In Celebration of Christmas 2017

Joy to the World

On Christmas Day, December 25, 2017, a Siddha Yoga satsang was held with Gurumayi Chidvilasananda in Shree Muktananda Ashram. The satsang began with participants’ singing a jubilant rendition of the Christmas carol “Joy to the World,” and soon after Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher Swami Ishwarananda gave the following talk:

Merry Christmas!

It is my great joy to speak to you today on the subject of . . . God.

Gurumayi has said that Christmas Day is God’s Day.

As the Christmas carol we just heard says, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.”

Indeed, it is a moment of the most extraordinary joy when the Lord, God, comes, and reveals his living presence to you.

In all traditions, in all countries, in all religions, human beings long to know God, the Supreme Being and mighty power that has created the universe in all its diversity and beauty.

In that joy that comes with the revelation of God’s presence, all earthly worries vanish. You know God is with you. And if God is with you, you know everything will be all right.

I say this from direct experience. Years ago, when I was young, I wanted to know God so badly. I heard that the Guru can show God to you. So I prayed to the Guru—a deep, heartfelt prayer. I say "heartfelt" because I really meant it, I was a hundred percent sincere. I prayed to the Guru to show me the Truth, and the Guru responded.

A great light descended from above, through the crown of my head, and entered my heart. Then this light turned into an infinite column of light whose nature was supreme love. I knew that this column of light was God and that it was the axis of the whole universe and existed in every atom. Having experienced God’s presence and love so palpably, I felt great peace.

I remember thinking that if God is in every particle of the universe, then I want to serve God’s world.

When we receive shaktipat through the Guru’s grace, we awaken to the experience that God is alive within us at the very core of our being, as our innermost Self. And that God’s nature is light and love.

Whenever you feel pure love arising from your heart, know that you are experiencing God. Love is God’s nature, and when we act out of this love, we deepen our awareness of God’s presence. Let God’s love fill your days and nights.

In speaking to many Siddha Yogis over the years, I’ve been amazed to hear their stories about how God responds to the pure entreaties of the heart. Each of these stories affirms that God lives in every heart and hears our prayers.

Sometimes God manifests as the very longing that arises in our being and calls us to him.

A number of years ago there was a young woman, in her early twenties, who was living and working in Los Angeles. She was doing well, yet deep within herself she felt that something was missing and that, without this something, her life was incomplete. So she started praying fervently to God to show her the way. She offered these prayers very privately and sincerely in the space of her own heart.

Her prayers were heard and responded to in a most mysterious way. She was attending a big Christmas party with lots of people. The lights were low, and the volume of the music was high. Nonetheless, her attention was drawn way across the room, where she saw a man talking to a woman in a very animated fashion. Without knowing why, she made a beeline to them, and without introduction, asked, “What are you talking about?”

The man smiled and explained that he was telling his friend that he had just gone to a meditation program that day with a meditation Master named Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, and that it was so powerful.

The woman asked what he had learned. He said that Gurumayi taught that God dwells in the hearts of all and can be known by turning within.

The woman asked, “How do you turn within?” And the man told her that Gurumayi gives people a mantra to repeat, Om Namah Shivaya—which means, “I bow to the Lord who dwells in my heart.”

The woman felt moved to go straight home, where she took a seat in her most comfortable chair and prayed to Gurumayi to help her know God. This woman started to repeat the mantra and soon began to relax. At one point she felt what she describes as a gentle breeze of energy wash over her and draw her inside. There she found herself awakening to the most extraordinary sweetness—the sweetness of God within her own being. A sweetness that has never gone away.

This woman has stayed on this path of the heart, the Siddha Yoga path, and she now teaches her children that God created this entire world out of his own love and dwells in it, within every being. She teaches her children to live with respect for all. This is Gurumayi’s teaching the woman is following, the goal of the Siddha Yoga path—to live in the awareness of the divinity that lies in ourselves and in all creation. We are so lucky to know and experience this directly.

God is alive within us and responds to the prayers and longing of our heart. Therefore, turn to God, speak to God, meditate on God, and chant his name.

Today, Christmas Day, is God’s Day. Let us remember that God appears when we invite him to come forth within our heart. You carry God’s light, God’s love.

Shower the world with this light! Shower the world with this love!

Joy to the world!

Joy to the world! The Lord has come!

Merry Christmas!


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About Swami Ishwarananda

bio photo Copyright SYDA Foundation

Swami Ishwarananda has been following the Siddha Yoga path for more than forty years. In 1980, he took monastic vows to become a Siddha Yoga Swami. Swami ji serves Gurumayi as a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher, and he has traveled throughout the world to teach in satsangs, courses, Sadhana Retreats, and Shaktipat Intensives.

Swami ji teaches with great clarity and wit, encouraging students to discover for themselves the essence of the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices. He especially loves to teach students how to meditate.

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