Definition of Ashram by Merriam-Webster

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1 : a secluded dwelling of a Hindu sage also : the group of disciples instructed there

2 : a religious or spiritual retreat

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Ashram first appeared in English in the early 1900s and gained traction after Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi founded his famous ashrams at Sabarmati near Ahmadabad and at Sevagram near Wardha. The word ashram derives from a Sanskrit word, “srama,” which means “religious exertion.” Later in the 20th century, English speakers broadened the term “ashram” to encompass any sort of religious retreat, regardless of denomination. In addition to practicing yoga and mediation, Susan from our example sentence may also receive instruction from a religious teacher and do some type of manual or mental work during her stay at the ashram.

Examples of ashram in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Other activities include white water rafting down the Ganges River and visiting ashrams to learn more about the Hindu religion. — National Geographic, “On the rise: 20 trending destinations for 2020,” 29 Jan. 2020 For a small donation visitors can take a coconut from the ashram, tie it to a fence post and collect it later after a priest blesses it. — Omar Mouallem, WSJ, “Trinidad: A Caribbean Vacation With an Indian Flavor,” 17 Jan. 2020 Today, Rishikesh remains India’s spiritual center, filled with ashrams and yogis, a smattering of smarter hotels at its fringes. — Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, “Exploring India’s Spiritual Center from the New Taj Rishikesh,” 23 Dec. 2019 Besides pilgrims, Westerners pour in for the town’s annual yoga festival or to study in its many ashrams and ayurvedic medicine institutes. — New York Times, “The Ganges Brims With Dangerous Bacteria,” 23 Dec. 2019 The path to enlightenment runs through Vana, a 21-acre ashram nestled into a valley in the Himalayan foothills near the northern Indian city of Rishikesh, also known as the birthplace of yoga. — Jennifer Fernandez, Town & Country, “The 10 Luxury Wellness Escapes You’ll Want to Book for 2020,” 5 Nov. 2019 The family relocated to the property, which is bordered by Native American land and a Hindu ashram, from Princeton, New Jersey, in 2011. — Jenni Avins, Quartz, “A spiritual retreat actually transformed me,” 28 Nov. 2019 Gandhi, just released from prison, returned to his home at the ashram a few days after Gregg arrived. — John Charles Wooding, The Conversation, “Gandhi’s 150th birthday: A little-remembered philosopher translated the Mahatma’s ideas of nonviolence for Americans,” 2 Oct. 2019 In March 1939, Shohat spent four days speaking to Gandhi at his ashram and emerged discouraged, feeling that Gandhi had adopted an Arab perspective of Zionism. — Aron Heller, San Diego Union-Tribune, “Unearthed Gandhi WWII letter wishes Jews ‘era of peace’,” 24 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘ashram.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ashram

1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ashram

Sanskrit āśrama, from śrama religious exercise

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Cite this Entry

“Ashram.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ashram. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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