SHARANYA is a small and growing community-supported organization, run fully by devotee volunteers. All of our work in the world, from pujas and meditation circles, to project work in India, is carried out from a place of love and desire for engagement with Maa and Her creation through seva or spiritual service.

We welcome new community participation in all of our endeavors. As a spiritual seeker, you are invited to attend our public services and to learn about the Sha’can tradition by sitting in circle and volunteering. If you wish to participate but are located far from our home, we invite you to enroll in Kali Vidya, our online mystery school.

Help deepen and expand our offerings as well as your own personal commitment to the Divine and spiritual community as you feel called. There are always opportunities to join us, and we welcome your participation and inspiration!


SHARANYA Sanctuary Kali Maa

Choosing Our Path and Making a Difference

We at SHARANYA are planting seeds for conversations about all aspects of human engagement in and with life when visited through the lens of deep spirituality and our heart-felt love of Maa. Deep spirituality is a term we use in our tradition to highlight a recognition that inner and outer worlds inform and create reality;…


What we do

We function on multiple levels to serve the overall mission and vision of the organization by:

  • Offering worship services and helping to fulfill the spiritual needs of community
  • Co-creating the Sha’can tradition as a spiritual evolution of Eastern and Western thought, the(a)ology, lived experience, and devotion
  • Making the Divine Feminine/Divine Female in all Her guises, but particularly those of South Asian lineage honored by the Shakta Tantric path, accessible to Westerners
  • Educating about South Asian culture and religion
  • Offering rites of passage and life event ceremonies
  • Facilitating transformation for girls and women in order to promote self-esteem and empowerment
  • Providing spiritual pilgrimage opportunities
  • Engaging in interfaith dialogue and promoting cross-cultural awareness


Visit our VolunteerMatch page to learn about current volunteer needs in support of the organization.

[VolunteerMatch - Where Volunteering Begins.]


    { Weddings, Handfasting & Commitment Ceremonies
    { Renewal of Vows
    { Spiritual Guidance
    { Birth Rituals & Blessingways
    { Coming of Age, Puberty Rites & Menarche Rituals
    { Croning & Menopause Rituals
    { Crossing Over, Burial Rites & Funerals


SHARANYA is supported by a Council and Board made up of adepts, devotees and academics from the US and India. We are grateful for their partnership and support.

  • [tooltip tip=”Rashbehari is a temple Panda, or approved facilitator, at Kalighat Mandir in Kolkata, West Bengal. In addition to guiding SHARANYA pilgrims at this famous Shakta Pitha (the sacred site where Maa Kali’s big toe is said to have fallen to Earth) for over ten years, Rashbehari is a child of Maa, offering her bhajans (songs) and playing tunes to delight Her on his harmonium. Rashbehari’s love of the Divine Mother is deep and infuses all he does. His graciousness, hospitality, delight in the Mystery, and care for those who seek to know Her is profound and has resulted in a long and deep friendship with the organization. He has also been instrumental in our discovery of the delight of Shyama Krishna, the Black Krishna, as found at Kalighat. Hai Krishna Karuna Sindhu Dino Bhuntu Jagamapate Gopesha Gopeka Kanta Sri Radha Kanta Namo-stute!“]Rashbehari Das[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Shyam is the Founder and President, and residing Priest of the Maa Batakali Temple in Puri, Orissa (India). He has spent his life dedicated to the goddess Kali, and also organizes for social change in his hometown under the auspices of the Maa Batakali Cultural Mission-Puri. In conjunction with Chandra, who serves as the Chairman of the Puri Branch, Shyam has developed a Constitution that provides guidance for programs of transformation in a multiplicity of arenas.”]Shyam Sundar Dash[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Based in Kolkata (Calcutta), Milan is a Development Consultant and a researcher providing services to NGO/PVOs, research institutes, government bodies, universities, and donor agencies. He focuses on training, research, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, documentation, planning and budgeting. Further, he is a certified National Trainer and Researcher on HIV/AIDS, with qualifications as an abstract reviewer of different national and international conferences. Milan frequently presents papers at conferences worldwide on different issues of development, such as: the World Bank, sociology, demography, sustainable development and agriculture, women in development, children, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.”]Milan K. Dinda, Ph.D.[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Originally from Kolkata and now based in Toronto, Ontario (Canada), Ravi brings extensive experience to the organization from years of working in the nonprofit sector, both in India and Canada. His ability to work across cultures and translate among them is a gift he shares openly. Ravi has been a friend to the organization even prior to its official formation, helping guide inquiries and make introductions to people and places throughout the Indian subcontinent since 1998. Over the years, he has gifted SHARANYA with his willingness to aid with all manner of support, and has consistently opened both his home and his heart, facilitating understanding, relationship, and the building of bridges to others and to his homeland.”]Ravi Jain, MPH[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Elena is a Hindu pujari, Christian minister, and Wiccan clergy. She founded the Circle of the Feminine Divine in Stockton, California, a worship and study group devoted to exploring the meaning of the ‘Motherhood of God’ and its implications for understanding the world’s religions. She served for two years as President of the Interfaith Council of San Joaquin in Stockton, and is a guest lecturer at the University of the Pacific. Her first book, Combating Inner Terrorism: Strategies of the Goddess from the Devi Mahatmyam, is now available everywhere.”]Elena Kelly[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Jeff holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, where he is also the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He has written a number of books on comparative mystical literature, American countercultural translations of Asian religious traditions, and the history of Western esotericism from ancient Gnosticism to the New Age. These include: Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion (Chicago, 2007), The Serpent’s Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion (Chicago, 2006), Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism (Chicago, 2001), and Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (Chicago, 1995). Spiritually speaking, Jeff underwent an overwhelming, spontaneous shakti-pat or initiatory experience in Calcutta in 1989 during Kali-Puja, about which, out of which, and toward which he has written, thought, taught, and intuited ever since (the fullest description of this event can be found in Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom, hence his Sanskrit motto on both his letterhead and business card: svapna-siddha, ‘realized in a dream.’ Hence also his desire to support spiritual communities like SHARANYA. Pretty much nothing about him that you read on the Internet is true.”]Jeffrey J. Kripal, Ph.D.[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Murray has been a regular puja attendee since 2007 and has also become a valued volunteer supporting SHARANYA behind the scenes. He provides logistical support as well as photography at nearly all of the organization’s public activities. A computer software engineer by trade, he has been donating his skills and resources to support SHARANYA’s online presence, most recently focused on enabling the online school, Kali Vidya.”]Murray Kucherawy[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Nancy’s connection to the Divine Mother came directly from her love of the natural world and her feminist convictions. She teaches yoga classes and offers Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy in combination with Reike and counseling in Berkeley. She is a tremendous devotee of Maa and considers it a joy and an honor to be affiliated with SHARANYA and its important mission in the world. May all beings find love and purpose. May we all personally, collectively, and planetary find our way to renewal and survival. Jai Ma and Blessed Be.“]Nancy Leatzow[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”William developed his love for the many paths and faces of the goddess beginning with his own awakening inspired by his Grandmother, a devout Baptist Christian and pioneer woman who, as a little girl, migrated west traveling in a covered wagon. In his family travels, William lived much of his youth in East Africa. Living both in the African jungles and stateside, he developed an intimate appreciation and connection with indigenous peoples, shamanistic practices, the animal kingdom, and deep ecology. He has explored parapsychology and the turn-of-the-century works of the theosophists and steeped himself in many branches of the human potential movement, with roots both western and eastern. He has a strong and abiding connection with SHARANYA, and since 1997 through his own humble connection with the amazing graces of Maa has held the work of SHARANYA in great esteem.”]William Moulton[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Initiated by her parents into Shakta Tantra and the mysteries of Tara Mata, Chitrika has been a dedicated practitioner of the faith from her youth and a beloved child of Maa for as long as she can remember. Today, she leads homa (fire ceremony) rites, puja, and Tantric ritual for community regularly in Kolkata and Tarapith, West Bengal. A jotish (astrologer), she also brings this ancient wisdom to bear on her work with those she advises in the ways of the Divine Mother. Joi Tara!“]Chitrika Nyayaratna, M.A.[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Jim is Director of the Asian and Comparative Studies Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) where he has taught Sanskrit as well as Indian religion and philosophy for 27 years. His primary association with Goddess is in the Divine Mother (once named Mirra Alfassa), who was the spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindo. Jim has also done extensive research on the Sri Vidya tradition and on the Sri Cakra, which is seen as the subtle form of the Goddess in that tradition. He has spent many years teaching about the Indian Tantric tradition and reading the Sanskrit texts of that tradition. Jim holds a doctorate from UC Berkeley in South Asian Literature (Tamil).”]James Ryan, Ph.D.[/tooltip]
  • [tooltip tip=”Stuart, also known as Jivanand, has been a marriage therapist for 30 years, and was first choice to codirect Ram Dass’s ‘prison ashram’ and first in the US to bring yoga to the homeless mentally-ill in the 1970s. Stuart is Co-president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and a 20-year trustee for CIIS. He is the author of Eros Consciousness & Kundalini, Words From the Soul, and Your Perfect Lips, as well as numerous articles and chapters on psychotherapy and tantra yoga with presentations throughout the US, India, Europe and Russia. A thirty-year adept at anahata-nad, spontaneous yogic chanting, he has three CDs with Axis Mundi. Stuart holds a BA from Princeton and a Ph.D. from CIIS.”]Stuart Sovatsky, Ph.D.[/tooltip]

Initiates & Elders

Foundational to SHARANYA is our core of initiate practitioners who have committed to personal transformation and the work of engaged spiritual leadership. Through our ritual and teaching circles, these elders deepen the heart of Sha’can and our community’s evolution.

  • Balipriya[tooltip tip=”Balipriya Dahl has been actively involved in SHARANYA for over seven years and has been an initiate for six years. She is a member of the Yogini Teaching and Ritual Chakras, of Matrika Chakra, and an Apprentice. At the end of her Apprenticeship next year (in November 2015), she intends to ordain in the Sha’can tradition, Goddess willing. She seeks to debunk the myths and misinformation surrounding Tantra, making it accessible to a wider audience while maintaining and honoring its rich lineage.”]Balipriya Dahl[/tooltip]

  • Shuddha-Butler[tooltip tip=”Shuddha is entering into her fourth year in SHARANYA, and has been an initiate for two years. She is a member of the Yogini Teaching and Ritual Circles, Matrika Chakra, and regularly attends monthly Kali Puja. With the blessings and direction of Kali Maa and Chandra Maa, Shuddha hopes to follow the path to ordination and bring comfort, compassion, and healing to those with palliative/end-of-life care needs.”]Shuddha Butler[/tooltip]
  • Jayada[tooltip tip=”The first time I saw Maa I fell in love (it was as an image in Be Here Now by Ram Das when I was a child) and I searched for Her, consciously and unconsciously, until I finally caught up with Her, a little, when I found Sharanya in 2007. Deepening into my relationship with Maa Kali has been one of the defining turning points in my life. I initiated into the Sha’can tradition in 2008, and have been active in the community as a priestess and celebrant ever since.”]Jayada Shannon[/tooltip]

  • Purnamanaha Qalandar[tooltip tip=”Purnamanaha is a lover of the Dark One, follower of the Old Ways and ancestors, and initiated tantric yogini. Guided to SHARANYA through The Spiral Dance almost a decade ago, Purnamanaha is a self-described ‘queer, pro-womanist/mujerista, vegetarian/vegan, red anarchist shakta muslim,’ he has also received initiation into the Chishtī Order and is passionate about multireligious leadership and sacred activism. He has earned advanced degrees in divinity and social welfare, and advocates for intersectional, counter-oppressive frameworks for radical communal (r)evolution.”]Purnamanaha Qalandar[/tooltip]

Review the rest of our website for information on our offerings and initiatives. Contact us if we may provide additional information about ways to participate in the SHARANYA community.