Love in More Ways than You Can Count

February 1, 2019

Dear readers,

As you begin reading this introduction to the month of February, I’d like to share with you my hope that, from time to time, you have recalled my request that you remember to have a good time. And I hope you have, in fact, had a very good time. As you know, whenever you have a happy thought, whenever your actions bring happiness to you, your whole being wants to sing and dance. A happy mood goes a long way, doesn’t it?

From time to time I think about how we’re all one humanity, and yet we all live on different continents and in different countries, in our different corners of the world. And we all experience different seasons. Why is that? Scientists explain that it’s due to the direction of the earth’s tilt on its axis, and the angle of the sun’s light as it strikes the earth. Whatever season we are in, it holds within itself its own beauty, challenges, and fruitfulness. Each season gives us a reason to rejoice, to live a more meaningful life, and to further our endeavors in sadhana.

How sweet it is to taste the fruits of our Siddha Yoga sadhana all along the way—through all seasons! It is so rewarding to recognize each success in sadhana. The more we remember our sadhana experiences, whether they are dramatic or subtle, the more we want to pursue our sadhana with vigor and enthusiasm. We are impelled to make a renewed commitment to our sadhana. कटिबद्धता।

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Can you believe it? We are already in the month of February. I must say, I love the month of February, and if you can guess the reason why, then you may also share this sentiment.

So, why is it that we feel this way? Perhaps because there is one day in the month of February—February 14—that is celebrated around the world as the day of love. Millions of red roses, candies, and chocolates are given on this day. Millions of sweet notes and gestures, smiles, and love letters—whether from a known or unknown admirer—are exchanged. It’s wonderful—it’s so right—that the whole world is celebrating love in its various forms, from the simplest to the most heavenly. The frequency of love resonates in every cell of the universe.

Originally, it was the story of a third-century Roman saint Valentine that was honored on February 14. This story then came to represent the love between people and the value of their feelings for each other.

Fast forward to the present moment. In the twenty-first century, our Guru doesn’t dedicate just one day to entering the shrine of love. She invites us all to celebrate love throughout the entire month of February—and to then extend that celebration through the whole year! 😊 So it goes on. And I love it!

On the Siddha Yoga path, we honor the Guru’s love for her disciples and the disciples’ love for their Guru. It is this perfect love which carries all practitioners of the path through thick and thin in life. It is this perfect love which gives us the energy and strength to focus and refocus on our purpose and goals. Although the waxing gibbous moon may be only sixty-three percent visible in the evening sky of February 14, and the ocean tides will respond accordingly, I rejoice in knowing that the love ignited in our hearts by our Gurumayi is always one hundred percent full. It is निष्प्रपञ्चाय, not affected by the tides of samsara.

I want to share with you a couplet that my heart composed when I was thinking of Shri Gurumayi’s love. This poem is in the Urdu language—a language I grew up speaking in Lucknow, India:

तेरा ख़याल दिल को सुकून देता है,
ख़िज़ाँ में भी बहार नज़र आती है।

Remembrance of you brings comfort to my heart.
For me, it is spring even in autumn.

For the benefit of Siddha Yogis and new seekers, Gurumayi has named this month of February “Love in Action.” By calling it “Love in Action,” Gurumayi is encouraging us to not just daydream about love, but to take action and put our money where our mouth is, so to speak.

What does this mean? Well, all of us who speak of our love for God must make the effort to strengthen this relationship. What is more, we must put forth the effort to make the love we experience count. Charity is not just giving things to those in need; charity is also giving love to anyone who is receptive. There are people who may not have believed in God at first, but after receiving the Guru’s grace, they came to understand God and experience God’s love through sadhana. Many of these people made the decision not to just keep the love they feel in their hearts to themselves, but instead, to share it. प्रेमदान भी महादान है।

There are many ways we can remember, connect with, celebrate, and share the love in our own hearts. For example, we can listen to Siddha Yoga music. As a soundtrack for this month of love, you might want to listen to the CD Just Love by a Siddha Yogi musician, Shambhavi Christian. And for daily rumination, as well as to examine and experience the many flavors of your heart, you may wish to find your copy of Gurumayi’s book The Magic of the Heart: Reflections on Divine Love on your bookshelf.

One of my favorite means of celebrating and reflecting on love is available right here on the Siddha Yoga path website. Each February since 2014, we have been receiving a beautiful gift from Gurumayi on the website in honor of Valentine’s Day. Gurumayi’s gift is called Love in Action. And this gift is, in fact, the origin of the name Gurumayi has given to the entire month of February.

I love everything about this gift—especially how Gurumayi has ensured that, through it, we have an opportunity to discover Siddha Yoga teachings and many other symbols of love in both written and visual form. To see Gurumayi's gift Love in Action 2019, please click here.

Speaking of this “Love in Action” month, and the import of receiving Gurumayi’s love in the form of such gifts, I cannot not mention the long-stemmed coral rose that Gurumayi gave to everyone in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall during the live video stream of Sweet Surprise on January 1. Many people shared with me how moved they were in this moment; they felt that they were receiving the rose directly from Gurumayi, from her hands to theirs. I know that for myself, I can’t see a rose now and not think of our beloved Gurumayi. (I imagine it’s the same for you!) I might be walking in the grocery store or by a neighbor’s garden when I see a blooming rose, and it feels like a lovely secret that is just between Gurumayi and me. It feels like Gurumayi put that rose right there, just for me. गुरु का प्रेम गुलज़ार है।

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So, what more is happening this month?

  • One of our favorite holidays—that is, the celebration of a New Year—is coming up. February 5 marks the Chinese New Year, the beginning of the Year of the Pig.
  • One of our favorite deities—Lord Ganesha—has a birthday that falls on February 8: Ganesh Jayanti.
  • One of our favorite seasons—spring—begins in India on February 10, (which corresponds to February 9 in the United States).

The festival that heralds the arrival of spring in India is called Vasant Panchami, and it takes place every year on the fifth day of the month of Magh, per the Hindu lunar calendar. There have been many poems and songs written about Vasant Panchami and the spring season—about the sprouts shooting up from the ground, the delicate buds that begin to form, the way the Indian countryside is blanketed with tiny yellow flowers as the mustard fields bloom in all their glory. People often wear sunny yellow garments on this day, in anticipation of all that the season will bring.

Devi Sarasvati, the goddess of learning and one of our favorite deities on the Siddha Yoga path, is worshiped on Vasant Panchami. Her chariot is a swan, hamsa. This year especially, we all have a special connection with Goddess Sarasvati and her chariot. Do you remember what it is? At the conclusion of her Message talk this year, Gurumayi led us in a visualization of a swan; this is an image that we may continually return to and focus our mind upon throughout the year. In fact, you may have noticed that many of the motifs on the Siddha Yoga path website this year have been designed as swans—a reminder of Gurumayi’s teaching.

I mention all of this because I find these synchronicities interesting. Vasant Panchami is also celebrated as a festival of love in India; at this time people tell stories of Lord Krishna and his most ardent devotee, Radha, who is revered as love personified. In 2019, Vasant Panchami is taking place in the same month as Valentine’s Day. Moreover, Vasant Panchami is a time to invoke and honor Goddess Sarasvati, and in 2019, the goddess and her swan are integral to our study of Gurumayi’s Message.

To support you in learning about these holidays and studying Gurumayi’s Message, there will be a veritable bhandara—a sumptuous feast—of knowledge on the Siddha Yoga path website. I want to bring your attention to a few more of the delectable treats that will help you to deepen your study of Gurumayi’s Message:

As you get ready to explore all these pages and more on the Siddha Yoga path website, I have a tip for you. Recently in speaking with some of my friends I realized that even though many people make it a daily practice to visit their most-loved website—the Siddha Yoga path website—not everybody has thought of the quickest way to navigate there. So here is the tip: make the Siddha Yoga path website your homepage on your computer browser—the quickest way for you to access the website and view the latest postings. And on your mobile device, you might wish to add the Siddha Yoga path website as an icon (it will look like an app!).

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Recently, when I was offering seva in Shree Muktananda Ashram for Sweet Surprise 2019, Gurumayi shared a Tibetan proverb with me. As a concluding thought, I’d like to share Gurumayi’s gift to me with all of you.

The proverb is:

The secret to living well and longer is:
eat half,
walk double,
laugh triple,
 and love without measure.

फिर मिलेंगे। प्रेम को अपनी प्राथमिकता बना लें।

Make this a great month. Make love your priority.

Respectfully,

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Garima Borwankar

 

P.S. Click here to see words and phrases in this letter that are in languages other than English, along with their transliteration and meaning.

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About Garima Borwankar

author photo Copyright SYDA Foundation

Garima began practicing the Siddha Yoga teachings in 1970 in Lucknow, India. Since 1985, she has served as a visiting and home sevite and as a staff member in Gurudev Siddha Peeth and Shree Muktananda Ashram. She has been a sevite in the Translation Department, the Products Area, and the Shakti Punja Area. She currently serves as an SYDA Foundation staff member in the Premotsava Department.

Garima holds a bachelor of arts degree from Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow, India, where she studied psychology and English literature. She has worked as a journalist for an English daily newspaper in Lucknow. An avid writer and poet, she has composed many poems in Hindi and Urdu. Garima and her husband, Nitin, live in El Sobrante, California; their daughter, Vanita, recently graduated from college.

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