At the beginning of the satsang, when I was welcoming Gurumayi and all the participants, I’d shared that Makara Sankranti marks the beginning of the season of increased light as the sun begins to travel toward the north, and that it is an auspicious time for change and transitions. Now, as the satsang continued, Gurumayi briefly referred to my introductory comments and said, “I just heard yesterday that a new SYDA Foundation Website Department Head has been appointed, and his name is Sandeep.”
It was beautiful to watch how Sandeep Knoesel stood up immediately with a brilliant smile on his face. He was wearing a gorgeous orange sweater in homage to Surya Devata. With utmost respect in his heart, he folded his hands and offered his loving pranams to Gurumayi. Sandeep’s expression of gratitude to Gurumayi gave us all an opportunity to express our appreciation for his new seva position with a round of applause.
Sandeep is from Munich, Germany, and began following the Siddha Yoga path in 1998. He was a professor of physics before becoming a staff member in the SYDA Foundation in 2009. Sandeep has offered seva in many different departments, and since 2010 he has offered seva in the Live Events Department. Sandeep is known for his effectiveness, his even-keeled approach, and his ability to bring incredible sweetness to his interactions with others.
As we all got the opportunity, as a sangham, to welcome Sandeep to his new seva position, I wondered if we would get to hear about Denise Thomas’ new seva position. For several years all of us in the global Siddha Yoga sangham have received regular e-mails about the Siddha Yoga path website, signed by Denise as the SYDA Foundation Website Department Head.
My query was answered immediately! Soon after we had welcomed Sandeep to his new seva position, we noticed Gurumayi turning to her left. As she turned, a beam of sunlight shone forth through the windows in the direction of her gaze. Gurumayi said, “There is another exciting piece of news I just heard from Rohini, and therefore, I invite her to share this with you now.”
Fortunately, Rohini Menon, an SYDA Foundation staff member who offers seva in the Premotsava Department, happened to be sitting in the area where Gurumayi was looking. She quickly came forward to fulfill Gurumayi’s request. Rohini said, “It’s my honor to convey the exciting news that Gurumayi mentioned. This is regarding Denise Thomas’ new seva position. First, I want to mention that Denise is engaged in the seva position handover process and giving training to Sandeep. SYDA Foundation Management and the Human Resources Department have decided—and were going to let Denise and all the appropriate sevites know very soon—that Denise’s new seva position will be in the HR Trainings Department.”
The entire hall erupted in cheers and applause. Denise was sitting at the very front of the hall, close to Gurumayi’s chair. When she heard this news, her whole face lit up.
Rohini went on to share about Denise’s skills and experience in the field of computers. Denise has a degree in information science, with a focus on how people interface with technology. From 2008 to 2012 she ran her own company in Ithaca, New York, specializing in teaching individuals a wide range of computer skills.
Gurumayi said, “Rohini, what about Denise’s support seva?”
Rohini thanked Gurumayi for the reminder and shared that since Denise has had many years of experience serving in the Live Events Department as a director, facilitator, and speaker, she will continue to offer these skills to the Foundation in these roles. At Gurumayi’s invitation, Rohini then shared that Denise will be directing a special element in the Global Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive for 2015. Again the hall resounded with spontaneous applause. How intriguing! What could it be?
Though Rohini did not reveal exactly what the special element would be, she did announce the title given by Gurumayi for this year’s Global Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive in honor of Baba Muktananda's Mahasamadhi: “Dharma Marg, the Path of Dharma.”