Asha Praver

Letters from Asha

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Request for Stories: Miracles and Answered Prayers

Dear Friends: 

Swamiji has asked me to do something that I can’t do unless you help me. 

Last spring, he started writing a book called, “Miracles and Answered Prayers.” Many of you responded to his request for stories.  

Just as he was leaving for Europe, he said he didn’t feel to write the book himself and asked me to write it instead. 

All the stories you sent to Swamiji I have, but there aren’t enough to make a book. I know the stories are there. Every one of us has experienced exactly what this book is about: God showing us His love and concern, sometimes in spectacular ways, sometimes with the quiet sweetness of His unmistakeable Presence. 

We love the spectacular stories: that is the “Miracles” part. The “Answered Prayers,” though, are in some ways even more important. We expect God to intervene, as Swamiji has said, when one’s life is at stake. What is so touching is when He steps in simply to make life sweeter. 

You may feel you want to keep those moments locked in your heart, but Swamiji seems to feel, in deciding to write this book, that it is time for us to share them.  

I like to put names on stories, but if you prefer, your story can be anonymous. Only I will know and I promise not to tell. 

The purpose of the hard times Master said are coming is to draw people back to God. A book of stories like the one we have to offer, could touch the hearts of many souls, and awaken many to God. 

Stories about our path and Gurus are fine. But all traditions and every context are welcome.  If you have friends or family with good stories, please have them call me, or gather their stories and pass them on. 

To give you an idea of what we are looking for, I’ve included a handful of stories.  

Most people find it easier to talk than to write. So send me your phone number and I’ll contact you. If you do write, please include lots of details, but it isn’t necessary to polish the writing. The book has a unified style and I have to edit every story to that flow.  

In about a month I am going to take a “writing retreat” and to make that work, I have to have lots of stories. So I need to hear from you NOW. 

Will you help? I would be so grateful. 

You can write to me at praver@anandapaloalto.org or call 650.941.1481.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Asha 


MIRACLES & ANSWERED PRAYERS 

#1 from Tyagini Maitreyi 

     My husband Michael and I are shifting house and home some 4700 miles from the Isle of Man to Pune, India, to be part of the Ananda Kriya Yoga community there. Naturally, this is an expensive move. When we arrive we will be working as volunteers, for at this point in the community's development there are no paid positions for us.  The only way to fund the travel, the shipping of belongings, the building of a residence, and perhaps years of living expenses, is to sell the house we live in now. 

      From the time we made the decision to move, I turned the whole thing over to Divine Mother. It was all too much to handle on my own. If we had intuited Her will correctly, I knew She would take care of everything. My fleeting thought was to sell the house privately (nothing lost in commissions), receive the asking price (no haggling with potential buyers), and being able to stay on some months after the sale (rent free would be ideal!).  

      I trusted absolutely and did not feel we even needed to advertise. Michael was less certain, and insisted we engage an agent. The advertisement had not even been finalized, let alone reached the gaze of the public, when a work colleague who knew we were leaving offered to buy the house privately -- no agent's fees -- for exactly what we were asking.  

      Even more amazing, except for a few photographs taken with our camera, he had not even seen the property. And as for our staying on for a few months after the sale?  "No problem", the buyer, said. And what about rent? "No need for it!" 

      Divine Mother engineers perfectly, and in ways that defy all reason! 

      I am humbled and a little ashamed that even unwittingly I might have begged favor of Her. Not that I feel unworthy of God's attention or Her gifts, but I know there are so many worse off than I.  

      Still, why would I think that God's abundance is limited, that if Divine Mother meets my needs that She cannot also meet the needs of others? How foolish! She is Infinite. Truly, this human mind cannot fathom the greatness of Her love.  

      The sweetest gift of all is that through Her generosity I now know without a doubt that all paths are open and India will be our home.
 
#2 from Manisha

      The decision to walk home late that night did not, at first, seem like a foolish one. It was only a mile to the lodge where I was staying, down a quiet rural road on a ridge top outside of Assisi, Italy.  There was no traffic at this hour, and no bad characters to fear. I had come to Assisi to "walk in the footsteps of St. Francis" and while I didn't know for sure that he had followed the path I was on, it was certain he had gone on foot, as I was now doing. 

      For a while, the reflected glow from the Temple I had just left was enough to light my way. But the farther I walked, the darker it became. There were only a few houses in the area, and everyone seemed to have gone to bed. The sky was heavily overcast with no hint of moon or stars. Soon I could just barely make out the line where the pavement met the gravel shoulder.  

      I began to feel nervous. To still my beating heart, I sang quietly to myself, "Sri Yogananda, guide to inner freedom, steal into my heart of hearts. Banish my delusion."  

      Surrounded by that song, I felt less anxious, until it occurred to me that in this blackness, I wouldn't be able to see the narrow driveway that led to the lodge. I could walk right past it and never know.  

      Just then, off to the right, I saw a firefly. I stopped to watch. I had never seen fireflies before arriving in Assisi a few days earlier. St. Francis had special reverence for God in Nature, so it seemed appropriate that I should meet these magical creatures for the first time here. 

      The firefly passed in front of me and then hovered on my left. In the faint glow of his luminous body, I saw the entrance to the driveway.  

      He stayed with me all the way to the door of the lodge, then flitted away. Just as I stepped inside and closed the double doors behind me, a torrential rain began to fall.
 
#3 from Parvati

      Looking back over sixty-some years of life, it is obvious that the reason I incarnated had only a little to do with my birth family. I don't have any siblings. It was just my mother and father, a few close relatives, and me.  

      In my mid-twenties I found my spiritual family and moved into the Ananda community. "Honor thy father and thy mother" is good advice, and I did my best to follow it, keeping in touch and visiting them a few times a year.  

      Fortunately, my parents seemed to accept the distance between us and never asked me to choose between them and my spiritual path. I'm glad they didn't, because in this life, I could not have chosen them.  

      After my father died, my mother naturally needed more support from me. Within a few years, her health had declined to the point where I had to move her closer to me. Visiting her nearly every day, taking her shopping and to see her doctors was not a hardship.  

      In fact, more of a friendship grew between us than we'd ever had before. She even expressed interest in learning how to meditate! That in itself was a miracle. Not that we ever got far with it, but it was amazing that she even asked. 

      Then her health really went downhill. She was so set against moving into a care facility of any kind that for the first time it occurred to me, "I might have to leave the ashram and take care of her."

 "Is this what You want?" I asked Divine Mother. 

      I had to go deep inside before I could say sincerely and with joy, "If so, I will do it." 

      Four days later, easily and peacefully, my mother left her body.
 
#4 from Soma 

      My fear of pools of water has been so intense and so irrational that when I was a child, even the sight of the toilet bowl would cause my heart to race. I refused to go swimming, and did my best to avoid even the sight of an ocean, lake, or pond. 

      When my meditation teacher once encouraged me to, "Visualize an infinite sea," my visualization turned into a nightmare. Huge waves in the shape of monsters crashed over me, dragging me down into a black, roiling sea.  

      "This is obviously a tragic memory from a previous incarnation," the teacher said when I told her what happened. "Forget the ocean!" she advised. "Visualize instead an infinite expanse of clear blue sky."  

      Sky worked great and I continued to progress in my meditation practice and my life as a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. When the chance came to go on pilgrimage to America to visit the places where he had lived, I signed up right away, even though I was concerned about a few stops on the itinerary,  "Lake Shrine," for example, and the "Seaside Hermitage," in Encinitas, California. 

      The trip was everything I hoped it would be. To meditate by the crypt where my Guru's body is buried, to see his shoes reverently placed by the edge of the bed where he slept was pure bliss. 

      When the Encinitas day arrived, my devotional ardor carried me, without conscious thought, right to the high cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean where he often meditated. Closing my eyes, I was transported into a deep experience of his living presence. A long time later (or so it seemed), I opened my eyes and gazed calmly out at the sea in front of me. 

      My lifelong fear was gone.
 
#5 from Richard 

      My head and arms were hanging out the car window, the way a dog likes to ride with his snout into the wind.  I was about five years old in the era before children were strapped into car seats.  

      It was a curvy road and every time we went around a bend, I was tossed back and forth, squealing with delight.  My father's best friend, "Uncle Mac," was driving.  Dad was sitting next to him. 

      Even though my head was outside the car and the wind was blowing in my face, I distinctly heard a voice say, "Go see what your father and Uncle Mac are doing." It wasn't a thought; it was a voice. Although I couldn't remember when I had heard it before, the voice was familiar to me, and it didn't seem odd that it was speaking now. 

      "Okay," I said, pulling my head in and flopping my arms over the center back of the front seat. 

      In that instant, the door I had been leaning against swung open.  Uncle Mac immediately pulled over. In stunned silence we contemplated how close we had come to tragedy.
#6 from Maghi 

      We were speeding down the freeway in the far left lane, heading back to Los Angeles after a week at Ananda Village. My husband Vasanta was driving; two friends were in the back seat. 

      Suddenly, without forethought, I said,  "Let's stop for coffee!" Vasanta is a coffee gourmet and had made converts of us, so the immediate "Yes!" from all present was no surprise. 

      Still, I had barely finished my sentence before Vasanta crossed three lanes of traffic and started down the exit ramp. The moment we were safely off the freeway, the transmission seized up, stalling the engine and cutting off power to the brakes and steering. Fortunately, there was no traffic and the car coasted safely to a stop --right in front of Starbucks! 

      If Vasanta had hesitated even a few seconds, we would have still been on the freeway when he lost control of the car.  

      I don't think any church uses coffee during the communion service but for us it will always be holy beverage!  
  
#7 from Richard 

      We entered the freeway at the same time as our friends, but rush hour traffic soon separated us. In an attempt to keep Eugene's car in sight, I moved over to the fourth lane on the far left. Soon I spotted him about a quarter of a mile ahead, one lane to the right.  

      There were three car lengths of open space behind him so I sped up to 85mph to move into the gap.  As I came abreast of the car trailing his, I let up on the accelerator knowing that momentum alone would place me safely just where I wanted to be.  

      Before turning the wheel I checked the distances again. There was plenty of space behind Eugene, and in the rear view mirror I could see the trailing car already fading out of my peripheral vision. All clear.   

      I turned the wheel about two degrees to the right and felt the beginning of a smooth fade into the next lane.  At the same moment I glanced into the right side view mirror. A pair of eyes, like a hunted animal cornered in a hollow log, stared back at me.  

      A fast-moving motorcyclist was heading for the same spot I was about to occupy. I was in the process of turning; we were milliseconds from impact. No time even to alert my wife in the passenger seat next to me. Death was at our side.  

      In that instant, the steering wheel came to a hard stop, as if at the end of its turning radius. My eyes were fixed on the eyes of the motorcyclist reflected in the mirror, but now I could also see his silhouette outside the passenger window as the air around us began to fracture, like ripples on water, wrapping itself around the front of the car and pushing it back into the left lane.  

      The motorcyclist turned his body slightly as he pulled into the lane in front of me, our eyes still locked together. Silently we acknowledged that we had been miraculously spared. Then he turned his head away, sped off down the freeway, and I never saw him again.   

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