by Swami Kripananda

Beginning in August and throughout September, we have been practicing and relishing “Gurumayi’s Guidance.” Now, as we enter October, the month of Baba Muktananda’s Mahasamadhi, I am happy to share with you that the Siddha Yoga path website will feature a collection of Baba’s teachings for your study. There will be one teaching per week from Baba (four teachings in all), accompanied by commentaries from Siddha Yoga meditation teachers. Each teacher will present their unique perspective on the teaching to support you in putting this teaching into practice.

October, in some parts of the world, is the month when the season of autumn sings. I love this time of year, and especially in the area around Shree Muktananda Ashram in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. The terrain and the vistas undergo a dramatic change in October. The air is invigorating, and even the quality of the light changes—it no longer streams from the direct rays of the sun overhead but comes in at a slant with a slightly metallic hue. Everywhere you turn, you are met with the resplendent colors of autumn—red, orange, and yellow. These colors evoke, for me, the color of Baba’s robes. From Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, I have learned to celebrate and honor the months of May and October as Baba’s months—May being the month of his birth and October of his mahasamadhi, his final merging in the Absolute. Yet it is October that especially reminds me of Baba at every turn. Autumn’s display with its blazing palette brings to my mind the memory of Baba striding briskly along in his crisp orange silks.

Baba’s Mahasamadhi honors the time when Baba left his physical body and merged with the all-pervasive Absolute, entering the hearts of all beings. This blissful merging, this liberation of the soul, is why the Indian scriptures consider the passing of a great being, a Siddha, to be an auspicious occasion. It is a time of rejoicing. While the emotions of sorrow and grief may occasionally arise when considering the absence of the person’s physical presence, there is the light-filled understanding and experience that this being never left; their essence is alive in our hearts.

When Baba returned to Gurudev Siddha Peeth in October 1981 from his Third World Tour, as one of the Siddha Yoga Swamis I was fortunate to accompany him back to India and continue offering seva.

The night of Baba’s mahasamadhi, October 2, 1982, sometime after 11:00 p.m., someone came to my room. I was sleeping but not quite sleeping; I had no idea why I was not able to fall asleep completely. I and a few others who were in the adjacent rooms were told to go to Baba’s house. When I arrived, I saw Baba sitting in the full lotus position. It was clear that he had taken mahasamadhi.

I remember that after seeing and realizing the gravity of the situation, suddenly my whole world disappeared. The light seemed to be extinguished from it. However, it was a full-moon night, and it was the brightest full moon I had ever seen in my life.

I watched—as though it were a scene from a movie—people coming and going from Baba’s room, making preparations for his final darshan. Everything felt as though it was in slow motion. I too was requested to support with the preparations.

At one point, I went up to my room to get something. All of those emotions that had been frozen within me suddenly seemed to find a way to express themselves. Suddenly I was weeping uncontrollably. And I just let it be. I sat down on my bed and let the emotions come forth. The tears were hot against my face. I was at a complete loss.

When I was in the depths of my despair, a light shone from within me and I heard Baba’s voice. It was clear as day. Baba said: “It’s okay, Kripananda. Everything will be okay. I’m here. I’m here with you.”

I was startled out of my anguish. I continued to sit on my bed and recall the light. Baba’s voice. Baba’s words. I saw before my eyes the scenes of my life with Baba, everything he had taught me, and the golden life he had bestowed upon me.

That made me think: “Of course. Of course, Baba, you are with me. How could I forget?” With this acceptance, a profound peace enveloped me, and I knew with certainty that everything would indeed be okay. Baba said it, and I knew it.

Thank you, Baba. You didn’t go anywhere! You were and have been right here, in the shrine of my heart, where I have experienced your presence ever since I first received your darshan in 1973.

With that restored understanding and energy, I returned to support the preparations of Baba’s final darshan for his devotees.

Because of the strength I received from hearing Baba’s voice and words, I was able to help others. I knew that I had work to do, and I felt a renewed resolve to offer seva as long as my body was capable of it. Baba was an inspiration because he did his work until he took his last breath on this planet.

My Siddha Yoga sadhana has continued under Gurumayi’s guidance, and at the same time Baba’s presence has been stronger than ever before. In fact, sometimes when I’m feeling a bit tired or “slowed down,” Baba shows up in my dreams in a swirl of brilliant orange, laughing and patting me on the back. Each time I wake up filled with renewed energy and a sense of delight and gratitude.

Even though Baba Muktananda is no longer in his physical body on this planet, his grace remains vibrantly present for me. His impact on the world continues. And his mission has an enduring legacy. His teachings remain available for people to study and practice.

One of the core Siddha Yoga teachings I am reminded of, particularly at this time of year, is that no matter what happens to the physical body, the Self is eternal and indestructible. Even when the body dies, the Self remains.

This month, on October 2, we will be observing the solar anniversary of Baba Muktananda’s Mahasamadhi.

And on October 20, the full moon of October, we will observe the lunar anniversary of Baba’s Mahasamadhi.

Throughout the month, wherever you live, be on the alert for signs of Baba. People often experience Baba appearing in a multitude of forms, at various times, and they take delight in noticing such moments.

And remember: Each week of the month you will receive a teaching from Baba that will appear on the Siddha Yoga path website. As you study the words and take them to heart, cherishing their truth for you, they will come alive with special meaning just for you.

See you on Friday as we receive the first teaching from our beloved Baba!