It was my first time being part of the Ananda choir. In March 2013, we had a few celebratory events with Swami Kriyananda at his home outside Pune. He was scheduled to leave for Assisi after these programs so many people had gathered from all around the world to be in his presence.
I had been listening and tuning into his music for about 3 months, which means I had just started to become familiar with his songs. The plan was to have a special Concert sharing Swamiji’s music on March 9. The choir director was very inclusive and generously let me join in, even though I had never been part of a choir before.
We had many other community members visiting from other Ananda centers worldwide, so the choir was very strong. I was trying to feel my place in this completely new experience and to understand what was really going on there, and why I felt so good just being there and singing these songs!
On the evening of the concert, the choir was in position and everyone had gathered at the beautiful amphitheater on that warm summer evening. The stage was set with everyone anxiously waiting, and then Swamiji walked out from his home to join us in the audience.
I didn’t know where to begin tuning in; it was all so new, yet so blessed and overwhelming in some ways. So, I decided to just relax into this experience and put everything into the singing of these beautiful songs! But in the back of mind, something told me to pay attention, and to capture this precious experience and not just take it for granted.
It was a strange moment when about half way into the concert, I suddenly realized I was feeling so light! It was as if we were all floating three feet above the ground; every burden, every heaviness of mind and ego, seemed just to float away and we were all uplifted (literally, it seemed).
In that moment I felt completely at peace and said to myself: “Remember this moment! This is Swamiji. This is the power of his music to transform us and to lift us up high above our mundane issues and worries of the mind. This is how I can learn to be more in my heart, by singing and listening to his music!”
The concert ended with him singing a song dedicated to Narayani (his personal assistant) for her birthday. He had some trouble with his hearing at this time and so he couldn’t even hear the notes he was singing, yet he sang the song.
It seemed like he just wanted to share his bliss with all of us, to include us in his inner light and give us a chance to feel a touch of that. And what a sweet experience it was for all of us!
That amphitheater and home was a place of great blessing for so many people, each of whom have a different story to tell. We were in a rural setting, and even though the lighting we had that evening was not so strong, the whole place was shining because of his glowing presence there! That land seemed to be blessed forever!