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Rudi's Shrine

Rudi's shrine, where his ashes are interred, is located in the central courtyard of the Movement Center, founded by Swami Chetanananda, in Portland, Oregon.


Rudi's shrine, where his ashes are interred, is located in the central courtyard of the Movement Center in Portland, Oregon. The design of the shrine is based on the innermost aspect of Nityananda’s mahasamadhi shrine, which has eight sides. Those represent the ashta siddhi or eight special powers that a highly accomplished practitioner can develop.  The construction is similar to the first shrine to Rudi at Big Indian that was built by Swamiji and the Bloomington ashram. While the ashram was in Cambridge, a temporary shrine was erected at the retreat house on Martha's Vineyard.

When the ashram moved to Portland, Rudi’s shrine became one of its central features. The shrine was consecrated with a havan and a pranapatistha ceremony during the ashram inauguration in October 1993. Those who have spent time at the shrine can attest that his energy is very strongly present there.  

The ashes of Rudi's brother David Rudolph and their mother, Rachel, are under the cherry trees next to the shrine.

Every week on Thursday mornings, the day devoted to the guru in the Hindu tradition, a short puja to Rudi is performed at the shrine. There is an abishek of the monument followed by offerings of a garland, incense, oil lamps, flowers, and sweets. Read more about the Rudi Puja.

This article includes Swami Chetanananda's remarks on the day of consecrating Rudi's shrine at its new home in Portland.

OCTOBER 24, 1993

by Swami Chetanananda

[from the Inauguration Issue of Rudra, the Nityananda Institute Newsletter, published in November 1993]

First, I want to take this opportunity to welcome everybody. I am sincerely grateful that all of you have come, those of you from Portland and those of you from across the world. I very much appreciate your taking the time to come here and share this extraordinary occasion with us.

It makes my heart overflow to be here today with Rudi's family, his brother and sister-in-law, who looked upon us in New York, at first, at least as a nuisance and maybe as a real cause for concern. Over the last twenty years they have become really deep and true friends of ours. It is wonderful to be with Rudi's friends from Bloomington, Indiana, Professor Thubten Norbu who knew him since the early sixties, and all of you from around the country. In this circle of friends, it's as if the whole history of our community and our endeavor is here with us.

Ever since 1971 when Rudi sent me back to Indiana to start an Ashram, I've been working constantly to create an environment that I thought really reflected the strength, sensitivity, caring and determination that Rudi embodied and transmitted. 

Rudi was a really remarkable man. When we were around him it was as if multi-dimensional worlds opened up to us. He worked enormously hard, yet in this tremendous hard work that he did, he didn't get tense or frustrated or tired. He became increasingly more loving and increasingly more able. In his devotion he showed up the way to become free from our own complexities and our own limitations and our own pain. 

That is so inspirational; how can we not follow? And in our following look what has happened. this place has come about as an environment which expresses our devotion to that extraordinary gift he made possible in our lives -- at a great personal cost to himself -- and it also represents our commitment to carry on that caring. Following his example, it may become possible that even one person will be inspired to rise above the difficulty of their own life and find something higher and finer that lives within them, that reflects or in some way manifests the qualities of the Absolute.

This Ashram is not about spiritual ideas. It is not about spiritual philosophy or traditions. It is about spiritual experience, the experience of spirit which exists prior to and transcends every tradition. It's about contact with the highest reality and living that contact every single day in our ordinary lives. It's about finding the balance between that extraordinary idealism and our pragmatic need to face the diversity and complexity of everyday life.

Rudi was an incredible man who introduced me to more diversity than I ever at first cared to deal with. Believe me, coming from a small town in Indiana, I wasn't exposed to much of it. But he showed the way for us to face diversity, to continually open ourselves to encompass it and find within it more and more reasons to actually live the inspired life that we discovered within ourselves. That life lives within everyone and is also the life of our community and the life of this Ashram.

It is because of Rudi that this place exists. It was Rudi who did the hard work. He spent years in India in a culture which was totally foreign to himself, and he really absorbed the essence of what spirituality is in India. This is amazing, because with all due respect to our Indian friends, teachers there train with more indirection and misdirection than straightforward, simple spiritual teaching. At least all the Indian gurus that I ever met seem to train you in what not to be like, and then if you're lucky, you stumble on to what spirituality really is. But Rudi dealt with that. He stayed true and pure in his own heart and got through it. He reached into, absorbed and understood the essence of what India has to offer -- the essence of what spirituality is in the whole universe. Rudi then put this forth to us in a very simple straightforward way, without any mis-direction. Especially for kids from Indiana who hadn't faced much diversity, Rudi's straightforwardness was an enormous benefit for which we will always be deeply grateful.

I feel more at peace in myself now than I have ever felt in my life because we have finally created an environment that truly reflects the qualities that Rudi carried around in himself. The character of the building, the quality of the community that happens within it, and the presence and the energy which is here -- in so many ways it reminds me of his company. I am really grateful to be able to offer him this splendid place to live.

I don't feel that this is my Ashram or that I have done anything in all this except remain steadfast in my devotion to Rudi. I think of this as our Ashram, and it exists only because of Rudi. It also exists because of Rudi's devotion to his own guru. This is a place where together we express our total unity of spirit with Rudi and Nityananda in our undertaking to palpably, with our hearts and minds, touch the absolute highest reality, which Nityananda and Rudi embodied.

So I once again welcome you all. It's been an incredible occasion to be here and share this with you. It's with a lot of joy that I look around the room and think about all of the really extraordinary experiences we've all shared throughout the years, and I want you to know that on behalf of Rudi and on behalf of Nityananda, I think I can safely say that this is their home and my home and your home and our home for the duration.

So it seems redundant to welcome you to your own home, but I do.

And now the Rudrananda Ashram is officially opened, and I think I should say, Sadgurunath Maharaj Ki Jay