[Listen to Asha read this story]

The minister of the Church of Religious Science in Reno, Nevada, was a friend of Swamiji’s and invited him to address the congregation there. As a guest in someone else’s church, Swamiji was careful not to draw his listeners away from the path they were on, but urged them to follow wholeheartedly the inspiration they felt from within.

There was power in the air that night. Swamiji seemed to be speaking with the voice of the Divine, and the audience sensed it. Afterwards, almost everyone present lined up to greet him.

Usually, at such times, Swamiji is quite informal. He shakes hands with people, laughs and talks with them – often speaking, if it is an international crowd, in several languages. This evening was different. Swamiji didn't say much. He greeted people only with his eyes, standing very still, hands folded in namaskar, which means, “The soul in me bows to the soul in you.”

I stood a little to one side, watching a scene I felt had been repeated many times before. In other bodies, in other lifetimes, these same souls had stood before the spirit that is Swamiji to receive a touch of his consciousness.

For Swamiji, it was an act of pure giving. None of these people would ever be part of Ananda. It was a different spiritual family, but in some way, Swamiji felt a responsibility to inspire them. They were souls seeking the light, and he felt he had to give them what he could.

Darshan means the blessing that comes from the sight of a saint. In India, they say “One moment in the company of a saint will be your raft over the ocean of delusion.” I don’t think many in that audience knew the word darshan, and probably none had heard that Indian saying, but they all seemed to know that something out of the ordinary was happening, as they waited patiently and reverently for the moment when they could stand in front of Swamiji.

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