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Guru Purnima 2018 by Joanne (Divya) Sullivan

Guru Purnima 2018


by Joanne (Divya) Sullivan


Even trees communicate through the earth and the air. Certainly humans do too. All of life is inextricably interconnected. There is a prayer of peace that in English might read as:

May there be peace in the heavens, peace on earth, peace in the middle regions. Peace in the herbs and shrubs. Peace in the rivers and the forests. Peace in the life that pervades All, and may that peace come to me.

Years ago Dr. Arya used to end each class with this Sanskrit prayer. Later, when I taught Yoga, I ended each class with this shantih pada and followed with the English translation. I took the liberty of inserting this after the All:

excluding none – by whatever name, in whatever form – even the life in a rock –  

In this time when divisions among friends and family abound, it is important to remember the impermeable, all pervasive river that flows in us, beneath us, above us and all around us. Some call this God. There are many languages, many peoples who would claim this as their own – and only their own. I have always, since early childhood – when the concept of “they versus we” was first introduced to me – always wanted to know how we were alike, like so many little ones held in one great hand. In my early 20’s a solution arrived. I knew then without a doubt that there is a perpetual holy presence, no matter the ups and downs of life.

I recently attended a gathering at The Meditation Center. It was Guru Purnima. I wanted so badly to go to the Center for Guru Purnima. It was impossible. There was no way to get there and back, and in little more than a week I would undergo a 2nd knee replacement surgery.

The day had arrived and I reached out to total strangers who turned out to not be strangers at all. They wanted to go too. So we went!

After Guru Purnima, my practice had new breath. For some days before that, I had thought “Well, you tried, but you will never really know how to pray, to really pray – to let the divine in.”

In the end, I did nothing. Still, some sort of waterfall washed over me. There was the fire ceremony led by Emilio, who had studied and practiced and gave his all. There were so many friends, both old and new. There was the usual splendid meal offered by Gretchen and David. There was the satsang led by dear, old friends Michael and Swami Radha. There were friends from the old Milwaukee days whom I had not seen since 1977. It was as if all of us had been together just one room apart – all of us held in the hand of One who, out of reverence and respect, shall remain nameless.

I cannot claim to know much, but for one eternal moment, I offer every last crumb of my being to the divine by any name. I feel profound gratitude to those who have dedicated themselves to all that is holy and who have made so many of us feel that unconditional love.