About the book relating the experiences of Devotees of Swami Vishwananda

Archive for March, 2011

The Divine Mother’s challenge

I was in Mauritius in the summer of 1999 and Swami had allowed me to be in his presence while he was meditating at night. During the space of three nights different deities would visit him in his room.

On the first night the compassionate Mother, Ma Durga appeared in Swami’s room. She showered love and blessing on me before leaving. I felt so honoured and elevated with energy after this that I was not able to sleep. I was so restless I kept asking Swami different questions about her. Eventually he told me to go to sleep as he was very tired.

On the second night another form of Shakti (feminine energy) came into the room while Swami was in deep meditation and left, giving us Her blessings.

On the third night again Swami was in meditation and another form of Shakti appeared. By now I was growing slightly anxious over the last few nights in fear that the Divine Maha Kali Ma would pay us a visit! I had heard stories where people had said that they had been shouted at by the Divine Mother and did not wish to be one of them!

So on this third night The Divine Mother form that appeared asked me “What do you want”? Although I was unaware which form of Shakti was talking to me, I remember that I was in complete awe of Her and Her energy. Again She asked firmly, “What do you want from me”? I did not know what to ask of Her, so I looked at Swami for guidance. However, he was still in deep meditation. She asked for a third and fourth time, “What do you want”? She was starting to lose her patience with me! I tried to search my mind for something to say, however I couldn’t come up with anything to ask her! My mind went completely blank.

As the Divine Mother was beginning to lose her patience with me, I started to consider that this form of Shakti might indeed be the Divine Kali Ma. Again I looked at Swami to ask for help; but he was still in deep meditation. At this point I considered the option of escaping out of the room. The only plausible way I could see out of the room was the window; however the bars on the windows restricted my escape! I tried to re-examine my escape plan again, however the altar in the room was completely covered in vibhuti and kumkum. I knew that if I messed this up, in trying to escape, Swami would be angry with me! Therefore I decided it would be in my best interest to stay where I was.

I sat quietly and the Divine Mother asked for a final time “What do you want”? Finally an idea entered my mind. I thought to myself, if I call this Divine Shakti by Ma Amba, she would appear in the form of Ma Amba. I foolishly replied, “Just your blessings Ma Amba, just all your blessings”. A stern voice replied, “I am not Amba Ma I am Kali Ma”! Acknowledging what an unwise thing I had just done, I quickly asked Ma Kali to explain Her different forms to me, which she did. Ma Kali explained that there are nine different forms of Shakti and showed all nine forms to me. She then explained that She must leave and told me that in order for Her to leave, I must cut a lemon into two parts, which I did and She left.

After about fifteen minutes Swami came out of Samadhi meditation. He looked at me and asked me why I wasn’t sleeping. I explained to Swami that Ma Kali had appeared and he smiled at me and asked one simple question. He said, “How did she sound”? I replied, “What? What do you mean”? He asked again, how did Her voice sound”? I replied, “It was very nice but compared to Ma Durga she was scary”! Swami gently smiled and went back into samadhi. At that very moment Ma Kali reappeared in the room and said in an angry tone, “Am I scary Ravi? This will be your last day on earth!”

Understandably, I panicked and again tried to escape via the barred windows but as before I was going nowhere! I quickly asked for Ma Kali’s forgiveness and she forgave me straight away. She explained that I was Her child and she would never hurt me. She continued to explain different aspects and significance of her Kali form and then left.

Swami came out of samadhi and smiled at me and asked again what had happened. As before I explained to him what had happened and he laughed. Swami then told me to go to sleep as he had asked me to accompany him to Port Louis the next day. Swami went back into samadhi for the third time. I tried to sleep but was not able to as the whole experience had filled me with so much energy.  All of a sudden Ma Kali appeared in the room for a third time. I thought to myself, what have I done wrong now!?  I tried to escape but I was again trapped in the room by my guru, the altar, the bars on the windows and the Divine Mother. I turned to the Divine Ma Kali who said, “Ravi, I would   like to test you, tomorrow I will appear three times in front of you at the temple. You will need to recognise me at least once; otherwise it will be your last day on earth”!  Saying this, She left once again.

I was afraid and did not know how I was going to recognise Ma Kali. I knew Swami would have the answer so I waited patiently for him to come out of samadhi. After an hour or so, Swami came out of samadhi and asked me why I was still sitting up looking at him. I told him what had happened and again he found it very funny. I asked him for his guidance as to how I would be able to recognise the Divine Ma Kali. However Swami said, “I am tired now. I think I am going to get some sleep.” Shocked at his calm reaction I turned to him and said, “How can you sleep at a time like this! It might be my last day on earth tomorrow! No more Ravi! You would miss me!” Swami just laughed and eventually said “The solution is very simple bro, all you need to do is touch the feet of every woman that enters the temple tomorrow and accept her as Ma Kali.” I asked him, “Do I need to touch Tina’s feet?” (Swami’s sister & my cousin sister) knowing that she would make fun of me for doing so. Swami replied smiling “No you don’t have to touch Tina’s feet, just touch the feet of married women bro.”

Then Swami went to sleep, however I could not as I kept thinking about what would happen if I failed Ma Kali’s given test. Before I knew it, it was 6 am. I got out of bed and went to have a shower and open the temple doors so that all the devotees could come and take the Lord’s blessings.

I sat on the temple steps and waited. As every woman would come and go I would walk up to them and touch their feet. I think they all thought I was a bit strange! My aunt came and asked me to come in for breakfast but I refused since I did not want to miss a single woman who came to the temple, as it might have been Ma Kali. My mother also came to see Swami that morning and I touched her feet, which she found to be extremely strange!

At midday Swami came to me and asked if I was ready to travel to Port Louis with him so I said, “No bro, how can I? I have to stay here and greet all the women; otherwise I may not be able to accompany you anywhere ever again”! Swami laughed and called me into his room. There the Divine Mother appeared. I was afraid that I had already failed the test that She had set me. She said in a calm voice “I have watched you all day my son, you have passed the test.” She went on to say, “Ravi, I visited you now four times in one day. You are very lucky, there are many souls that dedicate their lives to me and I have not appeared in front of them.” The Divine mother allowed me to have Her blessings and told me that as I had passed her test, She would grant me a boon of my choice.  I did not know what to ask for at the time, as my mind had frozen. I thought to ask the Divine Mother for liberation. However I realised that I have been blessed with a great guru who would lead me to liberation. I therefore asked the Divine Mother to appear whenever I needed Her guidance. The Divine mother chanted a mantra and then said, “So it shall be.” Before She left She told me that I should remember She is present in all women and I must make sure that I treat all women with respect.

I then set out with Swami for Port Louis. While I was there I bought a picture of Ma Kali, which I asked Swami to bless. On our return Swami put the picture on his altar, two minutes after doing so the picture was covered in kumkum. Swami called me into his room and explained that Ma Kali would always be with me and from time to time She would come and visit me.

The Divine Mother visits again

Just as Swami had said, the Divine Mother did visit me again, this time in London. I was working in a phone shop and an afro-Caribbean woman walked into the shop. She was dancing with a big wooden stick in her hand. As she was drawing a lot of attention to herself my manager was afraid and wanted to call the police. I told her that I would try to deal with the woman without police involvement. Before I spoke to the woman I closed my eyes and asked for my guru’s grace, to enable me to deal with this situation. I asked the woman how she was. She replied directly “I want something from you, give me anything from the store”. I said “I can’t give you something, but I can buy something for you.” She replied while dancing and jumping “You don’t need to buy me anything, just give me something”. I tried to concentrate on my guru’s inner voice again and asked him how I could deal with this situation. I could hear my guru advising me, to not worry and to continue talking to her. The woman asked a couple of times “Don’t you know who I am? Tell me who I am!” I thought hard in my mind and thought that this woman could be Ma Kali. The woman opened her arms as this thought entered my mind and said, “You recognized me son,” and She hugged me. After doing this she danced happily out of the shop with her stick in her hand. Swami said to me afterwards, when he visited London that the Divine Mother would visit me again.

Ravi – UK

My questions are answered

I went to Mauritius in 1998, because my grandmother was seriously ill and the doctors had given up hope informing the family that she did not have long to live. I remember I visited her first and then went to stay with Swami. While talking to Swami about the situation he said, “I don’t feel it’s our grandmother’s time to leave this body. She will recover even though the doctors have predicted that she has only two days to live”.  Two days later our grandmother’s health had not only improved but she walked all the way to my uncle’s (Swami’s father) house to visit us!

At the time I was seventeen years old and I was not very spiritually-minded. I remember one night we couldn’t sleep, so we decided to go up to the roof and listen to bhajans on a loudspeaker and dance. We were very excitable and energetic at 2 am in the morning and we were having lots of fun. I recall that Swami and I were dancing, holding onto each other and spinning out of control and letting off fireworks! Swami’s mother and sister had tried to convince us all to turn off the music and go to bed which we eventually agreed to do around 4 am. Everyone had started to make their way down to the house to sleep, apart from Swami, myself and another boy who stayed on the roof.

We started to chat about spirituality. I found that I was   engrossed with what Swami was saying and was becoming increasingly inquisitive. I asked him some questions about the universe, my life and spirituality. Swami listened to my questions and then presented me with a unique and awesome opportunity whereby he offered to meditate on my questions and ask a divine soul to personally come and answer them.

Swami began to meditate and about fifteen minutes later I heard an astounding deep voice from behind Swami ask me “What do you want”? I turned around to see who was actually talking to me; however I did not know who it was. Present on the roof was Swami, another boy and myself and none of us were talking! I felt a powerful energy and some sort of apparition or light appear behind Swami. I could feel this energy and see a blue and white tinted light. It felt like a surge of electricity around me. The other boy present during this time put his hands together to pray before this divine energy. I did not know what to say, so I kept silent. The divine being started to talk to me about myself and also explained to me that Swami was his child, a part of Himself born on earth in human form to awaken the divinity in us all, to realize the Supreme Lord. He also spoke to me about my special connection with Swami.

The divine being then asked me, “Do you remember when I danced as Nataraja and split the earth into two lands”? I tried to recall any memory of this event but I could not. However I nodded my head out of respect to say I remembered, but in reality I did not. I was amazed when the being then asked me, “What do you want Ravi?” I replied, “Only your blessing Bhagwan Shankar”. Swami was still meditating at this point. Shankar Bhagwan then suddenly said, “Your brother is needed, I have to leave.” I asked “But why?” He replied in a calm manner “Because your uncle and your cousin are coming now. I have to leave so that both you and your brother can greet him”. Shankar Bhagwan gave me his blessing and told me that he would always be with me and left.

At this point I thought to myself that it being four o’clock in the morning, surely my uncle would not visit us at this time of night. Swami came out of his meditation and opened his eyes.  As I turned my head, I saw my uncle and cousin approaching the house. They could not sleep so they wanted to visit us!

Ravi – UK

Facing death, I wake up to life

Cancer is an alarm clock that is really hard to ignore. There’s just no hitting the snooze button, rolling over, and going back to sleep.

The first I heard of Swami Vishwananda was from Madhevi in 2002. We made friends when as a researcher she visited the clinic in northern Switzerland where I spent four weeks in cancer treatment. She told me Swami would be in Ticino, far south at the end of that month. She gave me intricate directions to get there but my two little girls were missing me, I was exhausted and just wanted to get home to the States. I didn’t forget Swami: There had been something compelling in his eyes as I’d gazed at his picture on the flyer.

In 2003, I made another trip to Switzerland for treatment. Again, I was so close to him and my future brothers and sisters but didn’t know it.

Four years later back home in Rhode Island, I impulsively threw open a yoga magazine I’d never read before and there he was — again. He was coming to New York, a familiar playground to me. It was to be a homecoming in many senses. I got a hold of Madhevi and discovered she’d also be there.

When Swami entered, the energy in the room shifted. His voice was like a lasso and when surrounded by stillness, I felt my life as I had known it gently slip away.

In a private interview the next day we spoke about my decision around age six to be a monk, my entering a religious order at eighteen and leaving a few years later, about cancer and Archangel Michael. He assured me that cancer “would not be a problem.” Later in the waiting room, looking over the Hudson, he said he didn’t much care for New York. He noticed a scab on my hand where a small but deep wound was healing. Smiling, he flicked away something invisible from the spot a few times. I kept falling into his eyes and asked him if he was my guru. “Listen to your heart,” was all he said, his eyes twinkling mischievously.

I returned home, set up a little altar, placed his picture next to my bed and began using the vibhuti in ways that seemed to make sense. I spoke to Swami in my mind and heart. I never seemed to hear answers but that was all right.

That was April. In July, my life as I’d known it ended once again— and not very gently at all. I returned to New York for a six-month follow-up ultrasound and expected to hear the same news I’d heard every four to six months for the previous five years — that the cancer was still growing, but slowly and that what I’d been doing to manage it as a chronic condition was still working.

Instead, I learned it had metastasized to my lymphatic system. I was advised to go to Holland for a unique MRI soon. This would clearly show the extent of it and help determine appropriate treatment options. Holland had been coming up for months in the strangest ways.

On hearing the news, I wandered numbly around the city before going to New Jersey to see my father. He is close to ninety and still living independently, but he is now the child and I am the parent. I lied to him by saying the cancer situation was unchanged. There was no way to take this in. I couldn’t get my head around it.

Metastasized prostate cancer is medically incurable. From a medical perspective, it’s the beginning of the end. Although I had always believed I wouldn’t die of this cancer, and Swami had confirmed that, there was no way to integrate this new development with my long-held belief. I knew Swami would not let me down. I knew he’d help me find the healing only God can provide. The only treatment option for me now was a spiritual one. It was a relief in a sense.

In August I arrived in Nijmegen on the easternmost edge of Holland, curiously being within walking distance from Germany and Swami’s ashram. The MRI results were worse than expected and there were gracious apologies from the two kind-hearted doctors. Ay-yi-yay! Nothing about it felt real. I felt alone but hopeful. I was to see Swami again.

From the beginning, I’d believed the cancer was a wake-up call from my Self to me; it would only be a death and rebirth of my spirit. It brought me back to the spiritual path in a more focused and intense way than ever before.

At fifty-eight, it had been forty years since I’d first entered a monastery. Since early childhood I knew I was supposed to do God’s work. It had been crystal-clear to me up until my mid-twenties that my purpose was that of a priest-teacher-counsellor. By my early thirties, I’d been ordained in a non-denominational church after two years of study. Dissatisfied, I investigated ordination in the Episcopal Church and the Unitarian Association, visited the Trappist monks, sat Zen, explored the metaphysical world, and attended the Kripalu Centre in Massachusetts for years during which time it became an ashram of nearly 300 monks and nuns.

Yet, something about the Hindu experience felt good. I loved the music, chanting and dancing. Even though I was well versed in world mythologies, much of it seemed very strange. I could never see myself with a guru. Perhaps I lacked faith and trust — or I wasn’t eating enough curry. As time went by, demands of a growing family, two sets of aging parents and running a business took me increasingly further from spiritual practice.

At the end of August 2006, I arrived at Steffenshof. Swami was there and a mudra workshop was scheduled in Freiburg. Madhevi would be going — she’d always guided my evolving connection to Swami. Everyday at the ashram and workshop I seemed to meet another old friend. I’d landed undeniably right in my spiritual family. It was intoxicating and my feet had trouble finding the ground.

Seeds of wisdom

Waiting for my interview with Swami, I collected seeds as I did wherever I went. My life was plants and I’d worked as a horticulturist for eighteen years. Since around the same time in childhood that I had imagined becoming a monk, plants had been my passion.

I was fascinated by the giant Impatiens growing at the corner of Swami’s house, by itself under a tree. This genus of plants gets its name, meaning impatience, because its seed pods literally explode when ripe. In the wrong location it can be highly invasive. I wondered how this lone Impatiens got there. I cupped the pods in my hands because the lightest touch could spray the seeds without warning. Just then Swami came over, greatly amused at how this worked. He and I playfully squeezed every pod, trying to catch the seeds, laughing and talking as we did.

The ripe seeds were black and the unripe ones white. It’s been my experience that a seed can continue to ripen if it’s fully formed, germinate and grow. Swami took my cupped hand holding the fruits of our fun-filled labor: it was a palm full of lovely black and white dots. Just two days before, the MRI scan in Holland had shown the cancerous lymph nodes in white and the normal ones in black. He said, “You know, the white ones will never grow.” Defaulting to my professional knowhow I said, “Well, actually, if you let them ripen, a lot of them will germinate…” Squeezing my hand tightly Swami said loudly, with his eyes blazing, “NO! …No, they will never grow. They have no life.”

In my mind I was saying something like, “He’s really good at Swami stuff but I guess he just doesn’t know much about horticulture…” Mamma mia. Smiling, he left and said I should come back to see him at two o’clock.

Forty years in the desert

Back an hour later, I was still unaware of what had really happened earlier. He gave me healing oil and told me firmly that I was not going to die of cancer and that I needed to stay positive. He closed his hands and eyes and said my name, Michael. When he opened his hands, there was a ring. I flung my arms around him Italian-style and told him I loved him. I don’t recall all he or I said. We were swimming in a warm sea of feeling. I told Swami I wanted to be initiated and he said, “Sure, we will do it tonight after darshan.”

Thereafter I went to the little chapel filled with icons where I could assimilate what had just occurred. I recognized this as the very same Labor Day weekend that it had been precisely forty years ago when I’d first tried to become a monk: It was a biblical metaphor. I’d entered the Dominican order in Providence, Rhode Island forty years before. Now it seemed that forty years of wandering in the desert had come to an end. Realizing the search was over, that I’d reached the Promised Land, I lay face down on the floor and wept. Gratitude and relief overwhelmed me. I’d been carrying broken-heartedness for so long. In that moment, all of my spiritual aspirations from childhood were fulfilled. I knew I was being healed in every way.

The seeds of a whole new spiritual life were sown within me that night at initiation: I’m sure they’ll grow to flower and bear much fruit. By divine design, my guardian angel and friend Madhevi was there to witness Swami initiating me as jal brahmachari Shrihara. The name stands for Lakshmi and Vishnu, the eternal feminine and the eternal masculine.

It was only when driving back to Holland that I got the real meaning of Swami’s words while collecting seeds: The white ones will never grow! They have no life! Now I won’t be surprised when I sow all those Impatiens seeds if half don’t grow.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the medieval Dominican mystic, coined the phrase “felix culpa” to describe original sin, the happy fault, the fortunate fault in human nature that called forth the need for a saviour and brought Jesus to the world. Without the happy fault of cancer, I might not have been blessed by Swami’s presence in my life. Perhaps he was drawing me in all along, waiting for the vehicle of cancer to bring me back to the remembrance of my true Self and a place of readiness.

On a retreat in the States that same year, Swami spoke of himself as a bridge – a bridge to God. God is the true destination.

Shrihara – Michael J. Chille – USA

Shirdi Sai Baba

On Swami Vishwananda’s twenty first birthday on the thirteenth of June, we went to Mauritius, the island in Africa where Swami was born and grew up. There, Swamiji materialized a golden Narashimha murti. One morning he called us into his room, “Look what appeared on the wall! He exclaimed. “It is like a shadow.” I told him, “It is Shirdi Sai Baba sitting and blessing with his hand!” Months later, Swami was in our house in Nairobi and called us one morning into his  room, “Look what appeared on the wall!” He said. I told him, “Again, it is Shirdi Sai Baba sitting and blessing with his hand, like a shadow.”

Later, we sold our house in order to move into a bigger one. The new people of the house painted this wall white.  One week later they called us and said, “You know this wall with the form of this holy man. We painted it several times in one week and finally it had completely gone, but today it has come back again the same as before.” “Well, you can believe what you want”, I told them. “But I would suggest you leave it as it is; if Sri Shirdi Sai Baba wants to stay in your home let it be, it is a blessing for all of you.

In our new house, Swami came to visit and we had a Shirdi Sai Baba puja. Swami needed kumkum, but I only had red kumkum. He told me: “I don’t want this one; I need a good one, a yellow kumkum.” “But I don’t know where to get another kumkum of that sort in Nairobi,” I replied. If you need it, you can materialize it.” He did not say anything; he just went up to his room.  After a while he came down with a handful of yellow kumkum. The wall of his room was filled with this very yellow kumkum!

Kajal and Sanjit – Nairobi – Kenya

I know her, she is lovely!

At one of our coffee meetings my girlfriend spoke of a wise young man in Springen with whom it would be possible for me to have a personal interview.  We decided to go there together. Our oldest girlfriend (she is nearly ninety and almost blind) wished to have a close look at his picture and put it right in front of her eyes. Suddenly she exclaimed: “Oh how lovely he is!” and she kissed the picture five times. She asked me to ask Swami Vishwananda to give her his blessing.

When I came to visit Swami Vishwananda a month later I experienced very wondrous things on many levels. I entered the gift shop and saw the shelf with his personal things. Among the items there was a travel guide of Egypt. For a brief moment I was thinking to buy it since I had  intended to go to Egypt for a long time but decided instead to buy a German book because I would understand it better than an English one. The very next day when I passed by the same shelf I glanced casually at the items; I saw there was exactly the same travel guide book of Egypt but this time it was in the German language! I bought it.

For my personal interview with Swami, I had two photos with me, one of my daughters, the other one of my ninety-year old girlfriend. When I entered the room where Swami was sitting, I started to cry. Sathyananda, a resident of Swami’s spiritual centre had told me that Swami meets every person just as the respective person needs it. I had a feeling that I was facing a mother who had raised many children with whom I could talk about everything and who would understand my worries.

I showed Swami the picture of my ninety-year old friend and he took it very close to his eyes and called out:” I know her, she is lovely!!!” and he kissed the picture five times just as my friend had done with his picture. I told Swami my friend’s request and he said he would look after it. Then he asked me to tell her that it would be a great honour for him if she would pray to God for him. He said this several times so I promised to do so.  He then took vibhuti, kissed it and asked me to take it to my old friend. Since then my friend prays daily for Swami that he may have the strength to help all and to fulfil his assignments.

Then I showed Swami the picture of my daughter who is twelve years old and has Down Syndrome (also called mongoloid) and I told him that she is disabled. I started to cry and told Swami that when my daughter was five years old she had dragged herself away from my hand to run across a very busy road right in front of everybody’s shocked eyes. My heart almost broke. Nothing happened to her but I am always very worried because of her behaviour in road traffic.

Swami said: “Nobody is disabled. Your daughter lives from the level of consciousness. Her mind is not in the way as it is with you. You can learn something from her that you cannot learn from anybody else in the world.” Then he asked me what I believed the task of a master teacher should be. I answered spontaneously without thinking: “to make people happy.” “No!” Swami insisted, “His task is to help people become master teachers themselves. Then he said: “On the level of consciousness, there are no master teachers and no students. We are only there to learn from one another.”

Swami spoke with me for a very long time and I poured out my heart to him.  The conversation gave me courage, trust, hope and insight into many things. He also spoke in a very friendly manner about my life-task and my work.

When finally I had no other questions left, I said good-bye.  As I was leaving, something seemed to occur to him. He asked again for the name of my daughter, and while I was answering he moved his opened left hand and threw a silver pendant towards me. “That is for her,” he said, “Let´s see, what she says“.

I was so happy about the gift for my daughter. Then, to my utter surprise he asked me:  “What is on it? “ I showed the pendant to him quietly. He called out beaming with joy : “Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning and Music“.

After I had left I thought that at least one hour had passed but in fact it was only ten minutes on the watch.  I then went into the garden with my girlfriend and we sat down on a bench where a small clay elephant was also sitting. My friend had received a ring from Swami. At that very moment a blue butterfly flew up in front of us and I had never seen one before so I said:” Look, Swami made a ring for you, a pendant for my daughter and for me he made a butterfly.” “And”, my friend said smilingly, “Does that not make you wonder?” I didn’t  quite understand what she had meant so she pointed out to me that the blue butterfly was printed on my business cards my letterhead and my homepage,  it is the logo for my work. It was so obvious and yet at that moment I was not able to see the connection by myself.

We came home. I ordered an Indian harmonium and I was wondering where I could learn to sing bhajans. A friend of my girlfriend gave me a call and told me that she had visitors from India, two people who had lived in an ashram for thirty years and who knew how to sing bhajans. They were prepared to teach us right away. They stayed for two weeks and are willing to come back next year to teach us more. By now we are a group, we practice on a regular basis and we enjoy it very much. People from the vicinity with varied cultural backgrounds come together and also my daughter who especially enjoys to play the drums and to sing with everybody.

Shortly after coming back home I picked up my daughter from her grandparents and she greeted me with the words: “Yes, Eva, I´d love to come with you to the elephant.” In the car on the way home I asked her: ”Do you know what an Avatar is?” She answered right away: “Yes!” I asked, “And? What is it?” “A spider making a cobweb“, she answered.

I showed her a photo of Swami and asked her: “Who is that?“ “A friend”, she answered. “And this friend has sent you a present,” I said.  With a movement of my open hand I gave her the pendant. “I also want to know how to perform magic!” my daughter exclaimed vehemently as she took the coin and left for her room. I heard her speaking, laughing and crying for more than an hour. Then, she came back.

She showed me the pendant and said insistently: “Eva, do you know what this is? This is wish fulfilling. I often looked at the pendant and tried to figure out what sort of sign was on the backside, it was an open rectangle and in it were many endless graphic figures.

When I took my daughter to her father, we had to pass that spot where many years ago she had torn herself away from my hand. I always had to think of that incident when we passed by there. This time it was very special. Somebody had painted with green paint on the open rectangle on the asphalt which was like the one on the pendant that Swami had given my daughter. I think of this a lot. Later I found this sign in a book. It is a yantra that establishes cosmic balance.

My daughter is very cooperative now and she is learning to read and write and even to calculate a bit. We also sing to Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning and Music. My daughter likes to help in the household and there is a lot of peace, joy and harmony in my house.

My work is getting more and more appreciated. Swami had warned me: “No matter what if there are many or few people coming to you, always stay humble and know that every gift comes from God, nothing comes from you. If you forget this everything will be taken from you. For that stay humble.”

I have this often on my mind. Sometimes I ask silently for the ability to see life and people a little bit the way Swami does. I give thanks to life for helping me meet such a teacher who grants me miracles on so many levels. The greatest miracle for me is the fact that my daughter and I get along so well and that we are so happy. I wish the way to Springen was not so far so that I could take her to Swami. I wish they will meet one day.

Eva – Salzburg – Austria

My burden is taken away from me

For many years I have done my sadhana (yoga/ meditation) in the morning. All of a sudden, a very intense aggression against Swamiji started to surface in me during my sadhana. This continued for several months. It made me very sad and I could not find an explanation for it.
One day I had the opportunity to bring this up with Swami and to tell him that it actually hurt me deeply. He looked at me and said that I had an aggression towards myself that he took away from me. From that moment on the aggression has gone and it has never appeared since. I am eternally grateful for this grace that I experienced through Swami.

Rolf – Germany

Walking in the field with my guru Swami Vishwananda

When I was eleven years old, I went to a sleep-away camp where we sang every night around the campfire. I had a favourite song and I have never forgotten it; it meant a lot to me as a child.

Although I was unaware of it then, the possibilities it evoked in me inspired a lifelong quest for God

 My God and I walk through the fields together.

We walk and talk, like good friends should and do.

He takes my hand.

Our voices join in laughter.

My God and I, forever will we roam.

Later in life, this quest led me to spend 30 years on my spiritual journey, hoping to find a teacher who would and could guide me to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime. One day in June 2005, a friend called to tell me that a young guru from Mauritius was coming to America for the first time. Although my friend and his partner had not met the guru, they planned to spend a week with him during which he would give public darshans. My friend’s partner would be celebrating his birthday during that week and he asked if I would come and celebrate with him, his partner and the guru, at Alders Gate, a convenient five-minute walk from my home. “Yes, I’ll be there”, I spontaneously told my friend.

After agreeing to see the guru, I became curious about him and decided to look at his website. As I gazed at his picture, I felt a rush of shakti move up my spine and intuitively sensed that I would be spending a lot of time with this Swami.

On July 2, as I entered the building where I was to meet my friends and the guru, I felt a palpable air of excitement. I felt nervous, excited and somewhat tentative. I was surprised to see that my friends were not there. I sat as close to the chair, obviously prepared for Swami Vishwananda, as I could. When he came in and sat down, love radiated from him. In his presence I felt I could be safe for the rest of my life.

Swami led us in chanting for a short time and then he gave darshan. As I knelt in front of him and looked into his eyes, I started trembling with shakti rushing through my body. I experienced profound peace, stillness and a presence I had never felt before as love poured through me. I returned to my seat and went into a deep meditation. I heard the words, “This is the one you have been searching for.

The darshan ended as Swamiji stood up, looked directly at me and said to everyone, “Find Krishna within.” Swami left. Then, to my surprise, a short time later he reappeared. He greeted everyone with love and casually spoke with people. I asked Swami a question and he answered simply and directly, “All you have to do is unlock the little door to your heart.”

My friends never showed up that day. But they gave me the greatest gift of my life, my beloved Swamiji. That first meeting with Swami Vishwananda was the beginning of walking in the fields with my guru.

Nandini – Linda Novack – USA

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