Devi wrote recently about our pilgrimage to sacred sites in Varanasi, Kolkata, and Serampore. On our last day in Serampore a very special gift was given to us.
This city is on the banks of the Ganges and was the location of Sri Yukteswar’s ashram, where Paramhansa Yogananda spent the better part of ten years in training with his beloved guru. During that period, Yogananda often visited the family of his elder brother, Anantalal Ghosh, who also resided in Serampore.
We had lunch with members of the Ghosh family. We have known Durlov and his son Ishan for years, having first met them many years ago with Swami Kriyananda. At the end of the meal we withdrew to a private patio where they presented us with an extremely precious plate that had been in the family for well over one hundred years. Here is a description given to us by Ishan of this sacred relic:
“The object which we gave you is a plate made of stone. My father heard from his grandmother, that is, the wife of Anantalal Ghosh, that this plate was there when she was married. That means it must have been bought by either Guruji’s parents or someone else in the family in or before the year Anantalal Ghosh was married. Plates like this are usually used in Indian families for offering food to the gods. Usually, they rest at family altars, and so was the case with this plate as well. However, when Paramhansa Yogananda became a sanyasi, it was not possible for him to accept food at home, since all of the kitchen plates were somehow in touch with meat or fish. Therefore, he was offered food instead on plates from the altar; the plates in which food has been offered to the gods; the plate which we gave you. When Paramhansa Yogananda came back to India, he had his meals on these plates as always. This plate has been there in our family for more than a hundred years, and we gifted it to you since we feel that more people should have the opportunity to drink from its spiritual vibrations. We are so pleased that the gods gave us the opportunity to forward such priceless spiritual vibrations into your hands. We are so pleased that you accepted it with such deep reverence and joy.”
Presently the plate rests on the lap of a statue of Master that sits in our meditation room in Delhi. We will soon place it along with other sacred objects where visitors and pilgrims can meditate and feel the holy vibrations.
The plate also embodies a deep spiritual lesson for us all. Food is a symbol of the gift of life from Divine Mother, and Yogananda would only eat if the food had first been offered back to God. But everything is a gift from Divine Mother, and God-offering should be applied to all aspects of life. Yogananda spoke of this truth poetically in his beautiful poem “God! God! God!”
When we first rise from slumber, the day ahead should be offered to God. When we break our fast, we should be aware that the very food we eat is a form of Divine Mother. If, during our working hours, the spotlight of our mind ever keeps returning to God, our work can be transformed into sacred service. Giving God our worries, our memories, and our dreams transforms the mundane into the sacred. Ultimately, it is our love above all that must be purified through offering it to God.
Gradually, all that we “own,” and all that we think we “are,” must be offered into God’s light. He will receive our offerings, purify them, and then playfully join us in a life free from attachment to the delusion of “I” and “mine.”
Isn’t is interesting that the essence of the spiritual path is somehow magically condensed into a single sacred plate?
In the light,
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (7:49):