As I was at the beginning of the month, I am traveling again at the end of this month. I am beginning this newlsetter in California after Paduka Pujas and fire cermonies here. It is always such a joy to bring Shri Babaji's padukas to homes and share fire ceremonies and it feels particularly important to do it in California with their terrible drought this year.
August has been perhaps the fullest and busiest month I have ever experienced at the Ashram. With the departure of Jessica to Cincinnati (where she and Chris are doing well) we have really been going fast. The minute I got home from Italy at the beginning of the month, I put my foot to the pedal and really accelerated. Somedays I could not even imagine how it would all be possible to get everything done, but somehow, by Shri Babaji's and the Mother's blessings, it all worked out. Just the right people showed up to help at the perfect moment and Jonathan, Premanand, Rita, Deborah, and I are really a very harmonious team. How many times do I need the lesson that all that is necessary is trust and faith in the Divine! You can read below about the many groups, visitors, and events we have had this month.
Coming back last night from the airport in Denver after my trip to California, I was greeted with some of the most profound beauty. It has been luciously raining an unusually large amount this year and the mountains, trees, grasses, and wild flowers were all a testament to this. I would go into bliss as I looked out the windows, drinking in the wonder. It was late afternoon, sunset, and early evening as I wound my way back to the Ashram, definitely some of the most magical light moments of the day. As the light danced on the sky, the clouds, the mountains, the rivers, the meadows, the gentle falling mist, and the very beginnings of the fall colors; I kept thanking God for this majesty and saying to myself how much I love living in Colorado. After the crowded freeways and extreme heat and dryness of Southern California, I was so happy to be home.
I heard Colorado referred to as a green island in the middle of a drought ridden west and this is not an overstatement. For two years in a row, we have been having enough snow, rain, and moisture to not have any fire bans or restrictions. I do not remember a year without a fire ban before this. It is interesting that it coincides with the last two and a half years that we have been doing a daily fire ceremony here, I know they make a difference and that is why Shri Babaji performed one every day at His Ashram in Haidakhan.
I am grateful for Baba and Mother's home here in the Rockies and that I get to live here too!
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony this month is on Sunday, September 13 and the full-moon fire ceremony will be on Sunday, September 27. 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. We love to see you.
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
Presentation on Shree Babaji Charitable Hospital
Sunday, September 13 at 11am
Sunday, September 13 is our New-moon fire ceremony at 10am. Uday Chatterjee from India will be visiting and he will give a short presentation on the Shree Babaji Charitable Hospital that is serving thousands of poor villagers in the Kumoan foothills around Rhanniket, India. This will begin directly after the fire ceremony (about 11am) and will be followed by an Indian feast.
Fire Ceremony in Fremont, CA on Friday, September 25
On Friday, September 25 Ramloti will join Nirmal and Indira Sharma at their home in Fremont, CA for a small fire ceremony, chanting and lunch.
If you would like to join in, please give them a call at 508-847-9135 for directions.
Fall Navratri - The Divine Mother Festival – October 13 – 21
We already have many reservations for these special nine days in Fall that we honor our Divine Mohter. Join us for special pujas, discourses, daily fire ceremonies, chanting, and aarati all focused on the Divine Mother. Fall Navratri will begin onTuesday, October 13 and complete on Wednesday, October 21. With only one weekend this festival, the dorm is already nearly booked for that Saturday night. So call at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to reserve a room now. Haidakhandeswari Mata Ki Jai!
Movie Manor Ashram Extravaganza – Saturday, November 7 – Sunday, November 8
The excitement is already rising for this wonderful weekend that we can all spend together. The Movie Manor has 59 rooms, but expectations are that they will all sell out. So the other hotel owners in the valley have donated their rooms as well. Of course this means that you should book early to be assured you will be able to stay at the Movie Manor. 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 and Satsangs 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. This year they are not only bringing in delicacies from New York but also from Chicago as well as all their delicious cooking!
The most amazing part is that these generous families make it possible that every cent raised goes to support the Ashram. The owners have generously provided the rooms, cleaning, food, and movie to the Ashram. It is a unique, fun, and inspirational weekend and we hope you can share it with us. Please call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at email@example.com with any questions or to reserve a room now. You will be happy that you did.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Lots of cleaning, cooking, weeding, fire mitigation, Shop stocking, and dish washing and clean up taking place this month with so many visitors and groups here. 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! 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!
Ashram Board of Director News
It is with sadness that we announce that our long-time Board member and Chair, Paul Koppana, is moving with his family to Oregon in a few weeks. His resignation from the Board leaves a big hole to fill. Paul not only ran a great meeting and rarely ever missed a meeting, he was also our contractor on many of our buildings. His expertise, wise judgement, and gracious willingness to repair just about anything at the Ashram will be sorely missed.
We send our love, gratitude, and prayers with him as he and his family make their new life in Oregon. Here is a recent photo of Paul with his two beautiful daughters, Sage and Aisa at aarati, his wife, Claire, was not present that evening. We love and treasure you dearly.
Meditation Groups, Sufi Groups, and Yoga Groups Visit the Ashram
August is definitely the month that most groups come to Crestone for retreats, workshops, meditation, and exploration. Some stay at the Zen Center, others at various Bed and Breakfast's, and some at other hotels but all love to visit the Ashram. Some groups come for aarti, some for fire ceremonies, some to pray and meditate in the temple, some for karma yoga and lunch, some for tours and shopping but they all give much to the Ashram and we love having them. Most come year after year so we begin to know the participants and leaders which makes their time here extra rich. When we began the Ashram here almost 30 years ago there was some concern about who would come with a four hour drive from Denver. The answer is clearly, the distance does not keep the interested folks away!
Thirty Colorado College Freshmen Spend the Day at the Ashram Doing Karma Yoga
Another group that spent a whole day here was a Freshman Orientation Class for Colorado College. Located in Colorado Springs, the college has a satelite campus here in Crestone and the students love to come here. To keep 30 students productively busy all morning doing karma yoga took a fair amount of organization and people but once again Shri Babaji saved the day and we had some volunteers show up just in time to lead groups. We had the temple cleaning group, the dorm cleaning group, the kitchen group, the Shop stockers group, and the grounds cleanup group. We got a tremendous amount accomplished, everyone had a great time, and feel sure that we will see serveral of the students again on one of their block breaks during the year. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Kriya Yoga Group Stays for the Weekend at the Asrham
A group of pilgrims from the Kriya Yoga Institute in Homestead, Florida came to the Ashram for a weekend this month. They were traveling through Colorado visiting different spiritual centers with their teachers Swami Atmavidyanada and Srinidi Baba. Their love and devotion were very apparent along with their wholehearted willingness to serve. On Saturday afternoon, Swami Atmavidyanada gave a talk on Kriya Yoga and the Divine Mother. His love for and knowledge of the Divine Mother was inspiring.
Camino de Crestone Comes to the Asrham
Another group that is interesting is the Camino de Crestone. This was conceived of by William Howell when he and his wife travelled the Camino de Santiago in Spain. He realized that Crestone is so rich in diversity of spiritual practices that people would like to experience it. The pilgrims walk from center to center for a week and they always stay a night and a morning with us singing aarati, chanting, participating in a fire ceremony, meals, satsang, and lots of karma yoga. We enjoy their presence, learn from them, and also appreciate their help. That morning they baked 18 loaves of banana bread and four cakes, as well as sewing, cleaning, weeding, reparing, and polishing copper for the temple!
Paduka Puja and Aarati at Kirti and Pranav Sharma's New Home in Orange, CA
While in California this last trip with Shri Babaji's sacred padukas (sandals that He wore), I was asked to come to the home of Kirti and Pranav Sharma so Baba could bless their new place and also the imminent arrival of their new son (he was born the next morning!). They have just moved from India to the United States for their business. Kirti is the granddaughter of Shri Muniraji and her father, Devan, the eldest son of Shri Muniraji and her mother were with them for the birth of the baby. It was a beautiful and much appreciated puja and aarati. Here is the photo of the family, we wish them Shri Babaji's blessings for their new life in America.
Paduka Puja, Aarati, Fire Ceremony, & Feast at Jay Shee and Chandresh Trivedi's Home
It had been a while since Shri Babaji's Padukas have graced the southern California area, so they came to the home of Jayshree and Chandresh Trivedi on Sunday, August 30. About 35 people came for the paduka puja, fire ceremony, aarati, chanting, and a delicious Indian feast. It is always a joy to come together like this in Shri Babaji's name. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Visitors to the Ashram
This month we have had so many visitors as you can see from above. We also had visits from our friends with their new baby, our friends from the valley, two groups of students from Japan brought here by our neighbors, the Shumeis. We appreciate all who come here.
Calendar of Events for the Ashram in 2015
September 24, 2015 - Fire ceremony, aarati, and a meal at Nirmal and Indira Sharma's home in Fremont, CA with Ramloti. Please give them a call to RSVP and directions at 508-847-9135.
October 13 - 21, 2015 - Fall Navratri - Divine Mother Festival with daily fire ceremonies, pujas, discourses, reading, chanting, and other ceremonies.
November 7 & 8, 2015 - Annual Ashram Extravaganza at Movie Manor Hotel in Monte Vista, CO.
November 11, 2015 - Diwali, Festival of Lights.
Maha Lakshmi Shop Report
The Shop is very full right now and it is open every day from 10am until 5pm. We can bless an item at Mother’s feet fo￼r you if you ask. We are also happy to drop ship items for you to your loved ones. You may call the Ashram at 719-256-4108 and place your orders over the phone (every day from 10am until 5pm Mountain Time). We are happy to answer any questions. It is really nice to connect in this way. We take Visa, Mastercard or Discover. Many, but not all of the items in the Shop our on our website at http://mahalakshmishop.wazala.com/
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 if you want to come up to the Shop to purchase raw silk fabric, 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!
The Shop is a major supporter of the Ashram, so we deeply appreciate your patronage.
Maha Lakshmi Mata Ki Jai!