Our Master has urged us to become so inwardly strong and centered that we “stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds”—not only that we stand unshaken, but that, whatever tests may come, we pour out vibrations of love and joy. We have made it a spiritual practice this year, as a worldwide family of disciples of Yoganandaji, to bless mankind, our planet, and ourselves through his prayer for peace and harmony. “Lord”, we pray, “fill this world with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.” Ten times we pray in this way, all the while visualizing an aura of divine light surrounding our earth, showering down, illuminating the darkness, bringing love where there is hatred, joy where there is suffering and misery. Then, three times we pray that we ourselves live in God’s light: “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.”

Increasingly, within the energy field of our prayer have come experiences of the closeness of Master. “To those who think me near,” Yogananda assured Swamiji a few months before his mahasamadhi, “I will be near.” Especially naturally have we felt his presence during those sacred anniversaries that come so close together in the spring of the year: Swamiji’s Moksha Day (April 21), Rajarshi’s birthday (May 5), Sri Yukteswar’s birthday (May 10), and, just passed, Swamiji’s birthday (May 19). In our worship, in our meditation and service, we find the veils growing thinner, the divine light drawing nearer, our human hearts relaxing, opening like flowers to the sunlight of God’s grace descending.

In honor of the birthday of Rajarshi Janakananda, Yogananda’s beloved disciple, we shared a day of service. “I will feel Thine energy,” Master writes, “flowing through my hands in activity.” Gathered together outside to begin the day, we formed a circle to chant and pray; through our circle flowed an energy of divine love, peace, and harmony made manifest. Such joy overflowing our hearts!

Grown still, we listened to a story from very late in Rajarshi’s life, after Master had departed his earth life. Long before daybreak, January 5, 1954, Rajarshi awoke to see Lahiri Mahasaya in blazing light. Then, one by one, Sri Yukteswarji, Babaji, and finally Master himself appeared. “Master lifted me out of the body,” Rajarshi told Durga Mata, “and we floated together over many gatherings of people, even to India. Master blessed each group as we floated over them.”

Perhaps many of us felt a tender expectancy: “Could not Rajarshi and our Masters be here with us now, blessing our gathering?” On some level, we knew the answer. They are omnipresent: of course they are with us, always here—and when our hearts are open, our hands ready to serve, our minds uplifted, we feel their blessing, their sacred presence. There is a story, oft recalled, of Master’s coming in vision one day to the mother of a community resident as she walked in a meadow on the land. Many questions she asked, and finally, as to a fellow visitor, “Do you come here often?” Master’s reply we hold close to our hearts: “I’m here all the time.”

All through this gray and drizzly day, we carried out our work: raking, shoveling, weeding, pruning, painting, landscaping, hauling away debris—the thousand tasks involved in making a community worthy to receive God and Guru. Against the backdrop of a lowering sky, with all of us clad drably in raingear, we seemed somehow all the more effulgent: each one, smiling joyfully, a glowing spark. “I slept,” Master writes, “and dreamed life was beauty. I woke up, and found life was duty. And then I awoke in Him, to realize that life truly is beauty!” In the light of joyful service even the most mundane task, the dullest clothing, the gloomiest day becomes beautiful.

The day was an experience too of friendship in God: of profound harmony with others, of ready willingness to set one’s own task aside in order to help one another, in order to respond to the needs of others—service to God and service to God in others.

Many individual sparks, glowing quietly. But whenever two would come together in shared service, the little light would grow brighter. “Where two or more are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Divinely loving, divinely serving, the many little sparks merge into great beacons of peace and harmony, beacons through which Master’s consciousness may flow to touch and uplift all receptive souls.

In divine friendship,

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