I really loved these words of Gurumayi about compassion. A short while ago I decided not to continue a relationship with someone who I felt had not treated our friendship with respect, who wanted to impose a restraint on me without speaking to me personally about an issue she had.
On reading Gurumayi’s words about compassion when encountering “someone’s ignorance or pain,” I became more fully aware of my need for compassion for this person so that, should we speak again, I will be able to hold compassion in my heart for her.
It’s also a reminder for me that when I feel hurt, offended, or even outraged at another’s behavior toward me, it’s often a wounding in my own heart that I’m railing against. So I need to be compassionate with myself and ask for healing so that I might respond toward others more meaningfully without carrying my own hurt feelings into the conversation.
Recently, my husband and I took an hour-long trip across the city. I was in the back seat with a four-month-old puppy. Ten minutes into the trip, it was clear that the puppy was distressed. It was her first long trip in a car. I tried to calm her but to no avail. Finally, I realized that my soothing attempts were coming from a selfish place—I wanted her to rest so that I could relax.
After I recognized this, I started to look at the puppy’s struggles differently. I could see that she was trying to find a means to calm herself. I also sensed that, as a conscious being, she did have that means within her. So I mentally gave her the space to do this work. Simultaneously, I began to silently repeat the mantra with a clear focus. In less than a minute, the puppy had relaxed. She lay down quietly with her head on my lap. After this experience, I feel that I have learned more about the virtue of compassion.
For many years I have had a strong desire to embrace and develop true compassion. In fact, it has been the overarching intention of my sadhana
. I think this is because I recognize that compassion is a starting place for so many virtues.
Over the years of contemplating compassion, I have discovered that having compassion for myself is the necessary first step. Unless I experience compassion and love for myself, I have found that I cannot truly know how to share that with someone else.
I mention compassion and love in the same breath because, for me, they are so intertwined. When Gurumayi said in the excerpt that Baba’s compassion was “so vast and powerful” that those who were in his presence would enter their own heart, I remembered that it was in Baba’s presence that I first began to know my loving heart.
In my life the Guru’s compassion is vast, miraculous, and incredibly powerful, whether or not it is obvious to me. At times, it is only by looking back into the past that I know: the unfolding of events could have taken place only by the Guru’s compassion. And how many compassionate gifts did I never recognize?
What I understand from Gurumayi’s words is that true compassion requires a deep transformation. So I imagine the Guru, with her powerful compassionate sankalpa, walking in front and leading the way, with all of us following her, each one in his or her own state of ever more maturing compassion.
I believe that our united compassionate efforts can bring about the betterment of all suffering, as well as God-pleasing solutions. May true peace and dharma prevail!
Gurumayi's words about responding to someone’s ignorance with compassion gave me a direct answer to a current dilemma I have. I often become angry when I perceive others to be “wrong.” Now, through the Guru's teaching, without arguing or being condescending, I can practice a different option: compassion. What peace this will bring!
California, United States
These words from Gurumayi show so much compassion; it felt like I was drinking them in! When I practice this virtue, I feel compassion for my world but I also strive not to leave compassion for myself out of the picture.
California, United States
Gurumayi’s words about the compassion of great beings resonated strongly with me, for when I first met Baba in 1981, my heart knew immediately that Baba was the most compassionate human being I could ever have met. And compassion was a virtue that has always meant a lot to me.
I also had to ask myself, “Why is Gurumayi speaking to us about compassion now?” I naturally recalled all the acts of compassion toward Ukraine we are now witnessing, from the generous (and fearless) volunteers who are helping the refugees within and outside of Ukraine, to the millions around the world sending support of many kinds to the Ukrainians. I believe this global outpouring of compassion serves to open even more hearts to “this great virtue” within each of us.
My next question is “How can I do better in manifesting my own compassion in a meaningful and effective way—in my everyday life?” I am very grateful to Gurumayi for turning my attention to this vital question.
Oregon, United States
Gurumayi tells us that “all the great beings say, come into the realm of your heart.” I have experienced this compassion many times through photos of the Siddha Yoga Gurus and in meditation. My longing to cultivate this virtue is increasing as I read this excerpt by Gurumayi ji. She makes such a confident promise, from the Guru to the disciple, that we too “are the owner of this great virtue.”
In response to Gurumayi’s words about compassion, I am challenging myself to meet my own gaze in the mirror and hold it with compassion, knowing full well the words said or unsaid, and the “would’s,” “could’s,” and “should’s” of my relationships. As I do this, I invite them to be included as learnings and lessons of experience for me.
With this practice, I pray that I may meet the differences of others with the compassionate understanding of “There but for the grace of God go I” and see our mutual struggle and humanity.
Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Canada
Yesterday, before reading this beautiful excerpt by Gurumayi, I happened to view one of the rarer images of Baba Muktananda. I was captivated by Baba’s loving eyes and stood gazing at it. It was as though I were enveloped by Baba’s love. In my heart, my experience was as if I were bathing in the ocean of compassion which was streaming forth from Baba’s eyes.
Later on, as I was preparing to sleep at night, I again remembered that rare image of Baba. In my mind, I began to repeat to myself a few lines of Adi Shankaracharya’s hymn to the Guru, Gurorashtakam. This morning, after reading this excerpt from Gurumayi’s book, I once again feel the same strong presence of the Guru’s compassion and protection.
I am very grateful to Gurumayi for her precious teaching on compassion.
Yesterday I came across words from someone living in the Maldive islands south of India, who said that karuna, one of the Sanskrit words for “compassion,” meant “tears” in her language. This resonates with me because tears of compassion come from the heart—the abode of God within.
When I find myself in a challenging situation, I am sometimes concerned that anger may arise. What is wonderful about such situations is seeing that what actually arises in that moment is pure compassion and the desire to say and do only what is kind.
Such is the great transformation that occurs through the grace of Shri Guru.
Arkansas, United States
It has never been easy for me to show compassion. Not because I couldn’t feel it, but because I was afraid that I would slip from compassion into the other’s suffering.
In this excerpt Gurumayi has so compassionately explained what compassion really is. I now understand compassion to be pure love, and I know there is nothing stronger than love. This gives me the confidence and strength to open my heart, to feel compassion, and to trust that my love is stronger than the suffering I see.