Gratitude! We just celebrated Thanksgiving, a time when many people take time to express what they are grateful for in their lives. What a great practice, one that I employ, not just once a year, but quite often and which helps me put a difficult situation into better perspective.
Some of you may have already heard this story from me but I have only recently realized that Shri Babaji was, perhaps more than anything else, teaching me to be grateful, so I share the story since it fits in with this theme of gratitude.
I was sitting with Shri Babaji in fall of 1981 outside of His room with 5 other ladies. All of a sudden He went into His room and brought out a couple of pretty cotton saris and handed them to two of the ladies. He then went into His room and brought our two other nice cotton saris and gave them to two more of the ladies. He went back into His room and I breathed a sigh of relief sure that He would bring out two more for the other lady and me. Would you believe, He only brought out one sari and gave it to the other leaving me without a sari. Pretty quickly Babaji sent us all up to eat lunch.
Boy did I feel woozy, overwhelmed, could barely climb the stairs our of His room! About every feeling I could imagine coursed through my brain. Old judgements that I had probably carried for years, such as: Baba does not even see me; He does not care for me; something is wrong with me; I am not as good a devotee as these other ladies; I am not worthy of His love; I am a rotten, annoying brat; and on and on. Swallowed up in these emotions, I made it to lunch area, sat down, and just stared at the food that was set in front of me. Babaji walked by and saw me and stopped and said, "You eat".
I am not sure what happened in that moment, but I suddenly saw that He was feeding us all with just what we needed, even though we may not be aware if it, He was always giving, giving, giving. For me it was seeing how a small event like not getting a cotton sari plummeted me from the bliss of sitting with the Lord of the Universe to feeling like an urchin drowning in old thoughts and judgements. Suddenly, I was able to make a different choice and be grateful instead of forlorn. I realized that Shri Babaji had given me everything! I had miraculously been given money by my mom that she said she owed me, so that I could bring my children with me to be with Babaji for the summer. Even though it was monsoon season and many people had warned us that traveling to Haidakhan at the beginning of July would be almost impossible with a raging Gautama Ganga, the rains did not start until the afternoon we had arrived. Babaji greeted us personally, gave us a juice drink that He mixed and poured with His own hands as if we were royalty. More than anything else, He loved us and took us to His heart like His children.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude, and ate my lunch and went up to my room to take a nap, the thought of a cotton sari did not even enter my mind. As I took off my sari, preparing to climb in my sleeping bag in my petticoat and blouse, I heard a rap at my door accompanied by a bit of commotion. I realized it was Shri Babaji at my door, coming to the women's dorm area was something I had never seen Him do before. I quickly threw my sari around me again, opened the door, and there He stood like a murti with the most beautiful gold silk brocade sari in His outstretched hands that I had ever seen. As I received it from Him, I was in awe that He was perfectly aware of my thoughts and was acknowledging that I had learned a very valuable lesson, that the choice of being grateful for all that the Divine gives us on a daily basis, is far more life-giving than moping over some insignificant thing we may not have received. I pray to remember that lesson always and choose to spend my life that way. Bhole Baba Ki Jai! Hail to our Simple Father!
In truth and love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony for December was today, Friday, December 7 and the full-moon fire ceremony will be on Saturday, December 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, morning aarati at 7am, and the small (indoor this time of year) 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, which is outside unless there is a storm. The Maha Lakshmi Shop is open every day from 10am until 4pm during the month of December. 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.)
Help Us Complete our Long-Term Plan to Build Three Hermitages for our Residents
Seven years ago, the Ashram Board of Directors voted to build three hermitages for our long-time residents. At that time we laid out the sites, installed the infrastructure for water and septic, and worked out architectural plans. We completed the first one in 2011 and Ramloti has been very grateful to live in it. After that, both Jonathan and Premanand did not feel a need to complete their hermitages as they were content living without electricity or plumbing in their simple abodes, and to use the earthship for their needs for electricity and plumbing. Here is a photo of the proposed buildings, the one hermitage which is complete, the proposed building site, and the building plan.
But as the amount of visitors to the Ashram keeps growing and with the earthship being one of the focuses of those increased crowds, it seems to be time to address the need for some comfortable personal space for both of them. We would like to begin this project this summer and the estimated cost for one hermitage is $81,000. Can you help us with this? We would love to give each donor a beautiful 2019 Calendar of the Divine Mother and Babaji with all of the celebration dates for the year. You can make your donation by sending a check made out to HUA to P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131 or clicking here and scrolling down and make a donation via charge card or paypal.
1st Ashram Holiday On-Line Auction
A few months ago, we had several lovely items donated to the Ashram for an auction. We decided to hold an auction during the holiday season so that folks can buy some of these great items and to kickstart the fundraising for the hermitage. We have some magical pieces from our beloved Crestone potter, now deceased, Bertha Gotterup, lovely pieces from Robin Rosenberg, a pillow and quilt from our Divine Mother's bed, an exquisite framed image of Shri Babaji, and the beautiful chuni Mother wore on Navratri and Diwali. We even have a signed basketball by LA Laker point guard, Lonzo Ball. Here are some of thes great items. You can see them all (and more are being added each day) by clicking here and please join in as you are able. Thank you for your support!
UV Filter Water Project is Progressing
As we have been reporting, the installation of the UV filters for the dorm, temple, and earthship have been in progress for a while. The main factors where getting all the upgrades to the solar electric systems in those buildings to support the additional continuous draw on the electricity. We are happy to report that we have completed the installation of the first of the systems. It is in the dormitory and we are monitoring the solar system carefully to ascertain the effect it will have on the system. We hope to continue the project this month.
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, grounds, and earthship with candles, luminarias, and lights everywhere for Diwali. Our Indian families cooked and served all of the food for over 125 people that evening. A bit later we had great help from the students of Verde Valley School. They helped with cleaning all the photos and hanging new chunis on them, as well as cleaning window in the temple, ceilings, in the kitchen, cooking, clearing snow, and organizing the Shop. We had a huge turnout for the Thanksgiving Fire Ceremony and we were grateful for all the help and support. We also received another order for the Maha Lakshmi Shop so we were busy restocking and cleaning the dorm, greenhouse maintenance, and computer work went on 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 donate by clicking here and scrolling down (you can even set up a monthly tithe). We deeply appreciate all of you that do tithe monthly to the Ashram. 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!
Diwali (Festival of Lights) Wednesday, November 7
What a special time as we gathered together to share songs of peace and light on the night of Diwali. This seems to be a favorite time for many people as over 125 people attended even though it was in the middle of the week. It is was a beautiful night when the temple, grounds, and earthship were aglow with candles and lights. The dinner afterwards was a sumptuous Indian feast served by all of our Indian families from around the valley and beyond. There were so many people, folks were eating on the floor of the Shop and everywhere. We are so grateful for everyone's amazing help each year. We could not do it with