In 1981 I went to Haidakhan for three months to be with Shri Babaji. I had my two sons, Jacob age 10 and Amil age 8, with me. It was summer; vacation time from school for my sons but also monsoon season for India. As I prepared to take my two sons to India, many people warned me of the possible dangers of this decision particularly
during monsoon season with unpredictable flooding and plenty of mosquitos.
I chose to have faith that we would get into the Ashram safely (a nearly 3-hour hike through the river, if it was low enough to even cross!) and not get any deadly disease. I knew this was the only time that I could bring my boys for that amount of time to be with Shri Babaji and I had faith that He would take care of us.
Arriving in India in late June, I heard over and over again how unseasonably late monsoon was, good news to us. When we arrived in Haldwani, the last small city before the hike into Haidakhan, we met a woman from Germany and her 5-year old son at the Kailash View Hotel who wanted to hike in with us the next morning. Upon arising the next day, she said she wanted to rest another day in Haldwani and asked us to stay behind as well. There was not a moment that I even considered waiting another day for this long dreamed of moment to have my children meet Shri Babaji and for me to set foot in sacred Haidakhan for the first time (I had met Babaji in Wape, Gujarat the previous February for a short time by myself). So early in the morning we bade goodbye to our German friends and headed to the damsite where we hired porters to carry our bags, guide us, and support us as we crossed an already rising river. It was spectacular; the sky was blue and clear, the weather warm but not hot, and crossing the river about 15 times, sometimes well over our waists, was exhilarating!
But nothing could have prepared me for what came next. As we approached the Ashram on the right bank of the river and the building site for the nine temples on the left, someone came to greet us and told us that Shri Babaji was waiting for us at the building site. We hurried up to a cement platform where Baba was sitting with Gaura Devi and a couple of others. We pranamed and Baba motioned for us to sit at His feet. He then, with His own hands, poured us some juice and served it to my sons and me. Overwhelmed with shock and bliss, I remember thinking; "He must have me confused with someone important." We sat happily with Baba for some time and then He led us across the river, showed us to our room, and told us to come and eat lunch. After lunch I noticed the rain clouds gathering. As we tucked into our sleeping bags, I could hear the rain begin to beat on the tin roof and it rained and rained the rest of the day and through the night. The monsoon had arrived, just after us, solidifying in my mind that my faith in Shri Babaji's care for us was totally warranted. (The poor German woman did not arrive for days and she and her young son had to hike over the mountains for nearly 12 hours to reach the Ashram since the river was way too huge to cross.)
Some time later, Shri Babaji told us all to have mundan, shave our heads. He said that this was important to clear away old karma and to expose the landing pad for His grace to befall on us. Where I totally had faith to follow Baba's guidance, my boys balked at the idea. I told them that while in Haidakhan Babaji was their Father and they could deal directly with Him on this matter. I went down to the river immediately and found the barber, old Moti Singh, and he shaved my head with a straight edge razor; it was a feeling that I had never experienced in my life. Every bit of wind or rain or sun was so stimulating. When I went to the kirtan hall where Babaji was sitting, He called me up to Him and He called for some oil and massaged it into my head with such fatherly love and tenderness. The bliss that I experienced has no words to do it justice. He never said a word to the boys about not having done mundan nor do I think He would have ever mentioned it again to them. But they could feel the love Baba poured into me and during rest time they gathered their own rupees, found the barber, and received mundan all on their own. That afternoon in the kirtan hall Babaji lavished them with His love and massaged their heads with oil and even gave them each a little hat to wear (which they still have) to protect their heads from the sun. Once again my faith in Babaji and my sons' sensitivity was proven.
Everyday I have opportunities to have faith in Babaji. When I am aware of His constant guidance and love, the day goes as smooth as butter. When I am in fear, the obstacles come up one after another. I am grateful for my work with Real Love which is helping me see how much fear I have carried in my life and to heal it. I am also learning to be able to feel the difference between faith and fear more quickly so that I am more able to stay in the present moment which is a place of deep peace and faith more and more. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony this month will be on Tuesday, December 13 and the new-moon fire ceremony this month will be on Wednesday, December 28. 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, unsalted 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 6:30am, and the small fire ceremony is at 8:00am (usually done indoors this time of year). 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 12:30 or 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
(Click here to go to our Paypal link to sponsor a fire or bhandara.)
End of the Year Donation to Support New Water Purification System for the Ashram
In the past some of our donors wanted to give donations at the end of the year. The Ashram Board of Directors has decided that our next major fundraising project will be for an Ultraviolet water purification system for the Ashram. Up to this time we have been using food grade chlorination of the water and then filtering out the chlorine at each building with carbon filters. This has never been an ideal choice but we have never had enough electricity to use the more benign UV purification on our whole water system. Our generous Indian families from Alamosa, Monte Vista, Pueblo, and Trinidad are paying to bring electricity up to the Ashram for some specific needs such as this one and so now we would have the electricity for the UV filter.
This will require a small building to house the filter and protect the water from freezing. We will place it just above the dorm so that we can purify the water before it enters any of the buildings. It will also take excavation to find the water line and bring it to the UV filter building. The initial estimate for this would be about $10,008. If you would like to make a donation of any size to this project you may make a donation via Paypal by clicking here and notate the UV fund, sending a check to HUA at PO Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131, or calling us with a credit card at 719-256-4108. We have faith in the generosity of our supporters that we will soon have UV filtered water at the Ashram instead of chlorinated. In case you are wondering, all of the existing buildings will remain off the grid.
Florida on the Horizon
In January, Premanand and I will be flying to Florida to do programs on the West and East coasts. We are looking forward to joining devotees for chanting, puja, fire ceremonies, satsang, and aaratis. I will also be carrying goods from the Maha Lakshmi Shop, so if you have a special request, please let me know at 719-256-4108 or firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to carry it to you. Here is where you can join us.
Friday, January 13 - at 7pm - Puja, chanting, and satsang at Sacred Lands in St. Petersburg, Florida. Call Sharda and Jeffrey at 727-363-0800 for information and location.
Sat & Sun, Jan 14 & 15 from 10am - 4pm - Makar Sankrant Celebrated in Treasure Island, FL - Paduka Puja, Aarati, Fire Ceremony, Potluck Brunch & Real Love Workshop. Call Sharda and Jeffrey at 727-363-0800 for information and location.
Wednesday, January 18 - Fire Ceremony and Satsang at 11am - The Miami Academy Of Sadhana, 11267 SW 3rd Street Miami, Florida 33174. You may call George Lara "Chandra Dev" at 305-322-7332 or email him at email@example.com for more information and to let him know you are coming.
Friday, January 20 - Fire Ceremony, Chanting, and Satsang at Elaine Hereoux's home in Jupiter, Florda - We will begin at 10:30am and will end with a potluck lunch. Call Elaine at 516-277-8326 for more information and location.
Saturday, January 21 from 12 noon - 4pm - Real Love Workshop at Transformational Studies Institute, 900 East Indiantown Rd, Suite 310, Jupiter, FL 33477 with Sari Terusa. Call her at 561-744-9123 or Email: info@TSIJupiter.com for more information and to enroll. Tuition on this is $75.
Sunday, January 10 at 10am - Chandan, fire ceremony, aarati, and chanting at Harmony House in Del Ray Beach, Florida followed by a potluck lunch. Call Sarena at 561-274-0883 for more information and location.
More Videos of Babaji Devotees Telling Their Stories Uploaded to You Tube
Premanand had a wonderful dream of Shri Babaji that he related some years ago to Kedar Trivedi when he was visiting the Ashram. Kedar had a related dream that night and shared it in the temple next morning. Kedar was here for Fall Navratri with his family and I asked Premanand and Kedar to tell this story on video. You can see this and many other stories of devotees sharing their experiences with Shri Babaji on YouTube under Ramloti Wood channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb00tphmmco
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
New stairs, water system cleaning before the water freezes, linseed oiling, wood preparation for winter, cooking, and cleanup were some of the projects for November. We are so grateful for all of the love and help that Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother send 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!!