Asha Praver's Monthly Letter
November 2007

Dear Friends,Asha Praver photo

“Out of a thousand, one seeks God,” Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita. And out of a thousand who seek, Krishna goes on to say, one finds God.

Krishna is not trying to discourage us. He is simply explaining that good intentions are not enough. Willpower is also needed. For between the first flush of enthusiasm when we discover the spiritual path anew in each incarnation, and the final letting go of the body in death, many days and nights must pass in which our dedication to God may be sorely tested.

It is reassuring to know that Master said of the followers of this path, “Our percentage is higher!”

Shadow and Light
Life is duality. “Pleasure is an interval between two pains,” Master said. “Pain is an interval between two pleasures.”

This isn’t meant to be cynical. It is a simple statement of fact in this ever-changing world.

One beautiful quality that arises naturally in a devotee is vairagya. Vairagya is defined as a “disinclination for the things of this world.” Don’t misunderstand. Vairagya is not a justification for closing one’s heart. Just the opposite.

Vairagya gives us the necessary detachment to see behind the ever-changing panorama of life to the unchanging presence of God. “Ever-living, ever-new joy,” is how Master described it. This is the definition of ananda and why Swamiji chose that name for our community.

Joy is the thread to follow if we would find God. Not sorrow. Not suffering. Joy. We affirm this every week in the Festival of Light. “Whereas suffering and sorrow in the past were the coin of man’s redemption, for us now that payment has been exchanged for calm acceptance and joy.”

Follow the Bliss
Why deny the happiness potential of our human nature? It is God given. It is not, however, an end in itself. The happiness we find in ordinary human life is merely to whet our appetite. It is an invitation from God to take our seat at the banquet of infinite bliss that our Divine Mother has prepared for us.

“Ananda is worshipping God everywhere, in everything,” Swamiji writes. “To expand human happiness into the infinity of Divine joy.” Isn’t that a lovely way to put it?

I have always loved a phrase in one of Master’s Whispers from Eternity, where he encourages us to start with our own experience. With devotion and concentration, he says, expand the little bubble of joy whatever causes it.

Follow the bliss.
Don’t turn away fearfully from life. Embrace everything and everyone in God. Live in, but not for the moment. Be in the now, but let that now be the doorway to eternity. That is the way to happiness. “Human love, perfectly expressed,” Master said, “is almost the same as Divine love.”

When Master’s devoted disciple Sister Gyanamata passed away, Master saw her dissolve into light. She was fully liberated, he said, and would never again return to this earth plane.

Such a death is something to celebrate, not to mourn. Still, at her funeral, Master spoke not only of her spiritual freedom, but also of his love for her, and how much he would miss her. “Darling Sister,” he called her, as tears streamed down his face.

“Give life your heart!” Swamiji writes in his song, Go On Alone. “Bless everything that’s grown; Fear not the loving: All this world’s your own.”

Blessings and joy,

Asha/David