Many a year ago, I would say in the mid-eighties, I was temporarily staying at my mother’s house in Maryland. If I am correct in this recollection, I had already spent sometime in a beautiful ashram (monastery in the eastern tradition) - about a year and a half - in both the US and India.
My mother had a neighbor, an older woman, who attended a church in the DC area, a very different sort of church. It was one dedicated to Yogananda Paramhansa, a great yogi and spiritual teacher who had made his way to the west and had become well known, and whose teachings had become widely disseminated.
I, myself, had read his seminal work back in 1982, “Autobiography of a Yogi.” I recall I devoured that book. It was, in a way, my introduction to an eastern spiritual path…
In time, I became friendly with this neighbor and in so doing, she ended up inviting me to the Sunday service at this particular church.
Off I went, and I enjoyed it. I recall it being an amalgam of both eastern and western spiritual teachings; in other words, the personage and teachings of Jesus Christ were acknowledged and venerated.
I probably accompanied her a few times. It was not my chosen path, but I appreciated the ambience and the experience on those Sundays…
One morning not long after, I had a dream. In it, I was walking in a beautiful garden on the arm of Yogananda Paramhansa himself. I knew it was he by the flowing hair I could see peripherally. And, also, I just knew it was he…
As we strolled, I asked, “Is it true that Jesus was a bodhisattva?” He responded with a clear “yes.” And, with that I woke up.
A bodhisattva is a Buddhist term describing an enlightened being who delays entering paradise in the pursuit of helping others attain enlightenment.
This dream, this darshan (being in the presence of divinity) with this great saint, was brief but powerful.
And, I must add that at the time of this visitation, I did not know what “bodhisattva” meant - at least not consciously.
All these years later, I am grateful for this illuminating experience, and remember it during this time when we celebrate the birth of a great bodhisattva.
December 10, 2021