We are here, in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall, participating in the “Be in the Temple” satsang with Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. This satsang is a live video stream from the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple. As you know, Gurumayi has given the beautiful title for these satsangs: “Be in the Temple.”
My name is Swami Ishwarananda. I am a Siddha Yoga monk and a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher. I am so happy to be speaking and connecting with all of you on this auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya. At the beginning of the live video stream in the Universal Hall, you were studying and absorbing yourself in Gurumayi’s Message Artwork for 2020. You had the opportunity to take in glimpses of nature from Shree Muktananda Ashram, including the luminous sky over the Ashram, and you received darshan of Bade Baba’s radiant form.
In this satsang, we had the darshan of Gurumayi doing puja to Bhagavan Nityananda, and afterward we all sang the Mahalakshmi Stotram in honor of Shri Mahalakshmi, the embodiment of auspiciousness and the goddess of beauty, wealth, and abundance. I hope all of you have visited the Siddha Yoga path website, especially since yesterday evening, Shree Muktananda Ashram time. If you did, you may have read that today is Akshaya Tritiya, which is considered to be one of the three and one-half most auspicious days of the year, according to the panchanga, the Indian calendar.
As you may remember, from reading the information on the Siddha Yoga path website—every moment of this day and night is considered to be highly auspicious. And I imagine that after reading about Akshaya Tritiya on the website, those of you in Asia and the Pacific, where the day is coming to a close or has already concluded, must have felt empowered to celebrate this occasion, to remember its auspiciousness throughout the day.
We are in the Temple. We are in the "Be in the Temple" satsang via live video stream, in the Universal Hall, in the presence of Bhagavan Nityananda and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.
On the Siddha Yoga path:
The Guru teaches. The disciple studies.
The Guru imparts wisdom. The disciple imbibes the wisdom.
The Guru speaks. The disciple contemplates.
The Guru shows the way. The disciple walks the path.
The Guru gives direction. The disciple learns.
The Guru reveals the Truth. The disciple embraces its essence.
The Guru gives satsang. The disciple does sadhana.
The Guru is the grace-bestowing power of God. The disciple, through their sadhana under the umbrella of the Guru’s grace, experiences liberation.
I would like to share an experience of how Gurumayi teaches, and how her disciples study and implement her teachings wholeheartedly. On the evening of January 3, Gurumayi held a satsang via live video stream with Australia and New Zealand to impart her grace and blessings to Australia, and to the people and animals of Australia, since Australia had been ravaged by bushfires for months and months. This satsang came right after Gurumayi had given her Message for 2020 in Sweet Surprise: Ᾱtmā kī Prashānti, Peacefulness of the Self.
I was the speaker for this satsang. At one point, while I was speaking, Gurumayi added something to what I was saying—as she has done many times. However, this time I misjudged what I should do as a speaker, and I took my seat. Gurumayi spoke for a few seconds and then looked over to where I had been standing, expecting me to continue—but then, no one was there! Instead, I was seated on a chair, looking quite relaxed and happy. Gurumayi spoke to me while looking at the camera, and everyone in Australia listened intently. Gurumayi said, “Swami Ishwarananda, stay on duty during such trying times. It’s not the time to sit down. It is time to extend the knowledge you have. Go ahead.”
Very quickly, I resumed my seva position as a speaker for that satsang. And it was a fabulous satsang. Every Siddha Yogi in Australia felt and received what they needed.
That very evening after the satsang, I received an email from a Siddha Yogi in Australia who was in charge of emergency communications about the spreading of fires in the rural areas of New South Wales. As soon as a fire was spotted, it was her responsibility to communicate it right away to the fire authorities and to everyone on the ground in the areas affected. She held a very critical position.
Well, during her break time, this Siddha Yogi took a few minutes to sit and tune into the live video stream satsang with Gurumayi on her cellphone. The moment she heard Gurumayi say: “Swami Ishwarananda, stay on duty during such trying times. It’s not the time to sit down,” she felt that Gurumayi was speaking directly to her. She took these words as a teaching for herself from Gurumayi, and so she turned off her cellphone and went back to her desk, ready to communicate breaking news about the fires—which was her job, her duty. And she felt so fulfilled. She was living Gurumayi’s teaching.
On the Siddha Yoga path, the disciples of Gurumayi know that what Gurumayi says is not just for one individual. Gurumayi’s speech contains teachings and wisdom for everyone, even when Gurumayi is speaking to a particular person.
I felt so honored that this Siddha Yogi from Australia shared with me her story. It fortified my resolve to be present to serve Gurumayi, to be awake to follow the Siddha Yoga path, to be available when someone needs my support. The current situtation in the world means that people's lives have been turned upside down. People are struggling with the spread of the coronavirus, which has evolved into a pandemic with no clear end in sight. And the world is so divided on this confounding matter.
Yet for those on the Siddha Yoga path, there is continued enthusiasm to practice the lifesaving Siddha Yoga teachings and move forward in our sadhana, even as we adjust to our new lives and a new regimen of sheltering in place. My thinking is that even though we are physically apart at this time, through Gurumayi's grace we understand that we are always connected in our hearts. And many of you who are participating in the "Be in the Temple" satsangs have shared that, in fact, there is no sense of distance.
As a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher, I am most interested in how you are learning the Siddha Yoga teachings and strengthening your Siddha Yoga practices in order to live a fulfilled life, whatever the tides in your life are like—whether they are calm or tumultuous, whether they are melodious or cacophonous, whether they are pleasing or disturbing.
The point is: as a Siddha Yogi, you should be able to access the fruits of your sadhana. As some Siddha Yogis have shared with me—when everything around them is running amok, when everyone is in a frenzy, they recognize that they do have the ability to stay in touch with their center and experience serenity.
I encourage you to take time to reflect on the teachings you have heard, the practices you have performed, and the darshan you have received in this satsang. If you are in a sadhana circle or study group, share your insights and understanding with one another in order to strengthen your own sadhana and give support to each other. You must have noticed sometimes that as you are sharing, you suddenly have an “aha” moment. You are able to go deeper into your own experience, and in turn, others benefit as well. Of course, there is so much in one’s world to talk about—and let me tell you, there is nothing like talking about one’s sadhana experiences.
Gurumayi, we are so happy to be celebrating Akshaya Tritiya in your presence, with you; in Bhagavan Nityananda’s presence, with him. We are so happy to be celebrating in his Temple, in your Ashram.
Shubh Akshaya Tritiya!