A friend of ours recently told us a good joke. A man was late for an important meeting and was frantically looking for a parking place. Though an atheist, he cried out in desperation, “God, if You find me a parking place, I’ll believe in You.”

Just at that moment a spot miraculously opened up right in front of the building where his meeting was being held. As the man quickly pulled his car into the space, he said, “That’s okay, God. I’ve got this.”

Often when some opportunity unexpectedly comes our way, apparently by chance, we remain oblivious to the fact that God was pulling the strings behind the scenes. When we think, “How lucky was that,” or “I worked hard to make this happen,” we’re missing the point. “Coincidences,” it has been well said, “are God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Coincidences present themselves in a variety of ways. Here are a few of them, each illustrated with a real-life example that directs our gaze beyond the gift to the Giver.

First, there’s practical advice that arrives just at the moment you need it. In the mid-1970s at Ananda Village, we were constructing a building for our central offices and printshop. Swami Kriyananda had a clear idea of what it should look like and had made a simple pencil drawing on a little piece of note paper.

The body of the building was easy, but the roof was complex, with a double curve moving both upward and outward like a bird in flight. With no engineering drawings to guide them, our builders were unsure how to construct the roof, but, undeterred, they proceeded day by day to take the work as far as they could.

The inevitable day arrived when they could go no further. As Swami Kriyananda related the story,

They sat down, meditated, and prayed for assistance. Finally, receiving, as they thought, no guidance, they rose and prepared to leave the job.

Just then a car drove up, and a man stepped out. Explaining that he was a building contractor from Santa Barbara, hundreds of miles away, he said, “I was wondering if you needed help.”

The men explained their predicament.

“It’s lucky for you I happened to come here,” said the contractor. “I am probably the only man in California who knows the special technique this job needs!”

Our crew got exactly the advice they needed from our contractor friend and was able to complete the project. The building stands today as a testimony to divine intervention.

Hansa Temple at Ananda Village designed by Swami Kriyananda

Hansa Temple at Ananda Village stands today as a testimony.

Here’s an example of a “coincidence” that came in the form of protection. Swami Kriyananda had been giving some classes in Sacramento, California, and Shivani and I had come along to help. A friend of Swamiji’s offered to drive us back to the Village, so with Dr. Runnels at the wheel, Kriyanandaji in the passenger seat, and Shivani and me in the back, we set off.

Traffic on the highway was heavy and moving fast, with two crowded lanes heading in each direction. Directly in front of us was a car pulling a flatbed trailer filled with equipment.

Swamiji and his friend were amiably chatting as we drove along, when, at a certain point, Swami glanced over and saw the trailer begin to wobble. “That trailer hitch looks unstable,” he said. “Let’s get in front of the car ahead of us.”

Just as we switched lanes and pulled up alongside the other car, the trailer hitch snapped. The trailer went spinning out of control behind us, causing a huge pileup. We sat in shocked silence, realizing that we’d narrowly missed being in a terrible accident. For the rest of the way home no one spoke, absorbed as we were in thoughts of what had just happened.

Finally, there is the “coincidence” of how higher guidance and inspiration come into our lives. How many times we’ve heard people tell their story about how they found Autobiography of a Yogi. “It just appeared one day on my coffee table,” or “Out of nowhere a stranger handed it to me,” they’ll tell us. They may see “chance” rather than grace at work in these incidents, for they don’t yet realize how close God really is to us.

In his autobiography, The New Path, Swami Kriyananda writes: “People often point to the sufferings of humanity as proof either that God doesn’t exist, or that He doesn’t care for His human children. Paramhansa Yogananda’s answer to that charge was that people don’t care enough about God to tune in to His help.”

The next time some unexpected boon or protection comes into your life, rather than saying, “What a coincidence!” from your heart simply say, “Thank you, God.”

With gratitude,

Nayaswami Devi

P.S. You may enjoy joining us for our upcoming event with Ananda Palo Alto: Sharing the Wisdom of Yogananda: 100 Years of Spiritual Awakening.

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17 Comments

  1. The story was beautiful and the lesson given in the story is blissful..

  2. Beautiful, Thank you Devi Ji.

    Thank you God. We love you too.

  3. It was August, 1978, I was student preparing for the final exam. A friend took me for a day out to visit an art exhibition. There were many people, when a man came to me and said in a calm voice : ” I think you would love this book, I will lend it to you..” I first thought, he has other motives, than lending me a book.. so I declined, told him that I have no time yo read any other books that my study- books, right now, preparing for my exam. But he insisted and told me, I can keep the book as long as I want, and can bring it back through the mother of my friend who was with us visiting the exhibition. And I found out that this man was the artist himself, and an acquaintance of the mother of my friend. I then accepted the book, out of politeness kept it for weeks unopened in my bookshelf. One day, bored and tired of reading my study – books, I opened the “artist’s book” and saw what was hand- written on the first page : ” Zum Heile Ihrer Seele ” the German for: ” For the Healing of your Soul..” and the book is: ” The Autobiography of a Yogi ” And that was the turning point of my life. It was no coincidence. I have this book in German, English and Dutch.
    Warm greetings and Blessings,
    Jenny/ Juanita Bandiola

    1. What a wonderful story, Juanita! Thank you for recounting it for us.

  4. The trick seems to be following, even when the ego questions.
    I am eternally gratefully to what one man called the Godincidences in my own life.
    This was the subject of a three way conversation yesterday, more should have turned up on Zoom, it gave the opportunity for three of us to talk more personally.
    We all were thankful for the chance to talk and share about these coincidences in our lives.
    Then today’s comes your blog ……………..
    This morning on a webcast someone said the yogic mind in ever in tune and spoke about conincidence……………
    Thank you so much for this posting.

  5. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for this inspiring blog! Very useful points and guidelines to be followed.
    “Coincidences,” it has been well said, “are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” – I liked this saying.
    Once a doctor told me that there is nothing called Coincidence everything is a Divine Guidance!
    And thank you for sharing the affirmation

    Joy,
    Prem

  6. Liked the statement “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous”. Thanks for sharing this wounderful elevating blog.

  7. Namaskar and greetings.
    Thanks for sharing a inspiring and wonderful blog ❤️. Every living beings should and must be thankful to God. Our very existence is by his grace but we forget him out of our ignorance. Thank you God. I Love You

  8. Please! Let us use a word that more clearly communicates than coincidence… What you are describing here, what we have seen in our lives and the lives of others is a GODCIDENCE. I have been using this word for 20 years. Join me!?
    Hive God the glory.💜🙏🏼🙏🏾

  9. Beautiful sharing and teaching to Thank God for the many many times He pulls the strings for us – thank you dearest Devi Ji.

  10. Beautiful lessons shared in such an uplifting way. I feel even closer to God after reading this. Thank you. Sending love and blessings and grate gratitude for all you do and give.

  11. So true! We live in a secular society now, and the ideas expressed in this article are important to remember. God is part of everyone’s life, but they don’t realize it. We are each waking up to a greater realization of how much God is part of us and we are expressions of God.

  12. The two stories reconfirms my belief in the existence of a conscious universe. Thank you for your article

  13. A beautiful piece! I’ve found that the more such incidents one learns of, the more one is able to tune into their manifestations in one’s own life if one has a requisite openness to their reality. Reading the Autobiography many years ago helped me to sharpen my awareness and conviction in such divine interventions, and the more I have noticed and felt gratitude for these, the more they have seemed to occur! Awareness brings faith and faith brings manifestation–and all of these bring devotion.

  14. This is the best blog! Thank you so much. It reminds us to ALWAYS thank God first for everything, then we won’t miss the point even if we were thinking “coincidence” rather than “grace” in the moment.

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