Devi and I are once again in India after an absence of more than three years. There is a palpable sense of the Divine here, which Paramhansa Yogananda highlighted on March 7, 1952, as he uttered the last words of his incarnation. Swami Kriyananda recounted that momentous event in The New Path:
Master was scheduled to speak after the banquet. His brief talk was so sweet, so almost tender, that I think everyone present felt embraced in the gossamer net of his love. Warmly he spoke of India and America, and of their respective contributions to world peace and true human progress. He talked of their future cooperation. Finally he read his beautiful poem, “My India.”
Throughout his speech I was busy recording his words, keeping my eyes on my notebook. He came to the last lines of the poem:
Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves, and men dream God.
I am hallowed; my body touched that sod!
Sod became a long-drawn-out sigh. Suddenly from all sides of the room there came a loud cry.
Though we have been here for only a few days, on some subtle plane I, too, feel hallowed that my feet are touching this sacred land. One can feel an elusive holiness in the very air of this land. Swami Kriyananda writes, “God chooses those who choose Him.” Over and again through the long mists of time, great souls who have inhabited India have chosen God.
Nor is it only the great saints who focus their lives around a relationship with the Divine. The head of our charitable work in Brindaban, which takes care of thousands of widow-mothers, told us this story:
One of the care workers came upon an elderly lady who was quite upset, muttering to herself, “He hasn’t eaten for two days, and I’m getting quite hungry. I am going to have to get a stick and beat him until he agrees to eat. I don’t know what to do with that naughty Krishna.” She had made a vow, you see, to feed her beloved Krishna before she would take food herself.
Master starts his great book, Autobiography of a Yogi, with these words, “The characteristic features of Indian culture have long been a search for ultimate verities and the concomitant disciple-guru relationship.”
As I write this, it is September 12th, the anniversary of Swami Kriyananda meeting Yogananda. Swamiji showed us, in the clearest possible way, how to draw God’s grace. As he knelt for the first time at his guru’s feet, he uttered those simple, yet life-changing words that draw God’s love: “I want to be your disciple.”
Those enchanted words are, of course, only the first step: an affirmation that starts the process of transformation. They must then be reinforced by the discipline of discipleship, by a daily practice of meditation, and by deep self-offering. This, too, Swami Kriyananda modeled for us in every imaginable way. His discipleship to Master became the very core of his self-definition.
We can all choose to do the same. That devotee of Krishna offered her love in the form of physical food. But yogis must offer the ego itself to God. Over time, as we do so, the veils of separation become ever more transparent. Then, our lives, too, become hallowed.
In divine friendship,
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 (6:40):