Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Siddha Yoga is a spiritual group teaching traditional Hindu or yogic practices both in India and notably in the west. The group has an organizational foundation by the name of SYDA Foundation. Central to its teaching is the notion of the Guru Principle or ‘True Guru’. The guru who is the latest in the lineage of teachers of Siddha yoga is a woman, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda (born Malti Shetty, June 24, 1955 ). The group has its headquarters at a large country ashram composed of former Catskill Jewish summer resort hotels in South Fallsburg, New York State. Its original home remains its ashram at Ganeshpuri in Maharashtra, India.
- The groupís success in the west is founded on the work of Gurumayiís predecessor Swami Muktananda (d. 1982).
- The group has kept a low public profile compared to other groups from India such as Rajneesh, Hare Krishna and Transcendental Meditation (TM) with which it was roughly contemporary in its move into western society during the 1970s.
Beliefs and Practices
The Guru is a realized human being who by a mixture of spiritual work and grace from the preceding Guru has achieved full realization of the Divine in their lifetime.
They are asked to see the same presence of God within each person they meet. One of Siddha Yoga's core teachings is Muktananda's aphorism, "See God in each other."
Students receive teaching on the nature of the spiritual journey and overcoming obstacles. Satsang, a group meeting or program, (Satsang means, "Keeping the company of the truth") are held at the centers or ashrams and talks and teachings may be delivered by a local teacher, a Swami, through video tape or by direct video link from the Guru. Gurumayi also tours and gives programs at various centers and ashrams as well as public programs outside Siddha Yoga facilities.
Students practise silent meditation with attention focused on a mantra or on the flow of breath across the perceived physical boundaries of the body.
Students also practice group chanting. On holidays or special occasions chanting sometimes continues for hours or even days. This can induce trance like and ecstatic experiences.
Students also practice seva (selfless service or Karma Yoga). They believe that seva is indispensible for making progress towards enlightenment. Much of the organization is run on the work donated free by its followers.
- Lis Harris' article, O Guru, Guru, Guru, The New Yorker,Nov. 14, 1994, reprinted here http://leavingsiddhayoga.net/frames2.htm (site with frames , follow Articles link).
- Hinduism Today, "Baba Muktananda's 'Meditation Revolution' Continues" October, 1992 http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1992/10/1992-10-03.shtml
- Hinduism Today, "Muktananda's Legacy," April, 1995 http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1995/4/1995-4-05.shtml
- Hinduism Today, "Your True Companion: The Self Within" by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, April 1997 http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1997/4/1997-4-21.shtml
- Official site of the SYDA foundation. Information on ashrams, worldwide programs, and bookstore.
- Yahoo group dedicated to exploring the teachings of SY
- Site run to support people leaving Siddha Yoga and critical of its ethics
- Official site of the Oakland, Ca. Siddha Yoga Ashram. Information on programs in Oakland, California, USA.
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