By Nayaswami Dharmadevi
August 6, 2019

Five years ago, a holy woman from India, visited us in Los Angeles. She is a dear friend and a beautiful soul. Her name is Vanamali Devi but everyone calls her Mataji, or revered mother. She stayed in our ashram in Mid-City, LA. We were grateful that she agreed to stay in our bedroom, which was the biggest in the house. We stayed, with Kali, in someone else’s room who was on vacation at the time. 

Kali is our “toy fox terrier” in quotes because she is, I think all who have met her agree, a human in a dog’s body. The first time she saw herself in the mirror, she started growling… but it wasn’t the kind of growl like when she saw another dog. I believe she was a little annoyed at the body she had been given – so small and limited – hardly a vehicle for such a large consciousness!

Back to Mataji – every morning, she would practice puja, worshipping God through a beautiful and sacred ceremony. At the end of the puja, she would give all of those present prasad, literally a religious offering, which in this case consisted of a sliced up piece of banana that had been blessed during the ceremony. 

Narayan and I took turns staying with Kali and making sure she remained quiet, so the other could attend the ceremony with Mataji. The first morning I attended and the second I stayed with Kali. Mataji asked me later why I didn’t attend the morning service and I explained to her where I was and that Kali sometimes barks and can be disruptive. 

Without missing a beat, she said, “Bring Kali tomorrow morning.” So, I did. I wrapped our chubby little black terrier in a white blanket and held her like a swaddled baby as the puja commenced. Not a sound came from Kali the entire time; she was watching every move Mataji made.

At the end of the puja, Mataji very sweetly cut a small piece of banana and gave it to Kali, who lapped it up without hesitation. Never before or after has Kali eaten banana. But this was not a banana, it was holy. 

In our reading this week from Rays of the One Light, the scripture passage from the Bible begins: “Give not that which is holy unto dogs…” The question of holiness lies not in one’s outer appearance but in one’s heart. As the Gita passage that follows clarifies: “Never speak of these truths to one who is without self-control or devotion, who renders no service, who does not care to hear, or who speaks ill of Me.”

There is a tangible feeling when someone is open and receptive to the Truth. Let us listen attentively for that subtle soul call and offer Divine Mother’s blessings to all thirsty hearts.