by Lok Nath
The American Haidakhan Samaj
Our Samaj is a non-profit organization set up to provide a community base for Babaji friends and devotees. It was established with a clear purpose – to support individuals, the locally run Ashram in Crestone and Centers across America. The Samaj has been successful in collaborating with shared board members between the Samaj and the Ashram. We have published and distributed books, hosted annual meetings and Family Camp gatherings in Crestone, co-sponsored tours, and solicited and distributed donations. We have continued to imagine a separate Samaj for membership and development rather than one organization to do everything. I currently serve as Board President for the Samaj and also sit on the Ashram Board. With these two hats on I ask: how do we attract and support new members; how do we inspire a broader interest in Babaji practices; how do we support the development of community that can educate and equip more Ashram residents; how do we develop a robust financial structure that people are happy and gratified in giving to? There are more questions under the surface. We are a volunteer organization and everybody involved has other jobs. At the same time, the world situation calls out for our passionate involvement.
Love our Earth
Over the last 12 months Samaj members have worked to form an environmental action team called Love Our Earth. It is inspired by Babaji’s words: “This is one earth. Don’t be divided by thinking of yourselves as belonging to different countries. We belong to one earth.” The team offers a comprehensive intention: “With loving reverence, we extend the fruit of our hands, to the needs of this world, for the peace, happiness, joy and contentment of all creation”. The team sees, in the words of one member, that it is extremely important to help preserve indigenous cultures here in America and around the world. Theses cultures and very existence are intertwined, through ceremony and way of life, with the honoring of our earth as mother of all. In America they have endured much hardship and suffering, some would say genocide, and continue to be prophetic advocates for the earth (most recently at Standing Rock).
The Love Our Earth team and the Samaj, through the networks of team member Lorain Davis, have donated two tipis for a “Coming of Age for Young Women and Young Men” project created by Buffalo Nation and Chief Arvol Looking Horse. Their mission is to ‘create a teaching ground of how to be a human being in this society that carries the responsibilities directed from our Ancestors of our bloodline to respect the freedom of choice we are given.’ The elders are bringing back a ceremony that has been banned by the US Government since the 1940s. The focus is to address hopelessness and fear about the future that is epidemic among indigenous youth. The tribe has specifically requested help for the purchase of Tipis – the more they have the more space for youth.
Love Our Earth has other projects. They are working on collaborations for: tree planting; teaching permaculture and solar energy applications; and adopting animals for wildlife refuges.