April 1, 2020
What does it mean to see? Of course, we see with our eyes in order to accomplish a myriad of daily activities like navigating our world, reading and writing, understanding other people’s body language, driving between the lines on the road, and so on. But how much do we truly see? I’m asking myself this question after being startled the other afternoon when, pausing from reading a book, I glanced up and discovered the half-moon shining brightly in the vast blue sky. The moon’s appearance was quite striking—its lighter areas were the same delicious blue as the sky, while its darker areas reflected the moon’s usual nighttime grays. The effect was subtle and dramatic—a half-blue, half-invisible moon mischievously showing its face in the middle of the afternoon.
How long had I been sitting there and not seeing the moon when it was so present and so magnificent? Entranced by the beauty of this scene, I sat gazing at it for many minutes, absorbing myself in the experience of this real and yet dreamlike vision and in the sense of wonder it engendered in me.
As I reflected on this moment, I was reminded of Gurumayi’s Message for this year. I understood that, just as the moon and stars are an ever-present source of wonder if we turn our attention toward them, the Self is always shining within my being and offering me the experience of joy and peace. Yet how often do I truly turn my inner gaze toward the Self and relish its many divine attributes? This led to a further contemplation: how can I remind myself to explore my inner sky more often and absorb my awareness in joy or peace or a sense of absolute well-being?
The challenges that are touching all of our lives in one way or another require that we become creative and intentional in nurturing ourselves spiritually. Right now, gathering together in person for satsang isn’t an option. Fortunately, many helpful resources are available on the Siddha Yoga path website, and these give us the opportunity to have satsang in creative ways. For example, devotees who have been chanting and meditating regularly at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland, California, are now engaging in their practices at home, reciting Shri Guru Gita at eight o’clock on Sunday mornings with the website recording of Shri Guru Gita or meditating during the Ashram’s morning, noon, and evening meditation periods. They are participating in the Ashram schedule—with social distancing. For myself, I experience that I am in satsang whenever I become absorbed in the inspirational experience shares, expositions, and photo galleries that appear each day on the website.
I strongly encourage you to create your own forms of satsang as you explore and participate in the abundance of resources available on the Siddha Yoga path website. In this way, you can practice bringing your awareness back toward the experience of the Self and turn this time of great challenge into a time of spiritual expansion. How fortunate we are to have such a wealth of support at this time!
First and foremost, we can immerse ourselves again and again in Sweet Surprise 2020 if we have registered for one of the multiple participation packages. (If you speak Italian, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish, you’ll be delighted to know that Sweet Surprise 2020 is now available with subtitles in these languages!) And, for those of us who have registered for a multiple participation package, we can also absorb our minds and hearts in the “physicalize,” “illustrate,” and “mind map” activities in the Workbook on Gurumayi’s Message for 2020. Included with the Workbook is the extraordinary Dialogue between Guru and Disciples, which compiles the questions asked by Gurumayi and answered by students during Sweet Surprise. The Workbook is a part of any multiple participation package; alternatively, you can register for this study tool separately.
This month, the much-beloved spiritual stories and folklore tales from around the world will begin appearing on the website once again as a means of exploring and studying Gurumayi’s Message. These stories have been chosen for that purpose by Gurumayi. Each story will appear in two forms: written and recorded, each by a Siddha Yogi.
Also, the third session of the Siddha Yoga Meditation Session via Audio Stream becomes available this month. It is a true delight! The title of this session is “Befriending the Mind, Putting the Heart at Ease: Sukha-sadhya.” The Sanskrit term sukha-sadhya means “true happiness,” and this title points toward the means by which we can attain sukha-sadhya in our practice of meditation.
This month I encourage you to explore all of these and the many other opportunities available on the Siddha Yoga path website as a way to draw your mind and heart toward the Self. Become an explorer of the website and of your own pathways toward putting Gurumayi’s Message for 2020 into practice!
During the month of April, there are holidays you can participate in—and more ways to recognize manifestations of the Self through the website.
Hanuman Jayanti—April 8
Shri Hanuman is beloved throughout the world as the loyal friend and faithful servant of Lord Rama. In the many stories about Hanuman, this immortal monkey god is portrayed as embodying the divine virtues of devotion and steadfastness in his service of Lord Rama. Hanuman’s unwavering desire to see the Lord within his own heart can inspire us to focus on looking for the Lord within ourselves. Hanuman Jayanti is the joyful celebration of his birthday, replete with recitations of the sacred text Hanuman Chalisa and readings from India’s epic tale, the Ramayana, in which Shri Hanuman plays a major role. Later this month on the Siddha Yoga path website, you will be able to listen to the enchanting bhajan Mangala Rama Dulare, which is a prayer to Shri Hanuman asking for protection and blessings.
Earth Day—April 22
Earth Day celebrates our planet’s profound beauty and sanctity and the efforts of millions of good-hearted and strong-minded citizens around the globe to preserve and protect the natural world. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, which is observed in 190 countries—historically with marches, seminars, and festivals. This day—and every day—is a great day to spend time connecting with the Earth by visiting the Siddha Yoga path website’s Images of Nature. As you encounter the beauty of Nature in this way, you can express your sense of wonder and gratitude by sending blessings for the protection and well-being of this planet.
Akshaya Tritiya—April 25 (April 26 in India)
Akshaya Tritiya, known as one of the three and a half holiest days on the Hindu calendar, is the holiday associated with wealth, prosperity, and happiness. This is a day that reminds us to see and experience the abundance that exists in our own lives and in the world around us. The Sanskrit word akshaya has many beautiful inflections of meaning, including “imperishable,” “never diminishing,” and “unlimited,” and it also refers to “wealth” in the sense of prosperity, hope, joy, and success. Akshaya Tritiya is considered to be the most auspicious day to start a new venture. The rasa, the flavor, associated with this holiday is conveyed by a tale of everlasting grace, “Akshaya Patra,” which is from the Mahabharata.
Shankaracharya Jayanti—April 27 (April 28 in India)
In eighth-century India, the enlightened Master and philosopher Adi Shankaracharya helped articulate the central tenets of Advaita Vedanta, especially the teaching that the atman—the innermost Self—exists within each human being and is identical with God. In his text Atmabodha, the sage writes,
When a seeker hears the Truth and contemplates it,
the fire of knowledge is kindled within.
Then, freed from impurities, he shines like gold.1
Sometimes, when we read the profound writings of the great seers, we think they can’t be talking about me—I’m just an ordinary person who meditates. Shri Shankaracharya reminds us here that he is talking about us. Since you are reading this letter and engaging in the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices, you are a “seeker who hears the Truth and contemplates it.” This month I invite you to contemplate the Truth again and again—and to continue to shine like gold!
As this letter draws to a close, I invite you to connect with—to see!—the moon throughout this month, remembering that after the new moon on April 22, we enter Vaishakha, the lunar month of Baba’s Muktananda’s birth. Baba was born on the full moon of Vaishakha, and Baba’s Lunar Birthday will be celebrated this year on May 7.
You can research online when and where the moon rises and sets in your location and time zone and learn where you can best see it. I encourage you to experience the moon’s radiance and deep quietude at various times throughout the month. Discover how moon-gazing in this month of Baba can draw you into the experience of Gurumayi’s Message for 2020.