Swamiji’s Living Presence
It was the Tuesday after Swamiji’s passing and David Eby had organized an evening at Crystal Hermitage for singing and meditation. We gathered around the tulips, which were in full bloom, and sang in gratitude to Swamiji, God’s instrument to bring us such a wealth of inspirational resources. There was a beautiful energy flowing and some peculiar things were happening to show us that our beloved friend and guide had joined us in spirit.
For example, there were several frogs singing with us in perfect step and when the song would end they’d be totally silent. It was hilariously miraculous!
At one point someone stepped forward and said, “Swami told us that when we see a tulip moving and there is no wind, that will be him waving hello.” This, of course, touched everyone’s hearts and had me looking for swaying tulips for the next few days, but to no avail.
I was having trouble with the idea that Swamiji’s body would be arriving on the following Friday and that somehow I had to wait until his body arrived in order to really feel his presence.
In my mind was the idea that he is now in omnipresence, but we’d still arranged a time to meditate with what used to be his form. This was a bit puzzling for me and so I began to pray for understanding.
It was like the story that Swamiji would tell about how he’d look at Yogananda in the body while he was playing his human role and think, “How can he be there, but also within me? How should I relate to him when he is in both places at once? Where do I direct my focus?” Then, of course Yogananda, picking up his confused thought, walks over to him and hands him an apple! As if to say, “You’re thinking too hard. God is simple, everything else is complex. Just love God in everything. Then the understanding will gradually come.”
When Friday did arrive, we met at Hansa Temple where Jyotish, Devi, Kirtani, and Anand blessed us with such powerfully inspiring talks while Swami’s casket rested at the altar.
Kirtani said something like, “Put your spiritual eye against the casket. You’ll feel great power coming from Swamiji’s body.”
That night, Swami’s casket was moved to the Crystal Hermitage Dome where it would be available for meditation for many weeks. Ananda Devotees from far and near have been meditating there daily and, needless to say, it is an incredible experience!
Shortly after Yogananda’s exit from the body, some of his direct disciples gathered to meditate where his body was located. They were weeping at the loss of their beloved guru and suddenly one of them heard his voice within them exclaiming, “I’m not in there!” As if to say, “Why are you so focused on my body? Commune with my spirit if you would find me!”
So, where is Swamiji? This was my question when I sat next to his casket to meditate the following morning. I had been suffering from a cold at the time and so I arrived to meditate after the morning group meditation had ended in order to avoid sneezing into someone’s hair. There was only a couple people still lingering and so I positioned myself right up close to the casket and began my meditation practice.
After sitting in the deep peace that is emanating from that casket for some time, I began inwardly talking with Swamiji, asking him to show me how to keep his presence with me. Asking him to help me absorb into myself the blessing of his moksha (spiritual freedom). Asking him all the things I’d ever wanted to understand more clearly about his role in our line of gurus.
As he helped me go deeper within, I began to hear a subtle noise coming from an area just to my left. I opened my eyes halfway to see something that made my body and mind freeze in awe.
In the vase full of glorious flowers, one of the tulips was moving. As soon as my eyes made contact with it, one of it’s petals fell. Then, rhythmically each one of it’s petals fell to the ground gracefully, leaving only the fresh green stem. I sat staring at the stem and then at a picture of Swamiji. He was waving through the tulips like he had promised! Not only that, but he in some strange way made a flower go into mahasamadhi in response to my prayers!
At this moment, I felt that he gave me a clear understanding that forms have essentially no meaning when the consciousness has merged with the Infinite. Swami, Master, Babaji, Christ, they are all just one being and they are everywhere! And that is my own destiny! What glory, what grace!
When my meditation came to a close, I bowed in gratitude at Swamiji’s casket, gathered the petals as a sacred keepsake of the tulip that had given it’s life and went out on the balcony of the dome where there is an incredible view of the vast green canyon and the river far down below. The birds of spring were flittering about, the roar of the river was enthralling the ether, the morning sun was bathing thousands of pine trees, and all of it was Swamiji!
Thank you God for freeing Swami Kriyananda so that he can live eternally within us. As Asha said in a recent talk, “For those of us who are sincerely seeking, Master has given us Swamiji.”