Asha Praver's Monthly Letter
July 2006

Dear Friends,Asha Praver photo

Sister Gyanamata met Master when she was still a wife and mother living as a householder in Seattle, Washington. Master came to her home for dinner. At some point in that momentous evening, he stood at a certain spot in a room in her house and looked out the window. Ever after, until she left that house to become a nun at Mt. Washington, she kept a vase of orange flowers on the floor at the spot where Master had stood. Fresh flowers, if possible, if not, artificial ones in the same color as the robe he wore. As it happened, Gyanamata didn’t even see Master again for five years.

Every morning at a certain time, Master prayed for his disciples. When Gyanamata learned this, it became her invariable practice to tune in at exactly that time, too, to receive the guru’s blessings.

During those years, and later, after she came to live in the ashram, whenever Master was traveling, she would keep track of what cities he was visiting, when he was lecturing, and what topic he was speaking about. In this way, she traveled with him.

Even when Master was residing in the ashram where she lived, Sister Gyanamata saw him infrequently, and often in his presence, she never spoke. Nonetheless, Master said, her attunement was so deep, that whatever thought he had about her, the next day he would receive a letter from her in response to it.

For the last two months, we have been blessed to have Swamiji here in America. Many of you have been present at the celebrations here or at Ananda Village. It has been a life-changing experience.

Many times, Swamiji and others have spoken about the work he is doing now in India, about the publishing of the Bhagavad-Gita commentary, and the book he is now writing, a commentary on the Bible. All of this is glorious news.

Ananda leaders, and sometimes Swamiji himself, have urged us to support these projects with our thoughts, prayers, and financial resources. The reasons are obvious: many thousands— millions, Master said, about the Gita commentary—will be brought to God by the work Swamiji is doing. Obviously, it is a work worth supporting.

More is involved here, though, than the simple need for financial support. It is also a question of attunement.

Swamiji’s actions are not of his own volition. He responds only to the inner prompting he feels from Master.

For example, for as long as I have known him, Swamiji has talked about doing a work in India. Even in the early years of Ananda, when I was working as his secretary, it was always in the back of his mind. Whenever he had to make a commitment for the month of January, he would agree, with this caveat, “I’ll be happy to do it unless I am in India.”

He went to India only a few times over several decades, but he was always asking Master inwardly, “Is now the time?” The call didn’t come until 2003. Even though Swamiji was then 77 years old and his health was poor, he responded immediately. Just a few weeks after he felt the inward call, Swamiji had left Italy and was living in India.

To follow Swamiji in spirit, as Gyanamata did, is to be in the presence of Master’s guiding hand. To read what Swamiji has written most recently, is to be with him as close as possible to the moment when Master’s inspiration descends.

To be aware and in touch with what Swamiji is doing is a way of deepening our attunement with Master. It is our way of serving Master. This work is too vast for any one individual—even Swamiji—to carry it alone. We, too, must be instruments of Master’s living presence in this world.

The need to support what Swamiji is doing in India does not relieve us of our on-going responsibilities for whatever part of Master’s work we have been assigned to do. It is not an “either/or” it is “both/and.”

The logical mind may protest, “We barely have enough money to keep our own Sangha going!” Yes, that is true. And in addition, we have a building project to finish. And in Seattle, they are building a Temple, and in Portland, they have a huge remodel to pay for. In Sacramento they have just taken responsibility for a much larger building.

In other words, it is business as usual for Ananda! Accomplishing the impossible, not by mere wishful thinking, but by hard work, generous giving, and, above all, faith in God. For Ananda, “Where there is dharma there is victory” is more than a pious maxim. It is a way of life. And what a joyous way of life it is. The instrument is blessed by that which flows through it.

“May Thy love shine forever on the sanctuary of our devotion, and may we be able to awaken Thy love in all hearts.”

David & Asha