The Practice of Dakshina

July 1, 2016

Dear all,

Shubh Gurupurnima!

The month of July is dedicated to the worship of Shri Guru. On the Siddha Yoga path, we have the great good fortune to receive grace and blessings from three Gurus: Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, Baba Muktananda, and Bhagavan Nityananda. Gurupurnima is a golden opportunity to contemplate the gift of shaktipat and the teachings we have received from our Gurus. The transformation we experience in every aspect of our lives is both indescribable and priceless. It is natural for our hearts to express profound gratitude to our Gurus. Therefore, on the Siddha Yoga path, the month of Gurupurnima is dedicated to the practice of dakshina. I will write more about this practice a bit later.

Gurumayi’s Message for 2016 is

Move with steadfastness
toward becoming
in Supreme Joy

During this month of July, our study of Gurumayi’s Message for 2016 is focused on the word Supreme.

In Italian, my native language, the adjective suprema derives from the Latin supremus, which means “highest.” Supremus has its root in superus, which means “that which is above.” On the Siddha Yoga path, we think of the word Supreme as a descriptor of that which is above differences and beyond comparison—the Self.

The scriptures of India use the Sanskrit word parama to describe that which is supreme—that which is most excellent, transcendent, and beyond the ordinary. The supreme Self is that which is universal; it is the quintessence of who we really are.

On Gurupurnima, we honor and worship Shri Guru, who has attained the supreme state. The Guru’s grace awakens us to the awareness of the supreme Self within, and the Guru exhorts us to engage with the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices, which will give us the lasting experience of the supreme state.

Let me share with you three ways that Gurumayi’s teachings and the Siddha Yoga practices—and the grace with which they are imbued—support me in recognizing and relishing the plenitude of the supreme Self within.

The first is my practice of turning my attention toward Gurumayi’s teachings again and again throughout the day. Reminders of the Guru’s teachings are available to me wherever I go. I find them in an unexpected gesture of kindness from a stranger at the bus stop, in the wisdom of a colleague’s feedback, in the respect that manifests between my wife and me, and in the blossoming of our adorable eleven-year-old daughter. These are all ways in which I gain a deeper understanding of the truth of Gurumayi's teachings, and experience the presence of the supreme Self in everyone and everything.

The second way I connect with the supreme Self is through regular study of the teachings on the Siddha Yoga path website. Contemplating the teachings, which are conveyed through diverse media, is my first practice in the morning before meditation. Sometimes I marvel at an exquisite photograph in the nature galleries; sometimes I reflect on the Guru’s words. I find that each and every element on the website is a threshold to experiencing the Supreme within. How lucky I am, and how lucky you are! How lucky we all are to have this extraordinary bounty of wisdom so readily available at our fingertips. All I can say is: Che meraviglia! Grazie mille, Gurumayi.

Let me share with you some of my favorite elements! I hope that you too will participate in and learn from them. They are:

The Siddha Yoga path website is supported by many Siddha Yogis in the global Siddha Yoga sangham, who love to contribute to this vast treasure trove of life-transforming images and words. Let me recommend one specific way you too can contribute to the website during this celebratory month of Gurupurnima: you may submit a photo of the waxing moon for the Gurupurnima Moon Gallery.

The third wonderful and significant Siddha Yoga practice that gives me access to my own inner Self is my regular offering of dakshina. Dakshina is one of the core Siddha Yoga practices and the practice we will be focusing on throughout July. We offer dakshina in recognition of the teachings that the Guru imparts. Over the past few years, consciously engaging in a Monthly Dakshina Practice has opened me to the eternal cycle of giving and receiving.

Since this month of Gurupurnima is dedicated to the Siddha Yoga practice of dakshina, I would like to share with you how I do it: I make my offering on the same day of each month. On that day, I take a moment to pause and connect with my purpose for offering dakshina. As I practice smarana, the conscious recollection of the Guru’s grace, a shift takes place in my inner state. I become aware of the space of fullness and quietude within, where the bond of love with the Guru is ever deepening and expanding. In this way I have come to see that the practice of dakshina subtly and significantly strengthens my relationship with my own Heart.

I invite you to read and study the Exposition on Dakshina to learn more about this meaningful practice. I also invite you to read the beautiful Invitation in Honor of Gurupurnima from the Siddha Yoga Swamis and make a special offering. And I warmly encourage you, at this most auspicious time of Gurupurnima, to begin or increase your monthly dakshina offering.

Warm regards,

Leonardo Russo
Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher

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