Commentary on the Virtue for June 24, 2019


Written by Garima Borwankar

The virtue that Gurumayi has given for June 24, 2019, is sadāshayatā. This beautiful word in the Hindi language, so mellifluous to the tongue, carries many subtle, seemingly inscrutable meanings. They require that we reflect on them, layer by layer.

When Gurumayi first told me that sadāshayatā is the virtue she will be giving to everyone in honor of her birthday on June 24, she asked me, “When you hear sadāshayatā, how many meanings of the word come to you right away?” When I first heard the word, my heart was moved. I felt the experience of the word before I could utter the different meanings. Then I shared with Gurumayi a few different qualities encompassed by this virtue that came to mind.

Gurumayi said, “Very good. You will be writing the commentary on sadāshayatā, so that people can start their exploration and study of this virtue, and begin to benefit from what they understand.

As a first step in our inquiry, we will look at the etymology of sadāshayatā. The root word in Hindi is sadāshaya, which in turn is a combination of two words: sat and āshaya. Sat means “truth” and āshaya means “intent." So sadāshaya reveals an intent that is true and beneficial.

The nuances inherent in sadāshayatā lend such depth to its meaning that it is virtually untranslatable. No one word in the English language, or any other language, would be sufficient to convey the full meaning of this virtue. Sadāshayatā evokes noble-mindedness. It is suffused with the qualities of generosity, magnanimity, and selflessness. It is fragrant with goodwill, gentleness, and kindness. It is moist with love and compassion. Sadāshayatā is found in those thoughts and actions that are for the welfare of all.

Let’s look a little more closely at some of these qualities that are seated in sadāshayatā.

Noble-mindedness, for instance, is defined as a characteristic of an honorable and refined mind. Noble-minded people conduct themselves in accordance with elevated ideals. They engage in actions that are beneficial for others.

Generosity is a quality that is often associated with open-heartedness and kindness. It is the spirit of generosity that spurs a person to give without expecting anything in return. There are many ways to show generosity—for example, by the giving of materials, of your time, of your skills to someone or something. However, what distinguishes such giving as generosity is when these actions are performed solely for the purpose of doing good and not for personal gain.

Another quality that contributes to the meaning of sadāshayatā is magnanimity. Derived from the Latin word magnus, which means “great,” magnanimity denotes large-heartedness, gentleness, and compassion. To be magnanimous is to be gracious and kind to everyone no matter what the circumstances: whether in conflict or in harmony, whether in defeat or in victory.

Sadāshayatā is imbued with the quality of selflessness. We may think of selflessness as that which is not selfish—neither self-referencing nor self-concerned. But the selflessness connoted by sadāshayatā goes beyond that interpretation. It is about caring more for the needs of others and those of this world than for the fulfillment of your own desires. It is to act in this spirit without any aspiration for personal fame or name, status, or wealth. When you are selfless in this sense, you are motivated purely by the wish to bring comfort and well-being to others.

Nature wears the robes of sadāshayatā—the flowing rivers that provide water that is essential for life itself, the bounteous trees that bestow cool shade from the heat of the sun and freely offer their fruits and flowers to all, the air that gives living beings the ability to breathe. It is nature’s sadāshayatā that sustains life on this magnificent and cherished planet Earth. Nature is a reflection of God’s sadāshayatā.

A fourteenth century poet-saint of Kashmir, Lalleshwari was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. In her mystical poetry she presents beautiful images that remind us that Shiva exists in everything. Here are two of my favorite verses by Lalleshwari:

Plants spring up from the soil
pulsing  Om Namah Shivaya.
Sadhus bathe in holy rivers
muttering  Namah Shivaya.
Mothers nurse their children
humming  Om Namah Shivaya.
Everything is singing
the name of Shiva.


The rays of the sun
make no distinction.
They enter all homes equally.
The clouds shower rain on all
without favor.
In all its fullness,
that Supreme Principle
exists impartially everywhere.

When the light of God is shining in your heart, you see his presence in everything around you. You see the whole world as God’s creation. And when you live with this awareness, then your love naturally flows freely to encompass all of creation. You want everything to thrive and prosper in this world. Your mind is then connected to a higher purpose. This is sadāshayatā.

Understand that there is ease in the practice of this virtue. You do not need to exert force to manifest the virtue of sadāshayatā. Instead you are refining your awareness and aligning it with the knowledge that not only you but every existing thing in this world is filled with God’s love, with the darshan of the Divine. This awareness helps you to step out of yourself and connect with the universe. Sadāshayatā is a way of being—with yourself, with others, and with the world.

I lead with sadāshayatā.
1Lalleshwari, rendered by Swami Muktananda, and translated into English by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda with Swami Kripananda (South Fallsburg, NY: SYDA Foundation, 1981; © Gurudev Siddha Peeth, Ganeshpuri, India), verse 20, p. 10; and verse 43, p. 22.
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