The first time Yogananda gazed into my eyes from the cover of Autobiography of a Yogi, I wasn’t open enough spiritually even to buy the book and read it. Two years later, in a time of unbearable spiritual darkness and fear, I remembered those eyes and went looking for the book.

I found it in my hometown public library in Louisville, Kentucky. For the next three days I seldom put the book down. Here was the friend I had been seeking in all the wrong places. Alas, he had left this world twenty years earlier. But those eyes assured me that time, space, and death itself could not keep his love from reaching me.

What to do next? I wrote to his organization and waited three agonizing months for a pallid institutional reply, offering me nothing more than I had already. Utterly discouraged, I left Kentucky to live with friends in North Carolina.

On their coffee table, to my surprise, again I saw those eyes looking at me from their copy of Autobiography of a Yogi. Next to it was a small book: The Road Ahead, by Swami Kriyananda. On the back cover it mentioned Ananda, a community dedicated to Yogananda’s teachings.

“I must go there,” I decided. I emptied my bank account into my
pocket — all of about thirty dollars — and within a week I was hitchhiking to California.

A short way into the journey a fierce migraine headache descended on me. Sitting in the passenger seat of some stranger’s car, I could barely distinguish light from dark. My eyes felt anchored to my skull, unable to move left or right. I sank into a torpor of pain. When the driver let me out somewhere in Boulder, Colorado, I managed to find a small park, and crawled into a shady spot to wait out the pain. I couldn’t think or plan beyond that moment. I could barely articulate a prayer for help.

Time was confused, but perhaps it was the next day when I sensed kindly energy around me and vague human shapes and voices. My next memory is lying on a couch in some suburban home, a young couple hovering nearby. The man handed me a fruit drink, and the woman placed her hand on my forehead. Instantly, the pain vanished, and my vision and mind returned to normal.

“How did you learn to do that?” I asked.

“From Yogananda,” she said simply.

I was weak, but functional, so they took me to I-25. The first car that stopped delivered me to my sister’s home in Pueblo, where I was able to rest and recuperate before continuing on to Ananda.

I had done my best — and when my best wasn’t enough, Master had reached out to me, through his angels, to move me the next step home to him.

—From Prakash

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda