24082Happy Birthday Lily-di
- Oct 29, 2009Last night, Wednesday, October 28, we celebrated Guru's sister
Lily's birthday which is on October 27. Lily was Guru's closest
sister and was like a mother to him after his parents died when he was
11 years old. She came to visit New York early in 1978 during the very
cold winter months and stayed until after Guru's birthday in August.
Coming from the very warm climate of Southern India, as she lived most
of her life in the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, Lily seemed to have
a hard time adjusting to the extremely opposite weather of a cold New
York winter. I remember her especially in the first month wearing lots
of warm coats, hats, gloves, etc. even inside at functions sometimes.
But she was always so compassionate and motherly to everyone and loved
to be involved in our events.
Celebrating her birthday last night at Aspiration-Ground brought back
some of those wonderful moments I personally can remember after 31 years
since she was here. Although I did not spend much time with her as some
of the Annam Brahma girls and others did, just to get Prasad from her or
have her present at a function was always very inspiring. It always made
Guru happy as well whenever Lily was present at many of the events.
One very amusing event we once had at the original Progress-Promise
meditation hall was a Sari contest put on by the boys. Lily was the
judge as the boys had to come out wearing a sari to the amusement of
everyone. But they were judged on how nice the sari was and how it was
put on. Some guys even put on wigs to make it look authentic and add
more levity to the situation. Lily had to see each one and at times
would modestly cover her mouth as she laughed and laughed at some of the
amusing `models' and how they wore their saris.
We even took Lily to amusement parks in the summer, the beach, a
racetrack and other places where she could experience some of the
variety of American culture. I cannot remember all the things she did or
places that she went but I do remember that she spent quite some time at
Annam Brahma cooking with the girls there. I am sure we had her food
many times and that it was quite delicious, authentic and fulfilling.
Perhaps the girls are still using some of her recipes.
Last night we had a very soulful program for Lily incorporated into our
regular Wednesday evening function. After our usual meditation and
singing we then had a Candlelight offering for Lily. This was
accompanied by singing from the Bhajan group members mostly with songs
about Lily. There was a birthday cake as we sang the birthday songs and
then some special Prasad, Guru's favorite for special occasions,
We then had regular Prasad and an Indian meal as well as we watched some
videos of past Celebrations of Lily-di's birthday with Guru.
Guru's love and respect for Lily-di (the `di' is a title of
respect for an older sister) was a wonderful example to all of us of
just how much oneness Guru had with his family. It showed us how
important and inspiring love and respect in a family can be even on the
human level. I am sure everyone in Guru's family received this kind
of love and attention from Guru when he went to visit them.
Unfortunately none of them, except Lily, ever came to America. We were
so blessed and so extremely grateful for her presence here for those 8
months. Even now, especially during this function, we can feel her heart
of love, concern and Oneness for Guru and for all of Guru's
In the words of one of Guru's songs about Lily, called: `Jhili
Mili Jhili Mili Lily Lily', Guru writes:
"Twinkling, twinkling, Lily, Lily,
You are the Hope-Heart of the World-Mother,
You are the Message-Eye of the World-Father.
You are the waves of
Delight and Peace fathomless of the World-Pilot-Supreme."
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