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GURUMAYI TIMELINE 1955 (June 24): Gurumayi was born as Malti Shetty in Bombay (Mumbai), India.
1982 (April 26): She was formally initiated by the then-guru of Siddha Yoga, Swami Muktananda, as an ascetic in the tradition and renamed Swami Chidvilasananda (the Sanskrit title translates to “the religious teacher [swami] who is the bliss of the play of consciousness”); Gurumayi, “immersed in the guru,” is an honorific that is used less formally.
In 1980, Muktananda decreed that Malti would deliver the public talks at the ashram on Sunday nights, and in 1981 she was made executive vice-president of SYDA Foundation, the non-profit organizational structure supporting the teaching program (Pechilis 2004b:224–29).
In April 1982, at the age of twenty-six, Malti was formally initiated into the ascetic lifestyle () by her guru and given the formal name of Swami Chidvilasananda (“the bliss of the play of consciousness”).
I instantly transcended body-consciousness and became aware that all distinctions such as inner and outer were false and artificial.
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.
The charismatic Swami Muktananda named his teaching “Siddha Yoga” and instituted weekend programs for the transmission of spiritual energy from guru to disciple, initiation), a format that was distinctive from the classical full-time residence model of guru-disciple and that allowed for the participation of diverse devotees in ashram events.
Shetty’s parents became disciples, and by 1960 they were bringing her, her sister and two brothers to the ashram on weekends.
During the years 1974–1975, Muktananda established many of the features of Siddha Yoga practice that were to remain core elements of the path for the next quarter century, including the guru personally bestowing on devotees at weekend Intensive programs, establishing ashrams globally, and creating guidelines for teaching courses on aspects of Siddha Yoga practice and theology.
Grooming Malti as a leader was part of these developments.