February 1, 2021
Welcome! Here we are in the month of February, which in many parts of the world is known as the Month of Love because of St. Valentine’s Day. This holiday, which occurs in the middle of the month, is traditionally a time when people freely express their love and friendship to those closest and dearest to them with gifts of cards, flowers, and sweets. This year, when many of us can’t be with loved ones or gather with friends, we can still honor the beautiful spirit of St. Valentine’s Day by finding new and creative ways to express and convey our love and by seeing the Divine in each other.
Beginning last October, my wife and I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita each morning, along with the Shri Guru Gita Recitation with Gurumayi Chidvilasananda on the Siddha Yoga path website. We do this both for our own benefit and as a way to offer blessings to the world in this very challenging time. After we participated in the inspiring series of Svadhyaya Study Sessions, I became more aware of how to pronounce the long and short Sanskrit vowels in Shri Guru Gita. As I continue to recite the text each morning with this awareness, I experience a sweet and powerful energy imbued in the sounds and rhythms of the Sanskrit syllables, and a subtle dance-like movement of the verses overall. I can feel Shri Guru Gita’s chaitanya quality—its conscious, living essence—become present in me as I chant.
I also find verses I am particularly drawn to. One morning, a sentence in verse 21 caught my attention: “The supreme state is easily attained by those who think of nothing else but me.” I began to reflect on what it means to “think of nothing else but me”—the greater “me,” the I-consciousness that is shared universally. Since then, whenever I notice my mind drifting to other things as I chant, I bring my awareness back to the quiet, radiant Self within.
In this way, I’ve come to experience that the entire text of Shri Guru Gita is a vibrant invocation of grace. I feel on a subtle level that this grace is awakening me more and more to an ongoing experience of serenity and joy that I can extend into my interactions with others throughout the day.
Holidays during the Month of February
St. Valentine’s Day—February 14
On the Siddha Yoga path, St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated as an occasion for us to get in touch with the love that is the essence of our own being and to reflect on how each of us can express this love through our words and actions. Along with bringing love into this world in a tangible way, we also awaken our own hearts and minds to a deeper experience of our own nature.
Ganesh Jayanti—February 15
The elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesh, is a deity beloved throughout India as the remover of obstacles and the embodiment of strength and wisdom. With one hand raised in the gesture of abhaya mudra, Lord Ganesh calms his devotees and dispels their fears. To prepare for Ganesh Jayanti, the celebration of his birthday, visit the stories, songs, hymns, and images of Shri Ganesh on the Siddha Yoga path website.
Vasant Panchami—February 16
The advent of spring is a time for festivals across the Northern Hemisphere as winter gives way to warmer weather and longer days. In India, during the festival of Vasant Panchami, people honor and worship the goddess Sarasvati, the deity associated with learning, music, language, and the arts. The Siddha Yoga path website offers you several ways to enrich your knowledge and experience of Mahasarasvati and to invoke her blessings.
Chinese New Year
In the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Ox, which begins on February 12 this year and ends on January 31, 2022. In China, the country’s large rural population with its long history of farming reveres animals that work in the fields, such as oxen, cows, and buffalo. Those born in a Year of the Ox are known for their patience, honesty, positive nature, and strong work ethic. They are especially respected for their persistence in bringing projects to a conclusion.
Throughout the coming month, the Siddha Yoga path website will offer us many ways to study, contemplate, and practice the Siddha Yoga teachings.
By engaging in the Siddha Yoga practices and implementing the Guru’s teachings, we come to recognize that we are more than our personality and personal history: we are the universal Self, which is embodying all the roles in this divine play of Consciousness. Our experience of who we really are and what we can contribute to this world deepens and expands as the light of the Self dawns brighter and brighter within our own beings.
I wish you a joyful, safe, and fulfilling February!