Yasodhara Ashram ecstatic about rebuilt temple

Yasodhara Ashram ecstatic about rebuilt temple

Swami Lalitananda welcomes new structure three years after fire

It looks like a flower with unfurling petals.

The striking structure nearing completion on the shore near Kootenay Bay is the Yasodhara Ashram’s new temple, which will replace the one destroyed in a fire three years ago. It’s pure white, with multiple curved wings that spiral towards the sky.

“I’m very ecstatic. It’s been a long process,” the ashram’s Swami Lalitananda told the Star.

“We see this new temple coming up and it’s inspiring because it’s so unique and beautiful, and we don’t know at each stage how it will unfold. Everybody here is pretty enthusiastic.”

It’s been almost magical.

“To go from from having nothing there to seeing these amazing curved pieces stacked on top of each other, it’s been a really amazing time for us.”

Yasodhara was hoping to have opened their temple doors by now, but construction delays have them now aiming for a public grand opening on Aug. 5. But before that, Lalitanada would like to welcome the community to their annual strawberry social on June 24 from 1 to 4 p.m., during which people can get a sneak preview temple tour.

Moving into a new phase

Lalitananda is effusive about the construction work being done by Patkau Architects, an elite team out of Vancouver who have earned recognition globally for their innovative designs. They took it upon themselves to make the ambitious goal of assembling an entire building out of curved forms.

“We were attracted to them because they can work with curved forms. Our old temple was a dome, so we wanted a feeling that it was developing, or moving into its next phase, opening more.”

While the old one was “beautiful and traditional,” this one will be “innovative and organic.”

“It’s like this unfolding, beautiful flower and everybody who’s been working on it calls each of the pieces petals. It’s very feminine, which is appropriate because our lineage is feminine — we pass our teachings down through women.”

She’s pleased with the work Spearhead Timberworks has been doing too.

“We were really happy to find this local Nelson company capable of creating the complex prefabricated wood components that create the shell of the temple, and that their advanced digital technology allowed them to successfully collaborate with Patkau.”

She noted almost all of their contractors were from the region.

“Also one of our goals in construction was to make the temple fit with our environmental initiatives. So the building will be energy efficient, with geothermal and photovoltaics for heat, with superior insulation and triple glazing.”

A path of self-inquiry

Lalitananda first started attending the ashram in 1979, working her way over the years up to her current position as president of the organization. She was drawn to it because she wanted to challenge herself to think deeply and not follow old patterns.

“What I liked from the beginning is that it’s a path of self-inquiry, so nobody was telling me what I needed to think. It seemed like a way of expanding my thinking and awareness without a dogma,” she said.

“But there’s also something about the devotional part, and it wasn’t a specific religion — it was a path of calming my mind and using practices to experience different levels of mind or consciousness. I was becoming more myself, and realizing the potential of who I could be.”

And she thinks the physical structure of the temple itself could aid in the spiritual process. There was some thought put into the number of entrances in the temple — eight — all that lead to the same destination. Lalitananda said this demonstrates how people of different faiths and backgrounds can come into “a beautiful, transcendent place of light together.”

“We want it to be a magnet for people who need some hope, and a place where people can go into the space and look both inward and outward, because it’s so nestled in nature and the beauty of the forest around it.”

The temple will be used for services, devotional practice, meditation and retreats. They’re also looking to open it up to more cultural events, such as Slava Doval and her school’s dance performance at the Aug. 5 opening.

It’s been an emotional slog to get here.

“The other temple had been there for 20 years, so for me and the whole community a lot of this has been about going through loss. The decision to build it differently, which some people liked and some people weren’t sure about, was something that helped us to learn together.”

She lives right next to it, and loves the view.

“I’m looking out the window at it right now, and it is so beautiful.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Yasodhara Ashram ecstatic about rebuilt temple

Yasodhara Ashram ecstatic about rebuilt temple

Just Posted

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Jasper after he was reunited with his owners Mary and Brent Hummel. Photo: Steve Smith
New children’s book features lost Castlegar dog who swam the Columbia multiple times

Brent and Mary Hummel and Jasper tell their dramatic story

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read