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.

yogananda on the ganges river in india with disciples

Paramhansa Yogananda on the Ganges during his return trip to India in 1935.

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,

Nayaswami Jyotish

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):


  1. This blog touched me deeply… I felt as if I were there too , on that sacred ground. The vibration of the very words feels holy.
    Bless you and blessings to all you meet and encounter on your trip.

  2. Jai Gurudev…🌹🕉️🙏
    Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya…🌼

  3. Recounting personal experiences touches our hearts deeply and makes a permanent mark on our consciousness.
    Even the sacred texts can’t achieve that lasting impact.

  4. Thank you as always dearest brother Jyotish! Your words touched me deeply, and to read Swami’s account of that last talk given by Master brought tears to my eyes. Sacred ground is rare, and when we can set foot on it, we are made aware of the subtle vibration that awaits, to carry us to our astral home. Let us be of such high consciousness that we, create sacred ground where we rest our heads and share the love of family and God where we are right now.

    Blessing to you and Devi and safe travels!

  5. When I arrived the first time in India (Delhi), I was greeted by a huge Ganesha with an oil lamp aside and an incense burning next to it, at the airport, right after I stepped out of the plane!
    When I arrived the first time in America (San Francisco airport) I was greeted from a huge poster that advertised BAYER! I’ll never forget.

  6. Thank you falls short here, dear Jyotish. As I listened to you read this blog, I felt as though I was ‘right there’, in the Biltmore Hotel, listening to Master, feeling His holy presence. And I could also feel Swamiji as he was writing out Master’s words. I am continuously inspired by these holy blogs. They open my heart more fully than I can say. In Divine Gratitude and friendship, steve.

  7. I am very pleased that you share your experiences and thoughts , this is a wonderful “comunication” for me . This is like a little guidance and it feel good for me in heart and brain . Thank you .

  8. Thank you dear Jyotish 💙 “Will that day O come to me Master and Swami 🙏🏻when saying Mother dear my eyes💦 will flow tears “ 🎶🎶🎶Grateful am I God is so patient and loving with me as are you and Devi are 💙💙 I feel I am India too with you there 🪷

  9. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this beautiful blog. We are so blessed to have you and Devi Ji in India. We are looking forward to meeting you!

    I liked these lines in particular and a vital message – affirmation that starts the process of transformation…. reinforced by the discipline of discipleship,

    Thank you for sharing this,


  10. I’m looking for that chant :
    “Where Ganges, Woods, Himalayan Caves, and men dream God.
    I am hallowed, my body touched that sod”.
    We sang it many years ago when I first moved to the community.
    In Joy,

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