As I write this, we’re in India for two weeks on an unexpected trip. A series of completely unforeseen events has provided the potential for a wonderful new project. Working with one of India’s premiere leaders in education, our small team is creating a vision and feasibility study for a world-class Institute of Leadership based on Paramhansa Yogananda’s principles of higher consciousness. If it comes into manifestation, it will be the fulfillment of a dream of Swamiji’s, and a vehicle for the upliftment of world consciousness. The project is in such an early phase, with clarity just starting to emerge, that it’s too early to share any more details at this time.
I want to write about another subject related to this unexpected trip—cooperating with divine grace. Occasionally an opportunity presents itself that may be inconvenient for our existing schedule. When this happens, and previously laid-out plans have to be cast aside, in the dark corners of my mind I wonder if God is paying the close attention to my calendar that I think it deserves.
So, how should we act when the Divine sends an opportunity, or a test, that requires some sacrifice on our part? We would do well to follow the counsel of Sister Gyanamata, Master’s most advanced woman disciple. Her advice was to “Say ‘yes,’ and make it snappy.”
When Master was still a young man, he founded a school for boys in Ranchi, India. One morning, as he was meditating in a tiny storeroom (the only place where he could find a little privacy), he had a vision and heard a clear call to go to America. In spite of his heavy responsibilities, he left the school and began making arrangements for his trip to the West that same afternoon.
Similarly, in 2003 Swami Kriyananda received an email from a devotee in India saying that Master’s work there needed more energy. To us, it was a simple letter, but to Swamiji it was a call from the Divine. Within two weeks, at the tender age of seventy-seven, he had moved to India to start Ananda’s work here. The result of his willingness to follow the divine call is that hundreds of thousands of people are being helped through Yogananda’s teachings.
There are many more stories with this same theme: A call is heard, and acted upon; divine grace acts like a wind at your back, and miracles happen. There are also countless times when God’s call is not answered, but we never hear of those stories. His seeds fall upon barren ground, and no flowers grow.
We need to prepare the garden of our hearts by constantly doing our best to align our individual will to the divine will. The day will come when God asks something of us, when He is trying to plant a seed. It may not always be convenient to say yes, but it is the surest path to liberation. Remember, everything that comes to us is a gift of love from Divine Mother. Whether pleasant or unpleasant, convenient or inconvenient, it is given with love and, if accepted gratefully, will lead to freedom.
I can attest, from my own experience, that great joy comes when we learn to “say ‘yes,’ and make it snappy.”