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.
- Eesha will be receiving a new writing assignment for the Siddha Yoga path website.
- 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.
Swami Apoorvananda Swami Shantananda Swami Akhandananda
About Eesha SardesaiAbout Garima Borwankar
About Eesha Sardesai
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. 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
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 in the SYDA Foundation and will be writing the monthly letters for 2019 on the Siddha Yoga path website.
I have benefited and learned enormously from reading the 2018 monthly letters. Through her writing, I see Eesha as a role model for understanding and articulating one’s spiritual experiences on the Siddha Yoga path, so that one’s knowledge and wisdom can be shared.
I am also grateful to Garima for accepting the seva
assignment to write the monthly letters in 2019. I send blessings to both Eesha and Garima for their new writing projects. Their support for our studentship will be much appreciated.
Mexico City, Mexico
Thank you, Eesha, for your monthly letters! Your writing has uplifted me and taken me to places I didn’t expect to go. You spoke to that part of me that had been hidden; your words brought it to light in a compassionate way.
I look forward to seeing more of your writing in the future.
New York, Untied States
My main experience of the monthly letters this year was the joy and inspiration I felt in reading such creative, honest, lyrical letters. Each one inspired me to expand my understanding of myself and to embody the courage to be myself as authentically as possible.
I want to participate wholeheartedly in acknowledging both Eesha and Garima, with deep respect for their devotion and willingness to share their wisdom with all of us in their own unique and powerful ways. I’m so grateful for their labor of love—and for the many other labors of love I can enjoy on the Siddha Yoga path website. The examples are endless and so dear to my heart!
Massachusetts, United States
I have heard and read that the Self is beyond words, beyond explanation, beyond the understanding of the intellect. But through the power of Eesha’s writing, these monthly letters have enabled me to have a glimpse of the Self.
I am grateful to Eesha for the wonderful seva
that she offers, and would like to welcome Garima to her new seva
Once a month, the local Siddha Yoga meditation center holds a satsang
in which the host reads the monthly letter. We have always been astounded by the depth of understanding, the layers of knowledge, and the language in Eesha’s letters. Her explanations and insights were so clear and so vivid, they carried us with her on an ecstatic journey toward the Self. What could be better?
I offer a heartfelt “Thank You”for this gift from Gurumayi in support of our sadhana.
And I also want to offer a warm welcome to Garima; we are already looking forward to reading her monthly letters in 2019.
Florida, United States
I am grateful to Eesha for bringing such lyricism to her insightful monthly letters. They were highly readable and danced in my mouth as I read them out loud. Each monthly letter stimulated lively discussions and drew me more deeply into the meaning of Gurumayi's Message.
I wish to thank Eesha for her valuable contribution, and to welcome Garima with anticipation.
Washington, United States
Each and every letter had a multitude of layers, as would a perfected piece of art. The sweet descriptions, particularly those about nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram, were like dharanas
In the local Siddha Yoga meditation center that I attend, every month we hold one satsang
in which the monthly letter is read. The letters we received throughout this year have helped us to understand Shri Gurumayi's Message for 2018, Satsang,
and how to apply it in our daily life.
I also wish to acknowledge Eesha, especially for the effort required for this level of creative output, both in quantity and quality. Each grace-filled letter embodied what I have come to recognize as integral qualities of the Siddha Yoga path, and of everything that we in the global Siddha Yoga sangham
receive on this path: the qualities of welcoming, beauty, focus, authenticity, wisdom, and lightheartedness.
West Vancouver, Canada
Eesha’s wise and informed monthly letters have guided, deepened, and enriched our Sadhana Circle's study and understanding of Gurumayi's 2018 message, Satsang
, throughout the year.
We are all so grateful for the seva
Eesha offered so lovingly through these letters.
I too am very grateful to Eesha for sharing her wisdom, skills, and heart with us through the 2018 monthly letters. Every month I looked forward to reading the monthly letter. Then, throughout the month, I would reread it over and over, sometimes journaling about some key teaching or new understanding. The metaphors chosen and the freshness in the descriptions and explanations made reading the letters a delightful experience for me, filled with discoveries and breakthroughs.
My experience was like taking sips of satyarasa
, the ambrosia of the Truth. It was truly a journey that deepened my understanding and experience of satsang
Mexico City, Mexico
For me, every monthly letter was not merely words or expressions, but a connection to the Heart. So many times, reading these letters gave me the feeling that I was in front of Gurumayi and receiving guidance directly from her. Eesha’s personal experiences and practical suggestions also helped me a lot.
I also want to welcome Garima with great excitement and enthusiasm for the journey we will share in 2019.
New Delhi, India
For me, the highlight of each month this year has been the monthly letters! Each month I have looked forward to reading the new letter, which was always full of such wisdom and great understanding. I would like to acknowledge my gratitude for the light that these letters have brought into my life.