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June 2021

June
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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The image of the waxing moon over the entry gate to Anugraha at Shree Muktananda Ashram feels to me like a marker in time as we progress toward the full moon on June 24, Gurumayi’s birthday!
 
The photos of nature elicit profound gratitude in me for the month of Birthday Bliss and for my beloved Gurumayi. I count my lucky stars for Gurumayi’s teachings and for the Siddha Yoga path. Living in such a state of gratitude is a boon beyond measure for me.
 

New York, United States

As I view the video of Lake Nityananda, what stands out for me is the clarity and the peaceful ripples of the water as the gentle breeze flows over it. I will carry this image into my life by allowing the flow of grace to abide in my life, my being, my breath.
 

Missouri, United States

The exquisite light and pristine reflections in the images of Lake Nityananda dazzled my eyes.
 
Looking at the beauty in these photographs evoked within me a recognition of the absolute purity of the Self.
 

Hawaii, United States

Before I found the Siddha Yoga path, the one place that always drew me and calmed me was the Australian bush and the nature around me. Now, as a practicing Siddha Yogi, I have learned that for me everything in nature is part of a divine play and a reflection of the Self. I feel I understand on a deeper level what the power of nature is and how it draws me to my heart, to peace and balance within.
 

Melbourne, Australia