As the pujari walked down the aisle to place the arati tray on Baba’s puja at the back of the hall, we all pranamed and took our seats.
For a few moments, I closed my eyes and listened to the energy-filled silence. In my heart, I could still see the arati flame shining brilliantly and feel the flame of gratitude continue to burn.
Then it was time for me, as the host, to stand up and introduce the pause before the second part of the satsang. I first thanked everyone for bringing their focus and joy to the recitation of Shri Guru Gita. Gurumayi smiled and said, “Yes, this recitation of Shri Guru Gita was so sweet and honey-like. It was worthy of live streaming to the global Siddha Yoga sangham. The recitation was extremely beautiful.”
I added, “It was extra sweet to recite Shri Guru Gita with you, Gurumayi.” All the participants seemed delighted that I shared that aloud, and they all applauded with great joy. I spoke about taking a ten-minute pause, and when I said what time everyone should return to the hall, Madhava Rubiralta, head of the Live Events Department, made an attempt to give another time—on the hour—so the time would be more easily remembered by participants. A few other satsang participants chimed in to give their recommended times for everyone to return. When Gurumayi observed this kerfuffle, she put the arguments to rest by saying, with a smile, “Just say, ’Ten minutes.’ Don’t be concerned. They will come back from their pause.” At this point everyone laughed and rose to their feet to go for the pause.
When we returned to Shri Nilaya, Gurumayi was already seated. According to the schedule, the next satsang elements were chanting and meditation. After we took our seats, however, Gurumayi said, “I’m glad I’m in this satsang. Satsang is always revealing. That’s the nature of satsang.”
Gurumayi went on to say, “We need to talk.”
Gurumayi spoke about the importance of the year-long series of SYDA Foundation staff meetings that were held in 2012, the Year of Putting Into Practice. She said that as a result of those staff meetings, many sevites grew up, stepped forward, and made significant contributions to the work of the SYDA Foundation during the following year. In 2014, however, as time progressed, Gurumayi noticed that the sevites’ passion, their determination, and their ability to continue to uphold the standards of seva performance in the SYDA Foundation were not as vigorous and substantial.
Gurumayi explained that it’s a natural phenomenon among all living beings, especially human beings. If one’s focus is not continually refreshed, renewed, reinvigorated, then it’s easy to lose sight of the original intention.
Gurumayi mentioned the difference in the attention span of human beings as compared to elephants. She said, “Elephants have great memory, and they have revealed that in many different ways; however, human beings continually seem to need reminders.”
I listened to Gurumayi speak with rapt attention. It struck a chord in me: how true it is that I have to remind myself of all the resolutions I have made. Otherwise, I am not even present to know that I am forgetting them. Only fourteen days into the new year, I felt very grateful to receive this early reminder, so that I can refresh, renew, and reinvigorate my resolutions throughout the year.
Gurumayi expanded on this theme:
For this reason, on the Siddha Yoga path, we have the japa mala to repeat the mantra, to remind a seeker, a Siddha Yogi, of the power of the mantra. These sadhana tools are called smaranikas, reminders.
Some human beings make great effort to always remember those things they’ve learned that are of value. But most human beings have a tendency to forget and not strengthen their memory. Forgetfulness settles in and the depth of their forgetfulness is unfathomable. Amazing.
Therefore, on the Siddha Yoga path, we worship the statue of Shiva Nataraj, dancing on the demon of forgetfulness. These statues are not just an ornamental décor for the gardens in Shree Muktananda Ashram and Gurudev Siddha Peeth. For the Siddha Yoga path website, I requested that the image of this statue be portrayed for the cover of the gallery about sevites, Yoga—Skill in Action, to show that these sevites continually make efforts to overcome the tendency to forget things that are important and beneficial for them. These sevites are awakened souls and they keep the memory of the presence of the Truth fresh. They have the responsibility to offer seva with excellence.
Gurumayi added, “Anybody can work. Even animals work—Baba Muktananda used to say that all the time. However, my point is: working with excellence is a different thing altogether.”
Gurumayi explained that excellence is not the same as perfectionism. “Just because you cannot reach that perfect note doesn’t mean that you will never sing or you will never play an instrument.”
I was fascinated to hear Gurumayi speak with such compassion, explaining to us the wisdom she was intending to get across to everyone present. Looking around the hall, I was inspired—everyone was receiving every word Gurumayi said with so much appreciation. My heart said, I love this path. I love my Guru. Of course, very quickly, I brought my attention back to listening to Gurumayi! I didn’t want to miss a word.