In Step with the Heavenly Beat

An Account of Gurumayi’s Birthday Celebration

Shree Muktananda Ashram
June 23 – 24, 2015

Part VI

Gurumayi’s Message for this year is:

Turn
Inward
Meditate
Easefully

When Gurumayi invited all of us to prepare for meditation, I was ecstatic. So much had already taken place in all spheres, in the cosmos as well as in our beings. And I know that the Siddha Yoga practice of meditation supports us in assimilating our spiritual experiences and imbibing their transforming energy at a deeper, subtler level of our being.

Gurumayi instructed us to establish a comfortable posture and become aware of the natural flow of the breath. She led us in a powerful dharana, which I know will come to life every time I sit for meditation and will give me the inspiration and resolve to practice Gurumayi’s Message for 2015.

Sitting in the heavenly atmosphere of the Temple, I felt the pulsations of the great Shakti invoked through the spiritual practices we had performed thus far in this Celebration Satsang. As I practiced the visualization in Gurumayi’s dharana, I became steeped in the most nectarean peace.

It seemed as if the meditation took place in eternity. When the chimes and gongs sounded to indicate the conclusion of meditation, Gurumayi led us in singing three resonant rounds of Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay! Being in Bade Baba’s Temple, in Gurumayi’s presence, it seemed as if we had transcended time and would live forever in this golden moment. We had gone beyond the limitations of the earthly realm and were now breathing in the ethereal realm of the divine. I wondered if this was the experience described in the scriptures as sakara and nirakara—God as both form and formlessness.

I was transported to the divine realm of Gurudev Siddha Peeth on January 1, 2001. This was the day Gurumayi gave her Message for that year: Approach the present with your heart’s consent. Make it a blessed event. During her Message talk that day, Gurumayi sang the beautiful Marathi abhanga by Tukaram Maharaj, Niranjani Amhi Bandhiyele Ghar. Gurumayi composed the music for the abhanga and created a new refrain, which says:

As we continued to relish the sweetness of the Temple atmosphere in Gurumayi’s presence, we took delight in watching some of the participants placing candles with lotus-shaped crystal holders on the platform around Bade Baba’s murti. One by one, they lit each of the candles. As I watched the lighting of the candles, I started thinking about how for me this act represents the Guru kindling the flame of devotion in her disciples. Just as this thought had come to completion in my mind, I noticed that the lit candles now formed a full circle of light.

When this offering of worship was complete, Gurumayi directed us to recite the hymn Shri Mahalakshmyashtakam three times. I was honored to be serving as a vocalist in the music ensemble, and I was elated to recite this hymn glorifying Goddess Mahalakshmi in celebration of Gurumayi’s Birthday. Since the entire month of June—Birthday Bliss—is an especially auspicious time to honor Mahalakshmi, we were perfectly in step with the heavenly beat. Let me explain.

Shri Mahalakshmi is an aspect of the divine cosmic energy, traditionally known as the goddess of wealth. She represents not only outer wealth and abundance, but also inner splendor and the spiritual wealth of virtues that Gurumayi teaches. The study of these divine virtues has become a highlight of the Birthday Bliss celebration each year.

In 2006, Gurumayi initiated the practice of honoring Mahalakshmi and her eight manifestations—Ashtalakshmi—in Shree Muktananda Ashram, each year during Birthday Bliss. Worshiping Ashtalakshmi manifests blessings; it brings inner and outer fulfillment. That first year, all eight forms were honored. Each subsequent year, we honored one of her eight forms. Now this year, 2015, having worshiped, invoked, and understood each form individually, we were once again honoring all her eight forms as we did in 2006.

I am always astonished at the constant synchronicities on the Siddha Yoga path. For instance, after the satsang as I was reflecting on Ashtalakshmi, I recalled that there is a connection between Mahalakshmi and dharma. The timing of the celebration of all eight forms of Mahalakshmi this year couldn’t be more perfect! Dharma is a main theme of Gurumayi’s Message talk in A Sweet Surprise satsang on January 1, 2015. And on January 14, in a satsang in celebration of Makara Sankranti, Gurumayi told us that Dharma Marga—The Path of Dharma will be the title of the Global Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive this year!

The eight manifestations of Mahalakshmi are:

  1. Shri Adi-Lakshmi
    Adi means “the primordial.” Shri Adi-Lakshmi is the primordial energy of the Absolute that created the whole world. She is also the life force and the universal order—the dharma—that sustains it. She is Mother Nature. Through the blessings of Shri
    Adi-Lakshmi, we are able to follow the path of dharma and recognize our true inner nature. When we live in harmony with the universal laws, we are naturally drawn to care for and protect the resources that sustain the earth.
  2. Shri Dhanya-Lakshmi
    Dhanya means “food” and “grains.” Shri Dhanya-Lakshmi provides nourishing food infused with prana, the life force. Through the blessings of Shri Dhanya-Lakshmi, we gain good health. Through her blessings, the whole earth flourishes and remains green.
  3. Shri Vira-Lakshmi
    Vira means “brave.” Shri Vira-Lakshmi is the goddess of courage and vigor. She is the inner stambha, or pillar, that keeps us centered within. Through the blessings of Shri Vira-Lakshmi, we are able to manifest the virtues of equipoise, patience, steadfastness, constancy, and inner fortitude—all of which are forms of courage. Through her blessings, the natural forces in this universe have the fortitude and steadfastness to function in harmony with one another. The earth moves on its axis, planets stay in their orbits, and the rhythm of the universe endures.
  4. Shri Gaja-Lakshmi
    Gaja means “elephant.” Shri Gaja-Lakshmi is depicted as surrounded by elephants. In the Indian tradition the elephant represents deep inner wisdom and good fortune. Through the blessings of Shri Gaja-Lakshmi, we receive wisdom, intuition, foresight, and good fortune. Through her blessings, the knowledge inherent in nature remains intact: a mango tree bears fruit in the right season, birds migrate thousands of miles, the sunflower keeps its face to the sun. These are all manifestations of the blessings of Shri Gaja-Lakshmi.
  5. Shri Santana-Lakshmi
    Santana literally means “one’s own children.” Shri Santana-Lakshmi is depicted holding a child on her lap. She is the goddess of continuity and grants constancy and right balance on this earth. Through the blessings of Shri Santana-Lakshmi, we are able to create and maintain a legacy of knowledge and culture that will benefit, protect, and nurture future generations.
  6. Shri Vijaya-Lakshmi
    Vijaya means “victory” and “success.” Shri Vijaya-Lakshmi is the goddess who propels us to follow the teachings of Shri Guru and lead a dharmic life. Through the blessings of Shri Vijaya-Lakshmi, we accomplish the beneficial actions we undertake. Through her blessings, light always triumphs over darkness.
  7. Shri Aishvarya-Lakshmi
    Aishvarya means “sovereignty.” Shri Aishvarya-Lakshmi is the goddess of mastery. She empowers us to become proficient in the various skills and arts that we pursue. Through the blessings of Shri Aishvarya-Lakshmi, we attain mastery over the inner enemies, such as anger, fear, and envy. We gain control over our mind and senses. With this inner sovereignty, we become perfectly centered in the Self and gain the ability to act selflessly and in harmony with the world around us.
  8. Shri Dhana-Lakshmi
    Dhana means “wealth.” Shri Dhana-Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, abundance, and auspiciousness. Through the blessings of Shri Dhana-Lakshmi, we attain both worldly prosperity and the inner wealth of spiritual knowledge and divine virtues. Through her blessings, we give generously to others and offer selfless service. Shri Dhana-Lakshmi grants the experience of complete fulfillment.

For me, Gurumayi is the embodiment of all these forms of Shri Mahalakshmi. Honoring Shri Mahalakshmi on Gurumayi’s Birthday is honoring Shri Gurumayi herself—the embodiment of grace. As we prepared to sing the beautiful Sanskrit hymn Shri Mahalakshmyashtakam, in our heart of hearts we knew we were worshiping Shri Gurumayi, whose teachings have given us the experience of each of these manifestations of Shri Mahalakshmi within ourselves and in our life.

Click here to read Part VII

 

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