I just arrived home from my yearly India trip and though I am tired, I wanted to share all of this with you while it was still fresh in my mind. This year's trip seemed very blessed and definitely more conscious than ever. I think that in part it was because of all of the Real Love work I have been doing. This has meant a watching and reevaluating my motives for doing, saying, and even thinking things. Understanding that mostly I put these in place as a child trying to protect myself from disapproval from my parents, who for me, like most of us, were the most important beings in my life. As a child, disapproval meant I was not loved unconditionally and that felt horrible. My most effective protecting and getting behavior was to always do what people expected and wanted me to do. After years, actually most of a lifetime, of being this sweet little girl, I was pretty successful in most of my endeavors but also pretty unaware of my deepest feelings and inclinations.
It was only Divine Grace that brought me to Shri Babaji’s feet in February of 1981. I must say, however, that as I listened to other people’s understanding of their experiences with Babaji, I felt like a preschooler. Much of the time during my three trips to be with Him, I felt like I was in a fog not very aware of what was going on. Shri Babaji, in His magnificence and knowing how protected my psyche was, did everything possible to wake me up. He would have me work hard all day, stay up late chanting at night, get up very early in the morning, set up beautifully orchestrated scenarios to show me where I was stuck, showed me small miracles, and generally blew my mind open from time to time. He even had me stay up one time for three days and nights straight chanting in the kirtan hall. So I feel in these moments, I was cracked open enough to see and feel His Divine Light and Love, which has of course influenced me the rest of my life.
And over these years, particularly living at the Ashram and being blessed to do Babaji work throughout America, I have been able to tap into this bliss when I chant, do the fire ceremony, talk about Babaji, and help run the Ashram. But there were also more times than I like to admit where I felt devoid of inspiration and deep peace.
Enter this simple book, Real Love, into my life at the end of August 2015. In Shri Babaji’s perfect timing, with each page I read, it just made sense and struck cords of deep understanding of a life primarily lived on the surface always being acutely aware of what others thought of me, as that was my barometer for success. Oh what heaviness I now understand I carried all this time as I begin to feel the lightness and joy of just being who I am in all my fragility and divine childishness. My interactions at the Ashram and all of life are changing radically as I do seemingly the same things I have always been doing so efficiently but with far less manipulation and need to control everything. The subtle anger and resentment I could feel from those that worked with me has dissolved as I relate to them in honesty and love, without the need to have everything my way. It has been huge.
Coming this year to the sacred ground of Haidakhan in this much more open disposition, and traveling by myself set the stage for a phenomenally deeper experience than I have ever had since my days in the physical presence of Shri Babaji. I watched my thoughts as they projected me into the future or the past, keeping me from experiencing the moment in all of its fullness, my pattern of a lifetime. I realized that every thought that I had was an indication that I did not totally trust the Divine, who is for me of course, Shri Babaji. As I just opened to constantly coming back to my mantra and prayer or just total awareness, I saw how everything was totally orchestrated to a Divine perfection that I could not even have imagined with my mind. For me the remembrance that Babaji surrounded me totally in His love and took care of me in every moment of the day of night became indelibly etched in my psyche.
Suddenly my 3:30am bath in the sacred Gautama Ganga River in February became delightful as I floated just experiencing the feel of the water on my body rather than having thoughts of “this is cold”. The glistening of the sun on the morning water, the sound of the birds, the dogs barking, the flowers blooming, the children playing, the leaves falling in the breeze all became magnificent moments of blissful awareness. I was reminded of the introduction of Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now”, when he had his deep awakening and everything was “different” than he had perceived it before.
If I found my self planning and thinking about how things would turn out each day, I just sunk into my knowingness of Shri Babaji’s endless love and care for me and just followed my heart step by step throughout the day with my mantra often flowing. Shops and offices opened at the perfect time, people appeared at the perfect time, everything got accomplished at the perfect time, and I was in a dance of bliss and peace.
In one of my favorite speeches by Shri Babaji, He speaks about giving His devotees, Abaya Dhan, the blessing by which we would always be protected by Him. I had a very clear experience of this toward the end of my trip. I normally take the overnight train from Delhi to Halwani in a first class AC compartment. The friends I stay with in Delhi had begun to recommend a new train that was shorter and left at desirable times during the day from New Delhi, much more accessible than the Old Delhi Railway station where the overnight train left from. But I had insisted on keeping with the overnight train. In the past, I found this train to be comfortable enough to sleep most of the night but for some reason the train ride this year was much more bumpy, the people I shared the four-room cabin with were much more noisy and snoring throughout the night, and so I had a long night of little sleep.
A few days before I was to leave Haidakhan, I suddenly had this feeling to change to the afternoon train instead of taking the overnight train back to Delhi. Someone headed to Haldwani was able to do this for me and got me a first class coach chair ticket. I boarded this train with ease and even had two vacant seats next to me the whole way to stretch out on. I arrived in New Delhi five minutes early that evening. I got back at my hosts’ home and went to bed. In the morning I found out that they had been totally blocked for 18 hours by rioters in route to a wedding they were to attend in the Punjab. This happened just outside of Delhi and even airplanes were rerouted during this time from landing and delayed from taking off. I was grateful that my flight was not until the next day and they assured me all would be fine by that time. But then they told me that this morning the riots had shifted more toward the area from where I had traveled and I realized that if I had come in this morning on the overnight train, as originally scheduled, I could have been in the middle of the riots! It was another strong and deep indication of my Lord’s protection of me. I am so deeply grateful for all of His blessings in my life and this profoundly life-changing trip to my Lord’s home in Haidakhan.
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony this month is on Tuesday, March 8 (the morning after Shivaratri) and the full-moon fire ceremony will be on Wednesday, March 23. 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 at 7am, with paduka puja at 6am and the small indoor fire ceremony is at 8:00am. We do not have the small fire ceremony when we have our large fire ceremony on new and full moon. Lunch is served at about 1pm, 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 4pm. We love to see you.
If you would like to participate by sponsoring a fire ceremony or a bhandara (feast), we would be happy 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
Shivaratri - Monday Night, March 7 from 10pm - 4am
Fire Ceremony on Tuesday, March 8 at 10am
On this special night when the energy of Lord Shiva is said to be most present on the earth, we will chant in the temple from 10pm until 4am. We will have special lingam pujas every three hours beginning at 7pm and ending at 4am honoring the lingam with milk, yogurt, honey, and ghee. We invite you to join us for all or part of the evening, it is always high energy and a night of deep inspiration.
The next morning, being the new-moon, we will have our fire ceremony at 10am followed by a meal. All are welcome and we still have some room available in the dormitory.
Paduka Pujas in Denver Area Weekend of March 20 and 21
We have set the progarm for this year's Paduka Pujas in the Denver area. They are as follows:
Saturday, March 19 - Ajay and Sabina Pradhan at 4834 S. Eagle Circle, Auroaa, CO 80015.
Puja begins promptly at 5pm followed by chanting and dinner. For more information and to RSVP for dinner call: 720-732-6141.
Sunday, March 20 - Smita and Prahod Telang at 3068 143rd Ave, Thornton, CO 80602. Puja begins at 11am followed by chanting and lunch. Pleae call 303-920-7245 for more information and to RSVP for lunch.
We hope that any of you that are in these areas join us for these gatherings of bliss and Shri Babaji's love.
Sewing Party at the Ashram - Tuesday, March 29 - 10am - 1pm followed by Lunch
Tuesday, March 29 will be the day that we gather at the Ashram with our sewing machines to sew all of the saris for Mother for the upcoming Spring Navratri. It is the tradition that we not only make nine new saris for Mother but also new chunis for Babaji and veils for all of the kumaris (little girls). So there is plenty to keep us busy, so why not come and join the joy of sewing for the Divine Mother!
Spring Navratri - Divine Mother Festival - April 8 - 16
Yes, it is almost springtime and the time we set aside twice a year to honor and express our deepest gratitude to the Divine Mother. It is a spectacular time with daily fire ceremonies, discourse, pujas, aarati, chanting, and satsang. Call soon to reserve a space as it fills up quickly each year. The festival begins on Friday, April 8 and continues through Saturday, April 16. We will honor the little children on Sunday, April 10. Call or email us for reservations or more information at 719-256-4108 or email@example.com.
Ashram Eighth Annual On-Line Auction
May 13 through May 22
Each year for the last seven years, the Ashram community has generously supported the on-going expenses of running Shri Babaji's and the Divine Mother's home through our Annual On-Line Auction. This year the dates will be from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 22. We are just getting items up now but if you go to www.biddingforgood.com/babajiashram you can see what is there so far. You can actually become a sponsor or donate an item on line directly. Or call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas, donations, or questions. Thank you for your support, the Auction generates a huge part of the Ashram yearly budget. Maha Lakshmi Ki Jai!
Once again we have the generous doantion from Kharku, Jamuna, Marc, Raghu, and the whole Kamalaya family of an 11 day stay at this amazing health and wellness spa. We also have this lovely six inch high and 13" by 13"crystal. When the sun shines on this, it is magnificent.
This year Mansingh (Shri Babaji's personal attendant for over 40 years) was extremely generous gifting the Ashram Babaji's shawls, lungis, a kurta, His vlevet handkerchiefs, a topi, and even a very old rudraksha mala of His which we will sale bead by bead. We are so deeply grateful. Just click here to view these items and more.
American Haidakhan Samaj Weekend July 29 -31
Join us for a weekend of ceremony, sharing, chanting, and camaraderie as we make plans for the coming year to spread Shri Babaji's message more fully. Visit the Samaj website at www.babajisamaj.us
Family Week August 3 - 6
Our fun and inspirational Annual Family Week will be from Wednesday, August 3 through Friday, August 5 with wrap up and completion on Saturday morning, August 6. The dorm for Family Week is already booked but there is still room in the yurt and for camping. The children always want to come back year after year. Call us at 719-256-4108 for info or to reserve.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Not many pictures of karma yoga this month as I was gone for a good part of the time. But rest assured, that it goes on continually to keep Mother's and Baba's home in the best shape possible in their honor and for your visit. We are all grateful for all that come to help out here. Our Board of Director meets monthly to oversee the Ashram and help keep us on track.
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!
My Birthday in Haidakhan
As I took my birthday bath in the Gautama Ganga River in Haidakhan in the wee hours of this morning, I realized how fortuitous it was that my first morning here would be my birthday. I did not plan it that way, actually someone else books these tickets for me and when I learned I was to leave on Feb. 13, my only real consideration was that I would miss Mahasamadhi (Feb. 14) at our Ashram and that it could still be quite cold in Haidakhn in mid February. I did my usual one night stay in Dehli and overnight train the next day. All of this put me in Haidakhan during the day on the 16th with my first morning my birthday, February 17. On top of that, upon arrival, I learned that Shri Babaji’s Mahasamadhi, which is calculated on the lunar calendar in India, would fall during my stay here as well. As I calculated the years since Babaji had left His physical form, it was 32 years ago, it was on my 32nd birthday that I had left on my first trip to India to meet Shri Babaji. Here is a photo of the Maha Samadhi Commemoration at Haidakhan this year.
And it seems as if this is just how serendipitous things are around Babaji. A small instance is when I pulled out a turquoise suit to wear on my birthday morning that I had left behind in India last year, I only smiled when I noticed that the shirt I had brought from America to wear under it was the exact same turquoise color! It also seemed that Baba had arranged a birthday for me to only do what I felt like doing as many people were headed for a wedding outside of Haldwani and both the shop and office were closed for the day. Since my main karma yoga here is shopping for our Maha Lakshmi Shop in both the office and shop, it was a holiday.
Without any real internet connection (there is one old computer with a plug in connection in an old chai shop above the Ashram), I will not be in touch with anyone that knows it is my birthday and I decided to leave it that way and not to mention my birthday to anyone. It will possibly be my first incognito birthday in my life. Since the time difference is twelve and a half hours, I first woke up at 11;30pm a half hour before my birthday. I realized that this year I was being given the opportunity to have a very conscious birthday, and I prayed to Baba that I would be deeply aware of His presence with me all day. I also felt that the way I spent the first day of my new year would be indicative of how the rest of my year would go.
I fell back to sleep for a while and I woke up at 2:30am with my mantra and the Lakshmi Stotram going full force in my head. I did my yoga and went down to the river for a bath shortly before 4am. As I sank into the Gautama Ganga I remembered what Babaji had said so often about the sacredness of these holy waters and I was grateful to be there. As I climbed the 108 stairs to the main side of the Ashram, I thought about how it would be to have Shri Babaji appear to me on the stairs that I had walked by His side on so often. I then realized that the true miracle is that Babaji is with me every single moment and that I needed no exterior event to prove that.
Throughout the morning as I went from place to place I was reminded of many of the times I was with Babaji. As I sat outside His room waiting for chandan, I remembered when He showed me how to use an Indian broom (it has no handle so you squat and sweep at the same time). I recalled how He laughed as I fell over a few times and then He told me “day by day you sweep my patio here,”so I began to sweep the patio in the mornings. As I pranamed to the sacred pepul tree growing in His patio, I remembered how He had me sprinkle rose oil all over it dancing around it with me. It was only later when I heard Him refer to it as a murti that I realized He was preparing me for taking care of our murti in Crestone on which I only use rose oil. As I pranamed to the sacred fire pit, I remembered the many times I sat at Shri Babaji’s 4:30am fire ceremony with Him in the stillness and darkness. Even as a neophyte to this ceremony, I could feel that Shri Babaji was affecting the cosmos during these havans.
As I entered Shri Babaji's room for chandan, I remembered how softly He would hold my head in His hands as He applied the sandalwood paste to my forehead. I prayed to feel His hands and I must say, it was the gentlest chandan I have ever received from Mansingh, who was humming the whole time, much as Shri Muniraj had done.
It was an emotional morning for me and it did not stop as I went to pranam to Babaji’s padukas (the wooden sandals He wore) in the main temple and felt His toes pinch my nose so that I could not raise my head for a minute. As I walked around the kirtan hall paying reverence to each of the photos there, I realized that the large image of Shiva and Shakti was just at the place where Moti Bhagwan and I, during an all-night chant in 1981, had looked out over the sacred river and seen two jyotis (divine lights) that we felt were Shiva and Shakti. While sitting a bit later at aarati on the gufa side, I remembered my first trip to Haidakhan being greeted by Babaji on the gufa side as He served my sons and I glasses of juice.
Later in the morning I took a walk down the riverbed to the Sati Kund and make my pranams to the Hanuman murti there. I chose to have no lunch that day as I wanted to stay in silence and in a bit of a fasting mode (I did have dried fruit and nuts with me). I took a luxurious bath in the warm afternoon just feeling the water on my body and did some laundry down at the river as well. It is so easy and natural to get into this simple life style of Haidakhan for me. Later I went back to my room and realized how different and sometimes even a bit difficult it was for me to be in silence with little activity all day. Then, since I was still totally turned around in my days and nights, I fell asleep at about 5pm and slept right through until 2:30am the next morning. What a blessed birthday I had been given and now another day of blessing was beginning in Haidakhan. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Being Pujari at Kamalaya, Thailand
Last year on my way home from India, I stopped at our long-time friends and devotees' wonderous creation in Koi Samui, Thailand named Kamalaya.
I was blessed again with this amazing opportunity this year and this time I could give something back as I served as pujari for several days in their beautiful little temple area overlooking the ocean. The rythmn of each day rolled into the next with yoga, puja, aarati, satsang (much of which I have recorded), divinely healthy meals, swimming in the lap pool, dips in the ocean, meeting new friends at the community dinner table, and just wandering around this tropical paradise.
It is no wonder that just a few weeks ago Kharku and Jamuna (the owners) were in London receiving the coveted Conde Nast Best Destination Spa, because this place is amazingly beautiful with world-class healing and detox programs offered. But even more than this, they are an example of a huge business that is deeply humanistic to their clients and their staff. It is not possible to be here and not feel the love and care. It is a place of deep soul healing inpired and guided by Shri Babaji and His message of humanity. Kharku will be in Berlin next week to speak on Spirituality and Business.
It is also becoming a place of many devotees to meet. The first photo is of me at dinner with Rob and Gaby from England; Ganesh, Raghu, Jamuna, Kharku, J.D. Marston, and Romi (Muniraji's nephew) all of whom live at or near Kamalaya.