Asha Praver

Letters from Asha

Monday, January 18, 2010

From Goa, India

Dear Everyone:

As most of you know, David and I are with Swamiji in Goa, India. For the last several years, Swamiji has taken a holiday at a beautiful beach resort here, to get away from the foggy cold of January in Delhi, or, this year, to give those building his house at the new Ananda community in Pune an extra few weeks to get it ready so he can move in. A most auspicious event, as you can well imagine.

As always, Swamiji arrived here after a period of intense work. We jokingly said to him, when he mentioned how hard he has been working, “Why are we not surprised?”

There has never been a time in the 40 years I’ve know Swamiji when he wasn’t in a “period of intense work.” The projects have varied, but never the level of energy.

When he became a disciple, more than 60 years ago, Swamiji accepted, with that initiation, the disciple’s divine duty to be an emissary for his Guru’s work in the world, further strengthened by Master’s words to him, “You have a great work to do.” And, well, the rest is history!

Dharmadas and Nirmala came with Swamiji from Pune (via Delhi) and we from America, so it is a small group.

Even though Swamiji is in need of rest, and taking lots of it, he is well. The cottages where we have our rooms are a (very) leisurely 10-minute walk from the dining room, and Swamiji makes the trip at least twice a day, sometimes more.

In previous years, we always had to walk around to the elevator, to get to the upper story of the lobby. Now Swamiji often takes the steps, a formidable multi-flight affair, that, on the rare occasions when he braved them in past years, left him gasping for breath, collapsing in a chair as soon we reached the top.

Now he strides upstairs, without assistance, usually not even using the banister, and continues on through the lobby without a pause. We still hover around him, less he have a misstep, but he rarely does—a dramatic change from the past few years.

Swamiji often refers to his “miracle healing” of last June, and the proof is right before us. Jai Guru.

His mood is light and blissful. One morning at breakfast (a huge buffet), Swamiji sampled several different dishes not liking any of them. Finally he said, “Nothing tastes as I think it should. It is all like a dream to me.” We understood him to mean that everything around him seemed like a dream and it was hard to “enjoy” within that any specific thing, like a cup of tea or a piece of toast. He ate a few bits of this and that, and then gave up trying.

We have breakfast in an outdoor dining area, bordering on a huge expanse of green lawn that leads to a cliff with steps down to the beach. Many other guests were coming and going around us.

Swamiji sat back. Gazing around him he said, “I see everyone in terms of their consciousness. They are all like hermit crabs, dragging their consciousness behind them.” An amusing and profound image.

Seeing a thin woman walking by with her obese husband and a young, already pudgy child, Swamiji remarked with compassion, “She is overwhelmed by the situation she finds herself in.”

He then began to speak across several tables to a refined looking British man sitting nearby, “You look so familiar,” Swamiji said, “do I know you?” They had never met, but Swamiji chatted with him for a few minutes.

“What do you do?” Swamiji asked. “I am an engineer,” the man replied. “You look like you should be a professor,” Swamiji said. The man seemed surprised then responded, “I do like to teach.”

A woman from Australia sat down a few tables away. Seeing her for the first time, Swamiji remarked to us, “Now there is a fine person.”

To another nearby diner on a different morning, after a simple greeting, Swamiji said, “You look like you should be an actor.” The man looked surprised, said he was not an actor, but then looked thoughtful and made no further reply.

Of course, no one can say whether these chance encounters will have any lasting impact, but it is impressive to see the way Swamiji relates to everyone as a friend. Recently he wrote that often waves of bliss sweep over him and everyone around seems a manifestation of that bliss, or at least seeking that bliss, and of course profoundly lovable.

“Even in a crowd of people I’ve never met,” Swamiji says, “everyone seems to me like an old friend.”

Buddha made the amazing statement, “The reason we should be kind to everyone we meet is because at one time or another, we have been close to every single person.” An impossible concept for the ordinary mind to grasp! But in Swamiji’s company, the practical implications of it are expressed: All the world is my friend—so behave accordingly!

Some of you may remember a story I tell in my book about Swamiji meeting a jeweler here in Goa and how impressed the jeweler was by Swamiji’s spiritual consciousness. A few days ago I stopped in to visit that man.

Immediately he began to speak of Swamiji and the great spiritual energy he felt from him. The jeweler himself seemed calmer and more centered than he was when last we met. Impossible to say, of course, what part meeting Swamiji played in that change. Still, it is inspiring to see how, step by step, the divine draws us back to the truth within.

Yesterday for dinner we ventured out to another beautiful hotel about 20 minutes away. They have a fine Indian restaurant and it is worth the taxi ride to enjoy a dinner there.

Swamiji also stopped in to visit the various shopkeepers he got to know well in previous years when he stayed in that hotel. One jeweler shared with us two extraordinary stones that he had recently acquired.

One was a 2.5-carat emerald. It was apparently an old stone (in a new setting) from a mine, the jeweler told us, long-since exhausted, on the India-Pakistan border. Most emeralds, the jeweler said, are treated in various ways to enhance their color. This one was just as God made it.

Swamiji wears a beautiful emerald, a gift from a friend in Rishikesh. I also have a lovely emerald ring. Swamiji and I sometimes have a friendly competition as to which one of us has the most beautiful emerald. Both our stones are indeed impressive.

Both, however, were “put in the shade,” so to speak, by the presence of this emerald being. The intensity of the color, the way the light shone from it was like nothing we have seen before.

Master said he remembers back to the stage of being a diamond. You could feel in that emerald that whoever inhabits that stone is going to be a great soul!

The jeweler then brought out a unique blue sapphire. This was 10 carats, set in a ring with small diamonds to set off the extraordinary blue color.

This, too, the jeweler said, was a rare untreated stone, not heated, as most sapphires are, but just as God made. He showed us how, even in shadow, the stone still sparkles with blue light.

Nirmala put one ring on each hand and we sat for some time just drinking in the refined emanations of sapphire and emerald. Even from across the room (only a small shop, but still 8 feet away) you could see the flecks of light and color in each stone.

At one point, Nirmala jokingly said to the jeweler, “What if I just leave now with these rings?” He replied without missing a beat, “Are you wearing running shoes?”

Although we would happily have walked away (perhaps not run away!) with both of those gems, eventually Nirmala gave them back and we went to dinner. All evening, we felt the “presence” of those stones and were grateful to have “met” them.

FYI: the emerald was $30,000, the blue sapphire, $100,000.

We commented that we hope whoever buys them has the right horoscope for such powerful stones.

Nirmala remarked that she read an article by an Indian astrologer who said that Princess Diana had a passion for blue sapphires but they were astrologically wrong for her. Just before she died her friend had gifted her with a necklace of large blue sapphires and, the astrologer said, the stones “overwhelmed her” and contributed to (caused?) her death.

“Death by Sapphires” sounds more like a crime novel than a philosophical treatise. Still, who can fathom the mystery of karma? Everything in this universe is interrelated, and only a Master can see how the threads weave together.

So, as you can see, no great adventures to report but we wanted to greet you all.

Swamiji is well. We are, of course, delighted to be in this beautiful place in his blissful company.

Blessings and love to all,
Nayaswamis David and Asha

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you NayaSwamiji Asha! We get a sense of your experience through your descriptive writing. Bryan is in Katmandu, Nepa waiting to get back to India! Palo Alto is having real weather! Rain, thunder and lightning, a tornado watch in San Mateo!
Give my love to Swamiji!

Much Joy,

Gary

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