How Love Changes Others
Some years ago, shortly after becoming president, I spoke at a function at one of our Self-Realization temples. During the banquet that preceded my talk, a woman I had never seen before was seated near me. She was not a Self-Realization member, but had decided it was her duty to be the critic of our society and its administration.
All evening my mind had been absorbed in the joyous love of Divine Mother. Suddenly, though, this person caught my eye. It was an absolute shock to see what was in her gaze. I realized, “This person hates me!” For a moment my mind was shaken. But I turned within and asked myself: Of what value is my love for God if it is so shallow that it can be dragged down by the unkindness of others? Can I not practice what I have preached? Of course I can!” In that instant the blissful consciousness of God’s presence returned.
As the meal progressed, the woman busied herself in making disparaging remarks about me to those around her, loud enough to be sure I could hear her. As Gurudeva taught us to do, I began sending waves of love to her from my heart.
Because I had not allowed my mind to be affected, when the time came for me to speak, the words came from the inspiration that was in my soul. Afterward, as the members of the audience gathered around to greet me, this woman suddenly burst forth with tears in her eyes, and said, “Please, I must speak with you.” I agreed to see her after the function, and these were her words to me: “I beg you to forgive me for what I have done to you tonight. I know now that Paramahansaji chose the right one to lead his society.” I embraced her with the love that was in my heart.
Love for God Keeps a Spiritual Teaching Alive
I never wanted position. When it was made known to me that the Board of Directors was going to select me as the leader of Guruji’s worldwide work, I said, “I cannot accept it; please free me from this obligation.”
They said, “No, it is Master’s wish: he told us.”
I went to my room; and for one week I meditated, wept and prayed to Divine Mother to please not give this responsibility to me. I didn’t want to lose my ideal of being just a humble disciple of Gurudeva, loving God and serving his work in the background of the organization. I didn’t want anything but God.
As I was praying, I was telling Divine Mother, “I am not an administrator. I have had no such training. All I know is what I have learned here in the ashram. I am not the one to lead this great worldwide organization.”
Suddenly my sweet Divine Mother said to me, “Let me ask you just one thing: Do you love Me? Do you love Me?” That thought filled my consciousness, sweeping away everything else.
I burst into tears and cried, “Divine Mother, that is all I have to offer you. I am nothing and have nothing—no special qualities—to offer. But I know one thing, I love you. And in this life I am trying to cultivate ever-increasing love for you. And with that Divine Mother replied, “That is enough. That is all I ask.”
“All right then,” I said to Her, “I accept.”
The experience was so beautiful, so divine, that it cannot be conveyed adequately in words. From that day to this I have carried on in that thought. A divine man and an ordinary man may utter the very same words, but one will move you and the other will not. Why? Because the Spirit is living in the words of one who loves God.
“Behold me in all—not only in those who love you.”
When I became president, there were inevitable little misunderstandings. My heart was sore at the inharmony, and I used to pray, “Divine Mother, why? I am only trying to do your will.”
During my visit to India in 1964 I had many marvelous inner experiences. One day I prayed to Mahavatar Babaji: “Show me the way; I will do anything, whatever you command.” In that instant I received the answer. Love is the way to reach people, to change people. It may take a long time and patient persistence to bring about the desired effect by love alone, but the effect is lasting. The person comes to understand that you have nothing but love and kindness for him, and that you want nothing from him but his love and goodwill.
For example, during my first trip to India (1958-59) there were many obstacles to be faced. Owing to Guruji’s absence from India for so many years, those who had taken charge were well ensconced in their own ways. As I had served as Guruji’s secretary in all India matters, his wishes were well known to me. But certain of these individuals looked on me as an intruder and a threat to their positions. The vast majority of devotees received me with open hearts, eager to hear about Master’s teachings; but in the eyes of those few, Daya Mata was an American (and a woman at that!) and had no right to teach Indians about their own religion and traditions. But I made up my mind that no matter what was said about me, I would never retaliate. That is not my way, and never will be.
One day after a severe confrontation from one of these individuals, I was scheduled to address a gathering of devotees. Before the meeting, I sat to meditate in front of a picture of Master. As my prayer deepened, his living form emerged from that photo image. Guruji blessed me, and my soul was overwhelmed with the divine inspiration of his presence.
In that state of consciousness I addressed the gathering that evening. The leader of those who had been trying to thwart me decided to walk out, possibly thinking the others would follow him. But a wonderful thing happened. Looking at him, I could not see him at all; there was only the divine manifesting in that form. Then I knew what God was trying to teach me: “Behold me in all—not only in those who love you.” That consciousness has remained with me.
From that moment, the attitude of those other “enemies” completely changed. One of them came forward at the end of the satsanga and pranamed before me, saying, “Forgive me.” I was humbly thankful, for the sake of Guruji’s followers in India. Since then his Yogoda Satsanga work has grown tremendously.
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