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Photographs of Shree Muktananda Ashram after Storm Sandy

Beginning on Wednesday, October 24, Storm Sandy severely affected portions of the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, and Eastern Canada.

In response to inquiries from Siddha Yoga devotees around the world regarding the impact of Storm Sandy on Shree Muktananda Ashram, this update and photo gallery is being posted.

Storm Sandy significantly impacted the area where Shree Muktananda Ashram is located—Sullivan County, in New York State, USA.

Shree Muktananda Ashram lost power on the evening of Monday, October 29 and functioned on generators, with minimal power, until the night of Friday, November 2, when the power was restored.

Although everyone in Shree Muktananda Ashram had to wear extra layers of clothing and carry flashlights, everyone followed the Ashram Daily Schedule and offered seva.

Sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram are sending blessings to all those affected by the storm—by chanting, meditating, and offering prayers.

We would love to hear about how you experience your prayers and blessings reaching those impacted by Storm Sandy, and the practical and tangible ways you are supporting others.

 

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Thank you for this wonderful example of Yoga in action!
 
I was a visiting sevite at Shree Muktananda Ashram offering garden seva during last September. So seeing the first pictures taken after the storm had a strong impact on me. I had been so closely connected to the trees and land in our dear Ashram.
 
I could recognize the fallen trees, and felt deep sorrow for the damages and also great concern for the ashramites I had just been sharing my life with.
 
But the picture gallery updates soon connected me, heart-wise, with the profound contentment, trust, and vitality of the sevites and workers in the Ashram. I felt myself, once more, among the sevites pushing wheelbarrows, sweeping leaves, collecting branches, praying and chanting. There was also such a strong support from the sangham worldwide, a rainbow of sharings, prayers, and blessings.
 
What a great lesson for our daily lives! We go through many different seasons, and weather changes in life and no matter what season or inner weather condition we might be going through, we are always inspired and encouraged by the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices. Yoga in action at full swing. Warmly cloaked with the Guru’s Grace, we know it’s only temporary and storms will change as seasons do; and thank God for the hidden blessings in seasons and climate changes, as hard as they might be, for the growth that comes from them: they always bring change and reconstruction within and without.
 

With love and enthusiasm,
a Siddha Yogi from Buenos Aires, Argentina

I’ve set the Siddha Yoga path website as one of my home pages.  Now at some point in the day I ‘visit’ the ashram to see how the clean-up work is coming on and to send my love and blessings.  The process is getting so powerful that just thinking of Shree Muktananda Ashram opens my heart.
  
At first I felt sad when I saw the beautiful trees that had been uprooted.  I always find it hard to let go of things that have been a part of my life and that have given me so much. However, watching the magnificent trees being cut up, I had the realisation that it’s all energy and that I can let go of these things that I value – it doesn't have to be hard – I can release the energy and let them move on.
 
Sitting in my study in rural New South Wales, I have darshan every day. I visit the galleries and then, when the photograph of Gurumayi appears, my heart bursts open with love and joy.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi.

And love and blessings to Shree Muktananda Ashram, the devotees, and the flora and fauna that live there.

a Siddha Yogi from Lismore Heights, Australia

I just saw the photos, and I can perceive, feel, and hear the peace and the joy of people, of loving people, offering seva at Shree Muktananda Ashram.

a Siddha Yogi from Estado de Mexico, Mexico

Thank you for the updates on the cleanup of Shree Muktananda Ashram after Storm Sandy.  It is really good to hear and see how the sevites and grounds are doing after the storm.  It was good to see the smiling faces of everyone responding to the aftereffects.
 
My wife and I have been traveling and we had only one brief contact with someone in Shree Muktananda Ashram, in which we learned that the power had been lost. It was good to come back to the web and be connected to the Ashram again.

Thank you for keeping us all updated through the website.

Warm regards,
a Siddha Yogi from Gurgaon, India

The other day I saw Gurumayi offering prayers and blessings, seated on a bench by the sun in the corridors with open hands and palms. I was curious of the gesture and saw that photo many times.

The next day I sent my blessings to myself, people who work for me,
my relatives, my apartment block, the neighborhood, the city, country,
people affected by the storm, people across all the continents and the planet.

By the time I finished sending the blessings with raised hands and open palms, I could feel energy entering my body through my hands and I was completely energized. I began to breathe a long and deep breath that often happens during my meditations—and I became very happy and cheerful.

Later, during the day, when I contemplated why I was breathing during my routine work like that and why I was so cheerful, I realized the power of sending blessings.

And today I read Gurumayi’s talk and the emphasis on sending blessings.

Thank you Gurumayi, for teaching directly and indirectly.

Thank you so much for being with us in every moment.

Love and blessing to all,
a Siddha Yogi from Delhi, India

It seems that going to the Siddha Yoga path website is like entering the Ashram itself. I go from one seva area to another singing the Shiva manasa puja, helping people mentally while they do their activities.

Thank you,
a Siddha Yogi from Oloron Sainte-Marie, France

While watching the sevites working and doing the cleanup my heart goes to Shree Muktananda Ashram and I feel that I am working there also with so much gratitude, love, and excitement. Every photograph is full of life and bliss. And especially the last photo of darshan with Gurumayi brings peace and love to me. I am there... I am there… I am there...

It is great to know that everyone at Shree Muktananda Ashram is safe.

Pranams to Gurumayi.

And regards to all the sevites at Shree Muktananda Ashram.

a Siddha Yogi from Sydney, Australia

Even in the midst of the Ashram's physical challenges due to Storm Sandy, Gurumayi continues to not only guide and protect us all, but is using this natural disaster to teach us such important life lessons. Through all of the postings on the Siddha Yoga Path Website, the global sangham remains connected to Shree Muktananda Ashram in such a palpable way. Not being there physically, I personally feel tremendous relief in being able to offer support in tangible ways through the offering of prayers and blessings, and by chanting my heart out! Om Guru Jaya Guru has become an ongoing saptah at home, in my car, and is blessing those recovering from the storm, is blessing all those with whom I come into contact, is blessing me, and also blessing the entire universe!
 
Also, although I wasn't able to make a substantial one time contribution in response to the storm, I was able to make a small increase in my monthly dakshina offering. In this way, I feel another tangible connection to my beloved Siddha Yoga path. Gurumayi's forward vision to future generations makes it my personal responsibility to do whatever I can to support the SYDA Foundation now and into the future. For me, Gurumayi's words inspired a contemplation about the inevitable day when I am no longer physically in this world. I have begun planning for how I may support her work long after I have gone.
 
I have received so much from my beloved Siddha Yoga path. One only has to spend a few seconds just beginning a gratitude list to realize that no matter what we do, we will never be able to even scratch the surface in our efforts to repay what we have been given. It is simply not possible. Sadgurunath Maharaj ki jay!

a Siddha Yogi from Nevada, USA

Thank you for the beautiful pictures of the sevites taking care of Shree Muktananda Ashram. The pictures brought up many beautiful feelings for me, and I was reminded that there really are beautiful and sacred places in this world. Seeing the pictures prompted me to make a recommitment to make my own home and my own life space a sacred place. This is only possible and even conceivable due to the grace of the Guru and the examples I've seen and experienced myself at the Ashram. Thank you again for the pictures so that I can see the hearts of the Ashram beating beautiful, strong, and true.

a Siddha Yogi from Oklahoma City, USA

I found no words to express my feelings for the sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram. Salute to all the sevites.

I am daily visiting the website and looking at the photographs. I wonder to see that I don’t find any faces with fear or stress. Instead I see laughing faces, chanting in bliss and doing their seva with full devotion. Through it all they are doing their daily Siddha Yoga practices. This proves that they are true Siddha Yogis and sustain themselves when the situation gets difficult.

My prayers are dedicated to all the sevites in SMA and to all affected by the storm.

Thank you Shree Gurumayiji for your ever present grace, countless blessings, and protection.
Thank you for providing us strength for maintaining our inner peace, bliss and equipoise.

With all my love and respect.

a Siddha Yogi from Amravati, India

Photo gallery 5 includes a brilliant image of Gurumayi with her palms outstretched. This image is from a darshan Gurumayi gave on Tuesday, November 5, for the sevites and employees in the Maintenance Area in the SYDA Foundation. In this darshan, Gurumayi acknowledged them for their great attitude and hard work in sustaining the maintenance services in the Ashram throughout the aftermath of Storm Sandy. Then Gurumayi invited two staff members, Denise Thomas and Asa Siegel, to present the sevites and employees with beautiful shawls as prasad from Gurumayi.
 
As the presentations were taking place, Gurumayi explained the tradition of offering shawls that is observed by the Buddhists in Tibet. Gurumayi demonstrated how shawls are given and received when honoring and acknowledging someone: the shawls are draped over the giver’s outstretched palms, then the recipient extends their palms in the same way to receive the shawl.

After the darshan, the sevites and employees shared among themselves how touched they were by Gurumayi’s acknowledgement of their hard work. One of the employees shared, “Gurumayi is so down to earth!” Another employee said, “Even though we were talking about mundane matters such as maintenance, tears kept welling up in my heart, and I had to make an effort to hold them inside so that I could engage in the conversation.”

a sevite in the SYDA Foundation

When I read the sentence in the update from the Board of Trustees, "Everyone followed the Daily Ashram Schedule and offered seva," my heart leapt up knowing everyone and everything was all right. This has been the great teaching in my life, that despite life's hardships, maintaining my Siddha Yoga practices every day strengthens my ability to withstand difficulties and diminishes any fear that tries to sweep away my courage.
Since the weekend the storm hit, I have offered my practices to everyone in the Siddha Yoga community. I have found the dharanas are particularly useful for offering my prayers and blessings directly through Bade Baba's Light, which reaches everyone, everywhere.
Thank you Gurumayi, thank you Baba, thank you Bade Baba.
With great love,

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

When the storm hit our home in upstate New York, the mantra was playing throughout the house and I felt its protection.  The storm did very little damage to our property and our home was untouched.  Throughout that time I was offering prayers and blessings for everyone and everything at Shree Muktananda Ashram.  I am so grateful that everyone there is fine and so enthusiastically picking up the pieces!  At the same time, it is clear that a lot of damage was done to the grounds, fences, and roofs of buildings.  Generators needed repairing, workers needed to be hired.  My husband and I wanted to help so we've decided to send a donation to support the maintenance and repair of our beloved Shree Muktananda Ashram, acknowledging with love all we've received in its sacred halls. 

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Since Storm Sandy, I find myself revisiting the website often, contemplating the images of the storm's impact on the Ashram and the residents there. My thoughts and prayers have been with everyone on the East coast, and I have offered the Kundalini Stavaha and the Guru Gita on their behalf. From a practical place, I have also offered charitable donations to support the victims.

Yesterday, while viewing the photos in gallery 4, I realized that I was drawn to the images so strongly because they really represent yoga in action, and that I was taking comfort from the example set by the ashramites and the sight of the beautiful grounds. The power of the energy at Shree Muktananda Ashram is such that even in distress it reflects calm, serenity, strength, dignity and constancy. Its beauty remains completely unspoiled to my eyes. The ashramites exemplify the offering of uninterrupted loving service. They truly are angels in disguise, as the caption of one photo stated. The images of Gurumayi amidst it all tell me that the Guru's presence is always with us, encouraging us to smile at our destiny, and to believe in love.
May everyone remain safe and protected as nature's next display begins to brew, knowing that the Ashram is the perfect shelter from this approaching storm.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I am deeply inspired by these images of harmonious cooperation, cheerfulness, and calm. It is so important for me—for all of us, I think—to have these images to hold in our hearts and in our minds as we pursue sadhana, and as the reality of such challenges confronts us.

May the world come together in harmony as you have.

With respect and love,
a Siddha Yogi from Kentucky, USA

I appplaud the strength, focus, and fortitude of the SYDA Foundation staff and sevites for continuing to keep the flame of the Siddha Yoga vision burning brightly for all those affected by Storm Sandy, including our beloved Shree Muktananda Ashram.  The photos and shares on the Siddha Yoga website exemplify the power of the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices in action: the chanting, offering blessings to all affected by the storm, continuing to offer seva utilizing generator back-up power, coming together to assist with the cleanup of the grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram, and the many behind the scenes sevas, all the while demonstrating poise and equanimity in the midst of challenge.  
Thank you each and every one for your great love and for serving as a source of inspiration for how each of us may approach our lives with a light heart even in the midst of challenge.  
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

a Siddha Yogi from Missouri, USA

This morning I was watching the new photo gallery. I could read in the sevites' faces a deep sense of purpose and commitment, together with the joy of offering physical work in the crispy morning air. Their enthusiasm in responding to the needs of the moment, made me feel I wanted to be there with all my heart, helping and supporting my friends. Then, looking at Gurumayi's photo at the end, I had a glimpse of recognition: wherever I am in the world, this is the place where I am meant to be and my dharma is to respond to the needs of my moments in a calm and poised way, with the same joy and enthusiasm shared by my friends in the SMA garden.

a Siddha Yogi from Bologna, Italy

When I first saw the picture of the flag over the Temple, a thought immediately resounded within me: Ahh! Shree Gurudev!! All is well. While watching the flag for a minute I felt Siddha Yoga is like this—always firm, strong and yet flexible, no matter whatever happens. It was very inspiring to see, despite such a big storm, everything was happening as per schedule and got back on track so fast. I felt: It is my good fortune that I have such a great Guru as Gurumayi in my life.
 
When I saw the pictures of Gurumayi offering prayers and blessings, and Gurumayi welcoming all, I was filled with gratitude toward Gurumayi and Babaji. A smile appeared on my face and my both hands automatically joined in namaskar. I had no words to say, there was complete stillness, no thoughts. I was only seeing Gurumayi's generosity toward the whole world.

a Siddha Yogi from Nasik, India

What an amazing parade of full moons dancing across my computer screen, connecting the entire globe under the illumining brilliance of Baba’s light and love on the day of his 30th Lunar Mahasmadhi! From waterscapes in New Zealand, Japan and Florida, to desert vistas in Santa Fe, new Mexico and Lima, Peru, to cityscapes in Rome, Dallas and Mexico City—it seemed that every corner of the planet was bathed completely in the blessings and glow of Baba’s full moon.

How incredible to be joined in this way, wherever we might be in the world and in our lives, by the power of Baba’s moon and by the outpouring of his love shared by so many devotees who paused to look up at the sky, wherever they might be, and remember Baba in photos or simply in silent recognition and prayer. What good fortune that we can revisit these moments of connection, devotion, and grace over and over again, every time we visit the website and watch the golden full moons of Baba crossing the sky from one side of the earth to the other.

a Siddha Yogi from London, United Kingdom

During the storm, as many of us in Shree Muktananda Ashram ate our meals together without electricity, the common theme we voiced was, “We may be without electricity, and we still have power!”

A great many of the trees that fell were pine trees, with shallow roots. It's the perfect analogy for sadhana. If your roots are shallow you collapse during a disaster. When your roots are deep and strong, you can survive intact, maintaining your joy and equipoise.

This is what I experienced throughout this last week. The sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram worked together in beautiful harmony, continuing the work of the SYDA Foundation with good humor and light heartedness.


a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

 This morning, I read all of the beautiful shares and saw all of the photos regarding the storm and realized that there was a storm going on inside of me, howling, "What can I do?”  So I went to my puja and listened to the Bhagavan Nityananda Manasa Puja dharana, as I have been accustomed to doing. When I was offered the tray of prasad by the priests, which was laden with flowers and sweets, I offered that to all the sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram and to others who were affected by the storm. With this action, I immediately felt the peace and love that I see in all of your beautiful faces as you work to restore the Ashram grounds.    

Thank you, dear devotees at Shree Muktananda Ashram, for showing me, by your example, that settling the storm within me is a valuable practice. Whatever happens on the outside can be settled by going within. You are inspiring reflections of our dear Guru and I will keep you in my heart and in my prayers.                   

With great love and respect,
a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I am touched by all the powerful photos shared from our beloved Shree Muktananda Ashram. We were supposed to be hit by a tsunami here in Hawaii on Saturday, October 27. Fortunately it didn't manifest, but it made us all even more keenly aware of how powerful Mother Nature can be. 
 
Although the destruction of Storm Sandy is immense, it is clear that the love and compassion being given by so many is inspiring and uplifting. The chanting and singing at Shree Muktananda to send blessings to everyone affected by the storm are felt all around the world.
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Much aloha, love, and blessings to all our brothers and sisters at Shree Muktananda Ashram.
You are in our hearts.

a Siddha Yogi from Hawaii, USA

Originally forecast as a tropical storm, hurricane Sandy emerged from her passage across Jamaica, Haiti and eastern Cuba and quickly developed into a category 2 hurricane as she travelled north through our chain of islands here in The Bahamas. We were subjected to Sandy’s high winds, heavy rain, and damaging sea surges for almost five days. The storm caused two deaths here.

The members of the Siddha Yoga Meditation Centre in Nassau were determined to go ahead with hosting the Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive. On Friday we postponed our preparation for a day and rescheduled the Intensive for Sunday.

When the all-clear was officially given on Saturday, October 27, we began setting up and transforming our temporary venue which had no electricity or water supply. We completed what we could by Saturday evening, with no guarantee that the utilities would be restored.

Sunday, October 28, dawned with sunny skies but still blustery winds. Imagine our joy when we opened the door to our adopted space to find lights, air conditioning, and water fully restored! Eight members of our sangham, minus one long-time devotee from Grand Bahama who could not join us because the Freeport airport was under seven feet of water, participated in the most blissful and powerful Shaktipat Intensive that many of us could remember.

Thank you Gurumayi! Thank you Baba! Thank you Bade Baba!

a Siddha Yogi from Nassau, Bahamas

On Baba's full moon I felt the urge to do pradakshina, as was recommended during the Shaktipat Intensive. In a small park close to where I live I performed pradakshina around a big tree that represents Bade Baba to me.
 
I do this now with acute awareness of Storm Sandy, repeating the mantra and sending blessings to Nature's Splendor everywhere as well as to  everyone affected,  everyone helping, everyone departed,  the ones who are safe, and the ones offering seva at Shree Muktananda Ashram. I thank them with all my heart that is full of gratitude for our Guru's lineage and this path that hold us all together.
In love,

a Siddha Yogi from Washington, USA

Thank you for sharing the images of the garden and grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram after the storm. It gives us an idea of what it takes (love and commitment) to upkeep the pristine beauty of the Ashram that you all have been sharing with us through Nature photographs every day. It touched my heart—day after day every day, 365 days of the year, the discipline and labour of love brings so much joy and peace to us through the splendid gardens and grounds.

We honour and are grateful to each one of you for the beautiful gift of the Ashram and gardens that we are able to see through your seva.

I am also grateful to be reminded that as a Siddha Yogi in times of difficulty we can always pause, pray, and send our blessings from where ever we are.

Once again thank you for sending the photos—we really really feel a part of Shree Muktananda Ashram and its life now.

Much love and blessings
a Siddha Yogi from India

Three days ago, I read these words in Gurumayi's book, My Lord Loves a Pure Heart that when we chant and repeat the word shantih three times it is a protection from calamity.

So, I sing Om shantih, shantih, shantih to offer my blessings and protection to all creatures which are suffering because of this Sandy storm. May each one sever the union with pain and become established in yoga.

With my deep love,
a Siddha Yogi from France

All day Monday, everyone in the large sangham here at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland was talking about, thinking about and sending blessings to folks in the path of Storm Sandy.

Devotees were sharing news they had received from Siddha Yogis on the east coast and Canada. Every conversation ended with one question, "What's happening at Shree Muktananda Ashram"! News came from someone at Shree Muktananda Ashram that "We are safe and joyful." We knew that power was out, the roads were closed and Sullivan County was in a state of emergency, and that everyone in the Ashram was full on, but what remained was "we are safe and joyful!"

Then Monday evening the chant we had here at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland for Baba's Mahasamadhi was packed. It was a beautiful way to end a day full of prayers and concerns: several hundred devotees chanting with hearts filled with gratitude for our Gurus and the sustaining practices of our divine path!

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Seeing the pictures of Shree Muktananda Ashram: the trees, the sevites cleaning up, continuing seva in such situation too, my heart is filled with blessings and gratitude. The most tangible feeling is that of a deep sense of gratitude and love for the sevites and also to the trees which are fallen-broken; as if my heart is rushing out to embrace you saying to each one of you, My love and blessings to each one of you. Thank You for your selfless seva, for your courage.

I chose Gurumayi’s teaching: “When you focus on the steadiness of God’s presence within, your heart is filled with courage.” This particular teaching many times has been an anchor for me during trying times. So, holding this teaching in my awareness I meditated on the steady presence of God within me, thereby connecting my heart with the heart of each one. Today I meditated on it, as a form of prayer, a form of a blessing to everyone who is faced with this storm.

From deep within I offer my love and blessings to each one of you in the Ashram and to everyone in the places around, who is faced with this difficult time. We all are together; we are one, always connected through the inner reservoirs of the divine courage within. We all are enveloped by God’s love, the Guru’s protection. All my love to you all.

a sevite in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, Ganeshpuri, India

The day after Storm Sandy arrived in New York City, I visited the Nature's Splendor on the Siddha Yoga path website. There, sitting strong and mighty was a photo of Lord Ganesh in Shree Muktananda Ashram. Lord Ganesh is known to be the remover of obstacles, and the uneasiness I had been feeling instantly dissolved into peace. I felt connected to courage and power within myself and shared the link to the image with others who had been affected by the storm. Thank you!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Several of these photos depict the gatherings with Gurumayi at noon this week, in which Gurumayi has chanted with the sevites, families and children to send prayers and blessings to everyone whose lives have been impacted by Storm Sandy.

Each day we have chanted Shree Ram Jay Ram, Jay Jay Ram, followed by three Aratis—Jayadevi Arati, Nityananda Arati, and Jyota se Jyota Jagao.

As we chant, I experience quite palpably the shakti of the chant radiating out into the world; the power of the chant touching people.

SGMKJ!

Thank you, Gurumayi, for the Siddha Yoga practices!

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

Thank you for sending the visual images of how Storm Sandy has affected Shree Muktananda Ashram, the land we love so much. I found myself saying thank you to those trees that took the storm and fell. They have been with us for so long offering protection, shade, oxygen, spiritual retreat and love. Like the great column of light we are all part of, their offering is felt all the way from Australia. They have been good friends.

Thank you to all the sevites who are sweeping up and taking care of these trees and landscape—thank you on our behalf, when we can't pick up leaves and branches with you.

From our house, we send golden energy from deep within to help rebuild. We stay with this energy and send it to Shree Muktananda Ashram, and to New Jersey, and New York, where there have been challenges and there will need to be regrowth. We are together. All of our love and blessings for a speedy recovery.

a Siddha Yogi from Australia

I would like to add my blessings and enormous gratitude for sharing the images of Shree Muktananda Ashram at this time. As I watched the photos and read the shares today, I could feel my heart expand with awe at the power of nature, and the power of such a loving response in dealing with the effects of Storm Sandy.

There is still a catch in my throat when I think of the acceptance, the detachment, and the practical response, that are so tangible in the images. In a way I can't quite explain, seeing the images of both the Ashram and the area around it, has set it in a context I've never sensed before—a deeper awareness that the Ashram, the abode of the Guru, does not exist in remote isolation, but in the midst of the world.

Thank you so much to the sevites who are taking the time and care in the midst of all this to share so immediately with the global sangham, allowing us to be a part of the response. And thank you Gurumayi. Just...thank you.

a Siddha Yogi from Australia

This was on Monday morning 29th October as a visiting sevite to Gurudev Siddha Peeth in Ganeshpuri, after chanting Shri Guru Gita and meditating I walked up to the Durga Park to have darshan of Ma Durga. As I bowed down my head with reverence and gratitude, I felt my heart naturally connect to the feelings of universal love, compassion, protection, and peace. As I looked up into Devi’s compassionate eyes they poured the same feelings of love. And within my heart arose a question: “What is it that the the Mother wants me to know and offer in this moment of time?” I walked up to the sacred fire besides the Durga Park to offer prayers with the same question within. As I looked into the sacred fire a very strong feeling within resounded that my prayer was incomplete without an offering to the sacred fire.

So I sat down to write a prayer and the following words arose: “This is a prayer I wish to offer for our Mother Earth, our universal Mother. May there be peace and harmony within all the elements of earth, water, fire, and air.” Then I offered this written prayer into the sacred fire. The flames rose high and I felt a feeling of completeness within as I bowed and walked away.

It was only later during the day, late afternoon, as I travelled back home, I got to know of Storm Sandy and tears of gratitude trickled from my eyes, thanking beloved Gurumayi for this inner connection and guiding me to take the right action in that moment in time.

a Siddha Yogi from India

Thank you so much for putting up the pictures of the aftermath of the storm there in Shree Muktananda Ashram.

I am relieved the damage is so light and that everyone is safe—maybe a bit cold and inconvenienced, but safe.

I'm channeling my Country Women's Association impulse to make sandwiches and boil the urn (the CWA supports the emergency workers in disasters) into a do-it-yourself one-day retreat to offer gratitude and blessings to Gurumayi, the community of Shree Muktananda Ashram, as well as Sullivan County and everyone else.

with love,
a Siddha Yogi from Australia

Thank you for posting the photos from Shree Muktananda Ashram. All during the storm here in Massachusetts I kept wondering…how are things at Shree Muktananda Ashram? I chanted the Guru Gita, repeated the mantra, and kept asking the question inside. I also thought about my family in New Jersey and those in New York.

The photos of the sevites chanting, performing the seva of cleanup, and those continuing office seva is the perfect example of yoga in action in response to challenge. I thought about all the times there were many people to feed and seva to do, and we chanted and it became an ecstatic offering; we rested in the mantra, took refuge in the chants. Thank you Gurumayi for the gift of this path, the protection of the mantra, and the power of the chants in times of peace and in times of need—their support is unfathomable.

a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA

On Thursday, November 1, at 11:00 a.m., in the satsang in Shree Muktananda Ashram, Gurumayi spoke about the importance of music and singing, especially during difficult times. Gurumayi told us that music gives people freedom from feelings of fear and despondency; the power of music can travel long distance and uplift everybody. Gurumayi said, “Music gives you wings.”

Then Gurumayi said that whenever the sevites, families, and children have free time from their seva duties, they should get together in different parts of the Ashram and sing or play instruments—to let the music resound in the Ashram. This will inspire the sevites and fill them with wonderful energy to continue what they are doing for the clean-up efforts after Storm Sandy. Everyone took Gurumayi’s guidance to heart; they didn’t require any extra convincing.

That afternoon, quite a few sevites—whether or not they were musicians— made their way to the hallways, the Annapurna kitchen, and the lobbies of Shree Muktananda Ashram. They made music resound throughout the Ashram!

One of the sevites who participated in this musical tour of the Ashram told me that everywhere she sang, many sevites joined in or listened with big smiles. They told her how happy the music makes them, and how much they love the music. She said that she herself is really experiencing the truth of Gurumayi's words—music does uplift everybody. Just by reflecting on this, I too am soaring.

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

In Shree Muktananda Ashram, after twelve days of stormy weather and thick grey skies, this morning – Saturday, November 3 – the Eastern horizon shone brilliantly with golden light. The sun rose with the brightest smile ever. Then the blue sky appeared, dotted with fluffy white clouds. What a heart-stirring and most welcome sight!
Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

Thank you for posting the scenes of Shree Muktananda Ashram. Seeing the sevites, the trees and buildings brought a reality and immediacy, and such feelings of love and closeness with everyone there to my heart. I feel I am there with you—would be offering seva right next to you, if I could be. You have my every good wish and blessing! Thanks also for your shares. You are so blessed!

a Siddha Yogi from United States Minor Outlying Islands

I was at Shree Muktananda Ashram offering seva when the storm hit. That Monday, the winds had been increasing during the day. At 5:00 p.m. I went to the Temple to sit quietly before evening Arati. Usually I feel a deep sense of stillness, quiet and love when I am in the Temple, but on that day, as the winds were howling outside, any sense of calm and confidence I had was replaced by a great fear. All I could do was think about storm scenarios and what might happen. I tried to repeat the mantra, but even the mantra seemed to be blown away by the wind.

Then we rose to begin Arati, and the moment our bells started to ring, my fear melted away. We started to chant, and in the Arati with our voices singing together, that fear could not exist. After Arati, I sat quietly while the winds still raged outside. The fear I had felt had been replaced by gratitude, prayers for the safety of all, and calm. Later, as the storm continued, I still felt safe and centered in the heart. Thank You Gurumayi, Baba, and Bade Baba for your protection!

a Siddha Yogi from Minnesota, USA

The day the storm was approaching we chanted Shri Rudram, praying for blessings and protection. While chanting, I felt some sadness, becoming aware that many people were about to suffer and at the same time there was this deep feeling that everything is in God's hands. It was such a bittersweet feeling.

I was away in San Francisco for the actual storm, but now I am back in New York City, looking for ways to help. I have brought some clothes and other goods that are being distributed to people who are still in storm shelters. Also I am volunteering at a shelter for youth in Chelsea that was destroyed by the storm.

Thank you for posting the photos. Thank you to Gurumayi for the call to action. Blessings combined with concrete actions is such a powerful mix.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

I liked to see all your pictures after the storm. I hope trees did not fall on the Ashram houses. Keep chanting!I also like the pictures of Nature Splendor, especially the one of the waterfall.
Love and kisses to Gurumayi.

a six-year-old Siddha Yogi from California, USA

As we conclude the celebration of Baba's Mahasamadhi, we are sending our love and blessings to everyone affected by the storm.

I am so grateful for the photos updating us on the situation in Shree Muktananda Ashram. I was so moved to see all the sevites including the Siddha Yoga Swamis and children offering seva to bring everything back to normal. It reminded me of the story "The Lord’s Club" that Baba and Gurumayi often tell, and how everything that we do in Siddha Yoga is "to have a vision of God within."

a Siddha Yogi from Germany

Thank you so much for sharing how Storm Sandy has affected everybody in Shree Muktananda Ashram. It is so heartening to see how the Siddha Yoga practices are sustaining at a challenging time. We shall remember that when the chanting and meditation group comes together to recite the Guru Gita this Sunday. We send you and everybody who is affected by the storm love and blessings.

a Siddha Yogi from the United Kingdom

I am offering seva in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. When I saw the photos of Shree Muktananda Ashram after Storm Sandy this morning, I felt sad for the damages that the storm has made to the Ashram grounds, and yet I was very touched and uplifted by seeing how sevites there continue offering seva!

During the day, I went to Bade Baba's Temple, Baba's Samadhi shrine, and Lord Ganesh invoking their blessings to everyone and everything in Shree Muktananda Ashram as well as to those who have been affected by this storm.

In the evening, we recited Shri Rudram in Hrdayadeep. Bade Baba's Temple and Baba's Samadhi shrine are on the other side of this chanting hall. So when reciting the Shri Rudram, I felt that Bade Baba and Baba's blessings were with me and that each syllable I uttered counts and will make a difference to those who are affected by the storm. Never before had I been able to recite the entire Rudram with such focus and full voice.

Thank you so much for keeping people around the world informed of this news via the website. I am very grateful for having this opportunity to contribute my blessings.

With all my blessings and love,
a Siddha Yogi from China in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, Ganeshpuri, India

My husband and I were in our cottage in the Atma Nidhi building in Shree Muktananda Ashram around 7:15 p.m. on Monday evening. It was dark and the power was out. Suddenly, there was a very loud noise and it felt like the whole house was shaking. We realized that something had fallen. We were really scared. We checked the house thoroughly on the inside and we couldn’t see anything. Then we took the flashlight and went outside. The wind was howling and it was raining. We saw that a tree had fallen on the roof. We decided to go to the manager's office in Atma Nidhi to inform the Shree Muktananda Ashram manager of what had happened. After we informed the manager, the evening namasankirtana was starting. We sat down and began to chant Om Namo Bhagavate Muktanandaya. At that moment I realized how shaken I was, how the fear was sitting in my bones. I realized that, due to the storm, many people must feel as afraid as I felt and were going through much more difficult things then I me. As I continued to chant, the chant began to sooth me. The fear disappeared. I felt connected to everyone in the storm. I began to send blessings to all the people, everywhere, who were in difficult situations during this storm.

a Siddha Yogi from Switzerland offering seva at Shree Muktananda Ashram