My heart rejoices as together we celebrate this auspicious centennial year commemorating the founding of our beloved Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda's Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. I send loving greetings and divine blessings to all of you, and will be joining you in spirit - following closely the many beautiful events that have been planned and prepared with such love and care to honor our revered Guru and what his work has brought to India and to the world. When I think of how Guruji's Yogoda Satsanga Society has grown from a small "How-to-Live" school for boys in Dihika, to an organization encompassing large ashrams, a vibrant and growing monastic order, and more than two hundred meditation centers throughout India - as well as numerous educational institutions and charitable services - I feel his tremendous joy. Know that during this jubilant anniversary he is pouring out his divine love and blessings to all devotees - indeed, to all India - and his boundless soul-appreciation to each one whose efforts have contributed to this growth.
In the hundred years since the humble beginnings of YSS, Gurudeva has come to be recognized by India and the West as a true incarnation of divine love - an epoch-making Jagadguru born for a world-changing mission. It was his God-ordained task to spread the sacred science of Kriya Yoga, a special dispensation for the modern age to hasten our soul progress and the upward evolution of humanity. Just three years after the founding of his first "How-to-Live" school, Guruji had a vision at Ranchi which revealed that it was time for him to go to America to undertake this momentous task. Though he was destined to live thereafter in the West, India was ever in his all-embracing consciousness and heart. In his poem, My India, he wrote: "I love India because there I first learned to love God and all things beautiful." In India he began his mission, and with words of tribute to his beloved homeland he left his mortal form - and his spirit and India inspired work will ever live on.
Despite Gurudeva's countless responsibilities in establishing his work in the West, his loving concern for the welfare ofYSS and his chelas in India remained unchanged. When in 1935-36, God granted him the opportunity to return to India, he gave lectures throughout the country and did everything he could to provide for and secure the future of YSS. Many times I heard him express his hope to return to India again. But when, near the end of his life, he saw that this was not what Divine Mother willed, he charged Sri Sri Daya Mataji with the responsibility to take care of his work there just as he would have done. With all her heart she fulfilled that sacred trust, becoming for the devotees a veritable reflection of the all-loving Mother Divine and inspiring them by her total attunement of consciousness with Gurudeva. It was from that lofty plane that she guided the YSS work in full accord with Guruji's ideals and wishes for more than fifty years, nurturing the growth of the society into what we behold today. We are also grateful for the invaluable help and support given to her by Hansa Swami Shyamananda, whose dedication played a vital role in her efforts, and by the many other faithful YSS devotees - too numerous to name here, but enshrined in our hearts.
It was my privilege to accompany Daya Mataji on several of her trips to India. I cherished as she did the pure, sincere devotion to God, which is India's special heritage, reflected in the wonderful YSS devotees we met. Those visits and other later trips to Guruji's homeland are among my most treasured memories, engraved forever on my heart and mind. I relive them often, and not a day goes by that I do not send deepest prayers for Gurudeva's chelas there, for the work of Yogoda Satsanga Society and all who are doing so much to further his mission. When I look at the photographs of YSS activities, I am thrilled to see the throngs of beautiful souls who are so enthusiastic about going deep in their practice of his teachings - who come together regularly to meditate and absorb his wisdom, and who serve his work joyously in countless ways. A handful of devotees has become a vast spiritual family united in God and Guru's love.
Gurudeva is as interested in the welfare and progress of his chelas now as he was in the days when he walked among us, and what pleases him most is to see how each of you is progressing by earnestly practicing his techniques of meditation and by living your lives to please the Divine Mother. He rejoices when he beholds you growing in spiritual understanding and developing an ever deeper and sweeter inner relationship with God, because he wants for you the highest. The supreme tribute you can offer him is to become the kind of devotee who increasingly exemplifies the divine ideals of God-love and service on which he founded this work 100 years ago.
So many lives have been touched by Paramahansaji's message because he speaks the unifying language of the soul - the language of divine love and eternal truth. His teachings and the magnetism of his great love for God transcend all barriers of cultural, racial, national, and religious differences. Gurudeva told us that the influence of YSS/SRF would begin as a gentle zephyr and gradually become a mighty wind that would help to sweep away the darkness from the lives of God's children. During this centennial year we celebrate not only the beginnings but the increase of that force for good; and in the century ahead its spiritualizing effects are destined to gain even greater momentum. Guruji founded his YSS/SRF organization to embody his ideal of the unity of East and West and to be a perpetual, pure channel for his love and wisdom, and I pray that he bless the efforts of all of you who are building your lives around that sacred legacy. The inner transformation those efforts bring, and the joyful enthusiasm I have seen in your faces, is the greatest testimony to the ever-living power of these divine teachings; and will continue to energize his work throughout the years to come. Jai Guru!
Unceasing blessings in God and Gurudeva,
Sri Sri Mrinalini Mata