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April 2023

April
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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When I saw the image of the round, white sun in the golden sky, I suddenly had the impression that it was like a hole in the firmament, through which light from a higher realm enters to shine upon the earth. This thought made me remember my interaction with a child who once told me that he thought he saw God in his shoe. I laughed and replied to him that what he was seeing was only sunlight shining in through a tiny hole in his shoe. But, as I contemplated this interaction anew, I realized that the child had been right. He saw what he saw because he was in awe of God.

This has made me think that maybe when I look within and don’t see any light, I must try to find this space within me where God can enter.
 

Hindelang, Germany

I’m so deeply grateful for these nature images from Shree Muktananda Ashram. It feels like these magnificent photos enable me to roam the Ashram grounds and experience the presence of the shakti. I start and end my days by looking at this gallery. At times, I bow my head in reverence and seem to feel it touching the ground of that sacred place, which overflows with the beauty of the Guru’s shakti.
 

California, United States

These nature photos are so potent that when I came to the close-up image of the hyacinth, it seemed I could smell the exquisite fragrance as well as sense its spiritually-alive essence.

I am grateful for all the lovely experiences I receive from the Siddha Yoga path website of nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram!
 

Washington, United States

How amazing to witness images of the trees and plants flowering so quickly in Shree Muktananda Ashram. They appear to have bloomed just a few days after the snow melted.

When I compare this process of nature’s spring blossoming to the spiritual path, I think that it must be similar to waking up after a long, long time of silent preparation. Waking up and also bringing forth inherent qualities, such as beauty, goodness, and color. All of this brought into sudden blossom by the bright, clear sun of the Beloved.

I think this contemplation has encouraged me to use my will to find my way out of wandering in dark thoughts and step into the sunlight of my Beloved. To do this, I have to constantly watch my thoughts and actions and do the Siddha Yoga practices again and again.
 

 Hindelang, Germany

It is so easy to feel God’s presence as I pause in silent wonder at the majesty revealed in these photos. It’s as if I am seeing beyond the veil into the truth of existence. My heart does little flutters of delight with each revelation, drawing me back into my true home.
 

Washington, United States

Ahhh! Spring at Shree Muktananda Ashram! I can taste, smell, hear, and feel the amrita streaming from nature as she reveals herself once again after the hibernation of winter. Viewing these images connects me to my inner knowing that all is good.
 

Maine, United States

The image of what seems to me to be mystical waters with reflections creating large, deep-blue streaks and a center of green and golden light looks like a magnificent stained-glass artwork. When I look at the central golden light, I seem to see the enigmatic face of a deva, or god. The deva appears to have a clear and deep gaze filled with great compassion, inner strength, and silent tranquility. This reminds me of the unique and divine gaze of the Guru, which constantly bestows love and blessings upon me. Contemplating what I perceive in this photo has led me to realize that the Guru’s glance contains within it all the beauty of the world and also enables this beauty to blossom endlessly. 
 

Québec, Canada

These exquisite images of Shree Muktananda Ashram deepen my awareness of the power of Kundalini Shakti in nature. I am ever grateful to Gurumayi for helping me to access the depth and beauty of “my” consciousness, which is in reality the one Self.
 

California, United States