Schedule & Weekly Programs:
Ashram Summer Hours (April through September):
Ashram Open Daily: 7.00 AM – 9.00 PM
Morning Aarti-7.00 AM
Evening Aarti-Sunset (except Tuesday)
Dinner Prasad Meal 6.00 PM
Aarti and Kirtan 7.00 PM to 9.00 PM
Chanting of Hanuman Chaleesa 11.00 AM
Followed by Aarti and Lunch Prasad Meal
Beginning in May: All Are Welcome…
Saturdays at 11.00 AM
Hanuman Chaleesas for Healing and Prayers
A time in the temple room for people to gather and sing 11 Hanuman Chalisa for healing and prayer. Devotees are welcome to bring photos or to write the names of those in need of prayer to put on Maharaj-ji’s takht during this time.
When: Saturdays 2.00 PM to 4.00 PM
Where: Meet in the kids’ area of sunroom
Stories, singing, crafts, seva and satsang for kids of all ages and their caregivers.
Satsang and Reading of Ramcharitmanas (the story of Ram and Hanuman):
When: Sundays 4.00 PM to 5:30 PM
Where: Back Porch
A time to gather and ask and answer questions about Maharaj-ji, Hanuman and our shared devotional practices. We will also read from the beautiful story of Ram and Hanuman.
11.00 AM Chanting of Hanuman Chalisa
Followed by aarti and prasad
Live Stream available, follow this link.
Chanting begins at 10.00 AM (PST), 11.00 AM (MST), 1.00 PM (EST).
Aarti is offered daily at 7.00 AM and Evening Aarti-Sunset (except Tuesday)
Aarti is a daily prayer ceremony offered in Hindu temples and homes. It is a ceremony in which the devotees greet and give thanks to the deities and are reminded of God’s grace and glory. The word “aarti” comes from the Sanskrit prefix “aa”, meaning complete, and “rati” meaning love. It is thus an expression of the devotee’s complete and unflinching love for God. It is sung and performed with a deep sense of reverence, adoration and meditative awareness. Often called the ‘ceremony of light’, the aarti involves waving lighted wicks before the sacred images to infuse the flames with the deities’ love, energy and blessings.
Along with – or sometimes instead of – flames from ghee-soaked wicks, the light from camphor is also used. Other auspicious articles offered during the ceremony include incense, water, cloth and flowers and the waving of a chamara, or yak tail fan. These together represent the five elements – space (cloth), air (fan), fire, water, and earth (flowers) – and symbolize the offering of the whole of creation to the deity during the aarti ceremony.
The term ‘aarti’ also refers to the prayer sung in praise of the deity while the wicks are waved. This prayer is joyously sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments including drums, bells, gongs, and a conch-shell.
After the short prayer, the lighted wicks are passed around the congregation to allow members to receive the blessings infused within the flames. The aarti is usually performed twice daily, in the morning and the evening, and sometimes when offering the deity the mid-day meal. The aarti also features as a component of other, more elaborate rituals and is often the concluding prayer in religious assemblies and festivals.
Just as the wicks burn in the service of the deities, devotees pray that they, too, can selflessly offer themselves in the service of God. As the wicks eventually burn themselves out, devotees pray their ego can similarly be eradicated through such service and humble worship.
The Hanuman Chalisa is a chant consisting of forty verses in praise of Sri Hanuman-ji.
How Hanuman Came to America:
After Maharaj-ji’s Mahasamadhi (leaving his body) in 1973, His American devotees longed for a place to meet and share stories, hold bhandaras (holiday feasts), sing kirtan (devotional chants), and enjoy satsang (the community of those on the path together). In the spring of 1977, a group of thirty or forty devotees gathered in upstate New York for a bhandara. Ram Dass proposed that a murti (statue) representing Hanuman be commissioned in India, for installation in a temple in America.
Calendars in India are adorned with wonderful renderings of the Gods and Goddesses. One such calendar picture, which now hangs in the Taos ashram dharmsala, was sent to a devotee who became enchanted with the form of the blissful flying Hanuman. In it, He is depicted as flying towards Lanka in search of Sita, carrying Ram’s ring in his hand (a symbol of hope and reunion, of love in motion). This served as an inspiration for the rupa, or form, in which Hanuman would be represented. This image became the model for a large painting which was then photographed and taken to Jaipur in western India. There, the same family of sculptors who carved the murti of Hanuman in Maharaj-ji’s Vrindaban ashram began working to create a sixteen-hundred pound murti, Ram’s ring in his hand. Now Hanuman was going to fly across the ocean to get to America!
After the carving was approved, the women elders polished the murti for days. Then the painter gave color to Hanuman’s serene and gentle face. A crate was built around Hanuman. He was taken to Bombay, where permission from Indian Customs and Antiquities’ officials to leave India was received.
Several months later, in the late spring of 1978, the murti arrived in San Francisco by cargo ship. Where would Hanuman come to rest? Satsang members took trips and held discussions. Oregon? Mount Shasta? New York City? Canada? No agreement. At that point, a devotee in New Mexico volunteered to house the murti until a permanent place could be found. Hanuman was brought on a trailer to Arroyo Seco, near Taos, where a bhandara was held to celebrate the anniversary of Maharaj-ji’s Mahasamadhi and to welcome Hanuman.
Hanuman remained on the trailer for another year. He was taken to Embudo near the Rio Grande for the 1979 bhandara celebration. Then Hanuman was moved to a farm in Taos and was placed in a little adobe barn on the property. Years passed, and the little barn was renovated and improved. Slowly the farm started to serve as an ashram and a non-profit organization was set up so that the land could be purchased, parcel-by-parcel.
Now the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram wholly owns the land. A kitchen was built, and showers and bathrooms were installed. Over the years, the ashram evolved into the present arrangement, with a Board of Directors making decisions based on input from satsang. Hundreds of devotees come each September to celebrate the Mahasamadhi of Neem Karoli Baba with a bhandara, kirtan, and satsang. All are welcome to utilize their time in seva (service), singing kirtan, prayer, or in talk about Maharaj-ji’s lilas (the dance of Grace).
All are welcome to visit the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and enjoy the temple room and grounds. The ashram is a sacred space for meditation, devotional singing and satsang or spiritual discourse among aspirants. All members of the ashram community contribute to the sacredness of this place which is a haven of peace and spiritual inspiration for hundreds of visitors and guests each year. We practice bhakti yoga-chanting and devotional practices, and karma yoga or seva-selfless service to God and creation.
A beautiful statue of Hanumnan-ji, a lovable monkey god who devoted his entire being to the service of his divine master, Lord Rama, graces the temple room. His story is immortalized in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, a fable which extols the virtues of universal love, devotion, service, surrender, non-attachment, equality and respect for all beings. A copy of the Ramayana is kept for devotees to read and chant from in the temple room. There is also an altar to the Divine Mother in her forms of Durga, the warrior goddess of protection and auspiciousness, and Annapurna, the goddess of grain and abundance. Another altar honoring Lord Shiva in the form of the Shiva Lingam along with his son, the elephant-headed remover of obstacles Lord Ganesha, and his vehicle, the bull Nandi, sits in the next corner. Central to the worship in the temple is devotion to our beloved guru, Sri Neem Karoli Baba, an Indian saint whose simple message of universal love and service continues to touch millions of lives. His takht, or sacred seat, covered with a plaid blanket of the type which he often wore, is the focal point for meditation and prayer. It is considered disrespectful to face one’s feet or back towards any of the altars or Maharajji’s takht. We also ask that all those who enter the temple room are bathed and in clean clothes and that they respect all of the articles of worship including the musical instruments and prayer booklets.
One of the central teachings of Neem Karoli Baba, also affectionately known as “Maharaj-ji”, is to “feed everyone”. The kitchen at the ashram feeds several hundred devotees each week in addition to hosting feasts for hundreds at several festivals throughout the year. Check out our daily schedule page for ashram hours and details about weekly feasts and programs and our festivals page for this year’s festival dates.
For more information about the ashram kitchen or if you would like to make donations of foodstuffs to the kitchen or help in preparing the prasad-the sacred food offerings-please see the kitchen page. Everyone who visits is welcome and encouraged to volunteer. For more information about how you can participate in seva, check out the seva opportunities page.
If you are interested in an overnight visit to the ashram, we allow visitors for a maximum of three nights. We have limited indoor guest room facilities-check out our dharmasala page for more details. There are camping facilities available from May to October. More information is available on the seva opportunities page.
Lastly, we ask that you keep a few things in mind while visiting:
- Enjoy the flowers, but please do not pick them.
- Intoxicants are not allowed on ashram property.
- We ask that parents watch their children at all times and be responsible for their children’s safety.
- Please do not bring dogs or other pets to the Ashram-this includes the parking lot!
- Weapons are not allowed at the ashram.
- Please dress modestly-men and women should be covered from shoulders to knees in and around the temple building. Shawls are provided for your use outside the temple room door.
We have two guest rooms available for pilgrims wishing to visit the ashram and stay overnight. Stays are limited to three nights and dependent upon availability. Please call or email ahead as space is limited. Guests are expected to take part in the daily schedule of the ashram and spend their time in seva, prayer and other devotional activities. For more information and availability, please contact our office at 575-751-4080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashram Daily Schedule:
6.00 AM Wake-Up
Please observe silence before morning aarti
7.00 AM Morning Aarti
7:45 AM BreakfastDSCN6517 (2)
8:15 AM Daily Check-In
8:30 AM to 12:30 PM Seva
12:30 PM Lunch
2.00 PM to 6.00 PM Seva
6.00 PM Dinner
Sunset Evening Aarti
After dinner report for evening clean-up
Maharaj-ji’s Mahasamadhi Bhandara
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram Mailing Address:
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram,
PO Box 1710,
New Mexico 87571.
Office & Puja Dukan: 575-751-4080
Map to Ashram:
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and Hanuman Temple,
416 Geronimo Lane,
Taos, New Mexico 87571