Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda
Gurumayi Chidvilasananda (or Swami Chidvilasananda) is the monastic name of Malti Shetty and is the current guru of the Siddha Yoga path. She is formally known as Swami Chidvilasananda or more casually as Gurumayi (the word translates to "immersed in the Guru"). The Siddha Yoga lineage (parampara) was established by Bhagawan Nityananda, whose disciple Muktananda was Gurumayi's guru.
Malti Shetty was the oldest child of a Mumbai restaurateur; he and his wife were devotees of Muktananda in the 1950s. Her parents took her the first time to the Gurudev Siddha Peeth ashram at Ganeshpuri when she was five years old. During her childhood, her parents brought her, her sister, and two brothers to the ashram on weekends.
After she had been initiated by Muktananda through shaktipat at age fourteen, she moved to the ashram as a formal disciple and yoga student. At age fifteen, Muktananda made her his official English language translator and she accompanied him on his world tours.
On May 3, 1982, she was initiated as a sannyasin into the Saraswati order, taking vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience, and acquiring the title and monastic name of Swami Chidvilasananda, (literally "bliss of the play of consciousness"). At this time Muktananda formally designated her as one of his successors, along with her brother Subhash Shetty, now known by his monastic name of Mahamandaleshwar Nityananda.
Sharing her experience, Chidvilasananda wrote:
At one point during the pattabhisheka, the ceremony during which Baba Muktananda passed on to me the power of his lineage, he whispered soham and aham Brahmasmi in my ear. I experienced the mantra as an immensely powerful force which rocketed at lightning speed throughout my bloodstream and created an upheaval in my entire system. I instantly transcended body-consciousness and became aware that all distinctions such as inner and outer were false and artificial. Everything was the same; what was within me was also without. My mind became completely blank. There was only the pulsating awareness ‘I am That,’ accompanied by great bliss and light. When my mind again began to function, all I could think was, ‘What is Baba? Who is this being who looks so ordinary, yet has the capacity to transmit such an experience at will?"
Muktananda died in October 1982, after which Chidvilasananda and her brother took over the running of the Siddha Yoga organisation. However, the two co-gurus disagreed in 1985. According to his 1986 interview in Hinduism Today, Nityananda left by his own choice, deciding to cease to be a Siddha Yoga Sannyasi but wishing his sister well as sole guru. In 1987, Nityananda founded the Shanti Mandir ('Temple of Peace'), a separate organization which "continues the spiritual work of his Guru, the renowned sage Baba Muktananda, whom he succeeded in 1982." Shanti Mandir runs two Ashrams in India, and — like Gurumayi — one in New York State.
In 1992, Chidvilasananda incorporated the PRASAD Project in the United States. The PRASAD project is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nation.
In 1997 she founded the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute with its own publishing imprint, Agama Press.
In the opinion of some, Chidvilasananda "is a superb singer", with a "deep, resonant contralto" voice which she uses to great effect when leading her devotees in chanting. She has recorded several CDs of chanting, including the mantra "Om Namah Shivaya".

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