By Narayan Romano
Sometimes there are moments in life that are just too perfectly ironic that they prove the existence of God.
Such was the case Christmas day during our ravioli lunch. These are not just any ravioli, they are homemade (the recipe is my great grandmother’s, by the way)! After a few years now the ravioli have garnered their own following. People come just for the ravs.
What I love about ravioli is their simplicity. The pasta dough is three ingredients: flour, eggs, and water. The filling is ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, Italian parsley, egg, salt, & pepper. That’s it. It’s like coming before God as a child—simple, pure, fresh cheese.
This year a woman came, not for our Christmas service, but just the ravioli lunch portion. She had ravioli magnetism. A mutual friend of ours introduced her to me he said, “Narayan, can you talk to my friend here? She’s Jewish and believes in God but doesn’t understand the need for a guru.” My jaw almost dropped from inner mirth. I thought, “You’re kidding me, right, Divine Mother?” Here we were celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, one of the avatars of our line of kriya Gurus, who appeared to the great Master, Babaji, from which this work of Self-realization sprang, and she wants to talk about the disciple-guru relationship! I was thinking, “You realize it’s Christmas, right?”
I turned to Dharmadevi for a moment seeing if she would field the question as her mother was Jewish (although Dharmadevi was raised Roman Catholic). Dharmadevi excused herself with ravioli-grace saying, “Well, I’ve got to start boiling the ravioli,” and left me to speak with her.
She started to ask me questions and told me how she didn’t want anyone to come in between her and her relationship with God. “Yes,” I said, “that’s a natural concern we all have because there are true and false prophets. A true Guru will lead you to your highest possible Self–to oneness with God. And on a deeper level God is the Guru. The guru is the transformer that steps down the infinite power of God into a level we’re ready to receive….” We talked about the rain and how God works through instruments like the clouds. If you want to climb a mountain, you seek out help, what to say of the spiritual heights where the consequences of failure are far more severe.
Although we conversed for over 20 minutes, I’m not sure anything I said sunk in. I realized I was meeting her on the level of reason and not from the heart. So I said, “Let’s have some ravioli.”
We began to eat one, two, then three helpings of ravioli. What I noticed was the more ravioli she ate, the more relaxed she became. She experienced the heart of a cheese ravioli. The ravioli spoke more eloquently than any words could.
As Paramhansa Yogananda said, there can be a great restaurant with the finest and tastiest dishes in the world, but if you don’t have the hunger you won’t go to eat there. Devotion is that hunger for God.
She was hungry for ravioli! And she was hungry for truth. Perhaps through our budding friendship she may one day become so hungry for God that she’ll also want a helping of the Guru!