashram. According to the traditional Guru-Shishya Parampara, the disciple takes up residence with the teacher in the Ashram. This allows him to teach Kalaripayattu and Kalari Chikilsa to the disciple in an authentic way.
Because of this authentic tradition, Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram plays an important role in preserving India's traditions, wisdom, and values.
Temple worship history
According to tradition, there is daily worship of God in the Temples of India. It is not as much a ritual as a way of life. It is meant for
- Physical exercise- as one walks around the temple or shrines
- Meditation- By focusing on the divine sculpture (made of wood, metal, or stone), concentration and peace of mind are developed
- Exchange of knowledge and information among the devotees
- Refreshing the mind through chanting mantras and listening to spiritual scholars and pundits, and,
- Recharging the mind and body through the sacred fire which transmits the magnetic and medicinal effects of the water, flowers, twigs, etc. used in the poojas. Besides the personal benefits, Temples offer social and economic benefits to the community.
The Ashram Temple is devoted to Lord Hanuman, who symbolizes devotion, and physical prowess, and although he possessed supernatural abilities, he was humble and often seen with folded hands. Hanuman's most important virtues to be emulated are perseverance, pragmatism, strength, sense of humor, selflessness, devotion, true surrender, loyalty and humility.
ALL are welcome to visit, observe, learn, and take in the beauty of our Temple, no matter your culture, religion, or personal belief system.
Practicing spirituality is the path one takes to realize the self and to become one with God, or the ultimate truth. This ultimate truth is described as "Satchidanand", consisting of the words "Sat", meaning ‘truth', "Chit", meaning ‘intellect' and "Anand", meaning ‘bliss' or ultimate happiness.
Instinctively all humans are looking for these things. Nobody likes to be lied to, everybody prefers the truth. Nobody likes to be told that they are not smart. Everybody wants to be happy. Everything we do in our lives, the choices we make, are all because we believe it will make us happy. Usually we look for this happiness outside ourselves in the material world. Only, material things tend to give us temporary happiness. This is because material items are of temporary nature. Since the "Atma" or the soul is immortal, only something that is of immortal nature can give us true and permanent happiness. We can only realize this by turning inward and by looking for this happiness within ourselves. For this, one needs to practice.
Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram conducts several practices that stimulate spiritual growth. While all activities and practices, from the temple activities to the martial arts practice and treatments at the Ashram are of spiritual nature and help to grow spiritually, certain practices are specifically for this purpose.
A practice that is given a lot of importance in one's spiritual journey is that of Satsang. In the Ramcharitmanas, saint Tulsidas says: "Binu satsang vivek na hoi." One cannot attain wisdom and a proper sense of judgment without Satsang. So what is Satsang?
Satsang consists of the words "sat" and "sang". "Sat" means ‘truth' and "sang" means ‘gathering' or ‘together'. This can be interpreted in several ways. A satsang can be a gathering of people who are trying to understand the truth through discussion and contemplation. It can also mean to be in the presence of "Sants" or saints, those who are closer to the ultimate truth or who have attained the state of self-realization. Satsang is also to surround oneself with people who are living truthfully and with positivity. Surrounding oneself with people on the spiritual path assists in one's own spiritual development.
A Satsang can be in many ways. At an Ashram or a Gurukul, every meeting with the Guru and being in his presence is Satsang. Apart from this, the Guru will actively conduct Satsang in the form of lectures, conversations, and discussions, chanting/reading and explaining the scriptures, and singing devotional songs.
At Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram, Satsang happens mostly through lectures, the daily chanting of the Ramayan scripture, and Bhajan sessions at the temple.
The Ramayan is a large epic tale. It is an important scripture from a spiritual perspective and is also a huge contribution to Indian literature. The Ramayan is the life story of Lord Ram, the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu on earth. Lord Hanuman, the main deity of Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram is also one of the main characters in the Ramayan.
The Ramayan is considered to contain the essence of all the important scriptures of Hindu Dharma. Studying the Ramayan gives one all the essential knowledge to grow spiritually and attain the highest spiritual goal, as Lord Ram – who is Maryada Purushottam, the ideal man – has shown to humankind how to live according to Dharma and truth. In that sense, the Ramayan can be used as the main scripture and other scriptures are only needed if one wants to delve deeper into specific topics.
Originally written by sage Valmiki in the Sanskrit language, the Ramayan has been adapted into many different languages.
At the Ashram the Malayalam version of the Ramayan, called the Atdhyatma Ramayan, written by Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan, is chanted daily at the temple. Through chanting or listening to the chanting of the Ramayan, one can contemplate the meaning of the Ramayan and implement its teachings into their life.
The singing of Bhajans or devotional songs with spiritual themes is another prevalent form of Satsang. This usually happens in a group setting with one or more lead singers and is accompanied by music. Typical subjects in Bhajans are ideas from scriptures, legendary epics, the teachings of saints, and devotion to a deity. Bhajans are a way to make certain spiritual teachings accessible through music.
As there is no set of rules when it comes to singing bhajans and as they are usually in regional languages and according to folk music, anyone can participate regardless of their ability to sing. Singing together in this manner also has a very therapeutic effect.
Bhajan sessions are a regular activity at the temple of Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram. Formerly the Bhajans were led by Satguru Hanuman Das who would sing these with his extremely melodious voice. Currently, these sessions are conducted by different Temple Bhajan groups.
The Gurukul system of education existed in ancient India. It was a residential schooling system whose origin dates back to around 5000 BC in the Indian subcontinent. It was more prevalent during the Vedic Age where students lived in the ‘ashramas’ of the teacher or the ‘guru’ and learned not only the Vedas but also various moral and ethical lessons, how to live a cultured and disciplined life. Gurukul was actually the home of the teacher or Acharya and was the center of learning where pupils resided until their education was completed. All were considered equal at the Gurukul and ‘guru ‘(teacher) as well as ‘shisya' (student) resided in the same house or lived near to each other. This relationship between guru and shishya was so sacred. However, the student had to offer a gurudakshina which was a token of respect paid to the teacher. It was mainly in the form of money or a special task that the student had to perform for the teacher.
In gurukuls, students were provided with a comprehensive education in all areas of knowledge, including yogic practices that lead to enlightenment or unity with the divine. Students were expected to spend years in service to the guru, studying with him and helping him with daily tasks, including chores such as cooking and washing clothing. It was only after several years of studies and gaining practical experience that a student passed out of the gurukul.
Dharmikam Ashram remains true to this tradition and provides Gurukul method of training where the students can reside and learn Kalaripayattu, Meditation, Kalari Chikilsa, Tradition, lifestyle, etc.
The food served at the Ashram is methodically prepared to be an adjunct to the treatment. We consider nutrition a medicine, and a foundation for the strength of the body and mind.
The food that we provide is lovingly prepared and based in traditional Keralite vegetarian cuisine, but it is meticulously planned and balanced to aid in your detoxification and healing. Many of the vegetables are grown here in the nutritionally and minerally dense soil of the Ashram. The water, for drinking and preparing food, also comes from the deep mineral-rich wells of the Ashram. Therefore, the food has maximum vitality and a balance of nutrients. Beyond being safe, it facilitates healing.
In food preparation we adhere to the Ayurvedic principles of combining and balancing tastes, properties and qualities of food, to promote optimal absorption, digestion, elimination and detoxification.
We serve 3 full meals per day, also timed and portioned according to traditional Ayurvedic principles.
Meals are served in either the Guest Dining Hall or one's private room, according to the accommodation package chosen.
Accommodations were designed and built according to traditional South Indian methods/ designs/ material and according the Vatsu, which is the Indian Art of designing a space to optimize positive energy flow.
The standard rooms are minimal, sun-filled, and cooled by the marble surfaces. There are single occupancy, double occupancy, or family occupancy available. All are equipped with ceiling fans and private restrooms and a sit-out.
The multi-room suites are situated in more of a private garden setting and each has a separate sitting room, bedroom, private restroom suite, private balcony, and semi-private courtyard. All rooms are sun-filled and equipped with ceiling fans and Air Conditioning, as well as individual water purifiers and other amenities, like internet and a shared laundry room.
Dormitory housing – Shared room and shared restroom.
Goshala: There is a functioning Goshala on the Ashram grounds. The cows dwelling here is fed nutrient-dense grass in order to provide the most nutritious and highest quality milk, curd, butter, and ghee. Not only are Ashram needs fulfilled, but the excess milk s distributed daily to the neighbors and community.
Herbal medicines, fruits, and vegetable cultivation: We maintain acres of organic farmland. Our soil is nourished with herbs and minerals to produce the most nutrient-dense and diverse fruits, vegetables, and herbs free of pesticides. They are cultivated for the Ashram meals, and for medicine/oil preparations.
Animals and pets: You will see by the volume and variety of animals at the Ashram, that it is our duty to provide a happy and healthy environment for those in our care. The cows, dogs, chickens, ducks, cats, birds, and fish are all fed species-appropriate diets and reside in well-maintained clean environments. This is not only a reflection of our love of animals but our duty in creating an awareness of the importance of a balanced society that values all life. We encourage our guests to interact with our animals as we believe this can also contribute to one's physical, mental, and emotional well-being.