Swami helps us see correctly. Our mind tricks us into foolishness, and Swami comes to set us right. How glorious is Swami's teaching, how protective and saving are His words and His love! He attracts us and we become more and more absorbed in His love until we feel His Presence all the time and we want to follow His lead to perfection.

A Close Relationship with the Avatar

Swami teaches that we are divine, pure love and bliss, and that through His love we can realise our own divine love. He has come during such a dark time in human history when families, nations and religions are warring. What He offers to the beleaguered humanity is something quite unique and extraordinary, an intimate relationship with a living Avatar. This is a blessing beyond comprehension, and a force that can protect and guide us through rough and troubled times.

The personal relationship with Swami is vital and fresh and filled with the unexpected - with humour, drama, and a love that is beyond description. This love gives great confidence and strength. By His grace, our family has had steadiness and direction during these troubled times. I am sure we will never in a million lifetimes be able to comprehend the full scope of Swami's protective Grace.

Once my wife and I were talking with Swami about the troubled school system that our daughters were in. Drugs and violence had made their way even into elementary schools. We asked Swami if we should find a better school for the children. Swami sweetly and gently said, "I know the schools are not good, but it is the same all over. Keep them in their school, but talk to them often and find out what is on their minds. Give encouragement and guidance." My wife Sharon said with alarm, "Swami, the world is so dangerous now, if it were not for You..." Swami stopped her and with a serious, almost chilling look said, "Yes, if it were not for Me,everything would be lost"

And so we begin to see how vital Swami is to everything we do. He shows us that the cornerstone of spiritual life is a living loving close relationship with God. Then we become aware that His omnipresent love is the source of all our strength and success. As the relationship becomes deeper and more intimate we see more clearly how He is always with us protecting, guiding, leading, saving and giving us strength to overcome our Karma and the rough seas of the outer world.

Part of the path teaches us how to deal with suffering. Pain and suffering must be expected on the spiritual path and the antidote is God's love. In fact, it is God's love which allows us to go through our Karma more quickly and safely - it is His love which teaches proper attitude to suffering. As a psychiatrist I daily draw on Swami's teachings to help me and my patients face their problems.

First to remember is that all `this' is `that' - that all life is a spiritual journey bringing us home to our pure divine love. And Swami is the guide and goal. He helps us have courage and teaches us how to release ourselves into Him. Expecting suffering, accepting it and knowing that sacrifice is the key to liberation, leaning to stay close to Swami and offer Him everything, feeling His loving omnipresence and with the power of "Sohum" releasing ourselves into Him - this is part of the path of release into His love.

Rachel's Stress

A year ago, our daughter Rachel went to the gym. She and her twin sister, Ruth, were stressed by a deadline for a book they were writing, entitled "Twins", and Rachel hoped that a workout would reduce stress. When finished, she found that she couldn't open the lock to her locker. She panicked, thinking that someone had broken into her locker and taken her clothes and valuables, including her wallet, money, identification and credit cards and keys to her car and apartment.

Rachel fervently prayed to Swami for help and called Ruth for moral support and asked her to come fetch her, as she had no car key. Ruth told Rachel that a friend who they hadn't seen in months, had just brought a lovely, large, beautifully decorated basket of chocolates and little stress reducing items. Evidently he knew they were worried about their book. Ruth described the gift - there was a tension reducing squeezable bean bag, a cute lizard looking animal that sits on top of the computer monitor and makes you smile, some stress reducing items, and of course, the lovely chocolates. 'You really must see it - it is so beautiful!'

The manager of the gym helped by cutting through the lock. As the door swung open, Rachel cheered to find her property untouched. But why couldn't she open her lock? Rachel ruffled through her bag and found another lock, the one she usually used. Evidently, when she reached for this lock, she picked up another that she forgot she had, and thus, the answer to the riddle. Ruth arrived to find Rachel happy and thankful for Swami's protection. When they arrived home, they enjoyed the lovely basket of chocolates and stress reducers.

A Wonderful Visitation

Later that night, Rachel had a dream. She and Ruth were on a walk and had to part. Ruth went to visit a nearby temple, and Rachel went into an old two storey house. She heard Swami would be coming, and people were preparing for His visit. The house was barren and crowded. A pack of people slowly shoved up a circular staircase. She felt uncomfortable and wondered why Swami would visit this unlikely place. At the top was a drab room with few windows and no furniture. Surely Swami wouldn't be visiting this place, she thought, and pushed against the crowd to descend the stairs. Just as she started down, a sound of excitement signalled Swami's approach. Immediately her mood changed to excited anticipation.

In a moment, Swami appeared, radiant and beaming with love. His orange robe settled softly over His body, and He walked with grace and authority. Rachel was thrilled and lit with happiness. As Swami passed, He turned towards her - and her heart melted. She became one with Swami's smile and felt pure sweetness from His attention. Swami softly said, "How did you like your basket?"

Rachel didn't understand what He meant, and wondered, `What basket?' She then realised THE BASKET OF CHOCOLATES " Oh Swami, was that from You? Did You send the basket?" She began to cry. Swami looked at her with great compassion and said, "Yes, it was from Me. I am always with you, always protecting and providing. I am with you in the heat of summer and in the chill of winter - I am always with you."

Rachel wept with love for Swami. She was hurled out of sleep and sat straight up in her bed, crying with wonderment, delight, and love. She held the glow of Swami's Darshan in her heart for days after. When she told the story to Ruth and then to my wife and me, we all shed tears of love and gratitude for Swami. What a wonderful visitation!

Swami is always with us, during times of happiness and times of troubles, protecting and guiding us through the path of purification to perfection. His promise, "Why fear when I am here," must be held firmly in our hearts. Let us rejoice about our intimate relationship with Swami and pray that we remain steady and full of faith throughout the turbulence of life and are good instruments of His peace and love.