|Acharya Shree Yogeesh at Siddhayatan Retreat Center|
|Shoes left at front door of Main Building at Siddhayatan|
|Recently converted horse barn into 20 rooms at Siddhayatan|
In India, an acharya is a guide in religious matters or a highly learned man. Acharya Shree Yogeesh’s name thus reveals his recognition as a living enlightened master. He became a Jain monk at age 14 and holds a doctorate in Philosophy. The Windom center is his fourth to serve a community. He has established a school in India as well as ashrams in India and California and he lectures worldwide. Acharya Shree assured us they've been well received in Texas. When people find out he's from India, they all say, "oh, yes, my doctor's from India." He smiles when telling that story.
|New Dining Room Almost Complete at Siddhayatan|
Acharya Shree’s reply on why he came to Texas at all had some surprises. He wanted fertile land and Texas is long on that. “Texas has a lot of freedom,” he says and fewer laws means more freedom and less stress. Texans are patriotic and volunteer to defend their country. He recognizes this as important and necessary. But what is missing here is we don’t follow the principles of non-violence. Even Acharya Shree knows this could be a quixotic adventure but feels strongly if he can bring awareness to one person, he can change the world.
|View of Bonham from the retreat center|
|New Lecture Hall at Siddhayatan|
What makes this location unique is the plan to create North American’s only Hindu Tirth where pilgrims can experience a long walk (journey), be reminded of spiritual values (symbolism), and be in a place of spiritual and healing vibrations. According to the Hindustan Times, “miniature versions of famous tirthas of India will be constructed, thus giving visitors not only a chance to visit one tirth, but the opportunity to visit ten tirths at one time. Each tirtha will occupy at least 4 acres of land containing original soil and water from India’s famous tirthas.”
For now, the tirth is a dream but Acharya Shree Yogeesh believes our lives are a turtle race. With slow, steady, and thoughtful steps, all can be accomplished. Anyone wanting to make that first step toward a less stressful life should consider Siddhayatan. Only its name is intimidating.