Culminating the Year-long Study of Gurumayi’s Message for 2013:
Mantra Japa
A Letter from Swami Akhandananda

December 29, 2013

Dear Siddha Yogis,

Namaste.

What a mantra-filled year this has been!

Pulsating Consciousness … Divine energy coursing through every thought, feeling, action … Purification … Insights … Connecting us to the Guru’s grace … Stilling the mind … Revealing the light of the Heart … Protecting … Leading us to liberation.

Gurumayi has given us, and the entire world, an extraordinary gift: Mantra Japa. By following her teachings on mantra japa, we have experienced transformation. According to the Indian scriptures, receiving an awakened mantra from a sadguru is a rare and cherished event––mantra diksha. For millennia, in many spiritual traditions, the enlightened knowledge and practice of repeating sacred syllables was accessible only to chosen initiates, and the use of japa malas was often limited to prescribed places and circumstances.

Similarly, from Vedic times the knowledge of shaktipat initiation was a closely guarded secret, and the bestowal of shaktipat itself was very rare. Baba Muktananda was renowned for giving shaktipat openly to thousands of seekers at a time. What unprecedented generosity.

Gurumayi has continued to bestow shaktipat on a historic scale. And now Gurumayi has made the ancient, esoteric practice of mantra japa available and accessible to all. Through the Siddha Yoga path website, Gurumayi has imparted the enlivened Siddha Yoga mantras and elucidated the nature of mantra and the practice of mantra japa, including the use of the japa mala.

The Indian scripture Kularnava Tantra says, “Many are the gurus who are like lamps in homes, but rare is the Guru who illumines all like the sun.” It is our great good fortune to have such a Guru—a jagadguru—a Guru for the world.

A key aspect of Gurumayi’s teaching has always been her practical guidance for how to integrate mantra japa into the activities of daily life. For example, in the 1980s Gurumayi introduced the japa walk—the practice of devoting a walk in nature to mantra repetition with a japa mala.

Gurumayi’s vision for the practice of mantra japa is exquisitely expressed in the new video montage, “Joining Hands in Prayer,” on the Siddha Yoga path website. For me, Gurumayi’s vision evokes the zenith of the spiritual journey. The images and teachings in this montage invoke grace and blessings in every home, workplace, and temple; every garden, field, and forest; every village, city, and country; every lake, river, and ocean; every mountain, plain, and valley; every child, adult, and elder—around the world, and for the world. 

I want to take this moment to thank Gurumayi. Thank you, Gurumayi. Thank you for your Message for 2013, Mantra Japa. Thank you for teaching us to infuse the mantra into every breath. Thank you for giving the mantra to seekers everywhere.  

Even though this year is concluding, there is never a conclusion to Gurumayi’s immense compassion. I hope you have made time available and are getting ready to participate in the next A Sweet Surprise satsang. Gurumayi will be giving her Message for the new year on the first day of January 2014. 

Be there!

Be present!

Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

Warm regards,

signature

Swami Akhandananda
Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher


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Looking forward to A Sweet Surprise 2014. This year's Message, Mantra Japa, has advanced my sadhana by leaps and bounds.

I love you, Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Swami Akhandananda’s letter inspired a contemplation, which culminated in this realization: Yes, I traverse the journey of my life within the realm of time. Yet through her Message, Gurumayi teaches and guides me so that I may— in this very body—reach beyond the temporal to touch the timeless. 
 
How perfect it is at the moment when I am so aware of time's passing (another year older!) that I have the opportunity to receive my Guru's Message that will enable me to go within and experience my own eternal nature—as all her Messages have always done.

a Siddha Yogi from New Mexico, USA

Saprem Guru smarana.

Swami Akhandananda has so nicely articulated the glory of Mantra Japa.

The power of the mantra keeps one connected with the Guru. I experienced this during the year, and I could understand what benefits one receives by following the Guru’s words.

Trying to implicitly obey the Guru's instructions, I was able to experience the unimaginable power of my practices. Obeying her words, I made small, specific, and scheduled steps, focused on them, and found my heart filled with joy.

We are fortunate to listen to Shri Gurumayi's Message on January 1, when we will all be united in the universal hall to participate in the Global Siddha Yoga Satsang, A Sweet Surprise. I await that moment.

a Siddha Yogi from Cuttack, India

I loved having this reminder of how rich this year has been for our sadhana—and for uniting the global Siddha Yoga sangham through our study of Gurumayi's Message, Mantra Japa. And I really appreciated the historical vista that Swamiji painted for us, demonstrating in telling detail just how rare and precious is every component of the Siddha Yoga path —from the eternal bond we have with Gurumayi, our jagadguru, to the unprecedented way in which the Siddha Yoga path website facilitates the dissemination of her teachings, even to the detailed instructions on how to use japa malas.

What a great destiny it is to follow the Siddha Yoga path in the 21st century!

a Siddha Yogi from Illinois, USA

In 1989, after I had been offering seva in Gurudev Siddha Peeth and Shree Muktananda Ashram for some time, I returned home and began to put into practice in my life what I had learned.

I began a lifelong journey of saying the mantra as often as I could remember; I took japa walks; and I learned that I could meditate anywhere.

It has become second nature to me now to repeat the mantra while washing dishes, cutting vegetables, gardening, or even in times of stress or anxiety when I need to quiet my mind. When people tell me they have trouble sitting still for meditation, I tell them they can say the mantra in a walking meditation, which I learned when I was in the Ashram.

I am so grateful, Gurumayi, for your unconditional and all-pervasive love.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

When I read the phrases, Connecting us to the Guru's grace …Stilling the mind … Revealing the light of the Heart … Protecting … Leading us to liberation, I remembered that these five magnificent benefits of mantra japa had been identified during A Sweet Surprise 2013. And I recalled that my response was, "Wow! What else could one want?!? It's time for me to expand my practice of mantra japa!"

From this sweet reminder of my experience on January 1, 2013, Swamiji's letter then led me to look back over the year, and to appreciate, once again, just how alive and vibrant my sadhana has become through being able to study mantra japa every day through the amazing, inspiring, ever-new postings on the Siddha Yoga website.

And so, when I reached Swamiji's enthusiastic invitation to show up – and be present for – the next A Sweet Surprise satsang on January 1, 2014, there could be only one response:  Count me in!

a Siddha Yogi from Connecticut, USA

Thank you, Swami Akhandananda, for so eloquently expressing in your letter the gratitude I have been feeling inside. I was feeling a bit sad that the year of Mantra Japa would be over. Yet what Gurumayi has given us is certainly not limited to this year—it is eternal.

May each of us forever cherish the exquisite gift of Mantra Japa from our beloved Gurumayi.

a Siddha Yogi from Florida, USA

Thank you, Swamiji, for your sharing through this letter. Just by reading your letter, I am able to reconnect with the gratitude I experienced during the Intensive when I received mantra diksha from Gurumayi.

I am so fortunate to have a sadguru in my life and to be able to study and practice her teachings.

Thank you so very much, Gurumayi. Thank you for the guidance that I have received from within. And, yes, I am waiting for the first day of 2014, when I am going to receive my Guru’s Message.

a Gurukula student in Gurudev Siddha Peeth

This year, more than ever, I have come to recognize how fortunate I am to be alive and following the teachings of a jagadguru.

I’ve experienced being exquisitely guided throughout the year. As I applied the many grace-filled ways Gurumayi gave us to understand and practice mantra japa, I started to notice the mantra repeating itself within me. This experience has continued and grown.

I now find that every time I become still and center myself, the mantra arises from within me. And I have become more clear-minded, responsive to others, capable, and kind—more the person I’ve always wanted to be. 

Thank you, Gurumayi. And thank you, Swami Akhandananda, for your lucid letter.

a Siddha Yogi from Wisconsin, USA