The Tree-Planting Ceremony

The top of Baan Unrak hill is a very special place.

It is where we practice meditation collectively, at the Pagoda,
and it is where our water supply gets energized in the nearby Water Tank.

Over time, this place is becoming so blissfully vibrated.

In previous years, we had planted a series of trees highly conducive for meditation around the water tank. They are Neem tree, Banyan tree, Bodhi tree, Cotton Silk tree, Wooden Apple tree…
It has been very nice to meditate here since we planted these trees. We can really feel that the energy is very pure.

But the circle was not closed yet. In fact, we had left a gap for a sixth very special tree, that we couldn’t plant due to construction work.

On this special day we planted the missing tree: a little Indian Goosberry tree.

Each of us poured water on the freshly planted tree, while we recited auspicious words all together:

May the tree planted today prove felicitous for us with its fruits, flowers, fragrance, floral nectar, leaves and shade…

May we ourselves prove helpful to the tree through our regular service in providing manure, water and sunshine to it.

We shall lovingly and carefully tend this highly beneficial tree.

The philosophy of Neo-Humanism teaches to all of us that…

We are a Cosmic Family.
We are all Brothers and Sisters.
Humans, animals, plants… all the created universe.

It is our duty to Love and Serve all.

To enjoy the ceremony as the birds saw it…
Fly with us over Baan Unrak, in the video below:

Now that the missing piece of the puzzle has come in place,
we feel more complete.

All the community of Baan Unrak enjoys very special meditation now,
after the planting of the sixth tree.

Is it the purity of mind of the children?
Or is it the circle that has been closed…?
Or is it… the power of the little tree?

The Story Behind the Gift

One day, Baan Unrak received a guitar as a gift.
The guitar was given by a 14 years old boy.
He was so self-conscious, he felt that it was not such a good gift, because the guitar had a broken string. Therefore, he was shy to give it…

This young boy could have never imagined how his gift would affect the life of another boy, of the same age, living here in Baan Unrak.

The guitar passed through many children, and eventually went into Vijay’s hands, who was the most passionate to learn.

Vijay passed all his life in Baan Unrak. He came when he was very small.

He grew up with us.

The guitar was the first big gift he ever received.

He loved it from the start.

However, soon after he had an accident…

Vijay broke his leg playing football.

He got a bone fracture surgery.
The doctors placed a metal rod and screws in his leg.

He had to pass long days alone. He couldn’t move.
During this time, the guitar became so important for him.

Playing guitar helped him a lot to go through this difficult time.

He gradually recovered. We all thought that he was getting better.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, he started to feel intense pain again…

It looked serious so we rushed to the hospital without wasting a single moment.

The doctors discovered a bad infection.

We had to go to 2 different hospitals, in Kanchanaburi and Bangkok.

We needed to find the money urgently.
We didn’t know who to ask.
We reached to our friends in Bangkok…

The young boy who, some months earlier, had donated his own guitar,
heard about Vijay’s emergency from his mother and, without thinking twice, made another incredible gift:

He gave 20,000 Baht of his pocket money savings.

We were amazed by this young boy who, without knowing Vijay at all,
touched his life in such a significant way:

Through the gift of the guitar, he awakened in Vijay the love for music, and made him company during his lonely time. Then, he contributed to save his leg.

The Spirit of Giving

The young boy gave out of his heart,
without expecting anything in return,
without knowing how his action would positively affect the life of another person.

After the operation, everything went smoothly for Vijay.

The guitar turned out to be an invaluable gift.

He could practice a lot, and learned so many tunes.

Now, every day Vijay goes to lead the small children’s kiirtan!

Singing together Baba Nam Kevalam,

Love is All

Baba’s 100 Years

This year, to honor the 100 years of the coming of our spiritual master, on the Full Moon of May, all the children and staff of Baan Unrak participated in a new way to feel connected with a Wheel of Love that touched many countries

We cannot travel but we created a beautiful connection with people far away through the singing of the mantra Baba Nam Kevalam – Love is All.

We started before sunrise, and it went on till the break of day, our Wheel of Love.

We were online streaming on Zoom for 3 hours, being part of a greater Wheel of Love that traveled through many countries around the world, no stop for two days.

Our children were in a spiritual mood…

The Wheel of Love

In the purity of the early morning,
the children were like dew drops, vibrant with life.

Every movement had a silver bell laughter.
Every smile was pure, sparkling white light.

The air was so full of life,
full of awareness, full of joy.

It was so blissful, so pure,
so fresh, so clean.

Then we sat down,
meditating on that Infinite Love,
all-pervading.

We prepared long in advance for this special day:

– We helped the poorest families around us on our Relief expeditions;
– We worked hard on a new project of herbs and medicinal plants;
– We had a Baby Naming ceremony;
– All the children learned a higher technique of meditation;
– We practiced Kaoshiiki, Tandava and yoga asanas to be ready and fit.

The celebration could not be complete without performing

KAOSHIKII

This yogic dance was introduced by Baba on September 6, 1978.

Kaoshikii is a psycho-spiritual exercise which benefits the mind by developing mental stamina and strength.

It is beneficial for everybody, but especially for women. It cures and prevents many diseases, removes complexes, instills self-confidence and encourages self-expression.

On this day at the hilltop we could see our little dancers
dressed in brown chocolate sarongs and green blouses.

We could feel their strength yet their humbleness,
their endurance yet their tolerance.

We felt the incredible potential hidden in their concentrated faces.
It was their feminine power in the purest form.

TANDAVA

The dance of Shiva

It is a vigorous dance which boosts courage, fearlessness and will-power.
It represents the fight between life and death, the fight for existence.

Tandava opens the heart chakra, energizes the whole body, strengthens the brain and nervous system.

The great yogi Sadashiva invented Tandava 7000 years ago, for his disciples to achieve physical and mental purity.

Baba revived it for our times…

Baba loved to see us performing these dances,
as much as he loved to see us gaining strength and getting empowered.

Our spiritual master came 100 years ago…

His ideas, so profound and revolutionary, inspired the creation of our Home.
He propounded the Neo-Humanist philosophy of love and care for all beings in the universe, which guides every thing we do in Baan Unrak.

Affectionately we call him Baba, Loving Father. In his life, he has shown such love, dedication and deep concern for everyone, so that we felt part of a huge, unique, Cosmic family.

He may not be here physically anymore, but he is in our hearts.
Therefore, every year on the Full Moon of May, we celebrate his birthday.

Our New Nurse!

In Baan Unrak we deeply believe in sharing… as much as we can.

During this month we assisted over 200 families on our Relief mission.

Tangmo is with us again!

She grew up in Baan Unrak, and she just graduated from Nursing University.
Now she returned to Baan Unrak, to give back to our Home and to the all community.

The poorest people around us don’t have money to go to the hospital. Therefore, having a nurse with us to give them free care is a great service we offer.

We go to the villages and visit the people in their homes.
Tangmo is very good at communicating with the villagers: she shares the same background, she can speak their language and can understand their worries and feelings.

The villagers feel very comfortable with Tangmo and can easily tell her their problems: from health problems and family problems to economical problems…

Now we have a clear vision of how to substantially help them, and we are starting together some small businesses leveraging their resources:

They have abundance of medical plants…

They are skilled in weaving bamboo baskets…

And they can produce brooms!

We hope that we can use their skills to improve their lives.

Tangmo also helps us at Home…

We feel so safe with her in Baan Unrak. We have so many children, some of them with serious sicknesses…

She is so precious for us!

Baby Naming Ceremony

This is a social ceremony that ignites the vitality in our community.

The naming ceremony is about introducing the baby into society for the first time. With it, the society takes a commitment towards the baby.

We also take advantage of this ceremony to change the name of the children who wish to speed up their progress on the spiritual path, by giving a name which is powerful. A name that is a mantra.

Changing the name into one with a powerful meaning, it helps people in their evolution.

He or she must be at least 6 months old. We started from the smaller one.
His name is…

Da’naviira!

It means.. one who is extremely charitable by disposition.

Niila’

Her name means indigo child.

Kalyana Sundaram

It means… blessedness, beauty of the Divine.

Turiiya

…the Absolute state of non-duality.

Below, the latest child arrived in Baan Unrak…

Priiti

Her name means Joy, Happiness, Delight, Love.

And her older sister…

PA’LA

She is… the guardian of Dharma (righteousness).

Padma

Her name means Lotus, symbol of purity.
Lotus flower grows out of the mud, raises up and blooms in pure beauty above the surface of the water, unaffected by it.

VIINA

That is… a divine musical instrument.

JAYENDRA

The Lord of Victory.

Mohana

The Supreme attractive force, who delights others.

YOGESHA

He is… the Master of Yoga.

ANIRUDDHA

Prince of Wind. Unobstructed, free.

Dhanainjaya

The one who brings Spiritual Wealth.

PARAMA’NANDA

The one who is in a state of bliss, ecstatic joy, infinite happiness…
contemplating the Supreme.

Goodbye Noatomee, our dear elephant friend

A few days ago we received the sad news that the elephant Noatomee was very sick. Soon after, she passed away.

The passing of an elephant is a major event for the family and the community to which belongs. It is very much like the death of a family member.
All the community is involved, everyone helps as they can.
Baan Unrak children were there too.

We all went in the jungle to assist Noatomee in her last journey…

Buddhist monks came from the nearby temple to perform the funeral rite.

Because of Covid, the elephants Noatomee and her daughter Noamujee had to return to the village in the jungle where their mahouts (keepers) live.

These gentle giants need lot of care. They cannot survive in the jungle by themselves anymore.

The family that owns her faced hardship to take care of the sick elephant.
The owner became sick with malaria for the time she spent in the jungle caring for Noatomee. They even brought a doctor from far Kanchanaburi to visit her.
They spent lot of money to give her the best food they could.
But she was too old, and it was time for her to go.

Noatomee died of kidney disease.

One of our Baan Unrak staff is also part of that family. With his little daughter, 5 years old, they went to buy watermelon, pineapple, and all the food that the elephant likes, and brought it to her deep inside the jungle.

Back in the past,
we went to visit Noatomee several times.

Our first encounter will remain unforgettable…

We quickly became friends

How good she was with our children…

How connected we felt with her…

Here, the last time that we met her and her daughter…

That day we brought a lot of sugar cane for our elephant friends. They loved it.

We shared the same breakfast!

Back to the present day,
as we received the sad news of the elephant’s pass away,
we ventured into the jungle one more time…

…this time, to say…

Goodbye Noatomee

Our children helped to carry wood to the funeral pyre.

Then, we all sat in silence.

A Special Relief

Usually our teenagers go out on “relief” once a month. This activity consists in bringing some food and essential things to the poorest people around us.

This month, the relief was special. In fact, soon we will celebrate 100 years of Baba’s coming among us. He is our spiritual mentor, and doing service is one of our ways to celebrate Him.
During his life, he used to be very happy whenever we did anything for social welfare.

During the relief, we met a lot of new people that need our help. Our children have to make much more efforts in this special time. Service is part of Baan Unrak life. We believe that we share the same destiny of our community, therefore, if our community suffers, we also suffer.

Our service does not guarantee the overall improvement of their life, but it is a must in time of crises. That is why our teenagers are trained to observe and engage into conversation, trying to find local resources that could give the people in the community the capacity to stand by themselves.

We find that there is a treasure of knowledge among the elderly. We can learn so many things from them, about natural medicine, history, get very good advises about life, and much more.

The relief project empowers our teenagers. They feel useful, responsible and gradually explore their own position into the society. Helping others strengthens their team spirit and, at the same time, they have fun.

In the end, they are still children!

Our Children’s Fairyland

With the first rains,
our land has become so green.

Our children love particularly this time of the year. It is suddenly so fresh, and in our land, beside the predominant green, we see many little purple blossoms.

These are the Butterfly Pea flowers. They are special flowers…
They beautify the land, and the tea made with them has a lot of health benefits!

Butterfly Pea flowers are one of nature precious gifts

Collecting the flowers is the most pleasant duty of our early mornings.

The children gather among the greenery, and like little fairies and elves collect the flowers together. They love it.

The chatting of the children, in the beauty of the land, creates the magic that we need…

…the deeper we dive into it, the more magical it becomes.

Nature brings out the best in us

She brings us together, clears our mind and makes us happy.

We do our duty joyfully!

Lovingly!

Next…

We let the flowers dry in sunlight.

The Sun transforms these beautiful flowers…

After some time, the Butterfly Pea become like this…
Ready to become a special tea.

Here is how we can prepare a delicious drink

The Butterfly Pea flowers are infused in hot water, to make this rich, bright-colored, floral smelling blue tea (caffeine-free!).

Here, as we serve it at our vegetarian Bakery & Restaurant in Sangkhlaburi.

The benefits of Butterfly Pea flower tea:

Rich in antioxidants, promotes graceful aging and glowing skin;
boosts brain health, improving cognitive ability;
increases energy levels and stamina;
helps in digestion, it’s beneficial for eye health, combats the effects of diabetes, has anti inflammatory properties;
provides relief from stress, anxiety and depression,
influences positive emotions!

We sell it also online all over the world.

Our Butterfly Pea flowers are ready to be shipped wherever you are!

Get in touch with us:
baanunrak@gmail.com

Songkran 2021

Songkran Festival celebrates Thai New Year. It is also called the Water Festival. The children look forward to it with great anticipation every year!

This time, however, because of Covid and water scarcity we couldn’t do a big celebration. But we didn’t want to miss a very special ritual…

Paying respect to the elders

Ayati was the first to perform the ritual. She grew up in Baan Unrak, and now she returned to give back, to serve, working for our foundation.

The ritual consists of pouring perfumed water on the elder, with best wishes such as good luck, health, happiness…
The elder pours water on the younger one in return, with a blessing.

Below, the other grown-up children, now part of our staff, happily paying homage.

Then, it was the turn of the small children!

Didi and the care-mothers know very well each and every child.
Therefore, they had the right words for each of them…

They knew what the children needed to hear, what they needed them to wish them.

Below, little Turiya pays respects to the mothers!

Here, little Ishvari with her care-giver Muno.

The children felt at home in Didi’s hands. She took the child’s face in her hands, looking at them with a big Thanks.

The children enjoyed pouring water on Didi more than the usual..! In that moment, it seemed that the children realized all the things that Didi does for them and, not taking for granted what they have, they gave back to Didi all their Love, in the symbolic form of perfumed water!

To the teenagers, she spoke encouraging words for their future, exhorting them to do great work for society.

Below, our new baby Dana and his care-mother received the blessing too!

Then, all the other care-mothers performed the ritual with Didi, expressing their gratefulness.

Sometimes we forget the importance of a good word in the right moment. The celebration of Songkran in Thailand is about this.

This ritual reminds us to be grateful and kind to everyone, without expecting something in return.

Right after the ritual…

The water games began!

But only for a very short time!

The Last Day of School

At Baan Unrak School, we celebrated the end of the academic year with a special day.

THE CHILDREN’S SHOW

The children performed traditional Thai dances, Karen dances and modern dances, together with acting performances and singing. All introduced by a child host.

And then…

CELEBRATION!

Congratulations Grade 6!

Completing grade 6 marks the end of intermediate school. The closing of a chapter in their life, and the beginning of a new one.

Congratulations Grade 9!

Similarly, grade 9 marks the end of lower secondary education, that is, the completion of compulsory education according to the Thai school system. Most of them will continue study, but for now…

CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!

Afterwards…

REFRESHMENT!

And more photos taken!

And more activities…

And more games!

Now…

Let the holidays begin!