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“M” for Baba Muktananda

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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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I found two big “Ms” on my palms. I read them as Muktananda Mahan. And I wish that all my hands do is in service to him.
 

Hindelang, Germany

For many years, I looked for God mainly in the external world. But through my Guru’s grace, I came to find that the divine also exists in the most unexpected place—my own heart.

Similarly, recently, I have been looking for and often finding evidence of Baba Muktananda’s loving presence, in the form of the letter M, around me in nature. But amazingly, I have also discovered that the shape of M exists in the most unexpected place—written in the lines of the palms of my hands.

I have also noticed that, when pronounced out loud, the letter M sounds exactly like the French word aime, which means love—when conjugated as a verb in the present tense.

For me, I have interpreted this to mean that M equals aime, which I understand further to mean love in action. As a result of this understanding, I believe that Baba Muktananda’s essential teaching, “God dwells within you as you,” is becoming more alive and vibrant than ever in my heart.
 

Québec, Canada

For many years, I looked for God mainly in the external world. But through my Guru’s grace, I came to find that the divine also exists in the most unexpected place—my own heart.

Similarly, recently, I have been looking for and often finding evidence of Baba Muktananda’s loving presence, in the form of the letter M, around me in nature. But amazingly, I have also discovered that the shape of M exists in the most unexpected place—written in the lines of the palms of my hands.

I have also noticed that, when pronounced out loud, the letter M sounds exactly like the French word aime, which means love—when conjugated as a verb in the present tense.

For me, I have interpreted this to mean that M equals aime, which I understand further to mean love in action. As a result of this understanding, I believe that Baba Muktananda’s essential teaching, “God dwells within you as you,” is becoming more alive and vibrant than ever in my heart.
 

Québec, Canada

What a glorious way to start Baba’s month of August! I was in my car, listening to the Siddha Yoga CD of Shri Guru Sarikha (“My  Guru’s Protection”), when I looked up and saw an unbelievable number of beautiful M-shaped clouds that seemed to be following me.
 
I am so grateful to Baba for lovingly reminding me that, in the words of this abhanga by Jnaneshwar Maharaj, “My Guru’s protection is always behind me. With this benediction, what more do I need?”
 

New York, United States

Indeed, there is a mysterious link between our hearts and Gurumayi’s words. After reading the introduction describing the months of May, August, and October as “Baba’s months,” I revisited the images and observed them consciously for a few minutes. My vision became filled with a rare ecstasy, and my heart resounded with shimmering silence.
 
Every time I have walked in Gurudev Siddha Peeth in the early morning, I have felt the presence of Baba within the green bushes of the courtyards, the tall trees and their colored leaves, the soulful sound of the wind—everywhere. Similar feelings arose within me while I visited and revisited these photos. To me, everything becomes enlivened when it reflects Baba’s presence, and the power of Gurumayi’s words about “Baba’s month” further expands the energy in these images.
 
Just now I am feeling a deep, serene contentment within, as I remember these earlier, similar experiences that I am gratefully acknowledging. 
 

Cuttack, India

As my daughter and I are driving along, we look at the clouds for a glimpse of the letter M and repeat “Shubh Gurupurnima Month” several times. We see no sign of Baba in the clouds.
 
When we arrive at our destination, lo and behold, right in front of the entrance is a giant leaf in the shape of a beautiful M!

New York, United States

Today I saw a W in the clouds and immediately imagined that Baba was standing on his head saying, “Here am I” instead of “I am here.” I am grateful to Baba for giving me so much joy in remembering and recognizing his playfulness.
 

New York, United States

On the last day of April I saw the most beautiful M. I then watched throughout our Baba’s Month of May—and I saw zero M’s. Tonight, however, a group of sparrows flew over my head, dispersing in all directions, almost like fireworks exploding. And to my surprise, on the right was the most beautiful script-like M and on my left, the moon.
 

Kentucky, United States

For me, a glimpse of M is prasad. Even when M is not obvious or apparent, I feel that Baba is lovingly playing a sweet fun game of hide-and-seek with me.
 

New York, United States

As I searched for the M in these photos, I felt Baba’s beautiful presence getting stronger and stronger. Then I spontaneously looked over at a painting I am working on. I noticed, for the first time, that it has a perfect M silhouette in the rock formation. Now I will think of Baba as I bring this artwork to completion.
 

Melbourne, Australia

Every time that I see the brilliant orange flag that signals “the Guru is in residence,” my heart is uplifted and I feel jubilant! The flag reminds me that Gurumayi’s residence is in my heart, and to me that represents the celebration of my years of sadhana.
 

Hawaii, United States

For me, the letter “M” resonates with the word “mother.” Specifically, it brings to mind Mother Earth, as well as my own mother, who gave birth to me. I experience Baba and Gurumayi in both of these. My love for the Guru is unfathomable, as is my love for nature and my own mother.
 

Delhi, India

I love the practice of noticing the letter M in nature. The moment I see one, I feel Baba’s auspicious presence around me, my heart vibrates, and a sweet smile spreads on my face.
 

Delhi, India

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

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 the letter “M” 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.
 

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.
 

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” 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 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