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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 IX

Part IX

A Chorus of Divine Virtues

As we were leaving the Temple in the sacred stillness after the arati, we saw Gurumayi coming out of the front entrance of Anugraha, surrounded by a group of children and their families. Gurumayi walked to the statue of Shiva Nataraja and performed pranam. We hurried over to join her.

Gurumayi welcomed us with a big smile and motioned to us to gather around. Gurumayi began the worship of Lord Shiva by making offerings to the sacred fire in front of his murti—black sesame seeds, honey, ghee, rice, dried flowers, and dhoop. Gurumayi then invited all of us to participate in the worship by chanting the namasankirtana Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambho. The power of this worship was palpable; we could feel that we were evoking Lord Shiva’s presence. At the culmination of the offering, Gurumayi placed a garland and a coconut in the fire. The flames leapt up, dancing toward the sky, as we joyfully exclaimed, “Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

Gurumayi invited us to sing the Shiva Arati. As several sevites went to get chanting sheets for everyone, Gurumayi asked the children what they would like to chant. They had many suggestions! The most popular was the spirited Om Namah Shivaya in the Yaman Kalyan raga. We chanted a few exuberant rounds, and then Krishna Haddad, a music conductor, raised his hands and led us all in singing the Shiva Arati.

A nectarean peace settled over us all at the finale of the arati. Everything felt utterly perfect and complete. We could not imagine the celebration getting any better than this. Were we in for a surprise!

For at that moment, Gurumayi reminded us that it was dinnertime. And then, Gurumayi invited us all to walk with her to Atma Nidhi! 

Gurumayi led the way, accompanied by the children and a stream of visiting sevites and staff members. As we walked—and occasionally jogged—behind Gurumayi, I experienced so much awe and delight, and I saw the same wonder reflected in the eyes of everyone around me. Here we were, literally following in the footsteps of our beloved Gurumayi.
Gurumayi stopped on the bridge at Lake Nityananda. We halted behind her and peered into the water. There, in the lake bed, is a wishing well, created with a circle of stones. Gurumayi invited the children to offer coins to the well and make a wish. Those of us who were close by dug into our pockets and provided the children with coins. We watched as the children threw their coins into the water, carefully aiming for the wishing well. It was such a sweet moment—light and joyful.
When Gurumayi reached the Silent Path, she paused at the grassy berm and invited four young boys to race to the top. We clapped and cheered them on as they ran. The winner was lifted high on the shoulders of one of the adults. Gurumayi said that as the boys ran up the steep berm, it looked as if they were running to touch the stars.

Gurumayi held the hands of two of the boys and started to run down the Silent Path. We all ran after Gurumayi—laughing, cheering, sharing looks of amazement and delight. Many people later shared with me how free they felt as they ran with Gurumayi—how playful, how uninhibited. As our walk progressed, Gurumayi would move forward and then pause, so that we could all catch up. Together we journeyed on, like rippling waves, flowing in ecstasy.

Later that evening, Pushkar Dhoot, a young visiting sevite from India, told me that our walk with Gurumayi brought back sweet memories of when he was a boy visiting Gurudev Siddha Peeth with his family. “We children would follow Gurumayi everywhere,” he said. “We would hold her hand and talk to her as she walked about the Ashram.”

Gurumayi invited Michael Karlin, an SYDA Foundation Trustee, to offer a coconut to the stream. Gurumayi told Michael to use all his strength when making this offering, so that the coconut would crack open. Michael did so—the coconut split apart as it met the water and the rocks, sending up droplets of water that caught the light.
Gurumayi continued up the hill toward the beautiful murti of Lord Shiva nestled in the trees. Here, Lord Shiva is seated in deep meditation. His eyes are half open, his gaze turned inward. Gurumayi invited Michael to come forward once again and make an offering to the Lord by pouring rice over his form. Following Gurumayi’s lead, we proclaimed, “Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambho! Mahadeva Shambho!” and watched as the pure white grains cascaded over Lord Shiva’s form. At the base of Lord Shiva’s murti this verse from the Morning and Evening Arati is inscribed:

Om. Salutations to the Guru, who is Shiva!
His form is being, Consciousness, and bliss.
He is transcendent, calm,
free from all support, and luminous.

In that moment I felt that I was experiencing the presence of Shiva in everyone and everything around us—in the gently moving trees, the still earth, the flowing sky, and our own glowing faces. Everything was Shiva, the eternal Guru.

Then Gurumayi ran with the children to the tall murti of Shri Hanuman that stands near the top of the Silent Path. We adults followed behind—totally enthralled by this adventure and eager to see what would happen next.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Siddha Yogis have been learning about Shri Hanuman— Lord Rama’s dedicated servant, and the bravest and cleverest of monkeys—on the Siddha Yoga path website. We all gazed for a few moments at the majestic form of Shri Hanuman, the embodiment of selfless service. Inscribed on the base of the murti is this beautiful doha, or couplet, by Saint Tulsidas:

The son of the wind repeated the pure Name,
and made God reside in his heart.

Gurumayi extolled Shri Hanuman, saying “Bajrang bali ki jay!”— “Salutations to the one with divine strength!” Three of the boys, at Gurumayi’s invitation, waved colored candles to Hanuman. It was all so joyful! Sunlight danced through the branches of the trees. The breeze played gently in the long grasses as our procession flowed on.

When we reached Atma Nidhi, Gurumayi walked up the stairs to the Amrit deck. Gurumayi paused and looked at the procession below. She commented on how beautiful we all were, our faces golden in the sunlight.

As the walk was nearing its conclusion, we followed Gurumayi into Annapurna Dining Hall. It was dinnertime. With great tenderness, Gurumayi reminded the children to wash their hands before eating. Then we bade Gurumayi farewell as she departed the dining hall.

With a profoundly grateful heart, I thought about how we had come full circle today. In the Celebration Satsang this morning, we had honored the goddess of food and nourishment by listening to the Annapurna Stotram. And now here we were at our destination in the space that bears the name of devi Annapurna, the space where food is lovingly prepared and received. What a glorious evening of worshiping, wishing, and walking on the Silent Path.

 

Click here to read Part X

 

 

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As I read "From Worshiping to Wishing to Walking on the Silent Path," I felt happy. It occurred to me that my monthly offering of dakshina helps make postings like this Account possible. In this way, although I could not be there physically, I was still a participant—I was a part of it. Dakshina has expanded my awareness and I can see myself as a participant in all that Siddha Yoga is.
 

Oklahoma, USA

As I read this, I felt as though I too were walking in the footsteps of my Guru on the Silent Path. What joy to walk this path with Shri Gurumayi and her glowing devotees! I am so grateful for this sweet reminder that Gurumayi is always walking with me.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for sharing your blessings and grace, and being here with me wherever I go.

Massachusetts, USA

It’s so much fun to go on a walk with Gurumayi and my fellow Siddha Yogis. What an adventure Gurumayi’s birthday has been!

I feel so fortunate to receive this detailed Account and all the exquisite photos that bring everything to life. Even though I live hundreds of miles away, I feel like I haven’t missed a thing. In fact, I’m deeply touched by the way that Gurumayi has brought us into the heart of the celebration by including all of us in this way. This means so much to me.

Ohio, USA