Sunday, December 20, 2020

Dear reader,

What a year this has been! No adjective in any dictionary would suffice to describe everything that has been happening in the world. Although an unknown virus has ambushed all of humanity and upended everyone’s lives, what has also caused widespread distress is the fact that not everyone is seeing eye to eye. Even among our family members and loved ones, each person has such a different take on what is really going on with this pandemic that has ravaged so many lives.

However, as Siddha Yogis, we all know one thing with great certainty: we are dedicated to making this world a better paradise. This is what our Guru, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, has been teaching us again and again. And how do we make this a reality? One way is by adhering to the disciplines of Siddha Yoga sadhana.

Yesterday in the Engaging in Shanta-rasa satsang, we heard the teacher, Swami Ishwarananda, say: See you next year! Swami ji said this because yesterday’s satsang was the culminating live video stream of 2020.

In light of this, we, the Directors’ Team for Engaging in Shanta-rasa, wish to extend our sincere thanks to everyone—both within the SYDA Foundation and in the global Siddha Yoga sangham—who has supported the team in producing the live video streams that were held in December. What a blessing it has been for us to offer seva, and for all of you to participate in these satsangs during this most wearisome period in our history.

We know how much you have taken to heart the teachings that you learned about and studied in these satsangs in the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall. We also know that you have made the effort to apply what you learned. How do we know this? Because you have, for instance, written out your experiences and sent them in to the Siddha Yoga path website.

We want to highlight a few of the shares that we were touched to read.

After the first satsang of Engaging in Shanta-rasa, “The Power of Breathing,” a Siddha Yogi from India shared: “I listened with rapt attention to Ami Bansal’s explanations on shanta-rasa and felt as if the words were blooming inside of me, making me light and alert.”

After the second satsang of Engaging in Shanta-rasa, “The Power of Chanting”—for which the teacher was Saroj del Duca—a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA, wrote: “I pray that we are all inspired to find creative ways to keep the power and beauty of chanting alive and flourishing in our lives.”

After the third satsang of Engaging in Shanta-rasa, “The Power of Meditation”—for which the teacher was Pedro sá Moraes—a Siddha Yogi from Hawaii, USA, shared: “Engaging in this satsang was so sweet and powerful. As I meditated, focusing on the tranquility within and the tranquility without, I felt strengthened in peace. I felt the sweetness of all of us meditating together at the same time around the world, as if we were the Guru’s lighthouses of divine love and peace—a beautiful experience!”

After the fourth satsang of Engaging in Shanta-rasa, “The Power of Puja”—for which the teacher was Lavanya Mavillapalli—a Siddha Yogi from California, USA, wrote: “After participating in ‘The Power of Puja,’ I felt drawn deeply inward.”

After the fifth satsang of Engaging in Shanta-rasa, “The Power of Stories”—for which Isabelle Anderson was the teacher—a Siddha Yogi from California, USA, wrote: “As I wrote my story during the satsang, I realized that it is up to me to decide how the story concludes. It is up to me to define the light in which I view the events I describe. It is up to me to determine how I feel about myself and others in my story. It is up to me to decide what I focus on. I realized that I am constantly telling myself stories about what I see and experience in my world. That’s how I create the fabric of my life! Now I can see that I have the power to create bright and optimistic stories filled with appreciation and love for life, even as I go through complex life experiences. These stories are not illusions, they are hope. And where I have room for hope, I have room for a smile.”

After the sixth satsang of Engaging in Shanta-rasa, “The Power of Silence”—for which Swami Ishwarananda was the teacher—a Siddha Yogi from India shared: “I participated along with my parents, and we all felt tranquil after the satsang. When Swami ji explained the meanings of shama and dama, some thoughts were arising and merging within me. Then, in a moment between the thoughts, I saw Bade Baba standing there. My mind became calm and still, I felt serenity and peacefulness, and I saw myself as full of light.”

We want to share a couple more of the experiences we enjoyed reading from Siddha Yogis like you. These Siddha Yogis shared their reflections on and gratitude for the series of Engaging in Shanta-rasa satsangs, and for all the live video streams that have taken place this year, 2020.

A Siddha Yogi from Kenya shared: “The series of satsangs, Engaging in Shanta-rasa, has been such a wonderful way to conclude our study of Gurumayi’s Message for 2020, Ᾱtmā kī Prashānti. In these satsangs, Gurumayi has given us six different means to embrace that sweet, peaceful space within, no matter what is happening in the world.”

And a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA, shared: “I feel so peaceful after the satsang on ‘The Power of Silence.’ My mind feels still. I feel so grateful for the satsang and everything so generously bestowed on me, and all of us, this year. This evening felt like the purnahuti—the perfect finale—for a year that has been so out-of-the-box in all respects. For me 2020 was unusual because of the pandemic, but also exceptional because of the abundant riches I have received from every satsang, every posting on the Siddha Yoga path website. I feel so fortunate to be walking the Siddha Yoga path with Gurumayi as my guide. I do know she loves me. I felt I saw her smile, bestowing her love, through Bade Baba’s sweet, silent smile during darshan this evening. The only words that come to mind are: Thank you.”

We hope that you too find encouragement and solace by reading the many shares that have been posted on the Siddha Yoga path website after the live video streams this year. By reading them, we feel even more inspired to offer seva and strengthen our Siddha Yoga sadhana. Reading the shares also affirms our connection to the Siddha Yoga community—a community of Siddha Yogis who are serious about sadhana, and about making this world a better paradise. Together, we aspire to fulfill Gurumayi’s wish, and together, we work to make it a reality.

Recently, we came across something that Gurumayi has often taught about—and that is the Sanskrit term simhavalokana. This term is made up of two constituent words: simha and avalokana. Simha means “lion,” and avalokana means “observation,” “scrutiny,” “perception,” and “knowledge.”

Simhavalokana refers to the stance of a lion and to how a lion moves. When a lion is walking, he moves forward while at the same time glancing backward, surveying everything that is behind and around him, observing what is happening in all directions. A lion has 360-degree awareness.

Similarly, as we get closer to 2021, let’s also remember everything we have learned and studied in 2020, everything that has happened to us and how we are managing to work with it. On the Siddha Yoga path, we heed Gurumayi’s guidance and consider all times to be God’s time.

Warm regards,


Carlos del Cueto,
on behalf of the Directors’ Team
SYDA Foundation