Reflections on Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

The Precious Gift of Chanting

When, in 1996, I heard that Gurumayi was coming to Poland as part of her Maha Yatra, I was amazed and very happy. Gurumayi’s Maha Yatra—The Great Pilgrimage was a seven-month pilgrimage with stops in many parts of the world. I had been following the Siddha Yoga path for a little more than a year, and I was awed by the good fortune of Siddha Yogis in Poland. I immediately joined the team offering seva in preparation for Gurumayi’s visit, and I was in Lodz the day she arrived. The tour managers told us that Gurumayi might come to the hall the next day for the recitation of Shri Guru Gita. The following morning it was cloudy and cold, but when Gurumayi entered the hall, it was as if a bright sun illumined the world with light and warmth.

When we began the recitation of Shri Guru Gita, I was as excited as a child; my mind was unusually restless. But when I focused on Gurumayi’s deep and clear voice reciting the sacred verses, my mind quickly became calm, and I experienced gentle waves of sweet ecstasy.

Each day of her visit to Poland, Gurumayi recited Shri Guru Gita with the sangham. As more and more Siddha Yogis and new seekers arrived from Russia, Lithuania, and Croatia—and soon from all around the world—we moved from the Central Hotel to the spacious and beautiful Wielki opera house.

One day I was invited to join the lead chanters for the recitation of Shri Guru Gita. I was seated on the stage very close to Gurumayi. After the recitation of the text, as we chanted Shri Krishna Govinda, Hare Murare, I became aware of a strong and vibrant energy, filled with happiness and love. It seemed to be radiating from Gurumayi and travelling on the sound. My mind became still, and I felt my heart open. I looked around and felt unconditional love for everybody and everything, and I knew this experience was a gift of Gurumayi’s grace and the power of chanting itself.

At the conclusion of the Tour, after Gurumayi left Poland, I returned to my hometown of Poznan where I often held satsang with myself: chanting with CDs of the Siddha Yoga mantra, Shri Guru Gita, and namasankirtanas. Whenever I did this, I would envision Gurumayi as she was in Lodz. I would tune in to Gurumayi’s voice and allow it to resonate deeply inside me, and I would try to merge my voice with hers. At these times, something wondrous happened. I could feel the shakti arising within me and dancing in my body. If I had any worries or concerns, they faded away. Waves of happiness flowed through my entire being. I began to realize that the love and bliss arising within me when I chanted was the nectar of my own Self, the delight of Kundalini Shakti.

In the twenty years since Gurumayi’s visit to Poland, there have been many changes in my outer circumstances. I went from holding satsangs for one to hosting a Siddha Yoga chanting and meditation group in my home. Later, I participated in Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events elsewhere in Poland and in different parts of Europe. I married a Siddha Yogi from the USA and moved to Oregon.

Through all these transitions, I have brought my love of chanting with me. When I chant alone with a CD and when I chant with others, I practice Gurumayi’s teachings on chanting: posture, focus, listening, and blending my voice. As I do so, inner bliss surges up once more, and I feel the love that I first felt with Gurumayi in Poland.

Now, as I go about my daily life, when I recollect the state of mind and heart that I experience during chanting, everything flows with grace. Sometimes people ask me, how were you able to go through all these transitions in your life—coming to live in another country, moving far away from family, finding your place in a foreign society? I smile and think, “How can I feel lonely or separate when through the simple practice of chanting I can experience my own Self, the love in my own heart?” I feel I am never alone. What I tell them is, “I have been chanting. Chanting has transformed my life. It fills me with love and bliss and brings me peace.” Inwardly I bow my head in thanks for all the powerful chants that Gurumayi has preserved or introduced into the Siddha Yoga tradition; for her teachings on chanting; and, above all, for her grace.

 

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