Tomorrow begins the last nine days of Savan, the sacred month of Lord Shiva which began with Guru Purnima and will end of August 3. Today at puja, I felt inspired to make these last nine days almost like a Navratri. I felt to follow Baba's directions He gave to me at Savan in 1981, that you read about in the last newsletter: to fast, keep silence, and do the Parthiv Puja. I realized that although it is an uncertain and difficult time for many of us, it is also a gift in the moment of more silence, more time in the temple, and more time to pursue my spiritual practice, so why should I waste this time. It also helps me remember that Shri Babaji predicted these times, said that devotional practices were particularly important at this time, and it helps me keep a bigger perspective on it all.
I also know that declaring vows publicly, often strengthens the resolve and may even inspire other to do some extra practice. So here is what I am committing to:
I will fast for the next nine days taking just one meal a day.
I will fast from reading any news which has taken up more time than I would like to spend, following news that is not changing much and certainly does not make me peaceful.
I will continue doing Ashram and work business affairs but I will fast from my Zoom calls with my friends and sisters and brothers for the next nine days.
Doing Pujas and Other Practices
I will chant with the video of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra daily available here at YouTube.
I will continue to do the panchamrit Shiva Lingam Abeshekams for the next two Monday mornings at 5:45am.
I will give a discourse daily from the Shiva Purana and post it by 1:08pm MT so all can follow.
I will do Om Namah Shivaya japa on my mala daily.
I will repeat "Om Namah Shivaya" as much as possible, particularly instead of talking.
So these are my Shiva practices for the next nine days. I queried Nirmal Sharma about the significance of Shri Babaji giving me these instructions during Savan, this is what he told me. He said that the clay lingams that we made absorbs the bad karma and throwing them in the river dissolves it. He also said that Savan is actually Shravan Maas, Shravan means listening in silence. Brahma was believed to hear divine sounds during Savan, that is why we should maintain silence as much as possible this month.
I enjoyed reading this morning from Raghuvir about his experience of Savan and Parthiv Puja, some excerpts follow:
"According to the Samvat, the Vedic calendar, this is the month of Sawan. For devotees of Lord Shiva this is an active month with many wonderful occasions for worship. In some ways it is not the easiest time as it is also the brunt of the monsoon season in India. I have had the joy of celebrating 4 seasons in a row in the early ’80’s at Herakhan Vishwa Mahadham. There would be not many people in Herakhan in that season even if Babaji was there. In particular I do recall the Partiv puja. Those who were able to free themselves from the usual duty around the ashram would huddle around the temple and roll small lingams from fresh clay & mud. A little bit of chandan & kumkum on the top and one grain of rice. Thousands were made every day while singing bhajans together at the temple. All these lingams would be placed in big brass plates and shaped in mandala’s. They were carefully counted and by the end of the morning, puja and aarti would be offered to those Linga’s. After that they would be carried down to the riverbed and dissolved back into the the elements by placing them in the river. At the end of the pujas, there was a large fire ceremony in honor of Lord Shiva."
Here are a couple of photos showing my children hiking into Haidakhn in 1981 at the beginning of monsoon season in the month of Savan, as well as a photo of the final fire ceremony at the end of the puja, that I am seated at and my boys are elsewhere helping.
I realized today is also Nag Panchami, the day we honor snakes, particularly Shesh Nag who is seated over our Shiva Lingam in the temple. Snakes have since time immemorial been seen as entities of strength and renewal. Snakes are said to have many more powers than humans, and the Hindu mythology connects them to Shiva, Vishnu, and Subramanya.
King Cobra is particularly worshipped. Many things happened in Haidakhan that I have forgotten. Contemplating on this day of snakes, I remembered that Mansingh, Shri Babaji's personal assistant, brought a cobra into the dorm one afternoon on a long stick and placed it on my children's sleeping bag, fortunately it was dead. We had no idea why he did this but perhaps this had some significance for them.
May Lord Shiva Bless you and your family on the auspicious occasion of Nag Panchami. Shubh Nag Panchami!
In deep deep gratitude and love to you all,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony is on Monday, August 3 and the next new-moon fire ceremony will be on Tuesday, August 18. These will both be live-streamed on Facebook (Haidakhandi Universal Ashram page) at 10am MT as the Ashram is still not open to visitors. 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. You can think of them as donation boxes when you enter the temple or earthship. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
GoFundMe Campaign Going a Long Way to Help Keep the Ashram Afloat During this Time of Closure.
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. 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 4 months, 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.
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Keeping Baba and Mother's home beautiful, clean, and maintained is a big part of our practice here. As we clean every nook and cranny, one might wonder, with no one coming these days, why is it necessary to keep things in such tip-top shape. Perhaps this speech of Shri Babaji's from March 21, 1983 explains it the best:
"Every human being should understand his duty. A real human being is he who does his work/duty equally, whether I am present or not. You have brought such artistic beauty to this hall that the atmosphere around, nature, and even the gods are pleased with you; this hall has become a home for divine beings."
More work on the sand filter for the water system.
Temple laundry, harvesting the produce, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.
And all of the pujas and ceremonies.
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
2020 ANNUAL AMERICAN SAMAJ MEETINGWHEN: SATURDAY, AUGUST 1ST
TIME: 8:00 am Pacific / 11:00 am EasternWHERE: ZOOM meeting (details below)Dear Sisters and Brothers - BBKJ - hope you are well and happy! Here is an encouragement to participate in our Annual Samaj gathering for 90-120 minutes on August 1st.
Why does the American Haidakhan Samaj have an annual meeting, and why should you and I participate?The Samaj exists as a membership and service organization dedicated to serving the needs of the larger Babaji community. Once a year we gather to share our practices, our goals, and our experiences as Babaji devotees. Many of us have expanded our devotion and our practices to our local communities and even into our livelihoods. Joining together as a Samaj gives us an opportunity to support one another's efforts and reconnect us to the foundational force that moves us in the direction of truth, simplicity, and love. It also gives us the opportunity to outline ways that the Samaj might be a support in various projects.The pandemic we are currently experiencing has pressured us into creating new ways to come together and support one another.
This year we have a unique opportunity to include more devotees and even our international neighbors in discussions and shared practices through the use of the internet. Having this wide range for communication opens the door for the goals and practices of one individual or group to be linked to another individual or group with similar goals and practices. When we yoke together our intentions, our efforts become more powerful.The changes we are making in the way we congregate have also necessitated changes in the direction of service. While the Samaj stands ready to assist with the needs of its members, the membership now has a greater opportunity to assist with the needs of the Samaj. We have been fortunate to have a few karma yogis who have tirelessly provided us with the means to keep us connected and provide services, but there is great room for many others to contribute time, ideas, content, and organizational skills to this endeavor. We hope that the occasion of this meeting will plant the seeds of consideration of what we can do to contribute to the Babaji community. With spirits that are grounded in devotion, we are well tooled to extend our hands to all of humanity.This August we will have a chance to share ideas around this theme - Moving Truth, Simplicity and Love into action in 2020. Additional suggested topics include: focused sadhana, public statements for Native lands, mutuality and reparations, supporting local justice and environmental projects, a new book with short devotee reflections, more online teachings, chanting and puja.
Join Zoom Meeting (you may be held in a waiting room for a bit now)https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3331081008 Meeting ID: 333 108 1008 One tap mobile+13017158592,, 3331081008 # US (Germantown) + 13126266799,, 3331081008 # US (Chicago) Dial by your location +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 876 9923 US (New York) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 204 272 7920 Canada +1 438 809 7799 Canada +1 587 328 1099 Canada +1 647 374 4685 Canada +1 647 558 0588 Canada +1 778 907 2071 Canada +52 229 910 0061 Mexico +52 554 161 4288 Mexico +52 556 826 9800 Mexico +52 558 659 6001 Mexico Meeting ID: 333 108 1008
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kel8OLIuUM
You may email email@example.com
A Few Recent Thank You's
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and asked to be added to the list being remembered at the puja.
Thank you for a wonderful nine months! I cherished my time with all of you. My experiences with you all are ones that I will never forget and feel fortuante to have had. See you all when the Ashram reopens."
Love, Will Hart
"Thank you so much for the mantra of healing. Loved the video too! Saw photos of Baba I had not seen before which thrilled me. YouTube is a wonderful gift and find myself spending time watching anything I can find with Baba. You guys are doing an amazing job at the ashram with all you’re videos and feel the love you are giving with each project." Love to everyone, Annee
"Dearest Friends - I hope you and the Ashram are well. I'm back home from Minnesota where I shared some of the beautiful Ma gifts you sent me with a friend who feels close to her. She was overwhelmed with the Love and Connection she felt, so thank you for those gifts; it's beautiful to know that Mother finds her way to the hearts that so treasure her. Crestone called me to move to Colorado, it is such a treasured place. "
Hope you are well always and in all ways. Kent
"Just know how much you are loved and missed."
"Thank you for sharing this powerful mantra the other day. I am trying to chant it and learn it .... but sooo difficult to pronounce. I guess I ll content myself by listening to it.
Miss you. All my love, Brigitte"
Hello Dear Friends,
"It has been months since I have been able to be there and feel the love.
Blessings, and stay well. You are so very loved and appreciated." Sonja
"I wish I were more flush to support my spiritual home in the way you all have supported me. Thank you for your taking care of the Ashram. Lots of love."
Calendar of Events for 2020
New Moon Fire Ceremonies - Aug. 18, Sept. 17, Oct 16
Full Moon Fire Ceremonies - Aug. 3, Sept. 1, Oct. 1
Fall Navratri - October 17 - 25
You can see the full calendar of events at our website.
Maha Lakshmi Shop Report
it is an unusual time, but the Shop goes on supporting the Ashram. We are either walking to the bottom of the driveway and delivering items or we are sending them through the mail. Either way we are grateful for your support.
Since this is the month of Shiva, we decided to highlight some of our Shiva items and offer a free gift with each purchase. We will bless and send a lovely rudraksha (the seed of Shiva)
mala with each order you place the rest of the month of Savan. And here are some of the Shiva items on line at Maha Lakshmi Shop website. The prices range from $15 - $144.
We still have this lovely oil painting of Shri Babaji by our local devotee and artist, Rita Berault. It is 26" by 36" and will sale for $395 plus shipping if not picked up personally. Call us at 719-256-4108 to discuss this.
We have a great supply of puja and havan items. You can purchase some of them on line at our website under devotional items at: https://mahalakshmishop.wazala.com Many items, however, are too unique to put on line, so you are always welcome to call and order at 719-256-4108. 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 email@example.com. 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!