Even though I am sending this after returning home from India, I wrote the following last week.
I am writing this from Haidakhan and I am so inspired with the love and devotion of the many people that keep Babaji's home in India running so well. I got to spend some special time speaking with Gaurhari, Sabina, and Colonel Rana and I would like to share a little of their stories with you. All were with Shri Babaji and now serve selflessly here in Haidakhan.
Gaurhari came to Babaji in 1974 when he was 16 years old. After a couple of years, he was made pujari of the main temple in 1977. At that time, the nine temples had not been built. When they were completed, he was made pujari on the gufa (cave side) where the nine temples are. He has taken care of 13 murtis (statues) every day since that time. Arising in the wee hours of the morning to bath in the river and begin washing and dressing all of the murtis at 4am, he also takes care of the cows, the wheat fields, repairs the bridges, serves us all lunch, and all of the other myriad of jobs on the gufa side during the day. I am never surprised to see his head drop as he falls asleep while singing the evening aarati, as he never seems to stop even though he is nearing 60 years old.
As we stood overlooking the beautiful Gautama Ganga River, we were both expressing our gratitude to have been with Shri Babaji while He was in physical form. We also shared how grateful we are to serve Babaji in our respected Ashrams on the other side of the world from each other. We recognize that we live in two of the most beautiful places of the earth and our days are filled with singing aarati, meeting all of the devotees that come to have the darshan of the temple, and serving Shri Babaji in any way that is called for. We are both so fortunate.
Later I went up to the office to purchase some books for the Ashram. There I met with Sabina from Germany. She meant Babaji in 1981. I told her that I was so touched by her continual service to Babaji and that visitors from America who come to Haidakan for the first time share with me how kind she is to them. I know that it is often due to her loving service, warm welcome, and her sharing with them about Babaji and the practice in Haidakhan that makes a difference in their feeling right at home at the Ashram.
We spent some time speaking of our respected duties running the offices at the Ashrams once again on the other side of the world from each other and how neither of us would want to do anything but serve Babaji in this way. She, like I, was particularly impressed by how Shri Babaji is still calling people to come to His Ashrams and how many of them are younger folks, in their 20's, 30's, and 40's. She shared that it was important for her to become more flexible in viewing these newer devotees who seemed more spontaneous in their plans and their way of doing things. Many of them speak of hearing Shri Babaji's voice directing them in their everyday life. Most were very generous in their service, kind and truthful in their life, sincere and joyful in their devotion, and dedicated to following their direction from Babaji. She told me that when they asked her for her stories about Babaji she told them that they needed to create their own stories and experiences with Him by their connection to Him and delving deeply into the practices and lifestyle of Haidakhan that He set up for us.
On the second to last day of my stay in Haidakhan, Bhagwan (Col. Rana) came from Haldwani. He is the son of Swamiji who lived in Haidakhan with Babaji during most of His physical appearance. He shared with me how he received a telegram from Babaji when he was 25 years old telling him to come immediately to Haidakhan. He did not know why Babaji was calling him until he arrived and found out he was to be married to Shri Muniraji's oldest and beautiful daughter, Devi. They have been happily married ever since. He also shared a story of his sister's daughter-in-law's special healing from Babaji. He is now retired from the military, and oversees the two main Ashrams in Haidakhan and Chilianaula. I find him to be unpretentious, capable, and very hard working. Once again, we shared our respective gratitude to be serving Shri Babaji in this way. Here is a photo of Bhagwan with Gaurhari and the three children of the family that live and serve on the Gufa side.
I found Haidakhan to be running very smoothly with much love and devotion. New buildings are being built for devotees. When I saw the new wing of building my first thought was that when Babaji returns these will all be filled up. Each of my days at Haidakhan were deeply profound, feeling Babaji through and through my being. The mantra rarely left me for the whole time I was there, such is the power of the spiritual practice done for so many years in Haidakhan. These trips for me are very reviving, inspirational, and deeply treasured. I am so grateful to be able to be In Shri Babaji's home in Haidakhan yearly.
In Truth, Love, and Immense Gratitude
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon will be on Saturday, March 17. The next full-moon ceremony this month will be on Saturday, March 31. 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.)
Spring Navratri - The Divine Mother Festival
Sunday, March 18 - Monday, March 26
The spectacular Divine Mother festival (Spring Navratri) will be celebrated from Sunday, March 18 through Monday, March 26. Each day we will have fire ceremonies at 10am, special pujas to the Divine Mother of the day at 8am, discourses from the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam at 11am, bhandaras, aaratis and chanting. We will honor our children on Sunday, March 25.
Since we have two weekends this Navratri, there should be plenty of room in the dormitory. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a room. We hope you can join us for all or any part of the celebration. Jai Ma!
Many New Items from Shri Babaji Gifted to Us by Mansingh (Babaji's Personal Attendant) for the Tenth Annual Spring On-line Fundraiser Auction - April 20 - 29
I was so surprised and grateful while in Haidakhan to receive many items from Shri Babaji's room for our auction from Mansingh, who was Shri Babaji's personal attendant since 1973. These include a soft silk shimmery golden beige lunghi of Babaji's, His large gray woolen shawl, a deep red velvet table cover from His room, and several other bed coverings, pillow covers, and room adornments from His room. Just the sacred scent and vibration from these items are enough to put me into bliss. Here is a photo of my sister, Shristi holding the items with Mansingh, Bhagwan, and I.
I also brought back from Haidakhan many new malas, bracelets, and a small pair of silver padukas (sandals) that were first washed and dried in the sun at the sacred Gautama Ganga River. They were then blessed in Shri Babaji's room, in the sacred Dhuni, at Babaji's feet in the main temple, and the Divine Mother's feet in the first temple on the Gufa side. These will all be put up on the auction site in the next few weeks.
Over the last ten years the Ashram has completed several building projects, upgraded systems, and been able to keep everything running at the Ashram in excellent condition with the funds raised through our annual on-line fundraising auction. It has become a major part of the Ashram operating budget. Some of you have donated items, bid on items, and spread the world about the auction over the years. We deeply appreciate this and hope that you could do this again. We would also ask that even more of you would become involved. Whether it is donating items from your shop, business, meals at your restaurant, nights at your hotel, gently used household items, jewelry, or electronics; every item brings in funds to help run Shri Babaji's and the Divine Mother's Ashram.
You can view the auction now and get an idea of what others have donated by clicking here. You can even put your donations up yourself by using the button on the left that says donate. Another way to support the auction is by becoming a sponsor. They basically underwrite the cost of running the auction so that all the funds raised go directly to the Ashram. There are instructions to become a sponsor as well on the site or just call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at email@example.com. We ask each of you to support us in this endeavor as you are able.
Here are photos of two of the items from Shri Babaji's room, not yet on the auction site. The first is a grey woolen shawl of Babaji's and the second is a red velvet cloth from the table next to His bed.
Karma Yoga at the Ashrams
Karma yoga goes on as usual at the Crestone Ashram and I was also able to see how much goes on at the Ashram in Haidakhan. This is one of Shri Babaji's main teachings, being of service to others and offering it to the Divine without attachment to the rewards from the service. It is inspirational to see it go on all around the world and to see the generosity in Shri Babaji's family. Shristi and Kelly helped buy items for the Maha Lakshmi Shop in Haidakhan and photograph in Delhi items from Shri Babaji room.
And our staff at the Ashram is always ready to serve in any way needed. Here is a photo of our last staff meeting.
The karma yoga at Haidakhan goes on and on from morning puja in Babaji's room, preparing prasad for aarati on the gufa side, washing clothes, sewing clothes, to building bridges to cross the Gautama Ganga River. A big project that is just being completed in Haidakhn is securing the ancient Sati Kund with its wonderful life-size Hanuman murti on it. This is said to be where Sati would come for Her bath when She lived with Lord Shiva on the Kumoan Mt. Kailash. The monsoons, which often uproot anything growing in the river bottom, had never destroyed this tree. Over the years, however, it was beginning to erode the soil around it. Now it should be stable for many years to come.
We are always grateful for all of the folks that come to the Ashram 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. We are so deeply grateful for your support, love, and prayers. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!!
Fire Ceremony in Carlsbad, CA - Sunday, February 4 at 10am
It was a wonderful morning at Nirmal and Indira Sharma's new home in Carlsbad, California where we performed a fire ceremony, pujas, chanting, and shared a meal together. Several old devotees, new devotees, and children gathered there and the bhajans and mantras rang through the universe. These gatherings are so important for the whole area as well as all who attend.
A glorious night of puja and chanting to Lord Shiva. We are always grateful for all who participate, lead the music, and especially to VK Sharma who travels all the way from Denver to lead the pujas throughout the night.
Memorial Fire Ceremony for Roxanne Fox
We were grateful to host a Memorial Fire Ceremony and feast for Roxanne Fox, daughter of Lorain Fox-Davis and David Davis, who passed away in January in North Carolina after a long illness. It was a touching ceremony where people from many of the different spiritual traditions were gathered. David and Lorain have been involved with the Ashram since it began in 1986 and met Shri Babaji in 1979. Our prayers are with Roxanne and the family.
Guoping from Shanghai Brings His Family to Crestone
As you can read below, Guoping came in September and then brought his wife and two children to Crestone in February because he loved it so much.
I happened to be flying through Shanghai on my way home from India with an eight hour layover. He was so gracious to pick me up at the airport and take me to the oldest and incredibly powerful and beautiful Buddhist temple there. Here are a couple of photos and his memories of being at the Ashram.