Throughout the Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda, many references are made to the deathless Avatar, BaBaji. He frees a disciple from death by fire, resurrects a dead devotee, materializes a palace in the Himalayas, as well as appears before his devotees without provocation. The moment you think you have gone as far as you can in the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, a great mystery presents itself and allows the unanswered questions of life to expand. These experiences can only be discovered in a mindset of non duality or Unity Consciousness.
Such a moment happened to me on the way to work one night, twenty years ago. I am thankful I had some time to ponder this unusual occurrence. Let me first say that the Autobiography of a Yogi is one of my favorite books of all time. My mother purchased it the moment it was published in 1946 and bought a copy for all of her spiritualist friends. It wasn't until 1993 during one of the worst illnesses of my life, when I contacted Whooping Cough (Pertussis) from a two-month-old infant who died from it, that I enrolled in the Yogananda Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. A year later I was initiated into Kriya Yoga, the meditation discipline I practice to this day.
BaBaji was the guru of Yogananda's Guru. From the autobiography, "The northern Himalayan crags near Babrinarayar are still blessed by the living presence of BaBaji, guru of Lahiri Mahasaya. The secluded master has retained his physical form for centuries, perhaps even millenniums. The deathless BaBaji is an “avatar.” This Sanskrit word means "descent" – its roots are ava, "down" and tri, "to pass." In the Hindu scriptures, avatara signifies the descent of Divinity into flesh.
BaBaji's spiritual state is beyond human comprehension," Sri Yukteswer explained to Yogananda. "The dwarfed vision of men cannot pierce his transcendental star. One attempts in vain to even picture the avatar's
attainment. It is inconceivable."
Later on in the same chapter, these
words: "Whenever anyone utters with reverence the name of BaBaji," Lahiri Mahasaya said, "that devotee attracts an instant spiritual blessing."
For many years, I did not believe BaBaji would ever take the time to bless me. I figured many others would or could beam the BaBaji vibrations, but I knew I had far too much doubt. So it was, on the way to my twelve hour night-shift Labor and Delivery nursing job, that I continued to ponder BaBaji and his capacity to bless me – he in India and me in Lancaster, PA. Ultimately, I know that these barriers are
insignificant. I thought what the heck, I'll try it.
I was doing a few rounds of Kriya Yoga and thinking of BaBaji with devotion as I was approaching a moderately busy intersection on a Sunday evening. Suddenly, a small sports car going 70 miles per hour ran the stop sign in front of all of us and sailed through with smoke and fire spitting out of his tail pipe looking all the world like a meteor that landed on the corner of Hershey and God knows what Avenue, right before our eyes.
He sailed across to the other side of the street, erratically took a left turn, and smashed into a rock wall – a sturdy rock wall that held up to the impact very well. Then like some sort of Super Hero, the man crawled out of the wreckage and stood there brushing himself off.
I was frightened that another person was in the car, perhaps in need of emergency medical care.
I arrived at the scene first. When I was satisfied
he was alone in the car, I gave him a spirited lecture, making sure I was eye-to-eye with this man who seemed to be in shock from the experience. I said,
"My God, you really have a guardian angel. Do you realize that? I hope you have some appreciation that you are alive and that you didn't kill anyone else going through that intersection!"
Then a man in a suit whom the dude was closest to killing ran over, angry, as if he was about to deck him. I turned to him and said, "Wait a minute! You have a guardian angel, too! You are alive! Have some appreciation that we are all alive!!" The gentleman was disarmed by my comments, and his mood changed. Violence was averted.
At this point, several cars pulled up with friends of the dude. I imagined he was proving something to these people – perhaps he had been racing them when his car went out of control. I did not smell alcohol, but drug involvement was a good possibility. I kept rambling on about Guardian Angels and appreciation and decided it was time for me to go. As I walked to my car, I remembered BaBaji. What a total revelation! Not only did I receive a spiritual blessing the moment I invoked the name of BaBaji – so did everyone else there. All of our lives were spared.
It's been many years since that spectacular moment of other-worldly drama, but now I feel a closeness to BaBaji – like he is omnipresent – as well as in my heart. Before, he was an elusive presence that I could never fathom or equate in any way to my life. Now, BaBaji is a part of every tree as I practice my Hollow Bamboo meditations.
I feel safe and full of inner mirth about the "reality" that everyone agrees on – economic collapse, violence and grim determination – even the end of the world in ten years if we do not end our dependence on foreign oil. (Let us end this dependence as soon as possible, Dear World.)
When I got to the hospital after the BaBaji Blessing, a patient's husband threatened to kill the doctor because he perceived that the doctor was rude to his wife on the phone prior to their arrival. I asked the security guard to accompany me into the exam room and not put the man on the defensive, but "listen" to his perceptions neither agreeing nor disagreeing with what the man had to say.
The man suddenly offered to leave the room while his wife was examined by the dreaded doctor. He was angry one minute, then made a 180 degree turn around, becoming non-threatening in every way.
I believe in the power of other-worldly help. I never believed BaBaji would ever help or bless me; however, since he did, I am even more open to the unseen forces that are always available. I know these forces exist and are ready to be called upon.
Sometimes they show up if we forget to ask – yet the chances for greater clarity are strengthened if we remember. In any event, my ride to work that day was an awakening. I've added a picture of BaBaji to my spiritual alter as a constant reminder of his omnipresence. He is as close to me as the next Kriya Yoga breath.