Summer of 1986 ~ Spying on my mother ~
We are all searching. Many of us are called to find a deeper truth, propelled by an inner sense that something is "missing" or perhaps a dis-satisfaction with our current circumstances. My mother began searching in the early 80's. I don't know what was going on in her mind or heart. She was, and is, an intensely private person. I do know she was struggling and not happy.
Mom began going to a Yoga Center in Woodbury, CT fairly regularly. She also became a devotee of Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusurdandasji, who resided in Ahmedabad, India. More than 116 years old at that time, he was traveling little, and his spiritual heir, Anandi Ma, traveled the US and Europe offering public meditation programs and Shaktipat initiations. This was a vast departure for a woman who had claimed to be an atheist her entire life.
Concerned that my mom was involved in a cult of some sort, my father and sisters sent me to "spy" on her. The thinking, I assume, was that since I had studied comparative religion and philosophy in college, I would be capable of discerning whether or not this was a legitimate group and practice. In hindsight, I think they had hoped I would talk some sense into my mother!
Ah, but God does like to have a good laugh (frequently)~
I drove home from Pennsylvania to attend the weekend program with mom. Little did I know what I was in for. We were seated before an alter - cross legged. The proper term for this is 'lotus position', but I was unable to execute that particular move. The room was packed, and everyone was chanting in a language I certainly could not identify. I was very uncomfortable. Mom was on my left side, and a man with a shawl draped around his shoulders, sat on my right. I closed my eyes and tried to relax into the music and chanting. In my mind's eye, I saw a beautiful woman, dressed in purple, walking into the room.
The chanting ended as Anandi Ma took her seat at the alter. Imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes to see this beautiful, childlike woman, dressed in a purple Sari smiling at all of us. She was shy, radiant, and the energy in the air was electric and palpable. I will not go into all of the details that occurred that day. Suffice to say, I was literally blown wide open during the meditations, later learning that my Kundalini had awakened. In fact, I was asked to return the next day and receive 'Shaktipat' -- the bestowing of spiritual power on an aspirant by a yogi.
Mom couldn't wait to get home. She was no dummy, and had known full well what her family was up to. Beaming she opened the front door, with me still in "la-la" land tagging behind, and announced (smirking, mind you) "Jennifer is going back tomorrow to receive Shaktipat!" My one sister made the sign of the cross, the youngest rolled her eyes and my dad, God love him, looked at me forlornly and left the room.
I guess I was his last hope~