Oh what pain is in this world! With the latest news of the shooting in Oregon combined with the knowledge of the suffering of the refugees still flocking to Europe to escape the devastation of life in Syria, and all the other wars, tragedies, illnesses, traumas in families, and violence in this world, I lay sleepless in my bed, so I decided to write this. How does one live with all of this, what can we do, and where can we turn for courage and strength to carry on?
Shri Babaji spoke often of these times, He called it the kranti. He said unless there was a change of heart in the people, great disasters would engulf the earth. He often said that we must pray with intensity, purity of heart, and singleness of mind to live through this time and that we must not be afraid to walk through the fire or to jump into the ocean to save humankind.
Here at the Ashram, I feel it is our duty to become the strongest beacon of light and love possible giving off deep interpersonal interactions, prayers, mantras, and fire ceremonies for the welfare of the world. The amount of people that come here on a daily basis who share that they can feel a shift of energy just coming up the driveway is a testament that we can make a difference. Just the other day a woman who had not been to the temple for several years came out in tears feeling Mother's love awakening her own love inside that had become a little dormant.
I was recently gifted a book, “Real Love” by Greg Baer which has opened up a new level of introspection and honesty within me. This book has been around for several years, but I had never heard of it before. The premise is that most of us did not receive unconditional love as children and therefore have spent a lifetime reaching for what he calls imitation love. This takes the form of power, control, praise, position, attention, money, physical pleasure, and many other things we grasp for in the emptiness of not having unconditional love. Having experienced the conditional love that has been mostly offered to us, albeit by well-meaning parents and others, we have learned to cover up and lie about any part of us or action that might bring us disapproval. The author said that just watching a conversation between two people you are able to see how they each respond and modify their words, posture, and body language if there is any indication of disapproval from the other person. He says we often lie (not telling the whole truth, acting in ways that we feel are expected of us rather than how we really feel to act, withholding information, or when we do anything to get other people to like us or to avoid their disapproval. This includes altering our appearance to earn approval of others, when we’re careful with what we say so that people will like us, and when we change our behavior to win the acceptance of others, and on and on). One recent study found that the average person lies four hundred times a day! We are just so eager for acceptance and yet the moment we lie, we cannot honestly feel loved because we are not showing who we really are, we are just putting our best foot forward and we know that this is not the whole truth.
He feels the way to really experience unconditional love, defined by people actively caring about our happiness without any expectation of reward, is to be really seen. This means telling the truth about our selves without any cover-ups or lies and feeling the acceptance by others. Obviously this first needs to be done in the company of people who are whole enough to love unconditionally. I begin to see why our family meetings and the workshops with Sofia Diaz at the Ashram are so powerful, we tell the truth about ourselves and see that people still love us with all of our faults and foibles. I can see that a more steady diet of this kind of honesty is a vital addition to my life.
I have always said that the first and only real unconditional love that I had ever experienced was when I was with Shri Babaji. Many of you have heard the story of me tripping on my sari while carrying His bag and watching it fall down the hillside with all the contents spilling out. Lying on the ground, I was petrified to look up expecting to see the disapproval, maybe even anger, that I had experienced all my life when I made a mistake. The thought that He would no longer love me also crossed my mind. What baggage I was carrying from my childhood! When I finally mustered my courage to look up what I saw and experienced was just pure unconditional love radiating from every pore of His Being. What I heard and knew in my heart at the moment was that there was nothing I could ever do that would diminish His love and that there was nothing I ever had to do to make it more! It was just full! Oh that we all had that experience with one another, the world would be such a different place.
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony this month is on Monday, October 12 (it will be at the small havan kund because of the beginning of Fall Navratri the next morning. We will have special prayers for our ancestors this day.) The full-moon fire ceremony will be on Tuesday, October 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
Fall Navratri - The Divine Mother Festival – October 13 – 21
The wonderful Divine Mother Festival is right around the corner. We hope you can attend some or all of it or at least join us long distance. We are pretty booked for the Saturday night, but would have room in the yurt. The rest of the nights still have a room or two available but call soon at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have people coming from India, Italy, Washington, California, New Mexico, and all parts of Colorado. Join us for special pujas, discourses, daily fire ceremonies, chanting, and aarati all focused on the Divine Mother. You can also participate by sponsoring a fire ceremony or feast, even long distance. See above under Ceremonies for details. Fall Navratri begins onTuesday, October 13 and will complete on Wednesday, October 21. We will honor the children on Sunday, October 18 after the fire ceremony with gifts and sweets. We hope to see many of you. Jai Ma! Haidakhandeswari Mata Ki Jai!
Movie Manor Ashram Extravaganza – Saturday, November 7 – Sunday, November 8
This special time is also just around the corner so make your reservations soon. The excitement is building 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
Shri Babaji has once again sent the perfect karma yogis for all of the projects needing to be done for the Divine Mother festival and to keep the Ashram in good shape. Whether it was preparing gifts for the children's celebration, sewing the Divine Mother's saris, stocking the Maha Lakshmi Shop, preparing for and cleaning up after fire ceremonies, painting walls, cleaning, cooking, or trimming trees, it all got done with great devotion. 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!
Lot's of Birthday Celebrations
This last month we celebrated Lord Krishna's birthday at the beginning and Ganesh's in the middle. I was at Nirmal Sharma's home at the end of the week festival for Ganesh's birthday so we did more pujas there. All of our many murtis around the Ashram are looking beautiful and fresh after their special birthday baths and receiving new clothes and ornaments. Hare Krishna! Jai Ganesh!
Adams State University Students Volunteer at the Ashram
Every year a group of volunteer students from Adams State University come to serve at the Ashram. This year some helped preparing the crowns and gifts for the children at Navratri and some were outside doing karma yoga. Here is a photo of the inside helpers. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Presentation on Shree Babaji Charitable Hospital by Uday Chatterjee
Uday Chatterjee from India gave a beautiful and inspired presentation on the Shree Babaji Charitable Hospital that is serving thousands of poor villagers in the Kumoan foothills around Rhanniket, India. The talk took place after our new-moon fire ceremony this last month and was attended by many people. Some very helpful support came forward from the talk. If you would like to know more about this worthwhile project, contact the Ashram and we will send you a packet of information.
Visitors to the Ashram
Wonderful visitors, families, individuals, groups, we love you all. It was so busy yesterday and today that I am only now getting the newsletter out. I will wait until next month for those photos or this will be even later!
Calendar of Events for the Ashram in 2015
October 27 - Full-moon fire ceremony at 10am followed by a meal.
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 with 10am fire ceremony and chanting in the evening.
2016 Dates for the Ashram
January 8 - 14 Florida programs with fire ceremonies, chanting, and workshops on both sides stay tuned.
March 7 - Shivaratri with all-nightchanting and fire ceremony the next day (8th) at 10am followed by a meal.
April 8 - 16 - Spring Navratri, Divine Mother Festival
July 19 - Guru Purnima Day with fire ceremony at 10am followed by a meal.
October 1 - 9 Fall Navratri, Divine Mother Festival
October 30 - Diwali, Festival of Lights
Maha Lakshmi Shop Report
The Shop has several new items in it, most of which are not on the website but you can call for information or prices if you see anything in the photo you are interested in. We have been trying to find a good source for brass and metal murtis and we are pleased to announce that we have and a big shipment is on its way. The photo shows some that we already have in the Shop. We also received a new shipment of beautiful Shiva Lingams and Yonis as shown.
We also now have copies of the book that I referred to above, "Real Love" by Greg Baer. This is on our website, is 268 pages, and sells for $17. It is a very valuable treasure trove of wisdom.
The Maha Lakshmi Shop 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 and 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/ so you can go there as well.
The Shop is a major supporter of the Ashram, so we deeply appreciate your patronage.
Maha Lakshmi Mata Ki Jai!