What has been popping out this month is the role that cooperation plays in the life of this Ashram. Although we are located nearly four hours from the large cities of Colorado, still we seem to be involved in many ways. Toward the beginning of the month, I received a phone call from the manager of the new Hindu Temple in Denver, which is a magnificent multi million dollar complex about one year old. They have received many donations of food from devotees and since they have not yet completed their kitchen, they wanted to donate the food to our temple.
When they arrived with a carload of rice, sugar, and dal. they spoke of the model that we had been to them in generosity and service to all that come here. I was sort of surprised that our little humble Ashram was even known to these big-city folks, let alone an example. It had not been so long since another of the big temples between Colorado Springs and Denver (Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple of Castle Rock) had sent a group of their organizers to study our greenhouse as a model for their new complex, and another temple had called about the cupala design of our temple (Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple of the Rockies).
We also were just invited to be shown around the new Kriya Yoga Ashram in Denver by one of the founders. Of course, many of the devotees who come to our Ashram also belong to these other temples and we deeply appreciate the ties we have made over the years. This photo is after our small fire ceremony that we shared with Srinidhi Baba and his family, from the Kriya Yoga Ashram.
The two paduka pujas that took place this last month in the Denver area were attended by many people who attend different temples in their area. Yet, when Shri Babaji’s sacred sandals come to town, they all wish to attend, participate in the paduka puja, have Babaji’s darshan, and donate generously to the upkeep of the Ashram here in Crestone.
On a more local level this month, we have been asked to help facilitate an important meeting at our Crestone Charter School and to attend a meeting planning our neighbors’, the Shumei International Institute’s annual interfaith day. We attended the Easter celebration at the Spiritual Life Institute, our Carmelite community where we bid goodbye to our long time friends, Curt and Bernadette Ward, who have retired after running our wonderful local store forever. When the Ashram first moved here in 1986 we were delighted and surprised to find in a town with a population of only 90 people a store that had organic food and also to meet and even play volleyball and softball with this wonderful couple. They are moving to be near their children in Arizona.
The executive director, Doug Bishop, of our little- bit further away neighbors, the Orient Land Trust, who run Valley View Hot Springs, spent the morning at the Ashram with us yesterday looking at our creek and property and giving us ideas and input into using our water for hydroelectric generation since they run their entire complex with hydro.
A few days before that, we had six ladies at the Ashram from Alamosa and Crestone sewing all morning, making some of the nine new saris that the Divine Mother will be wearing for the Spring Navratri as well as the veils and lunghis for the young children that will be honored during the Children's Day during Navratri.
On a broader level, we have recently uploaded to Youtube the interviews I recorded in Thailand of devotees telling their experiences with Shri Babaji. What incredible responses we have received and how important this inspiration is in the lives of many people! See link in article below.
Going away parties, birthday celebrations, helping neighbors in need, planning blessings for new marriages, babies, new homes, visiting sick community members, putting prayers at the Divine Mother’s feet for people, communicating with discouraged people on the phone or through email, having folks share a meal with us, greeting new friends, and welcoming old friends back...are just part of the flow of the usual Ashram day.
It really speaks to Shri Babaji’s teachings that in this Kali yuga (the age of much darkness),how important it is to come together, communicate together, and work together. He told us to forget nationality, caste and creed... we are all one family in the eyes of the Divine.
I sincerely feel that the Ashram is a microcosm of the bigger macrocosm, and although many things in the news look bleak, there is also much light, goodness, generosity, love, and COOPERATION going on around us as well. May it be more conscious in our minds, more publicized in the news, and may it prevail throughout the world!
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony this month is on Thursday, April 7 (in the small haven kund) and the full-moon fire ceremony will be on Thursday, April 21 (followed by a birthday puja to Hanuman). 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 (soon to move outside as the weather warms). 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 5pm. 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
Spring Navratri - Divine Mother Festival - April 8 - 16
Spring Navratri is just around the corner. At the Ashram, we are lovingly preparing everything for the big event. We have many people flying in from around the country to join with us as we set aside this special time to honor and express our deepest gratitude to the Divine Mother. It is a spectacular time with daily large fire ceremonies at 10am, discourses at 11am, pujas, aarati, chanting, and satsang. Call soon to reserve a space for the first weekend as there is still some room, and yurt space for the final weekend is available.
The festival begins on Friday, April 8 and continues through Saturday, April 16. We will honor the little children on Sunday, April 10 after the fire ceremony. Call or email us for reservations or more information at 719-256-4108 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to sponsor a fire ceremony or a bhandara (feast) go to the section above about ceremonies. For your information, the first three days are in honor of Mother Durga and Kali, the next three, Mother Lakshmi, and the final three are in honor of Mother Saraswati. Jai Ma!!
Ashram Eighth Annual On-Line Auction - May 13 through May 22
The Ashram Eighth Annual On-Line Auction is also coming up soon and we have been so abundantly gifted with items, we already have over 130 items posted and more are being added everyday. 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 this On-Line Auction. This year, the dates will be from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 22. If you would like to view the items that have been donated, you can go to www.biddingforgood.com/babajiashram and begin your shopping list. You can actually become a sponsor or donate an item on line directly. Or call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at email@example.com 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!
We have made some more lovely elasticized wrist malas using a rudraksha bead from Shri Babaji's mala on each one. Here are photos of two of them. These and at least five more will be found under the category of 'Items From Babaji' on the auction.
This year, we have not only the generous donation from the best basketball team in t