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More Manifestation Miracles: From New Balance to Asics – Ron’s Memoirs

How can the divine Oneness be seen?
In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles?
The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.
If you are willing to be lived by it, you will
 see it everywhere,
even in the most ordinary things.

~ Lao Tzu





Introduction

In prior posts I have told how after my spiritual awakening my life became filled with ever more amazing synchronicities, some of which I called “manifestation miracles”. (See http://sillysutras.com/synchronistic-manifestation-miracles-rons-memoirs/ ) Sometimes manifestation synchronicities respecting particular things – like plants – have happened to me recurrently. Here is a story of how the universe repeatedly provided comfortable running shoes for me when I needed them.

Synchronicity Story

On living alone after divorce, I began jogging almost every morning before walking to work. So I started wearing running shoes for the first time. After trying on many different shoe brands, I discovered that New Balance (which were then sold in narrow widths) fit me best. Thereafter, for many years I only bought narrow New Balance running shoes.

But gradually my feet widened and expanded with age. And in 1988, my jogging days were ended when my left leg, knee and ankle were injured in an auto accident. But I kept walking regularly and continued wearing New Balance running shoes to absorb impact of walking on hard surfaces.

After the accident my lower left leg and foot often became swollen. The New Balance shoes then sometimes felt tight around the ankle area, but from habit I continued wearing them without exploring other brands. And I wore different New Balance shoes on different days, with colors matching my clothes.

About seven years ago, I was contemplating replacement of a very worn pair of blue running shoes. But for the first time, I didn’t have to buy needed new shoes.

One afternoon, as I was taking my regular walk toward the San Francisco Marina and Golden Gate, I noticed a pair of almost new blue running shoes on a Marina park bench. (*See footnote) I walked past the shoes without examining them, assuming that they had been placed there for a few minutes by someone who was about to emerge from a boat moored at the adjoining Marina.

But on returning from the Golden Gate Bridge over an hour later, I saw the same blue shoes still on the park bench. After momentarily walking past them, I went over to the bench and examined them with curiosity. They were barely worn Asics shoes, a brand with which I was then unfamiliar.

I looked into the shoes and saw that they were a size larger than I had ever before worn. So I didn’t think they would fit me. But then I placed them beside the shoes I was wearing, and they appeared to be about the same length.

Then, I sat on the bench, tried them on, and found them quite comfortable – even more comfortable around my swollen left ankle than my New Balance shoes. So, I took them home and began wearing them regularly, though I had never before worn a pair of previously owned shoes.

They were much more comfortable than the worn out blue New Balance shoes which they replaced. And the more I wore them, the more I liked them. I liked them so much that I continued obliviously using them for many years, long after their soles were completely worn and uneven.

Then two years ago, I told the story of how the universe had manifested those shoes to Rob Tobias, a singer/songwriter musician and videographer, who is making a documentary film about me called “Walks With Ron”. When I showed him the Asics shoes, Rob expressed amazement that I was still wearing them in such a worn-out condition. Tactfully, he suggested I should replace them. And I realized that he was right; that I needed to buy a new pair of blue running shoes.

But before I looked for a new pair of blue shoes, the universe provided them.

Very soon after Rob Tobias advised me to replace my over-worn Asics, I was returning from an afternoon walk to the SF Municipal Pier when I saw a pair of blue running shoes, which apparently someone had disposed of at a curb-side near my apartment. I picked them up, saw that they were in very good condition, and that miraculously they were Asics, and exactly the same size as the comfortable blue Asics I had found years ago which now needed replacement.

So, I put them in a plastic bag and carried them home. Of course, they proved quite comfortable and I began wearing them regularly. I have so far logged in many miles in those shoes, and am still contentedly using them.

About a year after the universe provided that second pair of blue Asics shoes, I needed a new pair of neutral colored running shoes to wear with brown shade clothes. For many years, I had been wearing a neutral colored New Balance pair with soles that had become completely worn out.

So, I went to a nearby store looking for new neutral colored shoes – either New Balance or Asics. But I didn’t find anything that I liked. I left the store planning to look elsewhere. But soon that became unnecessary.

For the third time the universe presented me with exactly the shoes I was looking for.

Within two weeks, on a ledge near my apartment building, I found an almost brand new pair of neutral colored running shoes. Again they were perfectly comfortable. And again they were Asics – a third Asics “manifestation miracle”. I regularly wear them with pleasure, when not wearing my blue Asics.

Conclusion

I confess that, while I haven’t become blasé about these miracles, I am no longer so surprised when they happen. But, with utmost gratitude, I accept them as signs and reminders that I am living a very lucky and blessed life, and becoming ever more harmonious with Nature and ‘in-sync’ with the unseen implicate order of the universe.

Footnote

*The shoes were located very near the same place where I later fortuitously discovered (in a dumpster) a rare video showing my 1982 trip to India. See http://sillysutras.com/synchronicity-story-miraculously-manifesting-memories-of-a-spiritual-pilgrimage-to-india-and-nepal/


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Why The Choir Was Late ~ an Amazing Synchronicity Story

“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.”
~ James 1:17
All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.
~ Buddha
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
“As I look back upon my own life, I see how many events – which at the time appeared horribly painful or unnecessary – contained remarkable lessons which I sometimes did not understand until many years later. Now life appears to me – more and more – as a gorgeous Persian rug. Seen from underneath (that is, from the ordinary human viewpoint), it may be a mess of loose strands, knots, pieces of wool hanging in a disorderly manner; but seen from above – from another level of perspective – what perfect order, harmony and beauty!”
~ Pierre Pradervand

When the West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska, was demolished by an explosion on Wednesday, March 1, 1950, fifteen people were supposed to be there. But miraculously the church was empty and no one was injured.

Choir practice at the church always began punctually at 7:20 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. Choir members were usually prompt and ready to sing by 7:25 p.m. But at 7:25 p.m., when the explosion occurred, nobody was there.

The blast collapsed the church, caused power outages which forced a nearby radio station off the air, shattered windows in surrounding homes and could be heard around the town.

Miraculously not one of the people who should have been present had yet arrived when the building collapsed. Every one of the choir’s fifteen members escaped injury, saved by an astonishing fortuitious “coincidence”. For different apparent reasons, all were late for practice that night.

Though amazing, this story actually did happen. See e.g. Snopes. Also see Beatrice Daily Sun article commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the explosion entitled: “Church explosion 60 years ago not forgotten – Remember the miracle”

Embedded below is an excellent and accurate video portrayal of the story. Watch it after reading the story.

The following article telling the story originally appeared in the March 27, 1950 issue of Life Magazine, was reprinted in the June 1950 issue of Reader’s Digest, and in the 1951 30th Anniversary Reader’s Digest Reader. And it was republished in 1991 by Time-Life Books in World of Luck: Library of Curious and Unusual Facts.

WHY THE CHOIR WAS LATE by George H. Edeal

It happened on the evening of March 1 in the town of Beatrice, Nebraska. In the afternoon the Reverend Walter Klempel had gone to the West Side Baptist Church to get things ready for choir practice. He lit the furnace – most of the singers were in the habit of arriving around 7:15, and it was chilly in the church – and went home to dinner. But at 7:10, when it was time for him to go back to the church with his wife and daughter, Marilyn Ruth, it turned out that Marilyn Ruth’s dress was soiled, so Mrs. Klempel ironed another. Thus they were still at home when it happened.

Ladona Vandegrift, a high school sophomore, was having trouble with a geometry problem. She knew practice began promptly and always came early. But she stayed to finish the problem.

Royena Estes was ready, but the car would not start. So she and her sister, Sadie, called Ladona Vandegrift, and asked her to pick them up. But Ladona was the girl with the geometry problem, and the Estes sisters had to wait.

Mrs. Leonard Schuster would ordinarily have arrived at 7:20 with her small daughter, Susan. But on this particular evening she had to go to her mother’s house to help her get ready for a missionary meeting.

Herbert Kipf, lathe operator, would have been ahead of time but had put off an important letter. “I can’t think why,” he said. He lingered over it and was late.

It was a cold evening. Stenographer Joyce Black, feeling “just plain lazy,” stayed in her warm house until the last possible moment. She was almost ready to leave.

Because his wife was away, machinist Harvey Ahl was taking care of his two boys. He was going to take them to practice with him, but somehow he got wound up talking. When he looked at his watch, he saw he was already late.

Marilyn Paul, the pianist, had planned to arrive half an hour early. However, she fell asleep after dinner, and when her mother awakened her at 7:15 she had time only to tidy up and start out.

Mrs. F.E. Paul, choir director, and mother of the pianist, was late simply because her daughter was. She had tried unsuccessfully to awaken the girl earlier.

High school girls Lucille Jones and Dorothy Wood are neighbors and customarily go to practice together. Lucille was listening to a 7-to-7:30 radio program and broke her habit of promptness because she wanted to hear the end. Dorothy waited for her.

At 7:25, with a roar heard in almost every corner of Beatrice, the West Side Baptist Church blew up. The walls fell outward, the heavy wooden roof crashed straight down like the weight in a deadfall. But, because of such matters as a soiled dress, a cat nap, an unfinished letter, a geometry problem and a stalled car, all of the members of the choir were late – something which had never happened before.

Firemen thought the explosion had been caused by natural gas, which may have leaked into the church from a broken pipe outside and been ignited by the fire in the furnace. The Beatrice choir members had no particular theory about the fire’s cause, but each of them began to reflect on the heretofore inconsequential details of his life, wondering at exactly what point it is that one can say, “This is an act of God.”

Unsolved Mysteries – Lucky Choir

https://youtu.be/VX-a-ptvJsY



Conclusion

After reading the story and watching the video, consider how such an amazing synchronistic event might have happened.

Though various choir members gave various explanations for being late for choir practice that night, was there an underlying common Cause for all of them fortuitously missing death or injury in the church explosion?

Were all of the choir members subliminally guided from a deep level of higher consciousness – a level at which everyone and everything is connected?

Were they unconsciously entrained with and guided by what Einstein calls “Universal Intelligence”?

Was it predestined that all of them would live unharmed; that none would die?

We can only speculate on answers to these questions, or on other possible explanations. But whatever our views, such marvels and blessings can infuse us with awe and gratitude for our miraculous life in this wondrous world
and with abiding faith in the eternal mystery of Divine Love –
its Source.

And so may it be!

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A Reindeer Gift Synchronicity Story ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Ask and it shall be given;
Seek and ye shall find.
~ Matthew 7:7; Luke 11.9-13
“A yogi, seated in solitude and alone,
should constantly try to contemplate on the Supreme Being
after bringing the mind and senses under control,
and becoming free from desires and proprietorship.
One should sit on his or her own firm seat that is neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred Kush grass, a deerskin, and a cloth, one over the other, in a clean spot.
Sitting there (in a comfortable position) and concentrating the mind on God, controlling the thoughts and the activities of the senses,
one should practice meditation for self-purification.”
~ The Bhagavad-Gita – 6:10-12, Krishna to Arjuna


Ron Near Sofa Altar

Ron Near Sofa Altar



Introduction

My life has become filled with frequent ‘miraculous’ synchronistic “Manifestation Miracles” – noteworthy manifestations of desired circumstances or artifacts without my consciously willing them. Mostly I’ve been given what I wished. But sometimes the universe sent something else, which proved better than what I thought I wanted.

Here is a story about a synchronistic ‘miraculous’ gift from the Lone Arranger that proved more useful than what I thought I was seeking.

A Reindeer Gift For Peaceful Meditations

Before my midlife spiritual awakening, I didn’t intentionally meditate and was unaware of the crucial importance of a stilled mind. Thereafter, until meeting Guruji – my spiritual master, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas – I sometimes experienced spontaneous meditative states with unprecedented inner experiences. But only after meeting Guruji did I begin regular meditation practice and learn of the spiritually supreme importance of a quiet mind.

Guruji gave us various Sanskrit spiritual practices, but his most important message was to “meditate regularly”. And inspired by Guruji I was strongly motivated to meditate.

Guruji taught that our meditations would be aided by sitting in firm but relaxed postures in places conducive to peacefulness. Also, at a meditation retreat Guruji revealed that if we sat on a deerskin its tranquil vibrations would help our meditations.

At first, I tried to follow Guruji’s meditation advice by sitting and praying in quiet places with relaxed straight spine posture. But I didn’t look for a deerskin on which to meditate.

Although Guruji and Krishna (in the The Bhagavad-Gita) recommended meditating on deerskins, I was reluctant to follow that advice. I’d always loved deer as beautiful, graceful, and peaceful creatures, not needed as a food source or as hunters’ trophies. So I questioned hunting and killing such innocent animals as a sport, or for commercial exploitation, rather than only for necessary sustenance. *(see footnote)

In 1980, my apartment was the last place Guruji stayed before returning to India. Following his departure, I had an amazing experience of Guruji’s shakti energy while carrying his mattress to a van in my garage. Thereupon, I realized that my living room sofa where Guruji had sat had been transformed to become a holy relic imbued with his spiritual energy. So I made it into an altar, where for over thirty years I worshiped, prayed, cried and meditated, and experienced Guruji’s holy energy still emanating from it. ( see http://sillysutras.com/experiencing-unforgettable-divine-shakti-rons-memoirs/)

After I set up the altar my friend Kusuma gave me a small meditation rug with artistic drawings of deer on it. So instead of sitting on a deerskin asana (sitting place) in front of the sofa-altar, I sat there on that rug with images of deer. And rather than receiving ‘spiritual tail-wind’ from subtle deer vibrations, I received it from the sofa which was infused with Guruji’s shakti.

But, with mixed emotions, I kept wondering if my meditation experience could be enhanced by a real deerskin asana as suggested by Guruji. By this time I had stopped eating all animal flesh and was reluctant to use clothing and other products fabricated from any animals. For example, whenever feasible I wore non-leather shoes.

Yet, because of Guruji’s recommendation, I finally decided to seek a from a taxidermist a small deerskin on which sit in meditation. But I didn’t know how to find taxidermists. It was then long before the computer-Google-Amazon era, and no taxidermists were then listed in the San Francisco telephone directory. So I obtained a regional business telephone directory, in which I found a few California taxidermist listings.

After a couple of unsuccessful phone inquiries, I called a woman taxidermist near Yosemite national park, who pleasantly answered the phone. I explained that I wanted to buy from her a small piece of deer-hide to use for meditation.

She told me she had no deer-hide and did not foresee obtaining any soon. But then – almost as an afterthought – she told me that she had two caribou pelts which she could not use and asked if I would be interested in one of them.

At first, confused about caribou, I asked her to describe the pelts. Her response reminded me that caribou are “reindeer”, like Santa’s legendary helpers; that they are part of the same ruminant mammal family that includes deer, but with longer fur. After listening to a description of the pelts, I intuited that I might be able to use one, and asked what she’d charge. Surprisingly, she said she be happy to give it to me without charge, and she promptly offered to mail it to me if I wanted it. So I gave her my address, but insisted on at least paying her shipping costs. But she graciously declined.

A few days later, the postman delivered a bulky parcel containing a beautiful caribou pelt. But it was much bigger than I had imagined and was so irregularly shaped that it clearly was inappropriate for placement in front of my altar. With guilty conscience for accepting a gift I couldn’t use, I wondered what to do with the caribou pelt – whether I should return it to the generous taxidermist. But she had told me she had no use for it and was happy to dispose of it.

Then suddenly – Eureka! – I had a flash of insight that the reindeer pelt might be draped over an upholstered lounge chair opposite the sofa-altar. And it worked. The pelt fit perfectly and looked great on the chair! And it was so peacefully comfortable to sit on!

Thereafter, for about twenty five years, I spent countless blissed-out hours sitting on that transformed reindeer chair, when not in vajrasana pose at my altar. Only after the peace-giving reindeer pelt was disintegrating from sunlight did I reluctantly dispose of it, with great gratitude for the many blessings it had brought.

Moral of this reindeer synchronicity story

For evolution, we synchronistically get what we need when we need it, whether or not we know it or think we want it.

Such synchronicities can infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet. They show that we’re in the flow; that we are in harmony with Nature. And the more we are in harmony with the universe, the more blessings we receive.


Footnote

*To me, the senseless slaughter to near extinction of many precious species like buffalo and wolves has been brutally insane and emblematic of unsustainable alienation from Nature of many non-indigenous North Americans. So I didn’t want to indirectly participate in such senseless killings.


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A Stash of Cash For Y2K – a “Manifestation Miracle” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”

~ Walt Whitman
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire




Before January 1, 2000, [the year “Y2K”] there was much societal fear in technically advanced countries about a possible planetary systemic break-down of crucial infrastructure institutions because of computer software bugs which would not facilitate or permit automatic transition to the new year and the new twenty first century.

As Y2K approached, I was then in a period semi-solitude with no computer, TV, or daily paper. So, I was largely insulated from exposure to mass media hysteria.

But, in conversations with friends, I learned enough about the technical facts to become a bit concerned. And, in case dire predictions of systemic failures proved prescient, my conservative lawyer attitude suggested that prudence required me to keep some cash at home.

So as our transition to the twenty first century became ever more imminent, I was thinking about withdrawing some cash from my neighborhood bank. But that trip to the bank proved unnecessary.

Here’s what happened:

One sunny afternoon, after praying and meditating that morning, I began my daily walk by the water in an elevated state of consciousness. As I was walking on a path beside the Bay toward Crissy Field beach, I noticed a small brown paper bag on the sidewalk near a waste disposal container. After walking just past the bag, I intuited that I should pick it up and put it into the trash receptacle. So I turned around, and picked it up.

Feeling something in the bag, I opened it before trashing it. To my amazement, I found ten new one hundred dollar bills in a small envelope, without any identification of the person who had put them there. They became my Y2K stash of cash.

Thus, the universe had provided my Y2K stash of cash with an amazing synchronistic “manifestation miracle”.

Thereafter, despite dire warnings, the new century dawned without great technological turmoil, and the stash of cash proved unnecessary. But it’s amazing synchronistic appearance enhanced my ever abiding faith in the benevolence of the universe. If you had asked me (as Einstein allegedly asked) “Is the universe friendly”, my emphatic answer would have been and still is, “Yes!”

So on New Year’s Day, 2000, I resolved to share my spiritual faith and optimism with others. And I wrote this poem:

MILLENNIAL OUTING
[January 1, 2000]

2000 years ago
Master Jesus counseled us
to pray in our closets alone.

But today we feel
a millennial urge
to emerge,

And to live
and share
our prayer
everywhere.

So, we’re coming out
of our spiritual closets,

Together,
to bless all life,

NOW
and evermore!


Epilogue.

My Y2K stash of cash had quickly manifested following thoughts about it. But only after many more years had elapsed did my millennial “outing” vow ultimately come to pass. And that happened only after the universe had synchronistically re-encouraged my prior determination to emerge from semi-seclusion.

In September, 2009, I received an inspiring astrological reading from Visionary Activist astrologer, Caroline Casey, who I much appreciate. Caroline intuitively and persuasively encouraged me to emerge at long last from my spiritual closet and to share my writings with the world.

Thereupon, with this encouragement from Caroline Casey, I began arrangements and preparations for starting SillySutras.com. The website was launched on May 22, 2010, with my heartfelt gratitude for our ‘friendly’ universe, and with deep aspiration to help bless all Life everywhere therein.

And so may it be!

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A Sunday Synchronicity Story

“We get what we need when we need it.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
~ Matthew 6:26
See how the lilies of the field grow.
They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that
not even Solomon in all his splendor
was dressed like one of these.
~ Matthew 6:28-29
But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that
the hand of the LORD has done this?
~ Job 12:7-9




On a sunny Sunday morning, I awakened to a gorgeous and warm November day. After showering and watering my plants, I dressed and happily walked to the Fort Mason farmers market. After chatting with farmer sellers and shoppers, and filling my cloth shopping bag with some delicious organic veggies, I was ready to return home. But it was just too lovely not to be outdoors.

So I decided to walk out to the end of the San Francisco Municipal Pier, one of my favorite walking destinations. Usually I hike there in the afternoons after eating brunch, my first meal. But daylight savings time had ended and afternoons had been getting cloudy and cool at my usual walking time. So I decided to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and walk to the pier before eating.

To get from the farmers market onto the path to the pier, I needed to climb up a very steep concrete stairway, perhaps the equivalent of four or five apartment building stories. Gratefully I climbed the stairs with alacrity and walked out onto the pier carrying my bag of veggies, happily chatting with strangers along the way. But as I started going home my body began ‘running out of steam’, since it hadn’t been refueled since Saturday night and wasn’t accustomed to walking before eating.

I decided that I needed to rest somewhere before walking home. So I took a ‘detour’ route into Fort Mason where I planned to sit on a sunny bench in the community garden there. But the detour route required me to climb another steep bank of concrete stairs about as high as the others I’d ascended.

By the time I approached the garden, I was a bit ‘pooped’ and ready to rest for a while to recharge my body’s batteries. Just as I reached the garden gate, I was greeted with a smile by a very friendly lady who was about to leave, and asked: “How are you today?” I told her I had just climbed some steep stairs and needed to rest on the garden bench before walking home.

Whereupon, to my amazement, she asked “would you like me to give you a ride home?” I felt reluctant to impose on her generosity if she would have to drive out of her way to take me home. So I asked where she’d been planning to drive before meeting me at the gate. She said “I’m your neighbor Jan Monaghan, and I’m going to same building where we both live.” Only then, to my embarrassment, did I recognize her. She was wearing sun glasses and a cap, and never before in the twenty five years that we’ve been neighbors had I ever seen her away from our apartment building.

I then promptly accepted Jan’s offer, got into her Honda and was quickly taken home with my bag of fresh veggies. Jan drove right into the garage. So I got out of her car, into the elevator, and rode up to my high-rise hermitage without any further exertion or enervation.

And I ate my late lunch, with ever growing gratitude for this miraculous life and its wondrous blessings.

Moral of the story:

Synchronicities can infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet, and remind us that we are part of Nature, interdependent with all Life everywhere.

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Synchronicity Story: Miraculously Manifesting Memories of a Spiritual Pilgrimage to India and Nepal

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
~ Albert Einstein


Ron Meditating On Ganges With Sant Keshadavadas, 1982


As explained in other posts, during a traumatic 1976 divorce, I experienced a transformative mid-life spiritual awakening.  Two years later, I met a 100 year old Hindu guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and evolved from being a secular Hebrew, to becoming a “born-again Hindu”. Then gradually I developed ever increasing interest and curiosity about Indian spirituality and culture. After a few years, the “universe” presented me with an ideal opportunity to satisfy that curiosity.

In 1981, soon after my beloved Guruji, Dhyanyogi, had returned to India, I met Sant Keshadavadas, a devotional Indian spiritual teacher known as a singing saint. Especially in the absence of Guruji, I appreciated Sant Keshadavadas’ loving demeanor, singing, stories and teachings. So I frequently attended programs at his Oakland, California “Temple of Cosmic Religion”. Thereafter, on learning that Sant Keshadavadas would be conducting a spiritual tour of Indian holy places, I wanted to join that tour.

So after obtaining Guruji’s approval, in January and February 1982, I journeyed with Sant Keshadavadas on a wonderful spiritual pilgrimage to Japan, India and Nepal. That guided tour was, and remains for me, the most important trip of my lifetime.

Never before had I been in a land with such a palpably spiritual ambiance as I experienced everywhere in India. Our tour group crossed the length and breadth of that vast country (mostly by airplane and local buses) visiting many spiritual shrines and meeting saintly beings, like Mother Teresa and Satya Sai Baba. And I had numerous wondrous experiences. (In other chapters I have recounted some of those experiences.)


Ron with Mother Teresa, Calcutta, 1982

Sai Baba blessing Ron, Bangalore, 1982



Ten years after that trip, in 1992 I retired from law practice and returned to India to pay my respects to Guruji, who at age 114 requested that I write and publish my spiritual memoirs. Though initially bewildered by this request, I knew that such memoirs needed to describe experiences during my 1982 ‘trip of a lifetime’. But I hadn’t kept a diary during that pilgrimage trip, and had to rely mostly on memory to tell about it.


Thereafter, many years passed during which I lived in introspective semi-seclusion, without a TV, computer, newspaper, or radio news of the “real world”, meditating, praying, seeking answers to ultimate questions, and “enlightenment”. During these years I did not yet feel ready to honor Guruji’s request that I write and publish my spiritual memoirs. But I was always mindful of the importance of fulfilling his wishes.

A few years ago, while thinking about Guruji’s request, I discussed it with two long-time spiritual friends. I told them that as I was delaying in writing and publishing my spiritual memoirs they were being edited by time, as my memories waned. And I expressed concern about whether I could remember sufficient details of the 1982 pilgrimage to India, suggesting that my friends might be able to help me remember stories I had previously shared with them.

Thereafter, within a couple of weeks, the universe produced an amazing synchronicity – a “manifestation miracle” which re-kindled memories of that momentous trip.

Here is what happened:

One afternoon while walking to the Marina Green adjoining San Francisco Bay I intended picking some dandelion and fennel leaves for my salad. But as I passed across the street from the Marina Safeway supermarket, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring a plastic bag in which to carry my ‘harvest’. After momentarily considering a detour into the Safeway, I decided instead to keep my eyes peeled for stray bags which then commonly could be seen then blowing around in the public park area where I was walking.

Soon I saw at a distance on the sidewalk ahead of me a white plastic bag, and presumed that it was just what I needed. But as I approached it, I saw that it was far too large for my purposes. So, rather than leaving it cluttering the sidewalk where it might be blown into the water, I decided to put the plastic bag into a nearby waste dumpster.

I picked up the bag, walked a few a yards to the dumpster, and opened the dumpster lid prepared to discard the bag. But I was diverted by a surprising sight. Clearly visible, at the very top of the refuse pile in the dumpster, were about a dozen commercial VHS video tapes, which I began to examine with curiosity.

As I looked at the video titles, I saw that they all seemed to relate to spiritual subjects that interested me, like yoga. Though never before a ‘dumpster diver’, I decided that I’d like to take all those videos home and check them out.

Thereupon, I wondered momentarily how I might carry them, forgetting the large plastic bag that had led me to the dumpster. Then, remembering that bag, I laughed as I realized that the universe had not only led me to the videos, but had provided me a bag perfectly sized to carry them home. So I put them in that bag, which when loaded became quite heavy.

So, unable to continue walking as planned, I returned home with the heavy bag of videos but without dandelion or fennel for my salad. At home I discovered that the universe had just produced perhaps the most extraordinary “manifestation miracle” of my life.

On examining the videos, I found one titled “Call of the Flute – Spiritual Journey To India And Nepal”*. To my delight and amazement, I discovered that it was all about my 1982 pilgrimage to India with Sant Keshavadas.

And then I remembered that a team of professional videographers, led by a devotee of Sant Keshavadas, David Karp, had accompanied our tour group. Apparently afterwards they had produced and distributed this one hour documentary video for display on some non-network and cable television outlets. I had never acquired a copy of the video, and don’t recall ever before seeing it.

Yet somehow, over twenty years later, a copy of that video had synchronistically manifested for me in a Marina garbage dumpster which I unexpectedly visited at a rare time when the video was visible at the top of the garbage pile.

And on viewing the video I found that it included numerous scenes which had been filmed when I was present, thus serendipitously rekindling memories of that momentous trip, and fulfilling my recently expressed desire for such reminders.

Who can explain such synchronicity “miracles”? Nonetheless, despite their mysterious origins, such synchronicities can fill us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our miraculous life on this precious planet, and remind us that we are part of Nature, connected and interdependent with all Life everywhere.

Einstein once observed that: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” As I have been ever more blessed by such noteworthy and amazing “coincidences”, they ever more inspire and infuse me with heartfelt gratitude for the grace of this lucky life, and for the omnipresent but ‘anonymous’ Divine Source – The Lone Arranger – of all appearances therein.

*Videographer David Karp has generously permitted me to share with you on You Tube this documentary video, which so miraculously manifested for me just when I was trying to recall details of our 1982 pilgrimage to India and Nepal.



“Call of the Flute – Spiritual Journey To India And Nepal”




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A Magical Sea Gull Friendship ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society
that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein




After living alone for over thirty years, I cannot remember any recent time when I’ve felt lonely or bored.  Though I very much enjoy and require regular interactions with people, animals and nature, I’m invariably happy and savor solitude whenever I am alone at home.

However, soon after my 1976 divorce there were many times when I felt quite lonely and craved adult companionship and social contact – especially on weekends when I was alone and not working.

Gradually, such feelings of loneliness faded away and finally disappeared. And I preferred being alone – while in my apartment and while regularly jogging or walking along the Bay or in nature places, like the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Moreover, with continuing spiritual practices and amazing synchronicities, more and more I experienced a subtle connection with everyone and everything, and realized that at a subtle level I was never really alone.

The last time I recall feeling rather lonely in my apartment was just after my beloved Guruji – Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas – returned to India in 1981.   Until his departure, he and his entourage had been living with me for several weeks.

He was then constantly attended by several people who also slept in my apartment. And many others came every day as helpers and visitors.

Never before or since then has my apartment been the scene of so much activity, with so many people. Never before or since then has my apartment had such a palpably powerful and magnetic spiritual ambience.

Then after Guruji’s departure, in abrupt contrast to the period of his visit, I was suddenly living all alone again without any human company, and without Guruji’s extraordinary shakti energetic presence.

So, at first, I felt somewhat lonely – especially missing Guruji’s powerful presence. But, soon thereafter, I had an amazing synchronistic experience which assuaged my loneliness feelings, and which reminded me that I’m never really alone.

Here is what happened:

One lovely weekend morning, I arose from an extended period of prayer and meditation in my living room, unknowingly in an elevated and abstracted state of awareness. It was a beautiful sunny day, without any fog obscuring my panoramic view of the Golden Gate and the Bay.

Then, looking far westward toward the Golden Gate bridge I saw glimmering in the sunlight a distant lone white sea gull gracefully flying and hovering in the wind currents.

While gazing at that delightful scene in a ‘spaced out’ state and uninhibited by my usual limiting beliefs about “reality”, I silently and spontaneously asked the sea gull:

“Oh beautiful bird, won’t you please come here and visit me?”

And almost immediately the sea gull obliged.

It banked, turned and flew from far away directly toward me until it landed and perched on the West deck railing of my apartment, just a few feet away from where I was beholding it through a floor to ceiling living room window.

The sea gull and I gazed at each other for a few moments. Then I silently asked:

“Dear sea gull, please let me feed you; please fly to that North window that opens, so I can give you some food.”

And again the bird obliged.

It flew about thirty feet from the West railing where it was perched in front of me, to a concrete ledge, just outside the only ventilation window on the North side of my living room. Then, I walked near the sea gull’s new resting place, and already having established communication, I again silently asked it:

“Now, dear sea gull, will you please wait there until I can find some food and feed you?”

And again the bird obliged. It remained on that ledge until I found some bread and seeds, opened the North window, and fed it. Finally, after eating, the bird flew away. But that didn’t end our magical new relationship.

Not only did my new sea gull friend later return for a few more feedings, but for several months it often ‘reciprocated’ my kindness by treating me to extraordinary aerobatic displays.

Just as captive dolphins or other marine mammals might constantly swim round and round in their confining pool or tank, my sea gull friend often visited me by flying round and round a large open space between the front of my twelfth floor apartment (on the north side of my high-rise apartment building) and a row of five high-rise buildings half a block away on Vallejo street.

All of these extraordinary sea gull visitations happened when I was alone in my apartment, except one. On one occasion the bird appeared when I had a visitor from out of town, my friend Steve, who like me was both a lawyer and an initiate of Guruji.

After Steve witnessed my sea gull visitor, I remembered that Guruji once told us that some advanced yogis have the ability to enter or possess bodies of other creatures, even scorpions in caves conducive to meditation. So I wondered then whether Guruji had sent that sea gull to assuage my feelings of loneliness on his departure.

But, however it happened, the sea gull experience proved a crucial blessing because it synchronistically bestowed an important evolutionary insight about how our concepts of “reality” determine and disrupt our ‘relationship’ with Nature.

My communication and communion experience with the sea gull happened because I was in an elevated and intuitive state of consciousness uninhibited by my usual limiting beliefs about “reality”, and about our apparent separation from other life-forms.

Thus, that unforgettable experience demonstrated our human potential to intuitively feel loving oneness with all of Nature. It was a dramatic reminder of our cosmic consciousness connection with all seemingly separate life-forms.

As Einstein observed, “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Throughout human history indigenous societies have intuitively revered and communed with all of Nature. In such societies, my sea gull experience might have been considered quite ‘normal’, not at all unusual or noteworthy.

But in our present technological age, most humans have lost their innate ability to be attuned and harmonious with all of Nature. So, paradoxically, it is only our species – the species which considers itself most advanced – that is causing serious natural disruptions, disharmonies and ecological crises.

Like my sea gull friend, other creatures without any conceptions about “reality” are spontaneously harmonious with Nature.

So I view my sea gull communion experience as symbolic of our ever innate human potential – and urgent ecological imperative – for returning to an elevated heart level of awareness from which spontaneously, intuitively and harmoniously we shall honor and cooperate with Nature, thus allowing all life everywhere to survive and thrive.

And so it shall be!

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The gift of my San Francisco high-rise hermitage: a “manifestation miracle” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”
~ Walt Whitman
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.
~ Buddha
Ron's view

Ron’s view


In deciding to move to San Francisco from Chicago I was attracted by San Francisco’s climate, physical beauty and ambiance. Within its boundaries there are more than fifty hills, several islands, and significant stretches of Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. So, some lucky San Franciscans enjoy wonderful views from their dwellings and working places.

When Naomi and I arrived in San Francisco in 1960, I was immediately attracted to view places, especially places with Bay and Golden Gate views. Though Naomi did not seem to share my great aesthetic appreciation of view places, our first tiny apartment was situated atop Buena Vista hill, and enjoyed a lovely Southeast panoramic city and Bay view. But we soon outgrew that apartment and rented a larger place in a more elegant neighborhood, without any view, where we resided for most of our remaining fifteen married years. But I never lost my love of view places, and ultimately rented law offices with lovely views.

Upon divorce, I moved into a one room furnished studio apartment without a view, intending later to find a larger unfurnished view apartment. My studio apartment was in a very large high-rise building with a magnificent panoramic view from its roof deck, which I sometimes enjoyed. When standing on that roof, I noticed a few corner apartments in the high-rise building across the street, with obviously wonderful views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

“The people living in those view apartments are lucky,” I thought, without imagining myself as a fortunate one of them. I remained in the studio apartment for over two years planning, but not actively trying, to move.

One morning as I left my studio apartment and was about to walk to work I met in the elevator, Mark, an upstairs neighbor and real estate lawyer. Mark offered me a ride to the financial district which at first I declined, telling him I preferred walking. But he persisted and urged me to join him – and I agreed. Whereupon he told me that before driving, he was going across the street (to 1998 Broadway) for a few minutes to register on a waiting list for an apartment rental there. And at his request, I accompanied him.

As we walked across the street, Mark told me that all apartments at 1998 Broadway were soon going to be converted from rentals to condominiums. He said he was registering to rent because tenants would be given the first option of purchasing their rented apartments, a good “investment” opportunity. Then he importuned me to also register for an apartment there.

Until this time I had been so occupied with my law practice and in adjusting to life as a single person, that I hadn’t yet looked for an unfurnished apartment. And I wasn’t then in the mood to do so. So at first I was reluctant to register for an apartment across the street before evaluating possible alternatives. But Mark explained that registering for an apartment at 1998 Broadway would not oblige me to take any apartment offered to me.

So I followed Mark’s well meaning advice and told the office manager that I too wished to be wait-listed for an apartment. She asked me whether I wished a one, two, or three bedroom apartment and if I had any other requirements. Without thinking I responded, “whatever first becomes available”.

Many months passed. I met Dhyanyogi, was fully occupied with personal and professional activities, and had almost forgotten about that apartment waiting list. Then I was surprised by a call from the 1998 Broadway building manager informing me that an apartment had become available for me.

She said she needed to rent it promptly and that she was calling me because she had been unable to contact Mark, who was ahead me on the waiting list, but out of town. I told her I’d call her back later in the day. Only after confirming that Mark was traveling abroad and was unreachable, did I tell her that I would promptly come to see the newly available apartment.

Miraculously, it was one of those few view apartments that I had noticed from the roof of my building across the street. It was apartment #1204 with two bedrooms and two baths, and the fourth best Bay and Golden Gate Bridge view in the entire 82 unit building.

On beholding the panoramic view, I immediately signed rental papers, and soon moved into apartment #1204. But, I felt concern about Mark, who was my benefactor but had missed this opportunity. However, the universe soon assuaged my concern. Shortly after Mark returned to San Francisco, he was called to rent an apartment above mine, #1404 with an even more panoramic view. I was happy that the waiting list sign-up thus turned out to be very lucky for both of us.

But renting my view apartment was only the beginning of this “manifestation miracle”. After I had been renting the apartment for about a year, Mark’s prediction of potential apartment ownership proved prescient. All tenants were notified that there were new owners of the building who intended converting it to condominiums.

Under San Francisco ordinances at that time, the new landlords were required to obtain majority tenant ratification of their conversion subdivision plans. So a tenants’ committee was organized to negotiate with the new owners. Mark and I were then the only lawyers in the building, and were asked to help with our legal skills. I agreed, but Mark was mostly busy with other matters.

After spending much time in legal research and in personally checking building records at City Hall and at the Department of Public Works, I discovered some significant “loop holes” enabling the tenants to exert much unforeseen bargaining power with the new landlords.

Ultimately, my legal work enabled the tenants’ committee to negotiate significantly reduced proposed purchase prices for those who wished to buy their apartments, plus generous bonuses for tenants who elected to move-out. I believe that aggregate value of these price reductions and move-out bonuses was about $2 million.

Tenant negotiators Alyce and Leonard Brown told me that the negotiating committee intended to accept the landlord’s latest offer, and invited me to attend their final meeting with the developer and his attorney. At the meeting, to my amazement, the committee informed the landlord that his latest offers of price reductions and move-out bonuses were acceptable, only subject to one further condition – that he pay Ron Rattner a very large specified fee for legal services rendered to the tenants.

The landlord immediately agreed to this condition, and I soon received, for legal services which I had intended as a pro bono gift to all my neighbors, what proved to be the largest legal fee of my entire professional career. That fee not only covered my condominium purchase down-payment but much of the rest of the purchase price as well.

For over thirty years the apartment has been the happiest dwelling place and best financial investment of my adult life. Moreover, in 1981, my apartment was the last place in the USA where Guruji stayed before returning to India.

His presence was another great gift, and it imbued the apartment with lasting spiritual energies and “good vibes” in addition to its wonderful view – all of which have continuously nurtured my spiritual evolution during a long and transformative life period.

So, I consider my condominium “high-rise hermitage” a synchronistic gift from the Universe and an important “manifestation miracle”, for which I remain ever grateful.

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Synchronistic “Manifestation Miracles” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make the world.”
~ Buddha
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“From wonder into wonder existence opens.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





After many years of reflection, I have become convinced that my life has unfolded and evolved perfectly, as if a Divine novelist was writing Ron’s life-plan script. Accordingly my attitude toward life’s inevitable ups and downs has become that everything happens for the best – to promote our evolution; that in every adversity there is an evolutionary opportunity. (See http://sillysutras.com/i%E2%80%99ve-found-a-faith-based-life/)

Also, especially since my mid-life spiritual awakening, I now believe that I have been and am now continually blessed and guided by frequent ‘miraculous’ synchronicities – premonitions and meaningful or noteworthy apparent coincidences in time – which Western science can’t yet explain. Therefore, in these memoirs am sharing with you some of those synchronicities.

For many years after my mid-life awakening – beginning with a three month period of extraordinarily high energy – such synchronicities have included numerous amazing mystical and psychic experiences elsewhere described.

I learned from my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, that many of these experiences would be considered by him manifestations of an autonomic kundalini purification process; an evolutionary process enabling us – each in our own unique way – to live happier and more meaningful lives, and thereby to further evolution of all life on our precious planet with which we are inseparably connected.

Virtually all of my many synchronistic experiences have happened unexpectedly. They have been noteworthy because they were surprising, and often meaningful.

But, in recent years, one type of synchronicity experience – manifestation of desired circumstances or artifacts – has happened so often that I am no longer so surprised by such experiences. However, they remain for me frequent meaningful reminders of our miraculous relative reality and of our blessed life therein, for which I am unspeakably ever grateful.

I haven’t sought psychic powers – and am wary that they can be ego traps – so I haven’t consciously willed such experiences. Yet, frequently some circumstance has fortuitously arisen or some person or artifact has appeared in my life fulfilling a wish or perceived need. And sometimes I have perceived such synchronicities as significant spiritual experiences.

The most important of such spiritual experiences was the inner appearance of Guruji and my later synchronistic meeting with him. This happened only after I wholeheartedly began seeking answers to spiritual mysteries arising in my life, had discovered a deep inner yearning for God, and had intuitively begun reciting a Sanskrit Ram mantra.

Probably my most amazing synchronicity experience happened while I was taking a daily walk toward San Francisco Bay, more than twenty years after my 1982 “trip of a lifetime” spiritual pilgrimage to India. At a time when I was trying to recall details of that journey, I found in a garbage dumpster a rare documentary video about that pilgrimage of which I was previously unaware. See http://sillysutras.com/synchronicity-story-miraculously-manifesting-memories-of-a-spiritual-pilgrimage-to-india-and-nepal/

One of the most noteworthy synchronistic circumstances not apparently associated with my spiritual longing, but with an aesthetic longing, was the fortuitous manner in which I found my spectacular San Francisco view apartment and later was unexpectedly enabled to acquire it as a condominium, almost as a gift from the Universe. I have now resided in that apartment for over thirty years, as a high-rise hermitage, and it has been the happiest dwelling place of my adult life. So elsewhere I will share with you the story of how it was virtually given to me.

Also, I now have in my lovely dwelling place dozens of previously desired items: plants, furniture and clothing items, other artifacts, and even a ‘stash of cash’, all of which I have unexpectedly found or received after wanting them. I call these experiences “manifestation miracles”.

Such “miracles”, which are happening constantly and with ever increasing frequency, are far too numerous for me to recall and recount. But, in addition to my dumpster and condominium stories, I will recount more memorable synchronistic “manifestation miracles” which are emblematic of this phenomenon and which have been especially noteworthy for me.
(* See footnote)


Footnote

*For example, see my previously posted essays on synchronicity. These include A Stash of Cash For Y2K – a “Manifestation Miracle”. And see Apples and The Road Not Taken, a synchronicity story which I have posted on SillySutras.com. about a “manifestation miracle” involving my unforgettable friend Carol Schuldt.

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Other Teachers: Mata Amritanandamayi [Ammachi] ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Crying to God for five minutes is equal to one hour of meditation.”
“The state that we attain by calling and crying to God is equal to the bliss that the yogi experiences in samadhi.”
~ Mata Amritanandamayi  (Ammachi)
“The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears.
When you reach the place of tears,
then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world
and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the new age.”
~ Saint Isaac of Nineveh


Mata Amritanandamayi

Mata Amritanandamayi



Introduction.

After receiving shaktipat from my venerable Hindu Guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas (Guruji), I entered a new life phase as a devotional “born-again Hindu”, and for many years thereafter I faithfully followed Guruji’s kundalini maha yoga practices. But, especially after Guruji returned to India in 1980, I synchronistically met and spent memorable time with other spiritual teachers, in addition to Guruji’s successor, Shri Anandi Ma, while always maintaining my heartfelt inner relationship with Guruji – above all other teachers.

So in writing these memoirs, as requested by Guruji, it is appropriate that I tell you about some of these other teachers.

Elsewhere I have described my 1982 India pilgrimage experiences, including my darshan with Sathya Sai Baba. I told how Sai Baba hit my head three times uttering ”Enough!” ”Enough!” ”Enough!” while I was crying uncontrollably; that I was left in a state of confusion about my pronounced devotional crying tendencies. (see http://sillysutras.com/darshan-of-sathya-sai-baba-rons-memoirs/)

My confusion about crying for God lingered until it was memorably dispelled years later during darshan of another well known spiritual personality – Mata Amritanandamayi or Ammachi – now known for hugging millions of people worldwide.

Here’s what happened.

Crying Darshan With Mata Amritanandamayi [Ammachi].

After returning from the 1982 India pilgrimage I occasionally meditated at the San Francisco Sai Baba Center. Early in 1987 Timothy Conway, a friend and former president of that center, called asking if I would host at my apartment a program about an Indian woman spiritual teacher, Amritanandamayi or Ammachi, who was then largely unknown in the US. He explained that Ammachi would soon be making her first US visit, and that a small group of her devotees from India were seeking a San Francisco venue for an advance promotional program about her; that as a favor to them he was calling me since Sai Baba Center rules precluded holding the program there.

At that time I was living in semi-seclusion and had hosted no large gatherings in the seven year period since Guruji left my apartment. Guruji was eternally enshrined in my heart, but I remained open to learning from other spiritual teachers. So I hosted at my high-rise hermitage the first San Francisco public program about Amritanandamayi, at which some of her earliest devotees shared films and stories about Ammachi’s unusual history and devotional path. One of them, Neal Rosner (Nealu), Ammachi’s first Western male disciple, had just published a memoir which I acquired and read.

Ammachi + earliest-disciples

Ammachi’s Earliest Close Disciples


I learned then that Ammachi had been an abused child of an Indian fisherman’s large family in a remote and primitive village in Kerala; that after constantly calling and crying for the Divine, she had manifested many extraordinary spiritual tendencies and that, ultimately she had become a noteworthy trance channel displaying Krishna and Kali energies or moods (bhavas) to the enthrallment of villagers and visitors, some of whom – with her encouragement – had begun considering her a saint or avatar.

Thereafter, on Ammachi’s arrival in the Bay area, I attended one of her first public darshans at which I unforgettably learned about her devotional path of crying for God. Unknowingly I had been following that path since my spiritual awakening. (see http://sillysutras.com/kundalini-crying-for-god-and-other-kriyas-rons-memoirs/ )

By that time I’d become a spiritual friend of pundit Pravin Jani, father of Guruji’s successor Shri Anandi Ma. Pravinji had moved with his family from Bombay to Berkeley, and together we attended an Ammachi darshan at a small house in Oakland. On our arrival, the darshan room was filled with others and there was little remaining seating room. So we sat in a far corner of the room behind the elevated throne-like chair where Amma was receiving visitors with hugs and compassionately answering their spiritual questions.

As I sat in that warm spiritual ambience I experienced a heartfelt meditative state, and tears began trickling – not ‘torrentially’ but steadily. On observing Amma hugging each person who approached her, I felt content to sit and savor that devotional environment, with tears constantly seeping from my often closed eyes. But I was not inspired to go up up for a hug.

After so sitting for some time without intending to approach Amma, one of her attending swamis came and aroused me from my meditative state, quietly saying “Mother asks that you come up for darshan.” Respectfully, I complied with that request, anticipating a quick hug and, perhaps, some blessed fruit (“prasad”). But that is not what happened.

Instead, while lovingly embracing me in her arms and then in her lap, with my tears still seeping, Ammachi gave an extended discourse on the evolutionary importance of crying for God. (Her words spoken in Malayalam were translated by a swami.) After perhaps twenty minutes she concluded her talk referring to me still in her embrace, saying: “If you can cry like him, you’ve won the spiritual sweepstakes.”

The Path of Tears.

Dramatically encouraged by Ammachi, I never again doubted the immense blessing of my spontaneous devotional longing and crying for the Divine. And with curiosity sparked by Ammachi’s discourse, I later found similar teachings from other spiritual teachers in various traditions. (see http://sillysutras.com/the-emotion-devotion-crying-for-god/ ) Especially resonant were teachings of nineteenth century Indian holy man Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, with whom I had developed inner rapport after my unforgettable 1982 deja vu experience at his Dakshineswar residence place.

Ramakrisha, who had cried torrential tears for the Divine Mother, taught:

“[I]f you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.” – “Devotional practices are necessary only so long as tears of ecstasy do not flow at hearing the name of Hari. He needs no devotional practices whose heart is moved to tears at the mere mention of the name of Hari.”

After receiving shaktipat initiation from Guruji and the spiritual name “Rasik” – “One engrossed in devotion”, I had continuously kept yearning and often spontaneously calling and intensely weeping for the Divine. So, encouraged by Ammachi, Ramakrishna and others I was much attracted to Ammachi’s path of heartfelt singing and calling to the Divine, and was strongly motivated to see her again. And I did.

Years of tears with Ammachi.

For the next seven years after that first darshan I saw Ammachi during her bi-annual visits to the US and, in her absence, I often attended meditation programs at her nearby San Ramon ashram. Also, on my retirement, in February 1992 for several weeks I visited Ammachi’s Kerala, India ashram, since my daughter Jessica was then an ashram resident known as “Yogini”.

Though often I cried intensely for the Divine at Ammachi’s darshans, unlike most others there I usually was not motivated to receive her hugs. But in her presence I enjoyed marvelous devotional meditations, with tears, laughter, singing, and occasional spontaneous dancing to Amma’s bhajans. Thus through Ammachi I received bountiful blessings for which I am eternally grateful.

Prelude to a new life era.

At first I experienced an exceptionally powerful devotional ambience around Ammachi. And I was much moved by her soulful singing of bhajans calling to the Divine. However, my experience of devotional blessings around Ammachi and my enthusiasm for her darshans gradually diminished and eventually ended in distressing disillusionment.

After a while there seemed to be less and less pure heartfelt energy coming to me from her music and her presence. Ultimately it seemed that the music degenerated from being powerfully authentic to almost banal.

And as Ammachi attracted more and more followers, I perceived a growing cult of personality and materialistic atmosphere around her which greatly agitated and offended my pronounced egalitarian inclinations and aversions to spiritual organizations emphasizing “adulation of the incarnate” over “adoration of the Infinite”.

Also, though initially I always had felt energized by Ammachi’s darshan environment, after a while subtle energies there were more and more flowing from me, rather than to me. So, unlike my experience with Guruji, I was sometimes enervated rather than elevated after Ammachi darshans. This was especially noteworthy when I visited Ammachi’s Kerala ashram in 1992.

Moreover, I ultimately learned of private behaviors associated with or sanctioned by Ammachi which contradicted and belied her outer image and public pronouncements, and which so greatly disturbed me that I began regarding her as a flawed or false guru and not as a purported divine incarnation or avatar. (see Epilogue)

But like my traumatic marriage dissolution, the traumatic dissolution of my faith in Ammachi has proven to be a great disguised blessing which sparked an important new transformative life phase of reliance on inner rather than outer authority. (see e.g. my essay “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”)

Epilogue.

Because I spent seven important years at Ammachi darshans I feel obliged to write about those years in fulfillment of my obligation to Shri Dhyanyogi, my beloved guru, who requested that I write and publish my spiritual memoirs.

Until now I have been reluctant to publicly share my distressing disaffection with Ammachi and her organization. I did not wish to discourage other devotees with different perspectives, some of whom are friends. But I now feel morally impelled to tell my truth, with the intention of helping others who might learn from my experience.

Moreover, I feel morally impelled to share elsewhere my observations which support credibility of a recently published critical book about Ammachi.

Gail Tredwell (aka “Gayatri” or “Swamini Amritaprana”), who for twenty years was Ammachi’s revered first and closest Western female devotee, has just published a memoir entitled “Holy Hell, A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness” containing many shocking but credible revelations.

Some of Gail’s revelations are consistent with my observations and corroborate an incident which was my “last straw” with Ammachi, to be explained in another memoirs chapter. Moreover, some of her credible revelations are so shocking that I feel they should be seriously considered by those who may be contemplating relationships with Ammachi and her organization, or with other hierarchical religious or spiritual organizations.

As a long-time former litigation attorney deeply dedicated to social justice and with skills in evaluating credibility of witnesses, I read Gail’s book, initiated extended phone conversations with her, and discussed her allegations with other yet anonymous witnesses. I have found Gail to be a sincere, honest and accurate percipient witness.

Nonetheless, the MA Centers organization has attacked Gail’s character by asserting that she is “a troubled individual” whose writings are “completely untrue and without a basis in fact or reality”. Since I am quite convinced that Gail’s memoirs are absolutely true, I find deeply offensive an ad hominem attack on her by those to whom she selflessly dedicated much of her adult life, and I feel dharmically impelled to support Gail’s credibility.

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