News from the Centre – September 2020
When the heart gets softer by being closer to God, one begins to feel love everywhere. Animals, trees, plants, people, and a blade of grass all shower love. ~ Baba Hari Dass
Summer has sped by, and suddenly it’s September. Although it’s not officially autumn yet, kids are back in school and there’s a nip in the air at night. We are fortunate to be in this part of the world where there are no nearby fires, no tornadoes, no extreme weather conditions, and where we can live in peace. We continue to send our prayers to our brothers and sisters in our sister satsang in California and to all other people who are suffering from Covid and climate change.
We’re still following all the Covid protocols at the Centre, not hosting in-person indoor programs with the exception of a couple of yoga classes being held in the pond dome, but with fewer students present because of physical distancing. We have, however, held some small outdoor events, mainly spiritual rituals such as full moon yajnas and Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrating Ganesh, the placer and remover of obstacles on our path. I hope you enjoy this short video of Mahavir and Yogeshwar, and Rebecca holding the umbrella over the travelling altar to protect Ganesh from the rain, in their procession around the land at the end of Ganesh Chaturthi.
A month ago we held our 46th Annual Community Yoga Retreat – our first one online – and I’m happy to report that it was amazing! Who would have thought an online retreat could be so connecting and joyful. There were almost 200 adults and about 20 kids who took part. If you’ve been checking our Facebook page, you will have seen all the ACYR posts. Depending on what happens with Covid, we hope to be able to gather in person next summer, and maybe also make the retreat available by zoom for those who can’t get here. One of the bonuses of hosting an online retreat was being able to spend time with people all over the world.
Babaji’s Aradhana – September 2nd
This year at SSCY, we will join with our brothers and sisters at Śhrī Rām Āśhram and Mount Madonna Centre in celebrating and remembering Bābājī’s life and teachings on this auspicious date which falls this year on Wednesday, September 2nd. The rituals and observances of this time are known as Ārādhanā, a Sanskrit term which literally means paying homage, offering, serving, or worshipping. We will have a special yajña that includes elements of the Śhrāddha ritual, all performed in Bābājī’s honour.Events will begin at 9:30 am PDT and run until around noon. Due to the Centre’s Covid-19 precautions, there is a limit on the number of people who can attend from off-land or offer in the yajña.
**Please RSVP with Mahāvīr at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to come and take part.** For those unable to attend in person, Mt Madonna will be streaming their event, which you can watch on their YouTube channel. Jaya Jaya Guru-Dev!!! Click here to watch the Mt Madonna livestream at 7:30 – 10:00 am PDT, this Wednesday, Sept. 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss-vvzQiOgc
Indian Feast fundraiser
A couple of days after that there will be an Indian Feast at the Centre, prepared by Indian cook extraordinaire Anita Mehta, who has offered to do this as a fundraising event for the Centre. It will be held outdoors on the mound, which allows for a lot of physically distanced seating. Here is the invitation:
You are invited to a fundraising authentic Indian meal at the Centre* on Friday, September 4th at 6:00pm. We will sit amidst the peace and beauty of the outdoors on the “mound” as we enjoy:
- Chana Masala (Chick Pea Curry)
- Aloo (Potato Curry) / Puri (Puffed Roti)
- Butter squash Indian style
- Peas pulao (Rice)
- Yogurt Indian-style Raita
- Kheer (Rice Pudding )
*COVID protocol will be followed, and all attendees must register. If you can’t register online then please call the office.
Community comings and goings
As we move into the fall, our residential community continues to get smaller. This month we say goodbye to Angelo and Sabrina, although they will remain on the island so we’ll still get to see them. Daniel will also be leaving at the end of this month. Lotte left last month, and is now back in Germany. Jocelyn moved off-land but still lives on the island, while David headed back to Edmonton. Dan and Marion will be here until later this month to continue work on the farm. We’re all happy that Anuradha will be moving back to the land at the end of the month. Despite our small size, things are still happening. Here are a few photos of life on the land.
Every year Suneel takes part in the annual butterfly count on the island. Here are a couple of photos he took: the Woodland Skipper is quite common around here, but the Woodnymph is rare.
An enthusiastic group decided to organize a triathlon!
The farm keeps feeding us well
Here’s Dan’s Farm Update:
I mentioned to someone recently that, in spite of the turmoil that has become almost second-nature in our lives these days, I’ve been trying to notice the magic moments occurring around me—an owl swooping down into the orchard just above me at dusk, a frog hopping around next to me while I was in the outdoor showers, staying up late several nights in a row to catch the Perseid meteor shower. The magic is always there if we look close enough.
Not to be outdone, the farm has also been working its magic as we head into the home stretch of summer. With a much smaller team than usual at this time of year, everyone has been pitching in to help and the farm has been rewarding our team efforts.
The tomato plants are starting to hit their stride and are providing a wide variety of fruit, from bright yellow Esterina cherry tomatoes (a variety that I buy every year as a tribute to my Italian grandmother of the same name) to 3 different types of paste tomatoes to the odd-shaped but juicy Brandywine heirlooms, which can sometimes weigh up to a pound each. Combined with our homegrown carrots, mixed greens, radishes and cucumbers—which continue to fill our cooler and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down—the last few weeks have seen numerous fresh and delicious salads emerge from the kitchen.
Processing season has also begun, thanks largely to Marion who has been feverishly trying to preserve all of our excess fruits and vegetables to ensure that nothing goes to waste, including freezing string beans and pickling some of our cucumbers with Alex in the kitchen as well as drying an array of herbs and flowers for tea and making tasty plum jams and blueberry jams for the community.
The winter squash and pumpkins have been flourishing, especially where they have been interplanted with bush beans. It won’t be much longer before we start gathering them up and putting them in the glasshouse to cure. If the weather remains sunny and mild well into September, we’re also hoping to be able to harvest a fair number of peppers and eggplants, which are slowly starting to size up, and maybe even a few mini watermelons.
After a bumper crop of plums, blueberries, raspberries and, of course, blackberries, everyone is eagerly awaiting the imminent arrival of the apples, pears and walnuts. The farm team will likely begin harvesting a few varieties of apples shortly after this newsletter is sent out. While the community will keep many of the fruit for eating, dehydrating and applesauce and apple butter, there will also be a lot of apples and pears available for sale by order and at the farm stand, as well as a pick-your-own option for those who are interested. Please contact me at email@example.com for more information.
We’re so grateful
We’re so grateful for all the people who continue to support the Centre, both by donations and by attendance at weekly online classes that bring us all together: SSCY classes – Bhagavad Gita on Tuesday evenings, Yoga Sutra on Saturday afternoons, satsang on Sunday afternoons, and MMC classes – Yoga Sutras on Tuesday mornings and Bhagavad Gita on Thursday morning. Another way people can contribute to the Centre is to become a Dharma Sara Satsang Society member. Learn more about that here.
Deep bows of gratitude to our friends Bhavantu Sound: Tia Benn, Christopher Maseev, Ty Chandler as well as Damian Finegan and Kelly Yaskiw. These dedicated practitioners of yoga shared their musical talents on Saturday August 29 in Beacon Hill Park in Victoria as a fundraiser for the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. At 2pm we held a satsang gathering with Chetna, Gita and Kathryn facilitating practices, spiritual readings and sharing about Babaji. At 3pm Mahavir performed Arati and the two-hour kirtan began. The kirtan portion was livestreamed on Facebook.
“The body is a boat which carries the soul in the ocean of the world. If it is not strong or it has a hole, then it can’t cross the ocean. So the first duty is to fix the boat.” ~ Baba Hari Dass
Jyoti is immersed in both yoga and Ayurveda, and is a very enthusiastic teacher. You will learn a lot from her, and you’ll have a wonderful weekend. Register here.
- 3 yoga asana classes, one for pacifying each dosha
- 2 morning sadhana classes
- 3 theory and discussion classes
- Ayurveda Preparation Package complete with a recommended menu, recipes, theory handouts, reference information and tips for preparation so you can get the most out of your weekend with us.
The change of season is a perfect time to give yourself some self-care. The Home Yoga Retreat brings you the nurturing, peaceful energy of a Yoga Getaway in your own home, taking some personal time to rejuvenate, recharge, and connect through the timeless teachings of yoga. Daily morning practices include gentle breathing exercises accompanied by guided meditation to harmonize body and mind. Followed by morning and afternoon yoga classes to suit all levels.
All classes will be held on-line over Zoom. Despite the online platform, the interpersonal connections are rich and nourishing. There’s a great lineup of teachers for this weekend. If you haven’t experienced an online weekend program, you are in for a treat. Register here.
More new programs coming soon!
New programs will be added to our website soon, so keep checking. Here’s a taste of what’s coming: A free class on October 3 called “Navigating Uncertainty and Change through Ayurveda”; more Ayurveda workshops in October and November; a 5 week Prenatal Yoga series; Patanjali’s Yogasutra: a Guided Tour; and more Home Yoga Retreats in October and November.
For your reading pleasure
I’m sure you’ll enjoy ‘Gifts from the Chalkboard’ by Pratibha Queen. Pratibha has been part of the satsang family for many years. We first met her when she came to one of our early Yoga Retreats in Oyama (in the Okanagan region of BC). Although she’s American and is part of the Mount Madonna satsang, we’ve always considered her an honourary Canadian, and part of the Dharma Sara satsang. This is part one of the story of her spiritual journey, with more to come next month. Pratibha has written articles for this newsletter for many years, and I am so grateful she’s agreed to write her story.
In looking through the archives of the newsletter I’ve come across many articles that bear reprinting. Here’s one from 2012 – How to Live, from The Yellow Book, The Sayings of Baba Hari Dass, the first book of Babaji’s teachings published in the US, in 1974. Years later when Babaji was asked at one retreat whether the quality of questions asked by students had improved over the years, he answered, “Same questions, same answers.”
Cultivate a sympathetic heart, humility in dealings, and selflessness in action. If these are practiced with earnestness and sincerity, then you will win the race of life. ~ Baba Hari Dass