First of all, our love and prayers go out to all who are suffering from all of the disasters that are going on at this time. Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires and all the personal illnesses and trials in people's lives seem to be overwhelming. In these times it is often the love of others and the Divine that can give us courage. Your names are all at the feet of Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother and we remember you daily.
Last month I shared about a deeply moving part of the aarati that we sing morning and evening at the Ashram. Another strong verse for me from the Sharnagati Stav is the final one which reads: "Ankhen Teri Daya Ka, Ashraya Bani Hain Sundar, Jin Men Na Vish Vishamta, O Samdarshi Kahane Vale." This means, "Thine eyes, a source of mercy, are beautiful. In them there is no poison of differentiation. O Thou Who are known as One of balanced vision."
I would watch Shri Babaji surrounded by so many people all wanting something from Him. They seemed to be attempting to pull Him from one drama to another. He could not walk without people falling at His feet, pushing and shoving to be near Him, or to get a minute of His time. And yet He was always so balanced, so present, shining in His love. I would just gaze at Him and be transfixed.
Some of my personal experiences with Shri Babaji often left me perplexed. As I focus more on this teaching of balance, I begin to see that He was showing me that there is often no one answer and that the difference between what seems to be polar opposites, may be none. For instance, one day a man was selling jewelry and Babaji, the ultimate supporter of entrepenears, encouraged some of us Westerners to buy some. Well, perhaps it was more than encourage, for when Babaji said, "You purchase?" it was more a directive than a question! So I purchased a lovely ruby necklace and earring set. As I was sitting, He beckoned me toward Him and He took the necklace and put it around my neck and then laid my head in His lap and proceeded to put the earrings in for me. Well the backs on the earrings were really thick, more like screws than posts, and as He put them through my ears it hurt and tears came running down my cheek. Seeing the tears, He asked me if I was alright? Now how does one answer a question like this? I was in total bliss with my head in His lap and yet the procedure did hurt. Was I alright or not?
A similar thing happened when I was hiking out with Him from Haidakhan in early October, 1981. The river was low enough to ride on horses and I knew Baba would be riding on one. I also knew that in India, you did not ride next to each other, horses follow one another. So when Babaji asked me if I wanted to hire a horse, I declined and told him that I wanted to walk out right next to him through the river. Assembling on the river bottom that morning, I was so touched to see Babaji dressed in His blue deck shoes and vest, perfect for a horseback ride! This is the picture I snapped that moment.
So the hike is about an hour and a half and you are crossing the river about a dozen times. I was happy as a coot walking next to Baba in one of the most beautiful places in the world, there was nothing that I could imagine that could be better. The rocks in the river can be slippery with moss and toward the end of the hike, I slipped and fell in the quickly flowing water. Babaji grabbed me by the neck of my shirt and pulled me back up, once again His question disarmed me, "You okay?" Well I was all wet, a bit scratched, and startled. But my gosh, having just been saved by my beloved Lord, how could I be anything but beyond "okay"?
I begin to see Shri Babaji's teaching about "balanced vision" around here. It was an extremely busy time at the Ashram with Labor Day weekend with hundreds of visitors, the garden produce and flowers abundant and asking to be picked, there is a bear that is coming and breaking into the garden, so we needed to keep repairing the fence, the beginning of the month always has a little newsletter anxiousness with it, and on top of all that 11 huge boxes arrived Friday afternoon with items from India, statues, textiles, and devotional items as well as 2 boxes of deity candles and 5 boxes of Indian clothes!
So Shri Babaji, the perfect orchestrator, taught me to just be okay with the boxes of product all over and closets packed to the brim. Whenever there were visitors that stayed over an hour, I had them help price things. I think we had over 50 people help with this huge order. It all went just fine, very different than any other order ever got put away, and what an amazing lesson in "balanced vision". Even though, Shri Babaji is not in physical form, His teachings, guidance, and presence are felt here daily.
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony this month was today, September 6. Our new-moon fire ceremony this month is on Tuesday, September 19. We will also have daily fire ceremonies during Fall Navratri which begins on Wednesday, September 20 and runs through Thursday, September 28. All fire ceremonies begin at 10am 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, morning aarati at 7am, and the small fire ceremony is at 8:00am. We do not have the small fire ceremony when we have our large fire ceremony on new and full moons and during Navratri. 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.)
Fall Navratri (Divine Mother Festival) - September 20 - 28
The special time of year when we gather together to say thank you to our beautiful Mother, Haidakhandeshwari. Nine days of special pujas, chanting, discourses, daily fire ceremonies at 10am along with daily aaratis. We will honor the children on Sunday, September 24 after the fire ceremony. You are welcome to come for all or any of the time. We still have rooms available during the weekdays so contact us at email@example.com
Babaji Weekend at Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia - Sat & Sun - October 7 & 8
There will be a wonderful Babaji gathering at the beautiful lake house of Kelly and Pam on Lake Lanier which is about an hour outside of Atlanta, GA. In addition to the pujas, aaratis, chanting, satsang, fire ceremonies, Real Love gatherings, swimming, and boating, we are excited to announce that Vajra and Surdas whom you may have heard at the Ashram leading chanting or know from their several albums under Rahasya will be joining us on Sat and Sunday. It should be a very special time together. Call Ramloti at 719-256-4108 for more info and to reserve a space. We hope many of you can join us.
Next Big Project at the Ashram - Driveway Repair
It has been a few years since we did a full repair of our very long and steep driveway and with the heavy rains this summer, it is definitely time! Our contractor, Ken Skoglund, was here last week assessing the damage and giving us an estimate for the work. We are anticipating 6 loads of road base with a higher clay content for the driveway and 2 loads of regular road base for the parking lot. The estimate for the job is $4,500. We are fortunate that he may be able to fit us in his schedule next week while we still have rain predicted as the moisture helps to compact the clay for a stronger driveway. This will also make it nice for Navratri. We have set up a new GoFundMe campaign for this, as many of you found it easy to make donations this way. Remember, sharing the link is a big help, there is a facebook link on the page. Any amount adds up. You can also 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 Opportunity at the Ashram
No one has stepped forward yet to help with this project, so we will announce it once again. We are asking for support to build a new cover for the sand filter on our water system. This is about 25 years old and it is amazing it has weathered so long in our intense sunlight here at the Ashram. If you have the skills and time, let us know at 719-256-4108. If you would rather donate some funds toward hiring a carpenter and buying the supplies for the project 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 so much.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
We are still very busy here with the gorgeous late summer weather, soon the leaves will be turning and that is a special time many like to experience. We have also had lots of wonderful rain, so everything is growing fast. We are always grateful for all of the folks that come and help us with weeding, lawn mowing, cooking, cleaning, restocking the shop, wood gathering for havans and winter fires, and serving the copious amount of food that we serve at the Ashram. The preparations for Fall Navratri are also underway, making new saris for Ma and veils and lunghis for our children. We really could not get everything done with out you, you are all the reason this Ashram is what it is. Thank you.
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!!
Sewing Party for the Divine Mother
It has become a twice a year tradition for many seamstresses from around the valley to gather and sew for the Divine Mother and the other celebrations during Navratri. It is such a treat to be together sewing all of these sumptuous fabrics for our Mother. We are so grateful!
Devotees From Denver and Colorado Springs Gather and Sing Praises for Ma
About 30 devotees gathered to ask Mother and Baba for healing and health. It was an afternoon of chanting and devotion. Very touching. Here are two emails we received:
"Thank you to all Mata bhakts who joined in chowki. Those who could not make it, we missed them. Would like to have special note of thanks to Ramloti ji and Bill for exceptional service with a smile to Goddess. It was an afternoon full of devotional bhajans in the praise of Maa Lakshmi, sung by many devotees present. Each one could feel the energy. With Maa blessings all should have a very happy and healthy life. Would like to thank Ashok ji, Asha ji, Mitesh ji, Vijay ji, Adarsh ji, Uday ji for the music and singing Mata Bhajans. Paresh bhai, thanks for everything."
Best regards, Sudhir
"Jai Mata Di......................May Maa bless & protect all the devotees!!
Thanks to you & Paresh for arranging this Chowki.
Thanks to Ashok, Asha, Mitesh, Vijay, Adarsh, Uday for singing devotional Mata Bhajans and of course very very special thanks to Ramloti ji and Bill for exceptional hosting & services at the Temple. Note: Very special thanks to Paresh/Janaki, Neera & Shialesh for driving us from Denver to Crestone back to Denver"
Ganesh Birthday and Puja
Several of us gathered after aarati to bathe and decorate all of the many Ganeshes that grace the Ashram. From little ones that are 2" high to our large one that lives outside the temple, each received a panchamrit bath, sacred perfume oil, chandan and cumcum, new clothes, and ornaments. It is always a special time and all the Ganeshes are shining! Jai Ganesh!