August 11, 2021
How is your meditation practice? You may already know where I am going with this question. Yes—I am bringing your attention to August 15!
Every year on August 15, we on the Siddha Yoga path celebrate Baba Muktananda’s Divya Diksha—the day when Baba received shaktipat initiation from his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda. In describing this day in his spiritual autobiography, Play of Consciousness, Baba Muktananda writes: “It was truly holy; yes…yes, it was the dawn of the most auspicious of all auspicious days.”1
Baba first gives an astounding description of his experience in Ganeshpuri upon receiving shaktipat. Then Baba writes: “One morning, as I stood before Gurudev having his darshan, he gave me some fruit, saying, hunh, and then said, ‘Go.’ I was still standing. Then he spoke again: ‘Go… to your hut, there… at Yeola… Yeola… stay there, stay…knowledge there…meditate!’”2
Baba immediately heeded his Guru’s command, taking up his sadhana in a hut in Suki, near the town of Yeola. Baba writes: “I arrived at Yeola, and the next day I left for Suki, where I had a hut for practicing my sadhana. My hut faced north, between two mango trees. One to the east and the other to the west. All three were waiting for me. I installed the sandals of my Guru, ate the fruit he had given me, and sat down to meditate.”3
In the year 2000, Gurumayi gave the direction to the Siddha Yoga meditation teachers in Shree Muktananda Ashram to honor Baba’s shaktipat diksha and his teachings on meditation by holding a dhyana saptah, an extended session of meditation. In the Hindi language, the word saptah means “seven days.” However, on the Siddha Yoga path, any chanting or meditation session that was held for an extended period of time—whether that was hours, days, or weeks—came to be known as a “saptah.” Gurumayi called this event the Muktananda Dhyana Saptah.
In subsequent years, the SYDA Foundation has held the Muktananda Dhyana Saptah in Siddha Yoga Ashrams and meditation centers around the world. I personally have had the good fortune of participating in the Muktananda Dhyana Saptah more than once. I loved participating so much that I kept returning as often as I could.
A few years ago I participated in a Muktananda Dhyana Saptah at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Boston, Massachusetts. At the front of the meditation hall was a pair of yellow slippers that had been worn by Baba Muktananda. The Guru’s sandals and shoes are called padukas. During the Muktananda Dhyana Saptah, I directed my gaze toward Baba’s padukas with the intention that my experience of meditation be deepened through remembrance of the Guru. As I focused on Baba’s padukas, which had adorned his lotus feet when he was in his physical body, it dawned on me that they represented not only the storehouse of the Guru’s grace—but also the Siddha Yoga path that Baba himself had walked, both literally and metaphorically, and that he had shown to thousands of seekers, just as his own Shri Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda, had shown it to him.
After I had formed this intention, it was time for everyone in the satsang hall to chant the diksha mantra, or initiation mantra, of the Siddha Yoga path: Om Namah Shivaya. The mantra flowed through my awareness like a river of divine sound. I then went into a profound state of meditation, one imbued with deep stillness and supported by the vibrations of Om Namah Shivaya still reverberating in the sacred atmosphere of the satsang hall.
Now we find ourselves in 2021. On the outside, our world has undergone dramatic changes. We could not have foreseen how our outer lives would be altered. However, because of the power of meditation, we do have an inner shrine that is eternal—the Self, the Heart. The divine flame within this shrine only shines brighter and more incandescent, the more we fuel it with the mantra and with the understanding that within us, always, is the presence of God.
This year, in honor of the 74th anniversary of Baba Muktananda’s Divya Diksha Day, we will continue the tradition of the Siddha Yoga path and commemorate this occasion with the practice of meditation. For the very first time, a dhyana saptah is going to be held on the Siddha Yoga path website—and all of us in the global Siddha Yoga sangham will have the opportunity to participate.
The elements of this Dhyana Saptah will include:
- lighting the saptah lamp
- chanting the mantra Om Namah Shivaya
- meditating, guided by a dharana
- singing the arati “Jyota se Jyota Jagao”
This Dhyana Saptah will begin on the evening of Saturday, August 14 (USA eastern daylight time), and it will be available until the end of August. In the course of these two weeks, I encourage you to take part in the Dhyana Saptah as many times as you wish. Believe me—you will be happy you did!
Now that I have written this invitation letter to you, I look forward even more to joining all of you around the world in honoring Baba’s Divya Diksha Day as we participate in this extraordinary Dhyana Saptah.
Siddha Yoga Musician