Reflections on Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Welcomed to Offer My Best

When I first began to practice the Siddha Yoga teachings in 2008, the SYDA Foundation videos—of Gurumayi chanting or delivering the New Year’s Message, of Baba giving talks—helped connect me to the Siddha Yoga path in a very profound way. Watching them at a Siddha Yoga meditation center in Texas, I could experience the Guru’s darshan.

Two years ago, I became a staff member at Shree Muktananda Ashram, offering seva as a video editor. The seva was new to me, and I felt deeply appreciative of all the sevites in the Multimedia Department who had come before me and had paved the way. Their skill and their dedication to the work of the SYDA Foundation inspired me immensely.

Many of these sevites from earlier times returned to Shree Muktananda Ashram in 2014 to offer seva in the video production department for the Birthday Bliss 2014 celebration of Gurumayi's birthday. Though they had not worked together for many years, these talented professionals immediately began to function well and cohesively as a team. They also fully included us—the newer staff and visiting sevites.

One night we were organizing a video shoot by the statue of Lord Ganesh at the Anugraha building. As we were passing through the lobby with all of our equipment, we met Gurumayi. She was happy to see the reconvened team of sevites working together again, and she spoke about each person’s contribution to the SYDA Foundation: specific projects they'd worked on and specific positions they'd held. She expressed so much appreciation for their long-term commitment and dedication. Gurumayi asked a photographer to take a group photo of the “old team.” Their efforts in creating videos over the years had given me and countless others a unique way to experience darshan and study the teachings, and I was touched to see them all together, receiving acknowledgment from Gurumayi.

After a few photos were taken, Gurumayi turned and smiled at the rest of the group. “And now…” she said,“…the new sevites!” We were invited to join the group for another photo. I felt a deep sense of being welcomed—Gurumayi was welcoming me into this team of people who had had such a direct impact on my sadhana through the seva they had offered. Joining the group, I realized that I was taking part in a Siddha Yoga tradition of seva in which skills and experience get passed on from one generation of sevites to the next, creating a great legacy of seva.

Gurumayi had welcomed me as a participant in the Siddha Yoga legacy, and that inspired me even more to give my best.

Soon the seasoned team returned back to their homes. As new sevites arrived throughout the year, I took special care to welcome them to the Ashram and to their roles. Small things made a difference: making sure that they knew where things were kept and what the work flow was really helped them own their roles and responsibilities. I could see them gain confidence, which helped them offer their best.

Soon after the month of Birthday Bliss 2014 had concluded, I was offering seva on the video team during a family satsang. Gurumayi acknowledged the children as the bearers of the Siddha Yoga legacy. When she mentioned a few videos that had been posted recently on the Siddha Yoga path website, a staff member stood up and introduced a visiting sevite and me to the families, describing our roles in making these videos. Gurumayi asked if the children were inspired to offer seva after hearing about our contribution, and there was a roar of applause and cheers. Yes!

Remembering this moment, I’m moved to realize how quickly things had turned full circle. Just a few weeks before, Gurumayi had helped me recognize how each person’s seva can inspire others. Now, because she had taught me and countless others to take responsibility for passing on our skills and knowledge, members of a new generation were expressing their eagerness to offer their best in service.

 

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