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October 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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As I watch the images in this gallery, I feel as if my heart is kissing the sacred ground on which Baba walked and where Gurumayi resides. I see Baba’s colors and shakti shining through the brilliant display of nature. Over and over again, I offer my love and gratitude for the great good fortune to have a Sadguru in my life. I am amazed to feel my Guru’s presence unfold within me and around me all the time.

California, United States

The breathtaking panoramic view of Bade Baba’s Temple overlooking a lush autumn-colored forest and mountain under a blue sky brought up immense gratitude within me. I experienced gratitude for the beauty of God’s creation, for the Guru in my life, and for life itself.

Ville St. Laurent, Canada

Each time I visit the photos in the Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram gallery, I am instantly drawn to the inner, most intimate space of my heart. I experience deep contentment and often a gratitude which moves me to tears.

New Jersey, United States

I am grateful for these wonderful pictures, each one a work of art in itself. They fascinate me with their beauty, harmony, and pure aesthetics. To me they reveal an unspeakable magic, enchantment, and love of life itself.
They touch in me a deep connection with nature and with the place where Gurumayi lives.

Luzern, Switzerland

For me, these nature galleries provide an irrefutable glimpse into the grandeur of the natural world as seen—and designed—by God. The energy of God’s creation emanates from each image.
Throughout the day, I take stock of how my being is reverberating in relationship to the various stimuli of my day. Thanks to the resonance of nature coming through these gorgeous galleries, I’ve become increasingly aware of the ample opportunities inherent in nature for me to realign myself with the healthy rhythms of this world.

New York, United States