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Chinese New Year 2021: The Year of the Ox

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I am so grateful for this beautiful story. For me, it speaks to a heavy weight I feel I've been carrying recently. Seeing that the power of kindness can lighten even the heaviest load, I realized how important it is to treat not just others, but also myself, with kindness.

Melbourne, Australia

The teachings in the story about the power of words helped me reconnect to a space of love and gentleness. Before reading the story, I had been considering speaking harsh words in response to a difficult situation. As I read the story, I recognized that harsh words would only make the situation worse and feed my own sense of injustice. There was such grace in this experience; it enabled me to drop the harshness, to feel at ease within myself, and to look at how I could approach the situation differently.

Havant, United Kingdom

The story is especially meaningful to me as I celebrate the year I was born, the Year of the Ox. I have experienced the power of words both personally, from a young age, and in my work as a counselor, where I support clients to reframe words in a positive way. This story affirms my purpose in knowing myself and in supporting others.

Florida, United States

As I read this wonderful story and looked at the beautiful illustrations, I felt my heart resonate with hope, courage, and awe. As I reflect on my own words, I can see that each word is a possibility.

California, United States

I reflected on how this story relates to my service to the world. I currently work with people who want to get stronger and feel better. The approach I usually take is one of lightness and yet concentration and precision. Sometimes I notice myself getting frustrated with my clients. However, when I am very supportive, positive, and kind and hold the belief that they can feel better and become stronger step-by-step, the outcome is always better. I am grateful for this sweet reminder!

California, United States

This story of Ilan and his ox warmed my heart and brought back memories of my teaching career in an inner city school.

Most of my students didn’t have the advantages of being brought up in educated families with literary and social advantages. The obstacles to bringing them up to standard could seem overwhelming. As a Siddha Yoga student, I had learned about the power of words and the benefits of kindness. I found that when I offered love and kind words to my students, they responded beyond expectations.  

New York, United States

The familiar warmth that spread across Ilan’s chest like the morning sun entered my heart, stilled my mind, and filled my being with sweet devotion. Reading the story, I understood that love is the power behind kind words; such a power can move mountains. I will carry the blessing of Manraj into this Chinese Year of the Ox and apply it to my own life and relationships.

Washington, United States

When I read the title of this story, “Manraj the Ox & the Strength of Words,” I was immediately drawn into reading this story. For it is because of the power of words that I am experiencing a number of unexpected challenges right now.
As I read how Ilan began to doubt and fear that Manraj could not pull the immense load, I too was filled with doubt and fear, even though I knew what Ilan did not know: that Manraj was an enlightened Bodhisattva. After Manraj’s second plan succeeded, Ilan asked Manraj how he did it. As I read the words Manraj spoke, "Kind words ignite the invincible love of the soul and can bring about miracles,” I felt a shift inside myself. I felt strength and calmness. I understood that I can be the miracle. And as I face challenges, miracles can happen.

Massachusetts, United States

This story reminded me of how important it is to speak sweetly and supportively to myself. Recently I have been experiencing a stressful situation. I’ve been worried about it and also impatient with myself for being worried! After reading this story, I was inspired to have a talk with myself. The calm, wise part of myself talked to the worried part and said many soothing and practical things as well as heartfelt words of appreciation. And I reminded myself that the Guru’s grace and protection are always with me.
The “load” I have been carrying has felt too heavy, just like it was for Manraj when Ilan wasn’t speaking sweetly to him. Now I am encouraged by seeing—and practicing—how my perception of the “load” can change when I speak to myself with kindness and encouragement, the way Ilan learned to do with Manraj.
I am grateful to Gurumayi for giving me the perfect teaching for this moment in my life.

California, United States

I read this marvelous story during a pause between teaching students. My heart rang with the truth of this tale. The young people I teach remain committed to their education, despite times which can seem like shouldering slabs of slate. To be able to shine encouragement on their endeavors is, to me, a privilege and a sacred responsibility. When I see the sun glow from their brows, just like Manraj in the story, I remember who I truly serve.

London, United Kingdom

What a simple, magnificent, and helpful tale! As I read it, I watched my heart warm, and tenderness radiate. I let the story expand, empathizing with the characters, feeling the fear of Ilan, the wisdom of Manraj the ox, the encouragement in his words. How often has fear made my words harsh? How many times have I been brought back to my better self by another's kindness, or the life-giving wisdom of the Siddha Yoga teachings?  
Giving thanks for all the words that have helped me so much, I renew my vow to keep my own words likewise: true, helpful, encouraging.  

Washington, United States

This story about the power and strength of words—especially kind words—reminds me of Shri Gurumayi's kind and empowering words of love and encouragement during all the "Be in the Temple" live satsangs in 2020. Her kind words not only helped me to find peace and spiritual inspiration during the pandemic lockdown, but also gave me the strength and courage to return to my professional work.

St. Laurent, Canada

This beautiful story truly warmed my heart. I have experienced the power of words in relating to animals, trees, flowers, and people. If I speak from a place of sincere gratitude, wonder, and love, it is as if the exchange opens, changing dimensions, and I am swept into an expanded dimension. Words truly create "miracles." I am very grateful for this exquisite tale.

Florida, United States

Yesterday at work, one of my staff rushed over to wish me Happy Chinese New Year. It has been a challenging year for our business, because of the impact of COVID-19. In that context this staff member eagerly shared with me the qualities of the ox. We agreed that the ox's great strength and determination were qualities that would support us in moving forward. 
As I read this beautiful story, I connected instantly to the gratitude I have for the Siddha Yoga teachings that have always encouraged me to find kindness in my approach and to remember that the Self exists in all. I look forward to sharing this story with some of my staff, who I know will recognize the gift of grace within the story. For me that grace is the reminder to always lead connected to the redeeming qualities of my true Self, within my heart.    

South Yarra, Australia

I work with children and youth. Lately, I have been contemplating how I approach my work. This story helped me see that kindness and encouragement are just as important as any protocol or technique.

St. Catharines, Canada

When I read this story, I could feel my smile coming through my eyes. Like the good farmer, my heart was warmed by this sweetness.

Idaho, United States

When I read Manraj's explanation to Ilan as to how he was able to pull the heavy load, I was astounded by a wave of gratitude and deep emotion. I felt so connected to Gurumayi in that moment, and I realized that I often forget the impact that my words have on the world around me.
I intend to stay connected to the feeling this story has awakened in me. I am inspired to renew my intention to use loving and supportive words when I speak with my family.

California, United States

This story had a big emotional impact on me! It was alive for me—I felt I was experiencing each character inside my own being. I understood how the gentle virtue of kindness could have a profound effect on my life and the lives of those around me.
Amazingly, the school where I have been working had just introduced the word kindness as the theme for the next two weeks. Staff and students were all encouraged to find ways in which we could practice kindness as the world celebrates Valentine’s Day and the beginning of the Year of the Ox. Reading the story, I felt God was winking at me and encouraging me to bring the practice of kindness into the center of my life.

Vancouver, Canada

This story has truly touched my heart as it illuminates for me the immeasurable power of words. I see that if I am not conscious of my speech, I can spread poison, and yet when I am aware of what I say, I can offer nectar.
I feel deeply blessed to have received the Siddha Yoga mantra, so I can experience the divine upon my tongue.

Florida, United States

The teaching from this story reassures me. I’m grateful for the encouragement to practice using loving, kind, heartfelt words toward everyone and everything.

Missouri, United States