Last year, while I was in Delhi, visiting from London, I served as the local host for a two-way audio satsang connecting members of the Siddha Yoga sangham in Delhi with Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga students at Shree Muktananda Ashram. This satsang was held on Republic Day of India, the holiday that commemorates the day in 1950 when the country’s constitution was enshrined, establishing its fundamental values and principles.
The satsang participants in India had come together in one of the eight Siddha Yoga meditation centers in Delhi. The center was brimming with devotees—long-time Siddha Yogis, new seekers, enthusiastic teenagers in their starched kurtas, and young children skipping around. Faces shone. Siddha Yogis had been preparing the room since the night before, and it shimmered with their love. Sweet-smelling orange, green, and white flowers—the colors of the Indian flag—adorned the hall.
Participants settled into their seats, and we waited in hushed excitement. My heart was beating a little faster than usual. We were all anticipating the moment of connection.
Gurumayi’s voice soon came streaming through the speakers like a splendorous sunrise. Greeting the devotees with great love, her voice was strong, her energy magnificent. Radiant smiles spread across face after face. We were in the presence of our Guru. After speaking with us for a few moments, Gurumayi invited us to recite Shri Guru Gita. We accepted with enthusiasm.
At the conclusion of the recitation, I encouraged people to share their experiences of the svadhyaya. Before anyone shared, Gurumayi requested that I describe where we were. I launched into a few details about the center. “But whose house is the center in?” she inquired.
In a split second, I got it. Gurumayi was reminding me about Siddha Yoga’s deep-rooted culture of respect and acknowledgment. I’d forgotten to acknowledge the center leader, who had so generously opened his home to us for the satsang!
As soon as I mentioned the center leader’s name, Gurumayi greeted him with delight. She drew attention to all the seva he has offered to the center and to the other sevas that he has offered over the years. His face was alight with devotion as Gurumayi spoke to him.
After their interaction, I went on to describe to Gurumayi the flowers in the hall, the way people’s faces were shining, and how people had come from all parts of Delhi to be there with her. Gurumayi told us that the flowers in the hall in Shree Muktananda Ashram were also in the colors of the Indian flag. When we shared about our experience of reciting Shri Guru Gita, each speaker introduced himself or herself to Gurumayi, and she responded to each share directly. At times, a participant in the satsang in Shree Muktananda Ashram who had links with the Delhi community took the mic and spoke with us. I felt we were all so connected and frolicking in an ocean of love!
I love the way that Gurumayi’s every action is a teaching. By taking time, right in the moment, to generously acknowledge individuals—their presence, their worthy qualities, and their beneficial actions—she expanded my understanding of the meaning of true acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is a way of letting people know explicitly that you honor and respect them, that you recognize their greatness.
As I reflected on this, I saw that I was accustomed to reserving acknowledgment for what I considered to be “special“ actions. I didn’t expect to give, or receive, recognition for everyday things like performing household duties or basic courtesies.
Little by little, I began practicing new forms of acknowledgment. I began, almost shyly, with family members. One night, I thanked my husband for chopping the vegetables for dinner. I took time to call attention to his helpful action, something that I previously wouldn’t have thought worth doing. Expressing my appreciation made me smile inside, so much so that I repeated the acknowledgment three times. His face and voice reflected a quiet happiness. Another day, I was speaking to my mum on the phone. I was upset about something, and she comforted me in her loving voice. Her care reached out through the phone line and wrapped itself around me in the gentlest hug. I thought to myself, “She loves me so much. I’m so lucky she’s my mother.” Then I thought, “Well, why am I not telling her that!” So, the next day I rang and expressed this thought to her. Her laugh in response was sweet like orange candies in big glass jars. Tenderness sparkled between us.
Through Gurumayi’s teaching, I’ve come to realize how wonderful it is to recognize others for the significance of their everyday actions. I notice a change in others—in friends, family members, colleagues, and the other people I encounter on a daily basis—when I take the time to acknowledge them, even for simple things. For instance, while collaborating with a friend, I noticed a more easeful energy open up between us as soon as I acknowledged her specific contributions to our work project. Practicing acknowledgment helps me focus on others’ virtues. As soon as I turn my attention to their contributions and articulate my appreciation for them, I feel more love too! I am grateful to Gurumayi for teaching me the importance of genuine acknowledgment that magnifies goodness and love in the world.