|The next teacher I met was a true master — Yogananda. Would you like to hear a little bit about him? |
I went to Santa Barbara to see Helen Bridges, who was the artist who drew Babaji, the great master, under Yogananda’s guidance. She had a room about the size of this small stage as an ashram for Yogananda, Paramahansa Yogananda. He came in — there couldn’t have been more than ten of us there — and when he was talking; I saw a light coming out of his eyes and entering me, just light entering me.
At the end he was standing at the door to shake hands and I thought he’d say, “My beloved, you have come.” He didn’t — he just shook my hand, and I went out into the air of Santa Barbara in ecstasy.
// Everything unfolds itself in time
Later, because I was overdoing my yoga, I became quite ill. If they said to breathe in for seven counts and hold for fourteen, I thought if I breathed in for fifty and held for one hundred, that would be better. I just wanted to make it fast to the goal, but you can’t make it fast to the goal.
You can’t pull a rose open. It has to blossom on its own — you just can’t pull it. You have to let yourself unfold.
// Did not have to say it
I was feeling ill, and I thought if I could only get to that Yogananda. A friend and I were going to Santa Barbara. I told her not to drive me to where we were going, but to drive me up to Helen Bridges’. When we got there, a car was waiting, and Helen said, “We have a place in the back seat. We’re going down to see Swami Yogananda in Encinitas and we’re waiting to see who belongs in the empty seat.” I said, “Well, I do.” All the way down, I was so ill I thought I’d never make it there.
They put me in a glorious room with satin curtains overlooking the ocean. I was sitting there thinking that I was dying when there was a knock at the door. I shall never forget it. I’d never dreamed that the Master would come to my room. I said, “Come in.” The door swung open and there was Yogananda, around him a light, an effulgence that filled the doorway. I was instantly healed. He didn’t have to say, “Get healed.” It was fantastic.
Then he asked, “Do you want to learn?” I said, “Yes, I’d like to learn.” So he said, “All right, come with me to Mount Washington.” So I got in the car and rode with him. Now, I don’t know how you people are, but I always thought that holy people should talk holy, they should talk God, you know, heaven. All he talked about on the way was that I should drink carrot juice and eat carrots and raw foods. He was really holistic. I thought, what’s up with this yogi? Where’s spirituality? All he’s talking about is food, about eating the right things. Yet, every yogi I’ve ever met has told me the same thing.
So I went to the Mount Washington ashram, which was a great big place. One time I made an appointment to go and see him. I was supposed to have an appointment at seven in the evening. It got to be seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, one, two. At three in the morning, they came down for me and I went up to where he was. It was just a heaven up there. He didn’t really sleep; you know. He slept maybe one hour a night. We had our interview at about 3:00 in the morning. I sang for him. I did some Mayan chants that had been given to me in meditation and he said they were genuine.
// Free Soul
He said, “Would you stay with me? I will have a place for you at the ashram.” I thought about it the rest of the night, and I had to say no to him because I didn’t want to, what shall I say, be caught in anything. I didn’t want to join anything. I wanted to be a free soul. Do you understand that? To be a free soul, not to be bound by any one thing. It’s too limiting. I felt it was too limiting for me. So I went my way, and much later, when I was going to India, he gave me letters of recommendation and we had a lovely talk.
Then I went off to India. Because I didn’t have the money to go to India, I went as a dancer, a classical dancer, danced everywhere in India and then I stayed there. I was in Ceylon for a while.
I will tell you just a short story of a yogi — Yogi Swamy. He was exactly what you would think a yogi would look like — soft gray hair, grey beard, elderly, wonderful. When I used to go to see him, I would travel all night on an old train to Jaffna, where all the warfare in Ceylon is going on now.
// Rebuking the one interested in worldly things
This one time I had brought some camphor. The day before, my friend had taken somebody there who wanted to know about a lot of worldly things. When this person went in there, the yogi had asked him, “What have you got behind your back?” The man had said, “Camphor,” and the yogi had said, “Burn it on your own tongue.” Yogis could be tough, kids. Then he said to my friend, “Why do you bring people of that caliber here?”
// With the right motives
So I came in the next day. I had some camphor behind my back. I had just heard this story. He asked, “What have you got behind your back?” I said, “Camphor,” and he said, “Come right in, come right in.” See?
// A problem solved
Every time I went there, he would say, “How much money do you have?” It was just like Yogananda with the food — I would think, what kind of person is this? I would give no answer, and then he would know I had no money.
He would ask, “What is your salary?”
Well, I didn’t have any salary.
So one day I was honest with him and I said, “I don’t have any money.”
He said, “Oh.”
He had a boy take a book and read, and as the boy read, this yogi sat there moving his hand a certain way.
The boy read, “There is an upper jaw and a lower jaw and the tongue is the conjunction. The tongue makes the sound, and the sound is prosperity,” and the yogi said, “What is that word? You mispronounced it. How do you spell prosperity?”
The boy spelled it out. All the while the yogi was moving his hand, doing something, you understand? I never had money trouble after that.
Source: My Story by Hilda Charlton