A few years ago Swami Kriyananda asked us if we could spend more time in India to help with Ananda’s work there. We replied, “Yes, Swamiji. During the past year we’ve been training others in many of our responsibilities. Now we can be gone, and everything will continue to run smoothly.”

Swamiji smiled and said, “Good. We should all live our lives in such a way that we are ready to leave this world at a moment’s notice.”

His words brought to mind a very powerful and poignant experience in my life. It took place on June 28, 1976—eleven days after the birth of our son. As I adjusted to the new responsibilities of motherhood, our home had become a bit neglected. On the morning of June 28, we had a scheduled checkup for our son. I decided it would be nice to tidy up before I left.

When it came time to leave, I realized that I hadn’t yet attended to the meditation room. Not wanting to leave our sacred objects there in a dusty space, I quickly put them all in a box and placed it by the entry of the room.

I remember standing at the door of our home before I left, happy at how sparkling everything looked, and smiling at all our beautiful houseplants. That was the last time I ever saw any of it again.

Before I returned home a forest fire struck our community, burning our home to the ground along with twenty-two of the twenty-three other houses. Jyotish had stayed in the community that day, and although he tried to save our home from the fire, the only thing he was able to rescue was the box of holy items from our altar.

I’ve been forever grateful for my last loving farewell to our home and belongings. From that experience I realized that I should treasure each moment as a unique opportunity that may never come again. Here are other thoughts I took away that might be helpful to you:

  1. Do your best in all things, so that you can live in freedom without misgivings or regrets.
  2. Remember to let your dear ones know that you love them. Life is unpredictable, and we never know when the present moment will be our last opportunity to tell them.
  3. Most importantly, live so that if God suddenly calls you home, you can say goodbye to this world and reply, “I am ready, Lord. Let’s begin this journey together.”

With joy in God,
Nayaswami Devi

23 Comments

  1. Thank you Devi! very deep… and simple. I wish I can live my life constantly remembering these principles. Love and light!
    Scilla

  2. this is an amazing story, and I needed to hear it today!
    love Andrea

  3. Dear Devi & Jyotish,
    While I treasure every one of these ‘touches of light’, only rarely do I send a comment. Given your story and the profound message, how could I possibly not send one today?! Your words every week become a focus for my meditations; your friendship, and the love you feel for all of us, opens my heart and allows me to love others more deeply and more expansively. Thank you for devoting your lives to this path and for helping to show all of us the way.
    May God and Gurus bless you and everyone you meet on this next leg of your journey.
    AUM, Shanti

  4. Beautiful , touching, and just what I need to remember !
    Thanks and blessings!

  5. I really like this story. “God is in the details.” The little miracles even in the disasters.

  6. Bless You Devi, and Thank You for your example of leadership, friendship, devotion, and service.
    The principles of non-attachment, presence and gratitude are so important and this delightful reminder is appropriate and timely.
    Grace works with such subtlety sometimes that the magic of the moment can get lost in the blur of the movement in doing; taking that “breath”, that moment to acknowledge and be grateful for the instant, the present , the now gives us that freedom to “Let Go”.
    Again Thank You for the insight and sharing your experience, and your life with us all.
    With God and Guru, Josette

    1. Thank you, Devi, for these beautiful illustrations of important and sacred principles. I remind myself every day of these very things, and I have such deep respect for my Ananda family for modeling all of Guruji’s teachings for us. Many blessings to you and Jyotish as you move on to your next sacred adventure. I will miss you, but I will also enjoy the connection with our new directors. Peace & Joy!

  7. Dear Deviji,
    This poingent reminder is so sweet and precious. I can only imagine how a young mother must feel with this loss. Had it not been your faith in God and Guru…….this could have been very devastating…..instead you were able to turn it into a deeper devotion for God.
    Thank you………for being Love Personified.

  8. This reminds me of how many times in the past 10 years I have said both goodbye and hello to California and Ohio, as my prarabdha karma has dictated. Without it, I don’t believe I would have gained very much experiential knowledge of non-attachment, or vairagya. And it is so difficult to leave those we love the most–whether they take the form of people, places, or things. On the one hand, we are called to selflessly love and serve others, while on the other hand we are to remain non-attached so that we may indeed one day be able to finally leave this world of lila and maya…

  9. Thank you, Devi, for this beautiful Touch of Light. May Master and Swamiji bless you on your journey to India.
    appreciatively, Omprakash

  10. This message could not have come at a more opportune time for me. Change is always potentially imminent and lassitude seems to be rearing it’s face to often these days. I believe this is Divine Mother’s way of saying: “I Love you enough that I will use your devotion and dedication in your best interest…be ready for anything, Love MA! Bless you dear ones. Thank you hardly seems adequate on a physical level for all you have shared, so…Namaste, steve (Navi) Buon voyagio to everywhere, love and joy.

  11. Dear Nayaswami Devi, How beautiful and touching it is :). Thank you for sharing,
    This ““I am ready, Lord. Let’s begin this journey together.” almost got tears to my eyes :)
    Thank you
    Aum
    Prem

  12. Thank you for always sharing such pertinent thoughts, Devi. You will be missed here, that is sure. The divine effort and thoughtfulness which is present in every part of your lives will be felt as we “hold down the fort” in your absence. Thank you for caring so much. Be gone and then come home safe! And, know you are included in our daily prayers and offerings. Love always,

  13. I remember you sharing this experience in delhi during your last visit, but reading it all over again with such a beautiful way in which you have said it is truly inspiring… I could visulaize you saying goodbye. Yes we need to develop the detachment & when you all share your experiences, it motivates others to move on… Thank you Devi.
    Love & Joy
    Sumitra

  14. Thankyou devi for your beautiful comments. Will you still be in touch.
    God Bless
    John

  15. Its simply wonderful.I think many things will get resolved over the course of time and did not put my best effort.
    You make it really clear that we have to do,to be best all the time.
    Thanks a lot Devi Ji for such a nice message.May God and Gurus bless you forever!

  16. Excquisitely beautiful photo. So tender. Thank you both for the reminder to do our very best in each moment, so we can step away freely whenever God takes us…Buon voyage. A blessing for others that you can travel so freely now. We will miss you!

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