I am writing this in Cisternino, Italy at the oldest ashram of Shri Babaji in the west. I am here with several hundred other Babaji devotees celebrating Guru Purnima, the full moon in July when you honor your Guru. This international gathering for Guru Purnima has been going on in Europe for the last 12 years, generally moving between the four largest ashrams there; Italy, Holland, Germany, and Switzerland. I am grateful that I have been able to attend many of these celebrations keeping the Babaji connections alive and vibrant and always meeting many new devotees as well.
This year, as an executive member of the Jai HO! Group, which was formed last year in Switzerland, I arrived a few days before the festivities to meet together and to help out as needed at the Ashram. Jai HO! which means “Victory to Haidakhandi Outreach!” is a group of devotees from around the world that meet on a Google hangout every two weeks to discuss what is going on at the various Ashrams and Centers of Shri Babaji around the world. We attempt to share ideas to help and support these places as well as other initiatives and projects to share Babaji’s love and service. It is a dynamic group and it is great to have Alok Banergee, the chair of the Indian Haidakhan Samaji, and Sanjeev from India to join us during these days in Italy with their feedback and ideas.
The American Haidakhan Samaj helped the Ashram purchase a new camcorder to facilitate the recording of devotees’ stories for all to savor. I have the new camcorder with me and I am recording interviews with different devotees from around the world that were with Shri Babaji in physical form. I look forward to getting them on YouTube when I get back to Crestone so that each of you can share in the wonder of Shri Babaji as I am doing as I am recording all of the stories.
Ferd, from Canada was in Crestone with his wife, Betty for our Annual Samaj meeting, and he brought a new 24-minute compilation of Babaji stories that he has entitled, “Babaji, Incredible Humour.” There is a little bit of crossover of stories from the last DVD he made of “Mahavatar Babaji” but this one is divinely funny. Click here to view it.
Finally, I am so touched by all of the people who have gathered here from around the world to celebrate our love for our Guru, Shri Babaji despite busy schedules. The work that has been put in particularly by all the Italians to make this huge Ashram ready and sparkling for this festival is commendable. The founder of the Ashram, Janki Rani, who is now 91 years old, was able to join us for some satsang and one of the fire ceremonies. She is a strong and devoted woman who was at Shri Babaji’s feet when I first arrived in India, so our ties go back many years. Our Lord, Babaji, keeps us all tethered to Him and once we have come close to Him, it is difficult, nearly impossible to ever stray too far away. I am once again grateful to be part of this wonderful family.
In truth and love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony this month is on Friday, August 14 and the full-moon fire ceremony will be on Saturday, August 29. The fire ceremonies begin at 10am and are followed by a meal. Please arrive ten minutes early, freshly bathed, in a long skirt or pants with shoulders covered, and having fasted from grains, cereals, meat, eggs, garlic and onions. Fruit, yogurt, nuts, veggies and tea or coffee are fine to eat before. Also, if you have a dietary need for something more hearty before our meal at 11:30 or so, please partake. Our evening aarati is at 6pm and morning aarati is at 7am, with a paduka puja in Shri Babaji’s kutir at 6:30am. We also have a small daily havan, fire ceremony, at 8am each morning that we do not have the large fire ceremony. Lunch is served at about 12:30pm, and we invite you to join us. (Call if you are a group or have special dietary needs.) The Maha Lakshmi Shop is open every day from 10am until 5pm.
If you would like to participate by sponsoring a fire ceremony or a bhandara (feast), we would like to send you a blessed item from the fire ceremony if you request. They are:
$27 sponsorship - Copper, brass, nickel Om Namah Shivaya bracelet
$54 sponsorship - Rudraksha, Rosewood, or Tulsi Mala
$108 sponsorship - Rose Quartz Mala or a copper, silver, brass Om Haidakhandi bracelet
Kirya Yoga & the Divine Mother by Swami Atmavidyanada - Saturday, August 22
Swami Atmavidyanada from the Kriya Yoga Institute in Homestead, Florida will be speaking on Kriya Yoga and the Divine Mother on August 22 at 3pm at the Asrham. All are invited. For those wishing to attend from out of town, please know that we are totally booked that weekend as all of the Kriya Yogis will be staying at the Ashram. If you call the Ashram at 719-256-4108, we will give you names and phone numbers of local B&B’s or other accommodations. Jai MA!
Paduka Puja, Aarati, Fire Ceremony, & Feast in Yorba Linda, CA - Sun. Aug. 30
It has been a while since Shri Babaji's Padukas have graced the southern California area, so Ramloti will bring them to the home of Jayshree and Chandresh Trivedi on Sunday, August 30 beginning at 10:30. We will do a paduka puja, chandan, fire ceremony, aarati, sing a few bhajans, and end with a meal together. Their address is 17352 Yorkshire Ave, Yorba Linda, CA 92886. Please give them a call and let them know you are coming and find out what you might bring for the feast. Their phone number is 714-366-1836. It is always a joy to come together like this in Shri Babaji's name. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Huge Bazaar of Ashram Silks and Other Items in Downtown Crestone in early September
As noted in last months newsletter, the Ashram has been gifted an amazing amount of heavy silk saris, duvet covers, pillow shams, table cloths, drapes, and 75 bolts of raw silk fabric. There is not adequate room in the Maha Lakshmi Shop to properly display all of this, so we are working on a downtown venue and aiming for Saturday, September 5 for the big bazaar. Stay tuned and if you want to come up to the Shop and purchase things early, you are welcome. A phone call ahead at 719-256-4108 letting us know what you are interested in will help us have the inventory out for you. Everything will be priced to sale, some as low as 10% of its value!
Fall Navratri - The Divine Mother Festival – October 13 – 21
It is not too early to make your plans for Fall Navratri, the nine magical days that we set aside spring and fall to honor and thank our beautiful Divine Mother. Since the festival begins on a Tuesday and ends the following Wednesday, October 21, there is only one weekend and the dorm is already nearly booked for that Saturday night. So call at 719-256-4108 or email us at email@example.com with any questions or to reserve a room now. Haidakhandeswari Mata Ki Jai!
Movie Manor Ashram Extravaganza – Saturday, November 7 – Sunday, November 8
Parties are already booking rooms for the big event! Those that attended last year are bringing more families to share in the bliss of a whole weekend of bhajans, aarati, pujas, fire ceremony, satsang, sumptuous Indian food, and a classical Indian movie viewed in the privacy of your room on the large drive-in movie screen. The donation for a room for your whole family and afternoon chai, snacks, extravagant dinner, movie, and brunch the next morning is only $151. Every cent raised goes to support the Ashram as the owners of the Movie Manor have generously provided the rooms, cleaning, food, and movie to the Ashram. It is an amazing weekend and we hope you can share it with us. Please call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to reserve a room now. You will be so happy that you did.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
New paint, new drapes, new assans, new furnishings for Shri Babaji’s room, expanded and redirected havan kund, new blinds, and lots of cleaning, cooking, and baking in preparation for our Annual American Samaj meeting and Family Week. True to Shri Babaji’s style, we kept having the perfect karma yogis show up for all of the projects. It was a wildly busy and wonderfully joyful month of July! So much gratitude to all who helped with their loving spirits! Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
We ask each of you to look into your hearts and see what this Ashram means to you and to please donate as you are able. You may go to our website and donate through PayPal, (you can even set up a monthly tithe). You can also send a check (made out to HUA) to P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131; or you can call us at 719-256-4108 with a credit card number. We want to thank you for your support, love, and prayers. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
A Huge Fourth of July!
Words are small compared with the 200 or so visitors we had over the Fourth of July Weekend. Here are just a few photos of the many guests that squeezed into our kitchen those days. It seemed that we just had lunch and then more folks would arrive for their lunch! What a wonderfully busy time seeing so