As you may suspect from the lack of a newsletter for over the last month and a half and all of the glorious photos (of which there is only room for 1/3 of what we have), we have been extremely busy at the Ashram. It is such a delight to see how many new and returning visitors keep coming to the Ashram. It takes time to reach out to people and welcome them and answer their questions about the Ashram. But it is so meaningful to both us at the Ashram and to the visitors. It is actually one of the main purposes of the Ashram, to love people; and we hear over and over again that it is one of the reasons that people continue to come back so often, because they experience a feeling of family and community here.
Babaji said that we should make "Big ashrams in the sea of materialism, where people can learn to work together (karma yoga)." I remember arriving in Haidakhan with my 8 and 10-year-old sons in 1981. Within a day, Shri Babaji had them working in the Shop with Raghu, and I was in the Office working. We also participated in the moving of the rocks in the riverbed, sweeping the Ashram, handing out prasad in Babaji's veranda (as shown here with my son and I) and whatever else was needed in the moment.
So people that are here at this Ashram for more than a few hours are invited to help with the karma yoga (service). This both gives them a feeling of belonging and really helps us out, because this is a very "big" ashram on 101 acres of land. Just recently, a new family arrived for the fire ceremony and bhandara. The gentleman was familiar with computers and offered to install our new printer that someone had donated to the Ashram last week and was still waiting to be set up. It was fast, fun, and successful. Meanwhile, others were enjoying a lovely afternoon on the lawn, busy washing dishes, and helping with the clean up. That same night a family who had been here a couple of year before, came with their children. The next morning they made Indian food for our lunch, helped me with some computer technology, folded recycled bags for the Shop, and did the dishes. It was just a small sampling of how folks become part of the Ashram.
And this has been going on here for years, and as I said above, one of the primary reasons people come back time and time again. People are, of course, primarily drawn to the energy and love of Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother. This summer happens to be the thirty year celebration of our Mother's installation in the temple. I can remember, as I write this, all the excitement and energy as we were still finishing the smaller part of the temple, laying the flagstone in the courtyard, and finishing the curtains for Mother's mandir.
Most of the people involved at that time are still involved with the temple now (although a few have passed away). As we planned for this celebration of Mother's big birthday, we remembered the bonding quality of Babaji's primary teaching, karma yoga, and so part of the week will include that.
We will appropriately begin on Guru Purnima Day (Tuesday, July 16) with a large fire ceremony at 10am followed by chanting and a feast. The next three days will have communal karma yoga (work projects) planned for each morning and workshops on the main practices of Shri Babaji (fire ceremony, puja, aarati). On Saturday, July 20 we will have gatherings of the spiritual, college groups, and others sharing about their relationship to the Divine Mother, particularly as Mother Earth. Since the name of our Mother is Vishveshwari, Mother of the Universe, this seems appropriate. On Sunday, we will complete with a huge fire ceremony honoring the Divine Mother, followed with celebrations with music, poetry, readings, and songs in Her Honor. It will be completed with a huge feast prepared by all of our loving Indian families from the valley and afar.
We so hope you can join us for some or all of this time. Please call or write at 719-256-4108 or email@example.com for more information or lodging opportunities.
In truth and love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony will be on Monday, June 3 and the full-moon fire ceremony is on Monday, June 17. 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 it is below freezing. The Maha Lakshmi Shop is open every day from 10am until 4pm during the month of February. 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.)
Shri Babaji's Padukas Travel to the Front Range the Weekend of June 15 and 16
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, for the last eight 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. This year we will be raising funds for the building on the new hermitage for our long-time residents. These gatherings have always been very joyful and inspirational. Please join if you are able.
Here is our schedule so far:
Friday, June 14 at 7pm - Bipin and Shashi Agarwal at 4 Redhawk Run, Englewood, CO 80113. There will be chanting and puduka puja followed by a meal. Please call 303-523-8627
Saturday, June 15 at 5:30pm - 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, June 16 (Father's Day) at 11:30am - Smita and Prabodh Telang at 3068 E. 143rd Ave, Thornton, CO 80602. Puja begins at 11:30am followed by chanting and lunch. Please call 303-920-7245 or 720-250-6325.
We look forward to sharing this time with you. Ramloti will be accompanying the Padukas. Thank you for your support.
The Next Long-Time Resident Hermitage Is Soon to Break Ground
Thank you to all who have donated so far to the building of our next hermitage for our long-term residents. We have had a lot of meetings and several people have donated time to help with the plans.
We now have about $50,000 in hand and pledges, so we feel confident that the first step of putting in the foundation, infrastructure, and radiant heat is a prudent call. Please donate as you are able so that we can build the whole hermitage this year. Click here to go to our donate link You can pay with a credit card or paypal. You can also send a check to HUA at P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131. Thank you again. Here are some of the plans.
Babaji Gathering and Divine Mother's 30th Birthday Celebration - July 16 - 21
As mentioned above, our beloved Divine Mother will be turning 30 years old in July. The Ashram in conjunction with the American Haidakhan Samaj will be celebrating with a large Babaji gathering from Tuesday, July 16 through Sunday, July 21. It will begin on Guru Purnima Day, Tuesday, July 16, with a large fire ceremony, chanting, and feast.
The week will continue (July 17 - 19) with a Karma Yoga Immersion; building, painting, and making repairs to the Ashram. In the afternoons will have workshops on pujas, fire ceremonies, and other teachings of Babaji.
On Saturday, July 20 will be an Interfaith gathering followed by a huge Indian feast. Representatives, spiritual groups, and colleges will be invited to share about their connection to Mother Earth and how they are serving Her. During this time of climatic changes and deterioration of Mother Earth, it feels important to speak to this aspect of the Divine Mother as Mother Earth, as our Mother's name is Vishveshwari, Mother of the Universe. We have always felt and stated at the Ashram, that we felt it would be duplicitous of us to honor Mother here in our temple without honoring Her as Mother Earth. For this reason we live off the grid, compost, recycle, and eat organic food. We have strived to be an example to the community and to all who come to visit of "walking lightly on our beloved Mother, the Earth".
Finally on Sunday, we will culminate this glorious week with a huge fire ceremony honoring Mother. This will be followed by sharing of songs, poetry, and meditations on the Divine Mother. We will all join together after this for another scrumptious Indian Feast.
To make reservations to stay in the dormitory during this time, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is already very full time, so make your reservations early. Jai Ma!
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
It has been extremely busy months at the Ashram with very lots of visitors. Our karma yoga has been preparing, decorating, sewing for Navratri, cleaning, cooking, stocking the Shop, putting in the garden, serving, and snow clearing. 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 thousands 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!
The night of Lord Shiva was celebrated in early March. It was touching as always. It is a beautiful night that many families and friends participated in. We are grateful to VK Sharma who comes to lead the pujas and his lovely wife, Shashi.
Spring Navratri (Divine Mother Festival)
The beginning of April found us celebrating the Divine Mother's love and graciousness. She was resplendent each day in Her new saris, the fires were beautiful, the pujas sweet, the chanting enchanting particularly with the addition of our long-time devotee from California, Mindia Devi Klein with her flute. The day we honored our children is always so lovely; and our trip up the creek to bath and dress our Maha Lakshmi there was Divine. Here are a few photos of the many magical moments.
8th Graders from Washington Stay at the Ashram for Five Days!
In late March, we had a group of about 20 eighth graders and their teachers from Eastside Preparatory School in Kirkland, Washington during their “Education Beyond the Classroom” week where students explore and learn outside of their home areas. They came to Crestone and the surrounding area to study the unique natural landscape as well as visit the spiritual centers. (The 8th grade curriculum centers around the main question “What Does It Mean to Be Human?” and both environmental studies and religious studies are a huge part of it.) They were delightful to have and their day following the Ashram schedule was a huge help in our preparations for Spring Navratri. The cleaned the temple, baked, cleaned Babaji's kutir, and collected fire wood for the havans. Here are a some of their comments about their stay at the Ashram.
Very nice living conditions, could have more food choices. The temple ceremony was fascinating. I will always remember this. The people are so kind and loving. They were willing to answer any questions. Felt at home since the people were so compassionate.
Everyone was so kind and I got to learn about a new religion! The living accommodations were good and the showers were hot!
The buildings are almost as beautiful as the community was. I felt super cared for and accepted, great food, dorms, showers, temple experience etc.
The layout and building were very different (in a good way), the food was really good and the scenery is beautiful.
Truly enjoyed all the hospitality. Also, enjoyed participating in Aarati.
I learned that most religions have more similarities versus differences and that most religions want people to be happy.
Going to all of the religious centers was very fun! I got to learn how different people live. I was also excited to see different traditions about the different religions. Everyone at the centers were nice and we got to do some fun activities and the community really took us in,
I learned how diverse spiritual beliefs can be in such a small area.
It was fun visiting different spiritual centers and comparing their traditions to what we learned in history. For example, I noticed all the religions have a lot in common such as promoting kindness and compassion.
All religious centers value being yourself and learning about yourself and that whatever god(s) will support you. Compassion, kindness, quiet, natural beauty, and service are all important forms of prayer.
Most of the centers focus on becoming a better version of yourself.
The ashram is a place full of compassionate, friendly people where anyone can feel welcome or at home.
I really enjoyed my experience here, everyone was incredibly kind and welcoming. We really got an authentic experience that we couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.
I really liked the Ashram, but I really liked how the boys were in the one room and we all got to bond with each other.
The Ashram is a place filled with people who are loving and compassionate. In the Ashram, I have learned many skills including hard work, compassion and being thankful for what I have. I will miss this place.
11th Annual Lakshmi On-Line Fundraising Auction
We want to thank all of the folks that supported the 11th Annual Lakshmi Fundraising Auction this year. We made $11,430! It will help with the building of the new hermitage. Thank you so much!
Visitors to the Ashram
So many people here everyday. What a blessing! Here are just a few of the many faces we saw and got to spend time with. It is a great joy to welcome whomever comes here. We love to have you all visit, first-timers and those of you who have been coming for over twenty years! Here is a note from Mindia Devi Klein, a long-time devotee that came for the first time in many years and graced us with her beautiful flute playing during aarati and at a concert.
"I just returned to my home in Northern California from a most wonderful and amazing trip to Crestone and the Haidakhandhi Universal Ashram. I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend most of this year’s Spring Navaratri there with all the wonders and joys of being in one of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth. Everyday spent at HUA, at this ‘off the grid’ spiritual center, including the 2 days it snowed in APRIL, were so full of love, harmony and healing energy, I am humbled to my core. The fire ceremonies to the Divine Mother, the peace, joy and inspiration of being in Babaji’s temple, the kindness of all the people who helped make our and everyone else’s stay so cozy, friendly and warm, was truly healing. Thank you all who graced HUA with your presence. And most of all thank you to our divine Babaji for your ultimate grace and wisdom. I bow to You with utmost love in my heart.
Calendar of Events for 2019
New Moon Fire Ceremonies - June 3, July 2, July 31, August 30, September 28
Full Moon Fire Ceremonies - June 17, July 16, August 16, September 13
30th Anniversary Celebration for the Divine Mother (see above) - July 16 - 21
Fall Navratri - September 29 - October 7
Diwali - October 27
You can see the full calendar of events at our website.
Click here for our complete 2019 Calendar
Maha Lakshmi Shop Report
The Maha Lakshmi Shop is receiving a large shipment of murtis, singing bowls, bells, jewelry, cloth items, and much more in a few days. Call the shop with any questions at 719-256-4108.
We are also excitedly waiting for two new books by Raghu. The first is entitled "Autobiography of a Bhogi" about his experiences with Shri Babaji. The next is a compilation of the many small talks he has given before the Havan ceremonies, this is entitled "Inspirations". You can check in with us in a couple of weeks to see if they have arrived from India. We will definitely announce them in the next newsletter when we receive them.
You are always welcome to call and order at 719-256-4108. Since we do not have everything on line, you can ask to have photos sent of our items, 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 or drop ship items to your loved ones around the country. 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!