Author Archives: ashramdiary

About ashramdiary

Thomas Matus, who blogs this Ashram Diary, was born 1940 in Hollywood, California. Academics: A.B. in music from Occidental College (Los Angeles); S.T.L. in ecumenical theology from Athenaeum Anselmianum (Rome, Italy); Ph.D. in comparative mysticism from Fordham University (New York). Initiated into Kriya Yoga (by direct disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda) in 1958. Became a Catholic in 1960 and entered New Camaldoli Hermitage (Big Sur, California) as a novice monk in 1962. Lived for more than 30 years at the Monastery of Camaldoli in Italy. Traveled to India some 20 times; made frequent retreats at Saccidananda Ashram (Shantivanam) in southern India. Was in Brazil, off and on, from 1999 to 2006. Now back in California, he lives at the Hermitage in Big Sur and Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley, California. See: http://www.youtube.com/user/thomasmatus

Trinity & Saccidananda

The Benedictine ashram in South India, where I spent many long retreats over a period of twenty years, is usually called Shantivanam, “forest of peace,” but it is also the Ashram of the Trinity, and the first founder, Father Jules … Continue reading

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Answering a question about Ananda Ashram

A reader of “Ashram Diary”, Danielle Darbro, sent a question about the sisters at Ananda Ashram “on the other side of the road” from Saccidananda Ashram. Here’s my reply: Hello, Danielle. Yes, the sisters at Ananda Ashram follow the same … Continue reading

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Tantra Symposium in Rome

On October 17, the Jesuits in Rome will be hosting a scholarly symposium on Tantrism (Hindu and Buddhist) and Christian meditation/contemplation. This will be my first time back in Italy since I returned permanently to our monasteries in California (Incarnation … Continue reading

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The Sign of Jonah

The sign of Jonah (Luke 11:29-32) is a sign of contradiction. That is, the sign mirrors the contradiction of a people called to prophesy who, instead, flee their calling. The Book of Jonah, as part of the Hebrew Scriptures, is … Continue reading

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Bach and Indian music

“The Hindu musician does not read set notes; he clothes anew at each playing the bare skeleton of the raga, often confining himself to a single melodic sequence, stressing by repetition all its subtle microtonal and rhythmic variations. Bach, among … Continue reading

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Ascent to the depths

“Ascent to the depths of the heart”: this phrase is the title of the published diaries of the monk Henri Le Saux, who in India was known as Swami Abhishiktananda. Actually, the English translation of the book says “depth” in … Continue reading

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Cinema history’s first film in Esperanto: “Angoroj” (1964)

As happened in the case of “Incubus”, the 1966 film with dialogue in Esperanto, the screen-writer and director of “Angoroj” (“Panic Attacks”), Jacques-Louis Mahé, angered by the critical and box-office failure of his film, attempted to destroy all copies of … Continue reading

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