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Board Members

Who are here to serve for the year of 2022

President: Jason Almendarez (Jai Shankar)
Vice President: Anthony Lewis
Treasurer: Jim Cook (Panna Singh)
Financial Secretary: Monty Smith (Lok Nath)

Secretary: Melody K. (Malti)
VP of Center Development & Community Outreach: Melinda Staley (Madhuri)
At Large:

Gayatri McCulloch

Makaan Burt

Shashi Agarwal

Sadie Lewis


Jai Shankar (Jason Almendarez)


"From the moment I first heard a Haidakhan Bhajan my life was “realigned”… changed forevermore from what it was before!

I serve because the path laid before me brought me to the most amazing experiences in my life, meeting the most influential people I ever thought I would meet. I serve to contribute back to us. To help hold a space for support and open dialogue in our ever-changing world. I can’t wait to see what service you all will take in the future!

To serve others is to serve God. To serve God is to find truth in yourself.

Bhole Baba Ki Jai!"


Anthony Lewis

Vice President

"Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
I am very grateful to be a part of the Babaji community and look forward to serving in any way I can while on the Board and in the future. I hope that being on the Board allows me to intuit deeper Babaji's message of truth, love and simplicity and to cultivate and realize these teachings around me in our family and communities. 
I love and miss you all and look forward to the next time we can all get together and cherish the moment again!

Much love!"


Jim Cook (Panna Singh)


"I have been a poet, musician, world traveler and spiritual seeker almost all my life.  I was given a photo of Babaji in early 1978 and although I initially had no plans to go to India ( and was barely making any money), I visited Haidakhan in Fall of 1978, staying for 3 months at the Ashram. When I returned in 1980, I asked Babaji for some final advice on my last night at the Ashram. Babaji told me to "Be Happy," which I am still trying to figure out.

Being on the board is an opportunity to support the "teachings of Babaji" and be with/ interact with an incredibly caring and compassionate spiritual community."



Monty Smith (Lok Nath)

Financial Secretary

"I lived for five years in the Haidakhan Ashram until just after Babaji’s Samadhi in 1984. Later I was on the team that established the Crestone Ashram and have supported numerous Haidakhan activities since then - including serving as Samaj Board chair. I am also an ordained minister, served churches for 25 years and have been an environmental and social justice / anti-racist activist in Tacoma, WA. 
My passion for discovering with others how to share Babaji’s spirit and practices has continued through the years.  My personal interests center in learning and coaching embodied mindfulness and soul initiation. I would love to serve another term on the Samaj Board and be a part of our vibrant future."


Melody Kuehnemann (Malti)


"I first learned about Babaji when visiting the Crestone ashram in 1996.  That is where Babaji opened my heart, and Ramloti inspired me though her devotion and discipline. I returned home with an aarati book and tape, and began hosting weekly aarati at my home. Throughout the years I visited the Crestone and Malmo ashrams and supported tours. I had the good fortune to meet Muniraji when he visited the US in 1997 and again in Haidakhan in 2006.

I have been on the Board for many years, holding roles of webmaster and secretary. Currently I am Co-secretary with Maduri Staley, creating newsletters, taking Board minutes, and leading a Teachings Study Group. I am inspired by Babaji’s message of service to humanity and joyful attitude."


Melinda Staley (Madhuri)

VP of Center Development & Community Outreach

"I have had the honor of serving on the American Samaj board for many years.
I first came to the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram in 1999 and was a regular for many years. The ashrams in Haidakhan and Chilianola have inspired my practice, as has the ashram in Schweibenalp. I have a small Haidakhandi center at my home in Missouri. I made a commitment many decades ago to serve the Lord in whatever way I can, and I feel strongly that this service fulfills a part of that mission."


Gayatri McCulloch

Board Member

"I am happy to serve on the American Samaj Board as part of my service to Babaji.
I was President of the Samaj for many years back in the 80’s and 90’s, after which I moved to Italy to serve in the Bhole Baba Ashram in Cisternino.

In 1999, I moved back to Crestone to raise my son, and later reengaged with the HUA Ashram and the American Samaj. I am very connected with all of Baba’s Ashrams and Samaj’s worldwide, and I've also served on the Jai HO/ Bhole Baba Sangha Board since its inception."


Makaan Burt

Board Member

"I practice and teach Yoga and Tai Chi and enjoy cross country skiing and dancing. I love bhajans and am in a bhajan band in the Boulder Colorado.

I was lucky to spend 6 weeks with Haidakhan Baba in both 1980 and ‘82. I am a member of the Samaj because I like being in a spiritual tribe."



Shashi Agarwal

Board Member

"I have been a Haidakhan Samaj member for many years. My devotion and love towards divine Babaji connects me to Haidakhan Samaj and Haidakhandi Babaji centers and Babaji devotees. I love our Haidakhandi brother sisters who serve Samaj, our regular meetings, knowing about each other seems extended family. 

As a Samaj members we are involved in many humanitarian works. The Love our Earth project is where I am involved. I feel blessed to be part of Samaj and continue as Babaji’s extended family to serve together and uplift each other as a community."


Sadie Lewis

Board Member

"I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve along side you all as a Board member of the Samaj. My time spent serving Baba and Mother at the Ashram in Crestone (2019-2020) is very dear to my heart and being a part of a community with the understanding of truth, simplicity and love has been one of the most healing parts of my spiritual journey. 

Seeing Baba's teachings come to life through each devotee is so pure and beautiful. I will strive my hardest to help bring any vision to life and lend my support wherever it is needed.

It has been a pleasure to create this beautiful website for all the devotees to connect and continue to share Babaji's teachings. 

Bhole Baba Ki Jai!"

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