After She's Gone
by Gurupremananda Cataffi-Heinlein, SVA Board President
This is a harsh title for an article; it strikes terror into many of us to think “what will happen when Gurudevi is gone?” Of course, she will never actually be gone, but there will come a time when she will leave her body. The Ashram Board wants to share our plans for this eventuality and also Gurudevi’s personal thoughts and plans.
This is a very uncomfortable subject, which is why we are delving into it (such a yogic practice!). We have had very frank and open discussions with Gurudevi on her vision for the Ashram, in the present, the future and beyond. You will all be pleased to know that she is planning to remain embodied to actively teach, support and foster our spiritual development for the foreseeable future, though how she does it will change over time. While she envisions herself teaching into her 80’s, she, along with the Board, is also focusing on the sustainability of her teachings. We are creating a succession plan.
Our Vowed Order is a central focus of her teaching. Being a Vowed member does not require living in or near the Ashram; it allows for those of us who are householders to participate. These are yogis who choose to live by high yogic standards and maintain a certain level of practice. She continues to take the vowed community deeper, through teachings and practices that require this level of personal commitment. We also recognize that there will be yogis who will want to live in the Ashram or nearby, who join Gurudevi in the daily practices and teachings.
There is also the question of Ashram assets. We have two buildings in Downingtown. Our plan is to avoid building a large accumulation of material things. Instead, we will invest in the teachers that Gurudevi is preparing for the next generation. This is about the sustainability of the teachings, not of the buildings. Eventually, there will be a published list of authorized teachers, which Gurudevi will hand-select from the Vowed Community. These yogis will be authorized to succeed Gurudevi and carry on the teachings.
When Gurudevi has left her body, the Ashram’s material assets will be liquidated and the money will be donated to those authorized individuals who have set up their own non-profit organizations in order to carry the teachings forth. This is just as Gurudevi herself has done, and Muktananda before her — it is perfection! This is a labor of her love for us and for her Guru, as it will be a labor of love and devotion for those who follow.
If you have questions about the succession plan, click here for the FAQ.