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April 2022

Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram I

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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It was pure delight to see the heart in the billowing clouds above Shree Muktananda Ashram on the same day that Excerpt 29 from My Lord Loves a Pure Heart reminded us to “never lose sight of love.”

California, United States

The beautiful blue and yellow flowers inspire me to offer my whole heart to our path and to the world and to offer prayers for the courageous people of Ukraine.

California, United States

Throw off winter’s cover
Rise up, open out
Imbibe the sun’s sparkle
The enlightened Presence.

New York, United States

Lovely country in a calm blue sea
seated between Bade Baba’s divine feet
what a blessing you received
from him today at Easter.
I wish you to resurrect as a blissful golden country
and with all my heart I wish you peace.

Hindelang, Germany

Primordial and pure, supported and secure,
Stable and round, safe and sound
between the Guru’s feet
Liquid and form, choice and norm
sea and land, reset by God’s hand
Shanti, shanti, shanti

Hindelang, Germany

Like the beautiful daffodils that open and gently bow, so do I offer my pranam to this holy ground, our sacred path, and glorious lineage.

California, United States

Surya Devata
As you leave me every night, you set the sky ablaze.
And each morning when you return
Your light is a bowl of gemstones: ruby, sapphire, and amber,
Spilled across the horizon.

New York, United States

Each morning I eagerly await the new images from Shree Muktananda Ashram in the Nature Gallery. Truly, my heart flies to this holy ground with every picture I view. Realizing that I am not really there, but on the other side of the country, I let my heart become so big that it can encompass everyone and everything, everywhere. This way, in my heart and mind, I experience being here and there at the same time.

California, United States

When I saw the image of the young man reading a book about trees, I was inspired to write a letter to help preserve trees in my country. As I wrote, I was inspired by Gurumayi’s teachings about protecting nature.

Washington, United States

The Nature Gallery depicting the landscape in Shree Muktananda Ashram has long been my favorite retreat! As I viewed the images for April 2022, I was drawn into a space inside myself that is as tender and beautiful as the inspiring images themselves.

Hampton Hill, United Kingdom

The beauty and loving care shown in these pictures uplift my spirits during these scary and tumultuous times. I feel so blessed to have Gurumayi’s enduring presence in my life. Her grace brings me peace.

Pennsylvania, United States

I am so touched by all these photos in blue and yellow—the colors of the Ukrainian flag—but most of all, by Gurumayi’s look that expresses so much compassion and grace.
In my mind I gently place the yellow heart upon the blue heart. There will be one heart. It is green. Green is the color of hope and spring, new life, a new beginning filled with the peace of God’s nature. This is my wish.

Hindelang, Germany

I am grateful, encouraged, and made more hopeful by the way what we are seeing take place in Ukraine is being acknowledged on the Siddha Yoga path website. Seeing Gurumayi’s photo surrounded by the colors of the Ukrainian flag, along with the photo of Bade Baba pervaded by those colors, was a potent reminder for me to create more prayers for an auspicious and immediate resolution to the conflict.

Vancouver, Canada