I was born in Casablanca, Morocco. I grew up in a Muslim family, in a very spiritual atmosphere. My father followed the Sufi path and he used to tell me this Sufi saying: A great being nourishes, sustains, and protects the world by his or her own presence and perfect love. As a child I cherished this saying and kept it close to my heart. I focused on these two words: nourishes and protects. I remembered them often, especially when I was scared or going through a difficult time.
I first came across the Siddha Yoga path in 1983, when I was a medical student at the University of Bordeaux, in France. The year before that I had begun to feel a burning desire to know God. It was a hunger: I wanted to be spiritually nourished. This longing made me very aware that I needed someone who had fully mastered the subject, someone who could teach me in a clear and specific way how to know God.
In February 1983, after participating in a conference about Siddha Yoga meditation held at my university, I knew I had found my Master: Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.
In the years that followed, I experienced tremendous grace in studying Gurumayi’s teachings. I remember spending evenings after class reading Siddha Yoga books, and they truly fed me and gave me all that I needed; I felt nourished. The teachings helped me come closer to my goal of knowing God. And they helped me build a strong relationship with Gurumayi.
My relationship with Gurumayi deepened over those early years. Then, in 1987 in Paris, I attended my first satsang with Gurumayi, when she was on a Teachings Visit in Europe. What I remember most about receiving Gurumayi’s darshan that day was the joy and happy tears that came up so naturally. After receiving Gurumayi’s darshan, I became very involved in offering seva in the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Bordeaux, especially in the satsangs and the broadcast Shaktipat Intensives.
For many summers I visited Shree Muktananda Ashram with other Siddha Yogis from France to participate in center leader trainings and other courses. Although the visits during my summer vacation time were very short, they were incredible. During the rest of the year, since I lived in France, there was a geographic distance between my Guru and me. It did not matter, though—Gurumayi’s teachings brought her close to me.
Then, in 2001, as I went about my busy life with a big patient list and a successful clinic, I began to notice a shift within my being. By this point it had been a few years since I had seen Gurumayi in person. When I focused on this inner shift, I recognized it as a strong desire to have Gurumayi’s darshan once again, and to be in her physical presence. I started thinking of her and missing her a lot. This longing had a quality of both sweetness and burning desire—and it was constant.
This yearning to be near Gurumayi continued—until one night when I had a dream of Gurumayi. In the dream, I was in a big meditation hall. I was all by myself, sitting on the floor, facing the pictures of the Siddha Yoga Gurus on the puja. I was praying intensely to Gurumayi, when a door on the side of the hall opened, and there she was! Gurumayi walked in—silent, majestic, radiant, and surrounded by a magnificent golden light. I felt overwhelmed by the power of her presence. When she reached my seat, she stopped. I could feel the waves of her shakti so strongly that I couldn’t even look up at her. I kept my eyes on her feet. Gurumayi put her hand on the top of my head and without her speaking, I heard her voice inside of me saying, "When are you going to understand that I am always with you?"
I woke up the next morning, deeply touched by what had happened and immensely grateful to Gurumayi for answering my prayer. I knew my darshan with Gurumayi had been real: Gurumayi had been there with me. She had shown me that we had never been separated—our love was perfect.
Gurumayi’s teaching became the strongest command I have ever received. I knew I had to follow this command. And so, during meditation one morning, I prayed that as I went about my day, I would keep, in my heart and mind, the knowledge that Gurumayi is always with me. This prayer has become a part of my regular practice. When I keep this awareness, everything in my daily life seems to align. There is a constant flow of love between Gurumayi and me, and that love flows out to people around me—to my patients, friends, and everyone I meet. Even when I am sitting by myself, I feel totally connected to this love, and it fills me with deep contentment.
Gurumayi has brought me to a greater understanding of that Sufi saying my father had taught me so many years ago: A great being nourishes, sustains, and protects the world by his or her own presence and perfect love. The Guru’s presence is everywhere, and that is how the Guru nourishes and protects the world. That is how the Guru nourishes and protects me, no matter how close or far away we are physically.
I understand now that Gurumayi is inviting me to let go of my sense of separateness and enter into that state of perfect union in which she lives all the time.
I am deeply grateful to my beloved Gurumayi for nourishing and protecting me in this way. This Guru-disciple relationship is the most precious part of my life—it is what sustains me.