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Birthday Bliss 2016
Janmadin ki Jay Jay! An Account of Gurumayi's Birthday Celebration, Shree Muktananda Ashram, June 23 - 30, 2016

Janmadin ki Jay Jay! - Part VII

Part VIII

A Chorus of Divine Virtues

The summer sun filled Shri Nilaya with dappled light as everyone rose to their feet to sing Jyota se Jyota Jagao.

Lavanya Mavillapalli, the pujari, walked toward Gurumayi with a tray bearing kumkum, turmeric, rice, flowers, and a lit ghee lamp. As we sang, Lavanya offered arati to Gurumayi on behalf of all of us. It was inspiring to watch Lavanya—to see our own devotion expressed in her offering. Her eyes were shining, fixed on Gurumayi, as she waved the arati tray in slow, graceful circles.

As the arati concluded, and the final notes of "Sadgurunath Maharaj Ki Jay!" merged into silence, the hall felt saturated with bhakti.

Gurumayi then spoke about the presentation of the divine virtues, Sadguna Vaibhava, which had taken place earlier in the satsang. She requested that the presenters once more share the virtue they had spoken earlier. “I would like to hear you say the virtues again,” Gurumayi said. “Say it so that each virtue really lands. Take your time. Go into your heart and let the bliss percolate in your heart. Then give the virtue to us on a golden platter.”

The drum beat started up, and the hall was once again filled with a chorus of divine virtues.

“Abundance!”

“Balance.”

“Compassion.”

When Swami Vasudevananda said “Beatitude,” Dianne McIntyre began to dance again.

Gurumayi invited Dianne to dance throughout the hall so everyone could see her. As Dianne danced, Gurumayi requested the musicians to repeat the virtue Beatitude.

“Beatitude!” Dianne danced jubilantly through the hall. “Beatitude!” Each wave of her arms and step of her feet sparkled with joy. “Beatitude!” Every movement seemed to flow from her heart in worship. “Beatitude!” The applause at the conclusion of her dance was resounding.

The presentation of the virtues continued. After a young boy enthusiastically exclaimed the last virtue—“Zeal!”—we all laughed and clapped again.

As the hall quieted, Gurumayi said, “Most definitely, Dianne took to heart what I said about embodying the virtue.” Gurumayi invited Swami Ishwarananda to come to the front of the hall and introduce Dianne to everyone. Swami ji invited Dianne to join him.

Swami Ishwarananda explained that Dianne is a well-known choreographer and dancer who has received many awards. She has been practicing the Siddha Yoga teachings since 1985 and has offered seva regularly since then; between 1999 and 2003, she served on staff in Shree Muktananda Ashram, in the Live Events Department. As Swami ji shared about Dianne’s many accomplishments and her contributions to the work of the SYDA Foundation, we all clapped and cheered in acknowledgment.

Dianne turned to Gurumayi and said, “I offer all of my rehearsals, all my performances—I offer all of them to you, Gurumayi, day by day. When I’m in rehearsal, and when I am teaching a class, I offer my work to you. So all of the fame and the good fortune that has come to me over these years is through your grace, beloved Gurumayi.”

Harriette Cole, a Trustee and Chair of The PRASAD Project, raised her hand. She said, “I want to share a story. Twenty-three years ago, when I wrote my first book, I asked Gurumayi if she had any guidance for me about writing a book, and Gurumayi said, ‘Talk to Dianne McIntyre.’”

Harriette continued. “I thought, ‘Oh, I wonder why.’” But I followed Gurumayi’s guidance. And Dianne so generously sat with me, went through the outline of my book—every word!—and asked me so many questions, so that it became as good as it could be.

“Then when the book was complete and I was going on a very big tour around the country, Dianne told me, ‘Before you say one word, do japa and you will not be nervous. You will be honoring the Guru through your work.’ And I have done that every day since, and I have not been nervous. I have been grounded in the Guru’s love, and I have felt strong and focused. I thank my Guru for giving me the gift of Dianne, who was so generous.”

By this point in the satsang, our hearts were already overflowing—with joy, with love, with excitement. And then, Gurumayi spoke. How blessed we were to receive Gurumayi’s beautiful words.

At the conclusion of her talk, Gurumayi said playfully, “I know that I can’t just get up and leave when I have all your beautiful eyes shining at me.”

Gurumayi asked the music ensemble to improvise a melody for the title of this celebration: Janmadin ki Jay Jay!

As the musicians began to sing and play, Gurumayi smiled at all of us with so much love, and invited us to come forward for darshan.

 

Click here to read Part IX

 

 

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As I read about Gurumayi requesting each person to present their virtue "on a golden platter," I felt immense gratitude for each of the virtues we studied during the month of Birthday Bliss

I imagined the virtues as a garland surrounding and protecting my heart. During the month, I had reflected on the virtues by finding key words and phrases to help me memorize them in alphabetical order and to help me hold them close. Now, many of these virtues have become my daily companions. I return to them again and again for deeper understanding and support.

Thank you, dearest Gurumayi, for teaching us how to live in alignment with our divine Self—through the study and practice of the divine virtues.

Maryland, USA