Reflections on Swami Muktananda
in Honor of His Birthday Month
The letter from Jonathan Shimkin was a perfect gift to me. Every word landed with so much poignancy. Thank you!
Sometimes, when I reflect on my relationship to the Siddha Yoga path, I feel overwhelmed, like a child in an amusement park with so many exciting rides and directions one could take; so many stories, teachings, and experiences to reflect on and integrate.
Jonathan's letter gave me a map—a sense of perspective and clarity. It gave me a way to contain the joy, the ecstasy, and the reverence I have for my beloved Guru, Gurumayi, and for the lineage and teachings of the Siddha Yoga masters.
¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Baba!
a Siddha Yogi from California, USA
Jonathan Shimkin's reflections reminded me of a similar experience I had, in the days before I took my first Shaktipat Intensive. Although I had already been following the Siddha Yoga path for three years at that time, I still had doubts whether it was the right path for me. The doubts became so strong that I considered cancelling my registration for my first Intensive. A few days before the Intensive, at night, I suddenly became aware of a sort of dream-waking-state, and my consciousness began to expand, and expand, and expand, until I was conscious of millions of things at the same time. I was conscious of everything in the universe, it seemed.
I am still very grateful for having received a glimpse in this way of what this beautiful path is about.
a Siddha Yogi from Pijnacker, Netherlands
I thank Jonathan Shimkin for the exquisite piece with which he has inspired us all. I shall reflect again and again on his reflections. The final words chime with my own understanding of sadhana—that it is teamwork: our "collective attention" makes a difference. I do feel that there is only one sadhana, and when one of us takes a leap, we all take a leap.
a Siddha Yogi from London, United Kingdom
What strikes me most, as I read and reread "Reflections of Swami Muktananda in Honor of His Birthday Month," is the abundance of means which Baba has given to help us to recognize, remember, and experience our true nature—Consciousness. With all of the demands, distractions, and concerns of daily life, it can be so difficult at times to remember that something greater and more enduring is unfolding beyond the surface.
Yet the incredible gifts that Baba has given us—in the form of the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices, as well as so many other manifestations of his grace, both seen and unseen—empower me to remember that, no matter what might seem to be going on in my life, if I follow these pathways of Baba's and Gurumayi's grace, I can return again and again to the transcendent awareness and experience of the Self.
a Siddha Yogi from Virginia, USA
By the end of my workday, my mind is often saturated with thoughts and concerns. In order to quiet my mind, I have been chanting more and reading Baba's and Gurumayi's words. Indeed, I am experiencing greater open-heartedness and peace, a true godsend. For me, this is a reminder of the blessing that the Gurus have, as Jonathan Shimkin says, “the skill to impart their teachings so that those teachings can be practiced by all who aspire to realize them.” I am so grateful for this blessing.
a Siddha Yogi from North Carolina, USA
Although I never physically met Baba, I experience that the golden threads of Baba's rasa
run through the radiant tapestry of the Siddha Yoga path!
Happy, happy birthday, Baba!
a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA
Baba is a great Siddha. The “Reflections on Swami Muktananda” touch my heart. They give me even more zeal to do the Siddha Yoga practices. They strengthen my resolve to celebrate Baba's Month with simple, doable steps. Each day I will choose one practice. I will listen to Baba's chanting CDs and to his talks. I will chant his name, and I will read his books. I will meditate on natural sounds, such as birds chirping and the sound of the breath. I will take morning japa
walks, and once a week I will schedule a long meditation session.
In this way, each day I will celebrate Baba’s Birthday the entire month of May.
Thank you for this beautiful and motivational sharing.
a Siddha Yogi from Basamathnagar, India
As a result of the Gurus' step-by-step guidance and compassion, here I am, delighting in the space of the heart and welcoming and accomplishing the tasks of the day with gratitude and enthusiasm.
Yes! There is so much to celebrate on the occasion of Baba Muktananda's birthday month!
Happy, happy birthday, beloved Baba!
a Siddha Yogi from Belo Horizonte, Brazil
I first had the darshan
of Swami Muktananda in 1977. For me it was an experience of pure grace and compassion. When I woke up on the morning of May 1, I was filled with love and gratitude for Baba and the Siddha Yoga teachings. Then I remembered what day it was—the beginning of Baba’s Birthday month! Now, I am very excited to participate in the Global Siddha Yoga Audio Satsang in Celebration of Baba Muktananda’s Birthday!
a Siddha Yogi from California, USA
I took time to sit quietly and listen to the sound of the waterfall in the video Jala Dhvani after having read Jonathan Shimkin's "Reflections on Swami Muktananda in Honor of His Birthday Month." I noticed that by listening to the sounds of the water, my mind indeed became naturally still, savoring the soothing sounds of the water. In this inner quietude, the beauty and significance of what Jonathan conveyed in his reflections shone even more brilliantly.
I feel so incredibly fortunate that in this lifetime, in this modern age, I have become a student of the Gurus of the Siddha Yoga path. They teach us everything that must be known to experience Fulfillment. I use a capital F to highlight that I mean the fulfillment of the Self, the experience of God within and as everything. And they teach us in the most accessible and profound ways—for example, by guiding us to experience the natural, re-invigorating, cooling, inner stillness of the Self in the midst of everyday life by listening to the sounds of water! And Gurumayi gives us the immediate means to practice this by having such sound available to be heard on the Siddha Yoga path website!
a Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher
The Guru is the means! The fact that we are able to read "Reflections on Swami Muktananda in Honor of His Birthday Month" and be inspired to seek and contemplate the state of freedom that the Siddhas say is our birthright is the direct result of Gurumayi's precious life today.
Unceasingly, Gurumayi finds ways to connect us to the power of grace and invite us to be part of and contribute to this extraordinary lineage that is alive and present in this particular time and place in the world. How fortunate we are to be present!
a Siddha Yogi from South Yarra, Australia
When I read the share that spoke about reading Baba's books and experiencing that his teachings were not just words on a page, but were alive with the Guru's shakti, it rang very true for me.
After receiving shaktipat initiation, I noticed this right away. When I read Baba's and Gurumayi's books, the words resonated within me on such a deep level, as if the teachings were already alive inside of me and just waiting to be confirmed through the words on the pages.
I plan to read Baba's books all during the month of May.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this blessed gift of remembering Baba for his gifts to the world.
a Siddha Yogi from Iowa, USA
I too met Baba and received shaktipat initiation from him in 1981. Impelled by my longing to see him again, I traveled to Gurudev Siddha Peeth the following summer—during those last months that Baba was with us in his physical form.
Jonathan Shimkin's recollections of how Baba's mahasamadhi in 1982 became for him "an occasion for learning about the more deeply abiding continuities of the Siddha Yoga path" rang true for me too. I remember that right after Baba's mahasamadhi, Siddha Yoga Ashrams and meditation centers around the world held chanting saptahs, many lasting for several days. One night I went to the Ashram in my city around 3 a.m. where we chanted Om Namo Bhagavate Muktanandaya. When I emerged some hours later, the sun had risen and was shining brightly. As if Baba were whispering in my ear, my heart heard the message, "And this is how it will be from now on: your sorrow will be transformed into sunshine, for my shakti and my love will never leave you."
In this month of Baba's birthday, I rejoice in the opportunity to honor this extraordinary Master. My entire being resounds with gratitude for Baba's magnificent gifts: shaktipat, the Siddha Yoga path, and my beloved Gurumayi.
a Siddha Yogi from Illinois, USA
Jonathan Shimkin's reflections express so beautifully the teachings of the Siddhas and the all-encompassing state of the Guru—a state which we all approach as we proceed along the path.
I feel so much gratitude for the Siddha Yoga Gurus.
a Siddha Yogi from Melbourne, Australia
The "Reflections on Swami Muktananda" has inspired me to contemplate both my experiences when I first began walking the Siddha Yoga path, as well as experiences I have had with Baba (many of which were in dreams!) In the process of doing so, I am amazed at how much power these experiences still hold for me. And re-experiencing this power has reinforced my commitment to fully engage with the Siddha Yoga practices of meditation, chanting, and contemplation during this celebratory month.
Thank you for the invitation to receive Baba's darshan in my dreams, and as I perform the Siddha Yoga practices! I gladly accept!
a Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher
Reading the beautiful and evocative "Reflections on Swami Muktananda in Honor of His Birthday Month" prompted me to do my own reflections about Baba Muktananda.
Every year for the entire month of May, I immerse myself in Baba's autobiography, Play of Consciousness. I read Baba's words in the evening before going to sleep, and I am transported to the time, places, and circumstances in which Baba completed his sadhana. Each year, Baba's words seem to enter me on a deeper, more intuitive level and I become more profoundly aware of Baba's effort in sadhana, and more grateful for how different my life is because of Baba's attainment. From my perspective, Baba gave everything he attained to the world!
Happy Birthday, Baba!
a Siddha Yogi from Pennsylvania, USA
I love Jonathan Shimkin's statement that "Siddha Yoga is the path to arrive at knowing that, a path of the particular things one does... to move toward, rather than away, from such knowledge." It caused me to reflect on the "particular things" that we, as Siddha Yogis, are guided to move toward so that we gain the knowledge and experience of the Truth.
Jonathan mentions the Siddha Yoga practices. And then I began to think about other "particular things" that the Siddha Yoga Gurus teach us to cultivate—the "particular things" which characterize a true human being: selfless service, forgiveness, generosity, fulfilling one's duty in the world, self-control, taking responsibility for one's thoughts and actions, honesty, humility, loving kindness. These are some of the beautiful "particular things" that Baba and Gurumayi have taught me so that I can fulfill my heart's desire to live with love in this world and act for the benefit of all.
I am so very thankful for the gift of these particular things.
a Siddha Yogi from California, USA
As I read Jonathan Shimkin's beautiful "Reflections on Swami Muktananda in Honor of His Birthday Month," I was reminded of the colossal impact that Baba Muktananda's life and mission have had on this world we live in. Like Jonathan, so many thousands of spiritual seekers, including myself, experienced shaktipat awakening through Baba's grace. As a result, a new dimension of understanding and awareness unfolded about what our essential nature is.
For me personally, this new dimension of understanding about who I truly am demolished my innate fear of death and taught me to honor and respect myself and all manifestation as divine. What a sublime transformation of perspective! And over the years of my life since then, that perspective has unceasingly expanded into more love, more joy, more courage, and more compassion.
My gratitude to Baba for his gift of grace is unbounded.
a Siddha Yoga Swami
The "Reflections on Swami Muktananda in Honor of His Birthday Month" by Jonathan Shimkin is a wonderful reminder of who the Guru truly is, and the infinite nature of the Guru's shakti.
The first time I read Baba Muktananda's book I Am That, I understood what it means that the Guru's words are chaitanya, enlivened with the Guru's shakti. As I read Baba's words, I knew that I wasn't absorbing the meaning only through my intellect—I could feel that the knowledge that Baba was teaching was reaching every level of my being. I entered into a state of bliss as I read and I was astonished at how powerfully I could experience Baba's shakti through his words.
Thank you, Baba! Happy Birthday!
A Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA