I got sick recently and was slowly losing my voice. As a singer in the LA Joy Singers quartet I was starting to get a little concerned as I saw an important concert approaching. We had planned an interfaith event called “Unity through Music”. We had invited members of other churches and spiritual groups for a free dinner and elegant evening of Swami Kriyananda’s music. On Wednesday preceding the concert (the concert was on Saturday), I completely lost my voice. I couldn’t get so much as a peep out of my swollen vocal cords. I reached out to friends and family to try to get some cures and I asked people to start praying. I started taking different pills, gargling all sorts of gross concoctions, inhaling steam, and fasting — all in the hopes of getting my voice back.
As Thursday and Friday rolled around my voice was improving, but only a little. I could rumble out a few of the lower notes, but I’m pretty sure I had roughly the tonal quality of a duck. By Friday evening I still couldn’t participate in our rehearsal. My voice was simply healing too slowly to be ready for the concert which was now only 24 hours away. I was at a loss. I knew Swami Kriyananda was (and is) keenly interested in us singing this music for people outside of our Ananda family, so I decided to write him and ask him to pray for me. I also learned that day that many people around the “Ananda world” were praying for me as well. It is so deeply moving to know you have the love and support of so many dear friends. I am grateful beyond words to simply feel that love and kinship.
Before I went to bed that night I opened up The New Path and noticed this story Swami Kriyananda tells right near the end of the book. It is the story of Swamiji feeling that it was time for him to return to India but needing to spend the necessary money on other, more urgent things. His prayer in that circumstance was “Divine Mother, if you want me to go to India, you’re going to have to reimburse me.” Divine Mother very lovingly came through for him with the exact amount of money he needed (which was given by a total stranger!). I was struck by both the sweetness of the story but also the non-attachment of Swamiji’s prayer. I decided then that I would make my prayer, to both Master and Divine Mother, “If you want me to sing, you’re going to have to heal me.” I was leaving it in the hands of the Divine. I was doing everything I could, but in the end it was up to Master and Divine Mother.
When I woke up Saturday morning my voice had improved, but it still was not good enough. I just stuck to my prayer “Master, Divine Mother, if you want me to sing, you’re going to have to heal me.” I also received an email that said “Swamiji is praying for you.” Sweet words! Many times I have seen the power of Swamiji’s prayers, but I don’t recall a time when they were directed at me so personally.
A few hours before the concert, we had our last rehearsal and sound check, during which we would decide if I would sing or not. Ramesha (also in the LA Joy Singers, and a wonderful voice teacher) took me through few gentle vocal warm-ups. After just a few minutes it was pretty clear that my voice wasn’t up to snuff. Already my voice was going back to its imitation of a duck. I was starting to figure that Master just didn’t want me to sing that night.
Ramesha suggested that we try to sing the song “Brothers” just to give my voice one last chance. I was willing to give it a shot. Ramesha did the first verse, and I got ready to come in on the second. Again I repeated my prayer mentally, “If you want me to sing, you’re going to have to heal me.” As I started to sing my part, I was surprised to hear my voice coming out much stronger than it had just a second ago. I could sing! As I continued through the song, wave after wave of blessings poured over me. Love and joy flooded my whole being. I had trouble finishing the song, not because of my vocal cords, but because I was so filled with love and gratitude.
When we sing, we try to share Master’s vibration and consciousness. It was beautiful to know as I sang that it was that same vibration and consciousness, through the power of prayer, that was making my singing possible.