Celebrate Baba Muktananda's Birthday

Celebrating Baba Muktananda's Lunar Birthday
An Account by Swami Ishwarananda

Shree Muktananda Ashram
May 24, 2013

Happy Baba Muktananda’s Lunar Birthday!

Baba was born in May 1908, on the day of the full moon.

On the Siddha Yoga path, Baba’s Birthday is a time of utmost joy and gratitude; it is an occasion for remembering and honoring the treasure-house of grace and teachings Baba has given to this world.

Because of Baba Muktananda, generations of seekers around the world have been able to study and practice the Siddha Yoga teachings.

Thank you, Baba, for the Siddha Yoga path—the path of liberation.

Today in Shree Muktananda Ashram we have been honoring Baba through puja. This morning, after the recitation of Shri Guru Gita, Gurumayi told us that this is the way to celebrate Baba’s Birthday—through puja.

Puja is a Sanskrit word that means "to honor, revere, and respect." Puja is also an act of worship. It denotes both the outer rituals a devotee performs—such as waving lights, offering flowers, and singing aratis—as well as the subtle, inner state of worship—manasa puja. It is the internal stance of love and gratitude, respect and humility.

We began offering puja to Baba this morning by reciting Shri Guru Gita and singing
Sadguru ki Arati with Gurumayi in Shri Nilaya. Gurumayi then invited us to dance and chant Baba’s name, Om Namo Bhagavate Muktanandaya. The dancing saptah concluded with the arati Jyota se Jyota Jagao, and singing Happy Birthday to Baba.

Gurumayi invited us to come close to her chair and we all gathered around her. With great joy, we listened as Gurumayi spoke to us. I will now read Gurumayi’s words to you.
Gurumayi said:

Happy Birthday, Baba. Happy Birthday to you!

Baba loved his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda. What would Baba want to do on his Birthday? He would love to recite Shri Guru Gita.

My intention for Baba’s Lunar Birthday has been puja.

So today, from morning to evening, as you go about offering seva, experiencing bliss—perform puja to Baba all day; visualize you are honoring Baba, you are doing puja to his shakti, the divine energy that he has awakened in all of us.

Today is Baba’s Birthday. We live for this day. We could be sleeping all the time; however, we need to be awake for the auspicious moment, because that’s when the magic happens—in that auspicious moment.

Today is also a lunar eclipse. So it’s a very powerful day—Baba’s Birthday. It’s a very powerful day—a lunar eclipse.

Happy Birthday, Baba. We live for this day, we live for this moment when we can worship our Guru—our Guru, who awakens Kundalini Shakti within; our Guru, who gives us a blessed life—a life that we can cherish, a life that we can adore.

Your life is beautiful; your life is filled with blessings because Baba’s shakti, Baba’s energy, Baba’s love is… Yes, I want you to finish that thought. What does the Guru’s love, the Guru’s shakti, the Guru’s grace mean to you?

Puja. Puja to Baba all day. That is the intention. That is the duty.

Three devotees who are video editors arrived from Mexico yesterday. They traveled all day, and after they arrived, they worked all night to post the video that went up on the Siddha Yoga path website this morning.

This is what happens on Teachings Visits. Devotees from all over the world arrive at the right time, on time. They offer seva, offer their expertise. This is why we have the Siddha Yoga path that is very much alive—this is why the SYDA Foundation is able to facilitate the dissemination of Baba’s teachings, of Gurumayi’s teachings—the Siddha Yoga teachings.

And now, because of those three devotees, we have this video on the Siddha Yoga path website, and the global Siddha Yoga sangham will receive Baba’s laughter, Baba’s love.

What is the intention for this day of celebration? Puja. Puja takes place out of love, out of gratitude. So, the entire day will be filled with love and gratitude.

Beautiful. Let’s celebrate.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for teaching us how to offer puja, how to offer our gratitude and worship.

In the satsang this morning we all viewed the beautiful video posted on the Siddha Yoga path website in honor of Baba’s Lunar Birthday. Through this video we offered puja in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple, which Baba built to worship his beloved Shri Gurudev.

Gurumayi then invited everyone to celebrate Baba’s Birthday in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple that evening, continuing to offer puja to Baba Muktananda.

Happy Birthday, Baba! Thank you, Baba! Thank you, Bhagavan Nityananda!
Thank you, Gurumayi!

Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

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On the evening of Baba's Lunar Birthday, the sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram were invited to continue the celebration with Gurumayi in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple. When we began to chant the mantra Om Namah Shivaya the lights dimmed, and through the Temple windows I could see the trees outside swaying and dancing in the wind and rain against the deepening blue of the sky.

Suddenly, I was experiencing myself outside with the trees, breathing the moist, sweet air. And I was part of everything I saw, beyond the confines of my physical being, feeling such easeful freedom, and the sweetest gratitude and love for Baba and Gurumayi.

I became aware that the mantra, which Baba teaches us rises within, and which I had experienced rising within my body, was actually rising within everything, in every particle of Consciousness. There was only one Consciousness—limitless, eternal. And I was That.

That evening, in the Temple with Gurumayi, I experienced my freedom. I experienced heart's ease beyond anything I had known. I know for certain now that this is mine.

Thank you, Baba. Thank you, Gurumayi, forever.

a Siddha Yoga Swami

Thank you so much for sharing the words Gurumayi's spoke following the recitation of Shri Guru Gita on the morning of Baba's Lunar Birthday. There are so many wonderful teachings here for us all to follow.

Gurumayi asked us to finish the thought: "Your life is beautiful; your life is filled with blessings because Baba's shakti, Baba's energy, Baba's love is…"

For me, Baba's shakti, Baba's energy, Baba's love is in the form of the mantra. It is also showering upon me and flowing through me into the world when I turn to the Siddha Yoga teachings, when I welcome others with love and respect, when I contribute to situations in an uplifting way, when I offer seva with an open heart, and when I contemplate the many blessings in my life and offer gratitude in tangible and heartfelt ways.

Gurumayi, thank you for teaching us how to honor the birth of a great being through puja.

a Siddha Yogi from Perth, Australia

On Friday night, May 24, on Baba's Lunar Birthday, the sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram were invited to the Bhagawan Nityananda Temple to continue our practice of puja to Baba. I was sitting close to Bade Baba's murti and had an extraordinary experience of Gurumayi's Message Artwork.

While we were chanting Om, which truly sounded like a choir of angels, I looked up. The ceiling of the Temple was bathed in a deep, deep blue light and the dome above Bade Baba was golden-blue light. Immediately, my awareness went up through the dome into the Blue Pearl, then into the vast universe. I felt myself pass through the sahasrara at the top of my head.

We were all inside the Artwork mandala. Each of us was a bead, pulsating with Om, and we all traveled up through the Blue Pearl that opened above Bade Baba's head. It was exquisite.

Whenever I recall that experience, I can feel that space at the top of my head open once more. Because I have been meditating on the Message Artwork regularly, I can feel that my awareness immediately takes that route to the Blue Pearl, the center of the Artwork. It is becoming a habit—a great habit!

Thank you, Gurumayi. The gifts of your Message Artwork continue to unfurl and remain to be enjoyed every day!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

On the evening of Baba’s Lunar Birthday, while chanting Om Namah Shivaya in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple with Gurumayi, I felt the power of the pure vibration of the Self permeating every cell of my body and resonating with my soul, making me aware of my oneness with all.

Throughout the chant, I had flashes of recognition of moments during my daily life when I touched that source of power within—just by remembering to focus on my heart. What a gift Baba gave to us all!

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this day of celebration, worship, and remembrance.

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

On the auspicious day of Baba's Lunar Birthday, I went with my two daughters to a Family Satsang. What a wonderful way to offer puja! I loved chanting Baba's name. My older daughter, ten years old, appreciated hearing the story of Baba's birth and offering arati during Jyota se Jyota Jagao. My youngest, who is six, loved drawing for Baba and offering puja through the practices of darshan and dakshina. Earlier in that day, the three of us saw the video posted on the Siddha Yoga path website.

Thank you, Gurumayi. And thank you to all the sevites who participate in offering us so many ways to worship our Guru.

The Guru's love is infinite and always present in my heart.

a Siddha Yogi from Annecy, France

Throughout the celebration of Baba Muktananda's Lunar Birthday, I was experiencing seeing Baba's light and shakti emanating from those around me in a most powerful way. At lunchtime, as I was speaking with a fellow devotee, I saw Baba so clearly in this devotee's eyes and smile, and then I had the understanding—this is puja; seeing God in each other is puja.

My experience of this puja to Baba deepened throughout the day of celebration, and I noticed that, inwardly, my head began to naturally bow as I saw Shri Gurudev in others. This mahaprasad of Baba's darshan everywhere continues to absorb me as I contemplate the duty I have to walk reverentially in this universe of bliss.

With all of my heart, Gurumayi, I thank you for your intention for Baba's birthday, for your supreme teachings, and for guiding me in a life of worship.

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram, USA

It was so beautiful for us in Gurudev Siddha Peeth to read Swami Ishwarananda's talk today. Yesterday, on Baba’s Lunar Birthday, we too were offering puja to Baba all day. Gurukula students started with the morning arati, followed by the recitation of Shri Guru Gita and a maha abhishek in the Nityananda Temple. At 6:45 in the evening, the entire Gurukula came together to view the video on the home page of the Siddha Yoga path website. It was breathtaking to hear and see Gurumayi speak, to hear and see Baba laughing, and to be sharing in all of this with the global sangham. The viewing of the video was followed by an exquisite chant of Baba's name. 

When we started to chant, a bird flew into the hall and alighted on one of the microphones that was not being used by a lead chanter. The bird looked for a long time at Gurumayi's chair and back at us and at Gurumayi's chair again before flying off.  Many of us felt this was another grace-filled sign of Baba!

Happy birthday, Baba.

a Gurukula student in Gurudev Siddha Peeth

On the morning of Baba’s Lunar Birthday Celebration, after the recitation of Shri Guru Gita, most of the devotees in Gurudev Siddha Peeth were in Bade Baba's Temple attending the maha abhishek, and I was preparing the puja of my department. The thought of puja itself had been so much in my mind since early morning. I collected flowers from all over the Ashram, laid out new puja cloths, and decorated the puja with all those flowers. As I placed each flower, in my heart I was offering puja. I was enjoying this to the core of my being.

Today, when I read Gurumayi's intention, I realized how much she had been with me when I was decorating the puja. Now, I know why I had been feeling since early morning that I did not want any corner to be left without puja—it was Gurumayi’s intention working with me.

Thank you, Gurumayiji.

a Gurukula student in Gurudev Siddha Peeth