Recently, meeting with ashram residents, Swami ji asked some of us why we were here. Some people answered that they were here to serve. Some said to walk the spiritual path and find their truth etc. We each had a particular answer to give. My answer at the time was, “Ma.”
Upon reflection, I realised that I had given an answer based on what I thought was the right thing to say at the time, plus while holding back tears, it had been the first and only answer to pop into my head.
I had indeed been singing Micheal W. Smith’s ballad to Bhagwan in the temple just the day before, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you. I want to see you.” (Thank you to Chanchal ji and Ria for introducing it to me. Ria sings it so beautifully). Tears streamed down my face as I called out to God in song.
Some might be mistaken to think that I am here for a vision of God, that I want to see Him/Her. But I already see God every day, for in the waves of the stillness and silence of my mind, I am enveloped by Her; held warm and comforted in a Mother’s embrace.
I see the Lord in every gesture of kindness, in every smile, and in every tear of devotion.
I see Bhagwan in every bridge mended where loved ones were once parted.
I see the Divine Mother in a starry night’s sky when the entire ashram is sleeping and I step out into the crisp, fresh air on a moonlit night; a shimmering glow of golden-white light dancing, rippling, upon the murmuring river.
I see His might in the rising sun.
I see how far His creation goes in every idea a human once had that came to fruition.
I see heaven all around me, in the skies and in the hills, in the explosion of colour where butterflies and flowers meet.
My heart melts when I look into the eyes of the tiniest creatures and the big, goofy, adorable ones too, because I am looking directly into the eyes of my creator.
And to depart from all lyrical jargon, I see God, in Her truest and most tangible form today, when I am looking at my guru, Om Swami ji.
So, if my heart is so satiated, and I’m no longer searching for God, what on Earth am I here for? The truth is, I really don’t know. All I know is that up until Swami ji appeared in my life, I thought I was plodding along quite nicely. I’d had my fair share of trauma and struggle, some of which I’ve talked about here, but who hasn’t? And at the age of 34, I’d reached a stage of absolute acceptance in my life. I was well liked, successful, and wealthy. Fulfilling all my desires, I lived a very enviable life. A life of a movie star, literally.
But once the Divine showed up, my whole world turned upside down, inside out, and nothing made sense anymore.
‘Coincidence’ after ‘coincidence’, ‘miracle’ after ‘miracle’, left me with the constant feeling of either being dazed like I’d been punched in the head by a heavyweight boxer, or I was in floods of tears like my heart was being wrung out like a wet cloth. No one who knew me understood this sudden shift in me, and of course, they thought I’d finally lost the plot. And to be fair to them, so did I. I was worried that I must have finally ceded to my mental health struggles. I’d experienced deep bouts of depression before, but it didn’t feel like this. Nothing, absolutely nothing made any sense anymore except for one thing – I had to walk toward the Light. It was the only way I could breathe. If I went in any other direction, I felt like I was disintegrating. Everything I had, everything I had done, none of it mattered anymore.
I remember looking around the ashram when I first came here in 2015, I could feel the power of the place. It was like a magnet for me. Try as I might I couldn’t be anywhere else. “What on Earth is going on here?!” I asked Swami ji once. “I have no idea why I’m even here.” And you can guess Swami ji’s reaction… that discerning smile and slight nod that doesn’t tell you anything, which frustrates you to the core, but which you trust anyway because somehow you know everything is exactly as it should be.
So the truth is, Bhagwan left me with no other choice. Being anywhere else, doing anything else, isn’t an option. Living for myself and for my own needs isn’t an option. If I take a single step away from His Light, and put my own mind and petty needs first (which, at times I do – and I’m working on this), I feel lost, like I’m drowning all over again.
So, I HAVE to walk the path of Light. This is the only way I can live. Otherwise I would be drowning somewhere without an end, in the darkness of my ignorance.
Where will this path take me? I still don’t know; I guess it depends on how hard I work to stay afloat. So, maybe the answer truly is, ‘Ma’, for She is The Path of Light, She is The Light. She is why I’m here. So, only She knows.
(Note: The above picture is my first attempt at painting Ma. Thanks immensely to the hugely talented Sushree Svadha ji for taking time out to introduce us complete novices to a paintbrush and the wonders of watercolour)
So, How about you? Why are you here, what’s your answer?