A Meeting On A Forest Road: By Mazie Lane
When I was ten years old, arthritis presented in my life and has remained my constant companion since. Not long after I became ill, my father, who worked for the state in the field of agriculture, was out on the road surveying orchards in Butte County. He had stopped by a river to eat his lunch and he settled down under a tree with a heavy heart, for he carried the Heartbreaking burden of a father who had to watch his Beloved child endure endless pain and a constant, relentless destruction of the body through joint deteriorization. He felt helpless in a way that might be rightly understood if one has ever had or has a child who is stricken with a catastrophic illness.
As he was trying to make sense out of a completely senseless act, (or so it seemed to my dear father) a stranger appeared from seemingly nowhere. Father could see the road for a long way, clearly, in both directions and yet he saw no car anywhere and he had heard no approach of any vehicle.
The stranger asked if he might sit with him a spell. Being always kind to anyone and always ready to be the open Heart of Friendship, my father offered him his company and his time. The man spoke tenderly to Father, saying,
“I know your Heart is heavy and you are worried about your daughter, aren’t you?”
My father told me that he felt a complete sense of being able to speak freely, wanting to actually talk with this stranger, open up and share his great sadness and worries about the current situation concerning me. So he said to the man,
“Yes. My daughter is ill and I feel helpless to do anything to alleviate her suffering. She is my treasure, my sunshine and my Heart is breaking for her. I feel as if I am drowning and she is drowning and i cannot reach her to save her from this calamity.”
The man looked steadily into my father’s eyes and said to him,
“Have no fear about your Dear child. She will be alright. She is Loved more than you can fathom right now and she will never be harmed and she will never succumb to the tortures that are appearing as this disease in her precious body.”
Father could say nothing. He could only sit there silently being embraced by some Incomprehensible Love and Joy that was seemingly coming from this stranger before him. He felt as if he knew the man but could not recall where or when they might have met before. He could only sit there beside him with tears of some strange blissfulness streaming down his face. The man stood up to depart and as he did so he put his hand on my Dear father’s shoulder, saying to him, “Have no fear and entertain no worries about Mazie. She will be fine. She will always be safe in Your Love.”
And then as mysteriously as he had appeared, the strange and compellingly attractive man disappeared around the bend in the river. All was hushed and so silent around the river and the orchard that my father sat speechless as he recalled to himself,
“I didn’t tell that man my daughter’s name, and yet he said it now as he was leaving. Hmmm. Perhaps I spoke it aloud and have just forgotten in my amazement and in this strange and calm mood I have fallen into.”
This story was related to my mother, myself and my siblings that evening when we were all gathered around the dinner table. We were all held in rapt attention as my father shared it with us, but none were more captivated and intrigued than I was. And life went on and the disease progressed on and we all went about our lives as people do. But I remained ever aware of the words that the stranger had so kindly offered to my father concerning me, “Have no fear about your Dear child. She will be allright. She is Loved…”
Twenty years later as I was sharing about the life of my Gurudeva, Paramahansa Yoganandaji, and also the lives of his guru and paramgurus, I opened a book and showed my father the pictures of these Divine Beings of Love and Wisdom. As his eyes fell upon the picture of Lahiri Mahasaya he exclaimed excitedly,
“That’s him! That’s the stranger who came and comforted me by the river when you were only ten years old! Who is he and how can I find him to thank him for that exchange?”
You see, my father knew virtually nothing of my spiritual life and had no idea if these men were dead or alive. I said to my father,
“That’s Lahiri Mahasaya and he has been gone from this earth-plane since the late eighteen hundreds.” My father and I sat speechless and stunned at this revelation before us now.
My Dear father, unable to comprehend the enormity of this thing that we were having unfold to us, never said another word about it again. Father died the next year and the evening he fell and went into a coma from which he never recovered consciousness, I dreamed of a man who came to my garden and cut off the topmost, most beautiful orange rose from the only tree-rose in the garden.
That man in the dream was none other than Lahiri Mahasaya, come again to tell me, to comfort me with the same offering of Love and Bliss,
“Have no fear about your Dear father. He will be alright. He is Loved….”
Well, I guess I’ll just tell what led me to where I’m at now: At the age of 20 I had a near-death experience and was guided to Paramahansa Yoganandaji, my guru. The path he’s shown me is the path of devotion as advised in the Bhagavad-Gita. At the same time as this, Sri Ramana Maharshi also stepped into my life, presenting the query “Who am I?” I studied literature and poetry while at Sacramento State University, and, also the study of figure-drawing was a keen interest. My interest in the “spiritual” began as a child contemplating “how far is far?” During the past year my chief occupation has been the writing of mystical poetry, inspired mainly by Rumi and Hafiz. Being in the company of this Advaitist group has been the best lesson I could turn to each day.”
The image was taken by Sumida on Kamui Island, Thailand, 2002.
I’m overwhelmed and humbled, having come across this article so suddenly today. Paramahansa Yoganandaji (“Baba” as a friend calls him), and all the Masters in the tradition……. i so strongly feel that their is such a similar pattern to everybody’s experiences of encountering the Divine….. Invariably, i have seen Baba’s blessings shortly being followed by Ramana and the commencement of self-enquiry…. (not to mention all the other gifts and tools that seem to accompany one who gives himself to grace). It is happening in almost a same pattern in so many lives at the moment. The blessings are tangible.
Thank you for this article.