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Birthday Bliss

Redolence, Remembrance, Recognition

The Life and Legacy of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

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At the end of last year, I wrote Gurumayi a letter expressing the immense gratitude I felt after my daughter and five of her close friends escaped a fire during a party at an artists’ collective in Oakland, California. The collective was in a converted warehouse, and the fire, which was covered widely in the international press, was devastating. Only minutes before it broke out, my daughter and her friends had left the party and gone outside. All six were unharmed, and my nephew, who was also supposed to be at this party, had fallen asleep after work that day and never went to the warehouse.

Shortly after I wrote to Gurumayi, I received a phone call from a sevite who was calling on her behalf, asking very sweetly how my family was doing, and conveying Gurumayi’s love and blessings. A few days later I received a call from another sevite who said that Gurumayi was sending a gift to my family and me.

This gift was a box filled with dozens and dozens of beautiful gardenias—gleaming white and intoxicatingly fragrant! We placed these gardenias all around our house, and with their scent and beauty surrounding us, the gripping panic and sadness, residues of the events of the fire, were gradually replaced by the love and support of our compassionate Guru. We shared the gardenias and their story with our family, friends, and members of our Siddha Yoga chanting group. To this day, a few dried gardenias are still in place around our house, as reminders of Gurumayi’s constant grace and support in our lives and in the lives of so many others.

California, USA

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One summer, I was visiting Shree Muktananda Ashram on Gurumayi's Birthday. I was in the lobby of Anugraha when, all of a sudden, Gurumayi appeared, and everyone present was invited to come into the Namaste Room and take a seat.
I had dislocated my knee, so I couldn't sit down. Fortunately, I was in a corner, so I hoped no one, especially Gurumayi, would notice that I was not respectfully seated in the presence of my Guru. I grew very uncomfortable and began to worry that my standing was inappropriate.
Then Gurumayi looked over at me. Very tenderly she scanned my body with her eyes. When her gaze came to my knee, she looked at it for a few seconds and then back up into my eyes with great love and gentleness. Unconditional love and kindness are what I have always received from Gurumayi.

Connecticut, USA

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In 2015, I wrote a poem for Gurumayi and sent it to her by mail.
One month later, to my surprise, I received a phone call from a sevite in the SYDA Foundation. He was calling on behalf of Gurumayi to thank me for the poem I offered. His voice, the words, the pauses, all conveyed Gurumayi's love.
Immediately my eyes filled with tears. I became still and silent, and my heart overflowed with gratitude.
To me, the call exemplified the care, respect, and compassion with which Gurumayi treats each living being and every object of creation. She is an example to me of how I wish to serve and live.
My heart still warms when I remember that phone call.

Niteroi, Brazil

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One summer I attended satsang with Gurumayi in Shree Muktananda Ashram.  As we were preparing to come forward and receive her darshan, Gurumayi guided us to offer blessings to the people in our lives while we were coming forward in the line.

As I joined the line and moved slowly forward toward Gurumayi’s chair, I offered blessings to my parents, children, aunts, and uncles. Awareness of appreciation for them grew inside me. I offered blessings to neighbors, friends, and co-workers and became even more thankful for each one of them. The feeling of gratitude expanded to include acquaintances, teachers, and the people who repair power lines in a storm. When I reached the front of the line and came before Gurumayi, she said, "Immense gratitude!" Yes. That is what I had become. 

As I carry Gurumayi’s words, “Immense gratitude!” with me through life, I make an effort to express what Gurumayi saw in me that day, offering my blessings to everyone.

California, USA

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