To record the number of mantras you recited this week click here
WE ARE ALL ONE
I can still remember the moment I first touched Indian soil! Descending down the stairs of my Air India flight, and having flown from Denver, New York, London, Bombay and finally Delhi, I could instantly feel the dramatically different morphogenetic field surrounding me. My instinct was to kneel and kiss the ground, but I felt too self-conscious to do so; nevertheless, I had a joyous and profound knowing that I was returning to my spiritual home.
It was 1988 and I was the last person to join Master’s 14-day pilgrimage to India. I hadn’t intended to go, as my dear Mother had recently died and I was experiencing profound grief over losing her. I had always been enamored with India, and as a child had a huge scrapbook full of pictures of the Taj Mahal. Suddenly I had this “knowing” that this exotic culture halfway around the world, immersed in the energy of a Master Teacher, might be exactly what I needed to renew myself.
Kathlyn told me that she had been receiving visions of a man with an “afro” haircut who kept beckoning to her to come to him. She had no idea who he was until she was visiting a bookstore in Denver and saw his photo on the cover of a book. It was Sai Baba, and she knew right then that she needed to journey to India, and so she opened the possibility of a group pilgrimage to Master’s students. One of the founding members of the Tibet Foundation in Denver was a travel agent who handled the travel arrangements, and we were soon off to India.
Twenty-five of us from all over the US became immersed in this life-altering journey. Can you imagine visiting sacred sites imbued with thousands of years of devotional energy, and then having access to Master in private on site ceremonies and then evening lectures to take us deeper into these mysteries? Many of us were given pristine insights into our own personal history with the area.
Our trip culminated with four amazing days at Sai Baba’s Ashram in Puttaparthi, near the city of Bangalore. For someone from a very sparsely settled state in the American West, it was readily apparent to me that “social distancing” is not in the Indian psyche. Frankly, I had never seen so many people packed together for darshan with Sai Baba or for a few minutes to pray in his temple. For Americans, who are not used to touching strangers, we soon adapted to the idea that we would be touching the persons on either side of us constantly.
The devotional energy was so palpable that everyone in our group had special white garments made on the first day at the ashram. On our final day, by the intervention of some sort of miracle, a stranger appeared in the front of our line and drew the number 1, which meant that we were the first group escorted into darshan and sat in the front row only a few feet from Sai Baba. Everyone in our group recounted a different experience with him, but each person was profoundly influenced, and received some sort of special message or healing from Sai Baba. We were all floating from this experience for days!
This is but a glimpse of a life altering trip for me that, for years, I referred to as BI and AI as my short hand for Before India or After India. The Indian people were so warm and welcoming to us, and so innocent by American standards. It was like the whole panoply of humanity was everywhere on display before us. I mostly remember the penetrating looks of the Indian people, especially the poor, who made such intense eye contact that you felt you could see into their souls.
About 15 years later, I accompanied Kathlyn to India again for a sophisticated type of hip surgery that was not yet available in the US. This time I stayed for a month, as Kathlyn was not released from her care there until they deemed it safe for her to fly transatlantic. I mostly hung out interacting with an amazing cross-section of people.
Kathlyn’s surgeon at Apollo Hospital in Chennai was world-renowned, and I soon observed that people from everywhere were coming for this procedure, including the woman in the next room who was from Aspen, and who became a dear friend. Most of the surgeons said a prayer for Kathlyn prior to any medical procedure, which I had never witnessed in any American hospital. Each floor was built around a central foyer that had a very large religious statue. Naturally, Kathlyn found herself recovering on the floor with a very large golden Buddha. Visitors at the hospital would stay overnight with their loved-ones, often staying up for hours to pray in front of the Buddha.
In an office just down the hall from Kathlyn’s room was an energy worker, named Nagalakshmi, who would come every day to work on Kathlyn’s auric field. We soon found out that she was a member of the Theosophical Society whose international headquarters were in Chennai. When Kathlyn was sufficiently recovered, she took us to see the very large and lavish gardens and monuments to many different world religions. It was truly one of the highlights of my trip, and I always felt Nagalaksmi was sent to us as a special protector.
After discharge from the hospital, we spent about three weeks in a very nice hotel where mostly wealthy Indians and international travelers stayed. We got to know the hotel manager who would have tea with us every day and ask us many questions about the US. Also, we became fond of the hotel staff, many of whom shared their dreams while making the beds. They liked doing Kathlyn’s room because she would let them turn on the soap operas in all these strange languages while they made up the room. There was no need for translation, though, since the plots are all the same in any language: unrequited love, affairs, and pathos.
With all the recent reporting about the extreme Covid outbreaks in India, I have found myself reflecting on these memories, and really wanting to be of some help. Undoubtedly, you are all aware of the severity of the pandemic in India right now, which is completely overwhelming their health care system and causing untold chaos and suffering among countless millions of people. Everyday we read about a spike in cases that is now only surpassed by the totals in the US. Today’s statistics reveal over 21,000,000 diagnosed cases with over 225,000 deaths. The last seven days have been averaging around 400,000 new cases a day. Virtually every source indicates that these numbers are probably significantly undercounted because of the large numbers of people who are dying everywhere, unable to get any sort of medical attention.
I have read that there are over 4,000,000 people of Indian descent living in the U.S. and many of them are working tirelessly to try to get medical help for loved ones in India. They are using the Internet and social media in very effective ways to try to get supplies, medicine, and other necessities for loved ones back home.
On April 25, Kathlyn wrote a very poignant blog article asking our VFF Family to invoke Lord Ganapati for grace and healing for all those impacted by recent Covid outbreaks, and especially for our VFF Family members in India. Perhaps some of you did not realize that she was asking us to recite the “Om Gum Ganipatiye Namaha” mantra.
To listen to Kathlyn recite the mantra click here
Click here to record the number of mantras you recited this week
As Americans, most of us feel like our country is finally getting back to some level of normalcy after an extremely long and challenging year. Businesses are opening and people are starting to travel and visit friends and family. As we study with a Master Teacher who reminds us daily that we are all One in Essence, let us take a few precious minutes everyday to invoke the intervention of Lord Ganapati (Ganesh), so that suffering from this persistent virus may abate all over the world.
VFF Board member