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November 2021

Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram III

Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram

by Pamela Roberts

The scriptures of India often describe the ashram of a spiritual Master as flourishing with vibrant gardens, abundant wildlife, and the entrancing beauty of nature. It seems that all of life celebrates the presence of a great being in its midst. Why is this so? The scriptures reveal that the grounds of an ashram are infused with the presence of the Guru’s shakti, the benevolent, divine power of grace and spiritual awakening that is beneficial to all living creatures.

The photographs of nature in this series all originate from Shree Muktananda Ashram, the abode of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, the Siddha Yoga Guru. Month after month, year in and year out, we are given an opportunity to witness the movement of the shakti that continuously arises and flows through the seasons, manifesting as the majestic natural world of infinite variety, perfection, and mystery. By engaging with these images, we may discover the transformative power they can have on our inner state and awareness.

When I looked at these photographs for the first time, I felt a gentle, blissful energy stirring within me. After viewing the last image, I sat motionless, in silence and in a deeply peaceful state. Gradually, a thought arose, and I realized I had been in meditation. I had always loved nature, but being with nature had never drawn me inside in this way.

Contemplating this experience, I realized that I had connected with the shakti that pervades the grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram. I understood that these photographs had provided me with a way to experience the play of supreme creative energy as it manifests in nature. Inspired by this understanding, I began a regular exploration of the natural world through the exquisite purity and perspective of these images.

Any one of these photographs can take us within, where we can experience our oneness with nature—and our own divinity. Each time we prepare to view the photographs, it is good to set an intention—for example, the intention of connecting with the shakti. As we center ourselves, our approach might be like entering a temple, the sacred temple of nature. Before looking at the photographs, we might begin our meditation by focusing on the breath and repeating the mantra. Then, as we press “play” or scroll one-by-one through the images, we can coordinate our breath and the mantra with the movement of nature before us. When we are drawn to a specific image, we can pause the image to contemplate it, asking ourselves, “What do I learn from this photograph that I can apply to my life?” In this way, we are engaging with the images as a spiritual practice.

By viewing the photographs regularly, we can observe the harmony and balance that sustain the natural world. And because we are an intrinsic part of nature, we can contemplate how our own lives can benefit from nature’s peerless example. Over time, by learning to immerse ourselves in the divinity of nature through these images from Shree Muktananda Ashram, we can transform our experience of nature wherever we live and wherever we go on this planet.

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This morning I am filled with so much awe, gratitude, and tenderness evoked by these exquisite “windows” onto the grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram. I marvel at the light caught on the tiny serrations of the birch leaves, the miniature village of ice crystals on a green leaf, the blue of the sky overhead—all glimpses into the vastness of God's love made possible by the grace of my beloved Guru.

New York, United States

Recently I have found myself visiting this photo gallery every day. Looking at the images of nature—captured in different angles and light—is a great way to center myself as I go about my day. I’m very grateful that I can look at these beautiful images of Shree Muktananda Ashram and connect to my inner Self when I come to this photo gallery.

New York, United States

Looking at the images of nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram every morning gives me so much peace!

Milan, Italy

As I viewed the red leaves of the maple tree facing a misty scene of trees, green grass, and Lake Nityananda, I felt a burst of joy in my heart similar to what I experience in meditation.

Ville St. Laurent, Canada

I try to find time every week to sit and enjoy the photos in the Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram gallery. Each photo captures the subtle power of the Guru's abode for me. Each leaf and each bird scintillate with great love.
Viewing these photos, I am inspired to find time every week to take a walk in nature myself.

Montana, United States

I love to see how, as the years pass, the forest and grounds around the Ashram have matured and become abundant with life.
All my life, I have found comfort and peace in nature. But viewing the trees and wildlife in this gallery, I have a more profound experience. It has been a while since I started following the Siddha Yoga path, and looking back, I see how much I too have matured, grown, and become more alive.

California, United States