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Ashram Mission Statement
We aspire to live the Teachings of Haidakhan Baba, to share the Love of Babaji
and the Divine Mother with others, to hold this Ashram as Their Home,
to serve humanity, and to be stewards and caretakers of the land.
Dear Friends of the Ashram,
Shri Babaji always had large ceremonies for the nine days of Navratri. Hundreds would flock to be with Him and sit at the sacred fire with Him. This still continues at His ashrams throughout the world. It is such an auspicious time to be together in prayer to the Divine Mother. This year we have two weekends in the nine days which run from Saturday, April 5 through Sunday, April 13.
We have heard from people all over the country who will be joining us at Navratri. Many will be physically present others are joining us in spirit through their prayers, thoughts, and fire ceremony sponsorship. Read below for more about Navratri and details about joining us.
Five days after Navratri, the Bhole Baba Bhajan Band will take off for yet another tour. They will begin with a program in Denver and then fly to the East coast. Please read below for locations and the link to download flyers for the events. This may very well be the last tour before next fall, so if you are in any of the areas, please join us for a very high evening.
March was a busy month with an energetic and high-spirited Shivaratri, a children's program, full-moon fire ceremony, and a long Easter weekend. Go to recent events for photos and reports of what has been happening here at your Ashram in the magnificent Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Our evening aarati will remain at 6pm through the month of April changing to 7pm on May first. Morning aarati will continue to be at 7am. This month our new-moon fire ceremony is on Saturday, April 5 (day one of Spring Navratri) and the full-moon fire ceremony is on Sunday, April 20 (Hanuman's birthday). All fire ceremonies begin at 10:08am and are followed by a meal. If you would like to participate by sponsoring a fire, we would like to send you a blessed item from the ceremony. They are:
- $27 sponsorship - copper, brass, nickel Om Namah Shivaya bracelet
$54 sponsorship - Sandalwood Mala
$108 sponsorship - Rudraksha or Crystal-Rudraksha Mala
You can make the donation on line by just clicking here or call 719-256-4108 or e-mail the Ashram at info@BabajiAshram.org or send us a check at P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131. We are continually grateful for all of your support.
In truth and love, Ramloti
Saturday, April 5 - Sunday, April 13
All eyes will be on Mother in all of Her regality, beauty, and spring adornment during the Navratri festival from Saturday, April 5 through Sunday, April 13. Spring Navratri is a celebration of nine days that we set aside to honor the Divine Mother.
Each day there is a fire ceremony at 10am, followed by a discourse on the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam (stories of the Divine Mother) after which lunch is served. There are special pujas, reading of the 700 verses praising Mother, chandan, aarati and singing of lots of chants all beginning at 6:45am each day.
Although we are quite full already, there is still some room for you if you are able to come for any or all of the celebration. If the Ashram is full, we can give you a list of other accommodations in the area so that you can join in the festivities. It is such a special time, we hope you can attend. Call the Ashram at 719-256-4108 or email us at info@BabajiAshram.org to reserve space or for more information.
The nine day festival is divided into three sections. The first three days we honor Durga, asking Her to do away with any of our propensities that keep us from our spiritual path. The next three days, we pray to Maha Lakshmi asking Her to fill us with satvic or uplifting tendencies. On the final three days, we beseech Mother Saraswati to confer Divine Knowledge upon us.
If you can not make it in person, consider setting aside a portion of each of the nine days to pray or sing to Mother. You may also send your prayers to be put at the feet of Mother during those days or sponsor a fire ceremony in Her honor. If you are planning on sponsoring a fire ceremony, you may want to consider which aspect of Mother you would like to propitiate and choose one of Her days. You can make the donation on line by just clicking here or call 719-256-4108 or e-mail the Ashram at info@BabajiAshram.org or send us a check at P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131 ($27, $54, or $108). Have a blessed Navratri. Jai Ma!
Bhole Baba Bhajan Band on Tour Again
This time Kailash and Ramloti will be joined by Cindy Cleary and Premanand for the Bhole Baba Bhajan Band 2008 Spring Tour sponsored by the Ashram and the American Haidakhan Samaj. It will begin in Denver on Friday, April 18 with an evening of puja, bhajans, projection of Babaji and His Ashrams in India and Crestone, followed by an Indian dinner. It will be held at Windsong Condo (East clubhouse) 7-9pm. Call Arvind at 720-933-7884 for info and directions.
They then head to Shrewsbury, MA for an all day program at Nirmal and Indira Sharma's home of fire ceremony, aarati, bhajans, images, satsang, and Indian feast honoring Hanuman's birthday on Sunday, April 20.
Other stops will be New York City (April 22), Brooklyn (April 23), Philadelphia (April 25), and Washington DC (April 27). Click Here to link to the locations, dates, times, contacts and downloadable flyers. Please spread the word to your friends as it is an extremely uplifting event. You can also call the Ashram at 719-256-4108 for more information.
Annual Samaj Meeting, July 19 and 20
Each year the American Haidakhan Samaj holds its annual meeting at the Ashram, this year it will be on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20. The American Haidakhan Samaj is the national Babaji organization that helps spread Baba's teachings through publications, tours, workshops, and supporting Babaji centers throughout the country. This yearly gathering is an important event at which the programs for the upcoming year are discussed and put into motion. To make reservations for this very busy weekend, call the Ashram at 719256-4108. For more information about the Samaj, go to www.BabajiSamaj.org
Annual Family Week with Concurrent Devi Workshop, July 21 through July 25
Since summer is around the corner, folks are already making their plans to attend this very popular week at the Ashram. The dorm fills up quickly for this program, so it feels important to let every one know well in advance so that they have a chance to attend too.
From 10am until 1pm each day there are programs going on for children. This year the theme is on service and the five mahayagnas (the great duties in the Vedic culture to the Creator, to Nature, to our elders and dependants, to those who dedicate their lives to service, and to the animals). In addition to exploring these topics, the children will learn chanting, help with karma yoga, learn yoga, visit other spiritual centers, go on hikes, and do art projects. In the afternoon the adults organize field trips for the children to the Sand Dunes, the hot springs swimming pool, horseback riding, and other activities.
While the children over five-years-old are supervised, the adults have the option of participating in a workshop each day from 10am - 1pm. This year the Ashram Board of Directors if very excited to announce that it will be on the Devi or the Divine Feminine. It will begin with the Devi in general and then proceed over the next five days to cover Mother Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and finally Haidakhandeswari (whom Shri Babaji said is a combination of all three). The workshop will include history, stories, chants, stotrams, meditations, sacred movements, mudras, symbols, yantras, the Devi Bhagavatam, the sapta sati, and ceremony all focused on the Divine Feminine.
We will give more information on both programs as the dates draw nearer. In the meantime, you can call the Ashram at 719-256-4108 or email us at info@BabajiAshram.org for more information and to make reservations.
Just a short reminder that Annelou Perrenoud is still collecting stories from devotees about how he or she first came to Babaji. Please email them to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also willing to interview you over the phone or in person. Her phone number is 719-256-5051. We also have many inspiring stories up on the Ashram web site. Click here and enjoy.
Kirtan Hall Update
Shivaratri was another great evening in our abundantly sized kirtan hall. Over 100 people attended the all-night chanting. Even though it was a cold night outside, it was warm and toasty with the radiant solar heat in the kirtan hall. There was plenty of room for all the musical equipment, dancing, and sleeping children. After years of sitting on top of each other for events like this, we are so grateful for this wonderful space.
We are pleased to let you know that through your generosity, matching pledges, monthly tithes, and all of your shop purchases, our kirtan hall loan now has been paid down to $43, 600. If you have any ideas on ways to help us pay down the loan sooner or would like to organize a fundraiser, please call the Ashram at 719-256-4108.
We would like to encourage you to make a monthly automatic pledge to pay down the kirtan hall loan. Either call the Ashram at 719-256-4108 with your credit card number and ask us to charge a set amount every month ($108, $54, $27, $10.08....) or go to our website and ask PayPal to deduct a certain amount from your account each month, Click Here. You can also send a check to the Ashram at P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131 or donate online by clicking here. We want to thank you for all of your continued support in this meaningful project.
What an invigorating and inspiring night Maha Shivaratri was last month. Over 100 people participated in all or some of the all-night chant. There were five harmonium players, three harmoniums, six drummers with drums, cymbals, chimtas, tambourines, and shakers keeping the music going non-stop with fresh, new, enchanting chants to Lord Shiva.
The only pauses were every three hours for the lingam aarati when we performed the lingam puja. At this time, each person had the opportunity to come forward and bathe the lingam in milk, yogurt, ghee, and honey.
The amount of small children and babies attending the all-night function was amazing, at least a dozen or more. Many were put to sleep in the back of the kirtan hall so that the parents could sing and dance all night. The dancing was also non-stop keeping everyone energized. It is always amazing how easy it is to stay up all night when there are so many people together singing and dancing in praise of the Divine.
The next morning at 10am we had our new-moon fire ceremonies. Many of our all-nighters attended along with several other community members. It was a cold but sunny and beautiful day. Gathering afterwards in the earth ship for a lovely Indian bhandara and hot chai was a welcomed treat. Thank you to all who helped make this such a special celebration in honor of Lord Shiva.
Bal Gokulam (Children's Program)
Our children's program, Bal Gokulam, has become very popular among the community. We have many children and parents that look forward to coming every time and there is also always new participants.
One mother shared how amazed and happy she was about her children putting into practice what they learned. She said her daughter sometimes has nightmares and when that happens she now ask Ganesha for help. It was also beautiful to see how Sage, who is a little over one year old, came over by herself and wanted to wave the aarati lamp when we were doing the puja.
This time we celebrated Krishna, the God of Love and Light. We also talked about how Krishna loves music and dancing.
The story we shared was about Krishna and Sudhama, who was Krishna's schoolmate. Sudhama was very poor and his wife asked him to visit Krishna to ask for help for the family. When arriving at Krishna's palace in Dwaraka, Sudhama was so thankful for Krishna's hospitality and friendliness that he forgot to ask for anything. Although Sudhama was very poor he brought some food to offer to Krishna. On his way back home he was only thinking of Krishna's loyalty and generosity and had totally forgot about his worries. Once home his wife met him dressed in a beautiful sari and his children had plenty to eat. His wife said it all happened by the grace of Krishna. After this Sudhama worshipped Krishna with even greater devotion and he did not have to ask for anything anymore.
This time we let the children share their favorite yoga postures with us. It all started with Jade sharing that the day before the clouds had taught her some new yoga postures while she was looking out of the window of their car. So we thought it was a good time to let the children teach us. This is what Jade said about doing yoga, “It is lot's of fun, it is very relaxing and it makes my body feel open and wide”
Out next Bal Gokulam will be on Saturday May 17th from 10am until noon followed by a potluck lunch. Please call Cindy 719-256-5007 or Shila 719-256-4477 for more information or to let them know what potluck dish you want to share.
Students and Ceremonies
Most months we host students at the Ashram. Sometimes they are here for just a few hours to see the temple and other facilities and to learn about the tradition. This month we had a group of youth from Shumei International. Although few of them spoke English, their questions were probing and deep. The hours sped by as we held satsang in the temple.
The following week, we were invited to the Shumei Center for a traditional tea ceremony with a priest who had traveled here from Japan and had been studying and performing the ceremony since he was a young man. Several of the other spiritual groups representatives also attended, once again making Crestone such a very special place to live and to have Shri Babaji's home.
A few days later, students from Colorado College and Princeton came for part of their Spring break. They helped prepare for the upcoming fire ceremony and bhandara. They really loved the chanting in the temple and enjoyed dressing up in saris for the aarati service. We appreciate and treasure all of the students that come to the Ashram.
With Easter weekend falling on the full-moon and Spring Equinox, many celebrations and ceremonies took place. On Friday we had our full-moon fire ceremony and bhandara with about forty in attendance on this beautiful sunny day.
The next day, several of the children came up to the Ashram and under Cindy Cleary's guidance, made crowns for the kumaris to be given out the last day of Navratri.
That day there was also a Native American Medicine Wheel gathering near the place that Lexam is contemplating drilling for oil. Over one hundred people prayed for the land and that the highest purpose would be served. To learn more about this cause, you can go to: slvwater.org
Easter Sunday morning saw well over a hundred people at the Sunrise service and mass at the Catholic Carmelite Retreat Center. People of many different religious backgrounds sang and prayed together celebrating the rising of Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, those of us that attended from the Ashram, hurried home after the mass to sing aarati in the temple with our many visitors that had traveled from Denver to spend Easter morning with the Divine Mother and Shri Babaji.
Calendar for 2008
April 5 - April 13 - Spring Navratri, nine days to honor the Mother. Daily fire ceremonies, pujas, discourses, and readings.
April 18 - Denver Fundraiser at Windsong Condo (East clubhouse) 7-9pm. Bhajans, slides, and dinner. Call Arvind at 720-933-7884 for info and directions.
April 19 - 27 - Bhole Baba Bhajan Band Northeast Spring Tour
July 18 - Guru Purnima Day, the day you honor your guru. Paduka Puja at 9:30am, Fire ceremony at 10am followed by an Indian feast.
July 19 and 20 - Annual American Haidkakhan Samaj meeting. To find out more about the Samaj go to their web site at www.BabajiSamaj.org
July 21 - 25 - Annual Family Week at the Ashram with concurrent workshop on the Devi.
September 29 - October 7 - Fall Navratri, nine days to honor the Mother. Daily fire ceremonies, pujas, discourses, and readings.
October 28 - Diwali, the festival of lights. Fire ceremony at 10am. Chanting at 7pm.
Maha Lakshmi Shop Report
Dave Stringer and his kirtan band were in Crestone for a concert. It was a great evening and the next day the band members visited the temple and Ashram. The Shop bought three of Dave's CD's. They are Mala, Japa,and Divas & Devas. They are great music and full of shakti. They sell for $18. We are still working on the Bhole Baba Bhajan Band CD with the hopeful unveiling on our 2008 Spring Tour. It will sell for $18 as well.
The Shop recently received a new shipment of aarati lamps, two single designs and one five-wick. It also received small crowns and malas for murtis (just in time for Navratri). We are in the process of placing our annual order for murtis, harmoniums, and dollaks to India. If you would like us to order you something special or reserve you a harmonium, please call us with your request. You can call the shop toll-free at 866-686-4185 to order or for more information. We are open daily from 9am until 5pm. We do take Mastercard, Discover, and Visa. To view items in the Maha Lakshmi Shop, please refer to our newly updated web site at BabajiAshram.org.
You may order on line through paypal or e-mail us at email@example.com, or of course, place the order over the phone. We love to talk with you. We thank you for all of your shop purchases as the revenue from the shop is a huge support for the Ashram.