Martha or Mary

[Listen to Asha read this story]

(Told by Premi)

I had many responsibilities in our community in Assisi, Italy. When Swamiji invited me to accompany him on the tour of the American choir through northern Italy, I said yes, but I was concerned about my work. I decided I would accompany him only for two cities, then go back to the community and take care of my duties.

When Swamiji heard about my plan, twice he asked me not to leave. Twice I insisted I had to go. “I have so much work to do,” I explained.

Then a friend took me aside and told me about something similar that had happened to him. In his case, it was a lecture tour. He was traveling with Swamiji, but instead of going to hear Swamiji speak, he stayed in his hotel room and worked.

Afterwards, Swamiji asked him, “Where were you?”

“In my room, working,” the man answered.

“We do not have many opportunities to be together,” Swamiji told him gently. “You should be where I am.”

This made a deep impression on me and I decided to stay with the tour.

I was still new on the path. Swamiji was living right in Assisi with us and I thought it would always be that way. I think Swamiji intuitively knew how little time we had. Now he lives in India and I rarely see him.

Swamiji is my spiritual father. The time I have spent with him is the cornerstone of my spiritual life. That choir tour happened years ago, but the experiences I had with Swamiji are as clear in my mind as if they had happened yesterday. And I can’t remember any of the “important work” that almost took me away from him.

Just before Swamiji left for India, I said to him, “Please bless my spiritual practices.”

Sweetly, almost with surprise, he replied, “Oh, but I always do!”

Later, when a group of us went to India to see him, I said, “Swamiji, I miss you so much. What can I do?”

“I also miss all of you,” he said.

After a moment, he went on. “Even though the demands of Master’s work keep us separate outwardly,” he said, “ours is a divine friendship. In meditation I feel you near.”

I knew he was speaking not only to me and those of us sitting in front of him, but to devotees around the world who carry Swamiji in their heart as I do.

“With God’s love,” he said, “I love you all.”

No comments:

Post a Comment