Nityanandam charanam sharanam
I take refuge in the lotus feet of Nityananda

We have been rejoicing in the celebration of Bade Baba’s Golden Punyatithi since July 27, 2011. Today is part of the glorious culmination of the Golden Punyatithi celebration.

On Sunday, July 15, 2012, Siddha Yogis around the world celebrated Bade Baba’s Golden Lunar Punyatithi. A few days before the celebration, I was delighted to receive an invitation from Denise Thomas, the SYDA Foundation Website Department Head, to write a letter to Siddha Yogis to post on the Siddha Yoga path website.

Gurumayi said in her talk before the recitation of Shri Guru Gita on that auspicious day, “Swami Shantananda had a lot of fun writing this letter.”

Thank you, Gurumayi. Yes, it was a lot of fun. I felt very connected to Bade Baba’s presence.

One of the things I included in my letter was an invitation to Siddha Yogis around the world to visit the Siddha Yoga path website every day to celebrate Bade Baba’s Golden Punyatithi and to make time

  • to study the teachings in the form of words, sounds, silence, and images;
  • to pause and breathe consciously;
  • to offer their gratitude for Bade Baba’s grace, light, and wisdom;
  • to experience Bade Baba’s presence in nature;
  • and to practice A Dharana in Honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Punyatithi.

I can say with conviction that Siddha Yogis embraced my invitation to rejoice in Bade Baba’s grace, light, and wisdom in all these ways—they did make time to visit the Siddha Yoga path website. From reading devotees’ experiences posted on the website and listening to many sevites share in Shree Muktananda Ashram, I was touched that Siddha Yogis took my invitation to heart.

In Shree Muktananda Ashram, the satsang for the Golden Lunar Punyatithi was held in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple in Anugraha.

The recitation of Shri Guru Gita, the Nityananda Arati, and the chant Om Namo Bhagavate Nityanandaya are still reverberating in the atmosphere, and since then I have been experiencing the power of the mantras even more palpably.

In Gurumayi’s beautiful talk in that satsang, one of the phrases that made an impact on me was heart-wise. Gurumayi explained that wherever we are, heart-wise we can be together to celebrate Bade Baba’s Golden Punyatithi.

I must say that my heart has been experiencing the love and devotion that devotees around the world have expressed from their hearts—in conversations, through e-mails, and in experiences posted on the Siddha Yoga path website—all celebrating Bade Baba’s presence.

Nityanandam charanam sharanam
I take refuge in the lotus feet of Nityananda

Guess what?
I accepted my own invitation to visit the Siddha Yoga path website every day!

One of my favorite practices has been  A Dharana in Honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Punyatithi.

I practice the dharana in the following way:

I visualize myself walking out of the lotus gates of Gurudev Siddha Peeth. I turn around to face the Ashram and offer my salutations. And then, looking towards Bade Baba’s Samadhi Shrine in the village of Ganeshpuri, I offer my salutations again.

I visualize the road as a path of light from Gurudev Siddha Peeth all the way to Bade Baba’s murti. I begin walking on this road, the path of light, towards Ganeshpuri.

Midway down the road, something happens. I am no longer Swami Shantananda. I feel a huge surge of energy coursing through my being. I experience I am Bade Baba. Bade Baba’s body is my body; his face, my face; his hands, my hands; his legs, my legs.

Although I am looking outside, my gaze has turned within—I am in shambhavi mudra.

In that moment I have the awareness that I am having Bade Baba’s darshan. I am experiencing Bade Baba’s profound silence. My being is infused with a magnificent power.

Nityanandam charanam sharanam I take refuge in the lotus feet of Nityananda

When I come out of meditation, I realize that physically I am Swami Shantananda sitting in front of my computer, but heart-wise my heart is Bade Baba’s Temple. I feel the practice of dharana and the experience of Bade Baba’s darshan is a supreme gift. I am filled with gratitude to Bade Baba for his compassion.

Om Namah Shivaya

Practicing this dharana on Bade Baba for the last three weeks or so, has given me a new appreciation for my daily meditation practice.

I want to take a few moments to share with you the way many devotees in India celebrate this auspicious day, Bhagavan Nityananda’s Solar Punyatithi. Every year, with great anticipation, devotees look forward to visiting his Samadhi Shrine in Ganeshpuri.

On this day, the Trustees of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Samadhi Shrine inform the Brahmins, who care for and offer puja to Bade Baba’s murti, to invite devotees into the sanctum sanctorum of the Samadhi Shrine. It is very special to have the opportunity to be so close to Bade Baba’s murti.

And there is more.

On this day, the devotees are given permission to do pradakshina.

Pradakshina is a form of worship. I will explain more about what pradakshina is. Pradakshina is the practice of walking around a deity, or a holy place, in a clockwise direction as a sign of reverence and respect. It is like a pilgrimage. Pradakshina draws the grace and blessings of the deity around whom you are walking and to whom you are offering your prayer.

Just as each point of a circle is equidistant from the circle’s center, wherever you are in that circle your connection to the grace of the deity is equally strong. In pradakshina you never step outside the sphere of grace; you are constantly embraced by the light emanating from the glance of the deity.

Therefore, on this occasion, when the devotees in India have the golden opportunity to do pradakshina in the Samadhi Shrine in Ganeshpuri, they consider themselves incredibly fortunate.

On one hand, we all would love to visit Bade Baba’s Samadhi Shrine in Ganeshpuri and perform pradakshina, right?

However, I don’t think that is physically possible for all of us, who are in many different parts of the world.

But, but, but. . . on the other hand, heart-wise. . . all Siddha Yogis who wish to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Bade Baba’s Samadhi Shrine today can do so. Neither time nor space is a barrier to doing pradakshina in the temple of the heart. This experience is available to all those who believe in Bade Baba’s compassionate glance, in his light, in his grace, in his wisdom.

In this golden celebration satsang, soon you will have an opportunity to get in touch with this experience. You will be guided in the practice of manasa puja of Bade Baba.

Manasa puja means mental worship. This is one of the very powerful practices that Baba Muktananda and Gurumayi have taught. The Indian scriptures extol the greatness of manasa puja. Through mental worship, seekers draw upon the power of their creative imagination to visualize the deity and each aspect of worship. Manasa puja invokes the power of the deity who is the object of the seekers’ adoration in the temple of the heart.

In Shri Guru Gita, verse 51, Lord Shiva says:

O noble one, the wise always offer a handful of flowers humming with bees in the direction where Bhagavan, the sovereign Guru, resides. He is the eternal witness of the drama of the rise and the dissolution of this universe.

Today, in honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Solar Punyatithi, we will practice manasa puja of Bade Baba’s murti at his Samadhi Shrine in Ganeshpuri, in the temple of our hearts.

Gurumayi has written a dharana in honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Solar Punyatithi.

This dharana is the manasa puja, the mental worship, of Bade Baba. I invite you to practice this dharana in honor of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Golden Solar Punyatithi.