It was in the middle of a very hot July, 1975. I was driving from Texas to California in an old, un-air-conditioned Chevrolet. I was very excited about making the journey, for I was ready to pursue a much-anticipated new way of life, by moving, bag and baggage, to Ananda Village. Still, I was probably a bit foolish to attempt such a long journey alone, in the heat of the summer.
I was not even out of Texas when I began to feel very ill. Perhaps it was the extreme heat, my own moving-to-a-new place anxieties, or simply a stomach virus. I began seeing white spots in front of my eye, and eventually I felt I could drive no further. I booked myself into a cheap motel somewhere in West Texas and prayed all night for help. The next morning I felt slightly better, and I felt like God wanted me to try to push onward.
In Las Cruces, New Mexico, I knew I had to find help somehow or stop this journey altogether. I had no more funds for motels. I also knew that picking up hitchhikers was not a recommended thing for a woman alone to do. But somehow I kept having this thought: “Perhaps I’ll find someone who could drive for me.”
Just as I was about to give up completely, I saw two women, just about my age, hitch-hiking, just off a freeway entrance ramp. One of them had a guitar case beside her.
As clear as a bell, I heard the words: “This is the answer to your prayers!” (Miracle #1)
I stopped and asked them where they were headed. They said: “Sacramento”, which was just a short distance from my destination. (Miracle #2)
I asked if either of them could drive and one of them said: “I have a chauffer’s license.” She promptly pulled it out to show it to me. (Miracle #3)
“Please get in and also, would you drive for me—I’m not feeling well.”
As we pulled away, one of them said: “We were really praying that someone kind and safe would come along to give us a ride. We had just gotten out of a pickup truck because its driver—he was …well, you know, bothering us. We were quite scared and really needed some divine help. God obviously sent you in answer to our prayers.” (Miracle #4)
They told me the interesting reasons why they happened to be hitch-hiking from El Paso to Sacramento, and I told them my story of moving to Ananda also. We drove straight through to Sacramento and they took very good care of me all the way, playing music for me, coaxing me to eat some soup, and putting cold towels on my aching head. It took me a few days, after I arrived at Ananda, to recover from what turned out to be an intestinal flu of some sort. Not a bad illness, certainly, but uncomfortable enough that it might have kept me from my destination for a while, or perhaps forever, without divine intervention.
I never saw or heard from these women again, though we exchanged names and addresses before we parted company. Perhaps they were angels. More than likely, it was just God’s lovely way of being efficient–answering their prayers and my prayers at the same time. What a wonderful set of miracles! I still feel blessed when I think of how beautifully this little drama played itself out for the best, for everyone involved. As my mother frequently told me: “God is always on time!”
After I had been living at Ananda for a few months, I wrote to Swami Kriyananda and told him my “many miracles” story. I also added that when I got here and told a few of my friends about how wonderfully it had all worked out (divine efficiency!), they just smiled and said: “Things like that happen at Ananda all the time—you’ll get used to it.”
I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed that my friends were not more impressed with my great story. And Swamiji, too, obviously most enjoyed the part of my story, wherein my Ananda friends seemed somewhat overly calm about all my “fabulous miracles.”
He later wrote a small article about it for an Ananda promotional piece, in which he re-told my story of moving to Ananda very briefly; but in it he put the main emphasis on the fact that people who live for God alone find many miracles happening to them all the time (large and small), that they cease to wonder about them and even come to expect them. He called the article “Ananda: The Land of Miracles.”
I’ve always loved it that Swamiji picked up my story by the right string. He was always able to do that perfectly—one of the many divine qualities that I admired so much about him and also have tried to emulate in my life.[This story also appears in a much abbreviated form, in Asha Praver’s book, Loved and Protected, published by Crystal Clarity.]
Thank you for sharing the full story, Savitri! I was very touched by it. “The Land of Miracles,” indeed!