Frequently Asked Questions about the Monastery

Do you have overnight facilities for visitors?

Not in the monastery. Visitors can find accommodations at nearby bed & breakfast facilities and seaside hotels.

Can I participate in the ashram’s activities?

It’s important to understand that this is a monastery, not an ashram. As such, activities are restricted to resident monastics, members, students and those on formal pilgrimage.

What do the various colored robes mean?

Those dressed in orange are swamis under lifetime vows, ordained after a training period of eight to twelve years. Those in the latter half of that training wear yellow and are called yogis. Monks in white are sadhakas, who take vows two years at a time.

Why do the monks wear three white stripes and a red dot on their forehead?

These are the traditional sectarian marks of Saivite Hinduism. The three stripes, made with sacred ash, represent the soul’s three bonds—ego, karma and maya—which are ultimately removed by God’s grace. The dot represents the third eye of spiritual insight.

Do the monks have jobs in the world?

No. They are fully occupied with their spiritual practices in the monastery and are supported by donations from a global family of devotees.

Are the monks married?

No, they lead a strict, unmarried, celibate life.

Are they allowed to leave the monastery?

Yes. Monks go out in pairs to travel, purchase supplies and for occasional recreational outings, such as to the beach or on a hike.

Why do the monks not answer personal questions?

Hindu monks traditionally never dwell upon or speak of their personal past.

Do any women live in the monastery?

No. Only men under vows live in the monastery. Ladies interested in monastic life are referred to women’s ashrams in India and Italy. However, many women devotees help with mission work from home, or help host guests at the monastery during the day.

Can we have our wedding here?

Weddings are not conducted at the monastery. Couples may bring a Hindu priest to the islands for their wedding ceremony and come to the temple afterwards for blessings For more information on wedding options click here.

Meet the monks…

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