January 6, 2017
I feel like wishing you a happy new year again, and again, and again. That’s how exciting this new year is; that’s how electric it is; that’s how full of grace it is, how laden with blessings. When I think about the last few days on the Siddha Yoga path, something in me goes soft; I get in touch with a tenderness that lies deep inside. Gurumayi has guided us so lovingly—so compassionately—as we’ve moved from twenty-sixteen to twenty-seventeen.
We’ve received Gurumayi’s Season’s Greetings and her holiday gift to us on the Siddha Yoga path website. These gifts have refreshed our awareness of how significant this season is. We’ve participated with Gurumayi in a live video stream satsang, where together we danced—literally and figuratively—into two thousand and seventeen. And, with hands cupped in anjali mudra, we’ve accepted Gurumayi’s incredible gift to us on New Year’s Day: A Sweet Surprise Satsang.
It’s tricky, sometimes, to find the right words to respond to such abundance. How do we give adequate expression to all that we’re feeling within—this sense that we’re positively soaring with happiness, that we’re bubbling over with gratitude?
Fortunately, there’s one phrase that rises to my lips, a phrase I’ve loved ever since I was old enough to pronounce it, a phrase that gorgeously distills our shared sentiments: Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay. Hail to the true Guru. I want to sing this salutation— Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!—over and again, to express my thanks, the thanks of the global Siddha Yoga sangham, and the thanks of all the new seekers, for Gurumayi’s darshan and teachings.
As the Shivastotravali, a great text in the Sanskrit language, says:
In the presence of my Master,
Repository of the most magnificent wealth,
Let me relish the nectar
Of chanting glorifications again and again.1
Like many of you, I received Gurumayi’s Message for 2017 on New Year’s Day in A Sweet Surprise Satsang.
Gurumayi’s Message for 2017 is
I participated in A Sweet Surprise in Shri Nilaya in Shree Muktananda Ashram. I can still recall what the atmosphere in the hall was like when everyone received Gurumayi’s Message. The stillness in the air; the smiles on people’s faces when they felt Gurumayi speaking to them, or laughing with them; the way their eyes widened, in wonder, when Gurumayi gave the first line of her Message, and then the second and the third.
After the satsang concluded, Gurumayi invited participants to share their experiences. One of the participants, a musician, shared that he was captivated by the form through which Gurumayi conveyed her Message. “I really felt as if I was listening to a piece of music,” he said, “the way it unfolded in a symmetrical fashion. And much like great music, I felt that it was both so simple and so complex.”
When I heard his extraordinary description, something clicked in my mind. I understood even more clearly than before that Gurumayi’s Message is for everyone. It is for you. It is for me. It is for people from all walks of life, and it will mean something unique and beautiful to each one of us.
A musician will be drawn to the rhythm and structure of Gurumayi’s Message, and to what this says about the meaning of Gurumayi’s teaching. A scholar will eagerly explore and unearth the treasures—the “subliminal messages”—hidden deep inside each phrase of Gurumayi’s Message and each cadence of Gurumayi’s music. A homemaker, upon hearing Gurumayi’s voice, will experience greater connection with their home duties and purpose in life. An aviator will experience that they are flying on the wings of grace. A little child will want their parents to sing the mantra to them before they go to sleep each night. And a young adult—say, a twenty-five-year-old with a penchant for writing—will learn that she can find what she is looking for right where she is, by being true to herself.
During this first month of the year, allow Gurumayi’s entire Message to become embedded in your being. Memorize Gurumayi’s Message, so that every time you breathe in and breathe out, the Message is emerging and dissolving on your breath, illuminating your intellect and your understanding. When you do this, you will be so in touch with yourself that you begin to notice a shift in your surroundings. Things that you see every day, activities you partake in all the time, take on new meaning. A glass of water is suddenly more refreshing, more delicious. The trees outside your home seem greener, more vivid—and the curve of their branches more elegant. You transcend the mirage, and you start to see the Consciousness that is in everything.
You may have already begun practicing Gurumayi’s Message—and with this letter, I encourage you to continue. Make a resolution to practice this Message. Practice it with zeal and with earnestness; practice it, in short, with passion. You might establish a set way of practicing Gurumayi’s Message—your “go-to” method, if you will. And throughout the year, you may also discover plenty of new ways to put Gurumayi’s Message into action in your life.
One way I know I’ll be practicing Gurumayi’s Message is by participating again in A Sweet Surprise. The satsang will be available on the Siddha Yoga path website until February 28. When I think about how so many of us will be participating for the second, third, fourth time in this satsang, I can’t help but feel excited. Think of all the new insights we’ll come to each time we participate—all the things we’ll learn about ourselves, all the ways we’ll refine our understanding of our world.
In the days around the New Year, Gurumayi introduced some of the themes and practices we’ll be exploring in 2017. You might recall them. The honoring of Lord Shiva, for example, as the golden column of light. The worship of the Lord through recitation of Shri Rudram. The study and use of amber, a tree resin that comes in shades ranging from honey-brown to fiery red to fluorescent green and blue.
There’s a beautiful link between scriptural texts and natural elements, and they both hold great value on the Siddha Yoga path. When we study the texts, and when we protect and responsibly utilize the natural elements, we not only further our own sadhana—we preserve the treasures we’ve received. We honor what we have been given, both by the great sages of yore and by mother Earth herself. We participate in a beautiful bond of respect and love, a bond that has sustained humankind through the ages and that is to be nurtured for eternity.
Throughout 2017, the Siddha Yoga path website will support you as you study these themes related to Gurumayi’s Message. Many of you have already come to recognize the value of the website, the Universal Hall. It is here, on the website, that you find Gurumayi’s teachings in myriad forms—through words, music, images, videos. It is here that you can also read the experiences that seekers just like you are having as they pursue sadhana. So do keep visiting regularly. It's a big year we have ahead of us.
In the next few weeks of January alone, we will be celebrating two holidays on the Siddha Yoga path. Tomorrow, on January 7, we have the forty-fifth anniversary of the day Baba Muktananda established the morning recitation of Shri Guru Gita as part of the Ashram Daily Schedule. One week later, January 14, is the celebration of Makara Sankranti, when the deity of the Sun, Surya Devata, begins his journey in the northern direction.
So this is an auspicious month. As is the next month, and the one after that. Truly speaking, each month on the Siddha Yoga path is auspicious. Each day is auspicious; each moment, even. For in each moment we have the opportunity to come to a new awareness about our sadhana—to recommit to our spiritual practice, to bring even more passion to our pursuits on this path.
May our sadhana in the year twenty seventeen scintillate with the beauty and strength of our self-effort. And may we experience gratitude for the Guru’s grace night and day.
Siddha Yoga Student