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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,
What a joyfully busy month July has been with all of our activities. Each had its own specialness and beauty, all were wonderful. You can read below and see many photos of Fourth of July, Sondra Ray's group's visit, Guru Purinima, the Annual American Haidakhan Samaj meeting, Family Week, the Devi Workshop, and our annual Ashram rafting trip.
As we enter August, our schedule is a little lighter with the Opening Blessing for the Crestone Music Festival on the 2nd, Bal Gokulam on the 9th, and softball on the 10th. However, since the fire ceremonies fall close to or on the weekend (see schedule below) and the wonderful vacation weather, I think Baba and Mother will keep us busy with a very full month.
Evening aarati at the temple is at 7pm and morning aarati is at 7am. There is also a small fire ceremony every day (except new and full moon) at 6:30am when the weather is conducive (not raining or too windy and dry). The Maha Lakshmi Shop is open from 9am-6pm daily and lunch is served around 12:30. We invite you to visit.
The new-moon fire ceremony is on Friday, August 1 and the full-moon fire ceremony is on Saturday, August 16. There is a second new-moon fire ceremony on Saturday, August 30. 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 online 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
Bhole Baba Bhajan Band to do Opening Blessing at Crestone Music Festival
Although the Bhole Baba Bhajan Band has traveled and performed across America, it has never sung for the Crestone community. We are happy to announce that we will be presenting the Opening Blessing (we will do a puja) and singing four of our chants at the Music Festival on Saturday, August 2 at 10:30am. Don't miss this opportunity to join in this high-energy kirtan. We will also be selling our CD's, The Bhole Baba Bhajan Band, Live in Florida, at the information booth. It comes with the words for $15. We hope to see some of you there.
Bal Gokulam - Saturday, August 9
Our next Bal Gokulam will be on Saturday August 9, from 10am until noon followed by a potluck lunch. Each program focuses on a different aspect of the Divine, this time it will be on Lord Shiva.
The program includes stories, yoga, chanting, sharing, and puja. The program has become very popular among the community. We have many children and parents that look forward to coming every time and also there are always new participants as well.
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.
Community Softball Game
Jonathan continues to practice his hitting and hopes to hit a homer this time. Last month's softball games were so fun and so well attended that we have planned another one. It will be on Sunday, August 10 at 2pm in the Baca Park next to the fire station. This is a great time to come together with many Crestonians and laugh, play and get some exercise.
The Ashram has plenty of mitts, balls and bats. All skill levels are welcomed, the important prerequisite is a good sense of humor and a good appetite for watermelon at the end of the game! This is the game that no one strikes out in and often ends is a tie!
Fall Navratri - Sept. 29 - Oct. 7
It is never too soon to begin planning for the beautiful festival of Fall Navratri, nine days honoring our beneficent and magnificent Divine Mother. This year it will begin on Monday, September 29 and complete on Tuesday, October 7.
It is a very full time at the Ashram with daily fire ceremonies, special pujas, readings, discourses, aarati, feasts, and lots of chanting to the Mother. The last day, we also honor children after the fire ceremony.
The dormitory often fills up during this time, particularly on the weekend, so let us know if you plan to attend. A call at 719-256-4108 or an email at info@BabajiAshram.org will reserve a space for you.
It is truly a special time at Mother's home in the lovely Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
The Ashram Board of Directors
Each year before the Annual Samaj Meeting, the Ashram Board of Directors has elections for the upcoming year. Two of our Board members stepped down this year. Deborah Michelek, our chairperson, chose to not serve another year after serving faithfully for five years. We will miss her soft yet clear presence and input. Arvind Suman and his family moved back to India at the end of June.
To fill their shoes, we have elected two Crestonians, Vesper Gers and Paul Koppana. Both have been involved with the Ashram for years. (Paul built the dorm and the kirtan hall and Vesper worked for the Ashram.) They both also represent the young families (they each have one child) that are growing in number in the community. We so appreciate their willingness to serve in this way as we deeply appreciate all of our Board members.
- The following are the Board members for 2008- 2009.
Ramloti - President
Cindy Cleary - Chairperson
Jonathan Yates - Vice President
Premanand - Treasurer
Annelou Perrenoud - Secretary
Dan Sundaresen, Sastry Jayanty, Shashi Agarwal, Danush Dopierala, Vesper Gers, Paul Koppana - Members-at-large
Nirmal Sharma, Peggy Thompson, Richard Cahall - American Haidakhan Samaj Liaison
Kirtan Hall Update
As usual, during the busy ceremonial times such as Guru Purnima, the kirtan hall becomes very full with nearly one hundred people. It is always a blessing to have this large space after being on top of each other for so many years before the temple was expanded. The interesting thing, however, is that even when there are only a few of us present, the hall fills very full.
We are pleased to let you know that through your donations, matching pledges, monthly tithes, and all of your shop purchases, our kirtan hall loan now has been paid down to $38,500. 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 ($501, $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.
Fourth of July Weekend
Fourth of July has traditionally been a big weekend at the Ashram, and this year was no different. So many visitors, traveling from as far away as Texas and Florida, came for the day, the night, or the whole weekend.
Many brought food to prepare for our annual Fourth of July Indian Food Booth at the fair following the little parade in Crestone. We are always so grateful for the generosity of the families that organize this booth.
This year the Hari Morisetti family (who have been involved with this project for years) and the Sastry Jayanty family were the main drivers of the booth. It all went very smoothly, the Crestonian and other visitors loved the food, and the Ashram made $700 to help pay off the Kirtan Hall loan! Thank you to all that participated.
Sondra Ray's Group Visits
It is always a special treat when Sondra Ray brings her group of students to the Ashram for a few days each year. The level of service, generosity, and gratitude is always so welcomed. This year the visit coincided with Guru Purnima and the Annual Samaj meeting, so the extra help and energy was very appreciated. We always know that several of the folks will come back on their own (some have already been in contact with us) and we thank Sondra for introducing so many awesome folks to the Ashram.
It was a very high and special time as over a hundred of devotees gathered to celebrate Guru Purnima (the full-moon on which we honor our teacher) on Friday, July 18. People arrived from around the country for the festivities. Nirmal Sharma from Massachusetts, the president of the American Haidakhan Samaj, conducted the fire ceremony and the annual Samaj meeting. Many old devotees shared their stories of their experiences with Shri Babaji when He was in physical form. Newer devotees also shared inspiring accounts of their experience through visions and dreams. The energy that arises when we all come together like this is certainly felt by all. Here are photos of the paduka puja and the fire ceremony.
Annual American Haidakhan Samaj Meeting
On the Saturday after Guru Purnima, we held the annual meeting of the American Haidakhan Samaj. This is the national Babaji organization that helps spread Baba's teachings through publications, tours, workshops, and supporting Babaji centers throughout the country. This year we had over forty attendees at this important yearly gathering at which the programs for the upcoming year are discussed and put into motion. For more information about the Samaj, go to www.BabajiSamaj.org
t is hard to find words to explain the wonders of this week together exploring the different aspects of the Divine Mother. Through stories, chants, postures, mudras, and dance we delved into the mystery of the different energies personified by the Divine Mother's various forms.
We were so grateful that Sofia Diaz was able to travel to Crestone to facilitate this event, despite her busy schedule leading workshops around the country. One of the reasons she chose to do this one was because it was her birthday that week and she thought this would be a wonderful gift for her. She performed a beautiful dance from the tradition of Balasaraswati lineage of Devadasi sadir that she has studied for so many years, for all of us on that day. Annie Pace co-facilitated the workshop on the harmonium and Ramloti added the stories to the mix.
The five-day workshop began with the Devi in general and then proceed over the next four days to cover Mother Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and finally Haidakhandeswari (whom Shri Babaji said is a combination of all three.) The final day of the workshop was held at the Sand Dunes, a fitting place to end a very, very magical week.
Annual Family Week
Our Annual Family Week was a great success. A big thank you to Kelly Hosinger, Lisa Bhodie, Shila, Jai Shankar, and Brugesh for being an inspiring a fun team to lead the week.
The theme was on service and the five mahayagnas (the great duties in the Vedic culture). The first day focused on our duty to know and honor the Creator. The older children went to the Zen Center and learned about inward meditation.
The second day, was to always honor Nature. On this day the children prepared and participated in a small fire ceremony honoring all the devas in nature.
The third day was to honor our elders and dependants. The older girls set up a beauty parlor for elderly ladies and gave them massages, foot and hand bathes, and manicures and pedicures. The young children then came in with bouquets of flowers for them and presented a song and a skit while the older girls served them cookies and juice. Meanwhile, the boys went to an elderly man's home and did yard work for him.
The fourth day was to honor those who dedicate their lives to service and have no home of their own. On this day, they went to one of the neighboring retreat centers, Chama Ling, and learned about their practice and did some service for them on their grounds. The smaller children did karma yoga at the Ashram.
The fifth day was to honor the animals. Since this was also the final day, we chose to all go to the Great Sand Dunes and enjoy the beauty of nature, animals, the Medano Creek, and the magnificent dunes. Over thirty-five of us caravaned there with our lunches. It was hard to leave that mysteriously wonderful place.
In the evening, the children performed the chant they had learned that day. We then had lovely diners together and as the families left on Saturday, a few stayed behind and made one last final delicious lunch together. Perhaps the week could best be summed up in one teen's words. I wish I had a button that I could push that could put me right back here at any moment! Another teen expressed that she wished it would go on for at least a month!
The family week would not have been so fun or successful without our many karma yogis who cleaned, cooked and kept things going well. They were not only very joyful in their work (often the kitchen would rock with bhajans) but also represented a diverse amount of countries.
There was Pearl from Taiwan, Jai Shankar from Hispanic and Native American heritage, Brugesh from India. Deborah is a native USAer, Annelou is from Switzerland, Jenya from the Ukraine, Rachel from Taiwan and Shila from Finland. The feeling of a multicultural family certainly pervaded this family week.
Ashram Annual Rafting Trip
Through the generosity of our board member, Cindy Cleary and her husband Thomas we have begun a yearly Ashram rafting trip. Both of the Cleary's have extensive rafting experience and equipment.
The Arkansas River seemed just right this year to provide a fun and relaxing day of sun, fun, adventure, beauty, and water. We stopped for a picnic lunch along the way and some high diving from rocks and swimming in the cold river. The normal afternoon rains held up long enough for us to bring in the boats, dawn dry clothes and jump in our cars. It was a great and memorable day!
Calendar for 2008
August 2 - Bhole Baba Bhajan Band lead opening blessing and chants at the Music Festival
August 9 - Bal Gokulam, children's program from 10am until noon, followed by potluck.
August 10 - Softball Game at the Baca Park, 2pm.
August 16 - Full-moon fire ceremony at 10:08am followed by a meal.
August 30 - New-moon fire ceremony at 10:08am followed by a meal.
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
The shipment is finally in from India! The new harmoniums and drums are from Delhi Music House and are some of the best we have ever received. We still have one stand up model harmonium for $425 and one portable model for $375. The drums are $75. The new murtis are also magnificent. You can call the shop toll-free at 866-686-4185 to order or for more information. We are open daily from 9am until 6pm. We 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.