On January 17, Raghuvir posted photos and an article about Vinodh Acharya (our Shastriji from India) coming to Kamalya in Thailand to celebrate Makar Sankrant and the 9 years anniversary of the temple in Kamalaya. He also made two new home blessing puja’s and inaugurated a new Havankund.
This was during the time that Premanand and I were in Treasure Island, Florida celebrating Makar Sankrant there for the 14th year. On the other side of Florida in Delray Beach, we were performing havan, where we had trained folks over 20 years ago to do havan and they have been doing them monthly ever since. We also led a memorial for the husband of a long-time devotee there.
It struck me at the time just how fortunate and blessed we are to be able to go to different places around the world and share knowledge, lead, join in, and come together in Shri Babaji's name. It takes time, energy, organization, and money to travel to these places but it also makes a world of difference to the people that host and gather for these occasions. Baba's energy is so strong and the inspiration is felt by all. I also feel it uplifts the whole area, but that would be more difficult to pinpoint.
Here is what the hostess from Florida wrote:
"I want to let you know there is so much light and energy in the Temple, it is sparkling and dancing. It feels so light in there, like magic. I started dancing with Ganesh. I love you both."
This reminded me of Shri Babaji's words from His teachings:
"There is a Sanskrit proverb which says that in the Kali Yuga there is power only through organized groups. We must be of firm determination to progress. Then only success is certain."
Coming together and working together, that is what it is all about. Through the consistent work of many people, we have created a degree of organization in different strongholds around the world. Most of these are not huge but they do make a difference and I believe that in focusing on what we do have and what has been accomplished in Shri Babaji's name, we can continue to develop these and even new ones are being created.
There is a beautiful, newly built temple for Babaji, which will be inaugurated on February 25 and 26. It is in Bandequi, India (in between Agra and Jaipur) where Shri Babaji visited several times in the 70's. All are invited to this grand opening, and Shri Babaji's padukas will be brought there from Haidakhan. If you would like to know more, you can contact Vaidh Mahendra Sharma at whatsapp# 9587020011.
We have also had a transition in leadership of the Haidakhan Samaj in India. Alok Banerjee lovingly and dutifully served as Chairman of the Samaj for many years after Shri Muniraji passed it on to him. Due to increasing age and decreasing health, he has stepped down. The Samaj is now under the capable leadership of Dr. Arvind Lal who has been very active in various Samaj projects over the years and has been a devotee of Baba's since the 70's. I feel confident in his devotion and abilities to fill this large position very well.
In a few weeks there will be a large celebration in Wape, Gugarat, India for Maha Shivaratri. Babaji's padukas and many devotees will travel there from Haidakhan, other parts of India, and around the world. There will be similar celebrations at all of Baba's Ashrams around the world.
I will be traveling to India shortly after our Shivaratri celebration with a young couple, Sadie and Anthony, who have lived and served at the Ashram here in Crestone for the last six months. We will travel to Haidakhan for the main part of the trip. While in Delhi we will also be able to attend the weekly havan at Dr. Arvind Lal's home and spend some time with him. This will all be a lovely introduction to the Haidakhan tradition, India-style for them. We will then travel back home to prepare for Spring Navrati in Crestone, which many people will attend from all parts of the United States.
Of course, there will also be a huge celebration in Haidakhan, India for Spring Navratri from March 25-Aptil 2, as there will be at all of Baba's Ashrams around the world. We are so fortunate to be able to travel to places near and far to us to come together in community to celebrate.
As Baba said, there is power in groups. Even family is powerful. I have been with my family this last week celebrating my birthday, my son's birthday, and my sister's birthday. (They all fall within two weeks of each other.) It is a blessing to be together. I have been speaking to my family about a big trip to Haidakhan in about 5 years, when the youngest of my grandchildren will be 13. They all seem excited about this and have all been to the Ashram in Crestone many times so they know a bit of what to expect. My sons have not been there since they were 10 and 12 years old and were able to spend two summers with Shri Babaji in 1981 and 1982.
While at my family's in San Diego, I did small fire ceremonies and puja to the murtis they have in their home. I keep all of the items required for a fire ceremony and puja there, so it is easy to have one. Even though the children and parents were all at school and work, it was still very powerful. My sister, Susie, who has been several times to Haidakhan with me, always accompanies me. I know that the two of us, our families, their homes, and the surrounding area are all blessed by the ceremony.
It has been fun to be with a family that plays and laughs together. I think this unity is expressed in larger ways when they go out to the world. As Baba said further in His speech:
"You must know that by living together in a united way, anything may be achieved in this world.
They also work together cleaning up after dinner, cleaning the house on Saturdays, and other daily chores. The three oldest were at the Ashram a couple of weeks ago and they washed dishes and folded blankets there. (You can see their photos in the karma yoga section.) It feels healthy and Baba's words once again echo:
"Train your children in Karma Yoga, that they may become people of good and strong character."
I am deeply grateful for all of my families: my biological family, my Babaji family, my Ashram family, my family of loving friends and acquaintances, the family of humankind, and all of Mother Earth.
In deep deep gratitude and love to you all,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony is on Sunday, February 23 and the next full-moon fire ceremony is on Monday, March 9. The . 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.)
The Night of Lord Shiva, Shivatratri
Friday, February 21
A speical and inspirational night that we do pujas and chanting to Lord Shiva will be on a Friday night this year, Feb 21. We will begin with aarati at 6pm followed by our first of four lingam pujas at 7pm. We will continue chanting through the night and complete the evening with the fourth lingam puja at 1am. We hope that you can join us for this beautiful night together.
Om Namah Shivaya
Nine Nights of the Mother, Spring Navratri
Wednesday March 25 - Thursday, April 2
Each Spring and Fall we set aside nine days and nights to honor our beloved Divine Mother. This year the spring dates are March 25 through April 2. This only gives us one weekend and the dormitory is already booked for the Saturday night. We do still have availability the other nights, so we hope you will join us.
The nine days are full of special pujas, readings of the Sapta Sati, fire ceremonies, discourses on the Divine Mother, feasts, and karma yoga to prepare for the next day. We will honor our children on Sunday, March 29. It is a special and wonderful time to remember Mother and give thanks for all She provides for us.
Please call with questions and to reserve rooms at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Next Long-Time Resident Hermitage is Moving along!
The hermitage is stil moving along. It is definitely a more challenging time of year with all the snow and delays. We have gotten the bathroom tub in and the plumbing inspection for that part of the job has been completed the other day. This will allow Bill and crew to finish the drywall in the bathroom and other parts of the hermitage where vents and pipes needed to be exposed until the inspection. The solar work is also coming along. Luke, our solar contractor, now has the the inverter, controler, vents, tubing, and on demand water heater installed.
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.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
More snow and snow removal. It has been quite a year keeping our driveway, parking lots, walkways, and solar panels cleared. Particularly with the hermitage project, we need good and safe access for trucks to deliver supplies. There has also been consistent karma yoga on the hermitage. We decided to clear branches from trees that were blocking the sun on the driveway, creating dangerous ice patches for drivers and walkers coming to the Ashram. We have been cooking and cleaning up, particularly for our big events and keeping the dorm and kitchen clean. We are getting some of the sewing done for Spring Navratri. We are also beginning to think of summer and mitigating the lower branches on any trees around buildings and on wind corridors that would add to fire fuel if one were to come through the Ashram. It is great to have good help.