Traveling to The Hanuman Temple in New Mexico
Updated: Mar 26, 2019
While I was living in Ashland, Oregon, I made a new friend who had just arrived in town from Taos, New Mexico. Her and I discussed how I’d been traveling with my son and she said if we ever had the opportunity to visit Taos that we should do so! Over the winter of 2016, I’d completed my first book and come early summer, I felt New Mexico calling me to head that way.
I wasn’t quite sure where we should go first; I called my friend and she recommended the Hanuman Temple as a cool and safe place to land. As I was getting ready to drive to Taos from Arizona, I found out that the Hanuman Temple was having Rico Zook host a permaculture work-shop over the weekend and that was absolutely fitting because I have been learning as much as I can on the subject. I honestly didn’t look too much into the temple before leaving because I trusted my gut that all would be well and knew it was where we needed to go first. Although I did call the manager of the temple, Anandi, before arriving, to make sure it was okay that we came and possibly set up camp for the weekend. She said it was totally fine for us to sleep in the parking lot, or if we wanted to sleep in our tent on the property, we could too.
We arrived to the temple just as the sun was setting on the horizon. There was just enough light to quickly explore the gardens before retiring to the van for a good night’s rest. I introduced myself to the only person I saw outside that evening. The man said he did not live at the temple, but nearby in town and had been visiting frequently for ten years. He showed us where the bathrooms were and also where we could get some food in the kitchen if we were hungry. The temple was incredibly clean and beautiful! The gardens were so healthy and full of vibrant colors; we also saw a few peacocks roaming free… I was excited for morning to come so we could really explore and meet some new people.
We awoke at dawn and Sirian (my son) ran right to the playground, which was under a beautiful large tree. I met another local mother there who had a four-year-old boy. She was also not a resident but a frequent visitor to the temple. I learned the temple was founded in the late 70’s and was established for the devotees of Maharaj-ji’s Mahasmadhi (Neem Karoli Baba) to have a place to meet, share stories, have celebrations, feasts and enjoy the community of those on the same devoted path. Mahariji established 108 temples all over the world, he fed millions of people, was known for performing miracles, and brought grace and relief to people in suffering. His life was not much in the public eye, but he was a published author and to this day remains a very influential being. He taught the power of love, joy, and knowing God.
The ashram in Taos has developed into a beautiful sanctuary over the years, with a growing permaculture farm. They plant perennials, use cob for building material, have a wonderful herb garden and vegetables that contribute to the kitchen and also a food stand where anyone in town can come and buy organic produce. They grow lots of greens - kale, chard, arugula, lettuce and spinach-broccoli, cabbage, peas, squash, radishes, beets, carrots, turnips and herbs like mint, oregano and basil.
The residents of the temple, and people who come through, offer seva (service) and one of the ways they do this is by working in the kitchen and preparing three meals a day for those who live there and the visitors (like myself). The people there offer seva as a means of devotion to the highest good, to selflessly serve divinity and to lovingly give back to the ashram. The residents I met throughout the weekend were very kind and soft-spoken people with very loving hearts. On two different occasions, while my son was asleep in our van for his afternoon nap, I was approached in the parking lot during meal time by strangers and they asked if they could get lunch for me, since I was staying near my boy. It was really sweet to see human beings helping out a single mommy like this.
Delicious chai tea, water, and snacks were available throughout the day as well. The people who live in the non-profit community are diverse in ethnicity and in age, but all share the same devotion to their beloved Baba. The temple was truly immaculate; very clean bathrooms, showers, and kitchen. We’d wash our own dishes and any leftover food went into the compost bins for the farm.
Because of my toddler, I was not able to attend to the full three-day workshop, but some new friend’s I’d made offered to share their notes with me. I also got to spend a lot of time talking with Rico as he was staying on the property for the weekend as well. On Sunday, I was able to sit down and do an interview with him while another mother watched my boy at the playground. Rico was helping the temple to build a giant pond, which will support new life to flourish and helps the environment. Rico shared with me how the UN recently stated the fact that there is not a shortage of food grown on the planet and that we grow more than enough to feed everyone but, the problem is making it accessible. He was a huge proponent for urban gardening and was certain we can turn things around quickly if we can get people into growing food again. His biggest message was, however, urging people to consume way less and that recycling isn’t enough. It’s our over-consumerism that needs to be adjusted.
If you ever find yourself in Taos, I highly recommend taking the time to visit the Hanuman Temple and offing seva on the farm, in the kitchen, or wherever you have some useful skills. It’s a very beautiful, peaceful and inspiring place located in the heart of Taos. I am very grateful I had the opportunity to attend that weekend and I learned a lot of unexpected and interesting things!
For more information on the temple, please visit: http://nkbashram.org/
*** This is just a brief over-view of my experience at the temple – much more will be available in part 2 of the Diary of a Starseed Series this fall. Check out Part 1 of my book, available now, to see how this journey all began.
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