January 1, 2019
नूतन वर्षाभिनन्दन! പുതുവത്സരാശംസകൾ
Happy New Year! Bonne Année!
Feliz Ano Novo! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Ein frohes Neues Jahr! Felice Anno Nuovo!
I have always loved connecting with people, and therefore I feel 2019 is going to be my best year yet—because I now have a great means to be connecting with all of you, my dear readers. I am delighted to be conversing with you in the year of 2019 through these letters that introduce and celebrate each month on the Siddha Yoga path. In these letters, I will be sharing pertinent information, stories, anecdotes, teachings, and proverbs, as well as my personal experiences, reflections, and contemplations from walking the Siddha Yoga path for the last forty-nine years. My wish is that through these letters, you will get a sneak peek of what’s to come on the Siddha Yoga path website—and of the insights you will gain and the experiences you will have through your discoveries, explorations, and learning. Savor this sweet journey! एक अनुपम यात्रा।
Once again, happy New Year! Aren’t you happy to be alive? Awake? Alert? Aren’t you feeling ready to start another fruitful life? Don’t you find this to be a gift—having the opportunity to relaunch your life on this day, a new day? Isn’t there a sweet ring to the phrase “new beginnings”?
So then, let’s begin!
On this first day of the year 2019, how blessed we all are to receive Shri Gurumayi’s Message in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall! How blessed we all are to be living in this time and breathing the same air as Shri Gurumayi! How blessed we all are to have her Message guide us in our sadhana! It is exciting, enchanting, enlightening to think of how we will have the opportunity to learn and re-learn, to assimilate and re-assimilate, to implement and re-implement the teachings from Gurumayi’s Message. One of the things I have noticed is that when I read or hear a teaching from Gurumayi, it often connects me directly and tangibly to an experience I have had of this teaching—just a few days before, a few weeks before, even months or years before. I love getting this validation again and again of my sadhana; it makes my whole being tingle with joy. जब हमारी साधना का पुष्टिकरण होता है तो उसका आनन्द अनोखा होता है, है न?
As my heart is moist with infinite gratitude, I find myself singing these two lines of a bhajan, a devotional song in the Marathi language in praise of the Sadguru, the true Guru. This bhajan is attributed to poet-saint Shri Ranganath Swami of Nigdi, Maharashtra. These lines describe the feeling in my heart with such lyrical precision:
धन्य धन्य हो प्रदक्षिणा सद्गुरुरायाची,
झाली त्वरा सुरवरा विमान उतरायाची।
dhanya dhanya ho pradakṣhiṇā sadgururāyācī
zhālī tvarā suravarā vimān utarāyācī
Pradakshina to Shri Sadguru—in expression of deep and abiding gratitude, devotion, love, adoration—is the most blessed event of all. In their wish to witness and participate in this sublime practice, even the gods and goddesses hurry to descend to earth in their heavenly chariots.1
Each culture around the world, each community, each person has their own way of celebrating the new year, and resolving to make a renewed effort toward realizing the goals that they have set for themselves. On the Siddha Yoga path, we have learned the importance of infusing our thoughts, our resolutions, our actions with a new energy on New Year’s Day. We are so fortunate to receive fresh guidance from Gurumayi that will support us to nurture the sadguna, the qualities of the heart, and to let them shimmer and dance all around us. May we be committed to our sadhana with renewed जज़्बा—passion, excitement, and courage.
As you know, the dawn of a new year carries myriad possibilities—and it is our responsibility to put forth the effort to choose and focus on the possibilities that we want to manifest. Why? So that we may gain the strength to live a life of dharma.
Every new breath fulfills the promise of life itself. Every moment pulsates with expectancy, a promise of rewarding any and all effort made. I have made it my practice at the beginning of every year to take stock of all that I have already received and achieved, of the progress I continue to make in sadhana and in pursuit of living a life of dharma—all with a longing to attain the goal of moksha, liberation. I am certain that you have already made your New Year’s resolution. And, if I may, I would like to recommend one more. As you pursue your Siddha Yoga sadhana, commit to writing new chapters of wondrous discovery in your journal—every day or every week. It can be a word, a phrase, a line, or even a full story—as you wish. It will be your personal treasure. इसे अविस्मरणीय बना लें।
Let me tell you a story of one such wondrous discovery I made as a child, which has since illumined my understanding of the power of Shri Guru’s words. Growing up in Lucknow, India, my family and I welcomed every New Year with the recitation of Shri Guru Gita at home on January 1, and that culminated with a havan, a small fire ceremony. We made offerings to the fire while reciting the Vedic mantras that our mother had taught my siblings and me every night before going to bed.
The fragrant plumes of smoke rising from the sacred fire purified the environment around us, just as the sound of the sacred mantras purified our inner beings. Although I was still a child and didn’t quite grasp the power of the mantras I was reciting or listening to, the feeling that was stirring in my heart as I listened to their sound was so gripping. A beautiful quietness took hold of me. Everyone and everything glimmered with love and joy. I did not want this experience or the reverberation of the mantras to end. मुझे मन्त्रों ने मुग्ध कर लिया।
I have heard many Siddha Yogis share that their first introduction to the Siddha Yoga path was the recitation of Shri Guru Gita. And even though they didn’t have a clue what the words meant or why they were being recited, they had the most sublime and tangible spiritual experiences just listening to the sounds of those sacred mantras.
Gurumayi says, “The power of the mantra contains the mysteries of this entire universe.”2 We are able to have the darshan of the Truth just by repeating the mantras and listening to them.
Just like a sacred mantra, the speech of a great being, of a Siddha, is itself the Truth. A Siddha Guru is established in the state of union with Brahman, the Absolute. She is the embodiment of Truth.
Therefore, whatever a Siddha Guru says—every word they utter, every statement they make—is always suffused with the power of the Truth; it is mantra. In Hindi there is a saying: “श्रीगुरु के शब्द कभी ख़ाली नहीं जाते,” “The words of Shri Guru are never empty of meaning.” Hence, they will manifest as the Truth in your life. The words of Shri Guru carry the immense shakti to transform your kismet.
Today, we have received Shri Gurumayi’s Message for the year 2019. Let us hold these words with the knowledge of their power, their significance, and their benediction. Let us continue to dive deeper and deeper and make the intent of this Message manifest in our lives.
Now I have some very exciting news to share with you. Are you ready for it? To support our journey on the path of Siddha Yoga sadhana, Sweet Surprise 2019 will be available on the Siddha Yoga path website all through the year! Yes! You read that right—throughout the year on the Siddha Yoga path website. Be on the lookout for more information about how to register and participate again and again.
Additionally, in this month, the Siddha Yoga path website will feature a link on the homepage introducing you to a variety of novel sadhana tools. These tools will support you in your study and practice of Gurumayi’s Message for 2019. A very practical and useful strategy for me has been to create small, specific, and scheduled steps, as Gurumayi has taught us to do; this approach is explained very clearly in the Siddha Yoga Home Study Course: The Power of Siddha Yoga Contemplation, Lesson Eleven, “Putting Knowledge into Action.” Those of you who have also employed this strategy must know its benefits already. And to those of you for whom it may be new, I urge you to try doing this for your study of Gurumayi’s Message.
There will be lots more treasures in store for you on the Siddha Yoga path website. I will leave you to delight in discovering these, one by one, for yourselves. But I shall give you just this hint: Don’t we all love a story well told that brings to life the lesson inherent in it? Or the wisdom of a poet-saint as it shines through their poetry and makes it so easy for us to grasp the Truth woven through it? Be sure to let me know—through the shares that you submit—what you discover as you explore the website each day, each month.
On the Siddha Yoga path, the month of January marks not just one but three very significant occasions. January 1, of course, is the day we first participate in Sweet Surprise. January 7 is the anniversary of the day that Baba Muktananda introduced Shri Guru Gita into the Ashram Schedule in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. And January 14 is when we celebrate Makara Sankranti—the day that Surya Devata, the Sun, starts its northward journey, which is also known as uttarāyaṇa in Sanskrit and Hindi. In the state of Maharashtra, India, people offer special sweets on the occasion of Makara Sankranti and share this wish with each other: तिळगुळ घ्या,गोड गोड बोला tiḷguḷ ghyā, goḍ goḍ bolā “Have this sweet made of sesame seeds and jaggery so that your words may become even sweeter.” What an auspicious way to begin the year 2019! शुभारम्भ!
I want to leave you with one last thought. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna’s disciple Arjuna makes a beautiful statement that I resonate with as a disciple of Shri Gurumayi on this golden path. I will lead up to that statement by first presenting a fuller picture. When Lord Krishna was imparting his teachings to Arjuna, he was doing so with only one wish—that Arjuna would be able to see and understand the wisdom and Truth inherent in them. Why? He wanted Arjuna to be established in this state of Truth, so Arjuna would understand his path of dharma and follow it courageously and unwaveringly.
Once Arjuna fully comprehended and grasped the profound teachings of Lord Krishna, he recognized and experienced the Truth in them. And once he was prepared to hold that experience, the Lord revealed his divine form to Arjuna. Arjuna’s heart was overcome with gratitude. He could now clearly see his path of dharma. And so Arjuna expressed his commitment to Lord Krishna, his Guru, in these words: करिष्ये वचनं तव! kariṣhye vacanam tava! “I will do thy bidding.”
A Guru’s wish is for a disciple to attain the same blissful state of union with Brahman in which they are established. When I think about the enormity of love and compassion behind such a beautiful, generous, sublime wish, and when I feel its warm, silky touch upon my soul, I want to make every effort to make my Guru’s wish for me manifest. And so one of my New Year’s wishes is that your experience of Gurumayi’s love exceed the limits of your imagination.
अगले महीने फिर मिलेंगे, इसी जगह। मिलना ज़रूर याद रखें!
We will converse again next month. Until then, remember to have a good time!