Sunday, September 6, 2020

Dear readers,

Namaste.

After you received the wonderful and informative letter yesterday from Rohini Menon, who was formerly the Managing Director for the “Be in the Temple” satsangs, you must have been anticipating what I, Swami Akhandananda, the newly appointed Managing Director for live video streams on the Siddha Yoga path website, might have to share with you.

I hope I succeeded in putting a smile on your face with my introduction. Let me share why I used the phrase put a smile on your face. I’ve been smiling ever since I received shaktipat from Baba Muktananda when I was a teenager. And I know that many, many, many of you have also received shaktipat from our Siddha Yoga Gurus, and I often think of how your beautiful and electric smiles are illuminating this world.

Speaking about smiles—some of you may have read Gurumayi’s book of poems, Smile, Smile, Smile, or listened to her audio recording of these poems. I highly recommend that you study this wisdom once again during these uncertain times. Rediscover how these poems draw you into your heart and bring greater light to your perception of life.

Each week, in my role as Managing Director, I will communicate to you the topic of the live video stream that you are invited to participate in that week. These live video streams will be educational in nature—they will be study sessions. And it is my honor to share with you that Gurumayi has given a title that will motivate all of us to study even more:

स्वाध्याय

Svādhyāya

You will learn more about the meaning of this title, “Svadhyaya,” in the weekly study sessions.

The SYDA Foundation will be holding the first study session of “Svadhyaya” on Saturday, September 12—via live video stream in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall. I’ll be giving you more details about this study session, including the time, in a subsequent communication.

As all of you are well aware, you have been making efforts to abide by a great two-word phrase during the pandemic: stay safe. Throughout 2020, Stay safe has been a mandate from many governments around the world to their citizens. And these two words have given rise to different emotions and reactions; they’ve brought to light the love-hate relationship that people have with staying home and keeping physical distance from one another, with being out of work (and the effect that has on their livelihood), with children not being in school, and so on and so forth. Astronomical numbers of people have needed to upend their lives in response to the governmental orders and protections. Some people have been able to get by fairly well during this time, and even make it productive and fruitful; however, not everyone has had the resources to overcome the various challenges that have appeared before them, seemingly out of the blue.

In the face of all this, what shall we do, as students on the Siddha Yoga path?

Regardless of the intensity of our current circumstances, and the unyielding grip the pandemic has had on our lives, we must recall Gurumayi’s teaching: “Make the best of every situation.” Just this year, Gurumayi has said that we may hold these two words—stay safe—as a dear affirmation. By thinking to yourself and saying to one another, “Stay safe,” you affirm that your life—and the lives of others—are endowed with the blessedness of safety. You invite safety and security into everyone’s life.

Stay safe, everyone!

Let me conclude by sharing a pun to brighten your smile:

A question to ponder: What is the longest word in the English language?

The answer is smiles. Because there is a mile between its first and last letters!

With warm regards,

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Swami Akhandananda
Managing Director for Study Sessions
SYDA Foundation