Birthday Bliss 2014

Reflections on Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

I am Grateful to Gurumayi

As I reflect on all I have received since I first met Gurumayi as a seven-year-old boy, I experience her grace threading through each event of my life. Gurumayi has taught me, and continually unveils, the mystery and magnificence of reality and the importance of becoming a true human being—one who knows and is established in the all-pervading Self.

Over the years, I have often marveled at Gurumayi's subtlety as a teacher and her tireless commitment to finding new ways to communicate the truths and living experiences of the Siddha Yoga path. Listening to Gurumayi tell a funny story about Sheik Nasruddin, becoming absorbed in the sound of her singing an abhanga of the poet-saints, reading and rereading her books, hearing her cite and expound scriptural verses with clarity and authority, and watching her spontaneous interactions with devotees have left valuable impressions of the nobility and depth of the Siddha Yoga tradition in my mind and heart.

I will never forget one birthday celebration for Gurumayi at Shree Muktananda Ashram, in 2001, when I was 24 years old. At the conclusion of the Shri Guru Gita recitation, the host, a young adult, graciously thanked everyone for attending and invited us to go to breakfast. Something in his manner of extending the invitation sparked giggles in a few people. The host, completely unaware of the effects of his delivery, continued to speak in the same manner. This caused Gurumayi herself to begin laughing. As soon as we heard the first sound of Gurumayi's laughter, the entire hall erupted into peals of laughter, which seemed to continue for eons. I remember watching Gurumayi laugh, and being in the ocean of laughter. There was total freedom in Gurumayi's laughter and I experienced that freedom spreading throughout the hall. As I reflected on the source of Gurumayi’s unbounded laughter, I remembered Baba's teaching from the Indian scriptures, “The bliss of the Self is ever new.” In that moment, every facet of my world became unimaginably beautiful and the meditation hall itself was transformed into a theater of light and blessedness.

One of the reasons Gurumayi's words, music, and gestures have had such a powerful impact on my life is because they convey a first-person experience of her teachings, beyond the horizon of a purely intellectual acquisition of knowledge. It is extraordinary how listening to Gurumayi give a simple meditation instruction or speaking to her—even in a dream—can suddenly reveal the pricelessness and mountain-like steadiness of my inner Self. The science of this transmission of knowledge is not something we can appreciate or fully conceptualize in the framework of our modern lives. And yet, this is exactly the type of learning that I received from Gurumayi during a stay at Shree Muktananda Ashram in the summer of 2003.

At the culmination of a week-long retreat, during which the participants were immersed in an extended period of spiritual practice, our retreat teacher announced that we would be having satsang with Gurumayi. During the satsang, while Gurumayi looked around the room, her eyes found mine for a few moments. How can I put into words the integrity of the penetrating glance of a Sadguru?

As Gurumayi looked at me, I immediately became aware of all the places in my life where I was playing a role or putting on a show. It was suddenly clear to me how this “act” was serving as a barrier between myself and others, blocking a more natural and genuine channel of communication. This series of insights unfolded instantaneously in the form of a “mini-life-review,” along with the realization that this manner of being was not a sporadic event, but rather a consistent feature of almost all of my interactions. As this was all dawning on me, Gurumayi—still gazing directly into my eyes—slowly nodded with a gentle smile.

Through that one brief glance, Gurumayi served as a spotless mirror, granting me an entirely new level of self-awareness. Moreover, Gurumayi's glance was more than a simple exposé of my conditioning: by seeing this pattern in an unfiltered fashion, in the light of her glance, I no longer identified with it. Although Gurumayi's look was devoid of judgment, it was not uncaring or indifferent. Gurumayi's nod and her smile were full of understanding. As I became aware of all the work I now had to do, I was also suddenly in touch with a much deeper part of myself that was already perfectly present, awake, and totally steadfast.

I had received a first-hand experience that even the seemingly casual gestures of a great being, such as a passing glance, are full of power. The way Gurumayi calls me, with uncompromising candor and lightness of being, to embrace a life of purpose, instilling in me the strength to face whatever obstacles impede me from recognizing my own divinity, stills my mind and evokes love and gratitude.

I am grateful to Gurumayi for this pivotal moment in my sadhana, for being a rare exemplar of the art of teaching, and for showing me, through her embodiment of the miraculous freedom, compassion, and total spontaneity of the supreme Self, that there is infinitely more to live for than I ever could have imagined.

I offer pranams to Shri Gurumayi, again and again.

 

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The presence and power of the Siddha Guru is very alive in me after reading this beautifully written reflection. In particular, I am reminded of the power of Gurumayi’s gaze, and how it can bring so much “stuff” to the surface, enabling me to let go of eons of baggage. 
 
Thank you.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Sydney, Australia

Once, during a chant with Gurumayi, a familiar tape began to roll inside, bringing up feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Gurumayi suddenly turned and gave me a stern look. A kind of lightning swept through my being. I was so startled, I almost jumped.

I suddenly became very alert and cautious. Gurumayi’s look felt like a strong course correction. When the Guru gives so much, and has granted us access to such immeasurable inner treasures, why go on with this habit of feeling inadequate?

Now, 25 years later, the memory of Gurumayi’s look helps me get back on track each time I find that I am yielding to harsh self-judgment. Her benevolent and powerful gaze empowers me to find refuge in the presence of the Guru within and to move forward with ever more determination. There is no end to the love I have received from our beloved Guru.

I am eternally grateful to you, dear Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Thane, India

The author’s beautiful articulation echoes my own experience when I first met Gurumayi in Hong Kong in 1991. For me, when Gurumayi spoke, her words went straight to my heart. Like a bunch of iron filings in proximity to a magnet, everything within me came into alignment, and I had a direct experience of the Truth. That experience still resonates within me, bringing me back again and again to the Siddha Yoga path and to Gurumayi’s words of wisdom.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for the blessings you have brought into my life.

a Siddha Yogi from Hong Kong

As I read the author's words, I felt like I was in the hall that day in 2001, looking into our Guru's eyes. And this powerful experience reminded me of a time when I saw Gurumayi in a video, during a New Year's Day program in Mexico City. In this video, Gurumayi was chanting with immense love and devotion. 
 
I suddenly was immersed in a most unusual experience: while Gurumayi chanted, I was reminded of myself. Not my usual, everyday persona, but a much older, primordial, original Self—the one I had always known was in me as a child, but had forgotten about. I saw Gurumayi and was reminded of my true nature, a nature I share with her and everyone around me. 
 
Thank you, to the author, for sharing your beautiful experience, as it inspired me to revisit a turning point in my sadhana.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Beirut, Lebanon

This thoughtful Reflection inspires me to remember all of the many interactions I have had with Gurumayi, in so many different forms. What leaps out at me is the author's phrase about "speaking to her—even in a dream" because I, too, have felt close to Gurumayi in the realm of dreams.

I remember one dream in particular, during which another Siddha Yogi and I both had interactions with Gurumayi. In my waking state, I was temporarily in conflict with this person; in my dream, she asked a question of Gurumayi, and Gurumayi's answer became a teaching for both of us. As I related this dream to my friend (for she was and is my friend), she said to me, "This is bigger than both of us!" To me, this meant that whatever conflict I might feel with her or she with me, the Guru could see way beyond it—and then show me how to transcend the conflict.

Like the author, I offer my pranams to Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Wisconsin, USA

Thank you, to the author, for writing “I Am Grateful to Gurumayi.” As I read it, all the darshans I have ever been blessed to witness or personally receive flooded through my mind, along with renewed appreciation, thankfulness, and awe.

I particularly love the powerful phrase, “The science of this transmission of knowledge is not something we can appreciate or fully conceptualize in the framework of our modern lives.” And the equally powerful phrase, “…by seeing this pattern in an unfiltered fashion, in the light of her glance, I no longer identified with it.” Such is the sacred and mystical power of the Guru’s unending grace and compassion in the relationship between Guru and disciple.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for the ever-flowing sacred power of your presence in my life and in the life of all Siddha Yogis. Happy Birthday Bliss 2014!

a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA

As I read the Reflection on Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, my heart vibrated in recognition of my own profound experiences of Gurumayi's unconditional love and support throughout my life. These experiences are so numerous and remarkable that they have become the substratum of my life.

Every day I thank Gurumayi not only for shedding light on what keeps me from the unbroken experience of the Heart, but also for revealing the infinite source of strength and enthusiasm within me to which I can turn to deal with such tendencies. My beloved Guru reveals the goal—and guides me step by step to attain that goal. And, along the way, in the company of such a Siddha, this path to the Heart is filled with exquisite glimpses of her state, which I now understand is my own true nature.

Thank you, Gurumayi, with all my heart.

a Siddha Yogi from Belo Horizonte, Brazil