Namaste. Bienvenidos. Bienvenue.
Welcome to the satsang—“Be in the Temple” satsang. We are in the radiant presence of Bhagavan Nityananda. We are participating in this satsang via live video stream in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall.
When the live video stream starts, one of the first images we all see is of Gurumayi’s beautiful Message Artwork for 2020. Of all the years that I can remember, the Message Artwork is more present in people’s awareness this year than ever before. And this is because everyone can have darshan of the Artwork and an opportunity to study it at the beginning of each “Be in the Temple” satsang in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall. Isn’t this wonderful? It is study made easy.
The second element of today’s satsang was a video of glimpses of nature. The photographs in this video were contributed by hundreds and hundreds of you, the good people of the global Siddha Yoga sangham. Last Saturday evening, Eesha Sardesai, the host for the namasankirtana in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall in honor of Akshaya Tritiya, thanked all of you on Gurumayi’s behalf. Once again, today, thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous images.
Today’s “Be in the Temple” satsang is dedicated to listening to and imbibing the sounds of ancient India. We will listen to hymns that convey teachings integral to the Siddha Yoga path, and we will hear and feel the beat of the tabla, which evokes the primordial sound.
Yesterday was Shankaracharya Jayanti—the birthday of the great Siddha Adi Shankaracharya, who lived in the 8th and 9th century. Adi Shankaracharya articulated and wrote commentaries on the teachings of Advaita Vedanta, a philosophy that affirms that everything in this universe is Brahman—is God. The philosophy of Advaita Vedanta is foundational to the Siddha Yoga path, and Gurumayi and Baba have often spoken about Adi Shankaracharya’s teachings and sung verses and hymns from his texts.
Adi Shankaracharya established four monasteries in the four cardinal directions of India. Adi Shankaracharya, who was a sannyasin, a Swami, also established ten different sannyasa orders, or orders of monks. Baba Muktananda was initiated into the Sarasvati Order by Siddharudha Swami. When Gurumayi took the vows of sannyasa from Baba, she also became a monk of the Sarasvati Order. And so have the Siddha Yoga Swamis.
In a moment, we will be listening to Adi Shankaracharya’s key teaching, the verse of his that distills the essence of his teachings and the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. This teaching is currently posted on the Siddha Yoga path website with a beautiful painting from the Shakti Punja archives in the SYDA Foundation. The painting was created by a Siddha Yogi, and it depicts Adi Shankaracharya in nature with his disciples.
Adi Shankaracharya says:
I will say in half a verse what is said in millions of scriptures:
Brahman is the Truth.
The world is unreal.
The individual soul is truly Brahman and nothing else.
We will hear this profound wisdom sung by Siddha Yoga musicians who are Gurukula students in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
I’ll explain what this term “Gurukula student” means and how it came about. In 1994, a policy was put in place in Gurudev Siddha Peeth in order to maintain the sanctity of the Ashram and its purpose. The policy was meant to inspire and inspirit those people who sincerely wanted to offer seva and study the Siddha Yoga teachings. The policy stated that people would fill out applications to offer seva short-term or long-term and to participate in retreats in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. The title “Gurukula student” was established to refer to those people who would be offering seva long-term and residing in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
The Gurukula students sang Adi Shankaracharya's beautiful teaching, and then Gauri spoke again.
It’s so wonderful to hear one of the most important shlokas written by Adi Shankaracharya—and to hear it straight from India.
I’d like to share with you that today marks another significant anniversary. This is the anniversary of a historic day on the Siddha Yoga path—the day, forty-five years ago, on April 28, 1975, when Baba Muktananda made his first visit to the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland. Hello to all of you in Oakland!
Gurumayi has said many times how the community in Oakland is so strong. You have been taking care of the Ashram for the last forty-five years—lovingly, dutifully, with diligence, dedication, and great loyalty. Thank you so much.
Soon, the Gurukula students in Gurudev Siddha Peeth will be singing another teaching by Adi Shankaracharya in the form of an exquisite hymn. This hymn is called Bhaja Govindam.
I’ll give you a backstory for why we’ll be listening to this hymn. On Wednesday, April 1, in a “Be in the Temple” satsang with Gurumayi which was a live video stream specifically to India, Gurumayi spoke about Bhaja Govindam. On that day, Gurumayi said that before she came to the satsang, she realized that it was April 1st, and therefore April Fool’s Day. Gurumayi hoped that people in India would not think that the satsang was an April Fool’s Day prank—and that therefore, there wouldn’t be a satsang.
As Gurumayi thought about the word in the Hindi language for “fool,” she also thought of the Sanskrit word for fool, which is moodha. As soon as the word moodha came up, Gurumayi began humming Adi Shankaracharya’s hymn: bhaja govindam bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam moodha mate.
It was fun to hear this play on words between English, Hindi, and Sanskrit. Gurumayi also said, “Now you know that April 1st can be an auspicious holiday on the Siddha Yoga path—because you can sing Bhaja Govindam.”
The refrain of Bhaja Govindam says:
O foolish one who is bound by delusion, sing the name of Govinda.
Repeat the name of Govinda. Serve Govinda.
For at the time of death, you will not be protected
by the knowledge that you recited, rote, from books.
And now the musicians in Gurudev Siddha Peeth will sing.
Shambhavi Christian shared with me that in Gurudev Siddha Peeth in the late 1980s and early 1990s, people would sing hymns with Gurumayi every day at noon in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple. These hymns, which included Bhaja Govindam, soon became known as the temple chants, or the temple hymns.
It seems that we have come full circle now—as everyone in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall is singing hymns together…in the Temple!
One of the things I have noticed is that after I offer seva and participate in the “Be in the Temple”satsangs, I want to keep singing. I want to keep chanting. I want to continue to be in this energy. I’m certain all of you share this sentiment. As Siddha Yogis, we want to keep learning, studying, and assimilating. You will be glad to know, therefore, that a recording of the Gurukula students singing Bhaja Govindam is to be posted on the Siddha Yoga path website.
Some of you may remember from one of the “Be in the Temple” satsangs that Gurumayi has spoken about Baba Muktananda’s teachings on sound. Baba would say that the sound of the drum reaches the innermost molecules of the heart, where no medicine can reach. Well, today, we get to listen to the extraordinary sounds of the tabla, as played by the one and only Siddha Yogi Ojas Adhiya, whose smile scintillates with every taal he plays on his drums. Keep your heart open and let the sounds of the tabla permeate every cell of your body.
Ojas lives in Mumbai with his wife, Nayaab. It was Ojas’ father who noticed how, when Ojas was two years old, he would be drawn to play the tabla every time they visited the Siddha Yoga meditation center. It was then that his father knew Ojas’ future. Ojas’ father made it possible for him to become the drummer that he is. Ojas’ mother and his younger brother, Manas, also follow the Siddha Yoga path.
Gurumayi loves this family.
Following Ojas’ exquisite performance on the tabla, Gauri returned to acknowledge him and conclude the satsang.
Ojas, I have seen you play on the tabla. With your ten fingers alone, you make all the movements of a world-class ballet dancer.
Plier—you bend your fingers.
Étendre—you stretch your fingers.
Relever—you let your fingers rise gracefully.
Glisser—you let your fingers slide and glide over the head of the tabla.
Sauter—your fingers jump with enthusiasm.
Élancer—your fingers dart about your tabla.
Tourner—your hand turns, conveying to all listeners the magic of the sound of the tabla.
Thank you, Ojas, again and again. I do feel that the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall is filled with the brightness of your smile, along with the sounds of your tabla. Our hearts are soaring.
We have been participating in the “Be in the Temple” satsang in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall, in the presence of Bhagavan Nityananda. All this is made possible by Gurumayi’s grace.
The power of Siddha Yoga satsang is unparalleled. What we experience is not just a drop of shakti. We experience an ocean of shakti. Every time we participate in Siddha Yoga satsang, we are drinking the nectar of the Truth. The Siddha Yoga teachings, the Siddha Yoga practices, the Siddha Yoga studies lead us to one great place—and that is within. To the Self. To the Heart. To the oneness.
Stay connected with one another.
Let happiness grow.