“Would any of you like to join me on a camping trip to Mt. Shasta?” With his characteristic enthusiasm and joy, Swami Kriyananda extended this invitation to a small group of us one morning. Swamiji had been asked to give a talk in nearby Shasta City and decided to combine this with a short vacation.

Mount Shasta God's Protecting Presence

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta is a beautiful mountain in Northern California that majestically rises to 14,000 feet above the surrounding plains. Standing alone, Shasta is yet surrounded by many legends—stories of ascended masters living on, or even inside, the mountain. (Paramhansa Yogananda’s comment was, “There are no masters living there.” Then he added, intriguingly, “There have been colonists. However, no masters.”)

We all accepted Swamiji’s invitation, and Mt. Shasta’s reputation for mystery didn’t fail us. One morning as we were hiking up a trail leading to the summit, we noticed a few monarch butterflies floating down on the air currents. (We later learned that monarchs lay their eggs on the vegetation of Mt. Shasta. The annual emerging of the butterflies from their chrysalises coincided that year with the day of our hike.)

At first we were delighted to see these beautiful creatures floating around us, but as their numbers began to grow, our delight turned to dismay. We found it increasingly difficult to move through their dense clouds without damaging them.

Swamiji was in the lead, and as I looked ahead to see what we should do, I saw something remarkable: He was projecting an aura of light around him and our group, enabling us to walk forward as the thousands of butterflies parted around us. It was an unforgettable experience—one in stark contrast to another hike a few years later.

This time we were in San Francisco, where Swamiji was giving a series of classes during the summer of 1979. Upon the completion of his programs, he decided to celebrate with dinner and a movie, and invited those of us who had been helping to join him. As we left the theatre at the end of the film, a disturbing scene awaited us: It was late Saturday night, we were in a part of San Francisco filled with crime, and our cars were parked many blocks away.

Again Swamiji took the lead, but this time not through beautiful butterflies, but through drug sellers and suffering. With the same spiritual energy, he created an aura of light around us that simultaneously seemed to part the darkness and protect us. We arrived at the cars without incident. It was another experience that remains vivid in my memory.

As you move through life, you will sometimes find yourself in unexpected and bewildering situations. Whether surrounded by beauty and wonder, or by darkness and fear, consciously enfold yourself in God’s light.

And remember these words of Paramhansa Yogananda: “Teach me to feel that I am enveloped always in the aureole of Thine all-protecting omnipresence: in birth, in sorrow, in joy, in activity, in meditation, in ignorance, in trials, in death, and in final emancipation.”

With joy,
Nayaswami Devi


  1. Dear Devi,
    Thank you for the reminder to consciously practice His presence no matter the outer circumstances!

  2. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Thank you such a lovely article :).
    The masters words makes us feel safe and thank you for sharing

  3. Beautiful! Thank you Devi for sharing this inspiring story.

  4. Respected Kriya Guru (Nayaswami Devi),
    Thanking to you for sharing the great divine truth which described by our Great Guru in AUTOBIOGRAPHY is that ‘ A master is able to employ his divine knowledge of light phenomena to project instantly into perceptible manifestation in the ubiquitous light atom’.
    Nawin sharma

  5. I would love to accompany you Jyotish and a group but I will not be free to visit until October when I would like to stay for awhile and learn how Ananda village is set up and operates. I am a practicing Kriyavan in our beautiful lineage which for us includes Hariharananda and our living Guruji Paramhamsa Prajnanada. I see Yoganandaji beautiful image (s) every day in my meditation room and must have given out 2 dozen Autobiographies. Jai Gurus.

  6. thanks for the inspiring story. how can i feel god’s protecting presence around me always?

    1. Dear Sujata,
      As Master said, “Teach me to feel that I am enveloped always in the aureole of Thine all-protecting presence.” Try to think of God as much of the time as possible, and ask Him to show you how to feel his protection with you always.

  7. Thank you for all of the letters.Regarding Masters’ comment about Mt.Shasta
    brought to mind a video of a talk on youtube by Phil Shneider,a geologist that
    when lowered down into a large cavernous area discovered alien beings living
    down there!The location was near Dulce,NM.They were not friendly.

  8. Dear Devi,
    How important to remember that, especially in a moment of crisis!

  9. What wonderful experiences you must have had with Swami Kriyananda, these and others! I could just imagine going on trips together with him and other disciples!

  10. Thank you for the tender presence.
    I seek to know God always in my heart and mind. I hope to one day enjoy staying for awhile to get to know myself as God knows me.
    Blessings always.
    June Lunham

  11. Jai Guru Swami ji. Thanks a lot for the article on the God’s presence and thanks for sharing your own experience with us. Swami ji your words make me feel that I am protected by God’s light around me . Jai Guru.

  12. That was wonderful sharing ..Thanks a lot
    Sumitra (delhi)

  13. Dearest Devi,
    You are blessed and and Thank you for sharing.
    What wonderful memories and experiences with Swamiji you must have to draw on for insight and inspiration!
    Thank You again and again for sharing your life, your wisdom, and your discipleship with us all!
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  14. Dear Devi, Thanks for the reminder of Swami’s greatness. He was always teaching us valuable lessons.

  15. Thank you Devi
    Your stories continue to inspire me and help me through life’s challenges.
    God Bless

  16. I feel so full of wonder and awe to even hear you speak of your experiences with Swami ji. I feel so protected in my life by just being Master’s disciple and ask daily to be kept in his vibration as Sister Gyanamata said she had been. Thank you Devi for sharing the story.

  17. Dear Ji’s
    What a wonderful Experience with Swamiji which you have shared with us. I feel Blessed to be with Anandha.
    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

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