What is an Ashram?

Ashram means a place to invest in spiritual effort. 

Spiritual effort means that you invest in the crystallisation of your spiritual being. 
Crystallisation of Spirit requires and coincides with a deconstruction of the false self and its physical, emotional and mental patterns.
Nature requires that the vacuum left by the release of the temporary constructed identity is filled with something. Preferably something real and lasting (the true self, Sat Naam). 
Spiritual effort recognises that action counts. 
Therefore crystallisation of your spiritual being comes through embodiment of virtues through dedicated practical action. 
The ashram is the perfect place to be challenged and inspired by the principles and values which stand behind the virtues. 
The ashram is an environment which offers to poke and provoke you in such a way that will lead to confrontation and breakthrough into elevation of consciousness. 
Each student is challenged to follow a journey of obey (listen and do), serve (selfless giving, seva, karam yoga), love (awaken the bhakti, emotion to devotion), into excellence (alignment of the personal, micro-self with the impersonal macro-self). 
Here are the first 4 (of 10) virtues – which can be enough to set one free of the cycle of life and death; the karmic wheel of cause and effect. 
Humility: Go deeper than the low place of shame. Bow and be blessed. The alter is the alternative. Be small it contains all. 
Loyalty/obedience: Cleanses one from complaints, opinions, comparing and competing. Brings experience, which then brings understanding. 
Equality: see each person, including your self, and each task as having equal merit or value. 
Selfless service: God is the giver. Giving is Godly

Shiv Charan Singh