Death Had No Claim on Him
Someone has asked me, “Has our Guru appeared to you since he left his body?” Yes, he has. I will speak more of this as I continue my story. Thousands came to see Guruji’s mortal form for the last time. His skin was golden, as though bathed in a golden light; and the sweetest, most benign smile was on his lips, like a benediction on every one. For twenty-one days after Guruji left his body, that form remained in a state of perfect preservation. There was not the slightest sign of decay. And even in the very matter-of-fact western hemisphere, the newspapers were emblazoned with headlines and reports on this miraculous event. The morticians who observed his body stated that “the case of Paramahansa Yogananda is unique in our experience.”
Not long after that the full responsibility for leadership of Gurudeva’s work fell on my shoulders.
When a great teacher leaves this world, it often happens that some different opinions arise as to how the mission begun by the guru should be guided. Questions arose during discussion of the work on the morning after I became the leader. Should the guidance of the work be in the hands of the householders or monastics? Guruji had told us it was to be with single-hearted renunciants like himself; but that directive was being challenged by some of the members. True, Guruji’s love for all devotees was the same. I also felt no distinction; why be bound by externals? A devotee is a devotee because he loves God, not because he wears an ocher cloth. But my mind was troubled.
That night, I sought Guruji’s answer by meditating deeply and praying to him. It was very late and I was still meditating when suddenly I saw my body get up from the bed, walk down the hall, and enter Gurudeva’s room. As I did so, out of the corner of my eye I saw his chuddar (shawl), fluttering as though in a slight breeze. I turned, and there stood my Guru! With what joy I ran to him and knelt to take the dust of his feet, holding them close to me.
“Master, Master,” I cried, “you are not dead you are not gone! Death has no claim on you.” How sweetly then he reached down and touched me on the forehead. As he did so, in that instant I knew the answer I must give at the meeting the next morning. Guruji blessed me, and I saw myself once again sitting upon my bed.
The next morning, I met with the directors of the society, and gave the answer Guruji had conveyed to me; and his work has been united and growing and growing and growing, ever since. Such is the blessing of God.