It is getting pretty exciting around here as we prepare for the big celebration of the Divine Mother's 30th birthday. Folks are calling, helping, and suggesting lovely ways to honor Mother for the purpose of coming together to honor our Mother Earth. Mother is ready thanks to our friend, Radha and her friends from Denver who made this lovely trellis for the celebration!
There will be programs, workshops, musical presentations, and sharing by many representatives of spiritual groups and others. There will also be fire ceremonies, an art exhibit, and of course scrumptious food provided by many or our Indian and Nepalese families.
The celebration begins with the Guru Purnima Day fire ceremony at 10am on Tuesday, July 16.
Here is the schedule for the rest of the week:
Karma Yoga Mornings 9:30am - 12:30pm July 17-19
Karma Yoga is the yoga of selfless action. Yoga means coming into union with the universal soul or the Divine. By performing service without attachment to the rewards, one can reach that state of oneness with the Supreme Being. Come together with others at the Ashram, July 17-19 and contribute your selfless love and service.
There are many ways to serve, if you do not see one listed that is right for you, we can find one for you.
We will meet in the Earthship at 9:30 am and conclude with LUNCH at 12:30 pm.
• Wednesday 17th: Stucco patching party! Washing Temple walls
• Thursday 18th: Wood gathering, weeding, washing Temple walls, painting, cooking
• Friday 19th: Deep Temple cleaning/decorating for Mother’s Celebration!
Mini-Workshop Afternoons 2pm - 5pm (July 17 and 18)
• Wednesday 17th: Simple Puja - Why do millions of people around the world begin their morning with a “puja”? Pu means merit; Ja means to give birth. Puja is that which gives birth to merit, which is the privilege to sit in the presence of God. Puja is an ancient system of worship designed to guide the mind to this experience. We will hear experiences of people who regularly perform puja and learn a very simple puja ceremony, offering flowers, incense, and water that you can take home for your own use.
• Thursday 18th: Simple Fire Ceremony - Fire is used as a form of worship in religions around the world. It is a source of energy that transforms all that interacts with it; you can feel that sitting next to one. For thousands of years the people of India have used fire and the vibration of sounds (mantras) to create harmony within the participants and with all created elements. We will learn a simple fire ceremony you can perform in your own home. It is recommended that you take the Wednesday puja workshop in preparation but it is not a prerequisite.
Divine Mother 30th Anniversary Celebration - Saturday and Sunday, July 20 & 21
Saturday 10 am - Celebration Opening with Hanne Strong and sharings from many different traditions about Divine Mother and how they are honoring Mother Earth. Followed by an Indian Feast.
2-5pm Harvest ideas & Integration sessions.
Sunday 9am - Recitation of the 700 verses in praise of Divine Mother, the Haidakhandiswari Sapta Sati
10 am - Divine Mother Fire Ceremony followed by Celebration, opened with Taiko drumming, followed by dance, music, readings, and meditations.
12:30pm - Huge Indian Feast.
Please join in any or all of the festivities if you are able. Another way to join would be to send us a message of your love, which we will place at Mother's feet.
In truth and love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony is on Tuesday, July 16 (Guru Purnima). The next new-moon fire ceremony will be on Wednesday, July 31. 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 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.)
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, cleaning, and making repairs to the Ashram. In the afternoons there will be workshops on puja and fire ceremonies. (See schedule above and our special page on the website at www.babajiashram.org/30th-birthday.)
On Saturday, July 20 there will be an Interfaith gathering followed by an Indian feast. Hanne Strong, who was given the vision to bring the world religions together, will help us open the ceremonies at 10am. Other representatives of spiritual groups will 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 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". We will spend the afternoon 'harvesting" ideas from the morning programs and see how we can "integrate" and support them more at our centers.
Finally on Sunday, we will culminate this glorious week with reciting, in English, the 700 verses in praise of Divine Mother from the Haidakhandeshwari Sapta Sati at 9am, followed by a fire ceremony in Her honor at 10am. This will be followed by Taiko drumming, dance, sharing of songs, poetry, and meditations celebrating the Divine Mother. We will all join together after this for another scrumptious Indian Feast.
Our rooms are totally booked but we do have some spaces in the men's dormitory room and the women's dormitory room, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve this space or to get ideas of other places to stay, there are many in Crestone.
The Next Long-Time Resident Hermitage Has Broken 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 $60,000 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. Last week our excavator was here digging out the foundation, and yesterday our cement folks were here building the forms for the foundation. Today the cement truck came and poured the first round of cement!
We still need more donations for the total completion of the project. 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.
Would you Like to Serve on the Ashram Board of Directors?
Each year we have annual elections to the Board of Directors. This year two of our long-time members, Denise and Vesper, are choosing to step down after many years of service. We will certainly miss their input, wisdom, guidance, and love. We are deeply grateful for all they have given over the years.
We therefore have two vacancies on the Board. It is a commitment to attend meetings once a month, currently the 4th Sunday in the morning from 10am until 12:30. If this is something you would like to consider doing, please send a letter to the Ashram stating that you would like to serve and why, and what you would be bringing to the Board. You could email us at email@example.com or send it to PO Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131.
Smita and Family Travel to Haidakhan
It seems that more and more people who come to the Ashram for the Divine Mother's darshan, who did not even know much about Haidakhan Baba, are wanting to go to His Ashram in India. Here is the experience and photos from Smita, who has been coming here for years.
"Myself and my aunt and uncle recently visited the Haidakhan Ashram India. We all loved our stay very much. It was very peaceful. Me and my Aunt and Uncle want go again and spend a week this next time at the ashram in the future.
Thank you, Smita"
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
It has been extremely busy last few months at the Ashram with lots of visitors. Our karma yoga has been preparing for our upcoming Divine Mother Celebration, cooking for our many visitors, cleaning up after meals, cleaning the buildings, stocking the Shop, putting in the garden, serving food, orchestrating fire ceremonies, and bhandaras. 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 deeply from our hearts.
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!
Shri Babaji's Padukas Traveled to the Front Range
It was inspiring and fun to spend so much time with devotees at the four different homes that hosted Shri Babaj's Padukas. Each home lovingly prepared a large altar and assan as well as a wonderful feast for Shri Babaji and the devotees that arrived. There were probably about 200 people in total and the Ashram is grateful for all the love that was shown. Here are a few photos from those wonderful events.
It is also always an occasion of pleasant surprises. We got to meet with two parties that had met Shri Babaji when He was in form.
We were also sent a prayer shawl from Nepal, gifted to us by a man that hosted Shri Babaji in his home in 1975. This very special shawl, with Om Haidakhandi printed on it, was given to him by Babaji. He had seen all the activities at this Ashram in Crestone for Babaji on facebook and he felt the shawl should be offered to this Ashram. We are getting it framed to hang on the wall in the temple. We are deeply touched and grateful.
Crestone Mountain Zen Center Luncheon
Each year, the Crestone Mountain Zen Center, our next door neighbor, has a large luncheon for the various spiritual groups and friends in Crestone. It is always such a treat to be together as we renew our friendships and share in the commonality of our practices. Here is a photo of me with Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, cofounder of Shri Mangal Bhuti Center, Marie-Louise Baker, the wife of Roshi Baker who founded the Zen Center, and Elizabeth's Mother, Naomi.
Earlier in the month, Elizabeth came to the Ashram to bring a sari for the Divine Mother, as she and her husband, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, do each year. She joined us for a ceremony and this is what she wrote.
"It was absolutely wonderful being at the Ashram this morning. Devotional practice just
cuts through all the complications, and one’s innate warmth and intelligence shines through
in such a simple way. I rejoice that we are neighbors, and I marvel at how easy it is to cross over into each other’s tradition, and that no adjustment need be made! The truth comes through in such a deep and natural way, doesn’t it?!!! Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel"
It is almost overwhelming sometimes to consider the amount of new and repeat visitors that come to this Ashram. Just this last long 4th of July weekend we had over 400 people here (these photos will be in the next newsletter). Memorial Day weekend, which we will show some of photos from, also had about 300 visitors. We have been routinely cooking a huge pot of dal and rice and making lots of chai and banana bread on the weekends and it is often gone by Saturday evening! It is a wonderful time of growth and new friends. People really want and need the love they feel from the Divine Mother and Shri Babaji and we are grateful to be the ones that maintain their lovely home.
Here are a few quotes and several (but certainly not all) photos from recent visitors.
"When I entered the temple I was pulled to an area where Babaji's photo was hung with flowers. The holiness there was so intense I hit my knees in reverence and I didn't even know who He was! Then in front of the murti of Divine Mother I likewise went down. I thank the caretakers of this ashram for it blesses all of America. If one seeks spiritual expansion, come to the Ashram and meditate. May all who support it thrive and be blessed."
"Dear Prem, Ramloti, and Jonathan (and all):
I had such an amazing, heart-filling, love-blasting weekend spending time with you at the ashram. I had not anticipated finding so much bliss on my weekend journey to see Crestone; and the bliss was just in feeling Ma's love and knowing that I was in a place of pure devotion. My heart and soul long to return to you."
"Beautiful spiritual center with amazing Divine Mother and Babaji energy and peaceful gracious residents set in a mountain paradise."
" I always feel love and blessings here. The energy revitalizes one's core."
"The Ashram In Crestone is Awesome, a very sacred space on Sacred Land. It’s the 30 year Birthday. I was there from the beginning, doing Karma Yoga with different groups to help build this wonderful retreat and place of Divine Prayer. This is one of the few places you can really experience the Divine Mother. She came from India blessed by Babaji and Muniraj. If you have never been there join the Celebration."
Calendar of Events for 2019
New Moon Fire Ceremonies - July 31, August 30, September 28
Full Moon Fire Ceremonies - July 16 (Guru Purnima), 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 received the two new books by Raghu that we spoke of last newsletter. Both are well worth reading and sharing with others. 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 purchase them on line at our website under books at https://mahalakshmishop.wazala.com
We also have this hand-carved glass lit Om Namah Shivaya that would be a lovely addition to your altar or any room. It stands 11 inches high and the base is about 10inches. It is not on-line but it sales for $108. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!