Memorials & Interment

Workshop Session 4 

with Swami Sarvaananda

Zoom Recording

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Swami Sarvananda, Integral Yoga Therapist

How May We Serve You?

Integral Yoga Chaplains and Ministers are ready to serve at your time of loss by hosting memorials for Yoga Students and their loved ones in the IYIs and at Yogaville.  Optional live streaming makes it easy for family and friends to celebrate and remember together.

Guidance about interment is also available.

Memorial Service General Info

Satchidananda Ashram – Yogaville

A family with personal ties with Satchidananda Ashram and Sri Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) may arrange for a memorial service to be held for their loved ones or for themselves, with the interment of their ashes on a date and time agreeable to the survivors and the Ashram Memorial  Coordinator.  A specific staff member will be assigned to guide the bereaved in preparation for the event. The memorial includes a morning puja at a sacred site, with recognition in a program guide, and a family altar table on the side that includes the display of a picture of the deceased and the ashes in an urn (provided by the family).

The family should send an obituary as soon as possible so it can be included in the program and possibly read at the service, where a family member and/or their designee (relative, friend, or preferred clergy) may also speak briefly. The service continues at the ash-interment area, The Memorial Grove, for the closing of the memorial puja and interment of the ashes. The Memorial Grove area is maintained in perpetuity by the Ashram. The legal name and optional spiritual name and the birth and death dates of the deceased will be recorded for a name placement on the formal sign signifying whose ashes have been placed there.

The family shall inform others of the event by sending them the obituary and giving the time and location of the service at the Ashram. It can be live-streamed for families not able to attend. After the event, the family can send programs to those who could not attend the program. The memorial puja will be recorded, and copies will be available. Devotees of Swami Satchidananda, if so desired, may ask that a teaspoon of ash be placed in a small glass container during the interment ceremony. This will then be placed in the memorial wall at Chidambaram at the next special service, held twice a year on Guru Poornima (July), and Sri Gurudeva’s Jayanthi (December).

The family shall have the deceased body cremated in their own state, according to local and state laws. The ashes may be carried or mailed to the ashram. State and national health regulations regarding travel with or shipment of human ashes must be observed. The metal disc that holds the ashes closed in the box from the crematory has vital information that needs to be recorded at the service site. Do Memorial Service General Info not remove or replace this disc and be sure this is in place when mailing or bringing the ashes to the Ashram Coordinator. This is mandatory.

In preparation for the services, the family member should speak to the Memorial Coordinator about details of the service, such as optional music, flower arrangements, copy and photo for the programs, special religious prayers, and other logistics. If you wish the involvement of a particular swami or minister, check with the Coordinator. Please, do not speak to them directly. If you have a specific faith tradition to be followed, tell the Coordinator.

Any media for the service must be prepared by you or a friend (not the Ashram staff) and must be planned with the Coordinator and ashram technical crew to ensure the availability of needed equipment.

Other options to discuss with the Ashram Coordinator include:

• Live streaming – The service may be available and an additional cost
• Sponsorship: Friends of the deceased may wish to offer a memorial gift to the Ashram in their name
• A special seating area for the family present – at a special meal offered or a regularly scheduled meal. A special luncheon meal may be offered in the deceased’s memory for an additional cost. Again, review with your coordinator.
• A Reception Friends and relatives may wish to share gather and memories after lunch, often at a nearby home or in an Ashram classroom. The family may request a specific facilitator for the sharing. Music and storytelling and sometimes favorite refreshments of the deceased are common offerings.

Interment in the ashram will always provide friends and family a comfortable, peaceful, and welcoming place to visit when they wish to retreat and remember their loved ones. Fees for the Memorial Service and additional options may be found on the Memorial Services Contract. Fees for room/board, at or by the ashram are not included in the memorial service fee. Group pricing may be available for family members.

The Ashram Committee that usually facilitates these memorial services includes but is not limited to Swami Sarvaananda and the Reverends Bhavani and Bhagavan Metro.

May we all be filled with Peace, Joy, Love, and Light in all the precious moments of our lives. Om Shanti

Yogaville Memorial Contract

An agreement one may use to make a reservation for a Yogaville memorial for oneself or a loved one.

Chidambaram in Yogaville

Chidumbaram is where the body of Swami Satchidananda is interred.

Effigy of Swami Satchidananda at Chidambaram

Daily pujas are held in celebration of the life of Swami Satchidananda inside Chidumbarum.

Burial vs Cremation

In 1970, just a couple of weeks prior to the Woodstock Festival, Karuna Kreps got to drive Sri Gurudev in her father’s white convertible Cadillac to Princeton, N.J., where he would be speaking at a convent. At age 18, she had just gotten her driver’s license, and he taught her to, “Always drive 7-10 miles above the speed limit.” As she helped him unpack a small bag in his hotel room, she asked him for permission to pose a question. This is how she recalls the conversation more than 50 years later:

“Yoga teaches that we are not the body and, after they die, many Yogis get cremated. Does that really  not cause any pain?,” she asked.

Gurudev laughed gently at her innocent, naive concern. He assured her that, “No, it does not cause any pain. When the brain does not function, it won’t experience anything.  Sometimes, however, if the person who dies was of higher consciousness, a teacher, or Guru, the devotees may prefer to not cremate the remains. Instead, they put the body in ashes in a mausoleum so that it and its peaceful energy stay present for many future generations. People who never knew the teacher can come to visit the site and feel the benefits of being there.”

This conversation occurred many years before Chidambaram was built as Sri Gurudev’s final resting place. Since Swami Satchidananda left his physical form in 2002, daily pujas are held in Chidambaram to honor his memory.  Chidambaram overlooks the LOTUS and the Yogaville Memorial Garden. Chidambaram and LOTUS have become pilgrimage destinations in Yogaville, Virginia.


Welcome to Yogaville sign
Sivananda Hall

When visitors come to your memorial or to Sri Gurudev’s, they will find a warm welcome, with optional accommodations, and fine vegetarian food, should they choose to stay at Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville.

Grief to Celebration,” a talk for the bereaved by reverends Bhagavan and Bhavani Metro, from Yogaville’s Virtual Memorial Service, October 30, 2022.

Interment & Burial Options

 Compare Local Funeral Homes

Green Burial

The Green Burial Council
Green Burial FAQs
Funeral Choices for a Changing World
Green burials: Everything you need to know about the growing trend
The Green Burial Cafe (Monthly meetings)

Cremation Services

The family shall have the person’s body cremated in their own state, according to local law. The ashes may be carried or mailed, to the ashram. State and national health regulations regarding travel with or shipment of human ashes must be observed. The metal disc that holds the ashes closed in the box from the crematory has vital information that needs to be recorded at the service site. Make sure this in place when mailing or bringing the ashes to the Ashram Coordinator.

Better Place Forests

Human Composting

The New York Times published a guest article by Caitlin Doughty, a mortician and the author of three books on death and the funeral industry. She founded The Order of the Good Death, a nonprofit that promotes end-of-life alternatives. Her book. With her book, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, she set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.

Donating the Body for Medical Science

Body Farms in Texas

Memorial Reefs

Died in a Penthouse, Buried in a Pauper’s Field

A dwindling group of professionals is tasked with navigating the often fraught passage from life to death. (May require NYTimes subscription)

Are You Prepared to Die?

Integral Yoga - Swamis and Ministers

Blog Posts on Burial & Interment

Memorials & Interment

Alkaline Hydrolysis – Water Cremation

Alkaline Hydrolysis – Water Cremation

Alkaline hydrolysis is a chemical process that uses a solution of 95% water and 5% potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide to reduce a body to components of liquid and bone. Bone fragments are retained so they can be dried and turned into a substance similar to...

read more

Interfaith Services

LOTUS – Light Of Truth Universal Shrine

The interfaith principals developed by  Swami Satchidananda and embodied in the LOTUS Center for All Faiths, The Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), Memorial services may reflect the preferred traditions of the grieving family.

LOTUS is a unique temple dedicated to interfaith understanding and the Light within all faiths. Individual altars represent and honor the different world faiths and spiritual paths. The doors of LOTUS are open to welcome people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

LOTUS Center for All Faiths (LCAF)

LCAF Lotus Center for All Faiths Logo

The LOTUS Center for All Faiths (LCAF) was founded in 1996, by Sri Swami Satchidananda, to share the message of the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine: “Truth is one, paths are many.” Its mission is to promote world peace and interfaith harmony through a greater understanding of the unity underlying the diversity of the various spiritual paths.

LCAF organizes educational interfaith programs, oversees Yogaville’s celebration of the main holidays of the major faith traditions, and it coordinates interfaith prayer services at Yogaville. Additionally, staff members attend interfaith gatherings coordinated by other organizations and they invite representatives from local and national faith-based groups to give talks at Yogaville.

Memorial Guestbook

Use this online guestbook  to leave your stories about loved ones lost.


Write a new entry for the Integral Yoga Memorial Guest Book


Warning: This form can only be used if JavaScript is enabled in your browser.


Fields marked with * are required.
Your E-mail address won’t be published.
Your entry will only be visible in the guestbook after we reviewed it.
We reserve the right to edit, delete, or not publish entries. 

1 entry.


Karuna Kreps Karuna Kreps from Austin, TX wrote on July 2, 2021 at 7:39 pm

NARADA BURTON GREEN, June 14, 1937 – June 28, 2021

Rest in peace gentle soul. Narada was among the very first sangha members, having met Sri Gurudev when he first came to the United States. Swami Satchidananda gave him the name Narada. Narada performed music for Sri Gurudev with the greatest of love echoing through each note.

He left New York to live in Amsterdam on a houseboat. In this video portrait, Muldavian Blues, you can learn how jazz [ianist Burton Greene evolved from the pursuit of the American idiom to a more pressing awareness of his own Eastern European Jewish roots. See the video portrait of him.


Please use the Guest Book form, above, to leave your personal remembrances of a sangha member who has left the party. Please state your name in the top field and put the name of the lost friend or family member in all caps on the first line of the comment field.