When I was dressing the Divine Mother and Shri Babaji in the early morning silence, I was struck by the enormity of this divine opportunity that we have each day. Perhaps I was primed for the morning the evening before when our newer karma yogi, who had been here for over 5 weeks, entered the mandir for the first time. I was going to show him how to close up the temple for the evening and put Mother's and Baba's nightclothes on. Within a couple of minutes he said he had to sit down as he was about to faint from the intense energy he was feeling. Even though he had been in the temple morning and evening singing aarati each day since he had been here, being in this close proximity to the murtis was more than he expected. I certainly feel that intensity each time I am pujari and I seem to go into a space of timelessness and bliss. I realize it is one of the most important duties here at the Ashram and I feel very fortunate when I am able to perform this ritual.
I recall when I sat with Shri Shastriji in Rajgard, India in 1996. I was asking him about the future of the Ashram and he said that the Ashram would be very successful or the Divine Mother would not have let Herself be installed here and that I would not have been born as a servant of the Divine Mother. He also said That I should always be the head pujari at the Ashram, and I do take that dictate very seriously and train all new pujaris.
For those who do not know the whole history, the life-size marble murti of the Divine Mother arrived here in 1989. She was carved in Jaipur, India, a few hours away from where Shastiji lived. He told me he would go and oversee the carving of her making sure everything was perfect. She was carved by the same murti maker (a very specialized dharma handed down from generation to generation) that made all the muritis in Haidakhan, Chilianaula, and the other ashrams around the world. She has had constant love, care, puja, and aarati done to Her since that time. Thousands come here on a yearly basis to have Her darshan (sit in Her presence).
In the mid 70's an 18 inch marble murti of the previous manifestation of Haidakhan Babaji was made by the same murti maker and Shri Babaji installed life in Him and gave Him to Hiroman who began the Hawaiian ashram. For years it blessed the ashram in Hawaii and was carefully cared for and loved. When the ashram disbanded several years ago, Hiroman, kept the murti at his home in Bellingham, WA and cared for it. We were deeply moved when Hiroman decided that the Ashram here should be the keeper of this powerful murtii. I picked it up in June, 2014 and hand-carried it back to the Ashram where we greeted it with a large puja and have honored and loved it ever since.
Having both of these strong murtis and the thousands of people that come and pray here definitely adds to the power of the temple. It is not uncommon for visitors to tell us stories of how strongly they are affected by sitting in it, some experience tears of joy running down their face. Many can not explain their feelings as this is a totally new tradition for them.
The term "murti" means 'form" or "manifestation". Thus, the murti is more than a likeness; it is the deity itself taken “form”. The uses of the word murti in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-gita suggest that the form is its essence. We are so grateful the we have Shri Babaji and Haidakhandeswari in our temple here gracing us and all who come here with Their presence.
In truth and love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The next new-moon fire ceremony is on Wednesday, November 7 (Diwali). The full-moon fire ceremony will be on Thursday, November 22. 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. 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 (except Diwali night it will begin at 5pm), 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. 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.)
Diwali (Festival of Lights) Wednesday, November 7
Please join us for the special evening when we gather together to share songs of peace and light on the night of Diwali. This seems to be a favorite time for many of the Crestone Spiritual Centers and other groups to share with us songs from their tradition that speak of the theme of peace and light.It is a beautiful night when the temple, grounds, and earthship are aglow with candles.
This year to facilitate everyone having a chance to share, we will hold aarati an hour early (5pm) and hold the sharing from 6pm until 7:30pm. There will be a sumptuous Indian feast served afterwards by all of our Indian families from around the valley and beyond. We are so grateful for their amazing help each year. All are invited and please share the word with others.
We will also have extended kirtan led by Annie Pace on harmonium, Trip on tabla, and other musicians at 7:30pm for those who would like to join.
We will have our new-moon fire ceremony at 10am followed by a meal. Anyone that wishes to stay through the day and help set up luminarios, decorate the temple, and prepare the food is welcome.
Call the Ashram for information or to procure accommodations at 719-256-4108.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
We continue to have so many generous people coming to the Ashram for various amounts of time giving great help. This month we had lots of help preparing the temple for Navratri, changing all the drapes and asans, cleaning, and decorating. It was also a blessing to have great help with all the duties for the nine day Navratri celebration such as: making all the offerings and malas for fire ceremonies, painting the havan kund, cleaning all the vessels afterwards, preparing the food and feeding all of the people, washing all the dishes, making bags full of goodies for our Children's day, and preparing for the next day. We also received another order for the Maha Lakshmi Shop so we were busy restocking and outside work went on as normal as well. It has been a great month!
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!
Hydroelectric Water Right
We are very fortunate at the Ashram to have water rights to the Spanish Creek that flows on our southern border. These have been in place since 1988, and the Domestic Use, the Commercial Use, the Educational Use, and the Agricultural Use are Absolute. We also have a right to use the water to produce Hydroelectricity for the Ashram, however this is still a Conditional use, which means we need to renew it every seven years. Over the years we have researched and have never been able to concretely ascertain that the water from the creek would be able to provide the electricity we need, particularly since the water fluctuates so much through the winter and late summer months. However, this is a very valuable right to have and as hydro becomes more efficient, we hope to utilize it. Every seven years we do need to show due diligence, showing that we are researching the use of it for the Ashram.
This last month we spent an afternoon with our solar engineer, Luke Christy, explaining to him and brainstorming with him how we might use the valuable right. He feels it may be possible, so we will continue to explore it.
Fall Navratri (Divine Mother Festival)
Each day during Fall Navratri we had fire ceremonies, special pujas to the Divine Mother of the day, discourses from the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam, bhandaras, aaratis and chanting. It was a wonderful time together, saying thank you to Mother for all that She gives us on a daily basis.