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February 2023

Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram

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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I see such beauty in the photo of the magnificent Blue Jay. It appears to be standing so upright, dignified, well-anchored, and in perfect balance—all on a very thin branch at the very top of a conifer. To me, this sublime bird seems to be contemplating the world with wisdom and tranquility from its high vantage point. Surrounded by a blue sky bursting with light, the bird seems to radiate so much kindness, gentleness, and acceptance. For me, this Blue Jay represents the heart’s assent, the inner attitude that I wish to nurture and preserve at all times, regardless of external events.

Québec, Canada

I enjoy very much the enchanting pictures in the Nature Gallery. Each one is unique and exquisite.
I feel it is important for me to keep in contact with Shree Muktananda Ashram every day. The practice of visiting the Nature Galleries daily supports my sadhana.

Milan, Italy

The moon invites me to sing in praise of God. When I see the photos in which it shines through the electrical wires at different points, it reminds me of notes on a musical sheet. So I sing to the light of the moon, which is the light of the sun, which is the light of God. I sing with all my heart, into my heart, to the flame in my heart. It feels sweet. 

Hindelang, Germany

As I observe and absorb the energy in each photo more deeply, it becomes clear to me that the Guru is always present in nature. I also experience that the Guru is always with me and that she will be with me in moments of fragrant joy as well as moments of sorrow. So, I am never alone. I am so thankful that Gurumayi’s subtle presence is in every moment of my life.

Rome, Italy