Practicing Siddha Yoga has truly made me a better person. I have learned that material goods are not the key in life, but the impact I have on the people around me is what really counts.
Another important virtue Gurumayi has taught me is not to have expectations. Expectations lead to disappointment. I use this when I play in tennis matches. If I go in with expectations of winning, then I often lose and am greatly disappointed. But when I don’t have expectations, I give myself a better chance to win, and I am not disappointed if I lose.
Thank you, Gurumayi.
a fourteen-year-old devotee from New York, USA
Recently, just before Gurumayi’s birthday, I spoke on the phone with a woman who is seventy-one years young. I asked her if she is aware of all the amazing treasures on the Siddha Yoga path website. She said, no, she was not because she considers herself to be computer-illiterate. I asked her if she would be willing to learn, and assured her it would be easy and really worth the effort. She said that she would be happy to give it a go.
So, we both logged on to the website, and I walked her through all the different elements of Birthday Bliss 2013: the beautiful video of Gurumayi doing japa under the weeping cherry tree, the Daily Virtues, and the talk Gurumayi gave in the Bade Baba Temple on Baba’s Birthday, “Millions of Blissful Moments.” Each time we opened to a new element, I could feel her delight. She was like a child opening birthday packages, oohing and aahing as she discovered some new, priceless gift.
“I am so glad to know this!” she exclaimed. “As I said, I am not so good with the computer, so it is so helpful that you are showing me how to find things on the website.” Then she added that she longed to be in the Bade Baba Temple. I said, “Well, let’s go there!” I showed her how to go into the Archives on the Siddha Yoga Path Website, to Birthday Bliss Pilgrimage 2012, so that she could watch the video of Gurumayi in the Bade Baba Temple, and all the other amazing videos from that day. “My goodness,” she said finally. “I had no idea these things were all there. This is so amazing! Thank you so much!”
When I got off the phone, my heart was so full. I realized that taking someone else on a pilgrimage through the Siddha Yoga path website is a real service, and it was an ecstatic experience not only for her, but for me as well. I made a mental note to check with several other Siddha Yogis to see if they, too, would like to take this journey to the heart.
a sevite in Shree Muktananda Ashram
More than twenty years ago, during a visit to Shree Muktananda Ashram, I went for Gurumayi’s darshan after an evening program. During the darshan, I asked Gurumayi for blessings for my husband and two children. I watched Gurumayi close her eyes and she seemed to be finding them in the universe. Then she nodded and I felt her bless them. I felt so much gratitude. Gurumayi had blessed my whole family.
After the program I called my husband to tell him the good news. His reaction was dramatic! “Leave that place! Come home right away! I don’t want to hear anything about it!” I wrote Gurumayi a letter asking her what I should do about my husband who is fiercely opposed to Siddha Yoga. The very next day a sevite called me on Gurumayi’s behalf and said: “Gurumayi received your letter. She asked me to tell you to see your husband as the Guru and honor your commitment to him.”
When I returned home, my husband was even more distressed and asked me to make a choice. I meditated and asked Gurumayi inwardly what I should do. Again I heard the answer, “Honor your commitment to your husband, see him as the Guru.” I felt a profound sense of peace and calm as I carefully packed up all my outer manifestations of Siddha Yoga in two shopping bags: puja items, books, photographs, asanas, malas. Everything. With respect, I handed the bags to my husband and said, “I will give up these outer things, but I will maintain my inner connection with the Guru and the path. This will always be in my heart.” My husband, feeling my calm and conviction, immediately became less agitated. He responded that he would honor me for my inner path and we would see if it was a “true path.”
For ten years, I meditated, contemplated, repeated the mantra and nurtured my inner relationship with Gurumayi. I did not go to the Siddha Yoga meditation center, I did not offer seva at the center, I did not travel to Shree Muktananda Ashram, and I did not have any outer manifestations of Siddha Yoga in the house. And throughout those years, I felt Gurumayi walking with me all the time. I felt her presence, blessings, and grace.
Little by little my husband began to soften. He could see and experience how much my inner practices were benefitting me…and him, and the entire family. He began to accept a small puja in my study. And then, as time passed, he was comfortable with a slightly larger puja, and a space for my meditation. Sometimes I would come home from work and find a small flower on the puja that my husband had picked from our garden to honor the sacred space. After a few more years, he was happy for me to go to the center and offer seva. Sometimes he would even come with me and work in the garden outside the center.
This year, I was thinking of applying to go to Gurudev Siddha Peeth for a Pilgrimage to the Heart retreat. I spoke with my husband about it. He thought about it for a while and then said, “It might be a little hard on your body to do all that traveling. Why don’t you just go to New York this summer and be with Gurumayi there?”
So this summer, just before we celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary, I was able to offer seva in Shree Muktananda Ashram with my husband’s full blessings.
Great love and gratitude to Gurumayi.
a devotee from California, USA
In June, 1995, I came to Shree Muktananda Ashram from Oakland, California planning to stay the summer. At the end of the summer, I was invited to stay another year (I ended up serving on staff for seven years.) My first visit back home was in November 1995, over the Thanksgiving holiday. During that time, I went to see my Grandparents.
My Grandmother, whom I adored, taught me about unconditional love and completely supported my choice to serve on staff in Shree Muktananda Ashram. During our conversation, I told her all the great things Gurumayi was doing in the world, and about her travels on the tour the Mahayatra. At some point in the conversation, my Grandmother stopped me and said, “Well, I guess I’ll have the next lifetime to know all about it.”
I was completely blown away by this response, as my Grandmother never spoke of such things before. I am grateful that the Guru’s blessings reached my grandmother, as well as my entire family, and that she had this understanding.
a devotee from California, USA