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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com