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 email@example.com. 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 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!
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 the history of the NBA. the Golden State Warriors. of a basketball signed by all the members of the team, but also a signed white swing jersey by this All-Star forward, Draymond Green. The basketball and jersey can be found under 'Memorabilia' on the auction.
We have another lovely original painting by artist, devotee, and Ashram pujari, Rita Berault. This inspiring 12" x 16" mixed media of the Crestone Divine Mother is perfect for your altar, temple room, bedroom, or any place that you would like to be embraced with Her Divine Love!
We have also received some rare prints of Shri Babaji's own paintings, which He did in watercolors and often resembled the area around Haidakhan or a self-portrait. These, and soon to be more, are under 'Art' on the auction.
This year Mansingh (Shri Babaji's personal attendant for over 40 years) was extremely generous gifting the Ashram Babaji's shawls, lungis, His velvet handkerchiefs, a topi, and even a very old rudraksha mala of His which we will sell bead by bead. We are so deeply grateful. Just click here to view these items and more.
Last summer, Premanand, Jonathan, and I made a field trip to Valley View Hot Springs, where the staff generously gave us several hours, showing us and explaining their very elaborate hydroelectric operation that creates enough electricity to run their 2200 acre facility. Quite frankly, for me it was a little overwhelming and certainly seemed unfeasible and far too costly for our 101 acre facility.
As the year has gone on, however, we have realized that the power in our earthship. which houses our kitchen, office, and Maha Lakshmi shop, is far too insufficient for our present and growing needs. We know replacing the solar array is very costly, and we question the ecological footprint of ever replacing batteries, solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, and pumps. We even discussed and researched bringing up the local electric supply from the road to the Ashram and going “on the grid” for the first time in Ashram history. However, the communications and negotiations seemed to be very convoluted, being passed from one department to another, and the rules and regulations seemed very constricting. So when things do not flow well we take pause. and ask if there is perhaps something we are overlooking, and our long incubating idea of hydroelectric, for which we have had a conditional water right since 1991, came up again.
So we contacted the Orient Land Trust again and got some referrals for the Colorado School of Mines and Colorado Renewable Energy Labs, who may be willing to help us with this project. As I shared above, Doug Bishop, the executive director of Orient Land Trust, came yesterday and walked the land with us. He was very optimistic about the possibility. So keep us in your prayers as we research this important possible addition to the ashram, and any information or contacts will be appreciated as well.
Latest Videos of Devotees' Experiences with Shri Babaji Uploaded to Youtube
We just uploaded a new video of Kharku.. telling a story of Shri Babaji sending him away from Haidakhan. I was particularly touched by the Love I felt in it. Here is the link to it https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCil4E-aEGpr5m0kcGvp3L10 and here is a photo of Kharku with Shri Babaji.
This is also the link to the recently uploaded seven other new videos of Kharku, Hiroman, and Raghu ..sharing inspirational experiences with Shri Babaji. There are many more interviews if you continue to scroll down the list. Enjoy and be inspired.
American Haidakhan Samaj Weekend July 29 -31
Join the Board of Directors of the American Haidakhan Samaj..who are calling all devotees to share their stories of Shri Babaji and their spiritual experiences! Watching these newly posted videos of stories with Shri Babaji... you can feel the inspiration and peace they bring. We are setting aside most of the first day of the weekend, Sat. July 30... for deep sharing, listening, and satsang.
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 and call the Ashram for reservations at 719-256-4108.
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
Lots of generous helpers this month again as we prepare for the Spring Navratri and our Annual On-Line Auction, clear snow, and serve the many devotees that visit here. We are so grateful for all of the love and help that Shri Babaji that the Divine Mother sent to us.
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 for your support, love, and prayers.
Bhole Baba Ki Jai!!
On this special night... when the energy of Lord Shiva is said to be most present on the earth... we definitely felt His peace and love. Given that it was on a week night, and that snow prevented some of our Denver folks from coming and that the dates never got in the newspaper calendar.. it was a bit smaller than normal. Probably about 50 people came throughout the night to sing, pray, perform pujas, and dance. It was a special night as always, and the hours flew by. Our youngest all-nighter was Sarena, age 5, who fell asleep during the last 20 minutes of the night. She was out in a second once she allowed herself to lie down! The first photo is Sarena earlier in the evening with her mom doing the Lingam Puja.
The next morning fire ceremony and bhandara were well attended, despite the colder temperatures.. even many little children came. Their presence, devotion, and energy is such a sweet addition to the Ashram.
Paduka Pujas in Denver Area
The two programs we had were the most profound so far..with people crowded into the puja spaces, it was a great blessing to be with so many people that wanted to do puja and have the darshan of Shri Babaji's sacred padukas. The Ashram is so blessed to have so many friends. There were over 100 folks at Ajay and Sabina's and 80 at Prahbod and Smita's. Our love and gratitude to both of these families for their exquisite preparation and devotion...We are sure that Shri Babaji's grace will be with them always.
Theo Returns to Greece
What a wonderful thing that Theo saw a flyer for Diwali last November and followed her intuition to come here to the ashram! She ended up staying almost five months, serving at the ashram until her visa ran out this month. It was a sad but celebratory send-off she received with a big going away luncheon with many of the friends she had made here in Crestone. And then of course, in Shri Babaji’s perfect Divine timing..her flight was scheduled to leave Denver at the end of the Paduka Puja weekend. So after two wonderful days of chanting, Shri Babaji’s padukas accompanied her to the airport for her departure. She was thrilled to be able to pranam to His padukas as her last goodbye in America..Babaji is so gracious. We send her our deepest Love and Gratitude for her wonderful Love and Care she gave to the Ashram. We miss her very much! Here is what she shared with us after her return to Greece.
"Staying at the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram for a 5-month period was a truly amazing experience. The gifts and blessings received are innumerable and coming out I was a different person. I jokingly often refer to arriving at the Ashram as being Divinely 'trapped' into it, for I initially came to Colorado with no retreating intentions and with a remarkable resistance to specific spiritual traditions and Gurus. A series of circumstances though led me to Him (Babaji), in a way that I am still in awe for how magically perfect it all is orchestrated so as to grow, if only one can read through the teachings and learning opportunities laid out.
"Some of those teachings, still in the process of integration, are: choosing seeing everything as an invitation for strengthening Faith to the Divine, daring to ask Him for the Truth and for teaching how to love Him, as well as wanting to learn more about the infinite love of God. To the latter, being part of the Real Love group organized at the Ashram, played an important role. That group gradually became a wonderful ground of support, healing and practicing unconditional love. I am ever grateful for the time and love shared and all members of the group are still warmly nesting in my heart.
"Another important transformative element was communal living. There is a Zen saying that could best describe the experience, "like pebbles in a bag, the monks polish one another". Last but definitely not least, staying at the home of Babaji and the Divine Mother, emanating such deep, ever supportive and embracive love, I was allowed and encouraged to go to those 'dark' places within and release unexpressed, 'calcified' and stagnant emotions from way back, be held and heard in that process and receive healing. That wasn't always easy and at times I felt taken apart and under a heart operation.
"All for the best though and now back in the 'real world', on the Greek island where I live, I feel like a newborn, 'thrown' lovingly out there so as to spread His message, and continue the inner and outer work of service and surrender to the Lord. "
Sewing Party at the Ashram
Mary Susan and Bhargavi came from Alamosa and Kelly, Arthur, Lisa, and Catrina came from Crestone to join Ramloti and Deborah in a sewing party at the Ashram. It was so much fun and accomplished so much..it may become a semi-annual event before Spring and Fall Navratri each year.
We are deeply grateful for the support and love each brought that day and for sure I think we all experienced the joy of sewing for the Divine Mother! Jai Ma!!
Photo of some of the seamstresses is in the first article above.
Visitors to the Ashram
March has actually been a pretty unpredictable month, with snow and weather causing some of our visitors to cancel. And still, we had lots of folks coming and staying with us..some from as far away as California, New Mexico and back East. It is our joy to have so many devoted folks come here!
One new arrival at the Ashram is Maitreya. Here is a bit about him and his first impressions.
Om Namah Shivaya from Maitreya
"About 15 years ago I read Autobiography of Yogi and when I read about the Mahaavatar Babaji I felt a strong connection with Him. Even though I never met Him personally, Babaji started talking to my heart and calling me home. It wasn’t too long after this first encounter that I formally entered the spiritual path with Shambhala Buddhists. In fact, the jolt of encountering Babaji inspired me to leave my corporate job, give away all my possessions and a permanent living space, and live a very simple life of travel taking with me wherever I go only what I can carry. 15 years later after exploring many different “spiritual ways”, living a simple austere life, and many years of daily disciplined prayer and meditation I have finally found my way to the Babaji Ashram. I arrived at the Universal Ashram only a couple of days ago so I can only give first impressions.
"My first impression is the feeling that the last 15 years have been preparation for coming here. One cannot be called to come to a place like this without having a humble sense of the sacred and a desire for inner discipline. There is a great need on planet earth to live in harmony with nature and this emphasis at the ashram requires awareness and discipline to keep the cohesiveness of the community running smoothly on a daily basis. My second impression is the exquisite natural beauty and peace. This is literally a little slice of heaven. And the third first impression is the presence of Babaji. This land is saturated with His blessing and His love, and one cannot but feel a little bit happier and little more uplifted for the visit."
Calendar of Events for 2016
April 8 - 16 - Spring Navratri, Divine Mother Festival
May 13 - 22 - Eighth Annual On-Line Fundraising Auction
July 19 - Guru Purnima Day with fire ceremony at 10am followed by a meal.
July 29 - 31 - American Haidakhan Samaj Annual Gathering and Meeting
August 3 - 6 - Ashram Annual Family Week
October 1 - 9 - Fall Navratri, Divine Mother Festival
October 30 - Diwali, Festival of Lights
Maha Lakshmi Shop Report
The Shop is full and here you see Theo and Bill, making sense and organizing it all after my arrival home from India with two 70lb. bags. If you have not checked out our new stock, we welcome you to come by and call or visit our website. Your input and presence is a joy to us.
We have been receiving calls about the Real Love book by Greg Baer. We now also have four more of his:
Real Love and Marriage - $16
Forty Days to Real Love and Happiness in Your Marriage (a companion workbook for Real Love and Marriage) - $10.95
Real Love for Wise Men and Women - $22.95
Real Love in Dating, the Truth about finding the perfect partner - 18.95
You will have to call for these four books as we only have his main book, Real Love, on the website. These are incredible guides to help make marriage and life more peaceful and joyful.
The Maha Lakshmi Shop is open every day from 10am until 5pm. 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 are 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!