The boy’s father was a harsh man. Constantly criticizing and belittling others, he was feared by everyone who knew him—but not by his son, who had a wisdom beyond his years.

One day when the boy was twelve years old, he came into the room where his father was sitting and picked up a beautiful shell bowl from a table. Lifting the shell over his head, he threw it to the ground and shattered it into pieces.

“What have you done?” his father screamed. Calmly the boy looked at him, and replied, “Can you put it back together and make it whole again?”

“Of course not,” said the man as he approached the boy angrily, about to mete out punishment.

“Then why do you do this to other people’s minds?” the son asked. The father’s rage changed to stunned silence, as he realized, perhaps for the first time, the impact of his actions on others.

Swami Satchidananda at Ananda Village’s Meditation Retreat, during a visit in the 1970’s.

This boy grew up to become Swami Satchidananda, a disciple of the great Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, and a beloved guru to many thousands of people around the world. He founded the worldwide Integral Yoga Institutes, and in 1979 established Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia, where he built the first LOTUS (Light Of Truth Universal Shrine).

Recently Jyotish and I took part in a well-received Ananda program in the south Indian city of Coimbatore. The following day Satchidananda’s cousin and disciple, K. Ramasamy, drove us to a nearby town where he has established a second LOTUS. This beautiful temple is “dedicated to the Light of all faiths and to world peace,” and is exactly two-thirds the size of the original LOTUS in Virginia.

LOTUS India world peace and unity universal truths

Nayaswami Jyotish with Mr. Ramasamy (top). LOTUS near Coimbatore (bottom).

As we toured the beautiful grounds and buildings with shrines dedicated to all religions, we were struck by the fact that the same consciousness is reflected in LOTUS and in the new temple being built at Ananda Village. People of universal sympathies are bringing the same awareness of global unity.

Mr. Ramasamy told us another story from the life of his guru-cousin. In the early years of Satchidananda’s spiritual work in the West, many unkempt hippies began to follow him. Eventually he was able to uplift their consciousness, and many of them went on to make significant contributions in the arts and sciences, and in medicine.

At a certain point, a very wealthy woman began attending his satsangs. She told him, “I’d like to join your work and can donate a great deal of money, but [referring to the gaggle of hippies hanging around] I can’t stand all these pigs.”

Satchidananda smiled kindly and replied, “Perhaps this is not your place, because if they are pigs, then I am the mother pig caring for all of them.” Unable to overcome her prejudices, the woman ended up leaving.

I’ll close with a quote from this great teacher: “The real purpose of any religion is to educate us about our spiritual unity. It is time for us to recognize that there is one truth and many approaches. The need of the hour is to know, respect, love one another, and to live as one global family.”

The broken shell could not be put back together, but the human soul needs but a touch of light, love, and understanding to, once again, be made whole in the realization of its oneness with God.

Towards world unity,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. “The real purpose of any religion is to educate us about our spiritual unity. It is time for us to recognize that there is one truth and many approaches. The need of the hour is to know, respect, love one another, and to live as one global family.” This touches my heart. This will be the solution for many of the problems faced today. Guru Yoganandaji has shown the way for the global community where HIS blessings will always surround us. We are also among the blessed to receive your blessings at Coimbatore. Jai Guru.

    In Master’s Love
    R Selvaraj

  2. Dear Nayaswami Devi, WOW, over and over, can’t tell you the absolute timing and significance of this article and especially the “pieces of the shell broken bowl”. I will make copies of this to give out. What wondrous wisdom of a little boy who grew up to be a great loving being that he is. Thank you, Jyotish and all teachers for continuous sharing with us the many wonders of God’s love uniting us all as One. Namaste

  3. Thank you very much for this very inspiring and touching story. May God and Gurus bless you. Jai Guru !

  4. I am touched by the ‘Pieces of Broken Bowl’ and now I feel that each pieces belong me , but I cann’t joined them together to reshape a Beautiful Bowl……..
    In consideration of my short time disassociation with Ananda I heartily and urgently expect your Guideance as How to connect nicely with various type of Negativity among humanbeings ? ? ?
    Salute to Master and Swami ji

    Brij Kul Deepak

  5. I was at the satsang with Satchidananda in the photo. I remember the constant stream of outrageous puns that flowed from him, keeping us in stitches. I also remember a story that Swami told about him – how he had been an engineer, and while driving with disciples one day he told them that something was wrong with the engine. Nobody could hear or feel anything, but Satchidananda insisted, so they stopped at a gas station, and sure enough, something was broken. Swamiji used the story to illustrate the importance of balancing reason with intuition.

  6. Jai Guru!

    A significant reminder that We are Really All One Family!

    Thank You and Bless You!

    ~~~Peace, Josette

  7. Thank you dear Devi.
    So beautiful the image of the broken she’ll.
    Our she’ll hearts are all broken until we know God loves us.
    Thank you for the healing glue of God’s love in you words of sensitive wisdom. They touched me to feel great comfort.
    Have a blessed day.
    With love , bhajana

  8. Dear Nayaswami Devi JI,
    Such a beautiful and the most important message “The need of the hour is to know, respect, love one another, and to live as one global family.”
    As Master said and Ananda lives it, world brother hood colonies is much required and we hope to get communities across the continents.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    In Master’s Love

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