By Nayaswami Dharmadevi
July 30, 2019
Over six years ago, my earthly mother was given two weeks to live. She had just been diagnosed with stage four primary peritoneal cancer that had spread throughout her abdominal organs.
I went to stay with her during and after a major exploratory surgery. During that time, I wrote to Swami Kriyananda many times – asking for prayers for my mom – not that she be healed physically, but that she feel God’s presence more and more palpably in her life.
After surgery and after she was released from the hospital, I was her primary caregiver. She had a massive wound that had opened up after the surgery that I cleaned and dressed twice daily. I had no experience with wound care or anything related to first aid. In fact, I considered myself, at the time, fairly squeamish. I helped her eat, bathe, and find a comfortable position in bed in the middle of the night. For the first time in my life I knew what it must be like to be a mother. I woke up any time she made a sound. I was “on” around the clock.
I emailed Swamiji about my experience and how I could understand what mothers must feel like. He responded saying, “Your letter gave me new insight into what it means to be a mother. And you’re right!” I don’t think I actually gave Swamiji any new insight but I believe he was pointing out to me that this was an important lesson, not to be forgotten.
The compassion I felt for my mom and empathizing with what she must be going through kept me strong. Any time I thought about myself and how tired I was from lack of sleep or how emotionally exhausted I was from watching a loved one suffer, I was inevitably completely drained.
Now, as I’ve grown in my understanding and acceptance of the role God, through Swamiji, has put me in, in Los Angeles, I can begin to feel everyone in our community here as my child. Not in a way of knowing more or having any more awareness than anyone but by caring for and unconditionally loving each one individually as a spark of our Heavenly Father.
I was thinking about how fond I am of a particular person in our community and then the thought came, “I love them all the same as Divine Mother loves us all the same.” This is not a normal experience for me! It is a blessing from Divine Mother. She is helping me to expand my sympathies beyond my earthly family, beyond my friends, beyond those whose personalities are pleasing to me. I am noticing that as my sympathies expand, I have more energy at my disposal. I feel recharged being with people rather than drained.
When someone asked Swami Kriyananda how she could get out of the pit of despair she was in, he responded, “Serve more!”
There was a disciple at Mount Washington who Paramhansa Yogananda told she was working too hard. As she attempted to clear her plate from some of her daily duties, he continually added more to her workload. Each day she tried to do less, he gave her more and followed it up by saying, “You’re working too hard!” Finally, she got the message, that it was the way in which she was working that was the problem. She shifted her consciousness from working hard to serving.
As we serve others as extensions of our own selves, we expand into Divine Mother’s Love and in turn we tap into Her Divine Energy. I pray to be able to expand into Her love for all creatures, and I pray that during these worldly challenges we are all facing – a time of incredible darkness and disharmony – that all truth-seekers be a light to others.