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Learning to Take a Bow

My name is Sarikha. I live in New Jersey in the USA with my parents, Asa and Shakuntala; my sister, Prema; and my fluffy dog, Neptune. I am fifteen years old. I am a Siddha Yoga musician, and music brings me so much joy.

One day, when I was nine, after a vibrant satsang in Shree Muktananda Ashram, a group of people spontaneously gathered with Gurumayi in Shri Nilaya. I had been practicing a piano piece with the wish of performing it for Gurumayi, and I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to offer it.

As I was adjusting myself on the piano bench, Gurumayi asked, “What is the name of this piece?”

I replied, “Mt. Kilimanjaro.” Gurumayi asked the people in the hall if they knew where Mt. Kilimanjaro was located, and during this brief discussion, I realized my fingers could no longer find the starting note. Puzzled, I tried to remember this piece I had practiced so fervently, but my hands hovered above the keys, seemingly puzzled as well. Even though I was freezing up, a stirring in my heart would not let me abandon this chance.

At that very moment, a piece came to me, and I announced that I would play that one instead. I played to my heart’s content. As my hands lifted for the last time, I was applauded joyfully. I stood up, grinning from ear to ear, and, not sure what to do with myself, looked around somewhat abashed at this grand show of love and appreciation.

Just then, Gurumayi spoke to Krishna Werner, a professional pianist, and said: “Please show Sarikha how to accept the praise.” Krishna got up and came to stand next to me. I mimicked his movements as he demonstrated a traditional bow. The applause resurrected, and this time I bowed courteously.

Ever since, I have not shied away from praise and always take the time to accept it—even if I feel I didn’t do well. It is a constant teaching in my life of the sweetness of giving and receiving: of how the practice of offering something for others is in itself sacred and that I always accept wholeheartedly what I am given in return. Thank you, Gurumayi, for teaching me this and for helping me experience the nectarean fulfillment of an open, receiving heart.

I offer myself at your lotus feet. In the words of the poet-saint Brahmananda:

(She sings:)

Balihari mai balihari mai
Guru charana kamala para vari mai
Balihari mai balihari mai