Thanksgiving at the Ashram

Tradition of America devotion of India  babafeast

The day started early as usual at Baba’s ashram. Devotees gathered to make a wide variety of delicious dishes for what turned out to be a lavish Thanksgiving feast.

Some devotees said it was one of the most beautiful Thanksgiving days they’ve had in a long time. The kirtan was playing in the background, people stayed warm in the sun-room while snow covered the ashram grounds and we prepared dishes, one after another, to offer to our beloved Maharaj-ji.

Some visitors from Colorado loved the prasad and felt it had the feeling of the prasad in India even though it was American food. It was the devotion and Maharaj-ji’s blessings that made this feast especially blessed. IMG_1614

The menu included cranberry sauce, stuffed squash from

Baba’s garden, pumpkin pies made from scratch, fresh baked bread, mash potatoes, daal, tasty paneer pakoras with chutney, green beans and sliced almonds, a yummy cream of broccoli soup and amazing pumpkin ghee cookies.

IMG_1624 (1) All were in good spirits as we enjoyed a warm family evening chanting the Hanuman Chalisa.

 

Wherever you may be during this Thanksgiving holiday we wish you a

Heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving. Jai!

 

“Feed everyone and love everyone.”- Maharaj-ji

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In Memory of Little Maharaj-ji

Our blessed saint, and friend, whom we affectionately call Little Maharaj-ji, known in Vrindavan by his 1000’s of devotees as Hanuman Das Maharaj, has left his beautiful body this evening (November 24th) at about 8PM in his Ashram, Gopal Khar, in Vrindavan.

He brought unsurpassed love and light to all of us who were graced in this life to have his darshan.

May his love continue to shine forth through us all.

LIL MJI LIL MJI ASHIRBAD

Sunday Chanting-Live. From Baba’s Temple to your home.

Join us every Sunday for live chanting and aarti from the comfort of your own home. Either enter our live streaming from our blog, by following the link below, or friend us on Face Book to get the link every Sunday.

Live streaming begins at: 10 am (PST), 11am (MST), 1pm (EST)

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Here is the link for “Sunday Chanting-Live”

 

On the go and don’t want to miss out on Live Chanting with the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram? Then just add the livestream app to your android.  Click here to download the livestream app.

The Hanuman Chalisa is a chant consisting of forty verses in praise of Sri Hanuman-ji.

Out of respect for sacred knowledge it is a tradition to keep “printed copies” in a clean place and not to put them on the floor. 

pdf Click here to Download Hanuman Chalisa (6685 KB)

pdf Click here to Download Complete Aarti Prayers including the Hanuman Chalisa (18518 KB)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A devotee’s reflections while on retreat at the ashram

windowSheets of grey clouds blanketed Taos Mountain, frost held onto the newly uncovered blades of grass that where raked of leaves from the day before.  The kitchen was warm compared to the outside.  Four brightly colored glass candles were still burning from the night before in front of Neem Karoli Baba’s picture; today was Diwali-the festival of lights.

It was early morning, my favorite time of day, the time when the void of unconscious night gives way to conscious creation and manifestation.  I prepared a fire in the wood burning stove in the sun room, for Hanuman devotees who would shortly be arriving for the 7am Arti and also for those coming to attend the 11 o’clock program that day.

I had been going through a difficult time and was feeling disempowered.  I was having thoughts of unworthiness in my professional life, as the path before me was once again muddled.  But, in that moment of doubt and uncertainty I focused on my breath.  It was a wonderful thing to focus on in that moment as I stirred freshly ground ginger into the 15 gallons of chai we were preparing on the stove.

IMG_1361The chai was done and offered to Maharaj-ji. Now it was time to prepare for morning Arti.  “Hanuman likes bananas for his morning prasad,” the caretaker said as he prepared the various offerings to be made.  I grew up Catholic and now consider myself a Pagan, but these Hindu rituals are still new to me.  In a strange way though, the rituals in and of themselves were comforting.  After the candles where lit in the temple, we started to ring bells and someone blew the conch shell in the four cardinal directions.  Bells are used in many traditions and the familiarity of them was a calming presence – once my body was jolted awake by them.  As we sang through the litany of prayers for arti, I sat on my knees and found myself rocking with the rhythm, as I read the translation to myself.  Hanuman, the reliever of suffering!  As foreign as all this seemed, I must be in the right place in this moment.  I needed some comfort, to be relieved of my suffering.

After Arti, I returned to the kitchen.  It was bustling with people preparing for the days meal. There was laughter and joking about the recent goings on at the ashram. The conversation brought an image to mind of the ashram being like a giant set of lungs. There is constant exhalation of fear, sadness and frustration and then an inhalation of creative energy, hope, joy and love.  Maharaj-ji helps transmute the energy in each breath by inspiring and reminding us of our own divine power to do the same.

I empowered myself through ritual that morning; through bells, through song, through meditation and through cleaning and preparing 15 lbs of potatoes for the prasad.  I focused on my breath, on my laughter and on my intention of Seva. Nothing transmutes the feeling of hopelessness more than serving others.

On my way home that evening I received a text message from a devotee with a picture of farolitos lighting a path in the dark, it read, “May your path be lit with miracles.” I reflected more on Diwali, the festival of lights.  Shine from the inside out, there is a divine spark of light within each of us no matter how dark your path may seem.  Share your light with others in order to warm your soul.  Namaste

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Satsang Seva Day at the ashram

 

We had a successful “satsang seva day” at the ashram today. The sun was shining, the air a little nippy and the helpers were in good spirits. We had around 20 people show up to help with all the chores.   IMG_1356

 

We did everything from organizing the kitchen pantry shelves and deep cleaning them to cleaning and organizing our small library. The farmer sevaks weeded, mulched and put to bed the farm grounds.

We had some devotees fill in the never-ending pot-holes in the parking lot, some devotees wiped down all the wood in the sun-room with murphys oil and did a deep clean on the inside chai stand.IMG_1358  One of our devotees took on the task of cleaning up and organizing the outside recycling station.

 

All the Maharaj-ji photos were wiped clean.

 

 

Lastly, the tool shed got surrounded with rocks to keep it from flooding during the winter seasonIMG_1364 and we had lots of helpers raking and sweeping the fall leaves outside.

 

 

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What devotees are saying, “I just showed up to do my usual plant seva but couldn’t resist to do the parking lot seva. I’m on a seva-high.”

 

 

 

Afterwards, our local French devotee gave us a big treat, pizza.

But not just any pizza, Jean Jaques is a professional when it comes to baking breads and pizzas, it must be in his blood. IMG_1380IMG_1377

 

 

We’ve had these “satsang seva days” in the past but nothing consistant. This was the first one we had this year and we’re hoping to make “satsang seva day” a semi-annual tradition at the temple.