|Sri Swamiji's Grace and Guidance Transformed Me - Ann Natalie, New York City, New York|
In the Fall of 1996 I had a dream in which a man was smiling at me. The "dream" was quite vivid. The feeling was warm and loving. I initially thought it was an old friend of mine. At that time I had been involved in an "internal energy" practice (Qugong) with a Chinese Master. The practice seeks to connect the practitioner's body, mind, and spirit. In the Qugong class I had met and become friendly with a married couple and their daughter who were devotees of Swamiji. As I became friendlier with them, they would tell me of their experiences with Swamiji.
On one occasion my friend suggested that I listen to the CD "Celestial Message." When I listened to the CD I felt as though I went into a deep state of meditation. I believe it was that night that I felt something brushing alongside me in my sleep. I was not afraid. Much later I was to discover during my reading, that it was Swamiji who was "moving like a gentle breeze”. (C. S. Radhakrishna) One evening in the Spring of 1997 while those same friends were visiting me, I happen to look down at one of Swamiji's CD's; I believe the CD was "Amba Bhavani -Inner Healing II". There is a picture of Swamiji smiling on it. It suddenly dawned on me that Swamiji was the man in my dream in the fall of 1996!
In the Spring of 1997 my friend asked me if I would like to go to Trinidad to see Swamiji, informing me that Swamiji would be visiting Trinidad in August 1997. She explained to me that she had had a message from Swamiji a couple of months earlier, that she could bring her friend to Trinidad. When she first received the message she wasn't sure who the friend was, but she felt that "the friend" was me.
I felt at that time that "someone" (Swamiji) had heard me. Although I had never met Swamiji, intuitively I felt that I was supposed to go and meet him. During this period of time I had been reading a book about the masters, high holy men and saints. I had a desire to meet a-high holy man in India, but I did not know how to go about this. 1 remember reading that if you take one step toward the masters, they take ten steps toward you.
My Visit To Trinidad
I traveled with my friends to Trinidad in August 1997. While in Trinidad I somehow became separated from my friends and I found myself feeling somewhat alone and frightened while in a foreign country. My doubts began to creep in, "Was I supposed to be on this trip?" I felt that perhaps I wasn't the person that my friend was supposed to bring along to Trinidad to see Swamiji. Within a day or two of this feeling Swamiji's devotee's were going on a trip to another town in Trinidad, Princes Town, where Swamiji was to inaugurate a new temple. On one occasion while Swamiji was addressing the people in the temple he happened to make the statement, "Don't leave Swamiji." I felt that this was a definite message for me as well as for others, and I began to feel better. As I became less afraid and more relaxed other devotees would come up to me and tell me their experiences with Swamiji and I would reciprocate. The devotees in Trinidad were very helpful. One day while I was sitting in the temple one of the pundits offered me part of a coconut and began to give me a tour of the temple and explained the significance of the different deities. I also remember him telling how grateful he was to Swamiji and he told me of his experiences with Swamiji. I found this deeply touching. During my visit to Trinidad I felt that events which occurred helped to elicit feelings which I may have experienced as a child. Some of these were not always pleasant, but I felt that there were tests, challenges and healings on this trip. In looking back on it, since learning more about Swamiji through books and experiences, I realize that sometimes there will be pain or hurt in order to heal.
During my trip to Trinidad I felt that Swamiji was always taking care of me. One day while in the temple some adorable children offered me some "sweets." On another occasion while sitting in the temple, Radha Krishna came up to me and gave me a warm hug. One night while in the dining hall, I was sitting at a table having dinner. I remember having sweet cravings on the trip, and there was something very sweet which was part of the dinner. I remember thinking that I would like to have more of it, but I didn't want to appear greedy. At that point the woman sitting next to me offered her sweet, then the two young people sitting on the other side of me offered me their sweets. The two young people then left the table and other devotees that I met on the trip sat down next to me. Within a short period of time the two young people returned to the table where I was sitting and gave me two more bags of sweets. The other devotees then were asking "What about us?" At that point of course I shared my sweets with them!
On the last day of my trip to Trinidad I was fortunate to be able to go to the Aripo River and to bathe there. I had several dreams in Trinidad of people I knew. One dream in particular was of a woman I know from the agency that I work for. She works in another facility and although we are only acquaintances I knew that she had cancer. I felt that perhaps this was a message from Swamiji and that he might be able to help her. After returning from Trinidad I spoke with this woman about Swarniji. I learnt that in addition to being ill, she had many family problems. I gave her book and a tape to play. During the course of the year I would occasionally see her and she would tell me of her condition and of various treatments that she received. I recently found out that as of August 1998 she was 98% cancer free.
After my trip to Trinidad, I placed pictures of my family and friends, particularly people who were ill in front of Swamiji's photo and I feel he has helped these people. On one occasion a woman that I work with, a nurse, was worried about her son. He had been suffering from Bell's Palsy, condition which involves partial facial paralysis. The boy was only 15 years old and had been depressed over this condition. I asked to bring me a photograph of her son. She brought me a photograph of her son’s and I put the photo in front of Swamiji 's picture. Within a week or two of this, I asked her how her son was doing. He no longer had the facial paralysis. He has been doing well since then. The second time I went to visit Swamiji was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July 1998 (July 7 - July 12). This was a wonderful trip and I was able to . participate in Pada Puja. In the interview immediately following Pada Puja I asked Swamiji whether I should continue the "energy practice" I was involved in; I expressed to him that I thought there may be a conflict between my relationship with him and this "energy practice," (Qugong), with a Chinese Master. He advised me to do something different and he said, "I will help you." I also asked him if I could visit India within the next year and a half - meaning Mysore Ashram. He granted me permission. Within a few days of my return to New York, I received a call from a devotee that I met in Baton Rouge. He told me that a Kriya Yoga and Meditation Workshop taught by Bindu of Baton Rouge would be given in the Datta Yoga Temple in Pennsylvania at the end of August. I immediately felt Swamiji's guidance and I was grateful. Of course I was able to take the Workshop and I met wonderful people there.
In August 1998 my mother had been visiting me in New York when she developed a bad cough. When she returned to her home in Florida, she was not getting better but continued to become very weak. She also became very depressed. One night I woke up at approximately four in the morning and I was worried about my mother. The next day my mom told me that something "weird" happened at approximately four in the morning. She said she couldn't sleep. She had been looking at her dresser and there appeared to be a light above the St. Jude plaque on her dresser. At first she told me that she had thought maybe there was a light there to begin with. She realized there wasn't when the light traveled to the picture on my father which is on her dresser. My father died in August 1993 and my mother always thinks of him. I realized as soon as my mother told me this that Swarniji was looking after her. When my mother finally went to see the doctor, they discovered that she had developed pneumonia. She is elderly and has a heart condition, high blood pressure and other medical problems. Needless to say I was worried about her. During the time of her illness she told me of another experience which she had. She again referred to it as weird, She told me that one night she felt my presence at the foot of her bed and she also felt that I was in the guest room, the room where I sleep when I visit her. There is also a picture of Swamiji on the dresser in that room. I immediately felt in my heart when she related this experience to me that Swamiji was there with her. Within a few days of antibiotic treatment my mom gained back her strength. She also came out of what she has described as a very depressed state.
I feel that Swamiji has helped to heal her on all levels, physical, mental and psychological. Since the death of my father in 1993 my mother has gone through difficult times. Now she has been doing much better. Her blood pressure is stable and her outlook on life is much more positive. Swamiji has also helped me to resolve various mother-daughter conflicts and I feel that my relationship with my mother has been transformed in many ways due to Swamiji's grace and guidance.
Swamiji has assisted me in my job as well. I work for an agency which serves handicapped individuals, people with Cerebral Palsy and other conditions affecting the physical and mental state of an individual). I have a degree in Psychology and am responsible for counseling, psychological testing and behavioral interventions. I feel that Swamiji is always with me and that he has helped many of the clients and staff that work with. On the most difficult and challenging cases that I have is a woman with cereebral Palsy and Dysarthria; she has a speech impairment and her speech not intelligible. One of her goals is to obtain her GED (High School Equivalency Diploma). Some of the staff members were not sure if this was a realistic goal. I was able to obtain a nonverbal test of intelligence scored within the average range of intelligence on this test. It is very difficult to tap into the intelligence of someone who is completely disabled and unable to speak, due to the nature of intelligence. She became more assertive and developed more self-confidence within the past few years and her goals of obtaining a GED and moving out of her present residence appear to be attainable.