When I was still new to the practices of the Siddha Yoga path, I traveled to Shree Muktananda Ashram in the summer of 1986 for my first overnight stay. Early in the morning in the dorm room where I was sleeping, I could hear the faint rustle of my roommates rising and preparing to leave. Then, no sound and the quiet of my sleep.
Suddenly I heard Gurumayi’s voice speak firmly and directly to me. In my dream-like state, I saw Gurumayi standing at the foot of my bed. Gathered around her were five young girls, dressed beautifully. Gurumayi said, “Dianne, get up and go to the Guru Gita.” It was vivid and real—not like a dream at all. I woke up, got dressed, and went right away to the Shakti Mandap where Shri Guru Gita was to be recited. Shortly after I sat down and prepared for the recitation, Gurumayi entered the hall accompanied by the young girls appearing just as they had in my dream. I was seated in the middle of the hall—some distance from the front. After Gurumayi took her seat, she turned and glanced at me, as if the dream was continuing. I felt that her look said, “Good. You are here.”
After that morning, I embraced the recitation of Shri Guru Gita as one of my main Siddha Yoga practices. Because the pronunciation of the syllables of the text was challenging for me, every day I would practice repeating one verse with an audio or video tape of Gurumayi. I would repeat the syllables of the verse over and over until I felt confident in its recitation. The process of studying the pronunciation of the entire text of Shri Guru Gita took about one year.
Since that time, more than twenty years ago, I have made it my practice to recite Shri Guru Gita, with very few exceptions, every day of my life. At the conclusion of the recitation each day, I have a feeling of centeredness and being grounded in the present moment. The light of my inner being is ignited and shining brightly, and it directs me through the rest of my day. On the days when I am teaching a dance class, or conducting a rehearsal, or preparing for a performance, I make a special effort to recite Shri Guru Gita, even when it might be challenging to make space in my schedule.
For example, sometimes I have to leave home at 3 a.m. to catch a plane. Once we are airborne, I take out my pocket-size Shri Guru Gita from my purse (I carry the text in my purse at all times) and recite the scripture. I recite either in a quiet voice or internally, depending on how many people are around me, their proximity, and the level of noise from the plane’s engines. Afterward I close my eyes and absorb the vibration of the recitation. By the time the plane lands, I am prepared to step out the exit door feeling clear, open, and grounded, ready to perform my work.
Sometimes during a flight, people ask me about the book I am reading so intently. I speak with them about the Siddha Yoga path. In this way, I’m able to share with them the gift of the Guru’s teachings and the grace that has been invoked by the recitation.
Because of my traveling lifestyle, I recite Shri Guru Gita in many different settings. When I am by myself, at home, or on the road, I recite Shri Guru Gita a cappella. This gives me the opportunity to focus on the lilt, rhythm, appearance, and sound of each syllable, which helps keep my mind steady. At the local Siddha Yoga meditation center, we recite in a call-and-response fashion. During the verses when I am not chanting, I focus on the English translation of the words and become absorbed in their meaning for me in that moment.
At times when I have had the opportunity to recite Shri Guru Gita with Gurumayi and the sangham of Siddha Yogis, the meaning of the words enters my heart directly. I am chanting about the Guru in the presence of the Guru, and everything that Shri Guru Gita expounds about the state of the Guru and where the Guru takes us as seekers, is all happening in the moment.
One such opportunity took place in 2013, when the Siddha Yoga path website hosted a Shri Guru Gita Recitation Satsang via live audio stream with Gurumayi. I had arranged to receive the live stream broadcast with my mother in the living room. She was ninety-six at the time. When the verses began and the resonance of Gurumayi’s voice entered the room, my mother closed her eyes and went into a deep state of stillness. At the conclusion of the recitation, she opened her eyes and appeared invigorated and full of joy. I was deeply moved that my mother had received the Guru’s blessings by the grace of Shri Guru Gita that day.
Through the many years and countless recitations of Shri Guru Gita, I experience a constant and deep connection to my Guru. I remain forever grateful to Gurumayi for waking me up on that auspicious summer morning and giving me the gift of the “Song of the Guru.”