HotFreeBooks.com
Autobiography of a YOGI
by Paramhansa Yogananda
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11
Home - Random Browse

"Oh, no, not insignificant!" I protested sincerely. "You are a great soul."

"I am the humble servant of all." She added quaintly, "I love to cook and feed people."

A strange pastime, I thought, for a non-eating saint!

"Tell me, Mother, from your own lips-do you live without food?"

"That is true." She was silent for a few moments; her next remark showed that she had been struggling with mental arithmetic. "From the age of twelve years four months down to my present age of sixty-eight—a period of over fifty-six years—I have not eaten food or taken liquids."

"Are you never tempted to eat?"

"If I felt a craving for food, I would have to eat." Simply yet regally she stated this axiomatic truth, one known too well by a world revolving around three meals a day!

"But you do eat something!" My tone held a note of remonstrance.

"Of course!" She smiled in swift understanding.

"Your nourishment derives from the finer energies of the air and sunlight, {FN46-7} and from the cosmic power which recharges your body through the medulla oblongata."

"Baba knows." Again she acquiesced, her manner soothing and unemphatic.

"Mother, please tell me about your early life. It holds a deep interest for all of India, and even for our brothers and sisters beyond the seas."

Giri Bala put aside her habitual reserve, relaxing into a conversational mood.

"So be it." Her voice was low and firm. "I was born in these forest regions. My childhood was unremarkable save that I was possessed by an insatiable appetite. I had been betrothed in early years.

"'Child,' my mother often warned me, 'try to control your greed. When the time comes for you to live among strangers in your husband's family, what will they think of you if your days are spent in nothing but eating?'

"The calamity she had foreseen came to pass. I was only twelve when I joined my husband's people in Nawabganj. My mother-in-law shamed me morning, noon, and night about my gluttonous habits. Her scoldings were a blessing in disguise, however; they roused my dormant spiritual tendencies. One morning her ridicule was merciless.

"'I shall soon prove to you,' I said, stung to the quick, 'that I shall never touch food again as long as I live.'

"My mother-in-law laughed in derision. 'So!' she said, 'how can you live without eating, when you cannot live without overeating?'

"This remark was unanswerable! Yet an iron resolution scaffolded my spirit. In a secluded spot I sought my Heavenly Father.

"'Lord,' I prayed incessantly, 'please send me a guru, one who can teach me to live by Thy light and not by food.'

"A divine ecstasy fell over me. Led by a beatific spell, I set out for the Nawabganj GHAT on the Ganges. On the way I encountered the priest of my husband's family.

"'Venerable sir,' I said trustingly, 'kindly tell me how to live without eating.'

"He stared at me without reply. Finally he spoke in a consoling manner. 'Child,' he said, 'come to the temple this evening; I will conduct a special VEDIC ceremony for you.'

"This vague answer was not the one I was seeking; I continued toward the GHAT. The morning sun pierced the waters; I purified myself in the Ganges, as though for a sacred initiation. As I left the river bank, my wet cloth around me, in the broad glare of day my master materialized himself before me!

"'Dear little one,' he said in a voice of loving compassion, 'I am the guru sent here by God to fulfill your urgent prayer. He was deeply touched by its very unusual nature! From today you shall live by the astral light, your bodily atoms fed from the infinite current.'"

Giri Bala fell into silence. I took Mr. Wright's pencil and pad and translated into English a few items for his information.

The saint resumed the tale, her gentle voice barely audible. "The GHAT was deserted, but my guru cast round us an aura of guarding light, that no stray bathers later disturb us. He initiated me into a KRIA technique which frees the body from dependence on the gross food of mortals. The technique includes the use of a certain MANTRA {FN46-8} and a breathing exercise more difficult than the average person could perform. No medicine or magic is involved; nothing beyond the KRIA."

In the manner of the American newspaper reporter, who had unknowingly taught me his procedure, I questioned Giri Bala on many matters which I thought would be of interest to the world. She gave me, bit by bit, the following information:

"I have never had any children; many years ago I became a widow. I sleep very little, as sleep and waking are the same to me. I meditate at night, attending to my domestic duties in the daytime. I slightly feel the change in climate from season to season. I have never been sick or experienced any disease. I feel only slight pain when accidentally injured. I have no bodily excretions. I can control my heart and breathing. I often see my guru as well as other great souls, in vision."

"Mother," I asked, "why don't you teach others the method of living without food?"

My ambitious hopes for the world's starving millions were nipped in the bud.

"No." She shook her head. "I was strictly commanded by my guru not to divulge the secret. It is not his wish to tamper with God's drama of creation. The farmers would not thank me if I taught many people to live without eating! The luscious fruits would lie uselessly on the ground. It appears that misery, starvation, and disease are whips of our karma which ultimately drive us to seek the true meaning of life."

"Mother," I said slowly, "what is the use of your having been singled out to live without eating?"

"To prove that man is Spirit." Her face lit with wisdom. "To demonstrate that by divine advancement he can gradually learn to live by the Eternal Light and not by food."

The saint sank into a deep meditative state. Her gaze was directed inward; the gentle depths of her eyes became expressionless. She gave a certain sigh, the prelude to the ecstatic breathless trance. For a time she had fled to the questionless realm, the heaven of inner joy.

The tropical darkness had fallen. The light of a small kerosene lamp flickered fitfully over the faces of a score of villagers squatting silently in the shadows. The darting glowworms and distant oil lanterns of the huts wove bright eerie patterns into the velvet night. It was the painful hour of parting; a slow, tedious journey lay before our little party.

"Giri Bala," I said as the saint opened her eyes, "please give me a keepsake-a strip of one of your SARIS."

She soon returned with a piece of Benares silk, extending it in her hand as she suddenly prostrated herself on the ground.

"Mother," I said reverently, "rather let me touch your own blessed feet!"

{FN46-1} In northern Bengal.

{FN46-2} H. H. Sir Bijay Chand Mahtab, now dead. His family doubtless possesses some record of the Maharaja's three investigations of Giri Bala.

{FN46-3} Woman yogi.

{FN46-4} "Remover of Obstacles," the god of good fortune.

{FN46-5} Sri Yukteswar used to say: "The Lord has given us the fruits of the good earth. We like to see our food, to smell it, to taste it—the Hindu likes also to touch it!" One does not mind HEARING it, either, if no one else is present at the meal!

{FN46-6} Mr. Wright also took moving pictures of Sri Yukteswar during his last Winter Solstice Festival in Serampore.

{FN46-7} "What we eat is radiation; our food is so much quanta of energy," Dr. George W. Crile of Cleveland told a gathering of medical men on May 17, 1933 in Memphis. "This all-important radiation, which releases electrical currents for the body's electrical circuit, the nervous system, is given to food by the sun's rays. Atoms, Dr. Crile says, are solar systems. Atoms are the vehicles that are filled with solar radiance as so many coiled springs. These countless atomfuls of energy are taken in as food. Once in the human body, these tense vehicles, the atoms, are discharged in the body's protoplasm, the radiance furnishing new chemical energy, new electrical currents. 'Your body is made up of such atoms,' Dr. Crile said. 'They are your muscles, brains, and sensory organs, such as the eyes and ears.'"

Someday scientists will discover how man can live directly on solar energy. "Chlorophyll is the only substance known in nature that somehow possesses the power to act as a 'sunlight trap,'" William L. Laurence writes in the NEW YORK TIMES. "It 'catches' the energy of sunlight and stores it in the plant. Without this no life could exist. We obtain the energy we need for living from the solar energy stored in the plant-food we eat or in the flesh of the animals that eat the plants. The energy we obtain from coal or oil is solar energy trapped by the chlorophyll in plant life millions of years ago. We live by the sun through the agency of chlorophyll."

{FN46-8} Potent vibratory chant. The literal translation of Sanskrit MANTRA is "instrument of thought," signifying the ideal, inaudible sounds which represent one aspect of creation; when vocalized as syllables, a MANTRA constitutes a universal terminology. The infinite powers of sound derive from AUM, the "Word" or creative hum of the Cosmic Motor.



CHAPTER: 47

I RETURN TO THE WEST

"I have given many yoga lessons in India and America; but I must confess that, as a Hindu, I am unusually happy to be conducting a class for English students."

My London class members laughed appreciatively; no political turmoils ever disturbed our yoga peace.

India was now a hallowed memory. It is September, 1936; I am in England to fulfill a promise, given sixteen months earlier, to lecture again in London.

England, too, is receptive to the timeless yoga message. Reporters and newsreel cameramen swarmed over my quarters at Grosvenor House. The British National Council of the World Fellowship of Faiths organized a meeting on September 29th at Whitefield's Congregational Church where I addressed the audience on the weighty subject of "How Faith in Fellowship may Save Civilization." The eight o'clock lectures at Caxton Hall attracted such crowds that on two nights the overflow waited in Windsor House auditorium for my second talk at nine-thirty. Yoga classes during the following weeks grew so large that Mr. Wright was obliged to arrange a transfer to another hall.

The English tenacity has admirable expression in a spiritual relationship. The London yoga students loyally organized themselves, after my departure, into a Self-Realization Fellowship center, holding their meditation meetings weekly throughout the bitter war years.

Unforgettable weeks in England; days of sight-seeing in London, then over the beautiful countryside. Mr. Wright and I summoned the trusty Ford to visit the birthplaces and tombs of the great poets and heroes of British history.

Our little party sailed from Southampton for America in late October on the BREMEN. The majestic Statue of Liberty in New York harbor brought a joyous emotional gulp not only to the throats of Miss Bletch and Mr. Wright, but to my own.

The Ford, a bit battered from struggles with ancient soils, was still puissant; it now took in its stride the transcontinental trip to California. In late 1936, lo! Mount Washington.

The year-end holidays are celebrated annually at the Los Angeles center with an eight-hour group meditation on December 24th (Spiritual Christmas), followed the next day by a banquet (Social Christmas). The festivities this year were augmented by the presence of dear friends and students from distant cities who had arrived to welcome home the three world travelers.

The Christmas Day feast included delicacies brought fifteen thousand miles for this glad occasion: GUCCHI mushrooms from Kashmir, canned RASAGULLA and mango pulp, PAPAR biscuits, and an oil of the Indian KEORA flower which flavored our ice cream. The evening found us grouped around a huge sparkling Christmas tree, the near-by fireplace crackling with logs of aromatic cypress.

Gift-time! Presents from the earth's far corners-Palestine, Egypt, India, England, France, Italy. How laboriously had Mr. Wright counted the trunks at each foreign junction, that no pilfering hand receive the treasures intended for loved ones in America! Plaques of the sacred olive tree from the Holy Land, delicate laces and embroideries from Belgium and Holland, Persian carpets, finely woven Kashmiri shawls, everlastingly fragrant sandalwood trays from Mysore, Shiva "bull's eye" stones from Central Provinces, old Indian coins of dynasties long fled, bejeweled vases and cups, miniatures, tapestries, temple incense and perfumes, SWADESHI cotton prints, lacquer work, Mysore ivory carvings, Persian slippers with their inquisitive long toe, quaint old illuminated manuscripts, velvets, brocades, Gandhi caps, potteries, tiles, brasswork, prayer rugs-booty of three continents!

One by one I distributed the gaily wrapped packages from the immense pile under the tree.

"Sister Gyanamata!" I handed a long box to the saintly American lady of sweet visage and deep realization who, during my absence, had been in charge at Mt. Washington. From the paper tissues she lifted a SARI of golden Benares silk.

"Thank you, sir; it brings the pageant of India before my eyes."

"Mr. Dickinson!" The next parcel contained a gift which I had bought in a Calcutta bazaar. "Mr. Dickinson will like this," I had thought at the time. A dearly beloved disciple, Mr. Dickinson had been present at every Christmas festivity since the 1925 founding of Mt. Washington. At this eleventh annual celebration, he was standing before me, untying the ribbons of his square little package.

"The silver cup!" Struggling with emotion, he stared at the present, a tall drinking cup. He seated himself some distance away, apparently in a daze. I smiled at him affectionately before resuming my role as Santa Claus.

The ejaculatory evening closed with a prayer to the Giver of all gifts; then a group singing of Christmas carols.

Mr. Dickinson and I were chatting together sometime later.

"Sir," he said, "please let me thank you now for the silver cup. I could not find any words on Christmas night."

"I brought the gift especially for you."

"For forty-three years I have been waiting for that silver cup! It is a long story, one I have kept hidden within me." Mr. Dickinson looked at me shyly. "The beginning was dramatic: I was drowning. My older brother had playfully pushed me into a fifteen-foot pool in a small town in Nebraska. I was only five years old then. As I was about to sink for the second time under the water, a dazzling multicolored light appeared, filling all space. In the midst was the figure of a man with tranquil eyes and a reassuring smile. My body was sinking for the third time when one of my brother's companions bent a tall slender willow tree in such a low dip that I could grasp it with my desperate fingers. The boys lifted me to the bank and successfully gave me first-aid treatment.

"Twelve years later, a youth of seventeen, I visited Chicago with my mother. It was 1893; the great World Parliament of Religions was in session. Mother and I were walking down a main street, when again I saw the mighty flash of light. A few paces away, strolling leisurely along, was the same man I had seen years before in vision. He approached a large auditorium and vanished within the door.



"'Mother,' I cried, 'that was the man who appeared at the time I was drowning!'

"She and I hastened into the building; the man was seated on a lecture platform. We soon learned that he was Swami Vivekananda of India. {FN47-1} After he had given a soul-stirring talk, I went forward to meet him. He smiled on me graciously, as though we were old friends. I was so young that I did not know how to give expression to my feelings, but in my heart I was hoping that he would offer to be my teacher. He read my thought.

"'No, my son, I am not your guru.' Vivekananda gazed with his beautiful, piercing eyes deep into my own. 'Your teacher will come later. He will give you a silver cup.' After a little pause, he added, smiling, 'He will pour out to you more blessings than you are now able to hold.'

"I left Chicago in a few days," Mr. Dickinson went on, "and never saw the great Vivekananda again. But every word he had uttered was indelibly written on my inmost consciousness. Years passed; no teacher appeared. One night in 1925 I prayed deeply that the Lord would send me my guru. A few hours later, I was awakened from sleep by soft strains of melody. A band of celestial beings, carrying flutes and other instruments, came before my view. After filling the air with glorious music, the angels slowly vanished.

"The next evening I attended, for the first time, one of your lectures here in Los Angeles, and knew then that my prayer had been granted."

We smiled at each other in silence.

"For eleven years now I have been your KRIYA YOGA disciple," Mr. Dickinson continued. "Sometimes I wondered about the silver cup; I had almost persuaded myself that Vivekananda's words were only metaphorical. But on Christmas night, as you handed me the square box by the tree, I saw, for the third time in my life, the same dazzling flash of light. In another minute I was gazing on my guru's gift which Vivekananda had foreseen for me forty-three years earlier-a silver cup!"

{FN47-1} The chief disciple of the Christlike master Sri Ramakrishna.



CHAPTER: 48

AT ENCINITAS IN CALIFORNIA

"A surprise, sir! During your absence abroad we have had this Encinitas hermitage built; it is a 'welcome-home' gift!" Sister Gyanamata smilingly led me through a gate and up a tree-shaded walk.

I saw a building jutting out like a great white ocean liner toward the blue brine. First speechlessly, then with "Oh's!" and "Ah's!", finally with man's insufficient vocabulary of joy and gratitude, I examined the ashram-sixteen unusually large rooms, each one charmingly appointed.

The stately central hall, with immense ceiling-high windows, looks out on a united altar of grass, ocean, sky-a symphony in emerald, opal, sapphire. A mantle over the hall's huge fireplace holds the framed likeness of Lahiri Mahasaya, smiling his blessing over this far Pacific heaven.

Directly below the hall, built into the very bluff, two solitary meditation caves confront the infinities of sky and sea. Verandahs, sun-bathing nooks, acres of orchard, a eucalypti grove, flagstone paths leading through roses and lilies to quiet arbors, a long flight of stairs ending on an isolated beach and the vast waters! Was dream ever more concrete?

"May the good and heroic and bountiful souls of the saints come here," reads "A Prayer for a Dwelling," from the ZEND-AVESTA, fastened on one of the hermitage doors, "and may they go hand in hand with us, giving the healing virtues of their blessed gifts as widespread as the earth, as far-flung as the rivers, as high-reaching as the sun, for the furtherance of better men, for the increase of abundance and glory.

"May obedience conquer disobedience within this house; may peace triumph here over discord; free-hearted giving over avarice, truthful speech over deceit, reverence over contempt. That our minds be delighted, and our souls uplifted, let our bodies be glorified as well; and O Light Divine, may we see Thee, and may we, approaching, come round about Thee, and attain unto Thine entire companionship!"



This Self-Realization Fellowship ashram had been made possible through the generosity of a few American disciples, American businessmen of endless responsibilities who yet find time daily for their KRIYA YOGA. Not a word of the hermitage construction had been allowed to reach me during my stay in India and Europe. Astonishment, delight!

During my earlier years in America I had combed the coast of California in quest of a small site for a seaside ashram; whenever I had found a suitable location, some obstacle had invariably arisen to thwart me. Gazing now over the broad acres of Encinitas, {FN48-1} humbly I saw the effortless fulfillment of Sri Yukteswar's long-ago prophecy: "a hermitage by the ocean."

A few months later, Easter of 1937, I conducted on the smooth lawns at Encinitas the first of many Sunrise Services. Like the magi of old, several hundred students gazed in devotional awe at the daily miracle, the early solar fire rite in the eastern sky. To the west lay the inexhaustible Pacific, booming its solemn praise; in the distance, a tiny white sailing boat, and the lonely flight of a seagull. "Christ, thou art risen!" Not alone with the vernal sun, but in the eternal dawn of Spirit!

Many happy months sped by; in the peace of perfect beauty I was able to complete at the hermitage a long-projected work, COSMIC CHANTS. I set to English words and Western musical notation about forty songs, some original, others my adaptations of ancient melodies. Included were the Shankara chant, "No Birth, No Death"; two favorites of Sri Yukteswar's: "Wake, Yet Wake, O my Saint!" and "Desire, my Great Enemy"; the hoary Sanskrit "Hymn to Brahma"; old Bengali songs, "What Lightning Flash!" and "They Have Heard Thy Name"; Tagore's "Who is in my Temple?"; and a number of my compositions: "I Will be Thine Always," "In the Land Beyond my Dreams," "Come Out of the Silent Sky," "Listen to my Soul Call," "In the Temple of Silence," and "Thou Art my Life."

For a preface to the songbook I recounted my first outstanding experience with the receptivity of Westerners to the quaintly devotional airs of the East. The occasion had been a public lecture; the time, April 18, 1926; the place, Carnegie Hall in New York.

"Mr. Hunsicker," I had confided to an American student, "I am planning to ask the audience to sing an ancient Hindu chant, 'O God Beautiful!'"

"Sir," Mr. Hunsicker had protested, "these Oriental songs are alien to American understanding. What a shame if the lecture were to be marred by a commentary of overripe tomatoes!"

I had laughingly disagreed. "Music is a universal language. Americans will not fail to feel the soul-aspiration in this lofty chant." {FN48-2}

During the lecture Mr. Hunsicker had sat behind me on the platform, probably fearing for my safety. His doubts were groundless; not only had there been an absence of unwelcome vegetables, but for one hour and twenty-five minutes the strains of "O God Beautiful!" had sounded uninterruptedly from three thousand throats. Blase' no longer, dear New Yorkers; your hearts had soared out in a simple paean of rejoicing! Divine healings had taken place that evening among the devotees chanting with love the Lord's blessed name.

The secluded life of a literary minstrel was not my role for long. Soon I was dividing every fortnight between Los Angeles and Encinitas. Sunday services, classes, lectures before clubs and colleges, interviews with students, ceaseless streams of correspondence, articles for EAST-WEST, direction of activities in India and numerous small centers in American cities. Much time was given, also, to the arrangement of KRIYA and other Self-Realization Fellowship teachings into a series of studies for the distant yoga seekers whose zeal recognized no limitation of space.

Joyous dedication of a Self-Realization Church of All Religions took place in 1938 at Washington, D.C. Set amidst landscaped grounds, the stately church stands in a section of the city aptly called "Friendship Heights." The Washington leader is Swami Premananda, educated at the Ranchi school and Calcutta University. I had summoned him in 1928 to assume leadership of the Washington Self-Realization Fellowship center.

"Premananda," I told him during a visit to his new temple, "this Eastern headquarters is a memorial in stone to your tireless devotion. Here in the nation's capital you have held aloft the light of Lahiri Mahasaya's ideals."

Premananda accompanied me from Washington for a brief visit to the Self-Realization Fellowship center in Boston. What joy to see again the KRIYA YOGA band who had remained steadfast since 1920! The Boston leader, Dr. M. W. Lewis, lodged my companion and myself in a modern, artistically decorated suite.

"Sir," Dr. Lewis said to me, smiling, "during your early years in America you stayed in this city in a single room, without bath. I wanted you to know that Boston possesses some luxurious apartments!"

The shadows of approaching carnage were lengthening over the world; already the acute ear might hear the frightful drums of war. During interviews with thousands in California, and through a world-wide correspondence, I found that men and women were deeply searching their hearts; the tragic outer insecurity had emphasized need for the Eternal Anchorage.

"We have indeed learned the value of meditation," the leader of the London Self-Realization Fellowship center wrote me in 1941, "and know that nothing can disturb our inner peace. In the last few weeks during the meetings we have heard air-raid warnings and listened to the explosion of delayed-action bombs, but our students still gather and thoroughly enjoy our beautiful service."

Another letter reached me from war-torn England just before America entered the conflict. In nobly pathetic words, Dr. L. Cranmer Byng, noted editor of THE WISDOM OF THE EAST SERIES, wrote:

"When I read EAST-WEST I realized how far apart we seemed to be, apparently living in two different worlds. Beauty, order, calm, and peace come to me from Los Angeles, sailing into port as a vessel laden with the blessings and comfort of the Holy Grail to a beleaguered city.

"I see as in a dream your palm tree grove, and the temple at Encinitas with its ocean stretches and mountain views, and above all its fellowship of spiritually minded men and women, a community comprehended in unity, absorbed in creative work, and replenished in contemplation. It is the world of my own vision, in the making of which I hoped to bear my little part, and now . . .

"Perhaps in the body I shall never reach your golden shores nor worship in your temple. But it is something and more, to have had the vision and know that in the midst of war there is still a peace that abides in your harbors and among your hills. Greetings to all the Fellowship from a common soldier, written on the watchtower waiting for the dawn."

The war years brought a spiritual awakening among men whose diversions had never before included a study of the New Testament. One sweet distillment from the bitter herbs of war! To satisfy a growing need, an inspiring little Self-Realization Church of All Religions was built and dedicated in 1942 at Hollywood. The site faces Olive Hill and the distant Los Angeles Planetarium. The church, finished in blue, white, and gold, is reflected amidst the water hyacinths in a large pool. The gardens are gay with flowers, a few startled stone deer, a stained-glass pergola, and a quaint wishing well. Thrown in with the pennies and the kaleidoscopic wishes of man has been many a pure aspiration for the sole treasure of Spirit! A universal benignity flows from small niches with statues of Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswar, and of Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, St. Francis, and a beautiful mother-of-pearl reproduction of Christ at the Last Supper.

Another Self-Realization Church of All Religions was founded in 1943 at San Diego. A quiet hilltop temple, it stands in a sloping valley of eucalypti, overlooking sparkling San Diego Bay.

Sitting one evening in this tranquil haven, I was pouring out my heart in song. Under my fingers was the sweet-toned organ of the church, on my lips the yearning plaint of an ancient Bengali devotee who had searched for eternal solace:

In this world, Mother, none can love me; In this world they do not know love divine. Where is there pure loving love? Where is there truly loving Thee? There my heart longs to be.

My companion in the chapel, Dr. Lloyd Kennell, the San Diego center leader, was smiling a little at the words of the song.

"Tell me truly, Paramhansaji, has it been worth it?" He gazed at me with an earnest sincerity. I understood his laconic question: "Have you been happy in America? What about the disillusionments, the heartaches, the center leaders who could not lead, the students who could not be taught?"

"Blessed is the man whom the Lord doth test, Doctor! He has remembered now and then to put a burden on me!" I thought, then, of all the faithful ones, of the love and devotion and understanding that lay in the heart of America. With slow emphasis I went on, "But my answer is: Yes, a thousand times yes! It has been worth-while; it has been a constant inspiration, more than ever I dreamed, to see West and East brought closer in the only lasting bond, the spiritual!"

Silently I added a prayer: "May Babaji and Sri Yukteswarji feel that I have done my part, not disappointing the high hope in which they sent me forth."

I turned again to the organ; this time my song was tinged with a martial valor:

The grinding wheel of Time doth mar Full many a life of moon and star And many a brightly smiling morn— But still my soul is marching on!

Darkness, death, and failures vied; To block my path they fiercely tried; My fight with jealous Nature's strong— But still my soul is marching on!

New Year's week of 1945 found me at work in my Encinitas study, revising the manuscript of this book.

"Paramhansaji, please come outdoors." Dr. Lewis, on a visit from Boston, smiled at me pleadingly from outside my window. Soon we were strolling in the sunshine. My companion pointed to new towers in process of construction along the edge of the Fellowship property adjoining the coast highway.

"Sir, I see many improvements here since my last visit." Dr. Lewis comes twice annually from Boston to Encinitas.

"Yes, Doctor, a project I have long considered is beginning to take definite form. In these beautiful surroundings I have started a miniature world colony. Brotherhood is an ideal better understood by example than precept! A small harmonious group here may inspire other ideal communities over the earth."

"A splendid idea, sir! The colony will surely be a success if everyone sincerely does his part!"

"'World' is a large term, but man must enlarge his allegiance, considering himself in the light of a world citizen," I continued. "A person who truly feels: 'The world is my homeland; it is my America, my India, my Philippines, my England, my Africa,' will never lack scope for a useful and happy life. His natural local pride will know limitless expansion; he will be in touch with creative universal currents."

Dr. Lewis and I halted above the lotus pool near the hermitage. Below us lay the illimitable Pacific.

"These same waters break equally on the coasts of West and East, in California and China." My companion threw a little stone into the first of the oceanic seventy million square miles. "Encinitas is a symbolic spot for a world colony."

"That is true, Doctor. We shall arrange here for many conferences and Congresses of Religion, inviting delegates from all lands. Flags of the nations will hang in our halls. Diminutive temples will be built over the grounds, dedicated to the world's principal religions.

"As soon as possible," I went on, "I plan to open a Yoga Institute here. The blessed role of KRIYA YOGA in the West has hardly more than just begun. May all men come to know that there is a definite, scientific technique of self-realization for the overcoming of all human misery!"



Far into the night my dear friend-the first KRIYA YOGI in America—discussed with me the need for world colonies founded on a spiritual basis. The ills attributed to an anthropomorphic abstraction called "society" may be laid more realistically at the door of Everyman. Utopia must spring in the private bosom before it can flower in civic virtue. Man is a soul, not an institution; his inner reforms alone can lend permanence to outer ones. By stress on spiritual values, self-realization, a colony exemplifying world brotherhood is empowered to send inspiring vibrations far beyond its locale.

August 15, 1945, close of Global War II! End of a world; dawn of an enigmatic Atomic Age! The hermitage residents gathered in the main hall for a prayer of thanksgiving. "Heavenly Father, may never it be again! Thy children go henceforth as brothers!"

Gone was the tension of war years; our spirits purred in the sun of peace. I gazed happily at each of my American comrades.

"Lord," I thought gratefully, "Thou hast given this monk a large family!"

{FN48-1} A small town on Coast Highway 101, Encinitas is 100 miles south of Los Angeles, and 25 miles north of San Diego.

{FN48-2} I translate here the words of Guru Nanak's song:

O God beautiful! O God beautiful! In the forest, Thou art green, In the mountain, Thou art high, In the river, Thou art restless, In the ocean, Thou art grave! To the serviceful, Thou art service, To the lover, Thou art love, To the sorrowful, Thou art sympathy, To the yogi, Thou art bliss! O God beautiful! O God beautiful! At Thy feet, O I do bow!

THE END

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11
Home - Random Browse