The first time I heard Gurumayi's voice, I was still in my mother's womb. I was infinitely blessed to receive her divine darshan before I was even born. Once I had entered the world as an infant, she gave me my name: Vanita, “beloved.” From that moment on, I have been encircled with her grace and protection. As a child, when I thought of Gurumayi, my heart would fill with love and wonder. I felt wonder because I had seen her before me in human form, but I had also experienced her love in a divine way.
The first time I truly experienced and began to comprehend that Gurumayi was the embodiment of Consciousness was when I was eleven years old. I spent two months in Shree Muktananda Ashram while my mother was offering seva, and that summer changed my life. That was when I started to experience Gurumayi’s presence in meditation in the form of light and serenity. That was when I began to relate the vibrant, physical being whose energy was palpable and whose laugh reverberated through Shri Nilaya with the divine darshan I was receiving within.
My inner longing for God was awakened quite naturally. I recognized that I was becoming a seeker. And I began to write frequent letters to Gurumayi, with pages filled with questions: “Have I received shaktipat?” “What is the true meaning of Consciousness?” I was hungry for knowledge of the Self, and that is when I first felt the deep longing for God within my being.
The first clear memory I have of celebrating Gurumayi's Birthday in her presence also took place that summer at Shree Muktananda Ashram. I remember dancing, laughter, and joyous chanting. But most of all, I remember the smile on Gurumayi’s face that radiated joy and filled my heart with happiness. I realized then what a wondrous thing it was to celebrate the birth of such a great being.
I carried that experience with me for years, and recalled it again on the day I had the most powerful experience of the shakti in my life. On January 1, 2014, I was very blessed to be present in Shri Nilaya during the Live Audio Stream of A Sweet Surprise satsang 2014. Throughout the satsang, I was struck again and again by what felt like the vibrating waves of the divine syllable AUM. After the extremely powerful chant “Narayana, Narayana,” we all went into meditation. The shakti in the room was so palpable that I could not keep my eyes open, and they drifted closed to the sound of the tamboura.
Then, I had an experience unlike any I'd ever had before. In the past during meditation, even when I had gone into a deeper state, some part of my mind was still able to register where I was and what was happening in the room. However, this time I had absolutely no physical awareness of the room, of my body, or of any other tangible thing. Instead, I lost all sense that I even had a body. I experienced myself as a black silhouette, almost like a shadow. Everything around me was a deep sky blue. Before me I saw a rectangle of white light amidst the blue, and I felt myself floating up toward it. As I rose up, I lost all identification with the world of maya, the world of illusion, and became solely focused on the white light. Deep within, I felt that my Guru was waiting for me there.
When I finally emerged from meditation, I noticed that my eyes were hazy. During meditation, tears had formed, and in that moment I knew that they were tears of joy—my experience was one of true bliss. My heart felt as though it were bursting with love. Everywhere I walked for the rest of the day, a smile of contentment spread across my face. I felt love for everyone I saw and spoke to. In my heart, the sun of my Guru's love was shining brightly.