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Thomas Ashley-Farrand is one of the Western world's foremost authorities on the application of Sanskrit Mantra to life's problems.
In 1968, Ashley-Farrand began having experiences of a mystical nature, which over the next few years became more intense and profound. He began to read the spiritual literature of the East, where he found eloquent explanations of his specific experiences in the Upanishads.
In 1972, he received Kriya initiation from the Self Realization Fellowship. Mr. Ashley-Farrand began practicing extensive mantra-based spiritual disciplines in 1973. From 1973-1984, He was the priest for the Temple of Cosmic Religion (Sanatana Vishwa Dharma) in Washington, D.C., first as priest-in-residence where he performed ancient Sanskrit ceremonies (pujas) twice daily, and later as traveling priest based in Southern California. In 1974, he received initiation from Sadguru Sant Keshavadas into the universal mantra for spiritual illumination, the Gayatri Mantra, and other mystical formulas. He also studied with Christian mystic Dr. Leon Wright of Howard University. In 1975, he received Tibetan spiritual empowerments from the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.
Since 1982, when he moved to California, he has conducted meditations and ceremonies in people's homes, local colleges and for various religious organizations. He received empowerments from Kalu Rimpoche, the Dalai Lama and Sakya Jetsun Chiney Luding (Jetsun Ma), a woman guru from Tibet.
Mr. Ashley-Farrand's understanding and expertise in the disciplines of the ancient religious ceremonies (Puja - water and Yajna - fire) is almost unique among Westerners. Some of the ceremonies he performs can last as long as eight hours. In a departure from the enigmatic portrait of the mystic, Mr. Ashley-Farrand teaches that "mysticism is the ultimate in personal practicality," and need not be a withdrawal from the world. He maintains that an increasing ability to serve is the only reliable sign of spiritual progress.
Mr. Ashley-Farrand is the author of several books and audiotape programs including Healing Mantras (Ballantine Wellspring, 1998), Mantra: Sacred Words of Power (Sounds True, 1999), Mantra Therapy Healing Intensives (Saraswati Publications), The Ancient Science of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony (in three volumes) and other works. This last book for advanced students contains over 4,000 mantras and is the most comprehensive book on transliterated Sanskrit mantra in the English language. It is available through his website, www.sanskritmantra.com. Every morning, he answers questions about mantra which come in to his website from around the world.