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A Sweet Surprise 2013 and Mantra Japa

I was running the clothes dryer and straightening up the house when my six-year-old daughter came in to talk to me. She was upset about some interactions she had had with her friend the day before. They both wanted the same scissors, then the same doll clothes, then the same garden tool. It had been really hard, and she was still feeling bad about it.

I suggested she could sit on my lap and we could repeat the mantra to help us feel better. We sat quietly, and I felt her relax. Then she said brightly, “I don’t have to repeat the mantra because the clothes dryer says it for me!” I then focused my attention on the clothes dryer and could hear the beat of each syllable of the mantra as the clothes jangled around rhythmically inside. We both became still, and I felt the joy of experiencing the mantra very palpably through my daughter’s fresh inspiration, along with my delight at the mantra’s being accessible to us in even the most unexpected ways!

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I decided to do japa when I can't fall asleep or if I am having a bad dream. I repeat Om Namah Shivaya and then I feel more relaxed. I also like to repeat the mantra when I am doing something that I don't think that I can do. It makes me think I'm going to do better. I also like to repeat the mantra when there is a problem like an accident. I repeat the mantra for me and the people.

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

I am so grateful that A Sweet Surprise Satsang has been made available until the end of November. Yesterday, I participated in it for the second time and noticed that the benefits of mantra japa were more clearly apparent to me. Even though I'm going through a difficult period, the Guru's shakti has made mantra japa a lifeline I can hold onto any time I practice any of its forms.

With eternal gratitude to Gurumayi,

a Siddha Yogi from Connecticut, USA

Recently, I was on an airplane. As the flight began, we were shown a video about what to do in a life-threatening situation.

About two-thirds into the flight, the plane hit some turbulence. I felt the plane dropping and then rising as it went through the choppy winds. My heart started to pound and my breath raced. After a moment, the mantra began to repeat itself within me and I quickly shifted my focus to it. I experienced a calm freedom as I surrendered myself to the mantra. The mantra was higher than the plane, it pervaded space, and it could not fall.

Once the turbulence ended and the apparent threat had passed, I reflected on this experience. I realized that I need to hold onto the mantra in this way when I am walking on the ground without any apparent threat. I saw that the delusion that I am my body constitutes a greater threat to my freedom, peace, and joy than any airplane turbulence. The mantra is the life-vest I must wear to protect myself from this delusion.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

I am a community college teacher. I practice mantra japa by repeating the mantra as I record attendance. As I call each student's name, I silently repeat the mantra. This practice has helped me connect with each student, seeking the best from each one. It has also helped me maintain a positive learning environment. When things get out of order, I take the time and repeat the mantra. In this way, the mantra has become an active part of my teaching process.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

As I repeat the mantra, the Shakti moves throughout my body. It fills my tongue, my throat, my breath. As my chest rises and falls, I experience God taking form within me. The place where the breath stops on the inhalation is the same as the place where it stops on the exhalation. While they may seem different, one inside and one outside, when I enter that space there is no inside or outside. There is no body to separate inside or outside. There is no mind, no identity to mark the border. There is simply love without object, one Self pulsating.

a Siddha Yogi from Sydney, Australia

I have been practicing Siddha Yoga sadhana for many years now, and mantra japa has been at the heart of it. With Gurumayi's A Sweet Surprise and her Teachings on Mantra Japa, my practice of mantra japa has become more vibrant, immediate, and spontaneous!

Baba used to say that the mantra will arise on its own after much practice, and now I am finally receiving that benefit and many others from this practice! To hear Siddha Yoga mantras and feel the vibrations upon arising and throughout the day is the greatest gift.

Thank you, Baba. Thank you, Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Santa Fe, USA

Since Gurumayi gave us her Message, Mantra Japa, I have been practicing repeating the mantra in many situations, and with renewed focus in meditation.

The other day as I began meditation, my mind was a morass of unsettling thoughts and feelings. But I kept returning to the mantra and began to settle into it and find refuge in it.

After a while I had the image that I was walking through a forest, which was foggy and dark, and I could feel that the mantra was leading me out of this forest. This image tremendously encouraged me to keep repeating the mantra, because in that moment I truly understood that the mantra has the power to liberate me from the limitations of my mind.

a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA

Me and my family love the idea about mantra japa.
 
If ever we go on a trip, we bring our mala with us as one of the things.
 
I love you, Gurumayi. You are the best!

a six-year old Siddha Yogi from California, USA

How sweet it is remembering this simple yoga practice. Thank you, Gurumayi.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Last week, I was traveling on a departure flight out of New Orleans, when Gurumayi’s New Year’s Message: Mantra Japa, took on a whole new meaning.
 
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was on a plane flying through a major storm system. The first 15 minutes, I felt comfortable and at ease. That is, until significant turbulence started to toss the plane, followed by a large drop in altitude. It literally felt like we were in a plastic bottle being tossed around on the ocean.
 
Almost immediately, I heard the mantra Om Namah Shivaya in my thoughts and joined in. I could also hear in the background thoughts of worry and fear. As the turbulence and downdrafting continued, it took everything I had to keep my concentration completely on the mantra and maintain calm.
 
Connecting to the Guru, mantra japa became so loud in my head, powerfully drowning out the “what if” scenarios in the background thoughts. I imagined it being almost the same as the pilot struggling to steady the plane. I knew I had to steady my mind, for myself and those around me. And at the same time, I could feel this underlying strength and support from the sustained practice of repeating the mantra. Then, when I needed the concentration most, it was there, helping me to focus solely on the mantra.
 
I was so grateful for what seemed like divine mental clarity, and even more so when seconds later the pilot came on the loud speaker and let us know that we had cleared the storm and he didn’t expect any more turbulence.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for continuing to guide and strengthen me inside through your New Year’s Message.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I was looking out the window of the Atma Nidhi Temple at Shree Muktananda Ashram after the noon Shiva Arati, when I saw thousands of thick, full snowflakes, which all seemed to be pulsating, dancing, and radiating with the mantra. I imagined a very fast repetition of Om Namah Shivaya to keep pace with these beautiful, great, white flakes. I experienced being very happy, full, and content. Then the thought arose: I wonder if this is one of God's ways of performing mantra japa.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Mantra japa connects me to my joy in so many ways now. 

a Siddha Yogi from Florida, USA

Before attending A Sweet Surprise satsang this year, I started chanting the mantra all the time. When I heard Gurumayi's Message for the year, my heart leaped for joy because I thought, I am already doing this.  

During my study, I read where Baba taught it is not enough to just recite the mantra without intentionality, but rather to think on the words as you say them. I understood this also in A Sweet Surprise.

I bought Baba's book Mukteshwari and a lotus japa mala. I was uncertain why I wanted the japa mala, but I had seen a beautiful photo of Gurumayi holding one. When it arrived, I started carrying it everywhere, reciting as I went along and moving the beads through my fingers one at a time. I find that the concrete feeling of the bead between my fingers reminds me to concentrate on the mantra. Om Namah Shivaya, move the bead; Om Namah Shivaya, move the bead. This has changed my practice in a positive way. I awake with the mantra on my mind. It requires no effort on my part. My mind is becoming calm and quiet. 

Thank you, Gurumayi, for reminding me to be mindful.

a Siddha Yogi from Oregon, USA

On a wall in the room where I meditate, I have a photo of Gurumayi­—the one that is currently on the home page of the website. Gurumayi is standing in a field, holding a japa mala in her hands. She stands still and steady and serene as the wind blows all around her.

I've been making a practice of standing before this photo in tadasana (the mountain pose) for a few minutes before meditating each morning. As I do this, I silently repeat the mantra and connect with the energy moving in my body. Usually, after just a few repetitions, I experience my body naturally aligning itself. My breathing becomes more steady and free, and my mind is drawn inside. It's then that I take my seat for meditation.

Yesterday morning, as I stood repeating the mantra before Gurumayi's photo, I felt a sudden release of tension in my body, as if a contraction I hadn't been aware of had let go. My breathing became deeper and, at that moment, I had a flash of inspiration for a project I'd been worrying and pressuring myself about unnecessarily. The very moment my mind released into the pulsation of the mantra, a creative solution emerged.

As I recall that experience, I see how the practice of mantra japa is leading me to be more conscious of the habit of inwardly tightening up over small matters and, at the same time, mantra japa is also giving me a way to free myself of this habit.

a Siddha Yogi from Illinois, USA

I took A Sweet Surprise satsang on January 1st and again two weeks ago on February 22nd. Since then, I realised that I have always been repeating the mantra—with awareness when I prepare for meditation, or spontaneously as an impulse when surprised or scared. 

The mantra is always with me, and along with it is the presence of the Guru. Since I met Gurumayi, there is not one day that goes by in my life when I don’t think of her. Her presence in my mind and in my heart is constant and so is the presence of the mantra. For me, mantra japa and the awareness of the Guru's presence within are the same.

a Siddha Yogi from Singapore, Singapore

During the last week of February, I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Rome. Just before going there, I was meditating on the mantra, remembering Gurumayi's Message for 2013: Mantra Japa. How powerful it is! How much grace is contained inside the mantra!

I started meditating, remembering the teaching that the mantra, the Guru, and God are the same. After some repetitions, I was pulled up out of my body and, with divine speed, I felt myself entering a passageway at the foot of a great mountain. After a little while I found myself in a big, luminous grotto, without any door or entrance and with rocks of many kinds. Looking around, I noticed a luminous being sitting in the lotus posture, about ten meters from where I was but at a higher level. Rays of light came from him, shining everywhere. It was astonishing to me to stand there contemplating the blue Lord Shiva with all his attributes! I experienced silence, great and divine power, a sense of identification with him, love.

I give thanks for the grace of this experience.

a Siddha Yogi from Rome, Italy

Mantra japa naturally brings me back to the present moment. When I am present-minded, I feel relaxed and aware, my breath flows more steadily, and I feel more grounded. That focus makes me feel more “real,” more truly myself inhabiting this body, mind, and senses. It is like engaging with a tried-and-true friend who is always there to provide support, protection, clarity, light, and wisdom. When I repeat the mantra enlivened by the Guru's sankalpa, her intention, just the remembrance and practice of engaging with it again and again takes me back to the source, to the wellspring of grace and love that resides in the heart. What could be sweeter?
 

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Since participating in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I have noticed that the mantra is ever present in my mind throughout my day: in the morning as I brush my teeth, at work when confronted with a difficult task or phone call, while driving home, admiring nature's beauty, at night when I close my eyes.

During meditation, I have been using my japa mala and have found that I am better able to keep my mind from wandering as I repeat the mantra over the 108 beads.

The repetition of the mantra brings me a sense of calm and peacefulness in all situations. Through practicing mantra japa, I now experience the mantra always with me, like a companion on life's journey. 

a Siddha Yogi from Missouri, USA

I loved being able to participate in A Sweet Surprise 2013 for a second time. It was so great to be with other Siddha Yogis in the Siddha Yoga Meditation center on New Year's Day and listen all the way through. Then, to be able to register from home and participate again, being able to pause from time to time to assimilate what I had heard, was such a gift.

I have been applying the Message to my practice by beginning meditation with recounting the five benefits of mantra japa. And I personalize them as I silently repeat each one with the mantra. I repeat to myself, "Mantra japa connects me to Gurumayi's grace, mantra japa…” and so on. Then I proceed to repeat the mantra for meditation. Sometimes I remind myself of the five benefits at other times throughout the day, too.

I am so grateful for this blessed gift. Thank you, Gurumayi, and thank you SYDA Foundation, for making it so accessible for us all!

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Mantra japa has become a deliberate practice for me since the first time I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang. I have noticed recently that the mantra has become like a best friend. Whenever old, unwanted habits pop up, so does the mantra! The workings of the mantra are subtle, and the effect is illuminating. Mantra japa gives me a space at any moment in the course of a day to shine a light on a thought, word, or deed. With the mantra as my constant companion, I feel free, light, and happy.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your gift.

a Siddha Yogi from Hong Kong, China

I am a caregiver for someone who has serious memory problems. I have felt frustrated as it's been difficult for me to see such changes in her. Repeating the mantra and praying for patience and compassion has helped me to feel calm and to be light with her. In a recent challenging interaction with her, I repeated the mantra silently to myself. I felt patience, compassion, and love. In turn, she expressed her gratitude and love for me. I am so grateful to Gurumayi for her guidance in applying mantra japa in our daily interactions with others.

a Siddha Yogi from Hawaii, USA

My Guru saw something in me
that I did not see in myself.

She never gave up on me
even though I gave up on myself
over and over again.

Now that I am looking in the direction
where she has always looked
to see what she has always seen,
there I have found Om Namah Shivaya residing in me!

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

When I open the Siddha Yoga path website each day and see a new visual for Gurumayi's teaching on Mantra Japa, I feel the stillness and silence of her presence inside me, in the form of my own Self. I experience the inner sanctuary; and this feeling fills me with such gratitude for all I have received from the Siddhas, the great beings.

a Siddha Yogi from Toronto, Canada

This September I was fortunate to take a pilgrimage to Tibet and trek around sacred Mount Kailas. Yes! Mount Kailas, the birthplace of beloved Sri Guru Gita.
 
My intention for making this arduous pilgrimage into the thin air was to open to the grace of the divine Guru, Lord Shiva.
 
Amidst the expansive landscape of the Himalayas, the breath-taking valleys, the warm support of my travel mates, and the ever-present grandeur of Mount Kailas, I was overwhelmed by anxiety. I worried about what to carry in my backpack, about having enough water, about possible altitude sickness, and finding a matching pair of clean socks!
 
The whole trip would have remained a blur had I not taken hold of the practices of mantra japa and chanting Sri Guru Gita whenever I could. Once, I sat on a rock beside the holy Lake Manasarovar and chanted Sri Guru Gita with the recording of Gurumayi and the devotees. As I chanted, the vast landscape enveloped me like a warm shawl. I could see Gurumayi’s gentleness in the blue and shimmering waters of Lake Manasarovar, I could feel Bade Baba’s ever-present compassion in the solid form of Mount Kailas, I could sense Baba’s playfulness in the light and shade of the deep blue sky—and I felt at home.
 
I experienced the essence of Verse 36 of Sri Guru Gita:
Salutations to Shri Guru, by whose reality the world is real, by whose light it is illumined, and by whose joy people are joyous.
 
And then, when A Sweet Surprise satsang brought Gurumayi’s Message, Mantra Japa, I was elated. I felt Gurumayi saying to me that she was, is, and will always be with me on all my journeys.


a Siddha Yogi from Sydney, Australia

I have been practicing mantra japa most particularly by chanting the mantra as I drive around the city to and from the students I tutor. This brings me a lot of joy.

This morning when I pranamed before my puja, I had an extraordinary vision. I saw and experienced myself dancing in a bubbling cascade of brilliant light. I started laughing in ecstasy. I stopped for a fraction of a second to think about what was happening, and then I was back in the light laughing.

The fruits of the practice of mantra japa are marvelous!

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I have observed that when I repeat the mantra during my daily activities—such as walking from one room to another at home, or while I am cooking—the mantra and the repetition of the mantra bring me quickly into a state in which everything becomes sacred.

I can feel, see, and understand that everything is sacred: the floor I am walking on, the food that I am cooking, my body moving forward. I understand that sacred is inside and outside of me, that I am sacred and life is sacred.

Thank you very much, Gurumayi, for this beautiful, light, and joyful state.

a Siddha Yogi from Cáceres, Spain

When I practice the preparatory exercises for A Sweet Surprise satsang, the tension releases from my solar plexus, chest area, and eyes; and often my whole body goes into alignment. They are great exercises, and I appreciate receiving them via the internet.

a Siddha Yogi from Erina, Australia

I am repeating the mantra with the understanding that the mantra, the Guru, the deity of the mantra, and the repeater of the mantra are the same.

When I do this with the inhalation and exhalation of my breath, I feel the inhalation and exhalation both arising from the same place. And in that place I find silence. Focusing on that place gives me joy and wonder.

a Siddha Yogi from Surat, India

As I studied this image on the Siddha Yoga path website, I was reminded of how I listen for the way the sound of repeating the mantra Om Namah Shivaya vibrates within my body. Sometimes I practice mantra japa out loud. When I do so, my entire being becomes quiet.

In these moments, everything in my life seems perfect. When I experience this state, my actions, thoughts, gestures, words, and daily activities spring from the center of my heart. To be in this sacred space of awareness is a great blessing.

a Siddha Yogi from Hawaii, USA

A few weeks ago I was going about my morning doing the usual Friday things like wheeling the emptied bins to the side of the house. It was a bright, sunny, cool, crisp, clear winter’s morning. Out of the blue I experienced a blissful joy, and my heart burst into song. For several days, while still carrying on with my daily tasks, my mind was serene and absorbed, delighting in this experience and the song.

It is clear to me that by doing the practices and focusing on mantra japa, I experienced the bliss within. Sharing this experience is a way of expressing my profound gratitude for this awesome path.

a Siddha Yogi from Farnborough, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Seeing Gurumayi's teaching about mantra japa, "This is subtle," I ask myself, "What is subtle? What about mantra japa is subtle?"

I realize that what is subtle for me right now is the way my mind seems to pull my awareness away from repeating the mantra—away from stillness—and into some problem, thought, story, or fantasy. As I've paid closer and closer attention, I have been realizing just how frequently my mind does this over the course of a minute, an hour, or a day. And I notice that it is barely perceptible when it happens. In the tiniest split-second the mind gets distracted and begins wandering.

I find I must be intent, vigilant, and persistent in order to keep the energy of my mind moving towards the mantra rather than towards the stream of thinking.

Gradually, over time, I feel that my mind will stay with the mantra more and more often, enabling me to reside in the state of stillness and peace.

This is a challenging practice for me, and it is very subtle!


a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

On seeing this image and Gurumayi's teaching on mantra japa, these words arose:

L'orbe du soleil, "the orb of the sun"

The subtle orb of the sun at dawn at the beginning of this year, 2013

The orb of the Guru, surrounded by the seekers, aligned with the source, pulsating in the vibration of the mantra

The orb of the Guru, sustaining and uplifting the world

The sphere of God, return to mantra japa

a Siddha Yogi from Blanquefort, France

The other day, as I walked along practicing mantra japa, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love for my mantra, the kind of love one feels for a person. It flowed from my heart and through my eyes.

Thank you for showing me this way to open my heart.
 

a Siddha Yogi from London, United Kingdom

I was repeating Om Namah Shivaya with the understanding that the mantra, the deity, and the repeater of the mantra are one. 
 
After a while, I suddenly had a most lucid vision of Lord Shiva in His glorious blue form, and I felt deep reverence. Then Shiva merged into me, and Om Namah Shivaya became Shivo’ham, “I am Shiva!”
 
Shivo’ham was now pulsating in my heart, and I became ecstatic. I was absorbed in a state that was indescribably deep, peaceful, completely still, crystal clear, and gently throbbing. All the while I was experiencing identification with Lord Shiva. I could have remained forever in that infinite, throbbing ocean of supreme Consciousness.
 
This experience is still with me in the form of Om Namah Shivaya, repeating itself reverently within.
 
Gurumayi's grace is unfathomable, and I am forever grateful to her.

a Siddha Yogi from Berlin, Germany

I practice mantra japa before sleep each night after meditating with Gurumayi's CD Siddha Yoga Meditation Instructions. It is a wonderful way to meditate and do japa before sleep. 

A couple of nights ago, I had a nightmare. There was a battle going on and it was being fought by hand, one on one. I was struggling to get free from an enemy's grasp. There were many others around me doing the same thing. 

I woke up feeling shaken. I wasn't sure I could go back to sleep. Then the mantra came to me, and I began repeating it again. As I did this, I felt very calm. I saw the dream in a different light. It seemed to me that the struggles in the dream were against my negative tendencies. The mantra has been working inside me to loosen my attachment to bad habits and misconceptions. I felt completely protected and safe and fell into a peaceful, happy sleep. 

a Siddha Yogi from Florida, USA

Since making mantra japa a daily practice, I'm beginning to notice a subtle shift. I realized that repeating the mantra, I am in fact entering deeply into the temple of my own Heart. I now have the intention of coming to the moment with love and humility and being open to receive the Guru's blessings.
  
Today, I realized that I have recently felt a deep sort of ease in my daily life. I wasn't sure what it was, but I felt somehow simply content and joyful at every turn. It’s not that life wasn't offering challenging circumstances, but I was feeling the hum of this peaceful, contented, and positively joyful energy as a beautiful undercurrent. Then I realized that every moment is an opportunity to enter deeply into the Heart. Every person can be approached with love and humility. I can always be open to the Guru's sweet grace. 
 
I'm realizing that the subtle shift in my state has been the fruit of the powerful practice of mantra repetition. Mantra japa is beginning to permeate my entire life, like the scent of a fragrant flower blossoming.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for the gift of this Message and for your ever-present grace.

a Siddha Yogi from Minnesota, USA

The Siddha Yoga path website is my homepage. So whenever there is something new, I see it right away. I don’t have the easiest relationship with computers, but now I’m becoming friends with my computer because it’s the way I can visit the beautiful website and can experience Gurumayi’s love and teachings.

It’s not practical for me to visit Shree Muktananda Ashram because I am in a wheelchair. This makes it very hard for me to travel. But thanks to the website, I get to go to the Ashram every day. I love going there and reading all the beautiful shares and postings. I feel like we are all together. It’s so plain to me that the website exists because of Gurumayi’s love and grace.

After I saw Gurumayi’s teachings that were posted during Birthday Bliss 2012, I decided to make it a practice to select one teaching as a focus of study each week. This way I stay very connected to Gurumayi, the Siddha Yoga teachings, and Shree Muktananda Ashram.

a Siddha Yogi from Arizona, USA

A few weeks ago I had to send an email to a person. The thought of it created a little apprehension in me, because I had to say something upsetting for her and I knew she would react. So before writing, I took my mala and practiced mantra japa. Then I had a very nice vision of this person, smiling, sweet, full of light, beauty, and love. So I wrote my email carefully, with the intention of protecting the beautiful feeling I had while repeating the mantra. And guess what? This person received the email very well and with great comprehension. I understood the mantra transformed my view of her, removing apprehension so I could experience a new situation with her.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this inner transformation.

a Siddha Yogi from Saint Victor la Coste, France

Toward the end of last year, I thought about what Gurumayi’s Message for 2013 would be. I was experiencing a powerful longing to practice mantra japa, so my wish for the Message was "Mantra." My wish has certainly been fulfilled!

Last night, as I was babysitting two boys to whom I teach English here in Paris, I began practicing mantra japa after they had gone to bed. I realized that I had almost always repeated the mantra in a somewhat limited, self-absorbed way; and I wrote a short prayer that I could contemplate from time to time while offering japa:

"I repeat the mantra Om Namah Shivaya with everyone, everywhere, at all times. Om. I bow to the all-pervasive, gracious One."

Tonight, standing on my favorite bridge, as I thought about this prayer and blessing, I noticed that my eyes were wet. Thank you, Gurumayi, for this transformative experience.

a Siddha Yogi from Maine, USA, working in Paris, France

Last night, as I was walking the dogs, my mind became clouded with negative thoughts. We came to a stop, and I looked straight up into the sky above. The half moon and stars were shining brightly in the clear darkness, in the space between trees. As I marveled at their beauty, a smile came over me, and the mantra Om Namah Shivaya came bubbling up from within. How wonderful!

a Siddha Yogi from North Carolina, USA

Since receiving Gurumayi's Message for 2013, Mantra Japa, I’ve been doing mantra japa in the mornings, for a few moments during the day, and before sleep.
 
As I practice mantra japa, I install the mantra in every part of my body. While installing the mantra in myself, I decided to also think about my loved ones while I repeat the mantra. And why not think about the entire planet vibrating with the mantra? Then I visualize the entire planet illuminated by the light of the mantra. And why not think of the whole universe, each and every corner of the universe, vibrating with the mantra? Then I visualize all the stars and planets illuminated by the mantra.

Recently, while repeating the mantra, visualizing the entire universe vibrating and illuminated with the mantra, I saw that my body contains the entire universe within me.
 
As I contemplated this experience, the awareness came to me strongly that I am Shiva—Shivo’ham. I'm in the whole universe, and the universe is within me.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this darshan. Thank you for guiding me ever more deeply into the experience of God.

a Siddha Yogi from Niterói, Brazil

Over the past several weeks, since participating in A Sweet Surprise satsang and renewing my practice of mantra japa, I have noticed myself naturally and easefully becoming more disciplined in my sadhana. These days, the sweetness and power of the mantra is more readily accessible to me. Turning my mind to it, I connect with such blissful energy that it is an easy matter to practice self-restraint—to know when to talk and to stop talking, to eat and to stop eating, and when to become still and connect with how complete and happy I am within my own being.

A fascinating benefit is how much more fully I am enjoying my work and my interactions with friends, family, and colleagues. A deep current of joy is flowing throughout my days and nights, and I'm grateful beyond words.

a Siddha Yogi from Illinois, USA

While working in the kitchen yesterday, I found I was really enjoying my work, feeling happy and peaceful. Then I realized I was chanting the mantra while working. I had not planned or thought about it. It was just happening.

Thank you.

a Siddha Yogi from Ohio, USA

I am so grateful that I can take A Sweet Surprise satsang again and again.
The second time I took it, I was amazed by how much I had not remembered. Since the first time, I have definitely increased my mantra japa in all corners of my life!

This weekend I will take A Sweet Surprise satsang again with a friend who is new to the Siddha Yoga path. Thank you for making the satsang available these two months so that we are able to continue to explore Gurumayi’s Message for 2013 and discover the subtleties.
 
I am sure this weekend it will seem all new again. I am looking forward to it!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

As I woke up this morning, I very naturally started repeating the mantra and felt a sweet happiness. As I enjoyed the beginning to my day, my dog barked as if to say, "Get up! It's time for our walk!" It is a sunny, frosty morning here in England and it felt good to be walking in the beautiful woods alone in nature. Out of nowhere, as I walked along, the answer to a problem that I had at work the previous day came in what seemed a flash. In happiness I called out Om Namah Shivaya and continued to repeat the mantra. Feelings of re-assurance and support surrounded me. An amazing start to the day!

Thank you, Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Sunningdale, United Kingdom

I love Gurumayi's Message. Mantra japa has been a practice of mine for many years. I repeat Om Namah Shivaya when walking, cooking, showering, folding laundry. And now, with the Message, I am even more conscious of repeating Om Namah Shivaya.

Recently, another car ran into mine when it was changing lanes. Neither I nor my ten-year-old granddaughter was injured. After we pulled over and I got out, I noticed I was witnessing myself. I was saying the mantra, and when I interacted with the woman who hit my car, I was calm and kind. Everything went smoothly—the police arrived quickly, my insurance company sent a tow truck, my daughter came to get us—and all of that in one hour during rush hour. The woman who was driving the car that hit mine thanked me over and over for how gracious I was. 

Practicing Gurumayi's Message kept me calm, cool, and present.

a Siddha Yogi from New Mexico, USA

Mantra japa is becoming my favorite practice. I am realizing that the mantra is a constant companion, a wonderful friend always with me even when I may not consciously be aware of it. 

I have made it a practice to meditate every morning, practicing the dharana that we were guided into in A Sweet Surprise satsang for this year. And I also repeat the mantra before going to sleep.

During meditation, as I visualize installing the mantra in every part of my being, I can feel the mantra coursing inside me. Sometimes it is in the form of a feeling of tranquility—a serene, soft, soothing, peaceful sensation.  And sometimes it is simply the pulsation of the words of the mantra, which become subtler and subtler. This experience remains even after meditation.

The new and exciting thing that I discovered just recently is: There are moments during the day when I am in the middle of activity, and all of a sudden I become aware and notice the same experience happening inside me that has taken place that particular morning in meditation—an experience of the mantra coursing within me and also enveloping me, wrapping me in its loving energy.

Then, before going to sleep, as I repeat the mantra, I feel that I am reconnecting with the same loving energy and talking to my sweet friend! And then falling asleep is like entering in the warm, loving embrace of the mantra.

The next morning is once again time for bathing in the power of the mantra in meditation. The sweet cycle continues, and the mantra fills my days and nights.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for the mantra, for the Message, and for the dharana in A Sweet Surprise satsang.
 

a student in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, Ganeshpuri, India

Last night I meditated before I went to bed. As I was saying the mantra, an image came to me. It was a satellite picture of the continents at night. And all over the world there were flashes of light as another devotee said the sacred mantra. The image was so beautiful because I knew that the mantra is connecting us to our inner divinity, our Guru, and also to each other.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I have been installing the mantra in my body, as it was taught in A Sweet Surprise satsang, before sleep at night with profound peace. When I awake for meditation, my inner peace remains and enlivens my day. I am able to smile at my destiny and feel genuine joy.

Thank you, Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Hawaii, USA

The other day at work, I got mad at somebody for doing something I thought was off base. I was about to write an email. I was about to walk into their office and show them where they went wrong. Then I realized this was a familiar scene and I didn't like watching how it would probably play out. So I took my japa mala and walked the hallway for a while repeating the mantra. My body temperature cooled down. My mind got quieter, more contained. I realized I wanted to convey my point from a place of teamwork and mutual benefit. And that's what happened, with ease. 

Mantra japa gave me a pathway back to my Self, connected me to my heart, gave me perspective, lifted my intention, and converted the outcome to win-win. I am LOVING this practical practice!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your Message for 2013.

Last December, before I had even taken A Sweet Surprise satsang, I experienced cataract removal surgery. There was a brief period when the surgeon said that she had removed my original lens and was preparing to place the new one in my eye. I heard the rustle of plastic as she probably opened a packet with the new lens. I felt afraid because I could not see anything since the other eye was taped shut. In that moment, I noticed that the mantra was present as an independent wave that quietly pulsated inside me without my repeating it. I knew I had my mantra and my Beloved Bade Baba, my Babaji, and Gurumayi. I was safe.                     

a Siddha Yogi from Karachi, Pakistan, living in California

So sweet to read the share of the nine-year-old devotee from California, USA. I love the way the young devotee repeats the mantra silently while looking at the teacher and the children of his/her class. It did bring back memories of the time my son was the same age (he is now 35 and a parent).

In our country many children go to school by bike. From home to school took him about 20-25 minutes. The first years I accompanied him. When the time came that he biked that route by himself, I sometimes was worried. He noticed and said, “You do not have to worry, Mom. While biking I repeat the mantra and the mantra protects me.”

His faith touched my heart. From then on, my son and I developed a ritual. Each day leaving home to go to school, he took his bicycle from the shed, we hugged, said “I love you,” and wished each other a wonderful day. And then, every day, my son would say to me:

“Do not forget to repeat the mantra today, Mommy. Repeat it as often as you can.”

“You too, sweetie,” I would reply.

Then I would close the door, run to a side window where he would pass, knowing he would stop, and there he would start to repeat the mantra. Using his bike as a mala, with each turn of the pedal he would repeat Om Namah Shivaya until he arrived at school.

At school he would use his fingers as a mala, touching the fingers with his thumb while silently repeating the mantra, or using his tongue touching his teeth. He came up with many ideas, which gave him support in practicing mantra japa.

I learned from him; and till today while practicing Gurumayi’s Message for 2013, Mantra Japa, I do remember his suggestions. Mantra japa while biking (we use our bikes daily) … walking … cutting vegetables … peeling potatoes … standing in line … taking a shower … doing sports exercises ... before falling asleep …

In fact, when my son’s daughter was born, the first words he whispered in her ear were Om Namah Shivaya.

With gratitude to my son, who always has the mantra Om Namah Shivaya as a faithful companion and encourages me to do the same.

Gratitude and appreciation to all the Siddha Yoga students who offer their wisdom so generously.

My heartfelt gratitude to Gurumayi for guiding us and encouraging us to share. The shares enrich my sadhana, my life.

a Siddha Yogi from Bussum, Netherlands

When I first came across Gurumayi's Message for 2013, I felt it was the answer to each and every turn of life. Whenever, wherever, and however—chant the mantra and find that space of peace inside; and catch the beautiful insight that will walk you through the maze of life, alive and peaceful.

And when I chant and repeat Om Namah Shivaya, I can sense a renewed and rejuvenating shakti. I am truly blessed.

Eternally grateful,

a Siddha Yogi from Hyderabad, India

I am enjoying, in the afternoon, when I am able, to have what I call a "mini saptah." I put up to five of the Om Namah Shivaya CDs on the CD player and sit and chant along. Sometimes I'll chant for over three hours. This has felt so cleansing and mind calming. Afterwards, I can feel the joy and peace released by the mantra. I am so grateful.

a Siddha Yogi from Colorado, USA

I would like to share with everyone that Thursday, February 14, 2013, is Vasant Panchami, the Indian spring festival dedicated to Shri Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge, music, and art. Shri Sarasvati is also the deity of speech and sound. What a perfect day to practice mantra japa!
 
This year Vasant Panchami arrives the day after Ganesh Jayanti, the celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Also, this year, Vasant Panchami is on Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to love in many countries around the world.
 
Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the first day of spring in India. It falls on the fifth day of the Indian calendar month Magha, corresponding to January – February in the western calendar. Vasant means “spring season” and panchami means “fifth day.” It is a day of joy and new beginnings.
 
On Vasant Panchami it is traditional to wear yellow clothes, decorate one’s home with yellow flowers, cook with yellow-colored spices, like saffron and turmeric, and dress a statue of Shri Sarasvati in a yellow sari. The color yellow signifies the ripening of fruits and crops during the spring season. Yellow also represents prosperity and love.
 
Shubh Vasant Panchami and Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

Shubh Ganesh Jayanti to everyone!
 
Today, Wednesday, February 13, 2013, is the Indian holiday of Ganesh Jayanti, the day that is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh. This beloved elephant-faced god, the first-born son of Lord Shiva, represents wisdom, success, and the removal of obstacles. In India, it is traditional to invoke Lord Ganesh at the start of important endeavors, as he brings auspiciousness to new beginnings.

With his large ears, Lord Ganesh hears the prayers of all and his love flows freely to those who call upon him. Lord Ganesh is known to compassionately grant what is needed for spiritual progress.

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

Every morning when I wake up, I start my day boiling water for my tea. I sit comfortably, as a ritual, to read all the new sharings of the devotees all around the globe, on the Siddha Yoga path website.

This morning, I realized that in many places all over the world mantra japa is being repeated, and that we are making a big mantra japa mala for the earth. I got up with joy to enter this mala and went for a japa walk in the snow.

Thank you, Bade Baba, Baba, and Gurumayi, for our blessed lives. I am so grateful to you for guiding us towards a more and more conscious life.

a Siddha Yogi from Paris, France

There is so much richness on the Siddha Yoga path website! Today, I decided to go back and look through all the archives. Of course, I’ve visited these many, many times already; but this time I chose to consciously practice mantra japa as I viewed the videos and slideshows.

When I came upon one particular image of Gurumayi holding a red rose, I paused. Emerging from within me was an understanding. The rose is the Self, Gurumayi is the Self, and I am the Self. In this moment I felt at peace and a delightful wonderment with the unity of all things in the universe.

Om Namah Shivaya

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

On New Year’s Day, I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center. That was one of the best decisions of my life and a great portent for the year to come. The Message for this year has reverberated in my consciousness ever since and has been a tremendous influence on my life.  

For me, establishing a regular meditation practice has always been the most challenging of the Siddha Yoga practices. As I contemplated the Message, I realized I had a decision to make. How could I use the Message, Mantra Japa, to jumpstart my commitment to and my engagement in my meditation practice? 

I set up a special chair in a corner of my bedroom. I placed my most beautiful shawls and asana on the chair. I set my alarm clock so there’s plenty of time to meditate. And when the alarm goes off, I get to decide: to lie there for a while longer or to be part of this great Message. 

I’ve been getting up! I put on Gurumayi’s beautiful meditation CD; and, following her instructions, I meditate. This has brought an amazing sweetness into my mornings and the day that follows.  

Gurumayi’s Message for 2013, Mantra Japa, has transformed my days.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this splendid, this deep, this transformative, this awesome Sweet Surprise. 

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I'd like to share the happiness I feel since taking part in A Sweet Surprise satsang. I feel light and connected. It's easy to be kind and understanding. When something happens that would usually irritate me, I can just let it go. 

Om Namah Shivaya lives and dances in my heart, creating there a space where the air is crystal clear and the light shimmers in everything.

In loving gratitude.

a Siddha Yogi from Sågmyra, Sweden

On New Year’s morning, in the lovely Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Boston, the atmosphere was charged with sacred energy. The instant I heard Gurumayi’s Message, a powerful surge swelled through my being. As the energy rose, there was a pulsing and piercing sensation in each chakra. Although I've practiced mantra japa for many years, I knew that this was different. There was such a tremendous gift within this Message.

From that moment on, mantra japa has become a significantly more powerful practice for me. It has become like a lifeboat, carrying me through daily cares, and seeming to transform both the internal and external landscape.   

Last Sunday, we had our monthly sadhana circle at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Andover. A member reminded us of the tremendous positive energy that is being released as, around the globe, we offer mantra japa to each other and for the planet.

Thank you, beloved Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA

It is so great to hear from all the devotees about how the mantra is so constant and steadfast in their lives. I feel so close to everyone because of this. I am amazed and grateful to have the experience of mantra japa as our beloved friend. Indeed, we are blessed to be together in the “Infinite Heart,” always resounding with Om Namah Shivaya!

Thank you, Gurumayi, and devotees on the sacred Siddha Yoga path.

a Siddha Yogi from Maine, USA

After hearing about the teaching for this year, Mantra Japa, I decided to do mantra japa while I was at school. Here is what I do. I start with my teacher. I look at her and say (silently), “Om Guru, Om Guru.” Then I continue by looking at each child in my class and repeat Om Namah Shivaya. Then I start over again.
 
When the class goes out for a walk, we are in a line. I am usually at the back since I’m tall. I start with my teacher again and then repeat the mantra looking at the top of the heads in front of me. I go all through the line and back again to the teacher. And then I start all over. The teacher is like the Guru bead.
 
During our dance class we stand in a circle so it is easier, and I use the piano accompanist as the Guru bead.
 
I also like to repeat the mantra whenever a kid gets hurt. Or if there is something in class I do not understand, I do japa and I feel like it helps and then I say, “Oh, I get it!” 
 
At night if I can't fall asleep or if I am feeling afraid, I do japa and I feel more relaxed and secure.
 
Thank you for the teaching, Gurumayi. I love you very much.
Om Namah Shivaya. 

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

Today on the news channel, we saw clippings of the heavy snowstorm hitting the northeastern part of the United States, with some areas going without power. The heart naturally was inspired to sit and offer prayers and blessings to those affected areas. So, tonight as a family we came together, lit a candle beside Bade Baba at the altar, and prayed for the safe and easeful passing of the storm. We continue to pray and chant the mantra Om Namah Shivaya for strength and protection for all those in the affected areas. It felt very powerful praying and chanting the mantra.


Thank you, Gurumayi, for connecting us to the global sangham through the shares on the website. No matter which part of the world we reside in, we are so connected with each other through the mantra Om Namah Shivaya, which gives the expanding vision of being a part of the global family.


With love and gratitude,


a Siddha Yogi from Mumbai, India

Today I read in Satsang with Baba, vol. 4, that we should repeat God's name with "great reverence and respect." I found this instruction so beautiful that I started to apply it right away. I decided, as a sign of respect, to wash my hands and clean my mouth before picking up my japa mala, and then to bow down in front of my puja to start my practice of mantra japa. It was an awesome experience! After a while I became engrossed in sweet love, and I felt like I became Gurumayi. I had the feeling of how much Gurumayi loves us all to give us such a boon as mantra japa.

Thank you, Gurumayi, with all my love,


a Siddha Yogi from Milan, Italy

My main practices since the New Year are: mantra japa, visiting the Siddha Yoga path website, and the Home Study Course on Kundalini Shakti. It is so joyful, light-hearted, and divine how these three practices interplay and guide me to focus on one particular aspect of the Siddha Yoga teachings: to recognize the Guru's presence everywhere.

I experience that a spiritual practice is not bound to a specific time or place and that wherever I go I can have the awareness of God around me and within. It is like being in a river, where grace is always flowing around you. I just need to be aware of that presence, whether I am looking at a water drop rolling down the window pane, reading the shares on the Siddha Yoga path website homepage, or offering my lunch to the Lord.


a Siddha Yogi from Zurich, Switzerland

A few days ago I was doing some shopping. I had just left a store and was walking my way back to the car when I became aware that the mantra was repeating itself in the rhythm of my steps. The mantra was bubbling up, and I most naturally tuned into the repetition of the mantra. I felt so much joy—joy coming from the mantra, and also coming from the insight that this was Gurumayi's Message manifesting itself at that very moment. The mantra felt very close.

After another moment I decided that, even though my mind wanted to comment more on my beautiful experience, the best choice would be to return to the mantra again. Although the repetition was now with self-effort, the joy remained the same. The mantra is within me and I love it.

Thank you, Gurumayi.


a Siddha Yogi from Katzenbach, Germany

I've listened to A Sweet Surprise satsang three times; and each time, the Message deepens for me. I find myself practicing mantra japa while traveling, shopping, walking my dogs. It has become a constant companion and guide. It has supported me in trying circumstances, lightened quiet moments, comforted me.  

Thank you, Gurumayi.


a Siddha Yogi from Arizona, USA

I am so inspired by the beautiful sharings about mantra japa; inspired to pause,  breathe, listen to the internal peace, and most of all to repeat the mantra. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experiences.


a Siddha Yogi from Nana Glen, Australia

In the mornings as I walk the snow-covered paths to hatha yoga class, I repeat the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. I give my full attention to clearly articulating each syllable of the mantra silently. My mind becomes one-pointed. I feel every particle of my being pull inward toward a center within that is deeper and subtler than muscle or bone. I notice that my physical posture changes—I stand up straighter and feel more grounded and balanced as I tread the snow and ice along the path. I think to myself, how remarkable that I am having this experience of center, balance, and strength from repeating the mantra while on my way to hatha yoga class.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for teaching me the practices that lead me into my Heart, the source from which all outer strength derives.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

What an amazing gift A Sweet Surprise satsang is! Two and a half hours of pure darshan. Such deep and delightful stillness. The Guru's formless form. The pure light/love/bliss of my own Self. The mantra. Om Namah Shivaya.

I've received this beautiful gift—offered it to myself—three times now! Why not? Right in my own home. What a blessing! I intend to offer myself this gift many more times before February 28.

a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA

A devotee's narration of an experience that she had with her infant daughter made me reconsider an episode I had with my cat last week. I was listening to an Om Namah Shivaya chanting CD, and my cat jumped into my lap. He immediately became still and began staring at me very intently for several minutes. While he's typically affectionate, his complete stillness and focus on my face was unlike his regular behavior. Moreover, his eyes, normally pale opals, took on a deep clear sparkling blue. While gazing into them I had trouble keeping my own eyes open (something that happens when I am in front of the Bhagavan Nityananda murti in the Siddha Yoga meditation center), and I had the feeling that something else was staring out of his eyes.

I put it all down to my own tiredness and a tendency to romanticize—yet, in light of this woman's account, I can't help but attribute greater significance to my own experience. Just recalling it puts me into the same peaceful state I was in when it happened. 

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

As I have done for Gurumayi’s Message in previous years, I decided to contemplate the image that was on the home page. I asked myself, “Why is Gurumayi’s Message, Mantra Japa, presented in this way?”
 
As I contemplated the image, a few words bubbled up that described it, such as simple, bold, clear, basic, direct, solid, and strong. Over time, even more attributes came up, such as undeniable, instructional, foundational, commanding, reliable, and pointed. I realized that the attributes coming up for me were actually describing the image as well as the power of the Siddha Yoga practice of mantra japa.

Repeating the mantra after hearing Gurumayi’s Message has become a very portable, reliable, and well-loved practice for me. I instantly feel connected in a very basic and solid way. 

Thank you, Gurumayi, for reuniting me with the undeniable and powerful practice of mantra japa!
 

a Siddha Yogi from Illinois, USA

I’m so glad that I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang again via webcast. I experienced Gurumayi's dharana going deeper and deeper into the fabric of my being. I've been practicing this dharana each morning. I've been delighted by hearing inspired words coming out of my mouth at work; I'm noticing how I'm being guided to do just the right thing at the right time; and I’m feeling an unshakeable trust in mantra japa
 

a Siddha Yogi from Perth, Australia

A few weeks ago while I was meditating, an insight about the Guru-disciple relationship arose. This phrase kept repeating: "Love awakening love to love."

Then a few days ago while repeating the mantra, I was suddenly bathed in the most profound, exquisite, complete, and certain experience of love I have ever had. And as I experienced this, the words "The Guru loves me—I love the Guru" sprang from the depths of my being and resounded throughout my awareness over and over. Tears of joy poured from my eyes.

Thank you, Gurumayi.     

a Siddha Yogi from Washington, USA

My 92-year-old grandmother passed away recently, and I was home for the services and celebrations of her life. She was blessed; we were all blessed—she had 7 children, 15 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren, and 4 great great grandchildren. The services were beautiful. There was a feeling of ascending and great joy, and I could feel my grandmother's spirit soaring in delight.  

At the burial ceremony, much emotion and sadness was being expressed. I was repeating the mantra as they lowered the casket, and I just couldn't bring myself to look down. I felt my grandmother going up and up, soaring. She was free! As I was repeating the mantra, I looked up. There in clouds, right above the trees where we were, a heart formed. To me, it was the most amazing sign from Nature that indeed her spirit was soaring in love.

Om Namah Shivaya
.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

As I was contemplating how best for me to repeat the mantra, a very clarifying thought arose:

Repeating the Mantra with Confidence in Guru's Grace, 
Yielding Perfectly...Liberation is Assured.

Thank you, Gurumayi!

a Siddha Yogi from Oklahoma , USA

As I was driving to Charlotte from Asheville this past Tuesday, I was behind a tractor trailer and didn't see that there were large pieces of a shattered tire in the road. There wasn't time to change lanes. I heard myself shout the mantra Om Namah Shivaya! And I held the car steady as I hit the tire.
 
I'm very grateful that the mantra arose spontaneously.


a Siddha Yogi from North Carolina, USA

Today I practiced mantra japa as I was walking through a valley on my way home from school. My eyes traced the fine details of bark delicately inlaid on the trees, I felt the sensation of the breeze brush against my skin, and I observed the soft line where the green hills gently met the sky. Being aware of these textured details caused my mind to become quiet and tuned into the environment around me. Nature became a silent dwelling place, and this stillness was echoed in the realm of my heart as well.

As I continued to repeat Om Namah Shivaya, I experienced an even deeper unity of my inner and outer worlds. As a result, a spring of contentment and bliss started to bubble up in my chest. A happy laugh escaped my lips at this newfound joy, and I chuckled as the birds seemed to smile back in return.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for A Sweet Surprise satsang and for inspiring the insights I continue to discover daily as a child of this earth!

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I use my japa mala during travel time on the bus to and from work. It has become a routine, focused practice. For the past two days consecutively, I happened to be running late for work and the traffic moved very slowly. I felt stuck and feelings of agitation arose within me. Then I remembered and started repeating the mantra. It was a mechanical repetition initially; however, with a few repetitions the mind began to calm down.
 
The lane started moving; but invariably, the traffic signals would turn red just before our vehicle could pass. As I looked around, I saw so many vehicles alongside me, already in gear and waiting for the signal to turn green so they could speed away. They were honking away big time as if everyone was in some sort of a speed race. In those few moments there was a sudden shift in perception, and a question arose within: “Where are you heading?” With this question, I experienced deep stillness within.

On deeper reflection, I felt how compassionately and lovingly I was made aware of my thoughts. I wondered at how easily my mind had drifted into anxiety and worry and how practically and powerfully the practice of mantra japa had calmed my mind. How quickly, within a few seconds, repeating the mantra completely altered the state of my mind and gave me a new perception!

Thank you, beloved Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Mumbai, India

I had a fantastic experience with my five-month-old daughter, Jeanne. She was sitting on my knees, and I began to sing the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. At once, her eyes turned up to me with a deep, deep look.
 
Although her attention span is usually only a few seconds, she did not stop watching me sing for at least ten minutes! I was impressed by the depth of her gaze.

I learned two things from this experience: 

The first is that the mantra allows us to reach deep inside, to be in a place of communion. It was as if God in her was listening to the voice of God in me.

The second is that Jeanne, beyond being my daughter, is a free soul; and the mantra allowed us to connect beyond our mother-child roles.

I wept with joy during this experience, and I will sing the mantra to Jeanne again and again!

Thank you, Gurumayi. Thank you, Baba.

a Siddha Yogi from Dijon, France

At the conclusion of A Sweet Surprise satsang, I realized I was deep in my heart. I felt a profound sense of peace and contentment that continued to unfold and grow for the rest of the day and in the days to come. That evening as I meditated, I realized I was happier than I had ever been in my life. The room I was in seemed to be radiating a golden light. My mind was utterly still. With the grace of A Sweet Surprise satsang, my mind was deeply still and the inner critic I had been wrestling with was gone. I felt santosha—a Sanskrit word for blissful contentment. This state was new for me and stayed with me for several days. 

That evening, I made a commitment to repeat the mantra Om Namah Shivaya with each breath this year, to help me go back to this state of santosha, and to make it my daily experience. 

Thank you.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Washington, USA

When I ride my bike to work in the morning, I repeat the mantra and align it with my breath. Whenever my thinking pulls me out of the center of my being, my breath is shallow and I drift away. Om Namah Shivaya feels like connecting with "home." It is grounding and puts challenges in greater perspective.

Since practicing japa, I have become even more aware of being in the present moment, not thought-flying away to the future or the past. It is amazing how much lighter and easier it feels just being with the now. Also, when I am mentally stuck and not able to make a decision, I repeat the mantra. With it comes the trust that the situation will clear up when it is the right time and not when I think it should.
 
Letting go, surrender, and trust are coming along with this constant practice of mantra japa.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for your grace. Thank you for being there, always!  

a Siddha Yogi from Heidelberg, Germany

Today the sunlight was so beautiful that my husband and I chose to take a
mid-afternoon break from work to walk on the beach. As I practiced mantra japa, the stones lying on the beach became, before my eyes, the stones displaying virtues and qualities in Gurumayi's Season's Greetings Card; and it seemed to me that I and the whole world were IN the Season’s Greetings Card!

I continued to maintain this awareness while practicing mantra japa as I walked, until, at one point, I noticed that all the colors in the sea, the sky, and the hilly landscape in the distance were delicate variations of a celestial blue. I felt bathed in the simple realization that this was all the Blue Pearl manifesting before my eyes—that the world and I were simultaneously the tiny blue dot and everything that is, both inside and outside. No earth-shattering realizations or sensations—just a sweet and simple awareness blossoming within me through the trust I've given to the practice of Gurumayi's Message, and through the amazing grace that fills me when I connect with the pages of the Siddha Yoga path website.

To me mantra japa is the cord tying all the practices and teachings being made available on the website into one, love-filled virtual mala.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your generous guidance and all the forms of your love that I experience manifesting through mantra japa

a Siddha Yogi from Ancona, Italy

Since A Sweet Surprise satsang, I've had so many wonderful moments of realising the mantra spontaneously repeating all by itself within my being—even on days where I've got distracted and not really applied myself to the practice. The last couple of days, as I have marveled at this, I've been aware of the many, many seekers practicing Gurumayi's Message all over the world. And I feel it—I can feel the energy of your own practice supporting my own, and I am so grateful. May my own practice of mantra japa serve you, too.

There is so much grace here: Guru's grace and disciples' grace. 
 
Thank you!

a Siddha Yogi from Bath, United Kingdom

On January 13, I took my seat in the meditation hall at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Montreal to receive Gurumayi’s Message. My gaze was immediately attracted to the mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, on the front wall, just above Gurumayi's chair. I had a very strange feeling, as if the letters were shimmering, as if the mantra was welcoming me. And I immersed myself in the mantra.
 
When I heard that the mantra was at the very heart of the satsang, I was very much pleased. During my drive back home, as I was contemplating what I had experienced with the mantra before the beginning of the satsang, an understanding popped up: the mantra is alive! Yes! This is exactly what I was feeling. The mantra is alive!
 
I made it my resolution for the New Year to nurture this awareness that the mantra is alive, and to keep it alive in me.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, with all my heart! And thank you to all the sevites all around the world! 

a Siddha Yogi from Mont-St-Michel, Canada

When I first heard the mantra in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I felt a bolt of energy hit my heart; and then a big smile came to my face. I thought, “This Message can lead me to liberation this year!” Thank you, Gurumayi, for reinitiating me into the powerful practice of mantra japa. It’s like becoming reacquainted with an old friend, with some veils having dropped and the relationship now ever deeper and fuller.

I am practicing mantra japa as I go to sleep and wake up. The mantra is never far away. It’s there when I walk, with each of my steps. The sweetest time is in meditation. I experience a blissful vibration, and meditation comes so easily. I come out of meditation ready for the day, carrying with me a deep sense of peace, and knowing that all is well no matter what presents itself during the day.

Om Namah Shivaya—with a heart full of gratitude.

a Siddha Yogi from Washington, USA

Each morning, as I visit the shared experiences of A Sweet Surprise, I feel so very blessed. Each share either echoes my experiences or gives me great hope that I may have some of the same experiences as I continue my sadhana. 
 
Thank you, thank you, fellow devotees around the world, for all your shares. Every morning your shares spark my day. You can only imagine how your one individual share sparks the world. 
 
Thank you, thank you, Gurumayi, for giving us such a beautiful diamond!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

I am in the Doha International Airport, Qatar, in transit on my way to Gurudev Siddha Peeth, India, to participate in the Pilgrimage to the Heart Retreat.

Yesterday when I checked in at the Buenos Aires Airport, Argentina, I learned that due to some new visa regulations, I would not be able to leave the airport during my twenty-two hour stop in Doha. My original plans had been to stay in a hotel, sightsee, and buy presents for my family.

When the airline officer asked me what I was going to do, my inner voice answered serenely, "Mantra Japa." So I told the officer, "Don't worry I will be great!"

When I arrived at the Doha Airport, I saw a sign indicating a silent area next to a place of worship. I smiled gratefully. "God knows better," I thought. His plans for me were silence and prayer, another gentle nudge into mindfulness. So I entered the silent dimly-lit room, chose a couch, and relaxed. Mantra japa was all I had to do. The sweet vibrations of the mantra lulled me to sleep.

When I woke up after eight hours of pleasant sleep, the mantra was still vibrating in my heart.

It is 3 pm now, and I am ready to board my plane to Mumbai.

I have had a graceful pause, a transit within, a silent prelude to prepare me for the Pilgrimage to the Heart Retreat.

Thank you, Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Buenos Aires, Argentina

I’m in the hospital, recovering from surgery. The nurses were having some trouble replacing the IV fluids because the fixture was stuck, and said they might have to replace the whole IV device—which can be a bit of a pain. I said Om Namah Shivaya!—out loud. Normally, I would just say it silently, but it just came out.

The nurses asked, “What did you say?” And I just said, “It’s a prayer.” And the fixture popped right out and it was fixed. They both paused a moment and said, “Well, it worked!”

At such moments I feel the hand of the Guru on my shoulder, guiding me through each passage; and I know that despite all appearances, all is well. 

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

After taking A Sweet Surprise satsang, I feel a renewed resolve. Using a mala helps me when I repeat the mantra silently. The mantra gives me the ability to focus with endurance and inner joy. It allows me to experience sacredness. I am immensely grateful.  

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

As part of my study group, I've been reading Baba's verses in Mukteshwari. Although I was looking specifically for teachings about the mantra and japa, my attention was caught by verse 365, about how the sun rises and sets each day and we move closer to the end of our time. Baba tells us, “Listen to the message revealed by the sun."
 
This verse had a really strong impact on me as I read and re-read it. I understood the message to mean: my time is limited; don't waste it.
 
As it happened, the very day I read this verse I had plans to go to the mall. Immediately, I started to feel, “What a waste of time, wandering around the mall looking at clothes.” Then, just as suddenly, another thought came up: “The mantra...japa! Take it with you!”
 
As I walked around the mall that day, silently repeating the mantra, I saw that I didn't need to worry about wasting precious time. I experienced that even the mundane activity of shopping can be a sacred part of my life, through the gift of mantra japa.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi. 

a Siddha Yogi from Connecticut, USA

Mantra japa is a practice I have been doing for over five years; however, near the end of 2012, I told myself that I would make a point of repeating Om Namah Shivaya even more in 2013. What a delight it was for me to hear Gurumayi's Message! Mantra japa has been my constant companion in times of fear and trouble.  When I am at a doctor's appointment or at the dentist's office, the mantra is constantly repeating throughout my being. Now it's with me more often—upon awakening, when I can't sleep, in those quiet times with myself on the bus ride to and from work. When I am stressed out or feeling unfulfilled at work, mantra japa fills my heart and I remember my Self. Om Namah Shivaya is singing throughout my body and mind. 
 
Thank you, Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

The way in which I practice mantra japa is to listen to Gurumayi’s voice repeating the mantra within me. In this way, I focus on the mantra and I focus on the Guru, knowing that the Guru, the mantra, and my own Self are one. This practice has helped me feel the Guru’s presence in all the different places and circumstances of my life. It is helping me to become more and more anchored in the experience of the Self.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Just before A Sweet Surprise satsang, I received a japa mala as a gift. Also, a CD of Gurumayi chanting Om Namah Shivaya happened to come into my possession, since my friend bought it forgetting that he already owned one. Then, through the Siddha Yoga path website, I learned that this year's Message was Mantra Japa. I thought, "Wow, what a coincidence!" But nothing seems to be a coincidence on the Siddha Yoga path. Things were prepared for me to receive Gurumayi's Message for 2013.

And, for the first time, I felt the vibration of the mantra within while chanting Om Namah Shivaya in A Sweet Surprise satsang, which made me feel connected to the Guru's grace. I will continue to practice mantra japa to keep holding the vibration within me.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this wonderful experience and for your guidance.  

a Siddha Yogi from Nagoya, Japan

During A Sweet Surprise satsang, I became aware of the mantra pulsating in the crown of my head. The feeling of it was so new and intoxicating that it drew my attention completely for some time. I released into the experience with the sense that I was being guided into another level of sadhana by Gurumayi's Message.

Since then, each morning as I sit in front of my puja for meditation, the moment I close my eyes the mantra is there, throbbing within. Sometimes it begins in my chest or my throat, sometimes at the root of my tongue or behind or between my eyes. And always it moves into the crown, where I am lost in waves of ecstasy for some time.

I feel so blessed. I make very little effort, just pay attention to where the mantra is pulsating. In those moments, thoughts do not have the power to distract me. They dissolve and fall away.

I feel that I am being welcomed into the fullness of my own being every morning and that I am headed for home in this year of mantra japa.

Thank you, beloved Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Illinois, USA

When my five-year-old daughter learned about Gurumayi's Message, she was especially excited about implementing Gurumayi's suggestion to repeat the mantra each night before we go to sleep and again when we wake up. We each have our own malas and do japa together as we fall asleep. 
 
This morning she woke up, and the first thing she wondered was where her mala was. She told me she likes to sleep with it on her wrist. She quickly found it in her bed, but I was touched by how her first thought upon waking was of her mala
 
I am so grateful to Gurumayi for giving us a practice that we all—all ages—can do with enthusiasm. I find that my daughter and I are cheering each other on in the practice of mantra japa

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

The other day, I was sitting in a park filled with beautiful old oak trees, with Spanish moss hanging in the gentle breeze. I was by the river, sitting on a park bench; and a sudden strong wind came rustling through the park from the river. Suddenly, I heard the mantra in the air. It was totally divine. The trees and wind began saying Om Namah Shivaya repeatedly. There was a tune to it. I stayed there for a few hours doing mantra japa in sync with Nature. I then went home and played my harmonium to this tune while chanting Om Namah Shivaya out loud. It filled me with such joy and bliss that I fell into meditation. This was Nature's reminder for me to continue doing mantra japa because Nature does, and has always done it without fail.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi. 

a Siddha Yogi from Florida, USA

I was facing a challenging problem with my son. I gathered a lot of information from many sources to help guide me. Yet, I still felt I was facing an unsolvable puzzle. As I reflected on the nature of the conundrum, I got a clear inner message: The answer would come by repeating the mantra. In a way, Om Namah Shivaya itself was the answer. I knew this was the truth. As I continued to immerse myself in the mantra and held on to a deep and new-found level of trust in the mantra, I made certain efforts to address the problem. These were met with lots of external support. My son made various beneficial shifts, and the seemingly insolvable problem was solved!

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Since participating in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I feel as though I live in the mantra, that it has become my Truth. It is effortless; and, for the first time in my life, I am experiencing the joy of my own being. My life has become very simple. I see clearly that all my imagined problems have the same root—forgetfulness of the Self, and I now have an answer to them all:

Om Namah Shivaya.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Arizona, USA

Early in my sadhana, I read in one of Baba's books that if you repeat the mantra when going to sleep, the mantra will work its wonder while you are sleeping. So, I adopted this practice. After a while, I realized that some mornings the mantra was repeating itself on its own. I was not consciously repeating the mantra; it was spontaneously arising within me.
 
During difficult times, when my mind is not focused, something always triggers mantra japa and its vibrations are my best and most faithful companions. 
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this most precious gift.  

a Siddha Yogi from Gatineau, Canada

This past long weekend, my family and I drove to Yosemite National Park with a convoy of other families from my son’s school. Just as we arrived at the hotel, the car overheated and broke down. I spent the next hour talking to the service company to have the car towed. 
 
Normally such situations would be agitating and I would be worrying about what was going to happen, but instead I repeated the mantra and found myself in a calm and open state. This calmness, coupled with the mantra, continued throughout the weekend—even after finding out the next day that it would cost more to fix the car than I paid for it. I was acutely aware of how calm and accepting I was of the situation and how the mantra continued to play across my mind. 
 
It turned out to be an amazing weekend.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

My experience of A Sweet Surprise satsang was that of feeling reinitiated into the power of the mantra—the chaitanya mantra given by the Guru. I experienced the pure feeling of being connected to the Guru's grace, and amazement at how the Guru's presence manifested at the moment A Sweet Surprise satsang began on New Year's Day!

a Siddha Yogi from Oklahoma, USA

I have noticed myself gradually being taken deeper into my being as time unfolds my days and my efforts are met by grace. I am taken to a deep place of peace, if only for a moment when a moment is all I have. 

Little by little, I am getting to know the pause between breaths. I am recognising the place of sweetness I experienced in A Sweet Surprise satsang. Thanks to Gurumayi’s teaching and my efforts, I am experiencing these moments scattered throughout my day. I am nourished and sustained and restored in the faith of what can be—and it is indeed great.

a Siddha Yogi from Melbourne, Australia

Experiencing Gurumayi’s Message for 2013 is a great gift; it is immeasurable.

Reading the shares is another magnificent gift; they are golden! I am truly grateful for these blessings. Thank you, Gurumayi!

Recently, I was thinking about a challenging relationship in my life. I was thinking about the next time I would see the person, what I would say, how I might react, and so on. Immediately, my mind was filled with peace when a voice inside said, “Remember the mantra.” I smiled and felt support coming from the heart. I felt a blanket of love comforting me.

I visualized the situation again, but this time without the worry and contracted feelings. Instead, I visualized myself feeling the mantra within and without. I saw myself peaceful and balanced, knowing that by choosing to connect with the mantra, everything would be just fine, for the benefit of all.

Gurumayi, thank you.

a Siddha Yogi from Pennsylvania, USA

As I contemplated the horizon recently, it occurred to me that if one were to do a photographic time lapse of the sun rising or setting, it would be like watching a stunning poetic portrait of japa in the sky.

a Siddha Yogi from Aotearoa, New Zealand

While sitting at a favorite coffee shop, a delightful awareness arose:

Right now, in all time zones around the world, thousands of Siddha Yogis
are repeating the mantra.  A virtual mala of mantra surrounds our beautiful Earth.

What a marvelous way to honor and celebrate this great life on this jewel of a planet.

Thank you, dearest Gurumayi, for the precious gift of mantra japa.

a Siddha Yogi from Missouri, USA

At my job, my daily schedule is full of constant busy movement between classes, meetings, and rehearsals. Sometimes so much is going on that I have felt daunted by the amount of work there is to do. 
 
Since receiving Gurumayi’s Message for 2013, I make a conscious daily practice of wearing a mala on my wrist and then doing japa whenever I walk between events.  Doing this calms me down, reminds me to breathe deeply, and connects me to my heart in a way that helps me be fully present with each person or activity I encounter. I then remember that anything is possible through a combination of self-effort and grace. I see through fresh eyes, and I get all my work done with a feeling of deliciously sweet nectar!

Thank you, Gurumayi, for the gift of something so simple yet so profoundly making a difference in my life each day.

a Siddha Yogi from Hawai'i, USA

I developed a medical condition in 2010, which ultimately required a marrow and blood transplant in September, 2012. During the treatments and afterward, throughout my recuperation, I was inspired to play a CD of Gurumayi chanting the mantra; and also I began to read again Baba’s book Mukteshwari. I carried Baba’s book with me whenever I went for medical treatments, often reading the verses during the treatments.

As time went on, through grace and the power of the mantra, I could see the medicine and the mantra healing and enlivening each cell – each doing what it was supposed to do. The process of recovery has been amazingly easeful.

I was amazed when I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang online and heard Gurumayi’s Message and the quotes from Mukteshwari about japa!

Thank you, Gurumayi. 

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

My mom, from childhood, used to say to me, “Whenever you feel fear, or you are in a difficult situation, and mainly when you have trouble going to sleep, just repeat the mantra 108 times. You will feel the grace and power within you, and you may fall asleep before you get to the 108th time.” I used to do this, but always in my mind there was the question: “How, by just repeating a mantra, can I invoke grace?”

After growing up and until now, sometimes I would think about this question again. When I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I repeated the mantra and I could actually feel what my mom used to tell me.
 
I am thankful to Gurumayi for making it possible for me to realise the shakti within the mantra and the power of mantra japa in my life. I feel connected to Gurumayi and to my inner state.

I do mantra japa every night now when I go to bed, and I fall right asleep.

Gratitude to my Shree Guru,
Love

a Siddha Yogi from Ghaziabad, India

Years ago I used to repeat the mantra while walking. Bringing my steps in rhythm with my breath, and then taking every step in time with one of the syllables of the mantra, was a great practice. I had to gather all my concentration, and that helped me to overcome the restlessness of my mind. Unfortunately, after some time, I lost the discipline of doing my japa walks. 

Now, after receiving Gurumayi's Message for 2013, my enthusiasm for japa walks has been lighted up again. And this time I do not only focus on the steps, breath, and syllables. There is one more element to focus on: my heart. Feeling in my heart the sacredness of the mantra is the gift to me of Gurumayi's Message this year. 

a Siddha Yogi from Oostzaan, Netherlands

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this precious and perfect Message. On January 1, when I heard the Message, my heart leapt with joy.

The wonderful shares of so many devotees around the world are such a support in our sadhana. So often I am brought to a much deeper awareness within myself. Reading the share of the devotee who suddenly began playing the CD of Gurumayi chanting the mantra three months prior to the Message, I remembered and understood why for many months now I have wanted to constantly listen to the mantra. I have played each CD over and over each day. I did not know consciously at the time why I was pulled so strongly, but I followed the deep inner knowing that this is what I was being called to do. And even though I had not been practicing repeating the mantra regularly, so often I would become aware of the mantra repeating itself within me. 

I am so grateful each moment for your blessed grace, Gurumayi, which guides us always and shows us how deeply we are aligned with you.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

I love Gurumayi’s Message, Mantra Japa! I have repeated the mantra for many years now in many settings. But something happened in A Sweet Surprise satsang that made me feel that I had actually been initiated in the mantra as never before. The mantra seems to have acquired a more tangible form for me, more alive, more potent; and while repeating it, I truly feel centered in the Heart of my being.

I have always loved the mantra; it has been a dear friend to me. But I realized after the satsang that I really didn’t know very much about it.  So I decided to take the satsang again online—and I am so happy I did. This time, I was able to discover more layers to this delightful and powerful topic as I focused more fully on the uses, the benefits, the beautiful dharana, and ways of employing the mantra that are beautifully explained. My connection with the mantra has grown even more powerful, and I feel great satisfaction that I was able to study this dear friend in much greater depth.   

Thank you, Gurumayi. And thank you to all the dear sevites of the SYDA Foundation who contributed to creating such a beautiful gem: A Sweet Surprise.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

For many weeks before I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I had been including, before my meditation, a long time of chanting the mantra with the CD of Gurumayi chanting Om Namah Shivaya.

It seemed that, as the weeks passed, I would more and more easefully enter into a great sphere of sound and often light as I chanted. My meditations were then often filled with a comforting, friendly blue light.
 
In A Sweet Surprise satsang on January 1st, I was awestruck about how beautifully prepared I was to receive Gurumayi’s Message: Mantra Japa. I had always in my sadhana wished for a closer relationship with mantra repetition. When I heard that repeating the mantra was a way of staying connected to grace, I was touched deeply that I had already been given this gift, and that I could continue to hold the gift closely to my heart through japa.  
 
Thank you so much, Gurumayi. I am so grateful for ALL your gifts, seen and unseen. 

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

After enjoying Gurumayi’s Message for 2013, I was delighted to discover her talk "Infinite Blue Heart." And when I contemplated the Message and then the talk, a connection between them arose spontaneously. Especially, when Gurumayi speaks about love: "Through practicing the Message, you will get in touch with your own heart, the infinite blue Heart. You will experience your own love—pure love, sweet love, generous love, incredible love, profound love, amazing love, unconditional love." I noticed that Gurumayi gives seven attributes of love. So I decided to contemplate one of the attributes of love each of the seven days of the week.

Through this powerful contemplation of these attributes each day, the mantra came into my consciousness and absorbed the attributes: pure mantra, sweet mantra, generous mantra, incredible mantra, profound mantra, amazing mantra, unconditional mantra. When this happens, the mantra becomes love and love becomes the mantra: merging! Mantra and love are one. This discovery invited me to read again and to go deeper into Gurumayi's teachings in her book: My Lord Loves a Pure Heart.

Thank you, Gurumayi, from the depth of my heart. 

a Siddha Yogi from Nantes, France

My wife and I love to take walks in the early evening. We have begun to spend part of our walk doing mantra japa
 
As we walk silently in the cool air with the crimson setting sun filling the sky, we have begun paying attention to all the birds flying from tree to tree. They move gracefully and sing beautifully as they swoop down gently on a tree branch. Their flight through the soft light is almost dreamlike. As we walk through our neighborhood and on a canal trail, we are filled with beauty within and without. 
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this Message; it is an exquisite gift.
 
Thank you to everyone who offered seva to make Gurumayi’s Message for 2013 available to the global Siddha Yoga sangham. 

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Before the 2013 A Sweet Surprise satsang, I was not very comfortable doing japa with Om Namah Shivaya. It was hard work unless I repeated just a few rounds. So I did a lot of listening to my breath (with So’ham), which was very soothing and pleasing. Now, having heard the Message, I find it is quite effortless to repeat Om Namah Shivaya; and I remember to do japa quite often during the day and evening. I feel much more in contact with God, which is my deepest desire, and now it is being fulfilled as never before. I call that grace. Jaya Gurumayi! Thank you so much.  

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

When I heard Gurumayi's Message, Mantra Japa, at A Sweet Surprise 2013 satsang, an inner voice immediately resounded, "YES!" I was filled with both joy and a sense of relief. My next thought was, "I can do this!" 

Repeating Om Namah Shivaya has been a practice for me since meeting Gurumayi in 1985. I have been making more of an effort recently because of some challenges with my job, and mostly my mind. Since hearing the words, Mantra Japa, it feels as though grace has pierced my heart. Now when I repeat Om Namah Shivaya, a welling-up occurs, and all that mental energy descends to my heart area. It is as though I am being held there in the arms of angels. 

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your amazing grace and your unconditional love! I am so blessed and grateful that you are in my life!

a Siddha Yogi from Virginia, USA

I am offering seva in the Siddha Yoga Family Retreat here in Sydney, Australia. This morning, during our study session, the host invited everyone to practice mantra japa. We repeated Om Namah Shivaya aloud 11 times. 

It was extraordinary! The atmosphere in the room seemed to change, becoming still and yet more enlivened at the same time, as if we had all shifted to another level of consciousness. 

I understood how the Guru's sankalpa can bring a practice alive for us.
Thank you, Gurumayi. 

a Siddha Yogi from Sydney, Australia

I am a Siddha Yoga drummer and I offer seva in the Music Department in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. We used to have mantra chants every Sunday, but I never wanted to go there. Whenever I went there, I used to feel really restless and sleepy. Eventually, I stopped going there at all!

One day, my supervisor invited me to lead chant for the mantra chant. Reluctantly, I agreed. We did poorvabhasya (practice) for the chant. In the practice, the leader explained to us the beauty and the power of the mantra and showed us different ways to sing the mantra. This all really touched me. I went to the library and read teachings by Baba and Gurumayi on mantra.

I was really looking forward to the chant now! When the chant began, I felt subtle vibrations inside my body. Love and devotion began to arise inside my body. I felt Gurumayi in my heart! I was very moved after the chant. I thanked Gurumayi for bestowing her grace in the form of mantra. She is the mantra herself!

I was so happy when Gurumayi gave the Message: Mantra Japa. I have resolved to practice mantra japa every day and never ever miss a mantra chant!

Thank you, Gurumayi!

a Siddha Yogi from Mumbai, India

Mantra Japa. Such a sweet and perfect Message. With each new Message and guidance, we receive such a direct means for reaching the Heart. After participating in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I felt so content and fulfilled. And then came the wonderful surprise of Gurumayi's darshan on the website, and her sweet guidance to make the Message our resolution.

I decided to make small, specific steps to do this: one is to repeat the mantra with awareness. To do this, I will consciously align my mantra repetition with my breath; and, I will get myself a japa ring. Somehow, in all these years, I have not done that. I will also study the Guru's words. I will read what Baba and Gurumayi have said about the mantra.

Having made this resolution during the Reflection Satsang, I came home excited to put it into practice. I decided to first see which books were on my bedside—lo and behold, there was Play of Consciousness. And so, I am now dipping into it again with great delight, reading Baba's words about the mantra, his experiences and teachings. I now go to sleep having contemplated and repeated the mantra.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this beautiful Message.

a Siddha Yogi from New Delhi, India

As I was taking a walk through a gentle snowfall, a very simple, still, but profound thought and feeling came to me. All around this Earth—at any and every given moment—someone, somewhere, is either mentally or verbally repeating the mantra. As I continued to walk through the snow, the snow looked like millions of diamonds—BILLIONS—and then again I had that feeling of everyone around the world repeating the mantra. It's like the entire Earth is now covered in a cocoon of that powerful vibration, protection. We, as a sangham, are related. We, as people, are related. It made my heart sing and swell up with love. We are not different. We are the same.

How beautiful you are, Gurumayi, to guide us, to share all this with us—to join the world together.

Thank you, Gurumayi, Baba, and Bade Baba for offering this to the world.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for showing me that we all are One.

A deep, still, joyful 2013.
Gratitude—profound gratitude.

a Siddha Yogi from New Mexico, USA

A few days ago, riding the bus to work, I was contemplating Gurumayi’s Message for 2013. It had left me a bit perplexed. Japa had never felt like it was for me. I did try to carry a mala and to recite the mantra for a while, but with time the practice had become mechanical and I left it aside.

As I was debating with myself I realised that, without intentionally making a practice of it, I had started to play a CD of the mantra on getting up in the morning and on returning back from work every day for the previous three months. I would unfailingly start it again as I passed by the CD player, never tiring of it for the whole evening on some days. It happened often that, while doing something in another room, I would have to stop and listen attentively, as even though the CD had ended I could still hear the mantra echoing in my mind, not really knowing if it was playing or not.

This made me realise that the mantra repeats itself already. I just have to listen with my whole attention. There is nothing to do but listen.

Thank you, Gurumayi, in advance for yet another amazing year in your presence.

a Siddha Yogi from Montreal, Canada

On January 5th, I took A Sweet Surprise satsang on my own, via webcast, in Switzerland, amidst the resounding silence of the majestic snow-covered mountains. When I heard the Message: Mantra Japa, I felt a switch turn on. I had been familiar with the mantra and familiar with the practice of japa, but I quickly realized that this practice was very much lying dormant in me until that moment. I was agog at every word of the talk on mantra japa—it transported me to places that I had never stopped to contemplate or identify while practicing japa.

Having that switch turned on brought the practice of japa to the fore of my daily life—an awareness shimmering just beneath the surface of my consciousness. I now practice japa first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, and during quiet moments in the day. I believe that making this practice a conscious and deliberate one will continue to enlighten my inner and outer worlds.

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude.

With love,
a Siddha Yogi from Hong Kong, China

Thank you for your Message, beloved Gurumayi. I will put my intention into the practice of mantra japa, which guides my life every day, so that I can keep in touch with Guru's grace, so that the mantra can touch anyone who is near me, so that I can be a ray of light in the world, a Siddha Yoga devotee in the world. This is a very precious gift—a responsibility and a blessing.

Thank you, Gurumayi

a Siddha Yogi from Livorno, Italy

My husband traveled to India in December, and returned with three japa malas. One is very large, one is medium-sized, and one is small. When my 9-year-old son heard Gurumayi's Message for 2013, he got very excited and pointed at the malas. He said, "Don't you see, Mommy—one is the right size for Daddy, one is the right size for you, and this little one is just right for me!" He hasn't been that interested in meditation because it is challenging for him to sit still, but he really wanted to learn how to do japa with his mala. The three of us have been doing japa together virtually every day. Thank you so much, Gurumayi, for teaching us about this beautiful practice that we can share as a family.

a Siddha Yogi from Maryland, USA

When I first heard Gurumayiji's Message in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I was ecstatic! Mantra japa­—a practice I have been doing for so long. A practice that has helped me calm and align myself with the Guru's grace over and over again. I loved it!

A tool that has greatly supported me in being regular in mantra japa is the japa mala or the japa ring. For almost the past four years, I have been wearing a japa ring and because of it, I'm able to repeat the mantra between classes, while waiting at red lights, while walking somewhere, in the metro, or simply when I'm at home, in an easeful and smooth frame of mind.

Recently, while preparing for A Sweet Surprise satsang, the practice of meditation stood out for me in a very strong, evident, and clear way. I was amazed, mainly because meditation is not a practice I'm majorly regular at or inclined to. But when I heard the Message – Mantra Japa – it gave me direction. I instantly knew that the way I'm going to strengthen and nurture my practice of mantra japa is by refreshing and being regular in my newfound love for the practice of meditation!

Thank you, Gurumayiji, for this beautiful Message.

Immense love and gratitude,
a Siddha Yogi from New Delhi, India

On New Year's Eve, my husband, my two daughters, and I were making our ceremony of offering thanks for everything that we had received from 2012. After that, we said some resolutions out loud for the New Year.
 
Every year I make the resolution to practice silence and to talk only when necessary. Well, I must say that it's been a very hard resolution. However, this year I made the same one, and I decided that what I will do this year is to fill my mind with mantra japa, and this will be the silence. And I thought: I have to reinforce my understanding of what the mantra is good for, so when I repeat it, the mantra will be charged with the understanding of its power. So I will look it up in Gurumayi´s and Baba´s books.

Well, let me tell you that when I heard Gurumayi's Message for 2013 I was so amazed and surprised, I couldn´t believe it. What a blessing! Of course the Message is going to be my resolution!

What's so amazing is that I feel as if I have been initiated into japa. Never before was the mantra so present in my life. Now, when I repeat it, what constantly comes to my mind is that the japa of Om Namah Shivaya will lead me, without a doubt, to liberation. And this thought makes me want to repeat it more and more.

Thank you so much, Gurumayi.
a Siddha Yogi from Mexico City, Mexico

A Siddha Yoga friend in Sydney, Australia, asked me on New Year's Day if I'd like to have monthly study sessions on Gurumayi's Message for 2013 via Skype. I was thrilled, and we had our first session last week. It was fun being able to see each other through the video cam from opposite sides of the world. We talked about our experience of the satsang and shared all that we had remembered from the Message. We chose one of the five points to study over the coming month through the means of contemplation, reading about it in the Siddha Yoga books, and watching how it manifests in our daily life. We agreed to send little email updates once a week to each other, sharing how our study is going and how it is affecting us.  

It was very joyful and uplifting. That night I had Gurumayi's darshan in my dreams—profound dreams where I felt tremendous bhakti, devotion, throbbing through me. When I woke up, I knew that the power of studying the Message had drawn Gurumayi’s darshan. I understood that this direct Message really IS, in its deep essence, the form of the Guru.  

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Before reading the talk by Gurumayi, "Infinite Blue Heart," I didn't know anything about the song "Amazing Grace." I started looking for it on the Internet and found the text and recordings of different performers. The words and music so touched me that for some days, "Amazing Grace" sang God's Glory within my heart, filling me with great joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude.
 
Some days later, I sat down to chant the mantra Om Namah Shivaya, and there was a miracle. When I started chanting, powerful waves of amazing grace began rising within my heart, higher and higher, merging with the great mantra in a single whole. I heard Om Namah Shivaya; but there were no borders between the mantra, the song, and me. There was the amazing experience of God's grace, the great boundless power which unites everything beyond all words, sounds, and feelings.

I will carry out my New Year’s resolution—Gurumayi's Message for 2013—with the experience of new fresh power: the power of amazing grace.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your loving guidance.
Thank you, all the people who preserved this beautiful song.
Thank you, python Raja, for giving a message from Nature.
Thank you, all the sevites, for your loving seva.

With gratitude and love,
a Siddha Yogi from Podolsk, Russian Federation

This is my first share ever! Thank you, Gurumayi, for A Sweet Surprise 2013! 
I had Om Namah Shivaya coming out of the palms of my hands and resonating in the air of my flat. I also heard Om Namah Shivaya in the tamboura music during the meditation. It kept pronouncing, in tamboura music, Om Namah Shivaya, over and over again.

So very wonderful and special. Thank you from my heart that right now vibrates with the mantra. 

a Siddha Yogi from Barcelona, Spain

I would like to share two new simple and specific activities I am performing since I listened to the New Year’s Message:
 
I have now placed my japa mala on my wrist instead of on my puja, to remind me to practice mantra japa. It's working quite well.

I have also rediscovered my beloved Mukteshwari book, and I have placed it on my table next to the bed to read some quotes before doing japa at night. It's also a great reminder of the Message.
 
Thanks to all the sevites participating in this perfect and sweet event!

a Siddha Yogi from Montequinto, Spain

The night of the 31st of December, I woke from a nightmare in which light had left the world and there was darkness and hopelessness inside me. I tried to calm myself down by repeating the mantra silently—Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya. As I was drifting back to sleep, I had a vision of the area around my heart covered with a dark veil; and as I repeated the mantra, rays of bright light pierced through this veil and illuminated my heart and mind.
 
The next morning, when I attended A Sweet Surprise satsang and heard Gurumayi's Message, I indeed received the sweetest surprise of all! I was filled with gratitude for having been given an experience to better understand the Message. The mantra shows the light of the Heart.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your blessings, guidance, and compassion.

I love you. Happy New Year!! 

a Siddha Yogi from Beirut, Lebanon 

Last week I had an operation under general anesthetic. Although the operation was supposed to be fairly routine and uncomplicated, still I was a little anxious and so I prayed to Gurumayi inwardly that everything be all right. I remembered Gurumayi’s New Year’s Message, Mantra Japa, and I felt very comforted by that. I knew that the Guru was within me as the mantra and that I had nothing to fear.
 
After the operation when I woke up, Om Namah Shivaya was going on within me of its own accord. A smile came to my lips, and I felt very grateful and fortunate that the Guru in the form of the mantra was my companion while I was undergoing surgery.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for your grace and protection. Thank you for the mantra. This year I hope to dive deep within and continue to discover its secrets.

a Siddha Yogi from London, United Kingdom

A devotee and I took A Sweet Surprise satsang via webcast today. Thank you, Swami Akhandananda, for relaying the Message for 2013. I felt like you were with us in our hall and that Gurumayi was speaking through you. I could feel the enthusiasm, sweetness, and the vibration of the Message – Mantra Japa. It was so alive and tangible. During the meditation, I also heard the mantra Om Namah Shivaya repeating by itself; and I had the experience of the blue velvety light permeating my entire being.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for your grace and for guiding my sadhana

a Siddha Yogi from Exeter-Devon, United Kingdom

I began to practise Gurumayi's Message for 2013. Then I went to the website to check. The Message is hidden in Gurumayi’s Season's Greetings card. Bathing in the holy river of Guru's grace. Smile.

a Siddha Yogi from Sydney, Australia

Thank you, Gurumayi, for the gift of this New Year's Message—so profound and perfect!

My 12-year-old daughter, just a few days before New Year's day, decided to chant every day and the Message was so reassuring, easy, simple, and so complete for her! So delighted we all are!

With much gratitude,

Thank you, Gurumayi

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

A few days after I heard Gurumayi's Message for 2013, I had a beautiful moment of recognition: I realized that we have all been preparing for this Message over the past four years by practicing, studying, chanting, and engaging with the Message: AUM. And now, for 2013, we have also invoked Namah Shivaya for Mantra Japa.

I am so grateful for this year's Message and for the sweet years of preparation and knowledge leading up to this year.

Thank you.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

A few weeks ago I was reading about japa in Baba's book, Light on the Path. I was greatly moved and motivated to give japa a more prominent place in my sadhana. So as I was thinking about my New Year's resolution, I thought about doing more japa. Then I read a share from someone who said they would wait until A Sweet Surprise satsang to decide how to incorporate the Message in their resolution. I thought I would do the same. When I heard the Message, I felt I had been receiving guidance from Gurumayi in the space of my own heart.  

Jaya
Gurumayi!

a Siddha Yogi from Wisconsin, USA

Having the privilege of hearing the 2013 New Year's Message from Gurumayi was so warming to my soul. My heart leaps in joy repeating the mantra. Om Namah Shivaya is like having a best friend that is waiting in the wings to be with you.

a Siddha Yogi from Nashville, USA

Shubh Makara Sankranti to everyone!
 
Today, January 14, is a very auspicious day ­– for two reasons.

First, it is the celebration of Makara Sankranti. In the Indian calendar, this is the day when the sun enters the zodiac sign (raasi) of Makar, or Capricorn, and begins its six-month period of travel northward. This is considered to be the most auspicious and beneficial raasi of the sun, and is celebrated throughout India with great devotion and joy.  People worship Lord Surya, the sun god, bathe in rivers and give gifts, and children fly kites.

This morning in Shree Muktananda Ashram, Lord Surya has blessed us by shining his radiant light through the winter clouds.
 
The second reason this is an auspicious day is that 43 years ago, in 1970, Baba Muktananda inaugurated the  Meditation Cave in Gurudev Siddha Peeth!

Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram

I had a lovely insight today while chanting Om Namah Shivaya as I went about my everyday activities. I noticed that chanting the mantra with quiet steady intention, I experienced a great ease. Mantra japa was working its wonder within me removing anxiety and tension and replacing it with enthusiasm and love. Thank you so much for the New Year’s Message, Gurumayi. And thank you, Swami Akhandananda. I felt a fresh wind of change altering my attitude and blowing through my sadhana like an answer to a prayer.
 

With love from one grateful heart,
a Siddha Yogi from Perth, Australia

I spent the holidays traveling abroad in South America and knew I wouldn't get to participate in A Sweet Surprise until I had returned home after the New Year. During my trip, I encountered a rudraksha rosary in an Asian furniture shop. I remembered how rudrakshas are considered sacred tears of Shiva; and although I had no idea what I would do with it, I purchased one of the beautiful rosaries. In the days that followed, as I thought of the beautiful beads, a deep longing to re-start my practice of japa started to emerge inside me. I remembered when I first started practicing Siddha Yoga, I had repeated the mantra fervently and had reaped so many gifts from this practice. I decided that upon my return home, I would fashion myself a japa mala with my new rudrakshas and re-kindle my practice for the new year.

Upon returning home, I participated in A Sweet Surprise satsang and received the Message for 2013. My entire being was beaming, and I was in awe and gratitude of how the Guru’s grace had started to guide me and prepare me for this beautiful new year!

Thank you, Gurudeva!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

During a session of meditation during A Sweet Surprise satsang, I clearly saw the sacred mantra Om Namah Shivaya coming towards me. The letters, carried by a ribbon of light on which they rested, came onto my chest, at the level of the heart and, on entering, they walked up and down along my spine. Then they went on to pervade my whole being.

I am sure that this unique experience will be a great support for me in all my future meditations and in my sadhana.

a Siddha Yogi from Napoli, Italy

Thank you for this powerful Message! It felt like an initiation, a refreshed initiation.
 
From the moment A Sweet Surprise began, I was experiencing each word, each silence, each song, entering deep inside my heart. I could feel myself being bathed in the Guru’s grace. I was filled with gratitude for the Message, for Gurumayi’s guidance, love, and grace in my life—in our lives.
 
I went to bed thinking of the Message, and I woke the next day so peaceful, so trusting. I awoke to a beautiful early morning sky with many shades of pinks and silvers and so much light. The whole sky reverberated with the Message!
 
At work, I set my computer alarm for every hour to pause and spend a few moments connecting with the Message. It was such a gift to do this. I felt the benefits of doing it. I felt more focused, more lighthearted, more spacious. I’m keen to see how my continued efforts and the grace that is always there so close, unfold in my life.
 
I am already planning when to take the Message again via webcast to further assimilate all that it contains.

With deepest gratitude, love, and commitment,
a Siddha Yogi from Perth, Australia

I was saying the mantra on my walk on this bright cold day.  I was contemplating how Consciousness can reside in the urban buildings on one side of the street and in the wild forest on the other side of the street. Om Namah Shivaya. How does Consciousness express itself as city and as organic growth? A pileated woodpecker flew from a building to land in a giant maple.

Salutations to Consciousness, who resides in animate and inanimate objects!

Salutations to the Guru, who reveals That!

a Siddha Yogi from Washington, USA

One morning, a few weeks before this New Year, I woke with the memory of a darshan I had with Gurumayi in 1991. It took place during a sad and difficult time of my life. At the end of that conversation, Gurumayi handed me a mala and said, "Now do japa." I remembered how that practice had kept me company throughout the day, soothing me and steadying my mind and emotions. I felt fully protected repeating the mantra. Then, after 25 years of living in the Ashram, the time had come for me to leave and Gurumayi again handed me a mala. And once again, I knew that this was her way of accompanying me and looking after me as I made my way in the world.

So I got out of bed with these memories and began once again to repeat the mantra using the japa beads. The two weeks leading up to the New Year’s Message for 2013 were filled with a new joy and a closeness to Gurumayi. I felt Gurumayi's presence, her love and protection, very palpably as I did japa.

When I heard the Message, rather than being surprised, I relaxed deeper into the experience that the Guru is with me as the mantra, guiding me and protecting me. I have nothing to fear!

a Siddha Yogi from Malinalco, Mexico

Tuesday, January 1, 2013! This first day of the year was for me full of joy, love, and sweet company! I offer seva in Food Services department, as a staff member, in Shree Muktananda Ashram and what I will remember from this first day of the year is the beauty of teamwork.
While people were receiving the New Year's message in the A Sweet Surprise 2013 satsang, we, the Food Services team, were preparing a delicious lunch for everyone in SMA.
I was in charge of making the dessert, a chocolate cake! First I thought I would be able to make it all by my self. Then I realised that I did not estimate well and lunchtime was approaching very fast. One by one, the cooks came to help me, after they were done with what they were preparing. At the end, the whole kitchen was helping me to assemble, decorate and cut the cake. Together, we finished the cake on time and had so much fun! I felt so supported and so grateful to be part of this wonderful team! The magic of the New Year was really present.

In the evening, after seva, the Food Services team, who had not been able to participate in the satsang in the morning, gathered in the kitchen office to take the A Sweet Surprise satsang via webcast.
Once again, I felt so touched at how this team takes care of each other: while some of us were putting away furniture so as to have space to seat everyone, others were checking lights and adjusting the temperature of the room. By setting up the office in this way, we created space and a comfortable atmosphere to receive the A Sweet Surprise satsang fully! Being together as a team, I felt like I was receiving the New Year's Message live. Chanting and meditating together in a circle, was the best way for me to conclude this amazing first day of 2013.
Thank you, Gurumayi! Thank you, Swami Akhandananda! Thank you, Siddha Yoga path website team! Et bonne année à tous!!

a Siddha Yogi from Villennes sur seine, France

I offered seva in support of the A Sweet Surprise satsang, and wasn't planning on taking it until February. On the morning of January 3rd, however, I suddenly felt a strong urge to take the satsang that day. 
I was sitting in my meditation nook, preparing for my daily practices, and suddenly I felt out of touch and disoriented. What would I focus on? What was my anchor, my focal point? 

I imagined a whole globe of seekers who had taken the satsang and were applying Gurumayi's teachings in their lives at that moment, and I longed to be a part of that wave of energy. I longed to be in harmony and sync with Gurumayi's guidance for this year of my life. It was a sweet and yet painful feeling of separation.  So I quickly arranged to participate that evening in my home.

I realize that my sudden desire to hear the Message was a result of my heart's yearning to be connected to Gurumayi's grace and guidance.  
I think that this intensity of longing is a very powerful and positive thing and pray that it will continue to propel me toward the luminous goal of bliss and liberation that this path offers.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

Today, January 5, I participated in A Sweet Surprise via webcast; and also today is my birthday. What a sweet gift to receive Gurumayi's Message on this day! I am taking this Message to my heart, and I will apply it in a very practical way throughout this year.

Thank you very, very much, Gurumayi, for your teachings and your grace. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

a Siddha Yogi from Toronto, Canada

Thank you for the 2013 New Year’s Message! I received shaktipat from Baba Muktananda in 1975, and feel Gurumayi’s sankalpa behind the practice of the Message propelling me into the New Year with renewed enthusiasm to experience the five benefits that Swami Akhandananda so clearly instructed.

May these blessings uplift all who are open to embrace them and take them to the Heart!

a Siddha Yogi from Arizona, USA

I participated in A Sweet Surprise 2013 online at my home on January 2. What a sublime, precious, and splendid gift—thank you, Gurumayi. So many experiences during this satsang, but I will relate two.

While listening to the satsang audio, I focused on my puja and was essentially in open-eyed meditation the whole time – a sweet feeling of connectedness, peace, and contentment. After the first dharana, I opened my eyes to see the whole of my office bathed in pure, blue light. I have never had this experience before, yet it was so beautiful and natural. It was the softest blue I had ever seen, yet it wasn't superimposed on the external; it was actually the substratum of all that I was seeing. I could still see the colour and form of everything; however, it was all suffused with this soft, blue light.

The second experience occurred toward the end of the satsang as my open-eyed meditation became even more focused on Gurumayi's picture on my puja. As I meditated on her photo, the most incredible thing occurred. I began to see Gurumayi's face turn into my face—I was awestruck. As I marveled at this, the form would keep changing back to Gurumayi and then me...Gurumayi, and then me...Gurumayi, and then me. Again, I had never had such an experience; and as I sat in my chair witnessing what was happening, the words pratika darshan [the vision of one’s own double] spontaneously arose from within.

What a path we are on! How spectacular and compassionate is Guru's grace! How fortunate we all are! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Gurumayi, for this amazing prasad. I will be unpacking this gift and enjoying its sweet fruit again and again throughout my entire life!

With all my love,
a Siddha Yogi from Melbourne, Australia

After two and a half years of offering seva at Gurudev Siddha Peeth, I ended up living in Iran. I found myself isolated and out of touch because of the communications systems. There was no internet connection to the Siddha Yoga path website either. That was until New Year’s Day 2013 when out of sheer grace the site was unblocked, and a Siddha Yogi friend and I were able to take A Sweet Surprise satsang via website.
 
We cannot express how grateful both of us are to Gurumayi for this fresh initiation, for her unlimited love and generosity that made it available to us, and to Swami Akhandananda for his sweet presentation, conveying Gurumayi’s message, and to all who were involved in preparing and broadcasting this message around the globe.

a Siddha Yogi from Tehran, Iran

I took A Sweet Surprise 2013 via webcast. It was the most powerful New Year’s program for me that I ever participated in. Even though the sound reception was not so good through my computer, I was intoxicated with the chanting and could slide into deep meditation. 
 
Also, even though it's hard for me to understand the whole talk in detail because English is a foreign language for me, the points were still so clear I could understand them. Thank you very much, Gurumayi. And thank you, Swami Akhandananda.

a Siddha Yogi from Yokohama, Japan

On January first I took A Sweet Surprise 2013. It was truly a sweet, sweet, sweet surprise!
 
I feel it is such a practical and tangible focus for approaching God in my daily life. I had the thought: "Wow, that is a pretty direct message; no place to ramble." It is clear, it is useful, it is sacred. It could not be a more perfect tool. I am so grateful, and I am eager to understand and unravel the benefits of this blessed guidance. 
 
Gracias, Gurumayi, for your sweet guidance. Thank you for teaching in a way that enables us to stay on course.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Mexico City, Mexico

The sweetest thing has happened to me! I attended A Sweet Surprise satsang in Melbourne on January 1. Since receiving Gurumayi's Message and practicing it, I have been feeling and experiencing this vibration of sweetness in my being. It is like a hidden treasure, which I already knew about, was rediscovered, and unwrapped. My life and my sadhana have been refreshed and renewed, and life is so sweet! Sweet Ocean of Grace! I bow to you!

a Siddha Yogi from The Patch, Australia

Towards the end of December 2012, I recited Shree Guru Gita on a beach by the sea. When the chant came to an end, I closed my eyes for meditation while listening to the rhythm of the waves gently lapping at the shore. The words “purity of being” emerged from within me, and I knew this was the state I longed for in the coming year. To live, breathe, work, offer seva, share with others, and dance from the pureness of the Self.

When I heard the Global Siddha Yoga Audio Satsang for New Year’s Day 2013 via webcast, I experienced every cell, joint, muscle, and sinew in my body release and float in a feeling of freedom. My heart expanded with love, and everything within and without was quiet and still. 
 
Gurumayi, thank you for sharing the building blocks to this instantaneous gift of transformation. The Sweet Surprise Message illumines my daily practices with the awareness of what Swami Akhandananda described as “pure shakti, pure grace, pure light.”

a Siddha Yogi from Hawaii, USA

This morning my wife and I listened to A Sweet Surprise satsang via webcast in our living room. The sunlight filtering through the window was luminous, and every surface shimmered. By the end of the satsang, we both felt that our house had been blessed. 

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

I am renewed and refreshed by the Message from A Sweet Surprise. I feel bathed in Gurumayi's grace and love. Remembering this year's Message has become my resolution. I resolve to feed the fire, to hold onto the experience with deep gratitude, to turn within and appreciate the treasure. 
 
Thank you, Gurumayi; your love and blessings are immeasurable. Thank you, Swami Akhandananda, for the beautiful job you did bringing A Sweet Surprise to us. Thank you to everyone who participated and made A Sweet Surprise envelop the whole world in grace. Thank you to the website team for giving us this opportunity to share our experiences with each other. It feels like a worldwide sadhana circle. And thank you for making A Sweet Surprise available to us online—for those who have yet to partake and those who wish to re-visit the Message.

a Siddha Yogi from Florida, USA

My entire being said, "Yes!" and I was filled with love and gratitude when Swami Akhandananda conveyed Gurumayi's 2013 Message at today's A Sweet Surprise satsang. This divine message is so pure, and basic, and totally complete. I'm eager to dive into it.

Thank you with all my heart, Gurumayi. 

a Siddha Yogi from New Jersey, USA

With great excitement, I waited for Gurumayi’s Message for 2013. As soon as I heard it on the webcast, my heart expanded and smiled. The bubbling joy within brought a smile to my face and spread throughout every cell of my being. So simple, yet so profound. 
Thank you, beloved Gurumayi—maramaming salamat [Tagalog language for "thank you"]—for your loving guidance and unwavering support. Thank you, Baba, for your shimmering presence. And thank you, Swami Akhandananda, for being the messenger for such a sweet, sweet surprise. With great certainty, I’m dancing my way to liberation!
 

a Siddha Yogi from Manila, Philippines

A Sweet Surprise 2013 is the renewal of a vow: the vow of initiation between Guru and disciple, and the key to sustaining that bond, lovingly and constantly. 

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

The Message for 2013 answered my deepest wishes and prayers. As I listened to A Sweet Surprise satsang, I had the overwhelming feeling that this Message was utterly perfect for exactly where I am in my sadhana, in my life. I can't wait to participate in A Sweet Surprise again and again!

With all my gratitude and love.

a Siddha Yogi from Guelph, Canada

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this practical, accessible, and invigorating Message for 2013. By practicing what Swami Akhandananda teaches in this A Sweet Surprise satsang, I am becoming more connected with my Heart and I am experiencing my entire being becoming illuminated with grace. I know that by engaging with this Message, everything will be taken care of. I feel as if I can relax into this deep inner knowing, assured that the practices will support me in living a courageous and dharmic life.

a Siddha Yogi from Vermont, USA

Thank you for the gift of the New Year’s Message—so simple and yet so perfect.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Mumbai, India

A few days ago, as I was looking at the photographs in the Photo Gallery of Christmas Day on the Siddha Yoga path website, I was struck at how unstoppably, exuberantly joyful Gurumayi always is. This wasn’t news to me, of course; but still, something stirred inside me as I looked at her radiance. And as I continued to study her image, I understood that Gurumayi’s deep joy comes from her complete trust in the benevolence, and the incomparable love for each of us, of the One who created us. 

And I thought – yes, that’s what I want – that utter, unquestioning trust that I am always watched over, always protected, always loved.  I prayed, “Show me how once again, tell me one more time how I do that …” Then I remembered A Sweet Surprise would be here in a few days; and I was filled with excitement at the thought of receiving Gurumayi’s Message for 2013, which would serve as my North Star as I learn to trust­— utterly and unquestioningly.
 
On January 1, I received my personal North Star, what I believe Swami Akhandananda called our “guiding light.”
 
Thank you with all my heart, Gurumayi. I pranam again and again at your lotus feet.
 

a Siddha Yogi from Maryland, USA

I am so grateful to be able to participate in A Sweet Surprise! I am so happy and enthusiastic about implementing the Message into my life. I am also happy to understand the benefits that the Message can bring into my life. Thank you, Gurumayi; thank you, Baba, for your grace for A Sweet Surprise!

a Siddha Yogi from Khargone, India

I feel as though something very profound is taking place in the world today. As I celebrated the New Year by receiving Gurumayi’s message in A Sweet Surprise 2013, I experienced deep peace, protection, and love moving throughout the universe, touching many lives, and reaching into the very core of the earth itself. Gurumayi’s love is so deep, so expansive, so inclusive, so inspiring, so powerful, and so very moving.

Beloved Gurumayi, thank you for your amazing grace.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

What a gift! So profound, so simple. So mystical, so concrete and practical. I begin 2013 with renewed enthusiasm and joyful commitment to the guidance I have received in the A Sweet Suprise satsang.

Thank you, Gurumayi

a Siddha Yogi from Rome, Italy

This A Sweet Surprise satsang is accessible to everyone! It is perfect for people who have been Siddha Yoga students for years and decades, and for people who are experiencing the Siddha Yoga path for the very first time. Everyone can participate and everyone can benefit. The satsang is a way of bringing so many different kinds of people together as a global sangham with a single focus no matter where we are in our sadhana.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this gift.

a Siddha Yogi from California, USA

For several weeks I had been trying to think of a resolution for the New Year and what I finally came to was that I did not want to make a resolution until I heard Gurumayi’s New Year’s Message for 2013, and then I would resolve to put that into practice. It was a GREAT decision!
 

a Siddha Yogi from London, UK

I was drawn deep inside as soon as I heard the Message. The satsang carried me into a profound stillness. Every element brought me deeper and deeper.  I was able to participate in the satsang from such a deep and quiet place into which Gurumayi’s teachings could flow like a purifying river.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi. And thank you, Swami Akhandananda, for delivering Gurumayi’s Message with so much sincerity, dignity, and strength.
 

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

The Message answered my yearning to reconnect with the Truth.
Thank you, Gurumayi.
 

a Siddha Yogi from New Jersey, USA

I listened attentively to each word and very quickly I entered a space within where I experienced an inner glow of illumination and profound peace. It made me want to put the Message into action each and every day of the coming year. By the end of the satsang I had made that my resolution for the entire year—starting today!
 

With gratitude, 
a Siddha Yogi from Dublin, Ireland

As I began listening to A Sweet Surprise webcast this morning, the rays of the rising sun fell on the multiple icicles hanging from my window. I smiled because their sparkling crystalline purity reminded me of Lord Shiva and Guru's Grace. Then my smile became even wider because the sun's warmth began transforming the icy surface and the steady drip, drip, drip of ice melting perfectly illustrated for me the New Year’s Message.

Thank you so much Gurumayi, and thank you Swami Akhandananda and the Siddha Yoga musicians for the incredible Sweet Surprise!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Thank you, Gurumayi, for such a wonderful and profound New Year’s Message! Thank you, Swami Akhandanandaji, for conveying the Message to all of us. At the end of the satsang, during arati, I felt Gurumayi saying to me inside: "The source of my love will never end, the source of my grace will always embrace you, so don't worry".

a Siddha Yogi from Mumbai, India

By reading Theresa’s share onA Sweet Surprise again, I refreshed my understanding, my experience, and my appreciation for having this opportunity to receive Gurumayi’s teachings in my life in the form of A Sweet Surprise. Every Siddha Yoga Message has been a new beacon of light for mysadhana, for my life. When Gurumayi gives us these teachings, they are indeed a guide to lead my heart, my mind, and all my efforts in the direction of my highest goal. They speak to me about the inner shift that must take place, about the outer movement I need to make to direct mysadhana—which is actually every detail in my life, both practical and subtle. A Sweet Surprise 2013 will become the newborn gem that I will hold dearly in my heart and in my mind for it to grow and reveal its most hidden depths of meaning. May this light in the form of the Guru’s words illumine our year, illumine our lives forever.

 a Siddha Yogi from Mexico City, Mexico

To begin each year by receiving Gurumayi’s teachings in the form of the Siddha Yoga Message is such an amazing gift of grace. For me, it is the ultimate way to step forward into the New Year with focus and intention. Looking back, each and every one of these Messages helped me chart a course for my sadhana throughout the year they were given. And, cumulatively from year to year and across the tapestry of all 22 years my contemplation and implementation of these teachings has subtly and yet profoundly transformed my understanding and my life.

a Siddha Yogi from Florida, USA