At the culmination of the month-long celebration of Gurupurnima, a satsang with Gurumayi was held for the families and children who are visiting Shree Muktananda Ashram to offer seva and participate in Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events. This satsang took place in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple in Anugraha.
I had the great delight of co-hosting this satsang with Giri Barahona, a visiting sevite from Mexico. I say “great delight,” because just a few years ago Giri and I were teenagers participating in Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events for families. And we also began offering seva in Siddha Yoga events for young people as soon as we were old enough to do so. We both feel so blessed.
We could feel the elation of all the parents and children who had this beautiful opportunity to participate in satsang with Gurumayi. They’d only heard about the satsang that morning, during breakfast time. We can imagine the focus and the sweet feeling that enveloped the families and children as they prepared for the satsang—as they dressed in their best attire, as they thought about chanting with Gurumayi and Bade Baba and having their darshan, as they contemplated how they could best express their gratitude to Gurumayi. As we visualized these preparations by the families and children, one phrase came to mind—raslila excitement! This was the excitement the gopis would feel when they heard the flute of Lord Krishna—the call of the divine—on a full-moon night.
You may recall from the Account of the Gurupurnima Satsang that Gurumayi invited Gurukula students to describe the splendor of Bade Baba’s Temple and Baba Muktananda’s Samadhi Shrine in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. Gurumayi also invited Swami Ishwarananda to describe the splendor of Bade Baba’s Temple in Shree Muktananda Ashram. In the same light, I wish to describe the radiant murti of Bhagavan Nityananda during the satsang for the families and children.
Bade Baba was cloaked in a white silk cloth that draped over his left shoulder, together with a delicate hand-embroidered shawl. The shawl was made of fine mohair in the colors of white, peach, and red. It was a gift for Gurumayi from a woman in Moscow, Russia, and Gurumayi had offered it to Bade Baba. Encircling Bade Baba’s dais were bright and fragrant yellow roses.
The families, who were visiting from many different parts of the world, entered the Temple with joyful anticipation. They received Bade Baba’s darshan, and soon the Temple was abuzz with the sweet sounds of the children playing—with stuffed animals they had received as Gurumayi’s prasad just before entering the Temple.
Let me explain the significance of these stuffed animals and how they have come to be called "stuffies" on the Siddha Yoga path. For many years, beginning in the late 1980s, on Gurumayi’s birthday every child in Shree Muktananda Ashram would receive a stuffed animal as prasad from Gurumayi. Siddha Yogis would donate these stuffed toys especially for Gurumayi to give to the children on her birthday. Many of these children would then come forward during darshan and say, “Gurumayi, thank you for my stuffie.” So, in time, these stuffed animals came to be recognized as “stuffies.”
Since 2011, Gurumayi has given children stuffies to bring to Bade Baba’s Temple each time they visit. These stuffies have a special nametag that says “Temple SMA” and the year the stuffie was given. The children cherish their Temple stuffies, because they are prasad from Gurumayi and because they have been blessed by Bade Baba. Some children send Gurumayi letters about how their Temple stuffie is doing. Sometimes their Temple stuffie will join them when they meditate at home.
As a recording played of the buoyant melody to Shri Krishna Nila Krishna, Gurumayi entered the Temple. She offered pranams to Bade Baba. In that moment, we experienced darshan utsava: a celebration of darshan. We were having Bade Baba’s darshan, and now we were having Gurumayi’s darshan. Gurumayi was having Bade Baba’s darshan, and Bade Baba was having Gurumayi’s darshan.
Gurumayi took her seat. She looked around the Temple, then smiled and asked, “Is the Siddha Yoga legacy here?” We all laughed sweetly in recognition of Gurumayi’s statement. We did feel that the future of the Siddha Yoga path was represented by these families and children, whose hearts were overflowing with devotion and gratitude.
The Siddha Yoga legacy is the heritage of teachings and practices given by the Siddha Yoga Gurus to past, present, and future seekers of the Truth. This treasury of sacred wisdom and knowledge guides the sadhana of each generation of Siddha Yogis, each of whom is responsible for upholding the Siddha Yoga path and passing it on to future generations.
This vision of Gurumayi in the Temple with families and children reminded me of Gurumayi’s words from the booklet accompanying Beloved, a recording of Gurumayi singing bhajans and abhangas. Gurumayi says:
For me, children have become the most significant part of the Siddha Yoga mission and that is because my Guru, Baba Muktananda, shows me again and again it is in children that he sees the protection of his teachings. Not only are children themselves alive and bursting with energy, they also keep the Siddha Yoga teachings alive and vigorous.
Back to the satsang in the Temple: As I heard Gurumayi’s question to all the participants in the satsang, it gave me great assurance to know that each one of us—children, young adults, and parents alike—is actively participating in the creation and protection of the Siddha Yoga legacy.
A visiting sevite from New York who participated in the satsang with her four-year-old daughter later shared:
Hearing the word legacy, I found it so beautiful that I looked it up in the dictionary. It comes from the Latin word for an ambassador. It also is described as a gift handed down from one generation to the next. The great gift of this extraordinary and unforgettable satsang was the realization that Gurumayi's legacy lives in each of us, and especially the children who know and love Gurumayi, and who will pass on this gift to the next generation.
Another visiting sevite, a mother of three children who lives in New Jersey, also shared after the satsang: “When Gurumayi spoke about the Siddha Yoga legacy, I recognized my responsibility as a parent in helping to fulfill this legacy.”