Ram is a Meditation and Vedanta teacher from the Arsha Vidya tradition who, since 2010, has run a weekly meditation group and provides regular talks and guided meditations to yoga gatherings.
Although originally trained as a computer scientist from Cambridge, he became interested in alternative ways of thinking while living in California in the late nineties. The deeper he studied, the more he realised that the perennial questions of ‘who am I’, ‘where did I come from’ and ‘where am I going’ have been most elaborately answered in the ancient Indian Vedas – a body of knowledge that pre-dates the introduction of Sanskrit 3,500 years ago.
His seeking led him to Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati who was then the greatest living teacher on the wisdom of the Vedas. Under his influence, Ram started to study the Vedic teachings in depth and resolved to continue to spread the teachings wherever possible. All income from Ram’s teaching goes directly to the charity.
Every year, the foundation runs a number of courses on Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation and non-dual teachings. The largest of these gatherings is the annual World Yoga Festival in the United Kingdom. The Festival in 2022 attracted more than 1500 people to Henley-on-Thames for a glorious 4-day exploration of all aspects of authentic Yoga to nourish the body, mind and spirit.
Recognising his ability to acquire and convey knowledge as well as achievements to date, Ram was honoured in July 2018 with the title of Arsha Vidya Yogashree by Swami Santatmananda, the resident head of teaching at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India.
Born in India, there was never a time when Sonali was not interested in spirituality. Even before she knew what meditation was, she would sit quietly in front of a flame. Yoga was part of her school curriculum and she practiced regularly every day. She had a carefree childhood but retained her interest through a degree in Philosophy before marrying Ram and leaving India to come to the UK in 1982.
In the west she nurtured her healing side by taking up Aromatherapy and Homeopathy often curing other family members in a very gentle and effective manner – she famously cured Ram from shingles by an early diagnosis. During her years in California, she took courses in Cranial Sacral Therapy and became a Reiki master. Meditation became an even stronger part of her life and she found she was naturally tuned with healing and her heart chakra. She is currently part way through a 5 year study of Advaita Vedanta.
For the past 20 years, spirituality has taken a big turn in her life and the quest started to grow at a rapid pace. She began to live and breathe spirituality. Her search was not only to grow for herself but also to bring peace to others. She knew deeply she had to do something in her life and that her call wasn’t just to earn money and enjoy material goods. By 2010 she was so determined that together with Ram she set up a meditation group from her home and it has met weekly ever since. Gently, under her guidance, the group turned to Advaita Vedanta and today, she is very thankful for Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati and his lineage for showing her the clarity, peace and joy that she had been looking for since her childhood.
She was keen to share this joy with others and together with Ram she formed the UK charity Arsha Kula Foundation to bring the jewels of the ancient knowledge of the East to the West. Arsha Kula means the lineage of the Rishis and her sole purpose in life is now to maintain that lineage and pass on this wisdom to others who may still be searching, through the World Yoga Festival and other dedicated seminars and retreats.
Cristina has been a key member of the World Yoga Festival since it was founded in 2016 and oversees marketing and production. Thanks to many years working with events, as well as specialising in marketing and design, Cristina’s versatility and expertise is a crucial component to the complex needs of this independent and growing festival which is the main annual event of the charity. Cristina loves the energy of live events and the World Yoga Festival team feels more like a second family to her with every year that passes. Watching the beautiful festival bloom after so much hard work fills her with pride and gratitude.
Drawn to the Eastern wisdom traditions when he was younger and asking questions about life, Will found Buddhism to be very beneficial at the start of his journey. Later, as part of a meditation group, he explored different traditions and texts eventually coming to the study of Advaita Vedanta. As a result of consistent instruction and guidance of these sacred texts, he feels that there is no goal more important than gaining moksha (self-knowledge). He is now committed to helping others along their spiritual journey.
Dr Avishek Banerjee
Avishek likes to use his keen analytical skills to solve problems and find opportunities for organisations to maximise their potential.