The Vedanta Retreat
A holy shrine in the lap of Nature
A place of contemplation, serenity, beauty, and peace for all
“This Ashrama had been conceived of and planned with the expressed object of presenting to the seekers the fullest opportunity possible to cultivate their spiritual life. Here in the natural setting of quiet and solitude, away from the bustles and hurry of city life, they will be able to cultivate introspection and discipline, to bring out the Divine Perfection within, to its fullest manifestation.”
--- Revered Swami Devatmananda (Head of Vedanta Society of Portland, 1932-54)
In a remote, wooded setting, only 25 minutes from downtown Portland, Oregon, is a unique spiritual retreat owned and managed by the Vedanta Society of Portland since 1936.
Read below to learn about the history of the Vedanta Retreat.
Planning Your Visit to the Vedanta Retreat, Walking trails and shrines are open to visitors from dawn to dusk.
All buildings are private and closed to the public, except for special occasions.
There are no restrooms, water, or garbage facilities.
To maintain the serenity of the Vedanta Retreat:
There is no on-site parking so please park in the limited parking area near the cul de sac.
Driveways should never be blocked.
Adherence to the CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 is expected.
No dogs are allowed
No hunting or firearms are allowed
No smoking, open flames, incense, or candles are allowed
No bicycles or off-road vehicles are allowed.
Activities Held at the Retreat
The Retreat provides a facility for Portland Vedanta Society members to gather often during the year to participate in ancient chants, devotional songs, spiritual talks, and meditations.
On the first Saturday of the month (from April to October), a monthly Karma Yoga is organized from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the help of the Friends of Vedanta Retreat. This is a wonderful opportunity to form special bonds with other spiritual seekers and nature lovers as we maintain our Retreat property together.
Every Fourth of July, the Vedanta Society organizes a gathering called Interfaith Freedom Fest where it invites one or two guest speakers, offers a program focused on Vedantic teachings and another religion, and provides a guided tour of all shrines and trails.
Three times a year, Antar-Yoga is organized by its members from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Twice a year a program called Unwind in Nature is organized.
Once a year a Yoga program is organized.
If interested in attending any of the above activities, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The History of the Retreat
The Retreat’s unique mission began in response to a vision attained by Swami Vivekananda when he was travelling in the Swiss Alps in 1896. Swami Vivekananda, after introducing the ancient Vedanta teachings to both the United States and Europe, pondered deeply as to what was needed to promote the spiritual growth of mankind in this present era. Inspiration came to him to establish Ashramas in the West similar to those of the Himalayas. What would make the Western Ashramas unique would be to allow monks and householders, men and women to practice the life as promoted in the Vedantic scriptures.
Swami Devatmananda, the third minister in charge of the Portland Vedanta Society (1932 to 1954), understood Vivekananda’s prescription for the modern world. Thus, in February of 1936, to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna, the 120-acre logged land was purchased. He and the pioneer members of the Portland Vedanta Society planted hundreds of trees, dozens of flowering shrubs and sacrificed through the Great Depression to nurture and shape the Retreat. The passion and hard work of the volunteers over the years transformed the formerly clear-cut land into a beautiful forest.
By 1953, they saved the funds necessary to build an octagonal Main Temple and dedicated it to Sri Sarada Devi commemorating Her 100th birth anniversary. Exhausted, and in poor health, Swami Devatmananda returned to India leaving the new Temple building, fledgling plantings, and Society leadership to Swami Aseshananda in 1955. Swami Aseshananda and the Society used the Retreat weekly for many years, increased the planting of hundreds of new trees, and in the mid-1970s, built eight shrines (one for each of the major world spiritual paths), a few meditation sites, and forged trails connecting them. Following Swami Aseshananda’s passing in 1996, Swami Shantarupananda took charge and continued the tradition by blessing those that visited the Retreat until his passing in 2015. Swami Chandrashekharananda arrived on December 29, 2015, and added a few new shrines to the Retreat.
In March 2020, 169 acres of the adjacent property were added to the Vedanta Retreat.
Every spiritual tradition in the world recognizes the importance of solitude in the spiritual journey. The Vedanta Retreat in Scappoose strives to preserve such a space to continue meeting that need.
For more photos of the Vedanta Retreat at Scappoose please see our Current and Historic galleries.
It is not a public park. It is owned and maintained by the Vedanta Society of Portland as per the guidelines of Multnomah County. Please be contemplative to enjoy the serenity and peace of this shrine. Kindly help us to keep this natural shrine clean and tidy. The visitors are permitted to enter the Vedanta Retreat at their own risk and walk only through its trails".
Intoxicants are prohibited and it is a no noise zone. Please mind your child/children at all times.
The Retreat serves its members, friends, neighbors, and those from many different spiritual traditions. The Retreat’s mission is to provide a peaceful environment to pray, meditate, or carry out personal practices that move one closer to God. It is a sanctified place made holy by the sincere intentions of hundreds of pilgrims. People from every continent have come to visit and typically have left more fulfilled.
Presently, it provides a facility for Portland Vedanta Society members to gather often during the year to participate in ancient chants, devotional songs, spiritual talks, and meditations.
Once per year, on the Fourth of July, the Vedanta Society organizes a gathering called Interfaith Freedom Fest where it invites one or two guest speakers, offers a multimedia show focused on Vedantic teachings and another religion, and provides a guided tour of all shrines and trails.
Other friendly communities organize Karma Yoga and Doing Good programs.