We were all gathered in Shri Nilaya, waiting with bated breath. At any moment, Gurumayi would be arriving for the Celebration Satsang!
The hall was decorated exquisitely for the occasion. Big vases full of roses in sunrise tones—peach, coral, and white mixed with gold—surrounded Gurumayi’s chair. Garlands of white lilies and pink roses adorned the images of Baba Muktananda and the goddess Mahalakshmi at their puja altars; and each altar was abundant with crystals of rose quartz, bowls of fruit, and yet more flowers. The flowers had been offered to Gurumayi for her birthday by her devotees around the world. They filled the hall with the generosity of the global Siddha Yoga sangham.
These surroundings, the vibrant color and scintillating beauty, were complemented by what we, the participants, were ourselves wearing for celebration. We were dressed in our nicest finery—saris, dresses, kurtas, in blue, green, gold, magenta, every color you can think of.
And then the moment came—we heard Gurumayi’s voice right outside Shri Nilaya, in Nidhi Chauk. We all came to our feet and very naturally turned toward the entrance to the hall.
As Gurumayi was stepping over the threshold of Shri Nilaya, we exuberantly greeted her. “Happy Birthday!” we all exclaimed. We were so thrilled—it was Gurumayi’s birthday!
Gurumayi paused before the puja altars for Mahalakshmi and for Baba Muktananda before making her way down the main aisle to the front of the hall. Once Gurumayi took her seat, we took our seats as well.
Swami Ishwarananda came to his podium, as he was going to give a talk on this occasion. He first wished Gurumayi a happy birthday, and then he turned to us and asked, “Everybody happy?” We all responded with an immediate “Yes!”
Gurumayi looked at Swami ji and asked what he would have done if everyone had said “no.” Swami Ishwarananda was clearly flummoxed—he was speechless. To support him to go on, Gurumayi suggested that he ask the question to everyone again. Gurumayi playfully indicated to all of us that this time, we should answer in the negative.
Swami ji asked again, “Are you happy?” And we readily replied with a spirited “NO!” Swami ji laughed and responded, “I have one piece of advice for you: Get happy! Because this is a very special day!”
We burst into applause.
Gurumayi then invited Kenny Werner, a renowned jazz pianist, to play a song about getting happy. The virtuoso that Kenny is, his fingers started dancing on the keyboard right away. His mellifluous voice permeated the entire hall; we could practically picture it swirling and sparkling in the air like crystals and diamonds.
A visiting sevite recalled:
When Kenny Werner responded to Gurumayi’s request with no inhibition, I experienced complete bliss and freedom.
A staff member shared:
I felt that Kenny’s music was sending Gurumayi’s blessings and love to the entire universe.
Once the music concluded, Gurumayi said, “You got happy!” We all laughed in agreement. Gurumayi invited Swami Ishwarananda to once again ask the question that had launched this most delightful exchange.
Swami ji chortled and asked us, “Happy?”
“Y! E! S!” we responded.
Swami Ishwarananda again introduced himself first as he prepared to begin his talk. Gurumayi then invited Swami ji to introduce all the Swamis. She explained that on her birthday, she likes to acknowledge the Siddha Yoga Swamis.
So Swami ji began introducing them, and with humility and gratefulness the Swamis stood one by one to receive this acknowledgment—Swami Akhandananda, Swami Anantananda, Swami Shantananda, Swami Vasudevananda, Swami Asangananda, Swami Alakshananda, Swami Indirananda, Swami Umeshananda, and Swami Apoorvananda.
Swami Ishwarananda also acknowledged those Swamis who were in other Siddha Yoga Ashrams. Swami Kripananda, Swami Siddhananda, and Swami Shaktananda were in the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland. Just as Swami Ishwarananda was about to mention one more Swami, we all called out: “Swami Sevananda, in Gurudev Siddha Peeth!” Swami Ishwarananda laughed and said, “Definitely I was going to mention his name.”
After this acknowledgement, Swami Ishwarananda gave a wonderful talk on the topic of Gurumayi’s Message for 2018, Satsang. Swami ji had prepared this talk overnight, after we had all contributed to making the birthday celebration schedule the day before—and he delivered it with such easefulness.
Here are some gems from Swami ji’s talk:
The Shiva Sutras say of the enlightened Master: dānam ātma jnānam. Such a being “continuously imparts the knowledge of the Self,” the knowledge of the Truth. So when you come into the presence of a knower of the Truth, you have satsang, you are in “the company of the Truth.”
For more than four decades I have offered seva on the Siddha Yoga path. And I’ve observed that every day Gurumayi has given and continues to give satsang. The power of this satsang awakens the Kundalini energy, giving people the experience of the Truth.
I remember all the satsangs Gurumayi has held through her Teaching Visits in so many parts of the world and through global satsangs via satellite. We have had live stream satsangs in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall, as well as videos and teachings in many other forms on the Siddha Yoga path website. Indeed, through the Siddha Yoga path website, satsang is made available each day and each night.
With Gurumayi, every interaction is satsang.
Swami ji then continued, sharing two beautiful anecdotes that illustrate how Gurumayi teaches.
This was the first anecdote:
The other day, a Siddha Yogi who had not seen Gurumayi in years greeted Gurumayi and shared that since she had retired from a prominent position as the head of a large company ten years ago, no one remembers her.
Gurumayi looked at her sweetly and with great enthusiasm exclaimed, “We remember you as the great meditator. We remember you as the philanthropist. We remember you as the kind person. Truly, so many people have shared how you have been helping them.”
As Gurumayi spoke, the woman smiled broadly as she began to understand how Gurumayi was bringing her attention back to her own goodness, to the truth of who she really is. It was a moment of recognition. Gurumayi’s words had brought this woman into the company of her own true Self: Satsang.
Swami ji then shared the second anecdote:
Yesterday, during the midday satsang in Shri Nilaya, a baby was crying, and his father picked him up and tried to calm him down by gently bouncing him in his arms. After a few moments Gurumayi asked the mother if the baby was asking to be fed. The mother nodded yes.
It was a sweet interchange and had very practical results. After being fed, the baby was all smiles.
Swami ji went on to say:
In satsang, we are all nourished. Our yearning for the Truth, our yearning for the experience of God, our yearning to know who we are is fulfilled.
A visiting sevite later shared:
Hearing Swami ji recount these anecdotes, I experienced a wellspring of gratitude for having a Siddha Guru who continuously reminds me of who I truly am, of the divinity within all of creation. This knowledge, this remembrance, naturally gives rise to compassion.
We all took in Swami ji’s talk on Gurumayi’s satsang. We reflected on what it meant for all of us to receive shaktipat and experience the Truth under the guidance of Shri Guru.
Then Gurumayi asked us to do something on her behalf…
Click here to read part VI