In 1998-99 Babaji established a Panchayat, a body of his students, whom he trusted to guide the organization and the Centre after he was not available to do so. This was to protect the core mission of Dharma Sara Satsang Society, including the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga, and the principles of karma yoga, no private ownership, and classical ashtanga yoga that it is based on.
The purpose of the Panchayat, is to act as a council of elders whose responsibility it is to guide the organization and maintain the original aim of the Society, so that it does not go in a wrong direction. ‘Panch’ means five; traditionally a Panchayat is a council of five members of a community or village who are devoted to its aims and well being. They are trusted to ensure the sound governance of the community. To constitute the Panchayat, Babaji appointed a Sarpanch or facilitator/judge, and a Mahant, a pujari/spiritual guide, in addition to the five voting members.
In 2008 it was noted that there were some vacancies on the Panchayat. One member had died and two members had left the organization to fulfill other responsibilities. In January 2009 Babaji named three of his students to fill the vacancies and they were duly appointed at that time.
The Panchayat members are:
Sharada has been a student of classical ashtanga yoga since 1975, and has certification for Yoga Teacher Training 200 and 500 from Mount Madonna Center. She is one of the founding members of the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga, where she has lived for many years. Sharada is a longtime teacher and having taught at the Salt Spring Centre School for many years, she now teaches yoga philosophy and history of yoga at YTT and other Centre programs. Her other passion is Nonviolent Communication, which she practices and teaches.
Sri Nivas Brian Hutchings
Lakshmi Teresa McPhee
Lakshmi has been practicing classical ashtanga yoga since 1975. She has certification for YTT 200 and 500 from Mount Madonna Center. She holds a BA in Psychology, Professional Diploma after Degree in Education and a Masters in Adult Education from UBC where she taught and did administration from 1979-2010. Currently, she helps to plan, deliver and teach for programs at the Saltspring Centre of Yoga. Lakshmi is a founding member of Dharma Sara Satsang Society and has served on the Board of Directors for many years. She is very grateful to Baba Hari Dass for his wonderful inspiration and teachings.
Chandra Pamela Rose
Chandra has been practicing classical ashtanga yoga since becoming a student of Baba Hari Dass in 1974. She has certification in YTT 200 and 500 (2008) from Mount Madonna Center and serves as senior educational administrator of the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga YTT 200 program. Chandra holds a BA from Dalhousie University, a professional diploma (PDP) in education from SFU, and an M.Ed in Adult, Community and Higher Education from University of Calgary (2006), with a focus on spirituality in higher education. Chandra teaches pranayama and meditation and has been a featured speaker on teaching ethics at conferences for education and health professionals. She served on the Dharma Sara Satsang Society Board of Directors for several years.
Kalpana Andrea Tabachnick
Kalpana has been practicing classical ashtanga yoga since 1975 and teaching since 1994. She served as the Director of the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Santa Cruz, California for ten years and as Curriculum Developer and Senior Instructor for the Mount Madonna Center Yoga Teacher Training program for six years. Her background studies include certification in YTT 200 and 500 from Mount Madonna Center, intensive studies in ayurveda, as well as ongoing workshops in traditional and contemporary styles of asana. Kalpana has served as YTT Program Director since 2002 and has taught public and corporate classes throughout the lower mainland.
Divakar Mark Raetzen
Sarpanch, the facilitator/judge
Divakar has been practicing classical Ashtanga Yoga since 1976. He has served as President of the Dharma Sara Satsang Society from the early 1980s thru to 2015 and is one of the founding members of the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. Divakar has certification for Yoga Teacher Training 200 and 500 from Mount Madonna Center and is a long time teacher of pranayama, meditation and yoga philosophy at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga Retreats and annual Yoga Teacher Training.
Jaganath Darryl Janyk
Mahant, a pujari/ spiritual guide.
The Panchayat is a permanent committee, subject to changing membership provisions as specified in the by-laws of the society. It meets at its discretion. It responds to requests for guidance from the Board of Directors and it has the power to oversee and to nullify decisions of the Board of Directors that it deems to be inappropriate for the long term welfare of the Society. The Panchayat may, if it decides there is a necessity, suggest resolutions to be carried out by the officers and directors of the Society.
The Panchayat is to assure that the original purpose of the organization and the principles it is based on are preserved. Members of the Panchayat give support to the institutions: the Board, the Centre Committee, Salt Spring Centre of Yoga satsang and Vancouver satsang, YTT, etc. The Panchayat works for consensus so when there is conflict, disharmony, or in-fighting in the organization it can help reach a resolution.