A collage of images from Skanda Vale Ashram's 40 year history

The history of Skanda Vale

  • Shambo
  • Shambo

    With auspicious timing, on the day of Guruji’s death, a letter came from the Welsh Assembly confirming their intention to slaughter Shambo, one of our Friesan bullocks. Shambo had tested ‘inconclusive’ to bovine tuberculosis, and although the disease was quite easily treatable, the Welsh Assembly were determined to enforce their decision, based primarily on economic grounds. This prevented us from fulfilling our duty to uphold the sanctity of life, and so we took them to court.

    After success in the High Court, the judge ultimately ruled in favour of the Welsh Assembly at the Court of Appeal. The only course of action left, was direct, peaceful opposition, and on the day of the slaughter, a special act of worship was held outside the Murugan Temple. By this time, the media had taken a keen interest in the story, and Shambo was front-page news. One by one, police officers removed worshippers from the puja until finally government officials broke into the temple and led Shambo away.

    The combined pressure from Guru’s illness and the Shambo trial provided a hugely formative experience for the community. It gave us the confidence to stand firmly on our own two feet, after Guru’s death. Guruji avoided the traditional model of Guru worship – he didn’t allow people to place him on a pedestal but taught us practically how to develop our own link with the Divine. This proved to be the key to the ongoing success of Skanda Vale. Swami Bramananda explains;

    If Guru had, and he could have done, made himself the king-pin of the community, we would now be running around in circles like headless chickens wondering what to do without him. But that was not the Lord’s will. Who is the head of the community? God is the head of the community.Swami Brahmananda
    Guruji’s legacy was that of Sanathana Dharma, the Timeless Consciousness of God. He was part of a great lineage of spiritual teachers that come to revitalize spiritual consciousness in a particular time and place. Through Guruji’s example, this knowledge is now embodied in members of the community, and will doubtless, over time, prove to be a great source of comfort, reassurance and purpose for many.

    Read the Shambo story

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