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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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Every spring, when I see photos of the glorious forsythia bushes in full bloom at Shree Muktananda Ashram, I am immediately reminded of my mother, who always looked for the first signs of spring after the winter snows, and would bring branches full of buds from our forsythia bush into the house to help the buds open in warm water.
Whenever I think of my mother, my heart fills with gratitude for the Siddha Yoga path, because the Guru brought me to an understanding of who my mother really was, and transformed my once hardened heart into a heart full of love for my mother.

California, United States

The scenes of nature on the Siddha Yoga path website are a highlight of my day. Every day of this early spring I’ve been watching the slowly opening buds that are now becoming blossoms at Shree Muktananda Ashram. This unfolding inspires me and is a reminder that with shaktipat diksha my sadhana is sure to unfold and bloom to fullness, just like this miracle of nature that I observe each spring.

California, United States

Each image of nature in this gallery inspires in me a sense of the strength of unity. Whether it’s the gathering of birds, the intricate pattern of shadow, the full display of leaves or flowers or clouds, the strength of rocks together on the ground or built into a wall—all reveal to me the power of sangham, the joy of sharing, the exultation of a shared presence. Similarly, as I relax my identification with body and mind, I feel myself more identified as Consciousness—a unifying force that connects my experience to the All.

California, United States