Founder and Mother
Luba Evans (Saraswati)
Saraswati is a free spirit dedicated to the evolution of consciousness since the beginning of times. She is the founder of New York Tantric Meet Up, Boston Tantric Meet Up, Galiana Meditation Retreat and the international movement Tantra Without Borders – entities that reflect her vision of personal growth, healing and spiritual realization.
Saraswati’s qualities encompass a lifetime of experience with wisdom and compassion, in a style that combines many ancient teachings and genuinely new insights into a synthesis that is uniquely her own. Students say that her mesmerizing voice, her exotic accent, her connection to the source “immediately places them into primordial states of consciousness”.
Saraswati is an artist, a weaver, a yogini, an authentic tantrika, an exquisitely powerful woman that radiates her creative shakti throughout the world.
Saraswati runs regular classes in New York and New England, as well as intensives and residential retreats for open and ongoing groups at Galiana. She also teaches in Europe and India, serving a global community of students.
“I am here to to help restore the ability to feel and love, maximize our potential as human, rejuvenate, heal, maybe even shift to a whole new dimension of possibilities. Life is sacred. Every moment of it is priceless.” ~ Saraswati
Saraswati’s love and gratefulness spreads to her mother Yevgenia Zayonts, her father Victor Zayonts, her daughter Masha Evans, her amazing friends and supporters, and to the celestial beings, constant guides and protectors.*
She is also grateful for the teaching that she was lucky to absorb or directly experience on her path from the following teachers: Osho, Lama Yeshe, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Lama Tsultrim Allione Rinpoche, Master Shanti (Sushant Kadam), Daniel Odier, Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita, Jelle Bode, Shri Param Eswaran, Charles Muir, David Deida, Stacey Davidoff, Ariel Danayu, Kathie von Koerber, Hernando Villa and Taita Juan Agreda, Roman Hanis, Stephen Leeds and Dr. Rachel Hott.
Saraswati’s understanding of the unity of form and emptiness and initiation into the depth of the teaching goes first and foremost to her first meditation teacher Alaya, The Universal Soul and honorable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the great Tibetan master who brought Tantric Buddhism to the West.
Living La Vida Luba
Luba: I wanted to see the world. All of it. Feel it, taste it, know it, own it and give it away. For a higher world. And then for nothing. For free. Here is my story.
Luba Evans was born to a lineage of independent, resourceful, and accomplished women. Her maternal grandmother was a professor of chemistry, Soviet factory constructor, esteemed community spiritual advisor, and a smoker of crude Belomor papirossen. Her paternal grandmother sang opera and held an artistic salon in her living room.
Luba’s mother is a powerful snake, disguised as a college professor and adopted grandmother to many happy children of the Greater Boston area. Luba’s daughter Masha is a beautiful wise and talented goddess, with an incredible sense of humor and ability to speak and understand many languages of nature, especially music. She works with children in many capcities, bringing a shift in consciousness to people at the earliest stage of development.
Dostoevsky or nothing
Luba: I loved Dostoevsky so much, it was so important for me. If I went on a date my first question was: “What is your favorite writer?”. If it was not Dostoevsky, the guy did not have a chance.
Luba grew up in a household of books and as a child discovered her favorite author, Dostoyevsky. Through his work she learned about the masks of human suffering and the multi-layered cover-ups for spiritual pain. She also learned about how people distance themselves from reality by heeding their own and others’ false projections. These projections become our demons. Through this lucid Russian author, she discovered how deep one can get an understanding of the intricate fabric of the soul.
Luba: I had such an enormous quest for love, love which changes hormones, shifts reality and solves everything, love being the most and the only important thing. Love to a man.
She thought that her greatest talent was to love fully and to merge completely. After years of self-inquiry she realized that her true quest was to discover oneness for all. She was looking for a spiritual path that would help her and others to shift into the feeling of unconditional love.
The Temple of Barnes & Noble
When she first came to the US she thought that Barnes & Noble was the biggest gift that she could receive. She called herself Agent Red and made a vow to herself that she would read every book in the Psychology, Philosophy and Religion sections if that was what was necessary to find the answer on how to find happiness for herself and others. It turned out that it was not necessary, and in fact it would probably be utterly unhelpful but in the process she put together a hefty collection of incredible books.
As Luba moved and made her home in different locations around the world, she brought these books with her. They are her real foundation. It is telling that if she doesn’t unpack them, she doesn’t intend to stay long. She is unpacking them at Galiana for the first time in 7 years.
All Roads led to Tantra
After years of exploration of different flavors of spirituality, mostly Buddhism, Raja Yoga and Ayurveda in the US and in India, she came to tantra. Tantra was an ever changing mysterious beauty which allowed her to embrace everything, including her deep appreciation for the mystery of femininity, motherhood and deep sense of eternity.
At a young age Luba made a commitment to herself to learn how to overcome suffering for herself and for others.
I realized what kind of love it is that moves everything. It is the love of the mother of the world, to the flesh of her flesh. By perceiving yourself as a mother of the world one can feel the love that lifts all veils of separation.
Luba’s first memory is of sitting in the kitchen with her grandmother’s housekeeper who was undergoing hardships with her partner. The four year-old Luba (in Russian, her name means Love) returned every complaint with a suggestion for how the housekeeper could empower herself to improve her romantic situation. Although the advice probably did not make any impact, it was Luba’s first teaching experience– the first of many to come. She continues to help broken hearts and soul-searchers to find their own inner strength and peace.
Mirrors, the first teacher
Luba: I would look into the endless reflections of me for hours and say “I love myself, and I love all of those, of mine…”
Another early memory is of her peering at the infinite reflections of herself in a wardrobe’s three-part mirror.
The endless images in the mirror allowed Luba her first mediation on eternity through the eternal reflections. Even now mirrors continue to play an important role in Luba’s life.
Luba: A good teacher is a pure mirror who can reflect the images of those around her without adding her own projections. Evolution of consciousness means becoming aware of one’s own projections; it is the process of returning consciousness to its original purity and eventually to the natural state where there is no separation between subject and object – just a continuum of consciousness.
In each human relationship, we reflect one another. We learn through these reflections and projections. We learn about the world, the design of human beings, the universe, and ourselves. Gradually, as we come to the understanding of the nature of our projections and relax our fears, we return to pure love – and then we really start living our life as a masterpiece.
The Dream of Galiana
The concept of the Galiana retreat came to the fifteen-year old Luba while reading the book Spanish Ballade by Leon Feihtwanger. In the story, Galiana is a palace constructed by a Spanish king to create a place where his beloved feels at home. His beloved was a young wise woman who tried to unite many different religions. It was an oasis where the king and his lover found so much peace and love that he ceased to wage war for seven years.
Like the original Galiana, Galiana Meditaion Retreat will become a sanctuary for men and women to heal wounds, achieve spiritual and physical peace, and find forgiveness within themselves. When people have a sanctuary to open their hearts it is easier to bring out their internal gods or goddesses, which every single being has within. This process is contagious; the sparks from one open heart ignites others.
Galiana will be a place for people to create and share a pulse that they can carry with them wherever they go and share with whomever they meet. It will be a place for the souls to clean their mirrors and reflect the light without obstruction.
Luba’s friends Sveta and Ron have been with her on every step of the creation of this magnificent project. Ganesh was always there as well, removing the obstacles. You can find his journal here.
Masha, Paul, Vlad and Meera, as well as a team of 30 volunteers have been providing relentless selfless service, support and making the impossible possible to manifest this dream into reality.
As she goes through life, Luba finds herself more and more aligned with the universe. She jokes that she stopped thinking, coming deeper and deeper into “just sensing”. At the same time she is very watchful of standing strong on her feet, while knocking on the heaven’s door. She believes that while living from the heart, it is important to engage all facilities on the spiritual path, including the ability to think rationally and to question things every step of the way.
Luba finds fulfillment in knowing she’s done well in her service to the universe. This service is the ability to witness and facilitate the rebirth of pure consciousness in other people. It comes through watching the contagion of inner fire, as each person glowing with the light illuminates those around.
Luba’s philosophy on religious or spiritual thought is that major concepts are similar within many different platforms. She says, “you just have to be a good translator to find the equivalences.” One of her first jobs in the US was being a translator, and this experience, just like many others, was invaluable on her path. In her “previous life” as she calls it, she worked at Dunkin Donuts and in a financial consulting firm. She moved on from both of these establishments and since then has created entities with a focus on human interaction and trust.
Motherhood is central to Luba’s worldview. She became a mother at the age of 17, but even before her daughter Masha entered her world, many boys and girls sought her out as a guide. For her, motherhood signifies the total ability to sacrifice anything without question for the happiness of one’s child. Motherhood is being strong and honest, taking responsibility, guiding through gentle correction, and signing the universe of your children into existence with joy. Masha is Luba’s paramount creation and biggest teacher; she is the purest mirror of her reality and consciousness. In this generation of children, Luba sees a lot of beauty. She hopes for all people to peer into the reflections of our children and learn.
Humor is an important part of Luba’s life and teaching. In her endeavor to create a new form of practice, which would combine a workshop and interactive theater, she has conceived a play called “When the Gods are Laughing”. She feels that laughter is the greatest medicine that we have received as humans. “Unfortunately, dogs do not have it”, she says, “But the Universe does!”
P. S. Luba loves all animals, especially dogs. Her dog Marty has been one of the greatest teachers and protectors in her life.
P.P.S. Saraswati is a name Luba adopted after one of her trips to India in 2006. In Sanskrit, Saraswati is the Goddess of wisdom, education, music and speech, the path from the throat to the third eye. She symbolizes the ability to express what one intuitively knows through wisdom. She is also the invisible river, one of the three great rivers – Ganga, Jamunda and Saraswati. It is at the crossing of these rivers that Hindu Sadhus go through renunciation and rebirth. She is also the protector of the arts and sciences, favorite goddess of Hindu musicians and artisans.
* Sarawati’s special gratitude goes to Jesus Christ, Babaji, Medicine Buddha and Shiva for their teaching and presence in the life of this planet.