I can’t remember my childhood very clearly.  If you read my previous post  it detailed how I had moved 19 times by the time I was 18 years old.  All of this moving around had a deleterious effect on the formation of long term memories.  I’m often at a loss if I try to remember where was I living during my early childhood years.  The stable memories really don’t begin to coalesce until I was around 10 years old.  Nonetheless, some memories did find their place in my conscious and subconscious mind. It was when contemplating one of these early childhood moves that certain memories came back to me.  

One previously hidden memory came to the forefront after I read Sushree Diya Om’s post titled Hare Krishna. We had a copy of a book which I believe was the Bhagavad Gita. I used to stare at some pictures in that book with a deep sense of amazement and awe.  I really didn’t know why.  They were colorful and evocative, but other than that there was no logical reason for a 6 year old to be so captivated by the images but they had a deeply hypnotic quality for me. One of these images showed a staircase descending into hell.  Each descending stair had a negative attribute such as greed, envy or anger carved in it and showed a human figure that gradually turned demonic as he was pulled down each step by demons who had lassoed chains to his neck. The ascending stairs went said spiritual knowledge,  sense control and other positive attributes until arriving at what looked like the gates of heaven.

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The other image showed the process of Samsara and the lifecycle of a human.  I was so entranced by this picture, especially the image of the soul leaving the dead body.  It was as though I was in a trance, staring at this photo while the whole world around me melted away.    It’s what I imagine chess players feel like when they are deeply contemplating their next move.

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During the next decade or so of my life, I became very curious about the beginning of the universe.  Laying in bed at night, one of the questions I always asked was what did the universe look like if I were to go back in time before there was any matter, sound, or light? Was it all a void?  And what about before that?  I used to ponder this and try to keep rewinding time in my head and try to imagine what reality looked like at that time.  Of course, science could provide some theories here, but I think I was more interested in the spiritual answers, and never dug too deep into the scientific explanations.  Only recently have I felt that someone could answer these questions.  I feel that Om Swami knows the answers to these questions from direct experience.  I’d like to know the answers to these questions myself too, not just by being told them, but by experiencing the truth of our source.  

In these early childhood experiences lay the genesis of my spiritual search.  It was as though a seed was planted, but the conditions were not right for sprouting. So it remained dormant for years, and only through a series of recent events was the seed given the right conditions to take root and grow. First there was the experience I had with Baba Hari Dass. Secondly was finding Swamiji in 2017 and beginning my active Sadhana.  These two events were key in my transformation which I believe is a requirement to become worthy of grace.  A combination of meditation, kindness, Seva and prayer have so far been the combination that has worked for me.

In terms of actual Sadhana, I always felt curious, but intimidated and reticent to start any Sadhana of Devi.  Maybe I felt I was not worthy, or I worried that I would not feel the connection, or simply that I would fail.

As part of my path I have watched all of Swamiji’s videos on YouTube.  When I first found Him, I  pretty much binge watched every video of His.  I started with those first ones from 2011, where it seemed to me Swamiji was more strict. (He’s made it so much easier on us!)  Also, every Saturday I watch what is released, and have also attended two meditation camps.  Needless to say, I am familiar with every video, so I was really surprised when one day I was browsing through the YouTube channel rewatching some videos when I came across one that I had not watched before.  It was titled “Combining Sri Vidya with Kundalini practices.”  It was on the Swamiji YouTube channel and it had all the telltale signs of being His video. Stumbling across this video was really exciting to me, but the video was in Hindi and did not have subtitles.  I watched the first few seconds just to hear that music that we all love so much that is the prelude to the wisdom which follows. Then I thought would ask some of my very helpful guru brothers and sisters to maybe translate it for me as I was very keen to hear what it had to say.  Later that night I even told my wife about the video I had found because I was so excited.

When I went back to YouTube the next day, I could not locate the video.  I searched through my history and even rewatched the same Sri Vidya videos and all the Kundalini videos as well to see if it would recommend that video.  I’m 100% sure it was an Om Swami video as it had the familiar music and graphics, but for the life of me, I could not locate it.  I needed help, so turned to some kind souls with my predicament. I reached out to Abhishek Verma, Ashish Anand, and Monika Verma. None of them had seen or heard of such a video.  Finally, I emailed the os.me support team and they informed me that no video of this name exists nor has ever existed.  I was stunned.  I had seen it as clear as day, as clear as I see the sun, moon and sky every day. It was there in front of me, I was certain of it. I had been wanting a sign to start a Devi Sadhana and here was a rather perfectly tailored invitation. But it felt like a mystery, where did the video go? It reminded me of Mission Impossible, with the message that once delivered, would self-destruct as to leave no evidence. Nonetheless, I started memorizing the Lalita Sasaranama that very day. 

Of course, this could have all been made up in my head.  I saw what I wanted to.  If you have noticed, Swamiji usually leaves room for doubt too.  Perhaps I’m giving myself too much importance, and am seeing what I want to see. Even if that’s the case it means my desire to do a Sadhana like this was strong enough that I hallucinated this YouTube video.  Despite that, I steadfastly believe in what I saw and that it was a message, an invitation to begin learning the Lalita Sasaranama.  Swamiji works in mysterious ways.

This was my first experience of that divine play.

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Zack Bazarnick

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