Who Is My Family?

Apr 18, 2022

by Nayaswami Dharmadevi

Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:48)

I was reminded of this passage from the Bible while at Ananda Village several years ago during Spiritual Renewal Week. One morning at the end of meditation, I heard a melody in my head and the words of Paramhansa Yogananda, paraphrasing Jesus: “Who is my brother, who is my sister, who is my mother, save he who loves God?”

These words kept playing in my mind as a refrain, along with the story of an average man whose life passes by without the search for truth. He knows something is missing in life but can’t understand what. He has a wife, a family, a good job and a roof over his head, and all the world tells him everything is fine.

The song struck such a deep chord within me that I couldn’t speak for a couple of hours. I tried to share the words to the song with Narayan but every attempt ended in uncontrollable tears. Not tears of sorrow but of intense feeling. It was a simple story, set to a sort of country-type melody. I could never stand country music, growing up in the South. Why was it affecting me so strongly?

There I was at Ananda Village with my spiritual family. Hundreds of beautiful God-loving souls who try every day to do the will of our Father who is in heaven. How blessed are we? Just like every other family, we aren’t perfect. But who says that isn’t part of the blessing? If we all talked alike and thought alike how would we learn and grow? And besides, it would get pretty boring!

I still think of that song sometimes and give thanks for my brothers and sisters on the path. I heard someone say recently that she could “do it” by herself and I thought “I’m not so sure we can… but even if we could, why would we?” It’s easy to be disillusioned with human love but witnessing others’ love for the divine is truly inspiring. As Yoganandaji said in one of his chants, “Where is there pure, loving love? Where is there truly loving Thee? There my soul longs to be!”

Thank you to all those who strive to do good in this world. I am grateful for you.

Nayaswami Dharmadevi