My Mother gave my Father a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda’s classic spiritual book, a few years before I was born. It wasn’t long before discovery led to commitment, and the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda became a regular part of my Father’s life.
My Dad meditated for about 10 years. My childhood memories of it are the sights and scents of my Father’s altar, mala, and woolen mat, and the (reasonable) injunction not to do noisy things – like roller-skate around the house – while he was meditating. A couple of years ago, he started meditating again. I’ve been inspired to see how much happier it has made him.
Divine Mother’s love
Both of my parents came to Ananda Village this month for their 3rd and 4th visits. I’ve also been to see them 2 or 3 times. Living in spiritual community like we do at Ananda, and even in my case living in a monastery, hasn’t in itself really changed my outward relationship to my parents. But I can relate to them, and love them, on a soul level better than I used to be able to.
To me this means relating to the God within them. When I first started on the spiritual path, I would sometimes come close to tears, simply seeing how Divine Mother was present in the love and consideration of of my “earthly” Mother. Paramhansa Yogananda once wrote this wonderful sentence:
“In the temple of my earthly Mother’s love, I will worship the incarnated Divine Mother’s love.”
On this recent visit, we spent time with long-time Ananda members, did some home improvements on my bungalow (my Mother’s idea), and visited 2 pilgrimage destinations at Ananda Village: the Crystal Hermitage, where Swami Kriyananda lives when he stays at the Village, and the Shrine of the Masters, where relics of Paramhansa Yogananda and our line of gurus are displayed.
The eventual separation of death
A friend at Ananda Village once suggested to me to visit my parents more often than I was planning to do, since they won’t always be living here on earth. I don’t consider it morbid to think this way; and it is true.
In fact, my Mother’s Father died recently, and it was one of the things that we talked about during her visit. I think having the foundation set for a spiritual response helped my Mother tremendously. She responded in a positive, soul-affirming way, praying for him often during his last weeks on earth and relating to his death as a time of transition, rather than of cold finality.
In the newly published Spiritual Relationships, Paramhansa Yogananda writes:
“When your parents die, and you lose their love… remember this: love itself is not lost. …
“Divine Love says to all, ‘If you love Me, you will love Me not in one being, but in all. Remember, though you try to cage Me in one person, I will destroy in the end the body-frame which holds him. I do so that you may learn to find Me in all.’”