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Path: One Man's Quest On the Only Path There Is
by J. Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda)
"He Will Be Your Strength"
storm that beats upon the countryside in unbridled fury, hurling rain from
lowering clouds in malediction, seems the sworn enemy of earthly happiness.
Yet its ultimate effect is beneficial. It rejuvenates the land. From the
rainfall come healing herbs; the grasses rise to new heights; flowers emerge,
smiling; forests and meadows are left fragrant and refreshed. Even the gusty
winds are a blessing, for they help the wild plants to grow hardy, stronger
in themselves. Their large, pampered cousins in city greenhouses cannot
achieve their strength; life for them is too easy.
So is it also with the storms of misfortune that descend from time to time on human life. Aristotle defined the beneficial impact of tragedy in literature as a catharsis. The vicarious experience of utter loss, he said, leaves one feeling purified, lifted for a time above earthly attachments, inwardly tranquil. Similar is the case with personal tragedy. Though its effect is seldom so immediate, in the long run it leaves one feeling uplifted and at peace. But if there is attachment in the heart, the purification may be delayed÷years, perhaps, even incarnations, until bitterness is resolved at last in understanding acceptance.
True happiness depends on attitude, not on outward circumstances. With right attitude it is possible to recover quickly even from great sorrow. The quicker the recovery, moreover, the greater the spiritual gain, for it requires an extraordinary surge of inner strength to combat suffering while the storm is still raging. Indeed, in the inner fortitude thus acquired, suffering may prove a doorway to sainthood. Thus it became in the German concentration camps, during World War II, for those heroic few who refused to surrender to the spiritual darkness surrounding them.
My own life weathered its greatest storm so far in my separation from Self-Realization Fellowship. That I even survived seemed to me, at the time, but my added misfortune. Partly I suffered because of my attachment to the work, and partly also because, although I clung as hard as possible to positive attitudes throughout, incomprehension rushed upon me repeatedly in such violent gusts that often I found myself swept away like a leaf in a hurricane. Why? I demanded÷why this loss of everything I believed in and cared about in life? Ceaselessly I sought answers in prayer. But alas, all my answers seemed locked away in vaults of uncaring silence. Hope seemed utterly lost to me.
Ah, Master! For a time I even doubted your love for me÷this perhaps worthless disciple whom you had, as I thought, completely abandoned. To listen to recordings of your voice, even to read your words, caused me almost unbearable pain. I clung mentally to your feet, and reminded you that I was yours eternally, even if you rejected me. But, I confess, in my intense loneliness I felt rejected. It was only with the passing years that I came to understand, and accept, that what had happened was for my good, and for whatever good you might be able to accomplish for others through me.
At first my predicament bewildered me utterly. I knew, of course, that God can be reached by many paths, but Master's was my path; I was completely committed to it. How was I to reconcile this fact with that of my severance from his work? A major part of my commitment was to serving him, yet I wondered if continued service now were even possible. As long as I had been working within his organization, the issue had been fairly clear-cut: Serving Master meant, quite simply, serving SRF. But now that I was on my own, I feared lest any attempt to serve him might in some way prove a disservice. My anxiety was brought sharply into focus by the fact that, next to Daya Mata, I was probably the best known of Yogananda's living disciples, particularly since it was I alone, so far, who had gone out lecturing around the world. SRF members would be upset, certainly, when they discovered that I was no longer in the work. Wouldn't it be best for the work if I were never heard from again?
Yet the fact remained that I still had my life to live, a life that had been pledged irrevocably to Master's service. It was unthinkable, surely, that the only way for me to serve him now was by not serving him!
Truth, fortunately, is never an impossibility. It is the one secure island in the vast sea of human ignorance. My error lay in limiting Master to his organization÷Master, that great Guru whose consciousness was in the very air I breathed! True, he had founded an organization, and it was the appropriate and official custodian for his teachings, but this didn't mean that the rest of the world had therefore to cease functioning! How often he himself had said that he hadn't founded a sect. Those disciples who were able to function within his organization did well to do so, but what of those who could not? They were not relieved thereby of the duty to serve him according to their best lights, and to their best opportunities. As a world teacher, Paramhansa Yogananda belonged to the world. And I, as his disciple, had blessings to share of which the world stood in urgent need.
My error lay also in the fear that, by continued service to the divine cause÷a cause which ever embraces harmony÷I might create disharmony. How could harmony ever be a cause of disharmony? Even when harmonious activity is not received harmoniously, it cannot rightly be blamed, any more than good symphony music deserves blame if a few listeners happen to prefer jazz.
My own attitude towards Self-Realization Fellowship had not altered at all with my altered circumstances. I believed in it as deeply as ever. My feelings toward it, moreover, despite the pain of separation, were as supportive as ever. For I knew what the work was, and what the disciples were like who served in it so devotedly. How, then, if I continued to serve harmoniously in my way, could I be blamed if a few people reacted disharmoniously because I represented an anomalous position in the work. It is no part of spiritual teaching to shield people from reality.
These conclusions I arrived at by no means easily, or presumptuously, but painstakingly, over a period of years, testing every step of the way to see whether the ground on which I was treading had the strength to support me. At first, I asked myself how it would be possible for me to dishonor my vows by accepting any other calling than service to Master. It would, I felt, be far better if I died. Indeed, for months I prayed fervently to be allowed to die. But at last it became clear that this prayer, like my earlier one, was not going to be answered. Finally I resolved to spend the rest of my days in seclusion and meditation. But even this desire was denied me.
I sought repeatedly for a suitable place. But I had no income, and knew of no one to sponsor me. Without money for food, at least, where was I to live a hermit's life in America? I might possibly have pitched a tent in the forest, and waited for God to feed me÷like St. Paul of the Desert, who, legend tells us, was visited daily by a raven carrying him a loaf of bread. But I couldn't live on private land without permission, and, as far as I knew, the maximum stay permitted on government land was two weeks. On the other hand, if it be true that God would have sustained me had I gone out into some forest anyway, with faith, I must answer that it was precisely in my faith that I was the most severely shaken.
I would have returned gladly to India. There, I knew, one can survive as a hermit. I wrote to Ananda Moyi Ma, the great woman saint with whom I had spent many weeks, to see if she would invite me to stay in one of her ashrams. But meanwhile the Divine Will made certain that I didn't take this way out: My application for a re-entry visa into India was denied. Someone in that country, it seems, out of jealousy, had accused me to the Indian Government of being a CIA agent, and (supreme horror!) a Christian missionary in disguise. Repeated efforts to refute these absurd charges proved futile. It was only when, ten years later, I felt God's inward direction to return there that all obstacles to my return evaporated like mist.
And so it was that my search for a solitary haven continued in the West. I tried every place I could think of: investigated Episcopalian monasteries in Michigan, Massachusetts, and southern California; lived for a time in a Roman Catholic hermitage near Big Sur, California; and even considered a little-known religious site in Lebanon. I applied for permission to live in out-of-the-way obscurity, pursuing my own path, on a variety of religious properties; for I preferred if possible to live on consecrated ground. I traveled extensively about California, Oregon, and Arizona, and visited central Mexico, seeking everywhere I went a place to stay. I even studied sales brochures from little countries in the Caribbean, thinking I might someday be able to afford land there. Nothing came of any of these efforts.
In retrospect I see now that divine assistance was always given me in direct proportion to my willingness to serve others. So long as I sought a place only for myself, not a single door opened to me. It was only when I accepted that Master still wanted me to serve that the doors opened wide. Indeed, the assistance I received from then on was often miraculous.
Marvelous to relate, throughout this period, which was certainly the bleakest of my life, abandoned as I felt by God and man, I experienced, on some deep level within me, a subtle joy that never left me. How to account for it? These contradictory states of consciousness might be compared to looking through a spyglass. Though my present focus was on the problem of what to do with my life, and on the pain that attended that problem, at the same time, and within the same range of vision÷closer, however, and therefore blurred÷was this joy. Dimly I could perceive its outlines, while its presence somehow eluded me.
During the late summer and autumn of 1962 I lived at my parents' home in Atherton, a small community thirty miles south of San Francisco, California. One evening in September they invited me to accompany them to a dinner party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Watson Defty, neighbors of theirs on Walsh Road. I was on the point of declining when the thought came to me, "What is my alternative? To lie in my room and gaze at the ceiling?" I decided to go.
Present at the Deftys' that evening were an Indian couple, Dr. and Mrs. Haridas Chaudhuri. Learning that the Chaudhuris came originally from Calcutta, I began conversing with them in Bengali. We hit it off from the start. Their simple dignity, mingled with sweetness, keen intelligence, and unaffected simplicity, was deeply appealing to me.
"But where did you learn to speak Bengali so fluently?" they demanded. When I explained that I'd spent some years in Bengal, they inquired what I'd been doing there. My parents, strangers as they were to Indian traditions, had introduced me that evening as "our son Don." Now I introduced myself by my monastic name.
"Kriyananda!" they cried. "Why, we've heard your recordings of Yogananda's chants. What a beautiful voice you have! Oh, please, you must come and sing at our ashram on October 7th. We are having a Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Service there that day." Dr. Chaudhuri, as it turned out, was the founder and spiritual director of a well-regarded religious institution in San Francisco, the Cultural Integration Fellowship.
I was alarmed. "Oh, I'm very sorry, but I'm not doing any public speaking these days."
"But this isn't a lecture. We're only asking you to sing. Please come!" They smiled appealingly.
Still I refused as graciously as I could. But Dr. Chaudhuri wouldn't take no for an answer. "I felt guided to insist," he told me later. "From that first meeting I felt toward you as toward a younger brother. Inwardly I felt certain that it was God's will for you to get back into the activity for which your guru had trained you. You have much to give; it would be a great pity not to share it with others." In the following days he wrote me once, and telephoned several times, pleading with me to accept.
Finally I asked myself, "Could this be the guidance I've been praying for?" Certainly I had received no other. To test that possibility, and see how it felt, I finally agreed to come.
On October 7th I sang "Gokula Chandra" ("Moon of Gokula"). This popular bhajan, or devotional song, depicts the devotee's pangs of separation from God in the form of Krishna, the eternal Companion: "If my Beloved won't return to Gokula, life will lose all meaning for me. Ah, my friends, I will leave everything and go to find Him. If I succeed, though I know His consciousness is as infinite as the ocean, yet will I bind Him with my love, and keep Him forever a prisoner in my heart!" In my anxiety lest, by this public appearance, I displease Master, I was intensely nervous at first. But soon I lost myself in the inspiration of the words, so particularly meaningful to me as they were at this time. For the first time in over two months, I felt Master's blessings once again in my heart.
After the service, two people÷one from the Indian Students' League of the University of California at Davis, and the other from the Unitarian Church in San Francisco÷invited me to lecture to their respective groups. It surprised me that a mere song should have prompted two such notable invitations. Putting it down to coincidence, however, I declined, remaining firm even when they begged me to reconsider.
What was my astonishment, then, over the next several weeks to find them, like Dr. Chaudhuri, persistent. First they wrote, then phoned me repeatedly, long distance. Finally I prayed, "Master, could this be your will?" Certainly, on the only occasion so far that I'd appeared publicly, my feeling of attunement with him had deepened, not lessened. These invitations, moreover, constituted at least some kind of guidance. My inner voice, by contrast, seemed committed to total silence. I accepted at last.
To my astonishment it happened again: During those two lectures I felt Master's blessings as I hadn't felt them during weeks of desperate prayer at my parents' home. Yet while lecturing, anxious as I was not to displease him, I might well have felt worse. Might it be, I wondered, that in my resistance to public activity I had actually been thwarting his will? His two specific commandments to me, after all, had been to write and lecture. "But," I cried silently, "miserable as I am, what could I share with anyone but my pain?" Yet, almost incredibly, what people told me they'd derived above all from those lectures was a sense of joy!
Dr. Chaudhuri invited me to give a lecture in his ashram, backing his invitation with the earnest counsel, "I really feel this is the kind of work God wants you to do." This time I was better disposed to heed his advice, and let him schedule the talk. He also persuaded me to give a series of classes in Raja Yoga at the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, with which he was affiliated. Both lecture and classes meant for me, among other things, some badly needed income.
Still, however, I continued actively to pursue every possible lead for a place of seclusion.
One place I visited was New Camaldoli, south of Big Sur, California, the Roman Catholic hermitage mentioned earlier. Dom Pedro Rebello, the Retreat Master, a venerable-looking man with kindly eyes and a long white beard, was a native of south India. We took to one another instantly. Dom Pedro agreed to let me stay in their retreat house, despite the fact that I wasn't a Roman Catholic. He frankly expressed the hope that I'd become a convert and join their order. I remained there six months, deeply grateful for the respite it gave me. But was this, I asked myself, where Master wanted me to be? I couldn't feel that it was. Nor would it have been possible for me to convert sincerely to Roman Catholicism. Quite apart from my own deep feelings about serving Master, the church held tenets that I simply couldn't accept, including what I must call a certain lack of catholicity, a narrowness, though I think a few of the hermits mellowed in this respect during my stay there. As it happened, far from converting me, several began requesting me to teach them yoga meditation techniques. Dom Pedro himself ended up requesting Kriya initiation, and accepting Master as his guru "in Christ."
Then, after some months, a few of the novices began trying to convert me. It wasn't at all my desire to shake their faith by giving them answers for which their dogmas hadn't prepared them, but I found myself unable to shake off their persistent challenges. As an unfortunate result of their proselytizing efforts, they began to question some of their own beliefs. By now I could see that the only proper solution was for me to remove myself from their community altogether. I'd hardly reached this decision when the prior himself suggested that it would be better for the novices' peace of mind if I were no longer around.
My stay at New Camaldoli helped me in many respects, despite the fact that, with all the theological discussions I got involved in, I didn't find it exactly the quiet place of seclusion I'd been seeking. Among other things, the hermits introduced me to several exceedingly interesting books, some of them by Christian saints. It was, indeed, from those works that I culled many of the quotes in the chapter in this book on "Original Christianity." I was inspired to begin research for the book I had envisioned writing prior to my separation from SRF. Back in the San Francisco Bay Area, after leaving New Camaldoli, I continued my research at Stanford University. Dr. Chaudhuri helped me also with leads and suggestions. Thus, gradually, I found myself drawn into the other side of Master's commandment to me: writing.
Even now, to Dr. Chaudhuri's loving exasperation, I still insisted that all I wanted was seclusion. My feeling was that unless Master in some way actually announced his will to me, I didn't want, even in the face of the blessings I felt from him when I did lecture, to presume that public service was actually his will for me.
In the autumn of 1963 I decided to drive to Mexico and seek a place where I might live inexpensively, stretching the little money I had over enough months to get my bearings again.
Dr. Chaudhuri, ever solicitous for my welfare, maneuvered to head me off from what he viewed as a mistake. At his suggestion, I stopped in Sedona, Arizona, at the home of friends of his, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Duncan. He also wrote them, I suspect, to suggest they invite me to stay on their ranch. At any rate, they did so. The next three months I lived, rent-free, in a cabin on their property. Surviving sparely on only ten dollars a month, I meditated long hours, and, when, not meditating, worked on my book.
Did Master want me to write this book? This was my latest doubt. Urgently I prayed for direction. One night reassurance came to me in the form of a vision. First came an ordinary dream, in which I was discussing my proposed opus with a few friends. "To write a book of this sort," I exclaimed, "one would have to be willing for every bone in his body to be broken!" Then, with deep fervor, I cried, "And I am willing!" The moment I said this, a great surge of energy shot up my spine. I was thrown first into wakefulness, and thence into superconsciousness. An open book, which I recognized as the book I intended to write, appeared before me. My dream-willingness that every bone in my body be broken referred, I later understood, to my need for complete mental openness÷even if, in the process, it meant breaking my every single preconception. Only by such intellectual sincerity could one be worthy of writing such a book. I would have, in other words, to approach with a completely open and fair mind views against which all my own nature, training, and convictions militated.
As it turned out, this was the supreme test that I faced in writing that book, the first volume of which I published several years later under the title Crises in Modern Thought.
During my stay in Sedona, Dr. Chaudhuri wrote to ask if I wouldn't give a series of classes that winter in his San Francisco ashram. His persistence puzzled me. "He knows I want to be in seclusion," I thought. I wrote back, declining his invitation. Yet, strange to say, I knew that I would not only be teaching those classes that winter, but living in his ashram! How would these things come to pass, I wondered?
Three months after my arrival in Sedona, the Duncans decided to go to India. Their departure left me without a place to stay. At the same time, my parents urged me to visit them in Atherton for Christmas. After some deliberation, I decided to return there for the holidays, then resume my search for a place of seclusion in Arizona or Mexico after the New Year.
Back in the San Francisco Bay Area, I attended a Saturday evening dinner party in the city with the Chaudhuris. We parted company afterwards on the street outside. My plan was to leave for Arizona the following Wednesday. The Chaudhuris lovingly wished me a safe journey. Yet, strange to say, even now as we said goodbye I knew I wouldn't be leaving.
The following morning, Dr. Chaudhuri, midway through his Sunday sermon, collapsed with a heart attack. He was rushed to a hospital, where the doctors informed him that it would be months before he could lecture again. There was no one to take his place at the ashram. When I learned what had happened, I realized that my only possible choice was to offer my services as his replacement. The friendship he had given me during these times of spiritual need merited everything I could do for him in return. I telephoned his wife, Bina.
"Oh, thank God!" she exclaimed. "I was debating whether I dared ask you to postpone your journey, knowing how badly you wanted to leave. But if you can stay and help us for awhile, it will be truly a God-send!"
Thus it happened that I took Dr. Chaudhuri's place as the minister of the ashram, where I lived for a year, and for several years gave Sunday services and taught mid-week classes there.
For the past year and a half, Master had repeatedly closed every door to me but that of continued public activity, finally pushing me through this one. This then, it seemed clear now, was the direction he wanted my life to take: a direction of continued service to him through "writing and lecturing."
Living and teaching in San Francisco, first in the ashram, and later in an apartment of my own at 220 Sixteenth Avenue, I devoted myself to the study of some of the leading philosophies of our times, and to considering how I might bridge the gap between materialism, with its attendant spiritual barrenness and consequent suffering, and the truths that, I knew now from personal experience, could serve man as a bulwark against even intense sorrow. "People are so skillful in their ignorance!" Master had once exclaimed. I set myself the task of sparring with that ignorance, and of turning it, wherever possible, to spiritual advantage. I studied the writings of atheists÷Jean-Paul Sartre, and others; of "New Age" thinkers who offered merely worldly solutions to age-old spiritual needs; of scientists who claimed to find in physics, chemistry, and biology the disproof of ancient scriptural teachings; of neo-"ethical" thinkers who believed they saw in relativity the disproof of universal moral law; of theologians who, by defending spiritual truths without first gauging the opposition's strength, offered pale arguments that all but surrendered their own position. Many of the fruits of this study found their way into my slowly developing book, Crises in Modern Thought, as well as into my lectures and classes, which were being increasingly well received everywhere.
I began also writing songs, hoping through them to touch people's hearts along with their minds. Many of these songs expressed a philosophy of joy. "Say 'YES' to Life!", the first album I recorded, was released in 1965. People wrote from afar to say that, by listening to these songs, their hope in life had been renewed.
"My brother," wrote one lady from the East Coast, "has a long history of chronic depression. Since receiving your record from me as a gift he's been playing it constantly. He simply won't listen to anything else! And he seems so much happier now."
Sometimes people remarked to me, "Well, you can write happy songs. You've never suffered!" My reply was, "It is because I've suffered, and learned the lesson of pain, that I've earned the right to sing happy songs! For true happiness isn't something one feels only when things are going well. The test of it is its power to transcend suffering."
In addition to Crises in Modern Thought, I wrote and published several other books, each of which was designed to reach people of different interests, and to show them that those interests could be fulfilled truly only by the adoption of spiritual values.
In time I founded a meditation retreat and spiritual community along the lines Master had envisioned in his "world brotherhood colonies."
Gradually, I learned to trust my intuitive feelings once again. The more I did so, the stronger the awareness of inner guidance became. No longer was I afraid to follow my inner voice, for I found that obedience to it resulted in success, harmony, and an expanding vision of life, whereas disobedience resulted in disharmony and loss.
During the years following my great test, divine help has been demonstrated to me repeatedly.
In 1968 I faced a serious financial crisis. Building costs at Ananda Meditation Retreat, which I was constructing at that time, rose many thousands of dollars higher than the original estimate, and than the money I'd saved. My various creditors agreed to let me pay them in monthly installments until my debts were liquidated. Monthly, with God's grace, I was able to honor those commitments.
A local lumber company, however, whom I'd been paying regularly, saw what looked like a "heaven-sent" opportunity to seize our land, and placed a lien on it. Next, a letter arrived from their lawyer to inform me that if I didn't pay off my entire debt in two weeks, they would foreclose on us.
"Divine Mother," I prayed, "what am I to do?" I could see no way of raising so much money in time.
Two evenings later I gave a showing of color slides, which I had taken in India, to a group of people in a private home in Palo Alto, California. Only the hostess knew me, and not even she had any idea of the crisis I was facing. I said nothing of it that evening. Afterwards, however, one of the guests approached me.
"I'd like to help your work," he said. "Would you accept a donation?"
"Very gratefully," I replied, expecting him to give me a five- or ten-dollar bill.
The check he handed me was for three thousand dollars! After paying my bills that month, including the full debt to the lumber company, I had $1.37 left in my bank account!
"Divine Mother," I prayed, "how wonderful is Your kindness÷and how exact!"
In 1972 I felt inwardly guided to go to India. Money for the trip came from friends, and from classes that I had given months earlier. But an emergency came up suddenly; the only way I could meet it was by spending most of the money I'd saved for the journey.
"Divine Mother," I prayed, "if You really want me to go to India, You will have to return this money to me right away. Otherwise I won't be able to afford the ticket."
So saying, I paid out $1,100. That was on a Friday evening. The following Monday morning I received in the mail, from a complete stranger, a personal check for $1,000! An accompanying letter requested me to use the money "in whatever way Divine Mother wishes." Gifts in such large amounts rarely come to me, personally, and when they do so I usually use them for our work. But in this case I felt justified in applying that money to the journey.
At Ananda World Brotherhood Village, where I now live, I once received in meditation a design for a publications building. The plan called for an unusually shaped, curved roof. When our carpenters reached that point in the construction, they were unequal to the task. Advice sought elsewhere produced no results. Eventually, for lack of this knowledge, the work came to a halt. The carpenters 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!"
"Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."(91)
Our publications building stands today as a beautiful tribute to God's constant solicitude for His devotees.
Thus, by offering my life up to God's guidance, and no longer holding back for fear of displeasing Him and Master, I found that everything in my life began working for the best. With joy now I was able to say that God had watched over me lovingly, even in my darkest hour.
To worldly people, the thought that God really cares for His human children seems preposterous. Indeed, demonstrations of divine solicitude are withheld from skeptics, who weigh all things÷the most sensitive feelings no less than the specific gravity of metals÷on the crude scales of logic. To such people, "All that is real is rational," as the philosopher Hegel put it, "and all that is rational is real." Seen in this light, cosmic law seems indeed impersonal, even cruel. Against the claim that God is Love, the rationalist sets the sufferings of untold millions, the blatant injustices, the outrages against innocent childhood and helpless old age. How, he asks, could any God who permits such colossal wrongs feel love for His creatures? Small wonder that even among religious believers there are many who, faced with this rational dilemma, see God as a Lord of wrath, not of love.
But the treasure hunt for the "pearl of great price" would lose much of its appeal if every truth promoted itself like a vote-hungry senator running for re-election. Jesus said, "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."(92) The fact is, the childlike devotee who opens his heart to God, especially in meditation, finds himself filled with a love so exquisite that doubt of the divine Goodness can simply no longer exist. Beholding the universe with transformed vision, he recognizes a higher destiny for all creatures than the fleeting fulfillments of earthly life. In suffering he sees valuable lessons for the soul. He understands what great blessings follow apparent misfortunes, once one has learned to accept all things even-mindedly as gifts from God. With increasing wonder, he receives repeated proofs that God really does care.
sentimentalism? So judges the crowd, having, by its egotism, self-preoccupation,
and unbelief rejected the help that God tenders lovingly to all His creatures.
A musician who refuses to play his instrument in harmony with the orchestra
has no grounds for complaint if the notes he plays sound dissonant. A person
who creates disharmony in his own life perceives disharmony everywhere.
Is God then to blame?
"God really talks,"
Yogananda said, "if you don't think about saving for yourself first."
Again and again, in my own life and in the lives of others, I have seen
that God responds lovingly, in even the smallest matters, to devotees
who give their lives to Him without reservation, and who seek to please
Him above all else.
"If only you
knew Whose son you are," Master said to us, "and how much territory
you own, you would give up everything else!"
As I learned to depend
on God wholly once more, the greatest storm in my life passed. It left
my heart feeling cleansed, strengthened, and lovingly grateful. During
the time of my deepest unhappiness, Ananda Moyi Ma sent me the message:
"Take this experience as your guru's grace." Grace? If
any one word was unacceptable to me at that time as an explanation for
the grief I was experiencing, surely it was this one! But now I realized
that grace was indeed what my loss÷the greatest imaginable for me at the
time÷had brought me.
"God really talks," Yogananda said, "if you don't think about saving for yourself first." Again and again, in my own life and in the lives of others, I have seen that God responds lovingly, in even the smallest matters, to devotees who give their lives to Him without reservation, and who seek to please Him above all else.
"If only you knew Whose son you are," Master said to us, "and how much territory you own, you would give up everything else!"
As I learned to depend on God wholly once more, the greatest storm in my life passed. It left my heart feeling cleansed, strengthened, and lovingly grateful. During the time of my deepest unhappiness, Ananda Moyi Ma sent me the message: "Take this experience as your guru's grace." Grace? If any one word was unacceptable to me at that time as an explanation for the grief I was experiencing, surely it was this one! But now I realized that grace was indeed what my loss÷the greatest imaginable for me at the time÷had brought me.