In 1976 as I was sitting peacefully watching my children play in a pool, I read about the illusive Mahaavatar Babaji in "Autobiography of a Yogi". Surprisingly, I heard inside, "this is your true teacher." Five years later I learned that Shri Babaji had taken physical form and that one could actually go and see Him. However, I did not think this would ever be financially possible for me to travel to India. A little later when I was receiving a Treggar massage on a beautiful hilltop in Maui, Hawaii, I heard inside "you can make it happen." When I arrived in India 6 weeks later (with only $100 for traveling money!) and sat in the huge tent in Gujarat, India, singing aarati, looking at Babaji, and feeling His love, I heard, "you will be sharing this with others the rest of your life." Not even knowing what "this" was at the time, I realize I have lived here at the Ashram most of the years since then, sharing Shri Babaji's love and His beautiful aarati.
What is this inspiration? Where does this inner guidance come from? It seems in moments of peace I have heard it best. One of the songs we sing twice a day at aarati, the Sharnagati Stav, the Prayer of Surrender, speaks to this:
"Tav Tej Purna Anan, Ananda Ka Hai Akar, Vani Madhur Suna Ja, O Anmol Bol Vale."
"Thy face is radiant light, and Thou art a storehouse of bliss. Let us hear Thy sweet voice, O One of priceless words."
As I sing this verse each day, I pray that I will continually be more cognizant of this divine voice and priceless words. As I settle into more peace and a quieter mind, it becomes more audible. I often hear both the steps to take when I am praying for guidance, as well as small acts to do, often of kindness. For instance, as I hurry to do a chore or project at the Ashram, I find myself sitting down instead with a person and listening intently to them and sharing my love and concern. I find out how important this is to the person, sometimes in the moment or often a few months later when they come back, like the man who was just here, saying how much they love coming to the Ashram. Or in the case of noisy children, who I think I want to avoid, instead I find myself sitting on the floor with them and just playing with them and loving them. Once again, we hear later that it is the little children that keep asking their parents to bring them back to the Ashram.
It is also the trusting of the guidance that I am given that is growing in me. I was asked to teach parenting classes at the Crestone Charter school. Immediately I knew this was what I should do on Monday afternoons. As the parents reach out for support and suggestions when they are overwhelmed with their children's behavior, if I just sit quietly for a moment, I find very helpful ideas coming to my mind.
I remember sitting with Shri Babaji at His Ashram in Haidakhan in 1981 and asking Him a question. He just looked at me and smiled and never said a word. But what resounded loudly inside of me was: "Go within to your heart where the true wisdom abides, do not be dependent on a physical form." I believe we all have this divine inspiration that comes to us when we are in peace. It is often just small gestures of love and kindness that in the past my fear would keep me from following. For instance just lovingly touching a distraught person's arm; or looking into the eyes of a frantic sales person and reassuring him or her that I am not disgruntled or in a hurry; or taking the time to help an elderly person down some stairs; or offering to put their groceries in their car for them; or just holding a door open for the next person. These are all small but inspired actions that certainly make my day much fuller and happier and I can not but doubt it not only adds to the other person's happiness, but to the peace of the whole world. May the upcoming Holy days be peaceful and loving for you.
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
Our full-moon fire ceremony this month is on Sunday, December 3 and the new-moon will be on Sunday, December 17, the following full-moon fire ceremony is on New Year's Day. 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.)
Sewing Party for the Divine Mother - Thursday, December 7 at 9am
It is such a joy to come together with the intention of sewing for the Divine Mother and the temple. Is is often a surprise who shows up but it is always wonderful. If you enjoy sewing (nothing complicated) and preferably have a sewing machine (we have one extra at the Ashram), join us that morning and stay for lunch if you are able. Call with any questions at 719-256-4108 or email us at email@example.com. Hope you can join the divine fun!
Bal Gokulam, Children's Program - Saturday, December 9
Join us for our Annual Christmas Children’s Program at the Ashram, Saturday, December 9 from 10:30 until noon, followed by a potluck lunch.
Bal means Child and Gokulam is the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood days. In Gokulam, Krishna blossomed in talent, mischief, strength and also divinity. Thus, Bal Gokulam is a special place for children to learn together, discover their unique potential, and really shine.
At this gathering we will share yoga, singing, stories, crafts, and a puja (ceremony) honoring Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The children will also decorate the temple and set up the Nativity scene.
For more information, please call facilitators: Kelly at 719-256-5511, Vesper at 719-256-4569, or Ramloti at the Ashram at 719-256-4108. Parents must remain at the Ashram during the program.
Florida on the Horizon - January 11 - 21
January is almost here when Premanand, Richard Cahall, 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.
Sat & Sun, Jan 13 & 14 from 10am - 4pm - Makar Sankrant Celebrated in Treasure Island, FL There will be Paduka Pujas, Aarati, Fire Ceremonies, Potluck Brunch & Real Love Workshop in the afternoon. Call Sharda and Jeffrey at 727-363-0800 for information and location. There will also be daily aarati and fire ceremonies beginning on January 11.
Friday, January 19 - Fire Ceremony, Chanting, and Satsang at Elaine Hereoux's home in Jupiter, Florda - We will begin at 11am and will end with a potluck lunch. Call Elaine at 516-277-8326 for more information and location.
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.
Fire Ceremony in Decatur, Georgia - Thursday, January 25 at 10am
I will be traveling to Georgia in January for a
sacred fire ceremony on Thursday, January 25 at 10am. It will once again be at our friends' Pam and Kelly's home in Decatur, Georgia. I will also be sharing stories of Shri Babaji and chanting. We will complete with a potluck brunch. I will be bringing some malas, CD's, and books from the Maha Lakshmi Shop. If there is anything you would like specifically, please call me at 719-256-4108.
To RSVP and to get directions, please call Kelly at 404-271-3155 or Pam at 404-259-2586. We look forward to seeing you all there. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Fire Ceremony in Carlsbad, CA
Sunday, February 4 at 10am
Great news! Nirmal and Indira Sharma have settled in Carlsbad, California and have built a lovely havan kund where they would like to begin having public monthly fire ceremonies. Many of us remember the lovely ones they used to host in their home in northern California and are grateful that they will resume again in southern California. I will be in the area on February 4 to share this sacred occasion with them. They also have lovely murtis of Haidakhandeswari, Ganesh, and Kalbarav, which we will bathe and do puja to as well. Please join us and share some food afterwards. Please call Nirmal at 508-847-9135 for directions.
Please Remember The Ashram as You Do Your Holiday Shopping
The Ashram has multiple ways for you to contribute and help in it’s various activities and initiatives that make this such a beautiful place for people to visit and do service. A good starting point is to visit the donations page at our website: http://www.babajiashram.org/donate. Recently, we have added PayPal Giving Fund and Amazon Smile to the options.
Since many people are regular Amazon shoppers these days, you can also make donations to the Ashram as you do your regular shopping on Amazon. Amazon Smile is a program from Amazon where they contribute a small amount of the purchase price to your chosen charity. This does not affect your purchase price, it’s a contribution made by Amazon. You can start donating using Amazon Smile by: going to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/74-2482773 and clicking on Start shopping. Please note that you will always have to shop by going to smile.amazon.com (not amazon.com) to make these contributions.
PayPal Giving Fund is helpful, whereby PayPal covers all fees of the transaction. This allows the Ashram to receive the maximum amount of your donations. You can donate using PayPal Giving Fund by going to: https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2274187.
Optionally, if you happen to be selling something on eBay, then eBay also has a Charity program in conjunction with PayPal. You can explore more by going to: https://charity.ebay.com/charity/charity-name/2274187."
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Winter has been slow in arriving this year, so we continue with putting the garden to sleep, more linseed oiling, painting the bins in the kitchen, repairing the adobe floors in the dormitory, chopping fire wood, and repairing both havan kunds after a bear tore them apart because of the smell of ghee that lingers after fire ceremonies. We still have all the regular jobs to do, particularly cleaning the buildings, preparing meals, stocking the Maha Lakshmi Shop, monitoring the water system, and clean up. We are always grateful for all of the folks that come and help us with all the jobs that are necessary to make this place run smoothly and receive our hundreds of visitors. We really could not get everything done without you, you are all one of the reasons 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!!
Old Babaji Devotees Reunite
The love of Shri Babaji is something deep that binds us even if we only have a chance to meet every few years. It was a joy to reconnect with Nirmal and Indira Sharma in early November. Now living close to my children in San Diego, they wanted to come and see Amil and Sarah since they had conducted an Indian wedding for them at the Ashram over 13 years ago. They came for lunch and got to meet the four children that resulted from this marriage. It was a fun reunion.
You can view videos of Nirmal and Indira telling their experiences with Shri Babaji at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR4OYoFpMyk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-W_ZJg3CWo
Later last month, Makhan Burt, who met Shri Babaji in the late 70's came to visit the Ashram. It was lovely to have him here during a quieter time, since he usually comes and volunteers during Family Week, so that we had a chance to visit and catch up on our lives. I was very touched by the many volunteer projects he is involved in his community near Boulder. You can see three videos of him telling his Babaji stories at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiLPv2ZOLZc
Sri Tara Ma visits the Ashram
Just after the busy Thanksgiving weekend, Sri Tara Ma, a great teacher and humanitarian from India, was brought to the Ashram by her devotees while she was visiting their center in Dallas, Texas. It was inspiring to sit with her and hear all of the charitable programs she has begun throughout India ranging from schools, orphanages, vocational studies, disaster relief, and medical initiatives. She was very touched with the peace, beauty, and sacredness of the temple and Ashram here and we were touched by her humble spirit and grace.