Friday December 24, 2021 NYC
Celebration & Gratitude:
25 Years of Mahayogi Yoga Mission, NY
“From Joy springs all creation, by Joy it is sustained,
towards Joy it proceeds, and to Joy it returns.”
—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa
Twenty-five years ago, Shri Mahayogi first lit the most precious flame of Truth right here in New York. That first visit was made possible by the invitation and sincere efforts of two disciples, and since then, with the Mahayogi Yoga Mission, NY as the guardian and caretaker giving shelter and fuel to that flame, that Truth continues to shine forth like the fire of the brilliant unobstructed sun, as a beacon of light for all humanity and as the refuge for all who are seeking to know again that Joy that is our original and true nature.
As the end of this 25th year comes to a close, we offer our sincere gratitude to Shri Mahayogi, for all that he bestows, all of the occasions he has returned to New York, and his continuous nourishing of our hearts and souls, ever-guiding us to experience and know for ourselves the Eternal Truth, Sanatana Dharma.
A letter to readers:
December 24th is celebrated and honored by many people around the world as the eve that marks the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, who later came to be known as the Christ. As a child going to the church late at night on Christmas Eve, what I remember most is when everything became quiet, the only light was from candles, each person lighting the candle of the next until everyone was holding a light, and the incense billowing in the air consuming everything in the smell of frankincense and myrrh. At that time, it felt like being transported to another world, another age—the quiet welcoming of something holy—though I didn’t know at that time why that moment seemed to stand out, to be significant. Thinking back now, no words needed to be spoken for something in the heart to be sparked—that moment making the heart remember something that is easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of living daily life. The silence and the flame being passed from one person to the next, until all held a light, simple as it was, was enough to symbolize something timeless and certain about the arrival and presence of a Holy Being in this world, and the significance of it for humanity—it is something that the heart can recognize, whether or not we are conscious of it.
Some years ago, as an adult, I decided to go again to a church on Christmas Eve after a very long absence. Again, this moment of silence came and the feeling of welcoming something holy. But this time, my mind could only think about Shri Mahayogi. That feeling of another world and another age that I used to feel had disappeared, because that sacred essence that keeps manifesting in each era is here, right now! Shri Mahayogi is the Holy Being that is living among us right now, bringing the light into our hearts in silence, one at a time, and by some great blessing or divine plan, I, along with others, have encountered him in this lifetime.
How overwhelmingly precious and joyful the presence and existence of each Holy Being is, no matter the era or location! It is practically unimaginable to think that to know and experience directly the presence of a Holy Being is not just a story that lives in scriptures of the past, but that even today we can experience such a thing firsthand. It is beyond what our minds can conjure up, yet this is precisely what the existence of Shri Mahayogi brings before us. And how overwhelmingly precious and joyful it is that a Holy Being, Shri Mahayogi, is among us right now!
That being said, if I think about it, how do we even come to know about the existence of a Holy Being, if not for the work of those who already recognized that Holy Being to spread the word, the gospel or good news, if you will, serving as the signs and the introduction to that Holy Being.
In my case, if it were not for Mahayogi Yoga Mission being right here in New York, I’m not sure how I would ever have learned about Shri Mahayogi. Truly I feel that through the Mission and the works that the Mission carries out, the flame of Shri Mahayogi’s light burns more brightly and is being passed on. When I first learned that it was on December 24th that Mahayogi Yoga Mission, NY received official recognition from the government as an organization, truthfully, I was shocked. With many things typically being closed for holiday on December 24th, all business activities quieting down, what an interesting and unusual day to become an official organization—as if it is meant to be another welcoming of something holy, the home to house the torch with flame burning brightly that can light up so many more candles.
At some point, I also came to learn that December 24th is a significant day in the history of the Ramakrishna Mission as well. Shri Ramakrishna, today known as an Avatara, is another Holy Being who blessed this world with his life and teachings. As it turns out, it was on December 24th that Swami Vivekananda, while gathered around a campfire with brother disciples, suddenly started to narrate the life story of Jesus of Nazareth and implored his brothers that they should all follow Jesus’ example and devote to live like Christ himself. In response, filled with passion and determination, they all took vows that very night, with the stars and the fire as witnesses, to become monks in devotion to their beloved master, Shri Ramakrishna—and thus began the Ramakrishna Order.
Indeed, December 24th is an auspicious day!
With such rich moments of auspicious history attributed to this date, December 24th, we cannot take lightly the fact that Shri Mahayogi’s Mission also has an historical moment on this date. The Mission is the body, or the tangible mark that gives opportunity for people of today and for people in the future to once again encounter that Eternal Truth, that appears again and again throughout the ages. The Mission preserves the teachings and the spirit of that sacred existence embodied in Shri Mahayogi, and takes great care in nurturing the souls hungry for Truth that arrive to its door.
This year, December 24th, 2021 marks the 25th Anniversary of the day that Mahayogi Yoga Mission, NY received official recognition in this land. In these past 25 years, how many hearts must Shri Mahayogi have stirred and inspired? How many faces, how many hands, how many souls must have played some role in the story and history of Joy, of Shri Mahayogi’s time coming to New York and the presence and development of the Mission here? Some surely came and went, some came and return now from time to time, and some have come and stayed.
Certainly, it is by the grace of Shri Mahayogi and the pure love that has been pouring out of his being during his time in New York over the past 25 years that the Mission has been able to continue and sustain. Yet, it can’t go without mentioning that it is also because of the sole and single-minded dedication and devotion of Anandamali, who has been tirelessly tending to all activities of the Mission and all practitioners, making great efforts to introduce Shri Mahayogi here in the West, to ensure that the flame lit by Shri Mahayogi grows into a stronger and more steady fire within the disciples and practitioners here in New York, and to prepare the way for the Mission to continue on into the future. Without her unwavering dedication to Shri Mahayogi and his work, the Joy of Shri Mahayogi would not have the ground upon which to unfold and blossom in such a faraway place from Japan.
I often think, Anandamali must be a true missionary—living far from home, far from all that is most natural and comfortable and far from Shri Mahayogi—yet firmly working towards introducing Shri Mahayogi to all seeking hearts. I never gave too much thought to what a missionary really was or what it meant to live out a mission. But as I witness the work of Anandamali, I see that she is always looking with an eye well into the future, to a bigger establishment of the Truth that is being revived by Shri Mahayogi, that can continue in its purity beyond the short span of our lifetimes. Her work is tireless. Unlike most of us, she doesn’t go to work in an office or at a specified location and then come home to rest at the end of the day. The work is never done, there is no vacation and no reward or security of money in the bank. There is only the thought of how important Shri Mahayogi is, how significant it is that he is here, and what can help the people here come closer to Shri Mahayogi. And there is Joy. I feel that she has true belief in Shri Mahayogi and clearly lives upon the conviction of that belief, giving over everything to steward that flame Shri Mahayogi first lit here 25 years ago, maintaining it and encouraging it to burn more and more brightly. I see her appreciation of the diverse cultures and backgrounds that present in us in this unique location where many people come and mix together, and I see that she also believes in us, always pushing us in a way that emboldens us to build our own strength, and to experience and cultivate our own determination, conviction and Joy towards Shri Mahayogi, Yoga and the Truth.
I mention all of this because I feel that this time of year and especially on this anniversary of 25 years of the Mission in New York, it is important to recognize and reflect on the spiritual work that surrounds, protects, and sets forth the life and teachings of Shri Mahayogi for the benefit of humanity. What is the role bestowed upon each of us in honoring and supporting this invaluable treasure?
In the time of Swami Vivekananda, he and his brother disciples took the vows of monks, yet there were also many others, who took it as their responsibility, their joy and their privilege to provide for those monks and their needs, so that their full concentration could be put to the task of devoting to the mission of Shri Ramakrishna and spreading his teachings. Perhaps in India and in other parts of Asia there is more of an ingrained understanding built around the recognition that generally people have the duty to provide support to those who are devoting to spiritual life or a spiritual mission, and by fulfilling that duty, the benefit returns to all people. This is an understanding I wish that I could have learned since childhood, that I wish I saw more present in this society. Whether one takes on a life devoted to living the mission of a Holy Being or whether one takes on the support of that mission in any kind of various role, the dedication to devote and support that common cause surely must play a part in welcoming something sacred and holy into our lives in the unfolding story of Joy.
Shri Mahayogi, the Holy Being of this era, is here! The Mahayogi Yoga Mission, NY is here! Let us work together and increasingly find new ways of spreading the light of Truth from one heart to another through our dedication and support of the Mission, of the disciples, and of the work of Truth.
As this year comes to a close and we get ready to embark on a New Year, please join me in reflection, in gratitude for all that has been done for us up until now, and in renewed conviction and dedication towards finding and fulfilling our own roles in the timeless and certain story of the arrival and presence of a Holy Being, Shri Mahayogi, in this world right now. The great blessing for all humanity that calls out to the hearts of today and those of the future.
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