It was a gorgeous fall morning and I woke up deliriously happy in my new apartment. The past couple of months had been crazy with all sorts of pressures, but finally the move from Carroll Gardens to Brooklyn Heights came; since this was post-divorce and I was on my own, the task of moving, then settling in, took up every bit of my remaining energy.
Now Saturday had dawned and all the grueling work was done, so I was free to enjoy my beautiful apartment in the St. George Tower, with its view of the Promenade, and beyond it, the regal Statue of Liberty, telling me I had made it against all odds in the land of the brave and the free.
In Manhattan, folks make plans way ahead of the weekend. I, however, had been too busy to do that; besides, my friends were in the city, and not in this beautiful suburb within walking distance of lower Manhattan. The sudden thought of my alone-ness struck me with the force of a blow to my gut!
I walked to the frig, pulled out a pack of organic tortillas and another of Sunshine burgers stuffed with cheese and veggies, and cooked up a delicious breakfast. I ate it as I sat staring out of my window. Fear struck again and, like a robot, I made myself a second breakfast to tamp down the fear. Unbelievably, I went through all those tortillas and burgers until I could barely walk! The demon of food had me firmly in her clutches—only stuffing myself, I was convinced, could stop this devilish fear from devastating me.
I stumbled back to my sunny bedroom and dived into bed. Drawing the comforter over my head, I lay still, hating myself for being such a coward. (You see, I had grown up in a traditional Indian family where women are not encouraged—sometimes even punished and ostracized—for being independent and different from the herd. I had come a long way, but I still hated the idea of wandering out into a strange neighborhood.)
I felt like a bleached whale with all that food in my belly. Against all odds, I had purchased my first apartment—but suddenly this felt like a Phyrric victory. Life stretched drearily ahead of me—and yet Spirit told me this was a time for solitude: so I could investigate who I truly was beneath the façade I projected—that of a confident woman who had made in the world’s most frenzied city.
I was weeping softly when I felt a strong presence in the room; warily, I pulled down the comforter and opened my eyes: a figure of light sat on my bed, resting against the wall, his legs passing right through mine! The face was blinding light, and yet I sensed that the energy of this being was masculine. The deva transmitted this wordless message: “Wake up, lazybones! You’ve plenty to do!!!” I got out of bed in a daze of joy, showered and walked out into a beautiful morning—for now I knew for sure that I was never alone.
My risk-taking nature continued to land me in desperate straits; perhaps the worst of these times was being confined to a guest house in Rishikesh, after being bitten by a Himalayan spider; my insides were writhing in pain due to a blood infection and I knew I was dying. I could not leave town due to one of the biggest festivals in the area—the narrow winding streets were clogged with devotees who had come down from the surrounding hills and villages, and the two bridges into town were impassable. I cried out to that angelic being to appear and give me hope that I would survive this terrible time, but I never saw him again. (Please check out: https://miraprabhu.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/the-spider-and-the-blue-throated-god-part-12/)
Today, here in south India, I know for sure that I am surrounded by beings of light. It is said that Shiva, who took the form of Arunachala to help millions destroy their egos, appears in three forms in Tiruvannamalai: 1) the sacred hill itself; 2) the self-luminous lingam at the main temple, and 3) as a yogi, named Arunagiri, who lives in invisible form on the hill.
Ramana Maharshi, the great sage of south India, once spoke of travelling upward on the hill and finding a giant banyan leaf. He tried to find the tree from which it had fallen, but stumbled into a hornet’s nest and was badly stung. He left that place in great pain, convinced he had entered the realm of Arunagiri Yogi, who had not wished to be intruded upon.
Bhagavan Ramana said the holy hill Arunachala is not what it appears to be; instead, it is a marvelous region where many siddhas (perfected beings) reside. One night, as I sat on my roof with a friend, we both saw a light hovering over the hill—it was too high to be held by a human hand, and it was no UFO; it remained glowing in the night for hours, and we both felt the spirit of Arunachala had appeared to spur us forward on this narrow path to liberation.
Greetings from Arunachala on this sunny morning! May you too experience the healing comfort of light beings, and then spread this wondrous light to everyone you meet!