We were sitting with two dear friends at a retreat house in the foothills of the Himalayas, where we take a yearly seclusion. One of them asked me if I felt a special power here and if my meditations were any deeper. I told her that for me personally, this is one of the two most sacred places on earth. The other is the Moksha Mandir at Ananda Village, where Swami Kriyananda’s body rests. Both are places wholly dedicated to prayer and meditation, with no other vibrations mixed in. As a result, each has a special purity, and great spiritual magnetism.
This is only a brief visit, two days squeezed out of an intensely busy schedule. We came to India to help with the formation of an Institute of Leadership and Service, based on the spiritual principles taught by Paramhansa Yogananda. Although our daily meetings with a small team of consultants have gone amazingly well, we still wanted to ask for the guidance and blessings of God, our gurus, and Swami Kriyananda.
Certain places, often pilgrimage spots, act as powerful spiritual amplifiers, and devotees go to great lengths to visit them and bask in their holy ambiance. It is especially helpful to visit such places when facing an important task or juncture in one’s life. A case in point is an episode Yogananda related in his Autobiography of a Yogi, in the chapter “The Heart of a Stone Image.” His eldest sister, Roma, had asked him to intercede with her materialistic husband. Master wrote: “An inspiration seized me. ‘Tomorrow,’ I said, ‘I am going to the Dakshineswar temple. Please come with me, and persuade your husband to accompany us. I feel that in the vibrations of that holy place, Divine Mother will touch his heart.’” And so She did.
We came on this retreat hoping that Divine Mother would touch our hearts also. The house where we’re staying is in an area where the Pandavas lived in ancient times; Babaji feels particularly close here. We weren’t really expecting any outward sign of blessing, but it is nice when it comes of itself. Many times on Swami Kriyananda’s birthday, a rainbow had appeared in a clear blue sky in what is called a “glory.” His Ananda friends have always associated that phenomenon with God’s blessing upon him. Yesterday, in the late afternoon, in a nearly clear sky, there appeared a rainbow ring around the sun. It was something none of us had ever seen before, and we felt as if Swamiji had somehow arranged it for us.
Now, on this morning of our last day here, another sign of blessing was given us. The distant mountains seem to stand guard over the house. Especially beautiful is Nanda Devi, perhaps the most sacred of all the Himalayan peaks. Legend says that you cannot demand to see her, that she will only reveal herself to you if it be her wish. For the last two days she had not chosen to do so, but on this final morning she peeked out above the clouds. It felt like Divine Mother had heard our earnest prayers, and wanted to make sure we knew that we had Her blessings on this sacred project.