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March 2023

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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Recently, I was preparing to begin my day when I realized I was feeling a bit out of sorts. So, I thought to myself that I should visit the Siddha Yoga path website to uplift my state. Once there, I decided to view the pictures in this gallery. The first image made me smile. Then, as I saw the second and third photos, I began to feel joyous. There is so much joy to be found in every corner of the Siddha Yoga path website.

Bangalore, India

The image of the crystalline ice formations reminds me of the surprise flashes of scintillating white light of Consciousness that appear in some of my meditations.

Ville St. Laurent, Canada

I was so delighted by the radiance in each photo of the Holi day celebration. The crisp colors and magnificent light made the auspicious day come alive. To me, it felt as if Lord Krishna had danced through Shree Muktananda Ashram.

Massachusetts, United States

Seeing the many water drops, each reflecting the smile of the radiant sun, I recall the gopis and how each of them could enjoy her own Krishna and dance with him.

This image helps me understand how the absolute One is manifold and how the Absolute remains one even when it seems to be many.

Hindelang, Germany

As I looked at the image of the lake with trees and sky reflected on its surface, I thought about how this reflection didn’t actually disturb or change the lake in any way. As I contemplated this further, I realized that, similarly, all the occurrences and turbulence of my daily life don’t truly alter or affect my higher Self. It remains eternally perfect.

Ville St. Laurent, Canada