We have just celebrated the first anniversary of Swamiji’s Moksha Day – April 21. For some weeks beforehand I listened over and over to a recording Swami had made some years earlier – a prayer of loving self-offering to the Divine. His voice is heart-meltingly sweet, breaking with yearning for God. The words went so deep that they followed me into sleep, woke with me in the morning, and continued inwardly through the work day:
Through a long and lonely night
I’ve whispered Your name!
Through the pains and joys of life
My plea stays the same:
Tempt me no longer.
This world’s not for me!
I have known all its charms –
Fold me now in Your arms:
Make me free!
Lifetimes have passed! I’ve called out to You
Through hope and despair.
Lifetimes I’ve known the goals that I sought
Help me remember
There’s one goal alone!
All I am is Yours!
All I’ve done is Yours!
I’m Your own.
“Through a Long and Lonely Night” is a devotee’s prayer for liberation. The devotee has risen above all worldly pulls, has come to the point of total self-offering, the point at which he is looking into God’s face and laying claim to his true birthright. Swamiji’s prayer for freedom in God was answered, as Master promised him, at the time of his transition.
So too will it be for all of us who faithfully follow the path Swami has walked before us. As our heart’s love awakens and turns toward God, we naturally want to express our love, in some way to give to God. Loving self-offering, which is the soul of tithing, becomes our natural state. We want to offer everything we have to God, to offer ourselves to God – at first perhaps only a little bit of ourselves, of what we have, what we’ve done, then more and more. In the end, we want to hold nothing back, to give all of ourselves, everything we’ve laid claim to in an egoic way.
As we grow in self-offering, we experience increasingly the joy of God’s hand in our lives, for whatever we offer to God – whether money, or energy, our service, our talents, our joy, our love – that gift comes back to us in some way of God’s choosing, and a hundredfold. And finally, as it has been for our beloved Swamiji, God will give Himself to us wholly – he will reach down, fold us in His arms, and make us free.
In divine friendship,