We recently took our annual period of seclusion at a guesthouse on Abbott Mount, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. As the crow flies, it is a mere eighty miles from Babaji’s Cave, and it seems as if Babaji still walks these very hills. He feels very close when we are there, especially during our long periods of meditation.

Swami Kriyananda has said that one of the happiest periods during his first years in India was when he was offered a guesthouse for a monthlong seclusion. He stayed in the little town of Lohaghat, a ten-minute drive from Abbott Mount—threads of karma weaving together.

photo of nandadevi himalaya mountains babajis cave touch of light yogananda teachings

Nanda Devi (photo by Jyotish).

One of the things we most look forward to is the view of Nanda Devi, a revered mountain associated with the goddess Durga. When we arrived, however, she was hidden by mist and cloud. And so it continued. Every morning after meditation we gazed eagerly in her direction. And every day we saw that mist and clouds continued to veil the heights. Until the final day. Then she gave us the most glorious darshan ever. It felt like Divine Mother was patting us on the back and rewarding us for our faithfulness.

On the physical plane there was another reason for the view opening up. In the early days of fall—October in these regions—rice stubble left in the fields after the harvest is burned, and people build fires in their dwellings to stay warm. A smoky haze settles everywhere. Finally, however, during our stay a downpour cleared the air.

So it is with our consciousness. The smoky emotions of anxiety and apprehension build up to cloud our mental clarity and obscure the high mountains of our aspirations. Like the hills, we need a good cleansing from time to time.

The state of our world offers plenty of reasons for concern. Issues like climate change, political dysfunction, and warfare affect us all. The perpetual challenge is that valid concerns will always exist. Many believe that the solution is to force others to conform to their worldview. Those who think that coercion will lead to peace fail to remember, however, that the dusty road of conflict has been travelled for millennia and always leads into the wastelands of yet more strife.

Is there a way out of this morass? Absolutely! Conditions could change. People, who are the cause of the conditions, could change. But only if and when they genuinely want to change. Lasting transformation can come only through heightened awareness. If we want a better future, we should take those actions that will lead to the upliftment of consciousness.

The journey begins by releasing our individual and collective attachment to the negative events of the past. Paramhansa Yogananda has said that to remember bad experiences and dwell on them is an abuse of the divine gift of memory. He also encouraged us to stay positive and active. “Moods,” he said, “get their grip on your consciousness when you are in a negative or passive state of mind.”

Do you want to help create a better world? It begins with you taking responsibility for changing yourself. Here, then, is a simple three-step process to get started:

  1. Clearly identify the improvements you want to see in yourself. Create a short list—one to three items—of changes you would like to make.
  2. Get to work! Formulate a strategy and commit to it. Change won’t happen spontaneously.
  3. Stick with your new habits until they grow strong and permanent.

Thankfully, we don’t have to walk this road alone. God and Gurus are eagerly waiting for us to turn toward them. It is also a great aid to spend more time with those friends and gurubhais who can support our aspirations.

Just like Nanda Devi, Divine Mother is always there, patiently waiting for us. If we play our part, then God, Gurus, and good friends will be the cleansing rains that wash away our cloudy thoughts and reveal our higher nature.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Jyotish

Listen to Jyotish as he first reads the blog, then expands on its meaning and messages for readers with behind-the-blog commentary. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:42):

23 Comments

  1. Thank you Nyaswami Jyotish , I do feel sometimes my thoughts of the past overcome me at times ,this is getting easier as time passes and I continue with my daily practice.
    🙏

    1. Thank you Nyaswami Jyotish ,
      I always read this email from Ananda it help me for my spiritual knowledge. And it also guide me for my daliy SADHANA.I understand three step process and definitely I will be work on it for my self.

      Thanking You

      Hanmant

      🙏

  2. My divine brother,
    Your words are like the fresh water pouring outwards from the rocks of the desert.
    I felt your love from within them going throughout my whole being.
    I really thanks you for them .
    Many blessings
    Diego C Fernandez

  3. It’s a nice morning today and your words are encouraging me to wake up and begin and another beautiful day keeping on The Path back Home.
    I wished I’d visit those mountains in the Himalayas and Northern India one day…
    Thank you for your advice Jyotish!
    Namasté

  4. Thank you very much, Jyotish. As it has already happened in the past more than once, this post arrived just at the right time.
    All my gratitude.

  5. Thank you very much dear Jyotishji,

    for sharing your experiences. Reminded of our Himalaya trip.

    Thank you so much, for sharing these wonderful experience,

    In Master’s Blessings,

    Neela

  6. Thank you so much for this invitation. One can do with such a relaxing and soul food treat from this stressful world we live in. I have ran out of options as life is so difficult on its own. I pray that God give me strength to varry one because everything is just falling apart.

  7. mm

    Thank you Jyotish 🙏 beyond the fact that this is deeply inspiring and clear, it is also deeply practical and useful in viewing ourselves, others, the world. In the deepest gratitude and love, Devalila

  8. Just what’s needed today and always! Thank you. 🙏🏽

  9. Thank you so much for sharing the Himalayan view it’s such a treat to the eye that’s only looking at hustling city lights and traffic ! Wish our gurus bless all of us to experience seclusion once in a while to clear our heads and raise our consciousness 🙏 om guru

  10. Thank you dearest Jyotish, I particularly loved the description of the mountain as Divine Mother! blessings . . . Holly

  11. The visit to Himalayas is indeed memorable in the spiritual sense. Thank you.

  12. This is a very enjoyable account! Am so happy for you to have been there. The photo is wonderful ! Thank you for the quote by Master, the analogy and warm advise.

  13. Thank you for your timely words and suggested actions. We are exposed to so much bad news, it is hard to believe in positivity at times. But a good reminder that the only person we can change is ourselves and let our actions support good causes. Namaste!

  14. Perfect timing dear friend. Change will not happen without prayer and effort on my part. I stand committed to change and the work that is before me. Namaste

  15. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this blog and the guidance. Very helpful to be put in to practice.
    It was very nice to read about the presence of Babaji during your seclusion/meditation.

    Joy,
    Prem

  16. Want to know more about anadadevi mountain which has a high attachment of maa durga

  17. Want peace health wealth and prosperity for my family by nandadevi mata

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