Light of the Spirit Monastery is a monastic community for men who wish to follow the paths of Original Yoga and Original Christianity in their search for God. The monastery is located east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the forest of the Sandia Mountains. Its uninterrupted quiet is conducive to the life of contemplative stillness.
Jesus the Christ spent over half of his life in India studying yoga and philosophy before returning to the West as a missionary of the Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Religion). (See The Christ of India on this website.) After his crucifixion and resurrection, he returned to India and lived the rest of his life in the Himalayas.
Jesus told his disciple, Saint Thomas, to also live in India, which he did, first living in the Himalayas with Jesus and then in Kerala at the southernmost tip of India. (See The Apostle of India on this website.) There he established the Ishanni Sampradaya as an integral part of Hinduism. Later the Ishannis came to be called Saint Thomas Christians and are part of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
At the end of the nineteenth century, an independent branch of the Saint Thomas Christian Church was established in America. The little mission was never of any significant size, and for nearly three-quarters of a century it was mostly confined to monastic foundations. Eventually only one monastery remained: the Light of the Spirit Monastery that had originally been a yogashram founded by Swami Nirmalananda Giri (Abbot George Burke) and which had become part of the Saint Thomas Christian mission in 1975. In 2007, the monastery relocated to New Mexico.
On Saturdays, Sundays and Holy Days, after our morning meditation we celebrate the esoteric Mass rite which was clairvoyantly developed by Bishops James Ingall Wedgwood and Charles Webster Leadbeater, the founders of the theosophically-oriented Liberal Catholic Church. (See The Yoga of the Sacraments.)
Our Spiritual Philosophy
Our spiritual philosophy is that of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras and the Gospel of Thomas. We consider this to be Original Christianity, the true spiritual legacy of Jesus. The writings of Paramhansa Yogananda and The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ by Levi Dowling also contain the authentic teachings of Jesus.
Our Monastic Tradition
Except for the daily celebration of Mass, our monastery is virtually identical with a sannyas ashram of the Shankara tradition. From its inception the American mission was Benedictine in character, so when a monk becomes fully professed in our monastery we use both the original rite found in the Rule of Saint Benedict and the traditional rite of the Order of Shankara. As members of the Giri branch of the Swami Order we shave our heads and our monastic habit (dhoti and khurta) is the traditional gerua color.
Our Inner Mission
Our inner purpose is personal transformation of consciousness through diligent practice of yoga sadhana and strict observance of the sannyasi (monastic) life. Our ultimate aim is liberation (moksha).
Our Outer Mission
Our outer purpose is the teaching of Original Christianity and Original Yoga through both the internet and printed books. The monastery’s main service to others is the ocoy.org website through which it makes available spiritual writings and instruction which we have found to be of value and relevance.
Our Daily Life
Our daily routine is very simple with little variation. We arise at three-thirty in the morning and meditate for three hours, followed by Mass. After breakfast we engage in various forms of work until lunch which is followed by more work until three in the afternoon. A rest period is followed by reading from the Bhagavad Gita and other spiritual texts. Dinner and free time follow until we end the day at eight in the evening.
The monastery life is totally communal, all members engaging in the same schedule with common meals and a common dormitory. Each member engages in several hours of assigned work daily.
We are vegan, never eating animal protein or anything derived from it to any degree. We also abstain absolutely from nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and mind-altering drugs.
Visitors, male or female, who wish to come to the monastery for an hour or so visit are welcome, though we ask that they notify us beforehand.
The monastery has limited facilities for male visitors wishing to stay overnight or a few days. There is no charge for staying here, but visitors are expected to meditate and work along with us, keeping the same schedule. (Visitors have their own sleeping quarters.)
Those Interested in Monastic Life
Those who are interested in becoming members of the monastery may contact us and express their interest, giving us some information about themselves. (See the form by clicking here.)