Walls Came Tumbling Down

[Listen to Asha read this story]

(Told by Sudarshan)

Every summer on the campus of the University of California at Davis, they hold an event called the Whole Earth Fair. In the early ’70s it was the American equivalent of the Kumbha Mela, a gathering of spiritual tribes and teachers. Ananda had a booth and Swamiji was there, talking to whoever happened to come by. I was just getting involved with Ananda and had never had a personal conversation with him, so I came over to the booth and sat down.

He had just finished writing The Road Ahead, about Master’s predictions of upcoming cataclysms—natural disasters, economic collapse, social upheaval. Not a pretty picture. Swamiji had been thinking a lot about the economic future of the globe and that’s mostly what we talked about.

It wasn’t a deep conversation—the price of gold, world trade, the stock market—but it was interesting. I was impressed by how easy and natural it was to talk with Swamiji, how charming he was in an understated way, not ostentatious about his position or his knowledge, just open, available, and totally human.

After about fifteen minutes, the conversation wound down, and I went on my way. About a minute later I felt like an earthquake was going on inside of me. I wandered out to a nearby parking lot and for the next hour sat on a concrete curb contemplating what was happening to me.

It wasn’t unpleasant, just dynamic and unexpected. Swamiji and I had been talking about global cataclysms, now I was experiencing one of my own. I felt as if my carefully constructed inner edifice – the very substance of what I called myself – was breaking into pieces. Instead of the neat, seamless reality I was used to, all I had now was a pile of bricks, waiting to be put together in a new way.

Until then, my experience of the path had been entirely mental – just philosophy and ideas. Now, fifteen minutes with Swamiji had catapulted me into the middle of real spiritual transformation. It felt entirely right. I knew Swamiji was the one who would show me the way to God.

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