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                                                                       Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi

Jai Sai Ram

Dear Sai Family,

      Never is there a day where the atmosphere of positive vibrations, love, and spirituality vacillates, here in our ashram. This quarter was full of celebration, a little bit of “tree-hugging,” the not so pleasant heat of peak summer, but the very pleasant welcome of mangoes and jasmine flowers, and as always, the wonderful growing variety of wildlife here at the ashram. 

       We began with a big celebration of Maa’s nakshatra birthday on April 11th, her nakshatram being Purvaashaadaa. Simulatenously, with all the festivities done on this day, medical camp was going on as scheduled and annadhanam at Veera Puram was also done. The day started with a homam in the morning conducted by about twelve people. The evening then comprised of a padha pooja done by Krishnapadha while the bhajan “Jayamma” was sung by one of the devotees, the chanting of Maa’s ashtothram, aarti, and everyone doing pranam to Maa and seeking her aashirvaadham. The memorable moments of this celebration came to a peak when six people were asked to speak just a few words about Maa. These small speeches were filled with passion, emotion, laughs, and even tears streaming down everyone’s faces-all of which comprised the essence of love and happiness as it depicted the picture of the loving mother and Guru that Maa truly is!

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      May brought  Agni Nakshatram, which meant that the peak heat of the summer was finally here. The heat and the humidity at times became unbearable with no relief for what seemed like months, until finally we got a little bit of rain to break the dry spell. Obviously this didn’t last for long as the heat and sunshine once again returned, but it gave us hope that it wouldn’t be too long until the monsoon finally was to come. Although the heat was horrible at times, we got two wonderful gifts at this time. Sweet mangoes and the most fragrant jasmine flowers brought by all the devotees who come and visit. The abundance of both of these things made the heat not seem as uncomfortable, as we were able to enjoy the mangoes and jasmine flowers which grow into the best versions of themselves during this peak heat season of Agni nakshatra. And as always, with so many mangoes in our own ashram, we were sure to make lots and lots of oorgai(achaar), and varieties of dishes made with the sweet and raw mangoes.

        On June 21st, a new calf was born, Swati, bringing loads of joy and happiness to all in the ashram! 

Also new at the ashram, is the “tree-hugging” prayer that is done by all the devotees on a daily basis. The tree hugging prayer is done to the peepal tree right in behind Nagamma’s sanadhi. Peepal trees are known to be the only types of trees in India in which the wood is used for nothing but for homams. These trees produce more oxygen than other trees, which sets them apart from usual plants and trees and makes it an auspicious tree; therefore this positive energy within them, revitalizes us with energy when we come into contact with the tree.  Hugging the Peepal tree, with our sternum coming into contact with it and taking deep breaths for at least one minute, and then doing parikrama around the tree three times, rejuvenates us with physical, emotional, and spiritual energy.

           We have new types of wildlife coming up at the ashram all the time, giving us a vast and distinct array of animals and birds to accompany us here. The birds in our ashram include the myna bird, the kingfisher, the woodpecker, and a small family of owls. You can hear the woodpeckers pecking at the tree bark early in the morning after aarti every day, as if it is part of their timely routine. A small family of owls came to our ashram one day, themselves. The four of them are a sight to see, as they are extra cute with their big eyes overpowering their small bodies J A tortoise also has made an appearance here at the ashram. It was very small when we first saw it, but when we came across it just a few weeks later, it was huge!

           The Thursday evening aarti crowd is growing slowly, with a noticeable increase in the attendance of the youth who are in high school and college. But, our youngest attendees are the small little babies who come with their families. A new practice we’ve started to do is to place around five 7 months or younger babies on Baba’s lap during the aarti, one by one. It’s always really cute to see the babies sit on Baba’s lap and smile ear to ear or send out a huge laugh in the hall, making the hall echo with the feel of positivity, innocence, and happiness. 

 

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With this past quarter coming to a close, we have a huge event to look forward to in this upcoming quarter: Guru Poornima. This year’s celebrations will be held on July 31st with the schedule comprising of the regular poojas and events including the Vyasa pooja, Pournami pooja, Padha pooja, and Palki procession. This year we are going to add an extra session of creative writing and poetry written and presented by some of our devotees in honor of our beloved Gurumaa! We hope to see you all there!

       And as always, it goes without saying that the Pournami pooja, Pradosham pooja, the monthly medical camps on every second Saturday, and the weekly Annadhanam are taking place without fail. We thank you, all devotees and well wishers, for your continuous support. Here’s to another wonderful quarter filled with love and happiness!

May Baba’s grace and Maa’s blessings be showered on us all.

Jai Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi!