In Step with the Heavenly Beat

An Account of Gurumayi’s Birthday Celebration

Shree Muktananda Ashram
June 23 – 24, 2015

Part III

Streams of Diamonds

After this magnificent communion with the earth below and heaven above, Gurumayi
re-entered the Temple. We followed in her footsteps—in step with the heavenly beat. After we had taken our seats and gotten comfortable, Gurumayi looked around and saw dazed expressions on our faces. Gurumayi asked us to share our experience.

We were all so focused on reliving our experience in our heads, I don’t think any of us raised our hands to share verbally! Gurumayi waited. She looked to her right, she looked to her left. Then she looked at Bade Baba. Gurumayi smiled.

Finally Gurumayi asked the satsang director, Meera Laube-Szapiro, to address this. Meera explained to us, "You have been invited by Gurumayi to be a participant in this Siddha Yoga satsang. Therefore, you are expected to contribute, not to simply sit and watch like a spectator. If you do not wish to participate, you may leave now."

Gurumayi looked again at the murti of Bhagavan Nityananda and said, "Even Bade Baba communicates; he is not just a statue. So please do not be a statue."

Following Meera’s explanation, and hearing Gurumayi’s encouragement, of course no one was going to leave! Suddenly, we all came out of our heads and became more present in the Temple, in the presence of Gurumayi and Bade Baba. I felt the call for each of us to be at ease with our own experience and have the generosity to share. Sometimes I do not stand up to share because I doubt that I have something important to contribute. However, I realized I need to trust my experiences. I need to value them and share them with a generous heart.

So I joined the many participants who were now raising their hands to share what they had witnessed. Together our descriptions wove a vivid tapestry of nature’s unique display:

  • The clouds were glistening with sunlight.
  • The rain was coming down in thick sheets.
  • The light streamed from the heavens like a shimmering waterfall.
  • Specks of rain fell slowly like drifting snowflakes.
  • There were layers of rain, each falling at a different speed.
  • The rain looked like stars captured in a time-lapse photo; there were streaks of rain as long as my hand.
  • There were a million streaming lights, like brushstrokes in a painting.
  • The rain felt like a blessing.
  • Nature was playing in delight, revealing glory after glory.
  • Time seemed suspended.

I described my own experience with this simile: The raindrops looked like diamonds of many sizes falling from the sky.

Although it was a tremendous experience, I still felt a slight hesitation about whether it was as significant as others’ experiences. So I downplayed it by shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Well, that was what the raindrops looked like to me, at least." Then I took my seat.

Gurumayi looked at me with a big smile and said that she had been waiting for someone to share this, because this was how she had first perceived the raindrops—as diamonds. Gurumayi added that the rain had a silver and pearlescent sheen like that of Bade Baba’s robes.

The following day, one of the participants shared another experience of the rain with me. She said that as she watched the rain, she had the sense that the rain was moving in two directions at once: downward toward the earth and upward back into the clouds. When she saw the Birthday Bliss 2015 Lighthouse—the Siddha Yoga sadhana tool—she was surprised and delighted because the silver gossamer strands spiraling through the lighthouse looked just like what she had seen in nature the night before.

This reminded me of an observation my sister had shared with me about this exquisite glass lighthouse. Viewed from the side, the spiraling strands seem to move upwards to the light at the top of the lighthouse. When you look down on the lighthouse from above, the delicate strands form a mandala, with petals like the sahasrara. Hearing this, I was so grateful for this sadhana tool. It is a constant reminder of Gurumayi’s Message for 2015. It represents the movement of the awakened Kundalini energy, unfolding within my being. And it will always evoke for me the memory of nature’s divine birthday gifts to Gurumayi on this blessed evening, June 23, 2015.

Gurumayi then invited Manju Kochhar to share about the monsoon rain in Ganeshpuri. Manju explained that the monsoon had begun there on June 10 and was heavier than usual; already there have been a thousand millimeters—about 40 inches—of rain. Gurumayi encouraged each one of us to offer our prayers to India, since heavy rains can lead to flooding. I am inspired by how Gurumayi is always wishing the best for India, and by how much care Gurumayi gives to the Gurukula students, sevites, and seekers in
Gurudev Siddha Peeth. Space and time are immaterial to the power of the Guru-disciple relationship.

Gurumayi again spoke to us about the importance of articulating and sharing our experiences, and particularly, sharing right away while the memory is fresh. Gurumayi encouraged us to write down what we had seen and experienced looking at the rain. Gurumayi said, "People always remember the rain in Gurudev Siddha Peeth on the morning of May 8, 1982. I would also like for all of you to remember the rain here in Shree Muktananda Ashram on this birthday celebration evening, June 23, 2015."

Gurumayi’s words gave me pause—I didn’t know the significance of that date but I was eager to find out. The next day I asked a friend, who explained that May 8, 1982, was the day of the pattabhisheka, the ceremony in Gurudev Siddha Peeth in which Gurumayi’s Guru,
Baba Muktananda, installed Gurumayi as the Guru of the Siddha Yoga lineage. I was so excited to hear about this momentous occasion, which I learned was also Baba’s 74th lunar birthday. I wanted to find out more. So I spoke with several Siddha Yogis in
Shree Muktananda Ashram who had participated in this historic event, and they painted this enthralling picture:

The excitement and anticipation had been building for months as Baba let everyone in the global Siddha Yoga sangham know that the pattabhisheka would take place on May 8, 1982, and that everyone who could possibly attend should do so. By the beginning of April, people began to arrive at Gurudev Siddha Peeth from every corner of the world. And by the time of the pattabhisheka itself, more than 5,000 seekers had arrived for the ceremony in the Yajna Mandap. The Yajna Mandap is located in the very spot where Baba had conducted his first yajna in 1968 on the occasion of his 60th birthday. During the two weeks before the pattabhisheka, Baba presided over many rituals and festivities, including yajnas, chanting saptahs, and—most significantly—the traditional ceremony of
sannyasa diksha, in which Gurumayi took the vows of monkhood.
On the morning of May 4, Baba inaugurated a five-day Chandi yajna in the Mandap, dedicated to the Devi, the great Shakti. For many hours each day participants sat immersed in the mantras recited by Brahmin priests, bearing witness to the worship of the sacred fire. During the quiet of the evening hours, hundreds of people would meditate by the light of the yajna fire pit.
Beginning at 12:00 a.m. on May 8, lines began to form around the Mandap for the purnahuti of the yajna and the ritual of the pattabhisheka. By 7:15 a.m., as the Indian summer heat began to build, four thousand people were seated in the Mandap with another thousand standing outside the open-air pavilion. People were filled with excitement and anticipation. But no one could have anticipated the grandeur of Baba’s entrance. He strode into the Mandap to the sound of beating drums and blowing conches and horns. Baba was dressed in simple cotton clothing. Behind him walked Gurumayi, dressed in silk robes of brilliant sannyasa colors. There was an enormous roar of welcome as the people sang out over and over again, "Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!"
Gurumayi took her seat near the yajna pit, while Baba walked to the front of the hall and sat on the Guru’s gaddi, or seat. Baba immediately asked everyone to move forward and closer together so that more people could be seated inside. The brahmins began reciting the pattabhisheka mantras.
Suddenly the blue sky outside the Mandap became darker and darker until it was pitch black. There was a clap of thunder and a loud roaring sound on the roof as if a waterfall had been let loose overhead. Rain came pouring down in torrents directly over the Ashram. Baba threw his arms in the air, almost bouncing in his chair, shouting "Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay! He is pleased! He is pleased!"
The monsoon rains had not been expected for at least another month, and yet here at this auspicious moment, as the pattabhisheka began, the heavens poured forth an unmistakable message. One of the visiting brahmins was heard to say, "Now you see what it means to be in the place of a Siddha."
For twenty-five minutes the water cascaded, the lightning flashed, and the thunder boomed as if the very voice of heaven were speaking. Baba was laughing and laughing. Finally Baba addressed the heavens, saying, "It’s enough! We know it! People are getting wet!"
Then, as quickly as it started, the rain stopped falling and the sun came out.
In the Indian tradition, a rainstorm at the culmination of a yajna is the most auspicious sign. Those who witnessed nature’s unparalleled response on this supremely sacred day, May 8, 1982, still speak about it with awe and wonder.

The Siddha Yogis who shared their memories with me also encouraged me to read Gurumayi’s poem "Initiation" in which Gurumayi describes her experience of the pattabhisheka. After reading this poem, I understood even more fully the profound impact
of this day in Siddha Yoga history: May 8, 1982.

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