OK, folks, let's dance this mess around one last time. Rat-a-tat-tat, just the facts, ma'am. I'll save the extended commentary for the comments page, where it's gonna go on regardless.
Where were we? Oh, yes. When last we left our lady in orange she had just finished relating the tale of the ten nincompoop seekers, who couldn't manage to count to ten between them, and then, after wishing Baba a happy 100th birthday several times in several different ways, she mentioned Play of Consciousness before reminding us that we have the treasure of the Siddha Yoga path only because of Baba's study, practice, assimilation and implementation of the teachings he received from his Guru.
At this point we were more than half way through the broadcast, and still there has been no mention of the message for the year. This is highly unusual, based on past years the formula for the New Year's talk was clear, after a brief introduction Gurumayi would quickly announce the message, then spend the balance of the talk uncovering and unfolding its meaning. During the 2004 talk, for instance, only four or five minutes passed before Gurumayi announced the message for the year. But, we still aren't there yet. First, Gurumayi wants to remind us all about the importance of sadhana:
"Sadhana gives you the means to see clearly what was not clear before. Just as the full moon blazing through dark clouds will illumine a landscape and allow you to move through it with ease, so with shaktipat a light is lit inside you. By means of that light you see things you couldn't see before. your physical and subtle senses are heightened, they adjust to a finer degree of perception than you knew before, perception of color and form, of energy and intention, of people and situations. In truth, sadhana for us is to experience this Bountiful grace. As you practice sadhana you come to a true estimate of the value of grace in your life. Did you hear that? As you practice sadhana you come to a true estimate of the value of grace in your life."
Next, Gurumayi told the story of the Sufi saint Rabia who, when asked what percentage of God she had attained, replied 100%. When next asked how much of herself she had given to God, she replied "100%, I got as much as I gave." Gurumayi paused and asked her audience of silent, absent listeners to contemplate Rabia's words:
"I got as much as I gave."
This contemplation was followed by a brief break to stand and stretch, punctuated after a minute or two by Nivritti Gillet greasily "welcoming" us back to our seats.
Gurumayi then asked us to close our eyes and visualize a column of light extending from the base of our spine up to the crown of the head. Your breath moves up and down the golden column as it comes in and goes out of you body. Let the breath come in easy, let the breath go out easy. Feel your own breath coming in and going out. Feel the breath at the top of your head. Feel the breath inside your head... et cetera, et cetera, you know the drill.
Then, the moment we had all been waiting for! "The Siddha Yoga Message for 2008 is..." (she taps mic three times to be sure we're all still awake out there)
"Search for the knowledge of the Truth and become established in the awareness of the Self."
Gurumayi continued: "In the coming year I would like you to study the new year's message for 2008 in the same way you have already learned to study through your work with the daily attributes, or your study of the sadhana of the heart, or the home study course. Study each world of the message and apply its meaning an d hidden blessings to your daily practice and daily life. You can do it! You have done it! Day by day. As you pondered over each new attribute, or quotation. Discover the message for 2008 word by word and extract the subtleties, the various connection between the words, and between the words and you life! ascertain the depth of color and form, of energy and intention, of people and situations."
Perhaps by way of further encouragement, Gurumayi added a small morsel of the fruit of her own contemplation: "While I was studying the words of this message and the composition of the sentence what leapt out for me is: you need to have both—the knowledge of awareness, and the awareness of knowledge."
Uhhumm. That's just what I was thinking.
"In his book Light on the Path Swami Muktananda says: Knowledge is one of the ways of obtaining God realization. It is knowing one's real self by acquiring knowledge of the truth in its essence, by the teachings of a guru. Baba Muktananda's words: through the teachings of a Guru. This is something Baba says over and over again. Disciples receive the teachings in their manifest and subtle forms from a Guru."
Gurumayi then narrated what she described as a commonly held fantasy of enlightenment: You meet the master in a remote place, bow and fold your hands, the master gazes at you with a bittersweet smile and Presto Magico! Enlightenment is yours!
But, Gurumayi asked, was this Baba's way? No. When you went up to Baba in darshan and asked for the mantra, or for the experience of meditation, he would hand you a mantra card, or point to a corner of the room and tell you to go sit, very matter of factly. Still, "the mantra came alive in the sound of your own silent breath. Meditation enveloped you in the deepest stillness. Your life was transformed. "
Hey, wait a minute, you might say! Isn't that a variation of the fantasy she just talked about? Never mind, you're missing the point of the story, which is:
"It is not about your own expectation of the Guru, or about indulging in fantasies of initiation in exotic settings. It is actually about following the teachings of the Guru."
At this point it has been several long minutes since we've had a good story, so Gurumayi offers one, a real one! from an early edition of the Ganeshpuri newsletter, "Siddha Path".
fairy dust chimes
"My friend and I had been going to Ganeshpuri village for Bhagawan Nityananda's darshan for many years. This happened 2 or 3 years before revered baba Nityananda took mahasamadhi. At that time we had no knowledge of who Swami Muktananda baba was. In those days, Muktanandaji lived in two rooms in Ghavdevi We would have baba Nityananda's darshan, and then go straight back to Bombay. One day Bhagawan asked, did you go to Gavdevi? When we said no, he told us to visit Swami Muktananda in Gavdevi before going back to Bombay. He had told us this one time before as well, to first go see Swami Muktananda, and then come back to see him in Ganeshpuri.
Whenever Bhagawan Nityananda's devotees would come to see him, he would tell them to go meet Swami Muktananda first. Every week when we would go to see Nityananda he would ask the Same question: Have you already gone to meet Muktananda of Gavdevi? We would reply, eh, we'll meet him on our way back home. One day Bhagawan NItyananda asked as always: did you already meet Muktananda? Before we could reply he said Muktananda Baba very wise, knower of the scriptures, saint. In this way he went on speaking in his succinct style. It was because of Nityananda that we could have the good fortune of receiving the nectar of knowledge from Swami Muktananda baba. Sometimes when we would go to see Swami Muktananda first, he would ask; did you already go to Ganeshpuri to see Bhagavan Nityananada? And when we would go to Bhagawan Nityananda first, he would ask: did you meet Muktananda? In this way, this bound of love between guru and disciple carried on to the end. Truly speaking, Bhagawan Nityananda himself trusted us to revered baba Muktananda."
Now, I have no reason to doubt this tale, but it did raise a few questions. Why, if everyone in the Guru tradition is always waiting and pleading for a command from their Guru, did these two hapless fellows travel all the way from Bombay to not only ignore Nityananda's direct instructions to go see Muktananda once, but several times running? I thought the Big Guy would assault people with sticks and throw stones at them for less? One can't fault them for being confused, though, with Nityananda sending them to Muktananda who sends them back to Nityananda, who send them on to Muktananda and so on.
But, we're missing the point again, and then there are the fairy dust chimes telling us story time is over...
Next Gurumayi sings in Hindi Baba's prayer to his Guru, from Play of Consciousness (so we did make it back there, after all) before giving the English translation. And then she has an inspiration:
"Baba's prayer is just so divine. In your future study of the message I would like to make a suggestion. You can cultivate your creative expression by writing a prayer to the guru! Here is one way to approach it; read Baba's prayer from Play of Consciousness several times through. Notice if any particular word or phrase draws your attention, calls to you. Or maybe it is an image or a feeling that is evoked for you. Note that word, or image or feeling in your journal. Allow it to resonate for you. You can even devote a special section of your journal to your experiences of the Guru. Or, you can create a Guru journal! Hmmmm. Be creative. Don't hesitate to write down any inspiration that arises for you, know that once you have set your intention to create your prayer, you will begin to attract the very images and words that will fulfill your intention. "
(Must be that 'ole debil Shakti again, heightening your physical and subtle senses and fine-tuning them to a higher degree of perception...)
And then Gurumayi repeats the message again in English and Hindi and...