My friend was apprehensive and not a little frightened as she entered the room to begin her first radiation treatment. She’d recently been diagnosed with cancer, but fortunately the doctors had been reassuring—telling her that it was readily treatable, and that she should expect a full recovery.
Still, as she and her husband waited for the treatment to begin, not knowing what to expect, they were praying for help to face what lay ahead. Then they saw a large whiteboard on the wall with encouraging notes from patients to help others going through the same treatment. It filled their hearts with joy as they read such reassuring words as:
“You never realize how much the love you give others comes back to you until you have cancer.”
“Sometimes strong has nothing to do with muscle.”
“At the end of your rope? Look up!”
“And just like that—you graduate!”
Weeks have now passed, and my friend is doing very well. One of the statements, “At the end of your rope? Look up!” reminded me of a remarkable story from the life of Swami Kriyananda.
When Swamiji was a young monk of twenty-three, he was asked by his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, to help with the editing of his just-completed commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita. The year was 1950. “A new scripture has been born!” Yogananda declared to him ecstatically. “Millions will find God through this book. Not just thousands—millions! I have seen it. I know!”
Swamiji read all one thousand five hundred pages that Master had written. As he later wrote about that experience: ”Never in my life had I read anything so deep, and at the same time so beautiful and uplifting.” Master worked with him for some time on the project, but circumstances intervened, and Swamiji wasn’t able to complete it.
Years passed. Kriyananda no longer had access to the original manuscript, but he never forgot about the editing work his guru had asked him to do. Finally, as Swamiji entered his eightieth year in 2005, he realized that he was running out of time to finish the project in the years left to him. Praying for help, he asked Master how he could accomplish the task without a copy of the manuscript from which to work.
Then one night Swamiji had a dream. In it he heard Master’s voice saying to him, “Don’t overlook the possibility of a skylight.” At first he was puzzled by these words, but as he raised his thoughts upward, a remarkable thing started to happen.
Verse by verse, he began to remember what Master had written in his commentaries fifty-six years earlier. Swamiji told us, “Master’s thoughts poured effortlessly into my mind, helping me to fill page after page with deep insights and inspiration.” He completed the six-hundred-page book, The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, in just under two months; his subsequent editing required only one month more. Through the skylight of God’s grace, everything he needed had flowed to him.
Now, as both individuals and global citizens of a troubled world, we face many challenges. Let’s remember to “look for a skylight.” We can do this by lifting our eyes and energy up to the seat of higher consciousness, the spiritual eye, where God dwells within each one of us. It is an act of will, of faith, and of strength. When we do so, we will draw the grace to face whatever lies ahead.
As King David declared in Psalm 121:
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
From whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord,
Who made the heavens and the earth.
In life’s challenges, may you always look upward.
Listen to the recording of Swami Kriyananda sing the Psalm of David:
Listen to Devi as she 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 (9:41):