Employing the Virtues

A Talk by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

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To say that Gurumayi's teachings in this satsang have made my spirits soar would be an understatement. I am experiencing so much grace during this time of transformation. I am deeply grateful for this satsang and all the other “Be in the Temple” satsangs. 
 

Massachusetts, United States

I took to heart Gurumayi’s request that we create or write our own uplifting phrase, so that when we hear or read it, our whole being relaxes.

One phrase that, for me, supports an abiding experience of serenity is this: "Attend to the space between.” With this phrase, I enter the space between the breaths, the space between one thought and the next. Holding my attention within that space, the priorities and polarities of everyday reality lose their grip. My awareness releases to higher realms, and like an eagle opening its massive wings to fly aloft, my awareness soars in the inner sky. I become the safe haven that otherwise eludes me, and for the time that I give to myself in that state, I am free.
 

Washington, United States

After listening to Gurumayi’s remarkable talk on Easter Sunday, I read it several times and each time focused on a different aspect. The phrase “rebirth and renewal” repeated throughout the talk fixed itself in my mind.

Last fall I planted daffodil and hyacinth bulbs. Since winter was relatively warm and spring came early, the tender, green leaves sprouting from the bulbs soon appeared, and the buds began to swell and flower. Then the bitter cold returned with icy rain and snow. The little plants bowed under the pressure.  I wondered if they would survive. But after each onslaught, I was amazed to see them resurface upright, brighter, and stronger. This experience made me think about “rebirth and renewal” as the inner power that is never daunted, that bows gently under adverse conditions only to re-emerge expanded and stronger. I felt nature was reinforcing Gurumayi’s teachings in a vivid and tangible way so that I could graphically see that the same power and adaptability is within me.
 

Georgia, United States

I have been thinking about the billion and a half animals who lost their lives in the Australian bushfires and about Gurumayi’s question, “What can we do to bring peace to the souls of these departed animals?”

I have begun including prayers for peace for the souls of these animals in my intention when I chant and meditate. Also, often before we eat dinner, my family offers prayers out loud and then we chant Aum and visualize those prayers traveling on the sound vibration of Aum to reach everyone and everything who needs them. I have started including prayers for the animals before dinner as well. May their sweet souls experience peace.
 

California, United States

After several years of hearing about Gurumayi and having her photos adorn my home, I had the pleasure of having a real-time experience with Gurumayi in the livestream on Easter Sunday.

I feel I experienced a transmission during Gurumayi’s talk.  The next day, things that would normally irritate me or annoy me seemed to roll off me like water on a duck’s back, and this experience continues.

Since receiving Gurumayi’s talk, I feel I have a newfound relationship with the Guru.
 

New York, United States

Some time ago, my family and I created cards for each virtue, which we keep in a bowl on our puja. Every day my husband, my eight-year-old son, and I pick a card, and throughout the day we share with each other how the “virtue of the day” we each picked has supported us in dealing with a particular situation. 
 
Day by day, little by little, as we each strengthen our relationship with the virtues, our relationship with each other as a family has been strengthened as well.
 
I have come to recognize that the power of the virtues is invaluable.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for showing us the way to direct our minds in this turbulent time.
 

Thane West, India

Gurumayi’s talk on the virtues inspired this little poem in me:
 
There is a house
It sits on pure rock
Its deep foundation is built of sound ethics
Its walls are strengthened by morality
Its roof of divine virtues shelters and protects me
Its clear windows let me see the world as it is
Its walls inside and out are adorned with good qualities, talents, and love
Its rooms are deep with silence, where concentration is stable and truth is unwavering
This house stands in a garden, a jungle, a city, a desert, on a hill, or by the sea
This is the house I live in
 

Montreal, Canada

I am so moved by Gurumayi's very powerful talk “Employing the Virtues” from Easter Sunday that I find myself reading and contemplating her words and her teachings over and over again.
 
Over the years I have gained great movement in my sadhana by examining my thoughts and feelings. And Gurumayi’s teachings in the talk have given me a greater understanding into how I can “look under the hood of my own humanness” and overcome the inner enemies.
 
As I navigate my day and continue to examine my thoughts and feelings, I know I have the companionship of Gurumayi and her teachings walking with me at my side. I find myself feeling so uplifted by this added dimension to my sadhana that it brings into my life a whole new realm of peacefulness and contentment.
 
I am very grateful to Gurumayi. And the only way I know how to show my gratitude is to imbibe Gurumayi’s words and teachings and make them my own.
 

San Felipe, Mexico

During this time when we are so connected to the silence around ourselves and through the wonderful and frequent live video streams that Gurumayi has given us, I find myself living as if I were at the Pilgrimage to the Heart Retreat in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. Sometimes, I spontaneously wake up early, before dawn, at about 3 or 4 a.m. and I sit for meditation. At times, my body is strong and it really supports my experience. At other times, it is sleepy and slow. When this is the case, my effort must be bigger.
 
Nevertheless, when I stand up after meditating, I experience that the silence, both inside and outside myself, has greatly expanded. And, once again, I am moved because I know how much I am loved, how much I am thought of, how much I am protected, how much I am accepted, and how unbelievably lucky I am!
 

Naples, Italy

For me this satsang was like taking a bath in the holy Ganges—my five  cognitive senses became subtler as I listened to Shri Gurumayi’s life- transforming teachings. I know they are for my spiritual, personal, and professional growth. She has reminded me that transformation takes place in tempestuous life encounters and that, in the course of this transformation, the practice of solitude is necessary and discipline is the master key.
 
I feel the word rebirth is a call for me to acknowledge the divine virtues within myself, and the word renewal a call to reflect upon those virtues and practice them in any given circumstance of my life—just as after stormy weather, nature renews itself.
 
I am deeply moved by Gurumayi’s unconditional compassion and love toward every living creature in this universe. Spending time listening to Shri Gurumayi’s teachings was the best Easter Sunday of my life!
 

Bedford Gardens, South Africa

Gurumayi’s very precious words comfort me. I feel love, light, and joy flowing through my body. I am at peace. I know that this is also a time that is given for us to meditate—and to do our best to help others in these difficult times, knowing it is all God's work.
 

Playas de Rosarito, Mexico

Receiving Gurumayi in my home this Easter Sunday was the most unique and sacred of celebrations. I felt that I was receiving the most precious presence. And yes, I had been preparing to host such a presence—by cleaning and cleaning, brushing and washing in all possible corners, outside and inside.
 
And then she arrived, mirroring and blessing my efforts  to make the most and the very best out of this exceptional time we are all witnessing. And at the end, she blew that soft, knowing, protective kiss from her hand to me and to my space, inner and outer. 
 

 Geneva, Switzerland

As part of my study of Gurumayi’s Message for 2020, I had set the intention to focus on studying and implementing the virtues in my daily life. I had thought about making the virtues a focus of study for many years, and this year seemed the perfect time. Each morning, I select a set of virtues to focus on personally for the day, as I move through them alphabetically to be sure I don’t miss any. On Easter morning, I had come to “F” and selected Faith, Fearlessness, and Freedom, and created an affirmation for myself: Fearlessness with faith leads to freedom.
 
When Gurumayi began to speak about the sadguna vaibhava, “the splendorous virtues,” I felt my heart swell with gratitude for this unexpected confirmation of my intention. I came away from the satsang filled with fresh inspiration for my “project.”
 
I feel enormously fortunate to be following the Siddha Yoga path, and to be protected and guided each moment by Gurumayi’s grace.
 

North Carolina, United States

At this challenging time, I’ve felt I have not been as strong as I would like to be and I’ve struggled to handle my concerns. But when I heard Gurumayi speaking about her grief for all the animals who died in the Australian fires, and about her own difficulty in enduring this pain, I accepted my weakness and I felt stronger.
 

Vicenza, Italy

When Gurumayi said she was waiting to hear whether we’re meditating and reading her books, I wanted to respond, “Yes!” My study group and I have been meeting online for five years as we’ve worked with Gurumayi’s books, with the online Pratyabhijna-hrdayam Course from 2016, and with the sutras in The Splendor of Recognition. We’ve completed the study of three books and are about to begin a fourth. 
 
Our experiences have been astounding and transformative. We’ve supported one another through many challenges, while learning to take the stance of a yogi by practicing discipline, studying the virtues, and returning to the recognition of who we truly are.
 
While we all have had a steady meditation practice, we’re now taking to heart Gurumayi's encouragement to meditate for longer periods. Being in the Temple has seemed like the natural conclusion to a week filled with lightheartedness and enthusiasm. 

Thank you, Gurumayi, for this splendiferous life of sadhana
 

Winlaw, Canada

After reading Gurumayi ji's talk on employing the virtues, I feel inner peace has been evoked within me. I’m so grateful.
 

Thane, India

Gurumayi's talk is filled with a direction and guidance much needed at this  time. I felt her loving care and grace fill me with renewed strength. Her words inspired my spirit to continue with my retreat at home and encouraged me to make greater efforts to stay afloat in a steady, joyful, and peaceful state amidst all the challenges.
 
Gurumayi’s teachings inspired me to hold the highest perspective about the collective transformation process that the Earth and humanity is going through. It highlighted for me how I can learn to connect to a deeper understanding of any situation based on the Siddha Yoga philosophy and culture. I want to assimilate these teachings so they can refine my vision of myself and the world around me. It's indeed a time for renewal at all levels.
 
I am so grateful to Gurumayi. My family feels protected as we take refuge in her grace and teachings and the practices she has given to us over the years.
 

Pune, India

After re-reading Gurumayi's talk just now, I am aware of peace and a sense of strength pervading my whole being. Prior to receiving this talk, one thing I was very saddened by was hearing how people were dying and not being able to have their loved ones by their side.

When Gurumayi encouraged us to think of new ways to touch, the power of prayer came to me. I have learned from Gurumayi that I can take time to sit and formulate a prayer and offer my prayer to those who need it. My heart feels lighter knowing that I can and I must offer my prayers for those dying alone without their loved ones physically by their side and for their loved ones who are not able to be by their side. I pray that they feel connected at this time spiritually and energetically. I pray that they feel peace and support pervading them at this most sacred time of transition.
 

Sydney, Australia

Gurumayi says, “We need to find new ways to fulfill that need to touch, that need to be close, that need to support and be supported.”
 
I feel I can touch and console others with my eyes, especially since the eyes are the windows of the soul. I can touch with my words. I can touch with my intention, making it felt in my actions. I can take a stand in Aham Brahmasmi and become the tuning fork, attuning and raising the vibration in my immediate surroundings, and also setting into motion a butterfly effect reverberating in the world.
 

California, United States

Gurumayi's talk is so beautiful and full of wisdom. She speaks to me and all of us on so many levels. I feel so loved and intellectually supported, too. It is priceless to have Gurumayi sharing her support and knowledge with us at a time like this. I am able to see this pandemic as a very real threat requiring me to practice safety, and also as an opportunity to advance in my sadhana. For me, it is a time to trust and to practice the virtues, and a time of learning to be more open-hearted and loving. 
 

Washington, United States

When Gurumayi was speaking, I had the image of immense light embracing the globe, touching all the people sitting in front of their screens and everybody else as well.

From Gurumayi’s words I understood that this is the time to dive deep into the practices. Although I knew this intellectually, now I feel empowered by grace to really do it with enthusiasm and joy-- to make the best use of the time which is available to me so abundantly right now. I feel that when I polish my mind in this way, my intuition will become stronger, and I will be able to make the right decisions at any given moment. 
I am hopeful that humanity will survive this calamity, and the seeds of goodness will sprout and flourish, just as Gurumayi spoke of so beautifully in her analogy of the gardener and the farmer. 

Thank you, Gurumayi for being a beacon of light and love for us, now and always.
 

Großkarolinenfeld, Germany

I feel that Gurumayi is with me. I never feel fear while performing my duties as a medical officer in the hospital. I have become fearless and confident by continuously practicing the remembrance of God’s name and by recalling Gurumayi’s talk.
 

Ahmedabad, India

Gurumayi is an inspiring example for me. To me, she is very free, very focused, very strong, very clear-minded, and full of joy.

When we began to shelter in place, I felt anxious and had many questions in my mind, but after the first "Be in the Temple" satsang with Gurumayi, I noticed a huge shift. My anxiety dissolved and I felt love and reassurance; I felt safe and even happy.

Inspired by Gurumayi's talk, I will continue to follow my intuition by sending sweet messages to my friends and parents. I have also been cooking and making cakes for people who are working in the hospital. I realize that I have been putting the virtues into practice, and I plan to continue. 

Of course, everything is weird right now. I am well aware of reality. At the same time, I experience this moment as a golden opportunity for renewal and transformation. I feel much more stillness within, and I am doing well in my inner and outer worlds.
 

Paris, France

I am offering mental worship to bring about a different outcome for the cow and calf that Gurumayi described.

I offer verse 51 of Shri Guru Gita to invoke strongly humming bees. I visualize the bees present in the scene of the cow and calf. The tiger is stalking the cow from the back. Slowly he comes closer and closer and swiftly leaps! In this very moment, the cow cries out and all the bees hum around the tiger -- at his nose, in front of his eyes, around his ears, at his tail. Terribly scared and frightened, he misses his target and stands on the ground, threatened by the humming sound. He knows the danger of being stung. He flees. The bees have shooed him away.

The cow and the calf are safe. The bees return to the flowers around the cows, humming peacefully, and collecting nectar. The idyllic scene goes on. The calf grows strong. The tiger knows: Never again will I attack any cow. She is no target—she is holy.

I pray for protection of the holy.
 

Hindelang, Germany

I am so grateful for Gurumayi's darshan and for her unending support for Siddha Yogis. This path, these teachings have become the very ground underneath my feet.  
 

Connecticut, United States

When I heard Gurumayi say, "Fear does not like the power of the mantra," it reminded me of an experience I had when I visited a beautiful remote lagoon. I swam for hours, all the time repeating the mantra and feeling the Guru's presence. It came time to leave so I retraced my steps, but the tide had come in so the path was now filled with sea water up to my shins. I looked down and saw that there were about 50 banded sea snakes all around my feet! I felt no fear even though I had been told that these snakes were highly venomous. I observed that the snakes did not seem to be interested in me; they were moving very slowly. I realized that because I was literally pulsing with the mantra, I was in tune with nature and I did not pose a threat to them nor they to me.  I took tiny and slow steps, gently moving among them until I had passed through. 
 

Port Douglas, Australia

Taking the support of the Guru and the Siddha Yoga teachings throughout this pandemic, I can continue to thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I am grateful for Gurumayi’s teachings of hope and practicality. I hold onto the image of the turtle floundering on its back. To me the turtle’s position represents our upside-down world. The turtle has faith that someone will come along and return it to its upright position. The significance for me is that the turtle believes in and will continue to believe in the support of the universe. This is the philosophy that I choose to embrace as well. We are loved and blessed. We will survive.
 

Pennsylvania, United States

In her talk Gurumayi spoke about the blessings of being in solitude. I have experienced this in my life. Now that I am working from home and gaining one hour by not commuting, I organized my schedule to correspond with that of the Ashram.
 
I recite Shri Guru Gita in the morning; I read Jnaneshvari, taking in each word as if it were a drop of nectar; and in my meditations I have become focused and one-pointed. When it’s time to do my work, I consider it “seva time.”
 
What a blessing that in these uncertain times, in the middle of Manhattan, amidst the sound of ambulance sirens all day and night, sheltering in place has become sheltering in my own inner Self.  
 

New York, United States

I was deeply moved when Gurumayi emphasized our unity as the human race.
 
I also took to heart Gurumayi's encouragement to concentrate on our breathing, and I have been practicing it all day. It calmed my body and mind, and I noticed how my sight became sharper and clearer.
 

St. Laurent, Canada

What a profound talk!
 
With Gurumayi’s guidance, I looked within myself to recognize my qualities. I saw that I feel protected, strong, and loved. This realization gives me the power to overcome my fears and my negative thoughts, and to rejoice in my own Self as well as in others.
 

Naples, Italy

Listening to Gurumayi speak about cultivating detachment, I examined my own life and recognized how sensitive I am to both praise and criticism, how my own opinion of myself depends on that of others.
 
Gurumayi’s words about detachment and growing a “thick skin” are so inspiring and freeing for me!
 
I will no longer use outer approval as my compass for what is right. I will not gauge my goodness or my worth by what kind of feedback I am getting. I will listen to my intuition and not be overwhelmed by the currents of praise and criticism. 
 

Purkersdorf, Austria

Gurumayi’s teaching in her talk “Employing the Virtues” about using this time to do the practices really resonated with me. It’s been four weeks of staying at home so far, and I’m finding myself living more in the present moment than at any other time in my life.

I enjoy spending time outside watching the clouds, the birds in our garden, and just being with myself. The mantra rises spontaneously as I breathe, as do feelings of tremendous gratitude that my family and I are happy, healthy, and protected by the Guru.

I find myself eagerly looking forward to lights out each night because I’ve started the new (for me) practice of sitting for meditation before going to sleep. I affirm the virtues that Gurumayi has taught, repeat the mantra with my breath, and as a result, wake up each morning refreshed and ready to enjoy each new day and whatever it brings.

I feel the Guru's protection very strongly; what more do I need?

Florida, United States

Hearing Gurumayi’s talk today made me realize how grateful I am to have Siddha Yoga in my life. The Guru’s teachings have been the backbone of my sadhana, keeping me aligned with the purpose of my life: to be the light. Being at the Temple via these live video streams is a true gift.

I learned so many things from Gurumayi’s talk today: Accept the situation. Be responsible and follow the safety-related instructions. Stop the drama; it doesn’t help you or anyone around you. Keep up the discipline with your practices. Take refuge in the mantra. Take this opportunity to advance spiritually. Instead of losing yourself in the negativities outside, go within and find inner peace.

California, United States

Gurumayi’s talk today, on Easter Sunday, strengthened me in my body  and mind. Every day now at home, we chant the Arati and meditate. In the morning we listen to Baba reciting Shri Guru Gita.

A month ago I felt the anxiety of approaching sickness in my body. With the help of hearing Gurumayi’s talks via the live video streams, a lot of sleep, really healthy food, and being unafraid to go within, I slowly recovered. I still don't know whether I had the coronavirus, but what is certain is that I lost my fear of the virus completely. It vanished! I feel that chanting with Gurumayi at home every day made my lungs heal completely.

Today, during Gurumayi’s talk “Employing the Virtues,” I felt her affirmation beaming through me. I am so grateful to have Gurumayi in my life!
 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

I love being in this special retreat time, with so much free time. It is a blessing, and I have released so many restricting qualities during this time. I rise before sunrise to nourish myself with breathing practices: inhaling Hari Om Tat Sat into the central channel, pausing, breathing out Hari Om Tat Sat, and pausing again. This practice prepares me for a long meditation.

I'm also taking online yoga classes and eating with more awareness. I feel happier, healthier, calmer, and more contented, joyful, and peaceful than I have in years. The magic of Siddha Yoga is a divine nectar that fills my vessel daily.

I am grateful for Gurumayi’s grace, love, and support. I will use this time well.
 

Washington, United States

After Gurumayi’s talk “Employing the Virtues,” I realized that it is time for me to live like a Siddha, to think like a Siddha, to act like a Siddha, to feel like a Siddha. Fear is not holding me back from realizing my own true nature, which is sat-chit-ananda. After so many years of sadhana, I feel strong enough to stay clear and centered in the temple, the temple of my heart.
 
My heart is beating in the same rhythm as Gurumayi’s heart—the rhythm of love and the Truth.

Thun, Switzerland

I am so grateful to Gurumayi for this beautiful and profound talk. During this global health crisis, I have felt some high anxiety—and some peace and
contentment. It has been difficult for me to pause the advocacy work I do in the world.
 
Gurumayi’s teachings remind me that this is a time of “rebirth and renewal,” that our planet Earth benefits from the reduction in human impact, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even in this dark place there is peace to be experienced, love to be shared, hope and faith to hold onto, and support to give. There are new ideas to spread and ways to lift up others. There is a Self that loves and nourishes.

New York, United States

It is my secret wish that all humanity could hear Shri Gurumayi's talk “Employing the Virtues.” Her profound truths are spoken with total clarity. 
 
As I read Gurumayi's words about seeds and the grace of a garden flowing forth, I looked over at a lovely floral bouquet  nearby that is vibrant with color. My thoughts turned to the seed at the center of my heart chakra, the anahata chakra. I realized that if I stay connected with my heart, the peace of this seed can flourish and flow forth. This is how I can “touch” others at this time. 
 
Mahalo for these teachings and the gift of remembrance.

Hawaii, United States

On this truly remarkable Easter Sunday morning, a light and purifying rain fell in my neighborhood throughout the satsang, despite sunshine having been forecast. At the end of Gurumayi’s talk, a group of crows—in a straight line, one behind the other—passed just outside my window, heading due east in the direction of Shree Muktananda Ashram.  As I write these words, a small bird is dancing on the sill, lightly pecking at the glass pane.
 
I am profoundly fortunate to have been brought to this great path of Siddha Yoga, to the feet of the great ones, to have received shaktipat, and to continue to bathe in Gurumayi’s teachings. Her words are a healing balm, conveying the texture, color, and feeling of their meaning; I experience them as conscious energy, as golden arrows dipped in elixir which always find their mark.  
 
I feel deep gratitude for all that Gurumayi does to keep our inner flame alive and to keep our focus on sadhana and the virtues.

Calfornia, United States

This talk, “Employing the Virtues,” gives me the understanding of the greatness of Gurumayi's vision, which encompasses all humanity, the whole planet, and the universe in its entirety. It really helps me to open a wider window on my mind and emotions, with greater compassion toward myself and others.
 
I am grateful to Gurumayi for her steady and strong guidance, which I view as an expression of her infinite love for us all.

Rome, Italy

A few nights ago, I dreamt that I was walking in a beautiful garden, where many animals were all looking intently at Gurumayi as she walked toward us. When Gurumayi reached us, I realized that my body was visibly muscular and strong. Next thing I knew, an ill-intentioned person came along. In real life, I have martial arts training and feel capable of defending myself. But in my dream, none of the blows I’d learned had any effect. Gurumayi then began to instruct me how to effectively defend myself until the threat was gone.  
 
On waking, I found this dream to be very odd. Why would Gurumayi teach me how to defend myself against a physical threat? Now I know!  Gurumayi was teaching me what to do when strength and toughness are appropriate, and how to use the right skills at the right time to best meet a challenging situation.  
 
My gratitude to Gurumayi—for instructing me so meticulously on how to live a great life no matter what the circumstances—is boundless.

West Vancouver, Canada

There were so many pearls in Gurumayi's talk today! One teaching stood out for me, because of a longstanding practice of mine that has helped me over the years to turn negative feelings into a positive. I use an acronym that I once learned when I was in great fear about something. It is F-E-A-R, which stands for “False Evidence, Appearing Real.”
 
When I discover I am having fearful thoughts, I stop myself and remind myself that fear is not what is happening in the moment; only my thoughts are. Next, I turn the fearful thoughts to a positive—to gratitude—and then I start listing all the things I am grateful for in my life. Doing this completely annihilates my fear.
 
Gurumayi's talk reminded me how blessed I am to be on this path and to receive Gurumayi's grace and teachings.

California, United States

Participating in this Easter Sunday satsang has been completely invigorating and healing to me, and has warmed up my soul. Gurumayi’s astonishing talk is pure, life-giving medicine and a historical treasure for all of us. 
 
I feel so incredibly lucky and happy to let my being embrace Gurumayi’s teachings in this talk. With immense gratitude, I am ready to serve and honor humanity.

New York, United States