The other evening I participated in a program with the Crestone Charter School Peace Alliance (Young citizens with big ideas to share with the world!) is their byline. It was wonderful, inspiring, and fun. As they shared dances, speeches, and songs on the theme of peace, several of the spiritual communities shared their teachings about peace. I had chosen a few of Shri Babaji's speeches on humanity and peace to read but when I stood up and looked at the many young faces in the crowd, I remembered an experience in Haidakhan with my children which I shared first.
As most of you know, I took my sons Amil and Jacob, ages eight and ten-years-old in 1981 to spend the summer with Babaji at His ashram in Haidakhan. When we arrived, we did not know what to expect but I had heard that there was no electricity or plumbing, so we prepared for simple living and I also bought the boys many of the Deity comic books in Delhi to keep them occupied. Little did I know that this was unnecessary as there was plenty to do. Babaji put them to work in the Shop packing toffees, nuts, and dried fruit; the amazing Gautama Ganga River was always a source of fun whether it was doing our laundry, our dishes, bathing, or just playing; and because of the monsoon, we got to spend extra time in the kirtan hall singing with Shri Babaji.
What I shared at the Peace Alliance though was about how my children made friends and played with children from all around the world. There were two children from Holland who only spoke Dutch, one from Switzerland who spoke German, two from India who spoke Hindi, and my two sons who only spoke English. Without the use of words and with no thought of the differences between them, they played games, laughed, went on adventures, and became fast friends. For me this was an example of how peace could be achieved throughout the world. Shri Babaji loved children and they often found themselves in His lap and he would feed them toffees, play with them, and hug and kiss them. I always felt he was responding to their innocent love and ability to flow with the moment.
I also shared that evening that I am so grateful to live in Crestone where there were so many spiritual groups (28 I think) that live in peace and harmony. Even more important is that I am so grateful to live at the Ashram were we have so many programs that include our children. Over the 26 years that I have been here it has been a great joy to see many of them grow up and now come as young adults to the Ashram. Several of the children in the program and in the audience we had seen from when their Mama's were pregnant with them. Our Children's Day during Navratri last month had over 40 children and young teens participating. This is a day we honor our children dressing them like little gods and goddesses acknowledging the divine qualities they carry so innocently. It is always a memorable and heartfelt day.
I also cherish that people from all around the world come to our Ashram. So often as I look around the dinner table I notice that there are often half a dozen or more different countries represented. I once asked Shri Muniraji, who named our Ashram, why he gave it the name Universal and he told me it was because he knew people from all around the world would be coming. I am inspired by the comradeship and friendships that are formed by the people who come here. This Navratri we were blessed with the presence of a granddaughter of Shri Muniraji's, Sangeeta. Brand new to America, only 29 years old, and she was in charge of organizing a bhandara (feast) for 150 people. She was working with people she had never even met before and all went off lovingly, smoothly, and deliciously. May this place be a microcosm of what is possible in this world and as Shri Babaji said about the Haidakhan Ashram, "that the 'new world' begins from here!" Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony this month was yesterday, Tuesday, April 11 (Hanuman's birthday) and the new-moon fire ceremony will be on Wednesday, April 26. 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 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 donate link to sponsor a fire or bhandara.)
Paduka Pujas in Denver Area - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 21, 22, and 23
Shri Babaji's padukas will travel to the Denver area with Ramloti and Premanand the weekend of April 21 - 23. They will visit the homes of four devotees. Here are the times and dates for puduka pujas, aarati, chanting, and Indian feasts. All devotees are invited but please call the host and hostess so they can prepare for your visit. We hope you can make one or several of the events. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Friday, April 21 at 7pm - Rahul & Ashwini Nipunge at 11016 Valleybrook Cir, Highlands Ranch, CO 80130. Puja begins at 7pm followed by chanting and dinner. Please call call 720-308-7873 or 720-201-8583.
Saturday, April 22 at 11 am - Sudhir and Alka Deshpande at 15237 Delhi Ave, Parker, CO 80134. Puja begins at 11 followed by bhajans and lunch. Please call Alka at 720-936-7855 to RSVP.
Saturday, April 22 at 6pm - Ajay and Sabina Pradhan at 4834 S. Eagle Circle, Aurora, CO 80015
Puja begins promptly at 6pm followed by chanting and dinner. For more information and to RSVP for dinner call: 720-732-6141.
Sunday, April 23 at 11am - Ami and Chairag Parekh at 15080 Jakarta Circle, Parker, CO 80134. Puja begins at 11am followed by chanting and lunch. Please call 848-565-4470 for more information and to RSVP for lunch.
Ninth Annual On-Line Fundraising Auction - April 28 - May 7
The Big auction is just a few weeks away, we so ask for your support! It has been a huge boon to the Ashram to have this on-line auction each Spring for the last eight years. The funds raised each year have helped us pay off the loan for the kirtan hall, build Ramloti's hermitage, and make many improvements and repairs at the Ashram. This year we will dedicate the funds to improving our electricity supply at the Ashram so that we are able to change our water purification from chlorine to UV filters, have more dependable refrigeration, and a stove that does not leak propane. We are so grateful to all who participate by sponsoring, donating items, and purchasing items, you make this all happen. If you would like to donate an item or items whether you have donated before or not, call me at 719-256-4108 or you can add it to the auction yourself at this link. Sponsors totally underwrite the auction so consider this option, it is also an excellent way to share your website with others. Once again, you can call me or go to this link to put up your sponsorship. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Here are a few of the over 130 items we already have up. First this gorgeous chuni bought in India and worn by our Divine Mother here in Crestone (click here) and a hanging sculpture from one of our generous Crestone artist. The set of brass murtis are 18 inches high would bless and majestically welcome anyone into your home or temple. You can view them by clicking here. We have trips to Thailand, Florida, Hot Springs, restaurants, services, magnificent brass murtis (statues), prints of Shri Babaji's paintings, a quilt from a Crestone quilter, beautiful alter cloths, lunghis from Shri Babaji, pillows, pillow cases, glass cases, cosmetic bags all made from the Divine Mother's saris or nightgowns, malas from Babaji, and so much more. To view all of the items click here.
To view on your mobile devise go to https://bforg.com/babajiashram
Annual Family Week - July 25, 26, 27, 28
We are getting closer to that special time of year many gather at the Ashram for Family Week. The actual program dates are Tuesday, July 25 through Friday, July 28 with arrival date July 24 and departure July 29 morning after a family meeting. Since families sign up a year in advance, we may already be full in the dorm but we still have camping options and yurt space or a room may come available so we can put you on the waiting list. We ask a donation of $135 per adult per week to stay at the Ashram, children stay for free. Call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at email@example.com to reserve space.
Real Love Workshop with Inge Jechart, Susan Dunn, and Tami Strom - July 25, 26, 27, 28
Running concurrently with Family Week is our Real Love Workshop each morning from 10am until 1pm. Last year's program was so valuable for people we are having not one but three Real Love Certified Coaches: Inge Jechart from CA, Jonathan Baer from AZ, and Susan Dunn from CA. as well as Tami Strom from WA, who is a certified "wise person" and facilitates groups and conference calls. This is an amazing opportunity for those that would really like to explore how living without fear feels and can be a reality. This year there will be tons more individual time to receive the love these folks, who spend their lives sharing Real Love, will give as well as helping us see the behaviors we have put in place over a lifetime to protect us but which actually block our ability to live life freely and to receive unconditional love.
The cost of the four day workshop is only $108 if you register in advance and $135 at the door. There are some partial scholarships available but this needs to be negotiated ahead of time. We will ask each participant to at least read the basic information on the website at www.reallove.com, and for the most in depth experience, read the basic book, Real Love by Greg Baer, MD. which you can buy on our website by clicking here. We will be limiting attendance to 40 participants so registering ahead of time will guarantee you space in the workshop as it is already filling up. Here is the form. You may send it back with a check to P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131, or call with a credit card at 719-256-4108. You can also send it back via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and pay on line by clicking here and scrolling down. Please mention the workshop payment and your contact info.
Here are blurbs from our coaches and our wise person:
"For over 20 years, I have been sharing this message and helping people find unconditional love. I am one of only four Certified Real Love Coaching Trainers in the world and have worked with people from many countries. I host conference calls, facilitates Real Love groups and teaches workshops, but my passion is to work with families. I show parents what it looks like to “love and teach” their children by coming to their home and modeling it. I have run several groups teaching people how to be a 'wise man or woman' for the people in their lives.
"Although my father wrote the Real Love books, that didn't happen until I was grown and out of the house. My journey of discovery was like anyone else. Finding Real Love has helped me to eliminate the anger and disappointment in my life. I enjoy the peaceful feeling I so frequently have and the tools to get back there when I lose it. I look forward to sharing with you some of the things I've learned.''
Susan Dunn, M.A. is a Certified Real Love Coach trained by Dr. Greg Baer. She says, “I have been practicing Real Love for 11 years, and it has transformed my life including my relationship to my daughter, now 21 years old. I have a master’s degree in psychology, and have worked extensively with youth and families, including suicidal and at-risk youth, applying Real Love principles for over 8 years in social services programs. No other intervention is more effective than practicing the principles of Real Love.”
Susan works professionally providing employment counseling and workshops on psychological issues. Her students have described her as “an engaging speaker, combining humor and authenticity.” Dr. Greg Baer, author of Real Love and 20 books on relationships, says “Susan Dunn has dedicated her life to educating parents and teachers about how to address and prevent the problems that are consuming children. She is saving lives, and the world is blessed to have her in it.”
"I have been practicing Real Love for about 15 years and became certified as a coach in 2011. In addition to coaching, I also enjoy connecting with anyone who wants to practice or learn how to love by phone, and sometimes we even visit each other in person.
"Doing this work - learning how to be more loving (which includes learning how to say “no”), and learning how to be myself, has been an incredibly fulfilling journey (and saved my life). My family also benefited from my work. My two sons will tell you that their relationship with me is much different now than it was ten years ago – much kinder, calmer and more fun.
"I enjoy bringing love and the very practically oriented Real Love principles to the community. Having met many of you last summer, I can’t wait to see what you have been up to and continue our Real Love journey together! For more information on Inge go to http://pacificreallove.com/about-us/"
"After 45 years of just surviving this life, being the angry, frightened victim, and punishing everyone around me for the love I didn’t get as a kid, Real Love found me. Real Love has helped me begin to heal all the wounds that made me think I had a right to be angry, and that someone owed me something... With the peace that I feel now I get to make lots of mistakes, and learn, all the while knowing that I’m loved and never alone. Real Love has had a positive impact on every aspect of my life, and I feel very blessed to get to share it."
A Babaji & Real Love Weekend at Lake Lanier, Gainesville, FL
All day Saturday and Sunday Morning, October 7 & 8
We have often talked about having a Babaji gathering at the beautiful lake house of Kelly and Pam who have hosted us many times at their home in Decauter, GA. Well we have planned one for the weekend of October. We will have pujas, aaratis, chanting, satsang, fire ceremonies, Real Love gatherings, swimming, boating, and lots of fun. Call Ramloti at 719-256-4108 for more info and to reserve a space.
Update on UV Filter and More Electricity
As we have been writing about in the last few newsletters, we wish to replace, upgrade, and ease the amount of maintenance work for the electricity in the earthship and to enable us to utilize a UV filtration system rather than chlorine. It will also allow us to have a large electric refrigerator that will take the heavy use of an ever growing Ashram and a better more efficient stove that does not leak propane. We have had several meetings and phone calls with Luke Christy the principal at Solar Gain Services, LLC, a highly recommended local solar company. There are many different options of batteries and we wanted to have the most information to make the best decision. We have also been calling the different distributors to see if any would be willing to donate or sell us the batteries at cost. We finally decided to go with an HuP industrial sized batteries that will last for perhaps 20 years. The company was willing to give us them at cost and with a battery watering kit that comes with them, the maintenance will be very low. We will still use the 12 Canadian Solar modulars on pole mounts, inverters, circuit breakers, control panel, charge controller, and all the other components for a turnkey solar electric system and with the bigger, longer lasting batteries the cost is $27,850. We have decided on the location of PV array and Luke has ordered the batteries and panels so that we can get on his spring schedule. We also are having him give us a quote to utilize some of the components that will be replaced in the earthship to upgrade the dorm PV system which is often over stressed with visitors and to allow for UV filtration there as well.
This is a big investment and by Baba's and Mother's grace we have nearly $20,000 already donated toward this very important project. We ask your support to raise the additional $7,850 as well as funds to refurbish the dorm solar system. You can make your donation by clicking here and scrolling down to donate any amount or send a check made to HUA to PO Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131. Thank you for taking care of Shri Babaji's and Mother's home.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
We have been busy this month with Navratri, it is always a huge endeavor both all the cleaning and preparations that go on before the celebration and everything that it takes to keep it running smoothly for nine days. Of course there is still the rest of what needs doing like updating and adding to the Ashram auction site, updating the website, snow removal, wood gathering, cooking, and cleaning. We are so grateful for all of the love and help that Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother send to us. Several of our children lent helping hands in the kitchen and in the Shop for us too.
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 by scrolling down (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!!
A Beautiful Spring Navratri