The following event occured during the same trip to Haidakhan that I wrote about last month with my sons, Jacob and Amil in the summer of 1981. Although monsoon season had its inconveniences, I actually loved being there with Shri Babaji two summers during this time. It was just so unpredictable. We could all be working down in the riverbed moving stones and it would suddenly begin pouring rain and we would all run to the nearest shelter, sometimes a chai shop, and all squash inside, sometimes even Babaji would be huddled inside with us. What bliss! We also spent more time in the kirtan hall chanting with Shri Babaji since it often just rained all day.
One afternoon it was raining and I was sitting with Babaji and my children under the eves of the temple. He seemed to love dogs and had one in His lap and He was picking fleas off the dog. All of a sudden to my surprise, He handed me the dog and told me, “Day by day, this your job.” Stunned, I nodded but had no idea what He meant by this since I never saw the dog again the rest of my three months there.
I must say it is only recently I have even a glimmer of the lesson Babaji was giving me. It was in hearing a story by Lok Nath about Babaji coming out of His room and calling him Chief Minister Justice. Lok said at first he took it as a compliment but as the play continued he realized Babaji was pointing out how judgmental Lok was of other people. So in my situation, Babaji was picking fleas off a dog, also called nit-picking and this often also refers to someone who picks things apart and focuses on tiny details that often do not matter. I begin to see what a nit-picker I have been most of my life. I felt it was “day by day my job” to pick people and their actions apart!
As I settle into myself through my Real Love work and realize that I am fine, full, loved and cherished just as I am, I see that I no longer have a need or even an interest in picking so many things apart. I actually see all the little details I used to worry and complain about, such as how the flowers, table, or Christmas decorations were arranged, how the phone was answered, how the food was served, how a person dressed or what he said, how a meal was served, a program progressed, or the aarati sung. Most of this just does not matter, it is under Shri Babaji’s control, and is that a big relief to me. Sure there are things that do need to be addressed at the Ashram, but so much less now that I do not need to be in control every minute and trust more deeply in the Divine flow of things. I often ask myself the question, “Does this really matter?” and the answer is often, “No”, so I just let it go.
It is so much more peaceful living this way and often I find myself sitting in silence with people and it feels like there often is a deep exchange of love. The other day we had visitors at the Ashram who we invited to stay for lunch. I made a playful comment about one person’s clothes and later realized it was not only unnecessary (just a nervous filling in of a silent moment) but also not even kind or loving. How many moments are filled with idle chatter about what should have been done, what should not have been done, or what one wishes they could do. So exhausting!
When I think of some of the deepest moments of my life, they were with Shri Babaji just standing in His presence and with Shri Muniraji and Shri Shastriji just meditating in their silence. There are really not that many words or nit-picking that need to be done. My new “day by day job” as I enter this new year is just to feel this Divine peace and share it with others. A blessed and peaceful New Year to all.
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony this month will be on Thursday, January 12 (an indoor smaller fire led by Jonathan as Premanand and Ramloti will be traveling to Florida that day) and the new-moon fire ceremony this month will be on Friday, January 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, 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. 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.)
Florida Events for January
In a little over a week, 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 email@example.com 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.
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 22 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.
Another Fire Ceremony in Decatur, GA and Real Love Evening - Feb 15
I am travelling to Rome, Georgia for another Real Love Retreat and on the way I will be stopping once again in Decatur at our friends Pam and Kelly’s home. On morning of Wednesday, February 15 at 10am I will be conducting a fire ceremony in their backyard. That evening at 7pm we will be gathering again for an evening of Real Love. When we came together in November the energy was very high so please join us if you are able and let others know too. Please give them a call at 404-271-3155 (Kelly), or 404-259-2586 (Pam) for directions and to let them know you will be attending. Looking forward to being with many of you.
Maha Shivaratri - The Night of Shiva - Saturday, February 25 to Sunday Morning, Feb 26
A festive and full night at the Ashram each year is Maha Shivaratri when we chant and do pujas to Lord Shiva throughout the night. This night is on the weekend so it should be easier to attend for our working folks. We will have aarati from 6pm until 7pm followed by our first of four pujas. We will take a break after this until 10pm when we will begin chanting Shiva chants until 4am the next morning ending with the 4th of the Lingam pujas. We will have the new-moon fire ceremony at 10am on Sunday followed by a meal. For more information or to reserve a room in the dorm call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Om Namah Shivaya!
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
We had lots of snow clearing this last month as we have received a couple of good snowfalls and also very cold temperatures. Folks traveling to the Ashram, however, have commented on how clear and dry our driveway and paths are around the Ashram. This is because of the diligent work or our karma yogis. We even had an indoor fire ceremony with flower petals due to the freezing weather. We have also had all of our regular shop work and preparation, serving, and clean up of bhandaras (feasts). Thanks to all who keep this place lovely in all kinds of weather and we love it when our children help out as well and learn the value of Karma Yoga early. 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!!
New Water Purification System for the Ashram
Last month we wrote about the hope that we would be able to bring up electricity to support a UV water system and other future building projects. The San Luis Valley Rural Electric Company came out and surveyed our very steep and rocky driveway and have presented us with an estimate of close to $33,000! We were very surprised at this cost as were our Indian families who were hoping to fund this. We did raise the $10,000 needed to purchase and install the UV system but we are now looking at additional solar to power it. We will keep you informed of our progress and decisions. We wish to thank all who contributed to this project.
Christmas Trees at the Ashram
Wth the fire concern each summer, the Ashram has taken steps to mitigate trees in some areas to keep safe zones where fires would have a tendency to burn out or at least reduce their speed and heat. Trees continue to seed themselves however and one of the areas that needed clearing had some perfect-shaped Christmas trees. We invited some of our families to cut them down for their homes. It was much fun to share this joy with the children.
First Ashram Sewing Party for Spring Navratri 2017
It was a smaller sewing party this time as it was only three days before Christmas but we still got six of the nine saris for Ma sewn for Spring Navratri! It is great to have such a head start on this project even though it does not begin until March 28. Jai Ma!
Christmas Eve at the Ashram
It has become a tradition for some of the community families to come up to the Ashram to sing Christmas carols after aarati on Christmas Eve. This is followed by a dinner and small gifts for the children and families. This year was larger than ever but still very sweet. Here are some photos.
New Years Day at the Ashram
The day began foggy and cold and it seemed that perhaps we would have a very quiet New Years Day. But as you can see from the photos it turned out to be a full and lovely day together with many visitors. Many people understand the blessing of beginning the new year with Mother and Baba's blessings.
Visitors to the Ashram
Despite the colder, snowy weather this last month, we have continued to have several visitors. Cindy Cleary was home from India for Christmas vacation and is pictured here with her husband Thomas. We also had a wonderful visit from Soma Devi and Somnath from Boulder as well as many, many other friends.