Asha Praver's Monthly Letter
January 2006

Dear Friends,Asha Praver photo

In October, Swamiji had a satsang on Diwali in our ashram in Gurgaon, a suburb just outside New Delhi. His own house is two blocks away.

Afterwards, a small group sat on the floor around him and asked him questions.

“Why did you decide to settle in Gurgaon?” one woman asked.

“I didn’t,” Swamiji said. “Friends came to India ahead of me to set things up and they decided this was the place to be.”

“Good!” she said. “Then I can stick with my own explanation. I live very near to here. I believe you came to Gurgaon for me.”

Her response was so endearing; everyone, including Swamiji, laughed in appreciation.

When Swamiji was in India forty years earlier, he spent a great deal of time with the woman saint, Anandamayee Ma. From the moment he met her, Ma showed a special interest in Swamiji, inviting him to spend long hours with her. It was most unusual for her to give so much time to one person.

She told him, “Many thousands have come to this body [that is how she referred to herself]. None have attracted me as you have. There are people who have been with me for twenty-five years and more, but they haven’t taken from me what you have.”

To others, she explained it in this way, “Here is a lotus in a pond.” (Ma herself was the lotus.) “Many frogs sit under the lotus, croaking. Then the bee flies in, takes the honey, and flies away. Kriyananda is that bee.”

Later, Swamiji said to her, “I feel selfish taking so much of your time.”

She answered, “There is no selfishness in that which destroys the ego.”

Sister Gyanamata, Master’s most advanced woman disciple, often meditated on the blissful thought, “Master came for me.” She knew there were other disciples, and a worldwide work, but none of that diminished the fullness of his presence within her.

This is the great mystery of omnipresence, as Swamiji describes it. It is not only infinite; it is also infinitesimal. Every speck of creation, what to speak of the human heart, contains within it, divinity itself.

Christmas is an ideal time to contemplate these spiritual mysteries. The Baby Jesus is effortlessly lovable. And the Divine Baby, like babies everywhere, returns that love with undiscriminating devotion. You don’t have to earn the love of a baby, you just have to put yourself in front of it, coo a little, and the love flows.

This is the divine purpose behind celebrating the birth of Jesus. It was St. Francis who created many of the traditions now followed at this time, such as making a crèche with the tiny infant in the manger. Francis knew that such images would awaken the natural love of the heart.

In the life of Krishna, there is the story of the Rasa Lila. A group of women devotees, called gopis, accompany Krishna deep into the forest on the night of the full moon. They dance together, and even though Krishna is only one, and the gopis are many, in the Rasa Lila—the Sweet Dance—every gopi feels that Krishna is dancing with her. In the many paintings done to celebrate the event, you see a circle of gopis, and next to each one is the image of Krishna.
God is infinite, and infinitesimal. He dwells within us all. His presence is constant. The only thing that wavers is our awareness of Him.

The more we give ourselves to the spirit of Christmas, and to the many devotional events that happen at this time of year, the more the awareness of God will deepen within us. And endure long after Christmas itself is over.

Let us not be like the frogs croaking under the lotus. Let us be the one who drinks the honey of God’s presence dwelling within.

Much love, and many blessings,

Asha (& David)