Thursday, October 29, 2020
How honored I have felt to fulfill Gurumayi Chidvilasananda’s request to be a teacher for the Svādhyāya Study Sessions. All of you who have participated in Gurumayi’s satsangs and Shaktipat Intensives, whether in Siddha Yoga Ashrams or on any of the tour stops on Gurumayi’s Teachings Visits around the world, will know that she always emphasizes both the significance and the great fruits of regularly performing the Siddha Yoga practices, such as svādhyāya.
I feel that for the last two months, we’ve all been in the “svādhyāya zone.” This could not have been more important because the world, as you know, has been in utter frenzy—and we’ve all been caught up in it. We have been teetering on the edge of life and death as we attempt to navigate the pandemic and the lockdowns, political upheaval, and the many ways that our lives are being upended. To be alive at this time is to have a tragic story. We have lost innumerable loved ones; too many amazing lives, too many stories, have been cut short.
Receiving Gurumayi’s prasad of continuing to learn about the great Self, the supreme Self, the immortal Self, for the last many weeks is therefore truly uplifting. In this unpredictable time, we have been able to cultivate profound knowledge and gather sacred energies within our being. We can take great pride in knowing that because of the Siddha Yoga teachings, we have learned how to use our time and our faculties optimally in this world.
As the Managing Director and teacher for the Svādhyāya Study Sessions, I am extremely pleased that so many of you made time and created space to participate in these sessions. Each week you applied yourselves to study and to refining your practice of Shrī Guru Gītā. I recommend that you thank yourself and those who encouraged you to participate.
I also wish to thank you for the steadfastness and dedication you demonstrated. I know that those of you who had already been regularly reciting Shrī Guru Gītā—some of you for forty-plus years!—took to heart my advice to approach this practice anew. I commend you for bringing your “beginner’s mind” and a spirit of receptivity to learning about the various aspects of svādhyāya. Moreover, one of the things that greatly pleases a teacher is when students ask pertinent, probing, and carefully considered questions. You did exactly that—sending in questions to me that were insightful and practical, and which indicated that you were contemplating what would best support your Siddha Yoga sādhanā.
From these focused study sessions, you must have recognized how important it is to make time to study, understand, and apply your blossoming knowledge to your engagement with each Siddha Yoga practice. Do continue your study and keep visiting the Siddha Yoga path website. The more you sharpen your intellect, the more your knowledge nourishes you and those around you. It is, after all, spiritual nourishment, nourishment of the soul, that heals this world.
Managing Director for Svādhyāya Study Sessions
Since participating in the Svadhyaya
Study Sessions, my experience of daily recitation of Shri Guru Gita
has risen to a new level. My posture is more upright and steady, my gaze flows smoothly from verse to verse, and pronouncing the mantras more accurately fills me with a sense of focus and centeredness.
I feel blessed and deeply grateful for these sessions!
California, United States
I am grateful to Swami Akhandananda for his joyous presentations that guided us to deepen and perfect the sacred practice of svadhyaya
. These teachings are taking my practice of svadhyaya
to a new level. It is so great to bring new understanding to this practice, which contributes to the healing of our world. May the practices of our worldwide Siddha Yoga community be a powerful force to bring this world back into balance.
New Jersey, United States
As I recite Shri Guru Gita
, I focus on the practice of breathing—on expelling all the air before inhaling new air for the recitation of the next verse. All time falls away. I am so grateful for this life-giving practice!
In my daily life, I am so drained from the work I do. But I take time to rejuvenate myself, to dive deeply into Shri Guru Gita,
so that I am new again and able to serve my young students with love and enthusiasm. It is the Guru’s grace that I feel is pouring through me. But I must keep myself connected, do my part, be present.
Massachusetts, United States
Seven divine pearls, strung together by Swami ji’s devoted and dedicated heart and deep knowledge of the Self and infused by the compassionate grace of our Guru.
Every week, a new session has reawakened us to an essential step that unlocks and enlivens the study of the Self. We have been given study tools and have learned how to apply them. We have been awakened to our light and desire to keep engaging in the practice.
I’m filled with deep gratitude for this tremendous gift and filled with fortitude to let it propel my sadhana
I am grateful to Gurumayi and Swami Akhandananda for these divine Svadhyaya
Study Sessions. Reciting Shri Guru Gita
has been my deeply loved practice for thirty-three years. Now this practice has been clearly renewed, and it keeps unfolding like fresh, new, pristine buds and leaves. I hope and pray that this divine shakti
spreads out to the entire world.
This beautifully written letter from Swami Akhandananda contains a satisfying balance between recognizing the difficult situation our world is in and acknowledging the great gift of the Siddha Yoga path. I plan to return to these sessions time and again to refresh my practice and renew my sense of being “a new student,” no matter how many years I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita
Colorado, United States
In these sessions, many of my questions and quandaries have been answered. Following Swami ji’s instructions, my posture, pronunciation, and breathing have improved significantly. And in learning about the character of each chakra
, its location and qualities, I am gaining a better understanding of myself.
Study Sessions were a magnificent gift. For me the lessons were uplifting, insightful, inspiring, motivating, nourishing, reassuring, supportive, and delightful. They served as gentle reminders of the essential practices that reveal the light and power of Shri Guru Gita.
I was very impressed with the depth and quality of the teaching content and presentation during each session. I loved that all my specific questions were answered without my needing to ask them. I always felt supported as I learned how to re-align my practice of svadhyaya
toward the inner Self.
California, United States
I am very grateful to have participated in these Svadhyaya
Study Sessions. During these difficult days, they helped me focus on the Truth and cultivate inner strength.
New York, United States
This morning as I sat in meditation, I experienced the fruits of having participated in these Study Sessions: a profound, loving connection with the Guru and the teachings, and an ocean of peace which satisfied all my prayers and affirmations.
May our affirmations continue to be revealed and bring peace to everyone!
California, United States
Study Sessions have been Gurumayi's prasad
for me! Each session was infused with Swami Akhandananda’s great knowledge and love. The sessions transformed my experience of reciting Shri Guru Gita
California, United States
My husband and I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita
almost daily this year and offering blessings to the world from the sacred space within. Now, practicing what we have learned in the Svadhyaya
Study Sessions, I feel that our ability to offer blessings has been greatly amplified. And while we mostly offer blessings to others, my husband and I are also becoming stronger and more resilient and pure.
Maryland, United States
My heart is filled with deep gratitude and love for the way these Study Sessions have renewed and energized my commitment to, and love for, svadhyaya
. What a sweet word it has become for me!
A seed of eagerness and enthusiasm has been planted within me to not just read the precious teachings I have received, but to really imbibe and assimilate them. Just as I know and can feel when the sun is shining, I have the same certainty that by daily reciting the sacred text of Shri Guru Gita
, we do make a huge difference in the world. Waves of love, light, and peace will surely find their destination.
I feel very grateful for the perfect gift of the Svadhyaya
Study Sessions. Focusing my attention on refining my pronunciation, breathing, posture, and the other elements of svadhyaya
felt almost like the very opposite of worrying! Swami Akhandananda’s magnetic way of teaching, of guiding us to perceive ever more and to connect with our insights never failed to bring me back to the Self and to remember the Truth despite the intensity of these times.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to participate in such uplifting study sessions.
New York, United States
This sincere and heartfelt letter is so full of love and gratitude that it immediately connected me with my own love and gratitude for the amazing lessons we had in the seven Svadhyaya
They gave me a new and deeper awareness of how to recite Shri Guru Gita.
Incorporating those elements we focused on in each weekly session into my own practice was delightful and full of new discoveries.
Florida, United States
I really want to thank Gurumayi for the Svadhyaya
Study Sessions. They have renewed my approach to and understanding of Shri Guru Gita.
Even though I’ve recited this text for many years, it seems to me that now I understand more deeply the power, the beauty, and the impact on myself and the world when I recite it. I also appreciated Swami Akhandananda’s welcoming attitude, his clear exposition, and how much he cared about our learning.
My heart is full of gratitude for this precious gift, especially during this challenging period.
I have been so nourished by the “Be in the Temple” satsangs
earlier this year; they gave me the impetus to study svadhyaya
. While I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita
on and off for many years, and have always found that it has profound benefits, it had never been my favorite practice.
However, I found the successive Study Sessions on posture, pronunciation, gaze, breath, listening, and the mind were masterfully done. All the questions I’d had for years were answered in a way that gave me room to explore this practice at my own pace. While I am not yet at a level of proficiency that feels automatic, I now have created a course of study for myself that is doable. And to my surprise, svadhyaya
has become a practice I look forward to every morning!
I am grateful for the wisdom, attention to detail, and love that went into these Svadhyaya
Study Sessions. They are very much appreciated.
Wisconsin, United States
The gratitude expressed in this letter humbles me. I am so grateful to Swami Akhandananda for his focused understanding and ability to communicate these subtle teachings with such clarity. From the first moment that he said the word svadhyaya
with so much joy and respect, I knew that we were in for an opportunity to imbibe profound teachings.
I am now reciting several verses of Shri Guru Gita
each morning and I repeat my affirmations throughout the day as I walk my dog in the beauty of fall's colors, crunching the leaves underfoot—God's sound effects!
I have had the privilege of reciting Shri Guru Gita
for forty years and these Study Sessions have opened me to greater understanding and the heart-expanding gift of gratitude to the Siddha Yoga Gurus.
Michigan, United States
I am very grateful for the beautiful prasad
from Gurumayi in the form of the Svadhyaya
Study Sessions. Participating in them gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the spirit of Shri Guru Gita
. These opportunities have been truly uplifting by enhancing my connection to my inner Self.
The sessions encouraged me to take a renewed approach to svadhyaya
, and kept my heart comforted, knowing that the Guru is always protecting and guiding me. The alternative ways that were suggested for reciting Shri Guru Gita
were very helpful. So now, even if I can't recite the whole text in the morning or during the day, I am very much drawn to studying it at night.
series has been an authentic initiation for me to the recitation of Shri Guru Gita.
The Study Sessions have led me to the precious gift of discipline in sadhana
that I was waiting for, so that I could engage in the regular practice of this sacred text. A new door is now open for me to experience my own Self through the recitation of Shri Guru Gita.
Week after week Swami Akhandananda has been a precious beacon, embodying kindness, generosity, and the other virtues that Gurumayi teaches.
I am very grateful to Gurumayi for the invaluable teachings she imparts to us so that we can become imbued with the wisdom of the ancient texts.
It has been so great following the Svadhyaya
Study Sessions. As I am new to the Siddha Yoga path and have no local Siddha Yoga network to turn to, it seems very important to be taught how to do the practices properly. And I am so very grateful that these sessions did just that.
This letter brought tears to my eyes, for Swami ji is thanking me
when I feel such gratitude to him
! These sessions have created a series of great, wonderful satsangs.
I once again felt like a student in the gurukula
. My sadhana
has been refreshed and strengthened by participating in these Study Sessions.
Florida, United States
I am so grateful for this series of study sessions. They have been invaluable in energizing my sadhana
by helping me let go of the tentacles of worldly distraction. Since beginning to recite Shri Guru Gita
daily, I feel that my connection with the Guru has been renewed. I feel freshly motivated and committed to my spiritual path.
California, United States
study sessions have had a profound impact on my sadhana
. Although I've struggled in the past with maintaining my focus, especially while reciting Shri Guru Gita
, I found each week that the sessions took me deeper in my understanding and helped me build a strong framework, which I can build upon for years to come. I am experiencing more focus and expanded awareness, both in my spiritual practices and in my daily life.
I’m very grateful to Swami ji for his detailed, compassionate, and masterful teaching. Each session has shown me how deeply Gurumayi loves and supports me, and all of us, in our lives of sadhana
For me, these sessions have been a gift from the wish-fulfilling tree.
Minnesota, United States
I am filled with gratitude for the study sessions with Swami Akhandananda. Learning about the chakras has enhanced my spiritual practice and encouraged me to study further. The structure and beauty of the seven study sessions has inspired me to go back and read them again and again. I intend to continue to recite Shri Guru Gita
regularly, now with greater understanding.
Oregon, United States