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Birthday Bliss

The Goddess of Mercy

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Reading about how the goddess Quan Yin was unsheathed from her coverings—at Gurumayi’s direction—reminded me of the culmination of chaturmasya in the Indian calendar.
Chaturmasya corresponds with the roughly four-month monsoon season in India. The Indian scriptures say that, during this time, Lord Vishnu goes to sleep. The outer environment reflects this inward turning and focus, and for this reason Gurumayi and Baba Muktananda have spoken about how the rainy season is ideal for meditation and engagement in the other Siddha Yoga practices.
Prabodhini Ekadashi is the day that Lord Vishnu rouses from his slumber. It commemorates the end of the rainy season and the shift to brighter skies. Traditionally in India, the ritual is to awaken Lord Vishnu with auspicious sounds like the ringing of bells, the sounding of a conch, and the chanting of Sanksrit verses. So, when I read about Quan Yin being uncovered, and her joyful ringing of the wind chimes, I imagined that moment as akin to the one when Lord Vishnu awakens. The goddess of mercy was ushered into blooming springtime, her benevolent glance once more blanketing the earth.

New York, United States

As I watched my thoughts and feelings while reading this delightful story, I could see something of myself in each of the participants—Gurumayi, Rohit, Vinaya, Quan Yin. I am grateful for the numerous ways in which my inner Guru displays love for me. I am also grateful that I can be with my inner Guru for both play and seva. Furthermore, I can document these auspicious moments that will inspire others, and remember that the goddess of mercy is full of happiness and is pleased with me.

The chimes of love are ringing in my heart.

Virginia, United States

After reading the dialogue in this story between Gurumayi and Rohit about “the bright-red Japanese footbridge” near the stream, I was amazed to later see a photo of Rohit with a paint brush on just that bridge in the photo gallery “Nature in Shree Muktananda Ashram.” Rohit is only four years old, and yet he follows all the Guru’s instructions as much as he is able to—whether he feels like it or not. To me, this must be because he cherishes his relationship with Gurumayi.

I have to ask myself, “How and how much do I follow the Guru’s instructions?”

Rohit sets an example for me.

Hindelang, Germany

Winter is over
Untie the knot
O my sweet Guru
please untie
this age-old knot
How much patience you have
how persistent you are
how sweet you are
O my mind
please be the little helper
Please obey grace
hear the chimes
be aware of wonder
clean up
give thanks
before you continue to play
O my sweet Guru
untie the knot
with the help
of the little hands
of my mind

Hindelang, Germany

What I love about this story is that it combines hope, light, and playfulness with the profound mystery of God’s mercy. In these times of instability and confusion, I found this account to be both grounding and reassuring. I am thankful for this beautiful description of life as it unfolds in the presence of the divine.

Virginia, United States

I’ve loved reading the experience shares and conversing with friends about the meaning this exquisite story holds for each person’s sadhana. The highlight for me in this story is the description of uncovering the statue of Quan Yin, because it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite teachings from Gurumayi.
In her book Smile, Smile, Smile, the poem “Show Me the Way” is in the form of a dialogue. Gurumayi speaks first in our voice, the voice of the student praying ardently for guidance; then Gurumayi responds to us saying, “My Dear One, there is nowhere to look but deep in your heart… Within you, I untie the knot of the heart.”
I must have repeated these words a million times over the years. And every single time they remind me in the most tender, breathtaking way who my Guru is, and the power of her grace to free me into my own greatness.

a staff member in Shree Muktananda Ashram

I was profoundly touched by this delightful story. With each exchange and every small action, my heart burst with joy, with longing, with prayers.

I was inspired by how masterfully Gurumayi guided Rohit’s understanding each step of the way. I experienced the keen interconnectedness between Gurumayi, Quan Yin, Rohit, Vinaya, all of nature, and myself. With that, I had the realization that when I listen deeply with my heart, I too experience God’s boundless grace and wisdom unfolding in every moment.

It is my great, good fortune to experience Gurumayi’s grace and clear guidance through this story. My heart genuinely listened to and absorbed each word. I felt transformed, and I resolved to implement what I have learned.

California, United States

I read this story over the phone to my family in India. It was a wonderful family moment. I felt as if I were offering seva.
The interaction between Gurumayi and Rohit as they walked in nature was so sweet. I could visualize the beautiful scenery. And as Gurumayi expressed her compassion towards Rohit, I felt her love and compassion toward me too. Reading how joyfully and well Rohit participated in untying the tarp around the Quan Yin statue, I recalled the importance of giving one-hundred percent when offering seva.
As Quan Yin, the goddess of mercy, shared her happiness with Gurumayi, Rohit, and the writer, I too felt her happiness. And my family in India felt it too!

Oakville, Canada

As I read this wonderful account, I felt happiness and delight well up in my heart. Hearing about the beautiful sounds of the wind chimes, I felt the presence of the divine.

I’ve been experiencing some challenges recently; reading this story was just what I needed. 

New York, United States

After reading the story, I could feel happiness dwell in my heart. I felt so blessed that I could feel Gurumayi and the goddess of mercy within me!
Rohit helped Gurumayi and did seva! He gave the goddess of mercy the space to breathe. And the goddess of mercy gave him her blessings and expressed her happiness by ringing the wind chime.

an eight-year-old from Mumbai, India

The story is filled with sweet yet firm reminders of so many of Gurumayi’s teachings! It’s “packaged” like one fragrant flower, which we can peel apart layer by layer.
The sweetness and innocence with which Rohit expresses to Gurumayi his insistence on playing, and the kindness and compassion with which Gurumayi addresses his eagerness and inquisitiveness, are both reminders for me of so many aspects of my role as a mother. At the same time the Guru’s oneness with nature is so humbling, as is the way that nature responds to the selfless love that we humans can give to her just by being aware, alert, and awake.
I have read this story aloud twice to my eight-year-old son, before we started our day, and each time both of us heard it with rapt attention and felt deep love for the Guru and for Rohit.

Mumbai, India

The themes of duty and play are so beautifully explained throughout this whole story. The mind wants to play but the pull to Self-realization reminds you to complete what is essential and good. 

The image of untying the ropes evokes for me complete surrender, loosening your age-old apprehensions and experiencing divine mercy. I could see how nature favors every move that is offered with good intentions and the bhav of seva, and how that leads to a state of bliss.

Delhi, India

After I read this skillfully narrated story, I realized that, through Vinaya’s words, I had also been invited to invisibly join Gurumayi and Rohit during their adventure. I understood that the dialogue between Rohit and Gurumayi reflects the Guru-disciple relationship that leads to the knowledge of the Self. I saw how sensitive Gurumayi was to each detail, present to everything that was happening, and how she guided this young boy with patience, sweetness, and firmness until the flower of his heart blossomed within him.
With this auspicious story now unveiled, I pray that the goddess of mercy may heal the wounds of humanity.

Rodez, Francez

Reflecting on this delightful story, I am aware of the way my mind can behave like Rohit, being drawn to one thing after the other, losing focus on the moment and the intention of the venture. And just as Rohit experienced Gurumayi's firm, loving, and patient redirection in this story, so too do I experience that gift through the Siddha Yoga teachings and the mantra.
I am so happy! 

Sydney, Australia

The sweet intimacy of this story kindled an exquisite pang of separation in me. As tears of longing fell, I saw the Guru’s Shakti carrying me through memories of separation and grief to my childhood, when I was flying a kite for the first time with my dad.

My dad’s temper usually frightened me. But on that day, the wind caught my kite and a power coursed through me that felt benevolent, compassionate, and protective—like the wind that played the chimes on a windless day in this story with Gurumayi. As the vision dissolved into scintillating blue light, I knew the shakti had always been with me, guiding me to the Guru and revelations of the Self.

Illinois, United States

What a delightful story to read and experience! While I was reading, the complete event—including scenery, smells, sounds, smiles, and faces—became alive in my own heart. I can now take the goddess of mercy with me, wherever I go.

Cologne, Germany

What a generous gift and great honor this story is! It seems I was invited to come along on this divine playdate, this opportunity to offer seva, this exquisite darshan, full of love and teachings.  Reading the story, I feel the goddess of mercy embracing me.

New York, United States

Throughout the story I marveled at how Gurumayi engaged with Rohit.  She answered his curious questions in a way he could understand. This is important for adults like me as well. In fact, I could not help feeling as if Gurumayi was also addressing my mind directly. 

The story seemed simple, but it had a profound impact. Several things stood out for me: to encourage my curious mind when it is asking the right questions, to train the mind to welcome and enjoy the present moment, and to engage with my duty with total attention and complete it fully.

In this beautiful Birthday Bliss month, I intend to offer my birthday wishes to Gurumayi by practicing these teachings. I know that this will make my Guru happy, just like the goddess of mercy was happy in the story.

Hosur, India

How I enjoyed observing Gurumayi’s steadiness and patience with Rohit. I felt as though she was talking to my own mind’s tendency to ask what’s next, where are we going, and when will I get what I want?  Even though my heart knows better, I can see how, very often, my mind still acts like an impatient four-year-old.  

Gurumayi’s reminders to focus on the now gently brought my mind to rest. I was then able to enjoy sharing in the offering of seva. The Guru is always guiding me tenderly back to the Truth, to the present moment, to my own heart, so that I may both be of good service and enjoy the beautiful prasad of being alive. What a bountiful beginning of Birthday Bliss month!

Washington, United States

I read this story with so much delight and joy. As I moved from page to page, at times I felt as if I was the little child, at other times, Vinaya, the observer. But always, the seeker, the student. As each part of the walk unfolded, especially during the interactions between Gurumayi, nature, and Rohit, I felt the urge to pause, to absorb, to learn. As I did this, feelings of love and abundance unfolded in my heart.

Recently, I have been feeling the Guru’s grace very keenly in my life, as I had been navigating through a period of ill health and now recovery. One teaching that especially stood out for me as I read this story was to take things step by step, to complete a task with full attention before moving on to the next one. For example, on a physical level, I need to give my body time to heal, recover, and regain its strength. I know that I will regularly revisit this story, taking a small part of it into each day.

New Delhi, India

“He quickly started to love the act of untying the ropes. The ropes got looser and looser…”
As I read these words, the ropes around my heart and the knots around my understanding also loosened. The grace of mercy in the form of Quan Yin’s happiness entered me as the statue was revealed. This is a great contemplation: how I can return to the act of loving the untying, the process of unbinding, the joy in this fundamental process of sadhana.
The story reminds me of how, when the covering over my heart falls away, Quan Yin’s sublime offering—the true light of mercy and kindness—and the Self’s purity are revealed, as simple and profound as the first warm, sun-filled day in spring.  

Rhode Island, United States

The way Vinaya recounts the story—the description of the scenery, the weather, and the details of everyone’s interactions in the company of Shri Gurumayi—made my mind slow down and zero in on a sacred moment in time.
The narrative allowed me to enter layer by layer into what is for me the high point of this story—the moment when Gurumayi said to Rohit, “The goddess of mercy, Quan Yin, is so happy!” I could grasp the endless compassion of Quan Yin and experience her blessings that, yes, life is beautiful, life is kind, we are kind with each other, we are blessed.
And with this expansive assurance, Vinaya takes me by the hand and gently walks me out of this story. What a great start to Birthday Bliss!  

Deggendorf, Germany

As soon as I read this story, I felt that the lesson I was getting from Gurumayi was crystal clear: everything must be done one hundred percent to completion. This gave me assurance that my Guru, as my inner Self, knows exactly what is going on in my life.

Right now there is a serious health issue I am taking care of, which still has an important step ahead—a step that I was afraid of. But now the lesson for me in this story has uplifted my heart, and I know for sure that whatever comes my way will be for the best. This story has made it clearer than ever just how close to me Gurumayi is in my life. In this way, it increased my inner confidence to be able to face the next step with a light and confident heart.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

I enjoyed every moment of this beautiful story; it felt as if I was with everyone in it—breathing, walking, receiving Gurumayi’s darshan in such an intimate way. As in every day of life, Vinaya’s story contains multiple levels of reality, from the simple things in nature to perceiving the divine.
My favorite part is when Gurumayi, Rohit, and Vinaya hear the sound of the wind chimes and feel sudden happiness and “great joy.” The goddess of mercy is happy! How auspicious to read this on this very first day of Birthday Bliss!

New York, United States

This story, described so vividly and beautifully, filled me with great happiness. For me, this story is about the fine tuning needed between my heart and my mind. The mind wants to take pleasure in worldly activities while the heart wants to pursue sadhana. By relying on the virtues within me, my heart succeeds in attaining what it wants without unduly subduing the mind. And then nature also cooperates and miracles happen.

Udaipur, India

I find it such an amazing serendipity that, as my husband and I were having lunch yesterday, the wind chimes in our garden caught my attention, more than they usually do. After reading “The Goddess of Mercy” today, I felt that the goddess Quan Yin had blessed us too. 
This is particularly special for me because this is happening when I am going through a challenging time, so it reminds me once more of Gurumayi’s guidance and grace in my life. I am never alone!

Willemstad, Curaçao

This story started my day off beautifully and lifted my heart. I felt like I was spending time with Gurumayi, Rohit, and the author, on the grounds of Shree Muktananda Ashram. And Rohit’s example taught me something.
Right after I read this story, I put away all my clothes in my room and straightened my desk before I left my house. And I did this joyfully!

Massachusetts, United States