Travel Plans

from Turiya

I had already vowed to myself, “If Swami Kriyananda ever tells me to do something, I will do it. No matter what.”

So when he said, “I would like it very much if you would visit me in India,” I didn’t hesitate. “Yes, Sir. I will come.” I gave my word to Swamiji, but through him I felt I was giving my word to God.

I was struggling to maintain myself financially as a yoga and meditation teacher. Many times I could barely make the rent on our small center. I could have earned money in other ways, but teaching was my dharma—my calling from God. I didn’t think it would work out to break one promise to God in order to keep another.

Plans for the trip expanded, and pretty soon it was a group pilgrimage from our center with me as the leader. I still didn’t have the money, but the trip was months away. There seemed plenty of time to work things out.

One woman signed up to go and said she also wanted to pay for someone else who couldn’t afford it. She asked me to make the arrangements. I asked around, but surprisingly, no one seemed to feel that money was the only obstacle to going. I told the friend who was organizing the trip about the offer, but he didn’t have anyone to suggest either. I refused to use my position to take the money for myself.

Those were very difficult months. Money was scarcer than ever. There were some tough interactions with people. I was at the end of teaching a twenty-eight-week course. The man organizing the pilgrimage kept pressing me for the deposit. Soon, he said, he would have to give my place to someone else. I had given Swamiji my word, but I didn’t know how I would keep it.

I live in Southern California, and Master’s body is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale. In times of need, I seek shelter at his crypt.

On the way I passed a seedy-looking auto parts store. I had the feeling I needed to go in there, but why? I couldn’t think of a reason, so I drove on. I spent hours chanting and meditating at the crypt. At the end I felt reassured, but I still didn’t know how anything would resolve.

This time, passing the auto parts store, I heeded the inner prompting and pulled into the parking lot. Maybe I’ll just use the bathroom. The girl at the counter directed me to a grubby room at the back. The walls were covered with the crudest kind of graffiti. Suddenly, right at eye level, I saw something no larger than the message in a fortune cookie: “Be steadfast in the work of the Lord and know your labor is not in vain.”

I began to cry. “He knows. He knows. No matter what happens, I won’t give up.”

Later I found the full verse, 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

After class that night, the woman who wanted to sponsor someone for the India trip handed me an envelope with $3,100 inside, the full cost of the pilgrimage. “For you,” she said. “Not from me. It’s from Master. He told me to give it to you. Take it, and don’t ever talk to me about it again.”