Folded Hand

[Listen to Asha read this story]

(Told by Lalita)

I was too shy to introduce myself to Swamiji, so even though I had been a guest at the Ananda retreat for several months, I had never actually spoken to him.

One afternoon he held an open house at Crystal Hermitage. I parked my car in the community so I could walk the one-mile trail through the woods to the Hermitage. I was carrying a shawl and when I came in, I set it down on an empty chair.

A few hours later when the event was over, I went to get it. To my dismay, I found that Swamiji was now sitting on the chair—and on my shawl. I was so nervous, I just tugged at the corner of it and said timidly, “Excuse me, Sir, this is mine.” These were the first words I ever spoke to Swamiji.

Fortunately, someone decided this was a good time to introduce me. Swamiji took my hand, looked straight into my eyes and said, “I am so glad to meet you and I am so happy you are here.” Then he stood up, so I could get my shawl.

I retraced my steps through the woods, and twenty minutes later arrived at my car. When I started to reach into my pocket to get the keys, I became aware of how deeply moved I was by meeting Swamiji. For the entire walk, in fact, from the moment Swamiji let go of my hand, I had been holding the hand he touched folded against my heart.

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