All of us at the Ashram are busy in the preparations for the Divine Mother celebration -- Fall Navratri, which begins tomorrow. We are deeply moved by all the participation, the generosity, and the devotion of so many people that are helping with all of this. It is deeply nourishing to spend most of the day cleaning the temple, washing photos, redoing all the assans, and decorating the whole temple with new chunis and freshly washed malas for all the photos and assans. For weeks now we have been sewing new saris for Mother, chunis for all the photos, and little veils for the Kumaris who we will honored a week from Sunday on our children’s day.
In 1996 when I asked Shri Shastriji in Rajgard, India about the future of the Ashram, he told me it would be very good otherwise the Divine Mother would not have allowed Herself to be established here. He also told me that now many good servants would be coming to serve the Mother and Baba. We see that over and over and over again. A young woman, who was taken with the love she felt when she visited the Ashram, moved from Seattle, WA to live in Crestone. She just moved into her new house and came up today for the New Moon fire ceremony to participate and join in the karma yoga. She is happy to be here and help for Navratri.
The story is repeated over and over again. Someone comes every other weekend from Denver to serve here after feeling Mother and Baba's love. Another woman is coming on Sunday for some of Navratri after she came to the Ashram while on a retreat because she felt the love of Mother and Baba in this place. The person who wrote about her experience below, after coming last month to aarati while visiting Crestone, is coming back for this month from California so she can celebrate Navratri and be with the Mother. Will is here for a few months from Massachusetts helping us with his carpentry work and also sinking into the arms and love of Baba and Mother. Mindy, who lives in Crestone, comes up three mornings a week to dress Ma and another community member, Steve, comes up daily for puja, fire ceremony and aarati. And of course, we have our new residents, Sadie and Anthony who are so deeply touched and grateful to be able to live and serve here. They are both in their 20s, yet seem to already glean the importance of spiritual practice and service to the cosmos. I could also go on about the people who live in other cities and states, but who send malas, fabrics for chunis, saris for the Mother, gifts for the Kumaris, and money for sponsorship of fire ceremonies and feasts. Richard arrived from Seattle yesterday with an arm full of flowers for the Divine Mother and Melody came from Iowa with more gifts. We are so taken care of and in the arms of Mother and Father. What a splendid way to begin a Divine Mother celebration.
As we discuss the stories of the Divine Mother and begin to read the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam in preparation for this immersion into the nine days of the Divine Mother celebration, we feel deep deep gratitude for living in this sacred space, the Ashram. It is like the Naimisa vana (sacred forest sanctified for ancient revelations) where the Munis all gathered during the kali yuga to listen to the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam from the lips of Suta Romaharshana, who was taught it by Veda Vyasa.
The other night after aarati, we had a discussion of what all of these stories mean particularly placed in this time of strong upheaval and destruction of nature and the world. We all spoke about our deep faith in Baba and Mother. For many of us at the Ashram we are committing to spend maximum amount of time in prayer for these nine days (some are even keeping silence) praying for the love of Mother and Baba to be showered on the world. We encourage all of you that are reading this to take whatever time you can to pray to the Mother asking for Her love, compassion, wisdom, and protection for all of this cosmos.
In deep deep gratitude and love to you all,
Om Namah Shivaya
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony this month is on Sunday, October 13 and the new-moon fire ceremony will be on Sunday, October 27 (Diwali). 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 daily small fire ceremony is at 6:20am. 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 9am 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.)
Fall Navratri (Divine Mother Festival) - Sunday, September 29 - Monday, October 7
Navratri begins tomorrow, and we are so excited. We will go to the creek right after tomorrow's fire ceremony at 10am to do puja to Maha Lakshmi who resides there. We will honor our children on Sunday, October 6 following the fire ceremony. There will be a story of the Divine Mother, chanting, small gifts for the children, and a huge Indian feast. We hope you can attend and share the word with other families. We do cherish our children at the Ashram, many of whom have now grown up and have their own families. Each day of Navratri we have a fire cermony at 10am and pujas, discourses, and readings all morning. Join as you are able. It is always such a special time together honoring the Divine Mother. Jai Ma!
The Next Long-Time Resident Hermitage Continues to Grow!
Thank you to all who have donated so far to the building of our next hermitage for our long-term residents. The foundation is complete and we are working with the contractor for the next phase of framing, roofing, stucco, solar heat and electricity, and interior work.
We can still use your support of this 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, or you can send a check to HUA at P.O. Box 9, Crestone, CO 81131. Thank you again.
Consideration about the Needs of the Ashram
The Ashram has been growing rapidly. It is a wonderful thing that so many people want to come and drink in the divine nectar of Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother‘s love and care. Those of us that care for the Ashram are grateful that so many people wish to come here. We also see that it is important that everybody participate in supporting the Ashram by abiding by the timings and rules of the Ashram so that the beautiful space, that is always welcoming and clean for each of you, can be well maintained.
The first request is that you reserve the use of our showers for overnight guests. We have a faucet outside the temple for washing your feet and hands. Arriving punctually is particularly important for those who wish to come and utilize the beautiful five bedroom dormitory that we provide for overnight visitors that wish to participate in the Ashram schedule. We require that you be here by 4 PM. The reason for this is that from 4pm until 5pm we are happy to bring people to their rooms and orientate them to our solar way of living here at the Ashram that is quite different from most peoples' lives. We are also located in a beautiful wilderness area where there are bears, deer, mice, and lots of other wildlife. It’s important that we inform you about bringing all the food in from your car into the earthship so no bears break into your car smelling the food. We also need to alert you to bring in your luggage quickly during daylight hours, and to keep the front door shut so that evening animals don’t come into the dorm (or other buildings for that matter). This also gives you time to take your shower, dress appropriately, and be prepared for the evening aarati and chanting.
In the past many people have disregarded or asked for exceptions to this request to be here by 4pm making it impossible for us to take our evening bath and prepare properly for the evening aarati and ceremonies. We are now letting everyone know that arriving after 4:30pm for an overnight stay will no longer be tolerated at the Ashram. This is for everyone's sake so that we can continue to provide the beautiful temple services taking care of the Divine Mother and Baba's home, while not be distracted by late arrivals or those unprepared for the evening services. Most everyone has Google Maps or some other device that can give you a pretty accurate estimate of time for driving to the Ashram allowing for traffic and construction. Therefore if you happen to be past 4:30 we ask you to get a hotel and come in the evening or the next morning for the services. There are many Air B&B's in Crestone. We appreciate your understanding on this matter.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
All of the help we receive at the Ashram with all the jobs to keep this Ashram in great shape for the thousands of visitors that come here every year has been amazing and wonderful. Thank you to all who help with all the cooking for our many visitors, repairing the buildings, cleaning the temple, cleaning up after meals, cleaning the buildings, stocking the Shop, working in the garden, serving food, orchestrating fire ceremonies, and bhandaras. 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. Here are a few of the hundreds of photos we have taken.