At the age of ten, I first learned about Gurumayi’s teachings through Darshan magazine and audio and video recordings of her talks, and from going to the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Nairobi, Kenya, with my mother. By the time I was an adult, living and working in India, technology had changed, and the Siddha Yoga path website had become one of my favorite ways to receive and contemplate Gurumayi’s teachings.
During the time of Bhagavan Nityananda's Golden Punyatithi in July and August 2011, two teachings appeared on the website that affected me strongly. The first was Gurumayi's poem A Temple Without Form, in which she teaches that we can experience Bade Baba’s presence everywhere in nature—and in everything around us. The second was a gallery of some two hundred beautiful nature photos that reflected the poem’s teaching. I had a deep longing to have the darshan of my Guru, so this seemed like a direct answer to my prayer. I was delighted! I would visit the website daily and become absorbed, again and again, in these profound words and radiant images.
At that time I was teaching children aged five to ten in a small alternative education school in Bangalore, in south India. The school was on the edge of a farm in the countryside. Every morning the bus would pick me up, and I would ride with my co-teachers and students to school. From the photos in the nature gallery, I learned to observe everything with new attention. The road out of the city passed through many kinds of terrain, and, with Gurumayi’s poem in my mind, I would hold the awareness that Shri Guru is everywhere: in the coconut groves and the ponds, in the flaming red flowers of a spreading Flamboyant tree, in the dusty brown earth at the side of the tarmac road, and in the sunlit clouds in the sky. As I began the school day, I would still be holding Gurumayi's teaching in my awareness: I, and everyone, and everything around me, were all the same divine Consciousness, manifestations of Shri Guru. With this recognition came deep peace and a sense of connectedness to everything.
This new awareness profoundly affected my interactions with the children. It was fascinating! Whereas before this I might have felt irritation arise when the children did not understand something, now I was gentler and more understanding. I did not judge or hold expectations of them and instead accepted each one for who they were. When the children saw this, they opened their hearts, and sweet love flowed between us. It was a truly sacred experience.
As I became more patient, respectful, and encouraging, this allowed the children to feel safe and to make progress without feeling pressured. They began to enjoy the process of learning, instead of only trying to get things right or rushing to the next topic. Over time their attention increased, and this in turn improved the quality of their work.
Through this experience I learned how to approach and relate to people in all areas of my life. I now offer seva as a Gurukula student in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. When I notice tension in interactions with another sevite or moments of miscommunication between us, I recognize that I have become caught in my judgments and expectations. I identify these and pray to Gurumayi that I may once more experience and act from the state that arose when I was riding the bus to school.
I also make time to be alone in the beautiful upper gardens of Gurudev Siddha Peeth. There, I observe the play of shadow and light in the foliage, I spot varieties of birds hopping through the branches of a mango tree, I watch butterflies swirl and flutter, I notice the shapes and colors of different leaves. I find that spending time in nature allows me to become present, quiet, and expansive. In that state I remember that everything I am seeing is an expression of the one Consciousness. Deep peace and the sense of connectedness arise again. Then, just as with the children, I am able to relate more easefully and joyfully with my fellow sevites, listening to them with an open mind and communicating with them more respectfully.
In those sweet and sacred moments, I feel my heart melt in gratitude to Gurumayi for those words and images that awoke in me a living experience of the Truth: that we are all part of the one divine Consciousness.