*** we owe a visit to this place, as we are enjoying it's fruits today. ***
This Ashrama has historical importance as the very first place in the West where Swami's of Ramakrishna Mission were stationed.
This place is preserved and opens once in an year.
You need to bring your own lunch and water.
A full day trip in the wilderness and journey back into history.
Detailed history at:
:Shanti Ashrama History:
Swami Vivekananda, 1900
During his first visit to the West, Swami Vivekananda (Swamiji) had often spoken of the need in America for a Vedantic ashrama or retreat. But it was not until early in 1899, when a student of Swami Abhedananda’s renounced the world and received the brahmacharya name of Gurudas, that the need became real. When it was discussed in the New York Society, of which Swami Abhedananda was in charge, another of his students, Miss Minnie C. Boock, offered a solution.
She possessed, it so happened, a homestead in Santa Clara County, California, that had been issued to her some eight years earlier by President Harrison, and that contained, according to the Official Plat of the Survey, “one hundred and fifty-nine acres and eighty-nine hundredths of an acre.”
This property could, she thought, serve the purpose of an ashrama. “It had its disadvantages,” Swami Atulananda (formerly Cornelius J. Heijblom, then Gurudas), later wrote; “it was fifty miles from the nearest railway station and market, but it would do to begin with. It would be solitary anyhow. And she very generously offered this place to Swami Vivekananda.”
On June 25, 1900, when Swamiji was in New York, Miss Minnie Boock formally deeded her homestead to him, “to have and to hold,” the record reads . . . “in trust, for the general use and benefit of the Vedanta School of Philosophy.” Thus the first Vedanta retreat in the Western world officially came into being.
Swami Turiyananda, 1901
In June 1900, Swamiji wrote that, “It (Shanti Ashrama) would be nice for a summer gathering for us in California, if friends like to go there now I will send them the written authority. Will you write to Mrs. Espinol [Aspinall] and Miss Bell, etc. about it. I am rather desirous it should be occupied this summer as soon as possible. There is only a log cabin on the land, for the rest they must have tents. I am sorry I can not spare a Swami yet.”
In the meanwhile Swamiji asked Swami Turiyananda, to whom he had already assigned the California work, to establish the ashrama. “It is the will of the Divine Mother that you should take charge of the work there,” Swamiji told him. Swami Turiyananda smiled, “Mother’s will? Rather say it is your will. Certainly you have not heard the Mother communicate Her will to you in this matter.” But Swamiji grew grave. “Yes, brother,” he said, “If your nerves become very fine, then you will be able to hear Mother’s words directly.” He spoke with such fervor that Swami Turiyananda’s doubts were stilled. Even as a year or so earlier he had agreed, out of love for Swamiji, to come to America, so he now agreed to try to establish a retreat in far-off California.