Thanking Eesha Sardesai
&
Welcoming Garima Borwankar

A Letter from the Siddha Yoga Teachings Council

 

Dear readers,

Happy holidays!

On the Siddha Yoga path, we’ve learned from Gurumayi that one of the main ways to convey respect for others is through acknowledgments. Acknowledging others and expressing our appreciation are of such importance that they have become a natural part of our daily interactions. And they are especially important when someone has made an outstanding contribution that has had a far-reaching impact.

Gurumayi’s Message for the year 2018 is Satsang. In engaging with the Message, Siddha Yoga students and new seekers alike have benefited immensely from the contribution of one of the young adult staff members in the SYDA Foundation. She is someone you have gotten to know well. Her name is Eesha Sardesai. Eesha has been the author of all twelve of the letters introducing each month on the Siddha Yoga path website this year. When we think of these monthly letters, the saying “Good things come in small packages” immediately springs to mind. Each letter has been a valuable guidepost for the Siddha Yoga sadhana of so many people.

It has been our great delight to read your shares posted under Eesha’s letter every month. As you describe all the understanding you gained from the letter and how it sparked your own inquiry, your appreciation is palpable. We have been impressed to see how, through the support of Eesha’s words and knowledge, you went deeper into your sadhana and were able to access your inner wisdom.

We also want to say how touched we’ve been that, month after month, many of you have spoken and written to us about Eesha’s letters, sharing how they’ve provided inspiration, insights, and practical ways to study and apply Gurumayi’s Message Satsang. We are so happy for all of you who have benefited from them.

Yet another remarkable outcome of Eesha’s letters has been the way they have brought together the global Siddha Yoga sangham––in Siddha Yoga meditation centers, chanting and meditation groups, and sadhana circles. We’ve heard from numerous Siddha Yogis—both visiting sevites in Shree Muktananda Ashram and those we’ve spoken with in our travels around the world—that one of the highlights of participating in satsang has been reading Eesha’s letters aloud and studying them together.

We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to Eesha for the seva she has offered in service to Gurumayi, as the writer of the monthly letters for 2018. On behalf of everyone in the SYDA Foundation and each one of you in the global Siddha Yoga sangham, we want to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you, Eesha!”

At this bright threshold, when the year 2018 is coming to a triumphant conclusion and the year 2019 is on the brink of unfolding before us, we are happy to share with you two of the promises that 2019 holds.

  • fancy bullet Eesha will be receiving a new writing assignment for the Siddha Yoga path website.
  • fancy bullet And, Garima Borwankar has gratefully accepted the baton from Eesha to write the monthly letters for 2019.

Garima, who has been following the Siddha Yoga path for forty-nine years, is also an SYDA Foundation staff member. She lives in Northern California with her wonderful husband, Nitin, and their German shepherd, Leo (who, according to them, is very smart!).

Please join us in warmly thanking Eesha once again, and in welcoming Garima to her new seva assignment as the writer of the monthly letters.

Sincerely,

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Swami Apoorvananda Swami Shantananda Swami Akhandananda

About Eesha SardesaiAbout Garima Borwankar

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About Eesha Sardesai

author photo Copyright SYDA Foundation

In 2013, shortly after graduating from university, Eesha Sardesai made the commitment to offer her skills as an SYDA Foundation staff member in Shree Muktananda Ashram. She had been visiting the Ashram with her parents since the age of one month.

For three years beginning in 2014, Eesha served in the Content Department as a final reviewer of commentaries, expositions, and other teaching content posted on the Siddha Yoga path website, as well of scripts for Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events. For the last nearly two years, Eesha has offered seva in the Premotsava Department. Throughout 2018, she was the author of the letters that introduced each month on the website and guided readers in their study of Gurumayi’s Message.

Born and raised in upstate New York, Eesha enthusiastically joined her parents and brother on their frequent visits to the Ashram throughout her childhood. In the summer of 2000, Eesha took part in the Golden Tales, participating in plays on the lives of the saints Ra’bia and Namdev. Later, when Eesha was in college, she began serving as a regular visiting sevite in the Content and Food Services Departments—and did so up until she applied to serve on staff.

Eesha has eclectic talents and interests, which include baking, painting, and learning many a new language. As a writer, Eesha has much experience with the creative nonfiction genre, including memoir-style writing and long-form journalism; she also writes poetry and fiction. Professionally, Eesha has written for several food and travel magazines and blogs, as well as for public relations firms and nonprofit organizations. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in creative writing and communications.

Eesha’s monthly letters on the Siddha Yoga path website inspired many Siddha Yogis as they pursued their sadhana in the year 2018.

About Garima Borwankar

author photo Copyright SYDA Foundation

For Gurumayi’s Birthday in 2017, Garima Borwankar was one of three longtime Siddha Yogis to oversee an initiative they had suggested: that all Siddha Yoga students offer their stories of grace in celebration of their Guru’s birthday. For this Birthday Bliss initiative—"Redolence, Remembrance, Recognition,”—Garima herself told many stories, vignettes of her interactions with Gurumayi over more than four decades of sadhana.

Garima was introduced to the Siddha Yoga path in 1970 at the age of eight in Lucknow, India, where she was born. Garima is a graduate of Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow, where she studied psychology and English literature. She worked as a journalist for a daily, English-language newspaper in Lucknow.

In 1985, at twenty-three, Garima became a staff member at Gurudev Siddha Peeth, serving as a translator in courses and satsang and for Siddha Yoga books, and as a sevite in the Correspondence Office. Over the years, Garima has often served as a visiting sevite and a home sevite. She has been a translator, writer, and—with her sister, Vani Agrawal—the co-editor for Neeleshwari, the Hindi-language magazine for Siddha Yogis. She has also served as a darshan assistant, and she has translated for Gurumayi in satsang.

For many years Garima; her husband, Nitin; and their daughter, Vanita, lived in Oakland, California, attending chants and satsang at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland. Vanita, a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, now lives in Los Angeles, and her parents reside in El Sobrante, California.

Garima loves to write poetry in both Hindi and Urdu, the two languages she grew up speaking. She carries on the family tradition begun by her mother, Shakuntala Agrawal, whose poems were published in Ashram Patrika, a monthly Siddha Yoga newsletter in Hindi. This love of poetry was passed along to Garima and from Garima to her daughter, who has been writing poetry from an early age.

Garima currently serves as a staff member of the SYDA Foundation in the Premotsava Department and will be writing the monthly letters for 2019 on the Siddha Yoga path website.

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