Tomorrow is the third Monday of the month of Savan. What Shri Babaji said about Savan is: “This month, the lunar month of Savan, beginning with Guru Purnima, is a beautiful month, dharmic and full of charm. It is the month of abundance of green. Mahaprabhuji blesses you on this day.”
When I arrived in Haidakhan in July of 1981, unbeknownst to me, it was the beginning of Savan. I arrived with my two sons, Jacob 10 and Amil 8. It was our first time to Haidakhan (I had spent a month in February traveling with Shri Babaji). We had barely found a place to roll out our sleeping bags and unpack in the big dorm room that housed about 50 people, when Babaji called me to Him. He told me from the next day on I was to fast, keep silence, and do the 'Parthiv Puja’ (which meant sitting in the temple with a handful of Indian devotees much of the day making hundreds of Shiva Lingams out of clay from the river. We then followed that with an elaborate puja, and then we would offer it all back to the river.) Gratefully, my sons are pretty independent, since I became a pretty non-present parent most of the day. (Photo below shows my sons and I, with Shri Babaji and the next with mudan, shaved heads, in the dorm room with a few friends.)
I did not understand what the significance of all of this was, other than I said a lot of “Om Namah Shivayas,” nor why I was sort of singled out to do this. Like many things that Babaji did with me, I slowly have gained more of an understanding.
So now we fast-forward almost 40 years and the Ashram is quietly closed to visitors for the last few months with the continued increase of the virus. Although we are still very busy with ceremonies, maintenance, outreach, and repairs; we are putting more emphasis on our spiritual practices as a way to serve the world at this uncertain time. On Guru Purnima, I realized that we were beginning the month of Savan and both remembering the above incident and knowing that Shri Babji did nothing by chance, I knew that I now had the time to take His teaching deeper in my heart and practice.
Now that we have no evening guests, I often go to bed right after aarati and then it is easy to get up around 3am most mornings and I am dressing Mother and Baba about 5 days a week. I am so grateful to have this opportunity again. We also have a 2-foot black marble Shiva Lingam that we bath each day. Now during Savan, we are also doing abhishekam to the Shiva Lingam on Mondays, bathing it with panchamrit (milk, yogurt, honey, ghee, and sugar) while doing mantras.
We have been feeling tremendous gratitude to all the people that continue to donate to the Ashram even though they cannot visit at this time. We have been copying down all of their names and putting them at Baba’s and Mother’s feet for blessings. On Monday mornings, we also decided to read them out loud as we begin the abhishekam asking Lord Shiva to bless and protect them and their families. It feels very powerful and we want you to know this will go on tomorrow morning and for the next two Mondays (Savan has five Mondays this year!). Please know that even if you are not able to donate, you can email us at email@example.com and asked to be added to the list being remembered at the puja.
By doing Abhishek on Savan Mondays, Lord Shiva, the easily pleased One, often blesses His devotees quickly. We also offer the flowers grown in our garden with love to Him. We pray that you will all feel these blessings in your lives.
In deep deep gratitude and love to you all,
Ashram Update - Crestone and Haidakhan, India
I wanted to keep you updated on the status of the Haidakhan Ashram in India, our Ashram here, and the latest outreach programs from the Ashram and Samaj.
I recently spoke with Dr. Arvind Lal, Chairman of the Haidakhan Samaj in New Delhi, India. He said that the Ashram in Haidakhan is still closed and they are even asking foreign visitors to return home to their countries. He said it will remain that way for some time as the coronavirus is increasing in India again.
The Ashram, Temple, and Shop here in Crestone will remain closed to all visitors until further notice as well. With the upswing in coronavirus cases around the country, it feels unwise and irresponsible to try to safely accomodate the hundreds of visitors that come here with proper safe distancing and sanitation protocol. We hope you understand and support our concern for the health of everyone involved.
We have just uploaded a video of Jonathan, Premanand, and Ramloti chanting the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra in the temple 108 times accompanied by harmonium. It is one of the oldest and most important Mantras in this tradition. We chanted it every morning and evening with Shri Babaji in Haidakhan and we do the same at this Ashram in Crestone, Colorado. This mantra belongs to Lord Shiva. It is said to be beneficial for mental, emotional and physical health. This mantra can be a lifesaving Mantra and should be chanted with sincerity, faith and devotion. You can find it on YouTube at the Ramloti Wood channel or by clicking here
There are beautiful photos of Shri Babaji and Lord Shiva.
Here are the words to the chant:
"Om Trayambakam Yajamahe,
Sugandhim Pushti Varddhanam, Urvarukamiva Bandhanat,
Mrityor Mukshiya Mamritat."
We will continue live-streaming the new and full-moon the fire ceremonies at 10:08am MT on the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram facebook page. The next new-moon fire ceremony is tomorrow, Monday, July 20 at 10:08am and we hope you can join us. We will also post it on YouTube at Ramloti Wood Page by noon that day. At this time, because we are in an extreme fire ban, we are not allowed to do fire ceremonies outside, so for at least the next one, it will be indoors.
We have implemented a daily meditation time in front of our Divine Mother and Shri Babaji. It is videoed usually in the morning and uploaded to the Ramloti Wood YouTube page so you can view it at your convenience. We also post it on the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram facebook Page. We begin with an inspirational reading and then leave the video focused for 20 minutes of silence on the murtis. We end with an inspirational reading as well. We hope that this helps people keep connected with the Temple on a daily basis and inspired during this challenging time.
We also often have readings and discourses on the Divine Mother from the Srimad Devi Bhagavatam by Ramesh Menon and the Chandi Path by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. The stories and lessons feel very timely as they often describe the different "demons" that overtake our minds in the form of fearful, hopeless, egotistical, confusing, selfish, deceiving, attacking, and distracting thoughts. In the stories, as the gods (which represent our Divine nature) remember the "Source of All", the Divine Mother, She withdraws the energy we are diverting to the "demons" and redirects to our remembrance of the source of life so we can base our forward steps on loving service rather than "me and mine".
Baba spoke about these times saying on Dec 1, 1982. "This body is here only to serve people. ... So even my own body has come only to perform a duty and to serve all human and living beings. But when human beings come in this world, they forget their duty and they fall into the attachment of maya and into the concepts of "me" and "mine" and so they forget God."
This is a time of deep introspection and finding that Divine Source within ourselves. Babaji sometimes spoke about not coming to Haidakhan but staying home and doing service there. It appears that we are being forced to do this at this time and so looking at the gift in this maybe helpful. We have been gifted a number of deeply healing and connecting spiritual practices by Shri Babaji which we are able to do in our own homes: puja, aarati, fire ceremony, reading the Sapta Sati, meditation, and karma yoga. To facilitate learning these practices in a simple way, we have added two new pages to our website. One giving instructions on a Simple Puja at https://www.babajiashram.org/simple-puja-instructions and the other with instructions on a simple fire ceremony at https://www.babajiashram.org/fire-ceremony. We have a lovely video of the Sapta Sati with images of our Divine Mother along with many other videos of devotees telling their stories on YouTube at the Ramloti Wood channel.
We are gratefully all well and being taken care of by Baba and Mother. Despite being closed to visitors, it is busier than ever here and the good news is that we are in touch with thousands of people from all over the world by this new means of reaching out. It is a great joy.
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony is tomorrow, Monday, July 20 and the next full-moon fire ceremony is on Monday, August 3. These will both be live-streamed on Facebook (Haidakhandi Universal Ashram page) at 10:08am MT as the Ashram is still not open to visitors. It will also be inside the temple as we are still under a severe fire ban due to lack of rain. If you do not do Facebook, the fire ceremony and chanting will be posted on YouTube on Ramloti Wood channel by 12 noon on the day of the ceremony.
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.)
A Note about Fundraising Buttons
You will normally see either a link to our GofundMe Campaign or a fundraising button on most of our posts and live-streams. Please do not think that this is to oblige anyone to give if they have already donated or are not able to do so. It is simply that different people see these posts all the time and some would like to give to the support of the Ashram and the easier it is, the more likely they are to follow through. Thank you for your understanding on this.
GoFundMe Campaign Going a Long Way to Help Keep the Ashram Afloat During this Time of Closure.
As most of you know, the visitors and shoppers coming to the Ashram are a major part of our revenue to pay the bills at the Ashram. Since we have been closed now for over 8 weeks, we have been counting on people donating through different modalities. The GoFundMe Campaign has raised over $9,000 and we are so tremendously grateful. If you are able to donate, even a small amount, it all means a great deal to us and the truth is if everyone receiving this newsletter donated $25, we would be well supported. Please click here to donate to this fund. We also deeply appreciate your prayers and caring thoughts.
The Next Long-Time Resident Hermitage is Slowly Progressing!