In classical India, a remote hermitage of an ascetic or teacher which is a center for religious study and practice is called an ashrama. It may be a simple place where the guru and his disciples reside or it may mean a Hindu equivalent of a monastery or hermitage and may be highly complex with schools for religious education, guest houses, medical care and a host of charitable enterprises. The ashrama is dependent on voluntary contributions from individuals and rich business communities. Commonly at any ashrama it is the guru that is all important. He would lead an austere and disciplined life of meditation, study and instruction. In Hindu mythology such habitations are frequently depicted in Utopian terms as places where wisdom and Dharma flourished.

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