In Step with the Heavenly Beat

An Account of Gurumayi’s Birthday Celebration

Shree Muktananda Ashram
June 23 – 24, 2015

Part XII

Gurumayi’s Birthday Celebration has evoked a continuous stream of divine feelings—delight, wonder, inspiration, gratitude, joy, love. After being immersed in the most extraordinary offering of dance by Lavanya, I was thinking, “It can’t get any better than this!” Then I heard Kara announce that after taking a short pause, we would be chanting with Gurumayi in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple!

With a huge smile I looked around the hall and saw that every face was lit up with surprise and delight. Suddenly my 21-month-old son, who had been sitting on my lap, jumped up and pointed in the direction of the Temple, exclaiming, “Baba Temple now!”

Before I could respond, he made a beeline to Gurumayi’s chair and said excitedly to Gurumayi, “Baba Temple now!” Gurumayi laughed and nodded. She asked a sevite standing nearby to arrange for the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple to be opened right away. Gurumayi said, “This child wants to have Bade Baba’s darshan immediately.” My son understood and ran ahead to the Temple as my husband, Rex, and I tried to keep up with him.

Entering the Temple, my heart welled up with love to be in the resplendent presence of Bade Baba. We walked clockwise around Bade Baba’s majestic form, performing the practice of pradakshina.
My son took his time performing pradakshina of Bade Baba. He paused before each of the murtis—of Lord Ganesh, Mahalakshmi, Mahasarasvati, and Lord Hanuman—and then kept bringing his gaze back to Bade Baba. As I witnessed his reverence and his enthusiasm, I felt so much gratitude. Here we were, together as a family in Bade Baba’s Temple—because of my son’s longing. His yearning to be with Bade Baba was a spontaneous expression of the love in his heart.

I see this often with my son at home: how strong and immediate his connection is to Gurumayi, how vividly he experiences her presence throughout the day, how naturally he expresses his love for his Guru. And I also see this in the children of my friends who are Siddha Yogis. These children experience their connection with Gurumayi as a natural and constant reality in their lives.

After receiving Bade Baba’s darshan, my son indicated that he was now ready to take his pause.

On our way to the Amrit Café for a snack, we met Gurumayi walking toward the Temple. Gurumayi said to us, “Happy Birthday!” My son responded, “Happy Birthday!” What a perfect spokesperson he was for our family—so in the moment, so joyous, so completely in step with Gurumayi.

After my son finished his snack, we returned to the Temple. As we approached the Temple breezeway, I could hear the sound of humming. The participants in the Temple were preparing to chant by warming up their voices.

My family and I joined the end of the line of participants entering the Temple. The hosts were seating everyone in concentric circles around Bade Baba. As Rex and I were shown to our seats, our son had a different plan. He walked directly toward Bade Baba’s padukas on the pedestal and then, with one-pointed focus, he performed pranam before Bade Baba. First he knelt and bowed his head, and then, with complete openness and reverence, he moved into a full pranam. Then, with the same reverence, he turned to look at Gurumayi.

Gurumayi returned his gaze with a bright and tender smile.

My eyes filled with tears of love. I had never seen my son perform pranam like this before. I had never taught him how to offer pranam with his whole body. It seemed to come straight from his heart, his own pure expression of devotion—in step with the heavenly beat.

The music ensemble began the introduction to the chant Om Bhagavan Muktananda Bhagavan, which is based on the Darbari Kanada raga. The rhythmic pulse of the mridang, the soaring notes of the flute, the stately timbre of the bassoon, the warm tones of the harmonium—together, they evoked the raga’s qualities of grandeur, valor, and depth of feeling. We began chanting the words Om Bhagavan, Om Bhagavan, Om Bhagavan, Muktananda Bhagavan. As the chant wove its way through the Temple, spontaneous bursts of sounds issued from my son and the other young children. I loved hearing the beautiful blend of generations of voices—little children, young people, and adults. The resonance of our voices gave joyous expression to our grateful hearts.

Hearing Gurumayi’s voice as she chanted her beloved Guru’s name, my heart felt a connection between Gurumayi’s heart and Baba Muktananda’s heart, between Gurumayi’s heart and Bade Baba’s heart, and between their hearts and my heart.

I became aware of this same connection with every participant seated in the circles around Bade Baba. These waves of connection continued to swell, moving outward from the Temple.

Within the core of my being, I experienced the blessedness that was being bestowed upon the earth through this magnificent celebration. In my mind’s eye, I could see my family and friends around the world—in India, Spain, Mexico, Australia, and the USA—feeling this love, without being aware of exactly why. Haven’t you ever heard people say, “Out of nowhere, I felt this surge of love” or “All of a sudden, I felt a gentle breeze” or “Out of the blue this fragrance seemed to waft over me”?

I saw that I had the good fortune to be participating first-hand in the source of those blessings that travel in infinite ways to Siddha Yogis wherever they may be, uplifting their lives. This experience confirmed for me once again the ever-present power of Gurumayi’s grace in my life.

As the chant concluded, we all stood for arati. Four pujaris stood facing Bade Baba’s murti from the north, south, east, and west. From all four directions, lamps representing the light of our Heart were waved in worship of the supreme light of the Guru.
Light was worshiping light. Our voices sang in unity, and I had the magnificent feeling that we were offering love from Siddha Yogis in all four corners of the globe.

Voices of praise filled the Temple:

The sounds of the arati gently subsided into silence; the lights on the arati trays glimmered. I looked at my son, who had made his way over to where a friend of mine was sitting with her 27-month-old daughter. As I watched my son and this little girl playing quietly together, I experienced a deep contentment. I thought about how the Guru’s light has illuminated every aspect of my life and the lives of my son and husband. By the Guru’s light, I see the beauty in my life. I see the blessings I have received. I see my own strengths. I see how I can carry out my dharma—how I can give my best as a mother and a wife, in my work, in my sadhana, and in the seva I offer. I live by my Guru’s light.

Recently, my son was telling me about how much he loves Gurumayi. He said, “I love her so much. She’s nice.” And then he said: “It comes from God.”

“What comes from God?” I asked.

My son replied, “Gurumayi. She comes from my God.”

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