I am writing this briefer newsletter because of some important news that feels important to share. We received this letter a couple of days ago from Dr. Arvind Lal, our new Chairman of the Haidakhandi Samaj.
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
BBKJ! You are all aware that Corona Virus, now known as COVID-19, has taken a very heavy toll worldwide...Many countries have reported cases of COVID-19 and have cautioned their countrymen from traveling overseas. The Government of India has banned the entry of foreign nationals from many countries and beginning today shall screen ALL visitors to India at international airports and quarantine them if needed.
With a heavy heart I have to inform you that the senior leadership of the Haidakhandi Samaj has decided that no person from abroad shall be allowed to attend the Navratri celebrations that shall be taking place at Haidakhan from 25th March- 2nd April. This is a preventive measure so that foreigners entering India are not subjected to extremes of physical and mental inconvenience and harassment like screening, examination, isolation and quarantine etc. The Government of India has made arrangements for the quarantine of 4,500 individuals all over India. All government and private hospitals also have been geared up to receive suspected patients suffering from this virus. I would like to add that till date, there is no sure shot treatment for COVID-19 available. Few medicines and vaccines are in experimental stage.
I apologise for the inconvenience caused to you all. There is a saying, ‘better to retreat today and live to fight another day’. These are perhaps what Babaji had prepared all of us for!
We shall all meet in Chilianaula for the Autumn Navratri from 17th- 25th October this year.
Arvind Lal, Chairman, Haidakhandi Samaj
Other updates from India include:
*Coronavirus is a very serious and dynamic challenge, with every case reported the travel restrictions are becoming more stringent.
*The Government of India has advised all religious places to exercise great restraint.
*Amma in South India has closed her Ashram for every one.
*ISKON organization have advised all foreign devotees to not come to India for next 2 months.
Notice from the Crestone Ashram: The staff and residents at the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram here in Crestone, Colorado are requesting that all who have traveled internationally or have associated with those that have, refrain from coming to the Ashram for 2 weeks upon their return or contact. This is to reduce the risk of having the Corona Virus introduced here where many thousands of people travel each year. Some of the neighboring spiritual centers are also instituting such measures. Please also do not come to the Ashram if you are experiencing any symptoms of fever, cough, breathing difficulties, cold or flu, to respect and safeguard the health of others.
This has been a time of discerning at the Ashram and particularly with 5 of the current 7 people living or working here, being over 60 and in the high-risk group. We are quarantining people who have recently returned from international travel. That includes two of our karma ygois, Sadie and Anthony, who arrived back to Colorado on Wednesday, having left India early due to Sadie's health issues. I was also due to be on the same trip to Haidakhan but had a neck injury and could not travel, otherwise, I would be quarantined as well. So things may be a bit quieter here in the next several weeks. Navratri which runs from March 25 - April 2 will also be smaller as people flying in from California and other places are canceling their trips and we will be communicating the above message to all who have reservations and posting it on media and on our doors for day-visitors to observe.
We are not alone in this concern, as several of the other centers are quarantining their staff and cancelling programs for the safety of all. We pray that this subdues or eliminates what could become even more widespread and dangerous. It is definitely a time for prayer and meditation.
As Raghuvir from Thailand reminds us: "However blessed and beautiful it may be to be in Haidakhan (or other Ashrams) for Navratri, know that Babaji is alive in your heart and with practice He will appear more into your awareness where ever you are. Can this be the lead into that what Babaji has warned us so many times about? This holds a blessing and a curse at the same time for His devotees. Do we have enough faith and strength to pass through this kind of fire. It was foretold long back so do not make it personal and take it out on anybody! Nobody can be held responsible! Do not lose yourself in anger, fear, hatred in this delicate moment in time, LOVE is the only solution and will bring Babaji more present in your heart. Take courage and have faith!"
This reminds me of Shri Babaji's words: "In order not to provoke Me, you must be quiet at the time of catastrophe. You must concentrate on Om Namaḥ Śivāya."
These words have always intrigued me. It certainly speaks to the Great Lord having a hand in all of these things and that us blaming and lamenting what is happening, will just make matters worse. It is a time to focus on the mantra, our duty, and move ahead with clarity and focus on the higher good for all. As we sit at the fire ceremony this full-moon, we will be remembering all the people that are suffering, have died, are in quarantine, and have been adversely affected by the corona virus. We always remember everyone in need of prayers generally, if you have a special intention, you may certainly email us it at email@example.com. with your request.
In deep deep gratitude and love to you all,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony is on Monday, March 9 and the next new-moon fire ceremony is on Tuesday, March 24. On March 25 - April 2, we will have daily fire ceremonies for Spring Navratri, please read below. 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.)
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. It is a special and wonderful time to remember Mother and give thanks for all She provides for us.
Each day there are touching pujas, extra chanting, big fire ceremonies, inspiring discourses about Mother, and lots of sharing and karma yoga. It is a magnificent time. Please join us for any or all of the days. It should be a very special time together. We will remember our children on Sunday, March 29. If you are not able to make it in person you can still sponsor a fire ceremony or bhandara by clicking here. Jai Ma!
Please call with questions and to reserve rooms at 719-256-4108 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the notice above will be put into effect at this time and we appreciate you cooperation with this and sharing the word with others:
The staff and residents at the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram here in Crestone, Colorado are requesting that all who have traveled internationally or have associated with those that have, refrain from coming to the Ashram for 2 weeks upon their return or contact. This is to reduce the risk of having the Corona Virus introduced here where many thousands of people travel each year. Please also do not come to the Ashram if you are experiencing any symptoms of fever, cough, breathing difficulties, cold or flu, to respect and safeguard the health of others.
The Next Long-Time Resident Hermitage is Moving along!
The walls have been textured and painted a lovely off white and the beautiful ceiling is complete on the new hermitage. The solar work continues. Luke, our solar contractor, has made a short video about the innovative solar electric system that will be utilized in this hermitage as well as bringing the amount of power needed in Ramloti's hermitage to UV filter her water for drinking. It is also set up to grow and produce electricity of the third long-term resident hermitage. Click here for the video.
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
Lots of cleaning, sewing, and preparing for Navratri. We are also mitigating the trees for fire prevention as we move into the warmer months. The wood will also provide us with fire wood for next winter and for our fire ceremonies. The greenery from all the mitigation is being utilized by locals who makes it into essential oils. We received new items for the shop that were priced and put away. We have been cooking and cleaning up, particularly for our big events and keeping the dorm and kitchen clean.
Thank you to all who volunteer and help here. 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.