This morning as I sat in meditation, I ignored some of the advice I am sharing here. Instead of focusing entirely on my meditation, I spent some time thinking about this blog. (Ah, how often we ignore good advice, even when it comes from ourselves!) Yet I hope some benefit will come from my well-intentioned restlessness. Anyway, here is what came to me.
There is a story about two shoe salesmen who are sent by their companies to explore the possibilities for sales in a Third-World country. They arrive at the same time, check out the scene, and then both head for the telegraph office to report back.
As I write these words it’s March 7, the 65th anniversary of Paramhansa Yogananda’s mahasamadhi (conscious exit from the body). He left this earth in a dramatic fashion. At a banquet in Los Angeles in honor of the visiting Indian ambassador, after a short and very sweet talk, the great master recited his poem, “My India.” As he read the final lines, his body slipped to the floor, and his soul departed for higher realms. He had predicted the time of his passing and had said that he wanted to die “with his boots on” serving, as he always had, as a teacher and model to all receptive seekers. [Listen to Swami Kriyananda tell the story of Yogananda's passing.]
While in Hawaii, I read a translation of an ancient Hawaiian song about mana, or “life force”:
I am writing this from the Island of Kauai, the northernmost island of the Hawaiian chain. It’s certainly one of the most beautiful places on earth, set like a gemstone in an aqua sea. Its hills, valleys, swaying plants, and even its people have been shaped by centuries of rain, sun, and wind. It’s as if Divine Mother had said to Herself, “Here I will put on My loveliest attire. I will wear a hundred subtle shades of green, and My jewelry will be brilliant flowers and birds of every color. In the evenings, I will turn My clouds luminescent and color them orange, and red, and lavender. And I will surround Myself with crystalline blue waters, and even these I will fill with the most fantastic fish I can imagine.”
Aloha! We’re currently relaxing on Kauai, one of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, on a two-week vacation that was gifted to us by many friends from Ananda. One hears “Aloha” everywhere here, because it’s a word with multiple meanings: “hello,” “good-bye,” “love,” “compassion,” and “welcome.”
It is a little ironic for me to be writing about this subject just now. Here at Ananda Village, in Northern California, we’re in the midst of yet another major storm, experiencing the greatest rainfall in over twenty years. The rivers are roaring, the reservoirs are full, the mountain snowpack is huge, and more is on the way. Maybe, just maybe, getting soaked whenever I step outside is what got me thinking about dry spells. But let’s move on from the weather and talk about those spiritual dry spells and how to deal with them.
A dear friend, Nayaswami Devarshi, is a longtime Ananda member who is now serving in India as the head of our Monastic Order. He sent this letter to us last week.
Once Paramhansa Yogananda was attending a wedding with some of his disciples, and at a certain point he began handing out different-colored roses to the women devotees. After receiving her rose from the Guru, one woman expressed disappointedly, “But I wanted a pink rose, not a red one.”