It is probably a pretty good barometer of how busy we are at the Ashram by the date that this newsletter gets out. I am surrendering to the fact that August is going to be even fuller, so this newsletter will be for July and August. It is indeed the busiest summer I have ever experienced and it is just wonderful to meet so many new and returning visitors. Yes, I prioritize connecting with people over writing this newsletter. One problem is that there is no way all of the photos for 2 months will go into one newsletter but I will put a sampling in.
As the days flow by, one into another, I am reminded of the Gautama Ganga River which flows in front of Babaji's Ashram in Haidakhan. I spent two summers with Shri Babaji there in 1981 and 1982. Being monsoon season, there were many times it was too dangerous to cross the fast flowing river, particularly by yourself.
I remember vividly, several times crossing the river with Shri Babaji supporting me. It was a mixture of bliss and pain, hard and soft, and difficult and easy; very much like living at this Ashram. Because of the danger of getting swept down the river, Babaji would hold my arm very hard, the pain sometimes bringing tears to my eyes. Yet, as I focused on my mantra and the fact that I was being held by God, it all became blissful and His touch became soft. I see this dichotomy at the Ashram daily. When I just think of the very long days, the number of people served, the amount of dishes washed, it can feel very difficult even painful. But when I trust that I and the Ashram are constantly being supported by the Divine and I focus on the mantra, it is blissful and flowing like the beautiful Gautama Ganga River.
Shri Babaji spoke about the merits of bathing in this sacred river which is said to have an underground connection with the sacred Ganges. I must say, that it is sublime to bathe in it and one of things that draws me to Haidakhan every year. But as I write this, I am thinking of the allegorical significance of Babaji's reference. If we truly understand life is like crossing this sacred river during monsoon; a mixture of bliss and pain, hard and soft, and difficult and easy; life may be much less challenging. The secret is to remember that the Divine is supporting us by the arm (or when I would slip and fall, by the neck of my shirt!) and then even the difficult and painful moments become just steps across the river and the bliss of this realization and the wonder of having this body and this life can settle in. Of course, Shri Babaji gave us great tools to help us on our journey, the constant repetition of the mantra being one of those. What I neglected to say, was that the bliss of arriving at the other shore, yes all wet and winded, was exhilerating and we got to visit the nine beautiful temples with all of the different deities on the Gufa side. Once again reminiscent of crossing the river of life to the abode of the Gods.
Once again, my deepest gratitude to Shri Babaji for having taken me under His tender care. I often sleep under His shawl and feel that I am covered in His love and as I watch what happens around me, I see His Divine hand in every miracle that is this Ashram and my life.
In truth and love, Ramloti
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony last Saturday was the first one in a few months that we could hold outside because the fire ban was finally lifted. It was beautiful with lots and lots of people. The full-moon ceremony is on Sunday, August 26. The next new-moon fire ceremony will be on Sunday, Septembber 9. All fire ceremonies begin at 10am followed by a meal. The fire ban has been lifted, so we have resumed our outdoor fire ceremonies. 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. 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.)
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Thank goodness for all of the great help we receive at the Ashram from all of our visitors. This month we have had some major repairs made to the earthship, we painted Mother's mandir and the cupola in the temple, painted the bathroom in the earthship, received help with all the cooking, deep cleaning of all the buildings, gardening, dishwashing, and stocking, organizing and running the Shop.
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 able to 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
This is a very special weekend for all Babaji devotees. Coming together as is always a special time and inspirational and informative as well. Here is what is planned so far 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. The event includes our annual Samaj meeting, fire ceremonies, book studies and more. Please come and join your Babaji family. For reserve lodging contact the Ashram at email@example.com. For the latest updates you may also go to www.Babajisamaj.us.
On-Line Auction, Havan Training and Bhakti Fest in Sada Shiva Dham, Holland - August 21 - 24
I just found out that Sada Shiva Dham in Holland has an on-line auction with lots of Babaji's rare items on it running for two more days. Here is the link https://www.babaji.nl/en/auction-veiling-alle-artikelen/ It will complete during the Bhakit fest in Holland but you can participate initially on your computer. I also heard that Harigovind Baba will be at the Bhakti Fest which is this weekend, August 18-20.
Fire has been a very important part of human evolution starting 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 into 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 mantras 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bhole Baba Ayurvedic Hospital & Research Center, Chilianaula, Ranikhet
A Letter from the Chairman of the Haidakhan Samaj, Alok Baberjee
I have pleasure in sharing with you an excellent presentation on Bhole Baba Ayurveda Hospital.
My congratulations to Dr. Vijay Sheel Upadhyay and his team for their dedication and hard work
for producing this.
Please share this with all devotees and friends. It is at https://youtu.be/bv9dFN4aI94
Bhole Baba Ki Jai
With warm regards & greetings.
Dr. Vijay Sheel Upadhyay, M.D. Ayurveda, Director
Bhole Baba Ayurvedic Hospital & Research Center, Chilianaula, Ranikhet
Mob. +91 9720068819
Old Devotees Return to Babaji's Ashram in America
We had the honor of hosting 81-year-old Mr. Munsigh from Gujarat and his daughter, Nikhil from North Dakota who were with Babaji while he was in physical form in India. It is always a special treat for us to hear their stories and show them the Ashram. They were deeply touched and grateful that they now feel connected to Babaji's Ashram in America. Mr. Munsing felt like he was home in Gujarat in the Temple, Babaji's kutir, and the Gautama Ganga. Here are a few photos of those special days together.
Ashram Family Monday Afternoons at the Ashram
As we announced at the beginning of the year, we decided not to hold Family Week this year. It seemed that after 18 years of hosting families from around the country for our Family Week, the major draw had become our Crestone families and they could be served in a more productive way. We decided to have programs in July and August on Monday afternoons that included cooking classes and drumming classes for the kids, a parent education component for the adults, and a teen support group for our older kids. It is insightful, educational, fun, rewarding, and is creating a network of parents that can help one another with the sometimes difficult task of raising children. We are grateful to be able to serve in this way and appreciative to Bill who teaches the cooking, Orcha who runs the young kids group, Shiva who teaches the drumming classes, and Ramloti who facilitates the parenting and teen groups.
Ashram Board of Directors
A little publicized karma yoga activity is the service given to the Ashram by our loyal and extremely competent Board of Directors. Each year in July we have our yearly elections, a chance to renew our commitment to the Board. This year everyone was willing serve again as Board members, for which we are deeply grateful. There are a few changes to our executive board in that Kelly Hosner Crowley has stepped down from Chair and is being replaced by Linda Joseph. Denise Vandewalle has stepped down from Treasurer and is being replaced by Ajay Pradhan. Our President is Ramloti, Vice President is Mark Rosen, and Secretary is Vesper Gers. Once again, deep appreciation for the constant vigilance in overseeing the activities, policies, and projects of the Ashram. Here are photos of the new officers, Linda Joseph chair, Mark Rosen, Vice President, and Ajay Pradhan, Treasurer.
We are so very grateful that our former chair, Kelly Hosner Crowlery and former treasurer, Denise Vanedewalle will still be serving as Board members.
Florida Group Attends Fire Ceremony, Aarati, Meals, Karma Yoga and Satsang.
For many years, Sari Terusa has been bringing her students from Florida to Crestone for a week. Generally their first day here is spent at the Ashram. This year about 15 of them arrived for chandan, aarati, fire ceremony, breakfast, satsang, karma yoga, and lunch. It is a always a wonderful time and they are always so generous to help so graciously. Most of the photos are up in the karma yoga section. Here they are after the morning fire ceremony.
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. Here is a letter from one family.
Namaste Ramloti Ji!
"This is Siddhartha, I recently visited the Ashram with my family (Vibha my wife, Rupam her sister and Mansi our daughter) after about 22 YEARS! We feel so blessed to have been able to come again to this peaceful and beautiful place last month.
"We used to live in Golden, CO during 1990s, and visited this ashram for the first time in 1993. We felt so content and blissful after the visit that we brought many friends and family. For next 3-4 years, we regularly came to the Temple and participated in “bhajans”, “seva”, and “puja”.
"In 1996, when Mansi was born, we came to the Temple to seek the blessings. Soon after we had to move away to Texas and since then did not get the opportunity to visit the Temple. Now, when She is almost 22 years of age and ready to take charge of her life’s journey we made it a point to return back to the Temple and seek the blessings for her future. Your hospitality and the service at the Temple brought back the fond memories! Vibha, Rupam, Mansi and I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch (Prashad) and the story of your association with Babaji.
"We cannot express in words the peace and happiness that we experienced during our recent visit. Thanks to you, Premanand and Jonathan that the Temple is thriving and provides the much needed destination for pilgrimage."
OM Namah Shivaya, Siddhartha Gaur
Calendar of Events for 2018
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
The Maha Lakshmi Shop just received a new book about Shri Babaji, entitled "Corporate Yogi, My Journey as a Spiritual Seeker and an Accidental Entrepreneur" by Dr. Arvind Lal. . It sales in the Shop for $15.00. You can buy it from our website by clicking here.
We also received an order of puja items, sacred boxes, many new malas, murti stands, stone lingams, and much more. Many are on our website at https://mahalakshmishop.wazala.com and some are not. You are always welcome to call and ask to have photos sent of our 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!