Out of the corner of his eye, the old man caught a movement—waving hands, a mother smiling out of the fullness of her maternal love, a very small boy rushing forward, arms up and out ready to embrace the big, yellow tractor. The boy looked up trustingly, eyes wide and clear, unblinking, until the man understood, stopped the tractor, and climbed down. The boy seized the bottom step, as high off the ground as his head, and struggled to climb up. When he’d done his best, the boy turned his transparent gaze on the man, held his arms up and said, with perfect confidence his need would be met, “Hep!” He knew exactly how to place his little body so that the old man, inexperienced in child lifting, could help him to the next level. Confronted by the tractor seat, again too high, the boy turned again to his new friend: “Hep!” In the seat, eyes straight ahead, turning the steering wheel, the boy became a tractor driver. His purpose fulfilled, the boy turned toward the man. Again came the loving demand: “Hep!” And the man knew to help him down into the waiting arms of his mother, radiantly smiling as she welcomed the boy home from his great adventure.
Running toward the tractor, the boy had made a growling, purring, rumbling “RRRRR” sound, much like the sound the man’s cat Noisy would make when, in response to his level-eyed stare, the man would know to stoop down, grasp him just behind the forelegs, and swing him up onto his shoulder, there to ride, as the man continued his walk, facing to the rear, from his high seat growling, purring, rumbling his joy in loving help asked, loving help received.
Walking home to his little cabin, the man first saw the flock of boy goats and their donkey keeper tightly packed together, all ears pointed sharply forward. A few more steps and he could see lying stretched out on the hillside a young tom turkey, feebly moving, one foot tangled in the mesh fence that keeps the goats in their pasture. As the man approached, reaching out to help, the tom craned his head toward him, panting, in shock, making no effort to escape, no defensive moves. Now lying perfectly still, he allowed the man to pull his body closer, to cut the wires free and unwind them—all the while gazing at the man with a stunned acceptance of help given.
For many minutes the turkey lay on his side, head erect, panting, continuing to gaze at the man. Finally he attempted to rise, collapsed on the ground, tried again, managed a limping step, then gradually a lopsided gait up the hill to stand, separated by the fence, side by side with another tom turkey, his regular traveling companion. Gentle clucks passed between them for a time, then the injured tom turned downhill, still limping but with steadily improving balance and strength until, with a last look behind him, he stretched out his great wings and flew soaring over the valley and into the forest beyond.
Late in her life, her long illness bringing her again and again to anguished helplessness, Maria awoke one night in such desperate pain that she could barely crawl to the bathroom. With her last strength she managed to sit on the toilet seat, doubled up forward as waves of nausea swept through her body. In her extremity, trapped in a body so damaged, her soul fought its way through with one anguished cry to God and Guru: “Help!” And in that instant the spiritual eye blossomed in her forehead—immeasurably more magnificent than anything experienced in decades of conscientious, disciplined yoga and meditation practice—so overwhelming, glorious, all fulfilling that she knew God was with her, that nothing else mattered, not the body and its suffering, not anything in this world, that God’s light alone was real, and had at long last come to free her.
In every call for help—a child wanting to climb higher, a cat wanting a ride on his human friend’s shoulder, a wild turkey wanting to be free to run and fly, a devotee yearning to escape the bondage of disease—always the soul is reaching toward the source of all help, Father, Mother, Friend, Beloved, God. Our part, Yoganandaji tells us again and again, is to call with love—with trust in His love, His care for us, His unending readiness to reach down to us when we call, to cut us free from what binds us to delusion, to lift us up into the clear skies of His presence, there where our souls will once again know their true blissful freedom in Him. “The Lord wants to take us out of this terrible turmoil of life,” Master writes. “That is the only thing He desires for us. For He loves each one of us. He does not want us to suffer. His interest in our salvation is personal, and full of mercy.”
In divine friendship,
For Ananda’s “Thank You, God” Tithing