Asha Praver's Monthly Letter
March 2007

Dear Friends,Asha Praver photo

In the The Essence of Self-Realization, Swamiji shares this conversation with Master:

“The company one keeps,” Paramhansa Yogananda said, “determines to a great extent whether his energy will move inward toward God, or outward toward the world. Good company is essential on the spiritual path.”

“Sir,” asked a disciple, “what if I am alone?”

The Master gazed deeply into the disciple’s eyes as he replied, “Am I not always with you?”

On another occasion, Swamiji asked Master, “Sir, after you are gone, will you be as near to us as you are now?”

“To those who think me near,” Master replied, “I will be near.”

These two stories describe the essence of the spiritual path for the disciple: Attunement. All our practices—prayer, chanting, energization, meditation, Kriya itself—are means to this one end: to make ourselves receptive to the divine vibrations of those appointed by God to lead us to Self-realization.

In the Bible, St. John describes attunement in this way, “As many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God.”

Referring to this passage, Master said, “Be in tune. Delusion can’t touch you, if you will keep in tune.”

Karmic obstacles cannot always be avoided. Nor are they a sign of God’s displeasure. An easy life is not necessarily a victorious one. Even after we have become firmly established on the path of Self-realization, karma still has to be worked out. Whatever unenlightened energy we set in motion in the past has to play itself out before we can be free.

Often the greatest devotees face the greatest obstacles. It doesn’t matter what happens to us externally. All that matters is what we become inside, in other words, our consciousness.

Above all, the goal of life is to remain in tune. No matter how challenging the circumstances, never to lose contact with the presence of God and Guru within. Even in the darkest hour, as Master said, “To those who think me near, I will be near.”

This is an extraordinary promise, one we should keep uppermost in our awareness at all times. The Masters never turn away from us. They are always “broadcasting” divine vibrations. It is we who close our hearts to them. They never close their hearts to us.

Recently David and I and about a dozen other devotees, spent several weeks with Swamiji at a beach resort in Goa, India. This was a much-needed rest for Swamiji, and a necessary escape for him from the cold, foggy conditions of New Delhi in January. There was no “agenda” for our gathering, except to share the joy of our mutual love for God.

For several years now, every visit with Swamiji for me has been focused around the book I was writing about him. At first, it was my struggle to find the right way to express everything I had to say. Then it was refining that expression. Naturally, this kept me in a particular state of concentration and focus. This was my first visit with Swamiji since the book was published. I was free, like a child, simply to be.

Because of this inner freedom, more than ever it was clear to me that Swamiji is the living embodiment of what it means to be a disciple of Master. For nearly sixty years, Swamiji has dedicated every thought, every action, every feeling, every breath to Master. He has the effortless attunement now of one who has received him.

For the first fifteen years of my spiritual life, I lived at Ananda Village, very near to where Swamiji lived. He was completely involved in building the community, and for years I saw him almost every day. Then, in 1986, Swamiji asked us to move from Ananda Village to take responsibility for Ananda in Palo Alto. I knew it was the right decision, but because it meant I would no longer live close to Swamiji, I was also heartbroken.

Master comes to me through Swamiji. To be separated from Swamiji, made me feel that I was also separated from Master. The first years in Palo Alto were difficult. Then one day I woke up with the simple thought, “To those who think me near, I will be near.” Space and time are no obstacles to the Spirit. Physical proximity is no assurance of attunement. As Master said about Mt. Washington, where he lived, many rats and mice also lived in that canyon, but they were not making spiritual progress. It is not automatic. One has to develop the capacity to receive.

The consciousness of a Master embraces infinity, but a physical body lasts only a short time, and, except for occasional examples of bi-location, can only be in one place at one time.

Master has already exited from this planet. We hope that Swamiji will be with us for some years more, but he is clearly in the last phase of his incarnation. He plans to visit America this summer, if his health permits, but his home is far from where we live.

The vibrations of the great ones, however, are always there in the ether. It is a broadcasting station that never goes off the air. In this age, too, there are so many other ways to bring their consciousness close to us. In photographs, we can look into their eyes. Through recordings, we can hear their voices and their songs. Through the pages of the books they have written, their living wisdom is transmitted to us.

Whether our consciousness goes inward and upward toward God, or is dissipated in merely outward pursuits for yet another incarnation, depends, Master said, on the company we keep.

Meditate on Master’s loving response to that disciple, “Am I not always with you?”

Blessings and joy,
Asha (& David)