Gurumayi’s teachings are treasures that have formed the foundation of my life and have sustained me for the past 38 years. One teaching that is especially active in my life came during a memorable visit to Shree Muktananda Ashram in the mid-1990s.
I was seated in the Shakti Mandap, the outdoor pavilion on the Ashram grounds, eagerly waiting for Gurumayi to arrive at a satsang, and I was aware of a dialogue running through my mind—a dialogue filled with self-doubt. My thoughts went like this: I am not a good Siddha Yoga student. I don’t deserve the Guru’s grace. I don’t contemplate enough. I tried to dispel these thoughts by telling myself that it was my ego talking, but they persisted. I recalled a teaching of Baba’s that spoke to my dilemma. He recommended that when troubling thoughts arise, rather than writing them in our heart, we should learn to let them go and move on. However, it seemed as if I had written those negative words about myself in my heart with indelible ink.
In the midst of this internal dialogue, Gurumayi entered the Mandap. When she began to speak, I was attentive to her words, yet I could feel my mind still wavering. At one point I noticed Gurumayi shift her gaze and look directly at me. Her eyes were upon me like soft beams of light. She seemed to swerve from the main subject of her talk as she said, “Don’t be anxious—you are in the family of God.” And then she resumed the theme of her talk.
My mind became still and the feelings that were bothering me ceased. I wondered if anyone else had noticed this short but poignant sentence in the middle of her talk. Was I alone in thinking that she had spoken solely for my benefit? It didn’t matter. I knew without a doubt that Gurumayi’s words were for me. “You are in the family of God.” On hearing her words, I fully included myself in her company and in the company of the sangham. A burden was lifted from my heart. My troubled mind was eased by her compassion and love.
After the satsang had concluded, I looked around at the gathering of Siddha Yogis and seekers in the Mandap and thought: I am not alone. Even though we do not know each other personally, I know that these people wish me well, just as I wish them well in their sadhana. In that one simple sentence, “Don’t be anxious—you are in the family of God,” Gurumayi gave me a deeper understanding of why she always begins her talks by saying, “With great respect, with great love, I welcome you all with all my heart.” And I knew that I was worthy of her grace.
In the years that followed, I resolved to write these words of worthiness on my heart. Life has a way of testing our resolutions. One day at work my supervisor called me into his office and told me that I needed to take his place in an important meeting with clients. I had only ten minutes to prepare. He added, “By the way, these guys are tough negotiators; they may try to trip you up.” And with that, he left the office.
Feelings of unworthiness jumped to the forefront. I doubted my negotiating power and questioned whether I had sufficient experience to secure the deal. I took a deep breath and repeated the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. My anxiety about entering a lion’s den began to dissipate. I resolved to see the best in these clients. As I entered the conference room, I was greeted by warm handshakes and smiles. Throughout the meeting I maintained the awareness that the family of God extended to include everyone in my life. Within an hour we had come to a mutually beneficial agreement. As I shook their hands to conclude the meeting, I inwardly thanked Gurumayi for this teaching that had given me confidence and strength, and reaffirmed my sense of self-worth.
Whenever I think of that moment in the Shakti Mandap, I am reminded of the eternal bond between Guru and disciple. I am grateful to my Guru who sees beyond my limitations and welcomes me as a member in the family of God.