USA – Reaching Out – the purpose of an Ashram By Ramloti
I am so grateful to have been a part of this Ashram for over 25 years now. Yes it is located in a unique place in the world where 26 spiritual groups from around the world are gathered together in friendship and cooperation. Yes it is located in one of the most beautiful places in the world where the air, the water, and the land are still in its pristine state. Yes, it is perched on the side of 14,000 foot mountains that have quartz and gold in them and at an altitude of almost 3,000 meters bringing amazing energy to the place. Yes, all of these make for a special place but they all pale in comparison to what this Ashram decided many years ago and continues to honour in its 30-year history. I remember many years ago, after building the smaller part of the temple, huddling in front of the wood burning stove in the one small building with no electricity or plumbing. As we discussed why we were building this Ashram, we all agreed it was to live lives of truth, simplicity, love, and service as Shri Babaji had taught us. We talked a bit of how some communities give up their vision and ideals to become big and profitable, and we decided at that time that we would rather live in tents the rest of our lives and stay true to our vision of Babaji than to compromise for growth or power.
I am grateful to say that we have stayed pretty true to that vision. I told the Board of Directors that we were short handed and if we cannot be there for the people to share with them about Shri Babaji and His teachings, what are we here for? So all twelve Board members agreed and we hired our first employee to help with the cooking. As we hired a few more people for other jobs, there is less money for building, but we trust in Babaji and so it has happened. Eventually there was money to expand the temple to seat over 200 people. After sleeping on the crowded floor in the yurt for nearly ten years, the beautiful solar, straw bale, five-bedroom dormitory was built. In time, I imagine, as we cram 150 people for dinner into our earthship kitchen overflowing it to sitting on the shop floor, we will get a larger space, but there is joy in not having and a certain flexibility and adventure in learning to deal with what is. We all learned this with Shri Babaji. Really, who ever thought you could get 15 people into one car and survive in the over 100 degree Fahrenheit (45C) weather of India! What a master trainer He is! And now, as we have our weekly family meeting, we often discuss the importance of being there for our visitors. On a personal level, I feel that every meeting is an encounter with the Divine whether it is a shop customer or a tourist coming to see the temple. All are invited to share a meal, to have something to eat or drink, and to ask any questions. I am often amazed at the satsang that happens in the Maha Lakshmi Shop and how deep and lasting associations to the Ashram are made from these seemingly random occasions. We also reach out by going on tour with Shri Babaji’s padukas leading chanting and fire ceremonies around the country. We do our best to honour requests to come and bless new homes, babies, birthdays, and businesses. When people call in any kind of pain, we offer to put their names or their family’s name at the Divine Mother’s and Shri Babaji’s feet.
We also continually try to reach out to our Crestone community. I serve on the Crestone Spiritual Alliance Executive Board, several of us are members and train with the Crestone Mountain Fire Coalition (I look pretty funny in my fire fighting outfit!). Just today, the director of Dharma Ocean Buddhist Retreat Center came with a cake for us to thank us for cutting wood for their large retreat that is going on, as they were running out. This morning three of us at the Ashram attended the Karma Kagyu Buddhist Center as they offered prayers and lamps at dawn for World Peace. Today’s New Year’s lunch will be full with folks from all over the world and from the many different spiritual traditions. I am so grateful to be part of this Babaji Ashram in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
For more information go to: www.babajiashram.org