Birthday Bliss Letter
Dear Siddha Yogi,
June is here—my favorite month, the month in which my Guru, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, took birth.
In the Indian scripture Viveka-chudamani, the great sage Shankaracharya declares, “Only through God's grace do we obtain those three rarest advantages—a human birth, the longing for liberation, and discipleship to an illumined teacher.”
For many years, as soon as June arrived, Siddha Yoga devotees would begin wishing Gurumayi “Happy Birthday!” Then, in 2009, since so many devotees were celebrating Gurumayi’s Birthday starting on the first day of June, Gurumayi said to sevites in the SYDA Foundation that the entire month could be given a celebratory name.
And that name is Birthday Bliss!
Gurumayi said this name, Birthday Bliss, would benefit all the Siddha Yogis who were preparing for Gurumayi’s Birthday celebration on June 24. By hearing and saying the word bliss throughout the month, devotees would continually invoke and experience bliss. And I must say, just thinking about Birthday Bliss always brings a smile to my face and a surge of bliss in my heart!
I want to share with you a wonderful story about the Guru’s grace that I heard a few days ago from a sevite in the SYDA Foundation. This story is about the valuable lesson this sevite learned while he was helping Gurumayi move a bookcase. It’s also about what we are truly celebrating throughout this month of Birthday Bliss.
Not long ago this sevite was in the upper lobby of Anugraha in Shree Muktananda Ashram. Some furniture in the lobby had been rearranged, and a small bookcase had been placed in an unstable position.
Gurumayi walked by and noticed the wobbly bookcase. She told the sevite that the bookcase should be moved to another location, one where it would be more stable. Gurumayi lifted one side of the bookcase and the sevite lifted the other. As they were moving the bookcase to its new spot, the sevite said, “Oh Gurumayi, I can do this myself; let me do it.”
Gurumayi said, “We’re already halfway there, so let’s finish the job together.”
When the bookcase had been lowered to the floor, the sevite said, “Thank you, Gurumayi. I can handle it from here.”
Gurumayi replied, “All right. Since you want to do it on your own so much, now it’s all yours,” and she withdrew her hands from the bookcase.
The sevite was so happy, he was laughing as he began to adjust the bookcase. But just then the bookcase began to topple over and all the books came sliding off the shelves onto the floor. Gurumayi reached out to support the bookcase, to keep it from falling over completely.
Now Gurumayi laughed and said,
“This is what disciples tend to do. When they experience the Guru’s grace supporting them, they feel so confident that they can do it all on their own, they think they need not rely on grace.”
Gurumayi pointed at the pile of books on the floor and said,
“Then look what happens! That is such a vivid metaphor. It seems that disciples only selectively apply their knowledge of the Guru’s grace to their daily lives. But the Siddha Yoga teachings explain that the supporting hands of the Guru’s grace are always present.”
I was thankful that the sevite shared this anecdote with me. It reminded me of how much I’ve been supported and sustained by my Guru’s grace and teachings throughout the wonders and challenges of my life.
For me, one of the greatest supports has been Gurumayi’s words. All my life I’ve heard that words have power. Gurumayi taught me that this power is called matrika shakti.
I want to share with you a few of the words I’ve learned from my Guru. Some were spoken to me by Gurumayi, some I read in Gurumayi’s books, some I heard in darshan or in dreams.
These words have shaped my life; they have great power for me. I cherish them like drops of gold in the temple of my heart.
It’s my Guru’s birthday and I am reflecting on what my Guru means to me. When I think about Gurumayi, these are some of the words that appear in my awareness:
I’ve been on the Siddha Yoga path for nineteen years, and I understand that each devotee will celebrate Gurumayi’s Birthday in their own unique way. Each devotee has their own special relationship with Gurumayi in their heart. I also know and have experienced the power of satsang, the company of the Truth, the gathering of devotees who love their Guru and who want to celebrate Birthday Bliss.
It gives me great delight to be offering seva with the SYDA Foundation Website Department. In this seva position, I have the privilege of inviting you to make pilgrimages to the Siddha Yoga path website, and directing you to the Siddha Yoga Ashrams and meditation centers where you can participate in the Celebration Satsang for Gurumayi’s Birthday.
When I think of Gurumayi’s Birthday, I think of the heart dancing in ecstasy. As the poet-saint Kabir sang: “Dance, my heart, dance today in ecstasy. Love fills the days and nights with music, and the world is listening to its melody.”
When I hear this bhajan, I am reminded of my friend Sindhu, who just turned 5 years old this month. Her parents are visiting sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram. Sindhu loves to dance and often dances in Shri Nilaya hall during the daily chants and aratis. One day after the noon arati, Gurumayi told Sindhu, “When you dance, always dance for God.”
That afternoon Sindhu shared with her family her experience of dancing. Sindhu said,
“When I dance, I feel so much freeness. It's like the Ashram outside and inside is all the same. It's as if I go into the woods, over the bridge, over the rivers. When I dance, it changes everything. Gurumayi said I dance for God, and yes, I dance for God.”
How supremely fortunate are we, each June, to celebrate Birthday Bliss together as a sangham, dancing and chanting for God, immersing ourselves in our Guru’s teachings, and experiencing the bliss of our own hearts.
Happy Birthday, Gurumayi!
SYDA Foundation Website Department Head
A Birthday Bliss Surprise!