I was recently asked to transcribe a live spiritual discourse (known as a satsangha) by my Guru Acharya Shunya, to which I promptly agreed. Once receiving the instructions, I realized this task would be more time consuming than I originally thought. Additionally, I thought I’d be transcribing a more recent satsangha, not one from two years earlier. In spite of the changes to all my preconceived notions about what this seva (selfless service) would be, I proceeded with a happy and willing spirit. Several times I sat down to begin my transcription but I’d run into one obstacle or another. First obstacle was trying to find the right time.
I wanted a large block where I could sit down, uninterrupted to work. Then it was computer problems: not being able to access the video, signed into the wrong account, and who knows what; sometimes electronic things just don’t work for me. It’s something I’ve come to accept, frustrating as it can be. Lastly, unexpectedly getting a full time job which now meant my once primarily free daytimes were no more. By now, days were turning into weeks and the timeline for requested completion was rapidly upon me, but so was the Thanksgiving holiday along with all the planning and preparation which that entails. How and when would I manage to fit it all in?
On Thursday night I attended the Vedic Spiritual Studies program in person at our wisdom school Vedika Global. Our teacher, Acharya Shunya was beginning teachings on Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion, a class I did not want to miss! As she started her discourse, class she was informed by the school's AV team that the slide presentation she had prepared for that evening's class would not be able to be shown due to technical difficulties. I smiled, finding comfort in knowing I’m not the only one these things happen to. Acharya Shunya ji had to be flexible and adjust on the spot, for what she prepared was not going to happen in the way she had planned it. She asked for a few volunteers and before we knew it, we had a minor stage production coming to life right in front of our eyes. It was such a rich, clarifying and fun class.
Saturday morning I woke up at five am, my allocated selfless duty (seva) on my mind. After completing my Ayurvedic daily self care practices (dinacharya) I retreated to what we call the “California room”, in our home. It is a small room on the back of the house that has huge windows the length of the wall looking out to our backyard, full of various trees and their inhabitants. Of course, when I sat down to begin my seva, all I could see was darkness. Finally, after weeks of failed attempts, it was all coming together, I had my block of time, I had a quiet space and time where I would not be interrupted, and yes even the computer was cooperating and the video began playing, no problem. Before I knew it, I could see the trees outside the windows and the sun had come up. My transcribing was coming along and yes it was taking some time to complete, but I found the topic so rich and amazingly complementary to the Bhakti Yoga class from Thursday, that I enjoyed every precious moment.
The topic of the class I transcribed was about the qualities of ultimate reality or Supreme Consciousness, which are: Sat, Chit, Ananda, Ananta and Poorna (Sanskrit terms that I will explain below).
Sat: Unchanging (I am unchanging truth), Chit: Awareness (Unchanging, pure, objectless, intelligent awareness), Ananda: Absolute Joy (joy which is free from external sources of joy, but an independent source of joy), Ananta: Limitlessness, and Poorna: Fullness. When explaining these concepts, our teacher Shunya ji held up her hand, and pointed to each finger as one of the five. I love this visual because they all work together just as our fingers on our hand do. It is a physical reminder: beginning outwardly at my outer personality (jiva) level and moving inward connecting to spirit or Self (atman), and to God (Ishwara). I think of my own inner most being as Sat, Chit, Ananda, Ananta, Poorna, when I look at my five fingers. My own hand has become the tool to pull or hold back the blanket of mental delusions (maya) that is trying to prevent me from staying connected to my true Self/inner God.
I know that if I had been successful in transcribing this class sooner, before experiencing the Bhakti yoga class, then my learnings would most definitely have been different. I am grateful for the teachings of oneness; and I learnt the relationship between Guru (Master) -Shastra (Upanishads) -Iswara (God) and what role they play in my life to lead me home to me. It has helped to calm me down. It has helped me to understand that all things happen for a reason even if I don’t know what that reason is at the time. It has helped me to know myself better, to be gentle with myself, to ask God (Iswara) for help (which has not been easy for me to do in the past and something I am still working on) and to listen carefully for answers. It has helped me to listen for guidance, so that when that block of time and quiet place became available, I was ready and waiting for it. I could have easily missed it and fallen back to sleep; it was Saturday morning after all. Sometimes God whispers and if we are too busy, too stressed, too hurried to make everything happen in our own timing, then we don’t hear or answer; we don’t see the connections.
So as I prepared for the Thanksgiving holiday, I expressed my deepest gratitude, first to my Guru, Acharya Shunya ji, and her teacher’s Baba and Bade Baba and to our ancient linage (Sampradaya); and finally to Vedika Global, an auspicious platform for igniting transformational change, not only in my life but in countless other lives.
May the light of the Highest Truth (Brahman) shine upon all of us during this holiday season and always.
With a soul full of gratefulness,
Siddhi JoAnna Traski
Acharya Shunya’s Ecclesiastical Council Chair, Vedika Global
The author Siddhi JoAnna Traski is a long-term student of Acharya Shunya and serves as Chair to Acharya Shunya's Ecclesiastical Council.
Learn more about how you can study Vedanta with Acharya Shunya in her Vedic Spiritual Studies Program.