From MayaRam (Slovenia)
“I have subject to share with you. It is about ashrams, which are translated in our society as ‘monasteries’. The basic idea for a monastery is to go into a local place where people are separated from worldly activities; money, family, news…. This can be contradictory with our way of life, therefore ashrams are not easy to sustain.
So my idea is that we concentrate in the West on creating HAIDAKHANDI COMMUNITIES rather than ashrams. These communities should have some basic similar activities, (e.g. aarati, yagyas, principles of karma yoga and japa), but they can be different in organisation or activities. I would be grateful if somebody would like to comment on this.
Letter from Lok Nath: ‘Imagine – Virtual Ashrams !’
Where is your God? Do you worship a God outside of yourself? Or is your devotion to an inner felt-sense of love that you desire to express to the world around you? Maybe the answer is both? However we answer the God question, don’t we want our Babaji ashrams to be times, places, events and practices where our relationship with the Divine is deepened and expanded? Where we express our love of God and creation in our relationships with others and all of nature?
That said, can we begin to imagine more Babaji Ashrams? Doesn’t a world plagued by human violence and the destruction of our environment need them? Not Ashrams built on land, bricks and mortar, but on expressions of love for the Divine and for each other? An Ashram might then be people saying “I love you” on Skype; organizing a food bank; singing Kirtan together in a house or rented hall; celebrating Navaratri in tents. How else can you imagine ‘virtual Ashrams’ to transform the world?
Letter from Patsy (UK)
“Reading the Spring Journal, I really sympathised with Pujari when he talked about problems with the Drozhzhino project and the Russian Samaj, and felt it was Babaji not letting it happen. It was the same for us in England when we tried and tried to establish an Ashram. Since 1982, one group after another put their heart and soul into finding a suitable place and as one door opened another seemed to close. It became a nightmare from which no-one could escape and continued through the years until Blaengors happened. When that failed, Haccadown came along and it soon became apparent that this would fail too. You can imagine how we all felt. The people closely involved with these projects suffered the most. The fallout caused many friends to part, hearts to be broken and disillusion on a grand scale. Their love and devotion to serving Babaji in this way had come to nothing.
Out of this experience and no longer having to struggle to make it happen, a spark of hope has returned. Of course there is much healing to take place, but when I asked friends what they thought the money we now have should be used for, they said without hesitation “It’s for our Ashram”. I was quite shocked, because I really couldn’t believe that people still thought we’d ever have an Ashram. Perhaps we will, perhaps we won’t. But the fact that there’s such faith and devotion among devotees towards reaching this goal brings a tear to my eye. I think everyone involved in Babaji’s work in this country are wonderful people. They never give up and are to be admired for that.
A Response by Meriel Darby to Spring 2015 Journal article on:
Why we need rituals in our lives, with an emphasis on last rites.
I loved your Ritual piece – I thought it was excellent and interesting. I particularly loved the idea of the Jewish one: “In the Jewish tradition for example, there is the ‘shiver’, a seven day period in which the family and community take over all the daily chores for the bereaved, allowing them to do the one thing they really need to do at that time, which is to mourn.” I also liked you saying that rituals engender mystery. I would add that they put the particular death into a wider context too, into the mystery of all our lives and deaths, the trillions that have gone before us and the trillions that are to come, which makes me feel both comforted and somehow braver.’