After many years of doing my best to be both mother and father to my son, Ralph (not his real name), never feeling completely successful, I began the spiritual practice of sending love from my heart to his in the form of a beam of light. He is sixteen years old and seems to be infected with teenage wildness. The experience of replacing parental anxiety with love was beautiful. I felt my whole heart opening and expanding. I felt the warmth of Baba's presence in my heart, and I seemed to be connected to the whole universe. I am continuing that technique, sending him unconditional love each time I sit in silence to perform my sadhana (spiritual discipline). I also include his hyperactive friends and all the beings in the world.
I had the blessed privilege of going to Prasanthi Nilayam in 1986, and one reason that I wanted to see Baba was to ask Him to help me with Ralph. We have a hard time with each other. I try to control him so that he won't make all the mistakes that I made and lose as much time as I lost trying to extricate myself from the results of those mistakes. We are very different. He is outgoing and social, while I am quieter and more introspective. He is a typical teenager, interested in rock music, movies, TV, and sports, but not much interested in books and homework. We have not been able to communicate very well since he was two years old. He won't take direction from anybody—especially not from me. His independence may be a blessing in some ways, but it has also been a tremendous trial for me. During the last two or three years I have prayed to Baba frequently to help me know that my son is truly His son and to open the heart of His son to receive His love. I have been able to get Ralph to participate in some spiritual activity with me on Easter and Christmas, but otherwise he has resisted my invitations and suggestions.
After consciously placing him in a circle of love for the past four weeks, I was feeling confident that some of that resistance has lessened. I wrote on my calendar for Sunday night: "Ralph to go with me to the Sai Baba Centre." I gave up my desire to convince him of anything, and just wanted to exemplify Baba's love to the best of my ability. I also wanted him to know what I was doing on Sunday nights. It was definitely all in divine hands. He came along with very little fuss, and he enjoyed himself tremendously. He loved the video on Baba, the stories and individual experiences which were shared, the special atmosphere, and the love that those in attendance showed for Baba and for each other. He even sang along with us some of the devotional songs. On the way home in the car he asked many excellent questions. He noticed so much and grasped so much so quickly that it was a delight for me to talk with him. I'm sure you can imagine my joy, since Baba is my favourite topic of conversation. Ralph took in so many of the wonderful little tidbits that I told him. I wonder what will happen when he hears about the great miracles? He volunteered that he would like to go to the Centre again!
On the way home from the meeting, as we moved along with the flow of traffic on the freeway, I suddenly saw an unusually large, heavy ladder, taking up three fourths of the left lane-the one in which I was travelling. I saw the car in front of me swerve, and I swerved also. There was no time to look into the rearview mirror; everything happened so quickly! I saw the car in the centre lane swerve to avoid our car and the car in the right lane go off on to the right shoulder into some bushes. In order to lessen the danger to the other cars, I hit the ladder with my left front tyre-probably at about fifty five miles per hour. With Baba's grace, I did not lose control of the car. The ladder did not fly up and hit our windshield nor get wedged underneath the car. I stopped the car as quickly as possible and ran back to remove the ladder from the lane. There was not even a scratch on our car. No one was hurt in any of the cars. We were all fine!
I believe that this incident was orchestrated to show our son that Baba loves him, and that He wants to draw him near. I feel sure that He gave us back our healthy bodies and may be even our lives. I could so easily have lost control of my light, very unstable car, and crashed. When we got home, we went down on our knees together in front of our picture of Baba and expressed our heartfelt gratitude for His love, protection, and constant guidance. I feel that every prayer uttered over the past four years had been brought to fruition in this climactic, peak experience. There is no question but that Baba's grace is powerful, unpredictable, and always inexorably leading us on to merge our sense of separateness into His exemplification of divine unity. The instruments He used in this drama included Baba Centre, the sadhana of love, and the driver who lost the ladder. Truly, God works in mysterious ways to perform His wonders.