Shubh Gurupurnima month!
On the full-moon night of July 1, the first night of the month-long celebration of Gurupurnima on the Siddha Yoga path, we received a wonderful invitation from Swami Akhandananda. A chanting satsang with Gurumayi, for families and children, was going to be held on the morning of July 4 in the lower lobby of Anugraha! We were also delighted to receive these seva assignments from Swami ji: Shivani would be the director and Purnima would be the assistant director of this teaching and learning event with Gurumayi.
One of the reasons we were especially delighted to offer seva for this satsang is that we both grew up in families that practice the Siddha Yoga teachings, and we were introduced to the Siddha Yoga practices at a very young age. Both of us have many treasured memories of participating in satsangs with Gurumayi as children.
After graduating from high school, we each applied to offer seva as SYDA Foundation staff members, and were assigned to the Live Events Department at Shree Muktananda Ashram. As we now continue with our higher education and begin our careers, we’re finding that the skills we learned as staff members are invaluable in every aspect of our lives. Now, during our summer holidays, at the ripe old ages of 25 (for Shivani) and 20 (for Purnima) we have the great honor to contribute to the Siddha Yoga legacy by offering our experience and skills to the next generation.
Warm, gentle rain fell softly on the morning of July 4. The rainfall created a misty, lush environment that was conducive to going within.
Family members shared umbrellas as they made their way to the lower lobby of Anugraha, where the satsang would be taking place.
Sevites were waiting to open the door and welcome them. It was so sweet to watch the arrival of the smiling children, clad in rain boots and colorful celebration attire. The atmosphere was filled with anticipation as the children and their parents took their seats in the lower lobby and prepared to greet our beloved Guru.
In our role as directors, we walked to the upper lobby to greet Gurumayi. When we saw Gurumayi approaching, we exclaimed in unison, “Good morning, Gurumayi!”
Gurumayi smiled and responded, “Good morning!”
Gurumayi then said that as she was walking through the first-floor hallway on her way to the satsang, she glanced out the window and saw Krishna Werner (a professional jazz pianist who also offers seva in the Music Department) walking by the Amrit Café courtyard in Anugraha wearing a raincoat.
Gurumayi asked Shivani, “Will Krishna be coming to the satsang?”
Shivani enthusiastically replied that he had been invited and that she would ask someone to go find him.
Gurumayi laughed and said that this would not be necessary, since if he had been invited, he was sure to show up. We then followed Gurumayi into the lower lobby, where all the participants were standing to greet Gurumayi with brilliant smiles on their faces.
Gurumayi greeted everyone, “Good morning!”
The participants joyfully responded, “Good morning, Gurumayi!”
Looking around, Gurumayi asked who was wearing Fourth of July colors.
July 4 is Independence Day in the United States. On this day in 1776, the founding fathers of the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence, establishing the U.S. as a nation independent from Great Britain. It is traditional on July 4 to wear red, white, and blue—the colors of the American flag.
Shivani observed that one of the musicians was wearing a red, white, and blue punjabi.
Gurumayi said she also saw a lot of people in the colors of the flag of India—green and orange.
We all took our seats, and a few moments later, Gurumayi glanced at the music ensemble and saw that Krishna Werner was happily seated by the synthesizer. Jokingly, Gurumayi said to Krishna, “Shivani wanted to go looking for you since you were not already in your seat and I said ‘No, he will come.’ I think the reason that she wanted to look for you is that she heard the name Krishna and she thought she was a gopi, so she had to go looking for Krishna!” Everyone laughed heartily. Divine love was in the air.
Swami Ishwarananda, the host for this satsang, then signaled for the musicians to lead everyone in singing Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay.
Swami ji wished Gurumayi a good morning, and we all echoed him with enthusiasm: “Good morning, Gurumayi!”
Gurumayi looked around at the participants and said, “Namaste.”
We all replied, “Namaste.”
Gurumayi said, “I was thinking it’s nice to teach the children the word namaste.”
Swami ji explained the significance of namaste, a greeting that’s used in India and on the Siddha Yoga path. He said that namaste means, “I honor the Self, the divine Self, in you.” Swami ji invited all of us to again offer namaste to Gurumayi in this traditional manner. Participants brought their hands together in front of their hearts and in unison said, “Namaste.” This time, as we all offered namaste to Gurumayi with the conscious awareness of its meaning and received Gurumayi’s namaste, the love in the air sparkled even more brightly. The experience of respect was tangible.
Swami ji then mentioned that the families participating in the satsang had traveled to Shree Muktananda Ashram from across the world—from Mexico and Germany, from Australia and Ireland, and from all across the United States. He acknowledged how beautiful everyone looked.