As you can see by the newsletter, we have had many, many visitors to the Ashram. My greatest delight is to spend time with these visitors, listen to their stories, answer their questions, and just connect with them. I continue to be amazed how folks get here from all over the country, sometimes from around the world and their stories of synchronistic events that led them to Shri Babaji or the Ashram. Here are a few that I heard this last month:
The father of our good friend, Sabina Pradham, Ram Shrestha shared this story with me. He, now in his 80's, read Autobiography of a Yogi when he was in his late 20's and said that this book, particularly the part about Babaji, inspired him to meditate more and lead a more spiritual life. He feels that this is the reason that when Shri Babaji came to Nepal in 1976 (Babaji's only trip outside of India) he had the good fortune and blessing to meet Babaji. He said that this time with Babaji influenced the rest of his life and when he came to the Ashram here in 2003, he was stunned to see Babaji's photo and have His darshan. He comes often with his lovely wife, Uttra, and with his daughter, Sabina and her husband, Ajay, who serves on our Board of Directors.
On one of her trips here, Sabina, posted a photo of our lovely Divine Mother, Haidakhandeswari, on Facebook. Her cousin Anjala Joshi, who lives in Nepal, saw that photo. She told me that she was overcome with a huge desire to come to the Ashram and have the darshan of this beautiful Mother. She came with the Pradhams this last month and even though it was a very short trip to Colorado, her first priority was to come here. She was thrilled to tears by her visit.
Later in the month, a lovely Nepalese family came for darshan. As we were
eating lunch together, the father told me the story of how he had been coming to the Ashram since the early 90's, before the larger kirtan hall was even built. At the time he was fairly new to the United States and was feeling a bit lost and without spiritual roots. He went to the Krishna temple in Denver and felt a bit relieved. A little later he found out about this temple and he was ecstatic when he came and found this beautiful temple with the murti of Ma. He said he felt it was just like Nepal where you had to make yatras through mountains to come to the sacred temples of Lakshmi. It has been a great source of joy and inspiration ever since that time.
On the evening of Hanuman's birthday, four families arrived just in time for aarati and came down afterwards for some chai before making the four-hour drive back to Denver. As we spoke and they sat for a bit, it became apparent that they were exhausted. It turns out they were on their way home from the Hanuman temple in Taos, where they had chanted most of the night and then cooked all morning and into the afternoon for the nearly 1000 people that were in attendance there for Hanuman's birthday. One man, who said he had made over 1000 puris, had burnt his hand rather severely and it was badly swollen. After a while, they quietly inquired if it would be possible for some of the families to stay back and sleep at the Ashram. Fortunately, we had the rooms available and they were able to stay. It was a lovely evening, we had lots of food left from the bhandara we had that day and sharing it with them as well as many stories of Babaji was a real boon. Despite their tiredness, they all washed up the dishes and cleaned up after dinner. Their devotion and gratitude to stay in this very lovely Ashram was apparent. I was so touched by how generous of heart and body these folks were and how the example could be seen in their children's willingness to serve as well.
I am inspired and renewed by these stories that make it very clear that Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother, although without physical bodies, are very present in our lives and are always there to listen to our prayers.
In Truth, Love, and Immense Gratitude
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony will be on Sunday, April 15 and the next full-moon ceremony will be on Sunday, April 29. 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.)
The Tenth Annual Spring On-line Fundraiser Auction - April 20 - 29
Here we are just about at auction time and so grateful for all who have given to the auction in the form of items to be auctioned and sponsorships. It really makes a big difference to the budget to allow for a smooth running of Shri Babaji's and the Divine Mother's home. As I mentioned last month, we have an assortment of amazing things from Haidakhan. Two totally new items I neglected to mention are pieces of rock from the walls of the sacred cave were Shri Babaji appeared and washing water of Shri Babaji's feet from 1983. Yes, hard to believe, but a Swiss devotee gathered the water from a puja done to Babaji and has kept it ever since. He brought some recently to Haidakhan as a gift and it was generously shared with us. To view the more than 200 auction items, click here. You will find the rock under "Devotional Items" and the water under "Items from Babaji."
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 word 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. The first is a grey woolen shawl of Babaji's and the second is a red and black silk bedspread that covered His bed. You would find them listed under "Items from Babaji" category on the auction by clicking here. Thank you for spreading the word and all of your support!
Shri Babaji's Padukas Travel to the Front Range the Weekend of May 11- 13
While Shri Babaji was in physical form, He would travel from His Ashram in the remote foothills of the Himalayas to devotees' homes around India. Likewise, each Springtime for the last seven years, Shri Babaji's silver padukas have traveled from His home here in Crestone to bless the homes of devotees in the Front Range. It has not only been a wonderful opportunity for many people to have Babaji's darshan but also a way to support the Ashram. These gatherings have always been very joyful and inspirational.
Here is our schedule so far:
Saturday, May 12 at 5pm - 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, May 13 (Mother's Day) at 11:30am - Rahul & Ashwini Nipunge at 11016 Valleybrook Cir, Highlands Ranch, CO 80130. Puja begins at 11:30am followed by chanting and lunch Please call call 720-308-7873 or 720-201-8583.
We still have an opening for hosting opportunity on Friday evening, May 11. If you think you can gather a good number of people that would like to come together for paduka puja, chanting, and donating to the Ashram, please give us a call at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ramloti will be accompanying the Padukas. Thank you for your support.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Lots of Karma Yoga this last month with all the preparations, food, and visitors for the Navratri celebration. It was also spring break for many schools and we just completed a very crowded Easter weekend on which Hanuman's birthday also occurred.
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!!
American Haidakhan Samaj Annual Gathering in Crestone - August 17- 19
Coming together as Babaji's devotees is always a special time and inspirational and informative as well. Here is what is planned so for for this year. This is the 33rd Anniversary year of our first Babaji World Peace Celebration in Crestone. The peace Pole we planted is still standing and the Ashram we dreamed about is growing and thriving. What will the next years look like? Who have we become? What do we choose to be? What can we offer the communities where we live? These questions and more await us as we gather for renewal, conversation and celebration, including our annual Samaj meeting, fire ceremonies, book studies and more. Please come and join your Babaji family. A team of people are drafting plans and events for this unique reunion. If you have suggestions or wish to join the team, please contact: Loknath at email@example.com or call 253-389-4589. For reserve lodging contact the Ashram at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the latest updates you may also go to www.Babajisamaj.us.
Guru Purnima and Next Generation Gathering in Swiebenalp, Switzerland
Each year there is an enthusiastic and well-attended gathering in Europe over Guru Purnima Day (July 27). It will extend on through the weekend and this year will be in Schweibenalp, Switzerland. Prior to that is the Next Generation Gathering for younger folks which will be from 20th to 24th July 2018 in Schweibenalp. It is Sponsored by Jai HO to learn skills for daily living and wellbeing, address personal life challenges in a supportive environment, explore new ideas and interests for your future, and deepen your understanding and experience of Babaji. Suggested age range - 18 to 36 years. Here is the flyer in case you or someone else is interested.
Havan Training and Bhakti Fest in Sada Shiva Dham, Holland - August 21 - 24
Fire has been a very important part of human evolution and started many thousands of years back. The old Rishis knew this very well and have developed a powerful system with fire where ingredients offered to the fire are transformed in energy that nurtures nature, of which we are part, on different levels. Feeding the Gods ( Our higher nature) that will in turn feed us.
Babaji was advocating practicing Yagna by being a great example Himself. It is important that we do it with the right intension and follow the correct procedures. Pujari and Maarten Baba are proposing a course on how to do this according the Haidakhandi system. Learn how to practice puja and havan in a 4-day training with basic mantra's and instructions according to the Haidiyakhandi system. Puja and havan sets and books will be available at the ashram. Food and lodging at the ashram for 4 days is 100 Euro and the training there is a suggested donation of 108 Euro. There is a maximum of 20 participants so book early. It will start right after the Bhakti Festival.
For more information go to: www.babaji.nl To sign up email: email@example.com
Spring Navratri - The Divine Mother Festival
Another spectacular Divine Mother festival (Spring Navratri) was celebrated from Sunday, March 18 through Monday, March 26. Each day we had lovely fire ceremonies, special pujas to the Divine Mother of the day, discourses from the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam, bhandaras, aaratis and chanting. We honored our children on the last Sunday. We felt the blessings of Mother and Baba strongly throughout the celebration and the day after we received several inches of much needed snow as an extra blessing. Jai Ma! Here is what one attendee said about her three days here:
"Navaratri was a beautiful time. I feel very blessed to have been a part of it. I did my best to stay connected to the ceremony the rest of the week by listening to the aarati cd. The wonderful snow that came the day after completion was a huge blessing to the valley."
Theo Departs for Her Home in Greece
Theo, who had been with us during the winter of 2015-2016 and was in Haidakhan the winter of 2016-2017, arrived last November from Greece for this last winter. Words are few to describe the service she gave to the Ashram these last four months, it was a great boon to have her here. During this time, she felt inspired to take on the spiritual name of Sita and so you may hear her referred to as both. Sita left at the end of March after spending her first Navratri at a Babaji Ashram and her words below give a good synopsis of her time here. We miss her loving and lovely presence and our prayers are with her as she travels her path of service and love in Greece and elsewhere. We love you dear Sita. Here are her words:
"Four months in Babaji’s Ashram in Colorado was a fruitful experience. At a certain moment into the retreat, that became obvious and I was fuelled with encouragement. Phuro! Now back on Amorgos, the greek island where I live, I have began to enjoy the fruits of work done. It is a bit of a shock to be back ‘in the world’ and deal with daily practicalities. And yet, I find myself strengthened, more in peace and compassion. Motivated and trusting to call in Baba here through the different practices of our tradition. The heart more healed and the emptiness there more filled. With Baba! I feel closer to Him and that is truly a gift. I say ‘more’ because in my understanding this is a slow sometimes painful yet ever worthwhile process. Slowly, slowly… The dust will lift off and the light will enter.
"In a dream, back in the Ashram, Baba came and he was ‘little’, like the size of a child, and through his being transmitted the message of playfulness and humour. A month or so later, during Navaratri and the last week of my stay, I was given from the Ashram family a pair of little Padukas to take with back on the island. I was reminded of the dream. Tears of joy streaming. A little Baba. Closer to my heart now. I am grateful in particular to all the Ashram staff. Their contribution in creating a fertile ground for one to heal and grow is a fact. Their dedication and service to Baba exemplary.
"Now, in the reverberation of the experience, it feels as if my two feet are taken and planted firmer into the ground, here where I am. Like reborn. Anew. Less searching elsewhere, less into ambition and desire and more into simplicity and acceptance. How can I make best use of what is in my immediate environment? How can I be of service to Baba here? The word responsibility resonates strongly. Gazing at the Rocky Mountains, while in the bus to Denver, I felt that Crestone and the people are now engraved in my heart. A wonderful feeling. And a curious one. Am I meant to go there again? Baba will tell. Deep thanks and bowing to all. Bhole Baba Ki Jai! Jai Maha Maya Ki Jai!"
Hanuman's Birthday and Easter Weekend
One of the surprises each year after very full and busy Spring Navratris, is that Hanuman's birthday is just 5 or so days after. It is one of our favorite holidays and so we rally our somewhat exhausted bodies to rise to the occasion. This year it fell on the Saturday of Easter weekend, making it an even more special and busy time. It was once again lovely, complete with pujas, done by many our our local and visiting children, to all of the Hanuman murtis from the temple, Ashram, and brought by our visitors. It was completed by a birthday cake, chanting the Hanuman Chalisa, and a huge and delicious Indian feast. Thank you to all who made this such a memorable day.
Visitors to the Ashram
We continue to welcome new visitors to the Ashram. It is a joy to get to know as many as possible when we are not too busy preparing, serving, or cleaning up after meals. It seems that more and more people find their way here from all parts of the world. We also love that our long-time devotees come back year after year, many since the inception of the Ashram in 1986. There is no way I can put all of the photos in of all the visitors but here are some including a photo of Jonathan's birthday!
Calendar of Events for 2018
April 20 -29 - 10th Annual On-line Auction Fundraiser for the Ashram at www.biddingforgood.com/babajiashram
July 27 - Guru Purnima
August 17 - 19 - American Haidakhan Samaj Haidakhandi Reunion Weekend. For more information go to www.Babajisamaj.us
October 9 - 17 - Fall Navratri
November 7 - Diwali
Maha Lakshmi Shop Report
We received some beautiful new malas made by our friend, Elizabeth, whose company is named "Yogi-Dreamer". These are particularly special because the have the guru bead from a rudraksha mala of Shri Babaji. They are currently posted on the auction where you can either purchase them with the "Buy Now" option or bid on them after April 20 (when the auction opens), or you can call us at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and arrange to buy them directly from us earlier at the Buy Now price. See them by clicking here.
We have many other wonderful items on our website at https://mahalakshmishop.wazala.com You are always welcome to call and ask to have photos sent of some of our other new items and to place your order over the telephone at 719-256-4108. It is really nice to connect in this way. You may also email us at email@example.com. We are happy to bless an item at Baba's and Mother's feet for you. We take Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
The Shop is a major supporter of the Ashram. We deeply appreciate your patronage.
Maha Lakshmi Mata Ki Jai!