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February
Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram
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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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This morning, the two photos of the dark-eyed, grey-and-white junco bird brought tears to my eyes. I was so touched to see a sweet rain of love falling down on this tender messenger of God. For me, these two photos are the most compassionate answer from Shri Gurumayi to a heartfelt prayer I offered at the Guru’s feet yesterday. I just have to close my eyes and I can feel the same gentle rain of love, divine love, falling down on me and entering my heart, just like the very first time I met Gurumayi, many years ago.
 

Quebec, Canada

As I view the image of the beautiful hand holding the heart, I feel this is the Guru’s hand holding my heart. This inspires me to try and hold my own heart and others’ hearts with love.
 

California, United States

This morning I viewed the image of Bhagavan Nityananda in the Temple. His murti is golden, and he is dressed in a golden cape. I am so grateful to be included and to feel that all of us are invited into this sacred space. As I viewed this image, I felt that the energy from Bade Baba was thrumming in my chest and my head, renewing me. Then I viewed the image of a flower budding and about to bloom. Together these photos instilled within me the experience of Bade Baba blooming within me. And the phrase arises, “When the first flower blooms, spring cannot be far away.” May we all feel the blessings of this moment and the spring of our sadhana!
 

California, United States

Reflections of light capture my attention.
Moonlight on water,
Sunshine on ice,
Sunlight on leaves.
The radiance of the light.
That same light has been awakened within me.

 

Florida, United States

These amazing photos of nature at Shree Muktananda Ashram awaken me to the exquisite beauty both around and within me. I feel my senses purified to experience the divine in my everyday life. I am grateful for this grace-filled gift.
 

California, United States