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Gallery “M” for Baba Muktananda

motif

by Eesha Sardesai

On the Siddha Yoga path, the months of May, August, and October carry a special association, for this is when we observe holidays in honor of Baba Muktananda (in May, Baba's birthday; in August, Baba's divya diksha; and in October, mahasamadhi).

The months of May and October have, in particular, become known as “Baba’s month.” I say have become, using a construction that would imply a natural, organic unfolding, because it was in just such a fashion that this name was established. In a satsang in the 1990s, Gurumayi spoke about how these months belonged to Baba—how they were “Baba’s month.” Those who were present and participating in that glorious satsang loved when Gurumayi said this, so they too started referring to May and October as Baba’s month. Just like that, the name took hold; it became a part of the Siddha Yoga tradition.

As though to reinforce the point, the natural world—and even the more mundane aspects of our environment (the sights and sounds in the places we live and work, for example)—will often reflect when it is time to celebrate Baba. Gurumayi has spoken about how she will come upon such signs of Baba during the months of May, August, and October. In turn, many Siddha Yogis have also come to perceive signs of Baba: the colors of his robes in the leaves and etched across the sky, flashes of the Blue Pearl here, there, everywhere.

One sign of Baba that Gurumayi has brought to our attention is the letter “M.” Baba was known for his spontaneity; similarly, the letter “M” will appear with seeming spontaneity in our immediate surroundings and in the wider world around us. We might find it formed in the clouds, shaped by the branches of a tree, or arranged in the blue-gray pebbles beneath our feet. There might be an “M” in the ripples on the surface of a lake we’re walking by, or in a hunk of bark that’s been chewed up by an especially industrious worm. Maybe there’s an “M” to be found in our cup of tea, and another one in the swirl of milk in our coffee. We might even start hearing it with greater frequency as we go about our day: people saying “mmmm” to express understanding, uncertainty, delight, satisfaction.

As is the case with so many of the teachings and images on the Siddha Yoga path website, it is Gurumayi’s wish that everyone who visits the Siddha Yoga path website have the opportunity to see what she sees in Shree Muktananda Ashram. Therefore, this page features photographs of some of the many “Ms” that are revealing themselves on the grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram. In some, the “M” is obvious to make out; in others, it is less so and you may need to do some searching.

Gurumayi’s hope is that as you view these photographs, you too will tangibly experience Baba’s presence wherever you are—that you will recognize Baba saying to you, “I am here.”

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When I read Eesha’s beautiful letter, my heart opened. Five weeks ago my partner died of cancer. I have been following the Siddha Yoga path for twenty-four years, and my partner has been in my life for twenty-one of those years. Yet it is only now that I am understanding what is meant when people say someone is “the light of their life.”

Although she knew little about the Siddha Yoga path, my heart and my thoughts have been fixed on her being safe and well looked after now by the great Siddhas who are no longer on this plane. And so I rejoiced when I unexpectedly read Eesha’s letter today.

My partner’s name was Emma, and to me and other loved ones she was always Em, or M. After discovering what Gurumayi teaches us about the letter M as a sign of Baba’s presence, I can now easily imagine her spirit being loved, protected, and guided during the next part of her journey—for I understand she is already at the center of Baba’s being.
 

London, United Kingdom

My heart leapt with joy as I came to the photo of light shining through the trees onto the pure field of snow. Not only do I love winter for just the kind of landscape that this photo depicts, but this lovely photo makes me think of the sentence that I have been studying from the chapter "Fearlessness" in Gurumayi’s book My Lord Loves a Pure Heart. In that chapter, Gurumayi writes, “Once you overcome fear, the foreboding enemy, light shines through the forest of the world.”
 
My gratitude for Gurumayi’s compassion and guidance “through the forest of the world” knows no bounds.
 

California, United States

In Eesha’s introduction she mentions how we can discover the letter “M” as a sign of Baba’s presence in our day-to-day life. The moment I read this, I decided to look into my cup of chai and there it was—a distinct “M.” This experience reminded me that I thought of Baba when I was at the supermarket this morning. The way I was walking reminded me of the way Baba walks in videos that I have seen. I am grateful for this introduction, which made me conscious of Baba’s presence in my life.
 

Willemstad, Curacao

As I look at these photos, I remember that I am surrounded by M's and surrounded by Baba's love. I have an immediate experience of Baba’s love in my heart, and I smile. I feel that Baba is reminding me that love is the essence of who I am and the reason why I'm here. I feel Baba's legacy living on in my heart every day.
 
I am so grateful to Baba. I am so grateful to Gurumayi. The love I feel for the Guru feels bottomless.
 

Arizona, United States

I love seeing the beauty of Shree Muktananda Ashram through the vision of M. Every time I come to this gallery, my mind becomes at ease and all my worries melt away as I explore and search for the hidden magical Ms.
 

New York, United States

What an amazing, unifying experience! I love the photos and I love nature, but to look and see through the artists’ eyes? That feeling of oneness of vision was deeply moving and humbling.
 
This gallery is so magnificent, so creative, so new.
 

Woolloongabba, Australia

On the night of Baba’s Lunar Birthday, my three-year-old son and I had such fun looking at the “M” gallery! We stopped at each image, found the M, and traced it with our fingers. His eyes twinkled with delight each time he spotted this letter. “Muktananda! Muktananda!” We repeated the name over and again, giggling with delight.
 
Shortly after, my son was looking at the icons on my cellphone. He exclaimed, “Look! An M!” as he pointed to one specific icon. Sure enough, there it was! Now, whenever I look at my cellphone, I will see the divine name of God.
 

New York, United States

What joy this gallery has brought me today! As I began watching the slides, my mind, breath, and body became focused. With each additional picture the "Aha!" of recognition brought spontaneous laughter, tears to my eyes, and a swell of love in my heart. Such a seemingly simple intention yet so much grace!
 

Montana, United States

When I first looked at this slideshow, I really had to look hard; I was so excited! The second time around it felt like I was more sensitive—I slowed down, trying to see with my Guru's eyes. All I could focus on was each letter M, garlanded by flowers, sky, and more nature.
 
Now as I look at nature all around me, I see Baba’s letter M everywhere, in the distant hills, the clouds, the nearby forest, the palm fronds, the gentle waves in the lake. At last my eyes are seeing that which is auspicious.
 
I am grateful to my beloved Gurumayi for opening my eyes.
 

Aldona, India

As I was reading Eesha's words about finding the letter M for “Muktananda” in nature, I was distracted several times by the intoxicating scent and beauty of a cut flower on my nearby coffee table. I had cut it yesterday as a bud, and didn't know if it would open. Today, on Baba's Lunar Birthday, it has opened! It is a magnolia blossom.
 
Mmmm, magnolia, the letter M! I am grateful to Baba for reminding me of his sacred presence via this magnolia blossom.
 

North Carolina, United States

Searching for the M in each picture was so much fun for me! With focused attention and eyes peeled, I felt happy to come upon the sacred symbol Om and images of Baba’s heart in nature as well as the letter M! I found myself smiling, and then throughout the day I continued my search for M in my own environment—in clouds, in the garden. I felt I was connecting again and again with Baba.
 

Nairobi, Kenya

I saw a beautiful M in the sky tonight, made up of clouds right in front of Baba's full moon. It made me think of Baba—and of Gurumayi's full smile!  
 

M. K. Road, India 

After I pressed “Play slideshow,” it was fun racing to find the M before the next photograph! A moment of playfulness—"Ahh, there you are!" Thoughts of how an M should look dissolved into openness, possibilities, and the relief in knowing that M is everywhere!
 

Busselton, Australia

The  introduction to the “M” photo gallery is touching me very deeply, especially the final sentence.
 
To practice seeing with Gurumayi's eyes, to view the photos and find Baba's initial as a symbol of his identity, to see the world and find God everywhere in it— what a sublime endeavor! What a sweet, creative idea to keep our thoughts on God, on the Guru, on our beloved Baba in the midst of our surroundings.
 
In this search I turn my mind to discovering what God wants me to see. How can I turn my eyes and see what is hidden within? How can I turn completely to see beyond the veil? I too hope that I can recognize Baba—not only his M initial, but what he truly is. I too hope that I can understand how he is with me and I with him. I hope that I can live up to Gurumayi's hope.
 

Hindelang, Germany

These photos are beyond wonderful and looking for the M in each one caused me to laugh out loud! 
 
When I first met Baba and he held my hand as I came up in the darshan line, he had this shining, twinkling, all-knowing glimmer in his eyes and he wouldn't let go of my hand. I am so happy that he didn't! 
 
When looking at all these M-iraculous photos of nature, I realize that my Baba is truly everywhere, laughing and spreading joy and his teachings constantly.
 

New Mexico, United States

While viewing this photo gallery, I can feel the tangible presence of Baba. I am flying in bliss. I am so happy to receive Gurumayi's teaching that “he is with you every step of the way.”
 

Gandhinagar, India