A new dawn. A new beginning. A new awareness. Everything is new. 2015.
This sense of newness has been permeating the awareness of Siddha Yogis and new seekers around the world since January 1, when we participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang with Gurumayi. Our hearts are still singing and dancing as Gurumayi’s Message resonates with our own resolutions for 2015.
On January 7, we celebrated the 43rd anniversary of the first recitation of Shri Guru Gita in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the auspicious day that Baba Muktananda established Shri Guru Gita as part of the Ashram daily schedule. Although most Siddha Yogis recite Shri Guru Gita on a regular basis, there is always a special energy when we recite it on an anniversary, a Siddha Yoga holiday, an auspicious day.
Speaking of auspicious days, on January 14 in Shree Muktananda Ashram we had the great good fortune to recite Shri Guru Gita in a satsang with Gurumayi. This satsang was in honor of Makara Sankranti, the celebration of Surya Devata, the glorious deity of the sun.
I had the immense honor to be the host of this satsang. I offer seva in the role of Content Coordinator in the SYDA Foundation Content Department. I was so excited to offer seva on this auspicious day, in the presence of my beloved Guru, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, who has been my Guru all my life.
Many Siddha Yogis and new seekers also celebrated Makara Sankranti in their respective locations, by reading and reciting the Sanskrit hymns on the Siddha Yoga path website, Honoring the Sun, the Effulgent One. And by now, many Siddha Yogis have had the good fortune to partake of the Makara Sankranti satsang by viewing the images in the photo gallery. The photos are scintillating with the love and joy that were so palpable in the satsang that morning.
One of the ways Makara Sankranti is celebrated in India is by flying kites. People of all ages gather together outside in the bright rays of the sun to send kites of many shapes and colors soaring up into the blue sky. It is an occasion of great joy, laughter, and camaraderie. The kite strings are like threads of love connecting each heart to Surya Devata—uniting the divine light in each of us with the celestial light. In the Indian state of Maharashtra it is the custom on this day to share laddus, sweets made of sesame seeds and brown sugar, and to speak sweet words to one another.
In Shree Muktananda Ashram, on the morning of Makara Sankranti we began entering Shri Nilaya, the main satsang hall, at 10:15 a.m. On the wall next to the entrance we were greeted by a radiant papier-mâché sun with bright eyes and a smiling face. Beautiful pujas adorned Shri Nilaya, with streams of cloth extending out from these pujas, symbolizing the rays of the sun. A mirror with a sun-shaped frame reflected the pujas and all the Siddha Yogis who had gathered to recite Shri Guru Gita in satsang with Gurumayi. The floral arrangements were specially designed to represent the splendor of the sun, evoking the feeling that sunlight was present everywhere on this day in celebration of Makara Sankranti.
When Gurumayi entered the hall, everyone stood to show their respect and turned to greet Gurumayi with beautiful smiles and warm hearts. Everyone exuberantly exclaimed, as one cohesive unit, “Shubh Makara Sankranti, Gurumayi!”
Gurumayi smiled, waved, and said: “Shubh Makara Sankranti! I see a lot of people wearing orange today.” Everyone laughed and received with grateful hearts Gurumayi’s acknowledgment of their intention to honor the sun with their orange attire.
Gurumayi then complimented Asa Siegel, a project manager in the Content Department, for wearing the colors of the sky as it appeared on this particular morning. Asa, who had on a bluish-gray jacket, a light-peach dress shirt, and a cream-yellow scarf, gave a perplexed look and did not say anything. Once Gurumayi had taken her seat, she again complimented Asa on his outfit, and invited him to come forward and speak to everyone. Asa gracefully walked to the front of the hall and, with a big smile, raised his arms to show everyone what he was wearing. Gurumayi asked him playfully why he had not responded to her comment.
Asa laughed and said that he was surprised when Gurumayi complimented him because her comment was a sweet recognition of his intention to dress in the colors of the morning sky. Asa shared that although he had not seen the sunrise that morning, he had gotten up early to meditate on the rising sun and wanted to honor the sun’s splendor in this way.
Gurumayi thanked Asa and asked all of us, “How was the sunrise this morning?” Shubha de Oliveira-Thompson, the Taruna Poshana Department Head, stood and came forward. Shubha described how she had watched the sun’s light fill the sky with its brightness. She said that the bank of clouds she’d seen along the horizon was the exact shade of Asa’s jacket!
Gurumayi thanked Shubha for sharing and wished us all, once more: “Shubh Makara Sankranti!” Gurumayi said, “Each year, I notice so many things happen in the month of June.” Everyone laughed, then Gurumayi laughed and said, “Oh! I meant to say 'the month of January.' I’m already ahead of the game!” We all laughed some more. Gurumayi noticed that Swami Vasudevananda had raised his hand; he was sitting on the edge of his seat, with a huge smile on his face. Gurumayi said, “Yes, Swami ji, please redeem me from this!”
Without missing a beat, with a jubilant expression on his face and a grandfatherly twinkle in his eye, Swami ji rose and said, “There’s an old song, Gurumayi, from the 1930s…” Swami ji then sang, “It’s June in January, because I’m in love.”
We all cheered and applauded Swami ji’s singing, his spontaneity, and his unwavering devotion to the Guru. We all felt that Swami ji had aptly given words to the feeling in our hearts, and our hearts shone a bit more.
Gurumayi said, “Thank you so much, Swami ji. Now that you raise the topic of love… Actually, a poem arose in me this morning, which I brought to the satsang to share with everyone.” Hearing this, our hearts leapt in anticipation, and we all became more attentive. Gurumayi said, "Swami Vasudevananda, why don’t you read it?”
Swami Vasudevananda received the poem from Gurumayi and began reading “One Special Mandate…” As Swami ji was reading these words from Gurumayi, the sunlight pierced through the clouds and streamed through the skylights into Shri Nilaya.
When Swami ji finished reading, we all sat silently, cherishing the images evoked by Gurumayi’s poem and the blessing of having received Gurumayi’s "One Special Mandate" on this auspicious day. The atmosphere of Shri Nilaya scintillated with profound silence and gratitude.
After a few moments, Gurumayi thanked Swami Vasudevananda. As Swami ji moved toward Gurumayi’s chair to return the poem to her, Gurumayi said, “You can have that.”
Swami ji said, “I can have this?” He touched the poem to his heart, and as he walked back to his seat, we all felt the reverberations of his gratitude in our own shining hearts.