Mukunda (Yogananda) at age 16
SANANDA LAL – The road to the mouth of the river followed several low hills. Fruit hung in abundance in the trees along our way. … Mejda [Yogananadji] was picking some of the luscious, sweet lichis when he heard someone call his name. Startled, Mejda stood stock still. All sense of adventure ended abruptly! Cautiously we moved in the direction from which the voice had come. The twilight was fast fading and we could not see far ahead in the shadows, but we soon discerned a man dressed in white. Seeing that we were somewhat afraid, he beckoned us closer in a friendly manner. If he were the watchman here, how would he have known Mejda’s name?
Slowly we advanced toward the gently smiling person. His form seemed lustrous with a wonderful light. I looked around to see where the light was coming from. Suddenly Mejda bowed before the saint and touched his feet. The saint embraced Mejda and kissed him on the head. I also bowed before the saintly figure. With a gesture of blessing, he said to us, “Jaiastu!” (“Victory be with you!”). And then he spoke to Mejda:
“Mukunda, it is God’s wish that I come to you today. Remember what I say to you. YOU HAVE COME ON EARTH AS GOD’S REPRESENTATIVE TO FULFILL HIS WISHES. Your body is His temple, sanctified by prayer and meditation. Do not run after material pleasures or satisfaction. You will show the way that leads to true happiness; and by your spiritual knowledge you will deliver those who are suffering in ignorance. Never forget that you are one with Maha Purusha, attained only by those who are supremely successful in meditation. Your body, mind, and life must never deviate from the thought of God, even for a moment. The blessings of the Infinite Father are upon you. Your faith in Him must be absolute. He will protect you from all dangers. In this world only He is eternal; all else is transient and unreliable. ONE DAY YOUR IDEALS OF YOGA WILL INSPIRE ALL MANKIND. MUKUNDA, MARCH ONWARD!”
…We started for home. After walking a short distance, we looked back and saw the saint blessing us with upraised hands. Then he vanished. I turned to Mejda and spoke, but he wasn’t listening. He was walking, head down, in a thoughtful mood. When we reached home, Mejda went directly to his prayer room…He took hold of my hand and led me to a photograph that hung on the wall. We stood a moment before it, then he said, “Do you recognize him? Was it not he who spoke to us?”
I was astonished. It was he — that very smile. But he had died long ago. How could he have come to us now? How could we have talked with someone who had been dead all these years? He had blessed us, embraced Mejda and kissed his head. I was choked with awe, unable to speak. I simply looked at Mejda. THERE WAS NO DOUBT THAT MEJDA AND I HAD SEEN AND TALKED WITH THE GREAT LAHIRI MAHASAYA! …
By Sananda Lal Ghosh (younger brother of Yogananda)—condensed, from the book Mejda: The Family and the Early Life of Paramahansa Yogananda.