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March 2022

Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram II

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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As I view this gallery, I see in each image the sublime tranquility and perfection of the great shakti! Each image reveals to me the beauty in the world and moves me ever closer to the profound stillness within.

New York, United States

Waking up this morning, I was surprised to see a thick layer of fog cloaking the green hills that surround my home. Looking at the new photos in the Nature Gallery, and seeing the beautiful images of Lake Nityananda shrouded in misty fog, I felt instantly connected and reassured that we are all one. Bade Baba's presence is everywhere, as is a nurturing blanket of love from our dear Guru.

Stroud, United Kingdom

What a stunning brilliant sky
Trees reach high
by stretching, striving
and then diving
into the shining blue
O my mind, just do
the practices, and no—
please don’t go
just here and there
roundabout and anywhere
just because the world goes round
in dramas and loud sound
If dark veils or gloomy night
start to trouble mood and sight
be loyal to your true belief
The day will come—you will perceive
this great blue realm in its allure
so don’t give up, have faith, pursue

Hindelang, Germany

Winter loses its grip, and spring is here! I love the nature photographs that so poignantly depict the wondrous change of seasons at Shree Muktananda Ashram. I am so grateful to be connected to Gurumayi in this way. Through these images, I feel Gurumayi is revealing the miracles surrounding us.

Ajijic, Mexico

When I take time to contemplate these photos, one by one, I am overwhelmed with wonder and deep gratitude for the diversity and glory of nature that each one reveals. I enter an inner place of peace and tranquility, which I take with me into my day. Today I am sending these qualities out into the world with the intention of creating peace wherever there is conflict.

Sydney, Australia

Visiting the grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram through the Nature Galleries is one of my daily practices. It makes me smile and feel connected every time. And with the war raging in Ukraine, being able to receive Bade Baba's darshan is precious beyond measure. I am grateful that this beautiful image from Mahashivaratri was included. In my prayers I send that peace to the Ukrainian people.

California, United States