The pandemic in India has created a situation that is both heartbreaking in terms of human suffering and staggering in its numbers. Many reputable sources say that the reported statistics of 400,000 new cases of Covid and 3,000 deaths per day are actually many times lower than the true figures.

Yet what really brings this situation home for me are the letters and texts from our friends in India. This morning we received one from Ananda’s center leader in Bangalore, in which she wrote: “The situation here is astonishing. Almost every member of our community has a friend, relative, coworker, or someone else close to them who either has Covid, is recovering in the hospital, or has passed on.”

And from an Ananda group leader in Mumbai: “Today we did another Astral Ascension Ceremony. . . . Fifteen more deaths within our Ananda family and friends since last Sunday.”

Even as we grieve for and with our friends, I think we all are asking, “Why is this happening?” One can point to mistakes made by political leaders and to the dire consequences of poverty and overpopulation, but we should also look for deeper reasons behind what’s occurring on the surface.

Swami Kriyananda has said that India is the guru of the world. Through their search for ultimate truth, India’s sages down through the centuries have given us the science of yoga, the model of the guru-disciple relationship, and the Vedantic philosophy in all its depth.

Now is the time for people everywhere to reflect on India’s teachings that this material world, which seems so real, is only maya, delusion. The light of God’s consciousness, from which our souls have been brought forth, is the only true, lasting reality.

In the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna grieves for those who will die in the impending battle, Krishna consoles him with these beautiful words:

With words of love (and seeming wisdom) you have been grieving over those who deserve no lamentation. The wise mourn neither for those who live on earth nor for those who leave it. . . .

The indwelling Self is ever changeless, imperishable, and without limitation. Only these fleshly garments can be destroyed. . . .

That Self is not born, nor does it perish. Self-existent, it continues its existence forever. It is birthless, eternal, changeless, and ever the same.

In Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, we read in page after page about the unreality of death. In thrilling stories he tells of the physical resurrection after death of his guru, Sri Yukteswar, and in turn of his guru, Lahiri Mahasaya. The first of this spiritual lineage, Babaji, is a deathless master who has chosen to remain in a physical body for this cycle of time to guide and uplift humanity.

Master also relates there his own unusual vision regarding death. While in Kolkata at his father’s home, Yoganandaji was sadly reflecting on the vast toll of death occurring on the battlefields of Europe during World War I. Suddenly he found his consciousness transported to the body of the commander of a battleship under siege. A bullet pierced his chest, and he fell dead.

“At last the mysterious footstep of Death has caught up with me,” he thought. Suddenly he found himself once more seated in lotus posture at the home in Kolkata. Joyfully, he realized he was alive in a body free of wounds. No sooner had he begun rejoicing, however, when to his bewilderment he once again found himself in the body of the dead captain.

“Lord,” he prayed, “am I dead or alive?”

A dazzling light filled the horizon. The words came forth: “What has life or death to do with Light? In the image of My Light I have made you. The relativities of life and death belong to the cosmic dream. Behold your dreamless being! Awake, my child, awake!”

What consolation can those of us find who have lost loved ones? Of course, we will grieve for them as Master did as a young boy when his mother died. But beyond that loss is the promise that our souls will be united forever in God.

Yoganandaji wrote a beautiful prose-poem entitled “Conquering Fear of Death: The Dying Youth’s Divine Reply.” It tells of a beloved youth who is mortally ill. His family sobs, begging him to stay, but he replies joyously, “You weep for me dark tears, sorrowing at your impending loss in me, but I weep for you glad, joyous tears, for I am going before you—yes, for your own welfare’s sake also—to light candles of wisdom all the way. I shall wait for you there, to welcome you to my place of eternal freedom with my one and only Beloved, and yours.”

So, my friends, why is this happening? Perhaps to remind us that God’s light and love are the only realities is this world of shadows. The suffering of the pandemic will pass, but grief and suffering will come again wearing another garb. The only lasting way out is to dissolve into God’s light.

Let us draw comfort from His eternal reassurance. It will give us strength to serve others in need. As my friend from Bangalore wrote in her letter, “This situation has brought so many people together from all over India. It is the spirituality and depth of India that are shining forth during this time of horror. Everyone is helping in some way, big or small. People everywhere are stepping up and being selfless and creative in helping their country.”

With loving thoughts and prayers,

Nayaswami Devi

Join your energies to bring more light, more solace to our loved ones, and to our larger family, the entire world, with these resources from Ananda India and Ananda Sangha Worldwide. In addition, many of us are practicing the Astral Ascension Ceremony during this time for souls in need— download it here as a PDF.

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13 Comments

  1. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for your Prayers.

    The situation is here not so good as you had mentioned. We are affirming and seeing ourselves in the Master’s light. The only protection.

    Being part of Ananda’s family is very helpful and we feel secure during these times. Also, we have prayer sessions at our Sangha for those who are suffering and to those who had departed. Sharing the Light with them.

    We hope this situation comes to an end very soon with His Grace.

    In Master’s Love
    Prem

  2. “Let us draw comfort from His eternal reassurance. It will give us strength to serve others in need.” so very true Devi Ji. the heart is heavy with what’s happening around us but we are ‘huddled’ together in prayer, in offering Kriya for others (a beautiful way of doing it was shared by Devarshi Ji this week) and talking and supporting each other in these dire times. Deeply grateful to Ananda for keeping us all together in the Light and Protection of Master and Swamiji; for giving us calmness, strength and courage. thank you for the comforting blog dearest Devi Ji.

  3. AUM TATA SAT; ALL ARE DIVINE BLESSINGS OF FORMELESS NIRGUNA BRHAMAN PREVAILS IN ALL SOULS AS ONE AND ALMIGHTY GUIDANCE IS THE GREATEST GIFT WE RECIEVE DAILY TOWARDS THE DIVINE PATH OF SPIRITUALISM AS ENLIHTENED ATAMAS TO SHARE WITH ALL WITH NO RELIGIOUS AND RACIAL SENTIMENETS AND WE ARE UNITED AS ONE LOVING RACE WITH NO HATRED TO ANY AS KNOWELDGEABLE SOULS AND WE LOVE ALL AS OUR OWN AS WE EMANATED FROM ONE CELL OF ALMIGHTY AND LIVE UNITED AS ONE LOVING RACE.

  4. Thank you for the encouraging words. As a result of the COVID pandemic , my children face their first Mother’s Day without their earthly mother. Though grief is inevitable, we are comforted by the Devine light which is always there if we endeavor to find it. Love, peace; Mark.

  5. Thank you for the words of wisdom and comfort, Devi 💕

  6. Powerful message and realization. One people – One World………One world – One people.
    “Come together right now over me.” Mahalo!

  7. Thank you for these wise and comforting words.. they soothe our soul at times like these. We are grateful. Thank you.

  8. Thank you…that was very well written with truth concerning
    the mysteries of life and death,also a call to meditate and
    pray ever more deeply,as swami Sri Yuketswar was told when
    he didnt immediately see the deathless master Babaji behind
    the beam of sunlight,”you must meditate more profoundly..”

  9. In deep, Divine Gratitude, I am reminded of the temporary stay in this seemingly ‘real’ world. It is gratifying to hear that the people of India are coming together to share their loving kindness with each other. It is unfortunate that it takes such a disaster for us all to wake up. Namaste

  10. Interesting and relieving some tension.. One takes some time to realise the Truth..
    It is a Wakeup Call and warning Bell.

  11. This is a beautifully written reminder of our infinite soul, and the consolation this brings. The destination of no-more-death presents me with eternal hope for All of us. “May we be one in that light some day”. Thank you Nayaswami Devi. Much love and Aum, Jayne

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