Electric Embrace

[Listen to Asha read this story]

(Told by an Ananda devotee)

I was a newcomer and had only seen Swamiji in large public gatherings. When I heard he was returning from a trip to Europe and would spend a few days at Ananda’s San Francisco center, I drove four hours to the city to see him.

When I arrived at the ashram, I was disappointed to see that about 40 other people had gotten there before me and it wasn’t possible even to sit near Swamiji. When dinner was served, I was relegated to another room. I felt excluded, alone, and increasingly morose, certain that I’d never be able to penetrate the circle around him.

After dinner, Swamiji was heading out with a small group to see a movie. I was sitting in another room, talking with a friend. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around, and Swamiji was there.

With a deep and earnest gaze, he looked at me for what seemed like a long time. Then he opened his arms and embraced me like an old friend. A surge of electricity passed from him into me. I felt as if my body was on fire, but without the heat. Thought stopped, and I was filled with a profound sense of peace and comfort.

It was in fact just a brief embrace. Then Swamiji stepped back, smiled warmly, doffed his cap, and went on his way without speaking a word to me. For the next fifteen minutes, I was vibrating with energy as the electricity continued to move through me. I felt elevated, buoyant, light as a feather.

I had been feeling so left out, but God had heard my thoughts and sent Swamiji to show me: Don’t be fooled by appearances. We are all equally children of God and equally loved by Him.

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