When Gurumayi arrived in Shri Nilaya hall in Atma Nidhi, Shree Muktananda Ashram, for the satsang held in honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Solar Punyatithi, the satsang was underway, having begun with the talk by
Swami Shantananda and the manasa puja dharana. The second part of the satsang would be a chanting session. Gurumayi asked what the children had been doing during Swami Shantananda’s talk and the dharana. Mallika Maxwell, a Taruna Poshana intern, shared that before coming to the hall for chanting, the children were in another hall practicing Bade Baba’s teachings and physicalizing the teachings in a creative performance. Gurumayi
requested that, if they didn’t mind, the children show everyone how they practiced Bade Baba’s teachings.
Five small groups of young people and their mentors performed before Gurumayi and the satsang participants. The teachings that they shared
and demonstrated were: “The Heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam.” “Have faith, have faith!” “God dwells in your heart.” “Have the same feeling of love for everyone as you have for your own Self.” When the children finished offering their performance, Gurumayi thanked them and said it was beautiful.
“Soon we will be chanting,” Gurumayi said. And then she asked Krishna Haddad, the conductor for the chant, if the children’s performance would make him feel as free as they were while he conducted. Krishna said yes, he would be dancing throughout the chant since he would be moving his arms to conduct. Gurumayi said to the children, “Beautiful. You all have great faces. And they represent the sacred places. Thank you for showing everyone how to embody the teachings.”
Before the chant began, Gurumayi spoke to the participants in the satsang.
This morning, when I entered the hall, I thought the director for the Celebration Satsang in Honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Solar Punyatithi would come forward to let me know that they were the director for the satsang. Especially since from January through April, during the SYDA Foundation Staff Meetings, all the staff members were educated, almost every day, about how they have the responsibility to step forward and take charge to get things done in the SYDA Foundation. Step-by-step they were given clear instructions for how to go about it. One of the main instructions was for sevites who are in charge of satsangs to come forward and speak to me. However, today when I took my seat for the satsang in Shri Nilaya, no director came forward to communicate to me about the first hour of satsang. I do hope there is a director for this satsang, because it takes a lot to put on a satsang, as most of you who run Siddha Yoga meditation centers know.
How can a sacred place have no face? To maintain the sanctity of a place, there has to be a face. There needs to be someone who takes care of the sacred place, a custodian who shows up to do the job and then does the job well.
To achieve nothingness, first you need everything. How can you renounce something if you have nothing to renounce? Before you renounce everything, you need something to renounce. In fact you need a lot of something; otherwise, it will be just a meager renunciation and the attainment will also be very little.
Once I read a quote by Tolstoy: “The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.” However, on the Siddha Yoga path, when a seeker receives the Guru’s grace, they can make their life meaningful. When a devotee offers seva, they are cultivating humility. At the same time, a devotee must not forget to show their face to the Guru. What I want to say applies to everybody. In the name of cultivating humility, don’t lose the practical sense that is needed to run an organization. In the name of humility, do not renounce your responsibility by saying, “Oh, I am so humble. I didn’t do it. It’s all grace
Let me share an anecdote with you. The other day, I asked one of the staff members in Shree Muktananda Ashram to get a small white bucket, because I was going to give golf balls that were found at the stream by the Shakti Mandap, the satsang hall, to one of the children who lives in the neighborhood. Those of you who attended satsang in the Shakti Mandap might remember that there is a golf course behind the hall and during meditation the golf balls would land on the roof—plunk! Plunk! Plunk! New seekers who were attending the satsang for the first time probably thought they were having an experience. For the Mandap roof, it was definitely an experience. To this day, a lot of balls end up by the Mandap stream. We give them to the children in the neighborhood who play golf.
And coming back to the story, when I asked this staff member if there was a little white bucket in which we could put sixty golf balls, she said, “Yes. I will look.” And when she returned a short while later, with the perfect white bucket, she said, “Oh, Guru’s grace! Guru’s grace found it.”
On one hand, yes, you must give credit to the Guru’s grace. And on the other hand, in this case, this is a misuse of the teaching. Why? Let me explain. I asked the staff member for a little white bucket. The staff member said she would check. When she found it, she could have just been happy that she was able to locate it and help the cause. Instead, she blew this very simple task out of proportion by saying, “Guru’s grace found it.”
Yes, it is true that a devotee knows in their heart that their life has meaning because of the Guru’s grace. On the other hand, if a devotee depends only on grace, even to get a little white bucket, then it is misplacing their own responsibility to get the job done. On a day-to-day basis when the work needs to get done, be practical: engage your brain, engage your mind, engage your intellect, engage your heart. Let the focus be on getting the job done.
The main problem with attributing finding this little white bucket to the
Guru’s grace is that when a devotee cannot find the little white bucket when it’s needed, there is a possibility that they might say it’s the Guru’s grace that did not find it. What the devotee might not realize is that they might not have looked in the right place. They might not have taken enough time to find it. They might not have made the right effort. They might not understand that they might have been irresponsible.
The point of sharing this anecdote is that somebody has to be responsible for putting on the satsang. Although we are celebrating Bade Baba’s life and teachings, I don’t want to say that Bade Baba did it. It is true that we are celebrating Bade Baba’s grace, light, and wisdom; however, it is someone’s responsibility to put on the satsang. Think about this. Understand the point I am making.
What must go into putting on the satsang? One of the main things is that a satsang should contain Siddha Yoga teachings. A satsang shouldn’t be just a place for people to gather to meet their friends and family. This is an Ashram. This is the Siddha Yoga path. I wrote the dharana so that you could understand the importance of dharana, the importance of manasa puja, mental worship. There’s so much that goes on in a person’s head. Why not make the head a sacred place too?
This morning in honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Solar Punyatithi, I went to the Temple in Anugraha. As I was standing in front of the padukas, the manasa puja dharana came so alive. One of the lines in the manasa puja dharana is:“ These padukas impart the knowledge of Brahman, the Absolute.”
I wasn’t thinking about the dharana per se; in that moment, however, having written the manasa puja dharana and having practiced it, it was there. It was right there. It was so present.
The crux of this talk is, be practical always, be grateful always. That’s all it is.
Be practical. Be grateful.
How are you going to be practical? Talk to yourself—it works. Use the teaching tool: write your own dharana on how you will take responsibility. It works. Instead of putting all your energy into being melodramatic, put your energy into being practical. When you take responsibility for your actions, you’ll smile more. Responsibility makes you feel light, because when you take responsibility for your own actions, you don’t need to take responsibility for others’ actions. Haven’t you noticed when you go to organize something, it gets done? Again and again, it gets done! And you feel so great, don’t you?
Always be practical. Always be grateful. You will not be able to remember everything I said today; however, you will be able to do everything I said.
Have you seen the gallery of sunrise and sunset photos on the Siddha Yoga path website? Those photos look really, really beautiful. Stunning. Gorgeous.
As I said earlier, now it’s time for chanting. We’ll be chanting
Om Namo Bhagavate Nityanandaya in the Jhinjhoti raga.
Take a comfortable posture.
Become aware of your breath.
Allow your inner being to free up. Let the vibrations of the chant flow throughout all the rivulets of your inner being.
Bade Baba is always pleased, so it’s not that we need to chant to please him. We chant to please ourselves. To recognize God is within, to recognize goodness is within, to recognize that there is a temple within.
Om Namo Bhagavate Nityanandaya
Gurumayi asked the conductor, Krishna Haddad, to request the ensemble to say something into their microphones so that the audio technicians could check the sound. Krishna invited the ensemble to recall the colors of the sunrise and sunset on the Siddha Yoga path website and to mention one color. After the sound was checked, the satsang continued with the chant Om Namo Bhagavate Nityanandaya and the Nityananda Arati.
Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay
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