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June 2022

Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram V

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 day my heart overflows with joy, contemplating the breathtaking beauty of nature on the sacred grounds of the Ashram. And I am even more amazed to realize that all this stunning beauty reflects our own inner beauty, our own Self, our own heart! I feel so very close, so connected to it all—to each bird, flower, tree, moon, sky, light, and cloud seen in these photos. We are family. It’s amazing!

Quebec, Canada

I got completely lost in the photo of Gurumayi in the Temple holding Rohit—so much so that I felt I had become Rohit, receiving Gurumayi’s gaze and blessings. She was looking straight at me! The experience then evolved into Gurumayi holding everyone in the world in her arms with the intent that each one of us receive her blessings.

Milton Abbas, United Kingdom

The groundhog peeking out from its hiding place reminds me of my first visit to Shree Muktananda Ashram in 1998. For me, that experience was like looking out into a whole new dimension—of living in a super-high spiritual vibration scintillating with love, seva, and all the other practices. It was awesome!

Ville St. Laurent, Canada

I am in awe! I never knew that porcupines could climb trees. I was oohing and aahing in disbelief. How fascinating. The Siddha Yoga path website is a fountain of knowledge on all levels for me!

I love connecting to the wildlife at Shree Muktananda Ashram through the photos—the deer, porcupines, birds, birds of prey, beavers, kitties, and all the creatures! 

The Ashram is a magical place that brings me into my heart over and over again. What a blessing!

New Mexico, United States

I was so astonished to see the photo of the white dandelions arrayed around Bade Baba in the Temple. In my imagination a story arose…
I imagined Gurumayi giving the idea and staff members discussing how it would be possible. Then they try out a single one, then cut more stems very, very gently, walking slowly, holding their hand or a glass jar around each flower so that no seed would fly away, arranging them with incredible tenderness, then very slowly bringing them to Bade Baba, and doing pradakshina around him without causing any wind.
It is all so beautiful, so transparent, light, and subtle—and the seeds all around Bade Baba are a great symbol.

Hindelang, Germany