In Memory of Thomas D. Ashley-Farrand
- Born: 25-Oct-1940
- Died: 1-Oct-2010
- Spring 1959
- Class Year:
- Speech Communications
- Other education
- MA - Marquette University
- Vedic Priest
- President: Sanatana Dharma Satsang, Inc, (nonprofit) Portland, OR
- President: Saraswati Publications, LLC, Portland, OR
Details about Thomas
Thomas married Margalo Ashley-Farrand
- From his website's "About the author" page, retrieved 3/19/2010.
- Thomas Ashley-Farrand is one of the Western world's foremost authorities on the application of Sanskrit Mantra to life's problems. In December 2008 and June 2009, he received empowerments from Satguru Rama Mata, his lineage holder, to be a guru.
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, when he became a student of Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Satguru Rama Mata. 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.
In 1978, Mr. Ashley-Farrand journeyed to India with Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Satguru Rama Mata, where he met a wide variety of spiritual teachers both famous and unknown. There he astonished swamis, pundits, shastris and others with his intonation and pronunciation of complex Sanskrit mantras, slokas and spiritual formulas. From one end of India to another, he was asked to demonstrate his mastery of this complex spiritual liturgy for assembled Indian spiritual teachers. Repeatedly, they told him that he had been a swami and spiritual teacher for several lives in India. A highlight of his trip there came as he was blessed by two of the most prominent spiritual personages in all of India, each having spiritual authority over more than 150 million people, H. H. Pejor Math Swami, and Sri Sri Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati Maha Swamigal of Kanchi.
In 1982, when he moved to California, he 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.
In 2001 he became president of a new non-profit organization, Sanatana Dharma Satsang, Inc. He is also president of Saraswati Publications, LLC, formed in 2001. In 2007, Sanatana Dharma Satsang opened a Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon.
Since 1989, he has been a frequent lecturer for such organizations as the Theosophical Society of Long Beach, California, and Astara, where he has assisted in annual Fire Initiation Ceremonies since 1991.
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 audio programs including Healing Mantras, Shakti Mantras (Ballantine Wellspring,) Chakra Mantras (Weiser Books, 2006), Mantra: Sacred Words of Power (a 9-hr. workshop), several other CDs and Mantra Meditation (a Book/CD) (Sounds True), Mantra Therapy Healing Intensives, Gayatri Mantra Meditation, Mantras of the Goddess and more (Saraswati Publications), The Ancient Science of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony (in three volumes, with recorded mantras, slokas, astottaras, etc.) 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. For more information about his many works, see his website, www.sanskritmantra.com.
Mr. Ashley-Farrand regularly leads retreats at Kripalu in Mass. and Far Horizons in the Sierras and other locations. He also teaches workshops regularly in the US, Canada and London.
With experience in the broadcasting industry, he has been producer-director for a Washington, D.C., television station, taught broadcasting and communications courses as a full-time faculty member of George Washington University, and was vice president for a privately held television company in Washington, D.C. From 1982-99, he was a management and marketing consultant based in Southern California with clients in the health care and computer technology industries. His marketing and management experience included large scale efforts for the United States Army and a national foundation.
Mr. Ashley-Farrand earned a BA from Ripon College and an MA from Marquette University. He is married to Margalo Ashley-Farrand. They have resided near Portland, Oregon, since 2006.
- In the summer of 2010 Ripon College posted a "podcast" by Thomas.
- It is currently located on the Ripon College Website. We have taken to liberty of downloading his podcast and the associated mantra to our website. They are located in our θσ-τunes section under "Other Audio."
Statements in Memory of Thomas
- Fall 2010, Ripon College Magazine from the Class Notes
- Thomas "Duffy" Ashley-Farrand '62 of Portland, Ore., a priest, writer, and guru in the Hindu faith, died Oct. 1, 2010. He was born Oct. 25, 1940, in Jackson, Mich. At Ripon he studied speech communication. He also co-founded a jazz ensemble, The Indigos, with three other Ripon students, including singer Al Jarreau (Ripon, '62). He was one of the Western world's foremost authorities on Sanskrit mantras and their application to life's problems. Survivors include his wife, Margalo Ashley-Farrand; and two step-children. He made a very enthusiastic visit to the Ripon College campus last fall and was profiled in Ripon Magazine. An interview with him can be heard at the Ripon College Website.
Information about Thomas has been collected from
- Thomas himself
- Ripon College Magazine, Ripon College, Ripon, WI
- The Crimson, the Ripon College annual yearbook, Ripon College, Ripon, WI
- Ripon College Insider online community
- Sanskrit Mantras