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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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.