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Read Jaiya Seibert’s talk Thanksgiving Saptah 2020.
Namaste, North America.
Namaste, South America.
And a very, very special namaste to India, since this beautiful word is a gift from India to the entire world. Namaste—the divinity in me honors the divinity in you.
My name is Jaiya Seibert, and it is my greatest honor to be speaking with you. Our celebration today has been true to the Thanksgiving spirit. We’ve expressed gratitude to Mother Earth for the abundance she unrelentingly provides. We’ve come together as a Siddha Yoga family to participate in A Day in the Temple, which is taking place via a live video stream that is being produced by the SYDA Foundation. Being in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall is as precious as being in the shrine of your own heart.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this historic day and this unforgettable moment in Siddha Yoga history. I feel that with this sixteen-hour day in the Temple, you have made manifest a deep and unspoken longing in our hearts.
I also want to share, Gurumayi, that you have made my dreams come true. I’ve heard for so long about the saptahs that Baba Muktananda and you, Gurumayi, used to hold in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s. I feel that by participating in today’s all-day saptah, I finally got to experience the spirit of these saptahs, which are so legendary for how they propelled people’s sadhana exponentially.
I also gained a greater appreciation for the former SYDA Foundation staff members and visiting sevites who put on saptah after saptah after saptah. Now I understand how much effort that must have taken! I mention this especially for those of you who are new to the Siddha Yoga path, and may not be aware of the incredible amount of seva that Siddha Yogis have offered over the decades to help make the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices available to people all around the world.
A Day in the Temple commenced with the recitation of Shri Guru Gita. A gentle yet persistent rain was falling upon the grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram, blessing the earth on this Thanksgiving day. Throughout the day, as all of you in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall performed the Siddha Yoga practices, the already-electrifying atmosphere of the Temple scintillated all the more brightly.
In the email that Aria Paxton and Shelby Kindem, members of the Directors’ Team for this event, sent to you, they said, “However much time you are able to set aside to be in the Temple on this day—please know that it will be just right.” When I read that and as I’ve been reflecting on our Thanksgiving day in the temple, I was reminded of a doha, or couplet, that Gurumayi has quoted from the poet-saint Tulsidas, who lived in the 16th century India:
Tulsidas says, Keeping the company of a great and noble being, for no matter how brief a time, has the power to rid one of all sins and impurities.
Yesterday, in India, devotees of Lord Vishnu celebrated a day that is very dear and sacred to them. This holiday is called Prabodhini Ekadashi. It is celebrated on the eleventh lunar day of the month of Kartik, and it heralds the day when Lord Vishnu awakens from four months of sleep. It marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the sugarcane harvest and the wedding season. Ardent devotees of Lord Vishnu, especially in Maharashtra, sing and sing and sing his glory.
Since I’ve been following the Siddha Yoga path, I’ve learned that every celebration that is acknowledged or observed by Siddha Yogis is done for the purpose of strengthening our resolve, for glorifying God, for cultivating our innate virtues, and for performing the Siddha Yoga practices with greater awareness.
Where did the Siddha Yogis get this knowledge? From the Siddha Yoga Gurus.
So many Siddha Yogis—both staff members in Shree Muktananda Ashram and Siddha Yogis from all around the globe—contributed their skills and talents in support of this event. I want to thank all of the exceptional and illustrious contributors. You have made this Day in the Temple most glorious.
I want to share something with all of you. I feel that by our coming together in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall, contemplating the Siddha Yoga teachings, and engaging in practice after Siddha Yoga practice, we have, together, created a portal by which the blessings and good energy that we have generated through our worship can flow forth into the world.
The benevolent power of our collective intention and sadhana creates lasting and positive change that leads to the betterment of all lives on this earth. I feel that the earth is in turn grateful to us and for our good deeds. During this Day in the Temple, we have all learned how to really prepare and partake of a Thanksgiving feast.
Wasn’t it just perfect?
Hasn’t every dish, every element of the day, been just right? All six rasas of Ayurvedic cooking, and other subtleties and nuances of feeling and flavor, have been perfectly sprinkled throughout A Day in the Temple. Our senses, our minds, our hearts, and our souls are gratified.
What does heaven feel like?
What does a mind absorbed in deep silence feel like?
What does a life imbued with virtues look like?
From where does the light in the sky arise?
Where does the light of the Self permeate its effulgence?
Why are rituals so important?
How do the sounds of music and the sacred syllables we recite enliven our slumbering attitudes?
What do tears of gratitude taste like?
On this day in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall, in the presence of Bade Baba, and with Gurumayi’s abundant grace and blessings, we have all experienced that One who is the master of our senses.
Ᾱtmā kī Prashānti has blazed brightly on this happy Thanksgiving day.
I hope and I pray that the benefits derived from every second you dedicated to being in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall today will multiply tenfold, one hundredfold, one thousandfold.
May your gratitude endure—now and forever more.
Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!
Ohio, United States