Still Marveling At How I Got Here
They say, “When one door closes, another one opens.”
All my life, I have been close to my parents and brother. We never missed a Christmas together all through the years, all four of us. Then, at 76, my Dad passed away in 2008. Then, at 81, my Mom passed away in 2013. Near the end, they both said they were ok with going, and were satisfied with their lives. Then Christmas was just me and my brother 2013/2014. Then, in 2015, at 54, my Bro died by surprise at home alone from an unknown health crises. He was my best friend. (Silent pause) I love you, my brother.
In my shock and grief, no doubt the philosophy that I’ve been studying for over 20 years certainly helped me through, but what helped the most was hugs. So, I decided to take a Chriss Pool Tribute Tour and go and visit as many people across the country as I could who knew my brother. I visited family and even high school friends who knew him. I think unconsciously, I just wanted their hugs. I flew to Chicago and then drove east to visit friends and family in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Washington DC. In Pennsylvania, I visited an Indian couple (Vasu and Julu) that I knew from my childhood when they were grad students at Northwestern University and Julu rented a room in our house. Before leaving, after spending the night at their house, Vasu suggested that I visit a place she had been to a few times that I might like, called Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. As I continued my journey, I stopped by there for a quick look-see. It felt very good to me, even though I didn’t know anyone there. Amazingly, Vasu offered to treat me to attend one of their programs, up to a week long. She said she would even get the plane ticket for me. Amazing grace! Months later, I returned to attend three back-to-back programs extending three weeks total. I would have to pay for the 2nd and 3rd weeks, but I felt very attracted. With hopes of reducing my expenses, I had asked the Gurukulam if I could do work-exchange for part of my stay since I was aware that they use a sound system and record both audio and video. Audio/Video work has been my bread and butter for about 15 years. I was told that they already had that covered. Oh well. I decided to bite the bullet and would use a credit card if I had to, but I really wanted to stay all three weeks. They were teaching the exact subject matter that I am most interested in (Vedanta), and to find such qualified teachers of this eastern philosophy is very rare. After the first week, I reminded them of my skills and interest in helping out. To my utter surprise, they told me that the man who was scheduled to handle the AV equipment for the next two weeks had a death in the family, and he needed to fly to California. They were very happy that I had appeared, as if out of nowhere, to run the equipment. When I was leaving, their only question was, “When can you come back?” Now I am here running the equipment for all the programs from May until January!
“When one door closes, another one opens.” Praise God!
QUOTES FROM MY NOTES
Your wealth is not in the things and people of the world. Your welfare is in sharanagati (self-surrender). This is the secret of all secrets. Sharanagati is the supreme means of realizing the Truth. It is the best of all good things. In sharanagati, you connect yourself with the higher power (Ishwara, God).
Ishwara (God) is not realized by doing more and more charity, pilgrimage, austerity, etc. They have their value, but a radical inner transformation has to take place for God-realization. Satsang (company of the wise) can bring this transformation. The company of mahatmas (great souls) increases detachment from things of the world. Meditation at the conducive place and time helps this transformation. Give up other distractions that steal your meditation time.
If you need to express anger, express it to God. Express despondency to God. Don’t express all these troubles to people who cannot help.
Whatever you do, do it as an offering to God. Don’t waste time and energy. Dedicate every little and big act, every second.
You are not any role in particular, nor any sum of various particulars. Realize the Truth. You are Pure Being.
Recorded Classes by the swamis at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam are available online at www.avgsatsang.org
Live Classes are online on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month at www.myarshavidya.org/live (10am-12:30pm Eastern Time)