And Mother Claps Her Hands…

The SRV Association held a retreat last autumn at the Hidden Lake Retreat Center in Oregon where we dived deep into the teachings in peaceful quiet surroundings. To be sure, one of the highlights of the retreat was the welcoming of a new sangha brother into our midst.

Avinashi's initiationDan Jones of Pennsylvania, who had been known by the name Bhajan, was initiated into SRV and received from Babaji the name Avinashi.

Avinashi, who grew up in Greensburgh, PA., and currently resides there, has long been a spiritual practitioner. Having been associated with the early ISKCON movement in the US, he has been a devotee of Krishna. After gradually drifting away from that association he actively followed a longing to know and understand Shiva. In a search for Shaivite texts and scriptures he came across a copy of Babaji’s book, “The Avadhut and His 24 Teachers in Nature.” Avinashi spent a full year studying that book. He began a correspondence with SRV’s President, Annapurna, who eventually encouraged him to write to Babaji.

Avinashi’s correspondence with Babaji grew in intensity over several months. He began to familiarize himself with the teachings and joined the Raja Yoga correspondence course. He began to see Sri Ramakrishna and Shiva as “two sides of the same coin.” The focus on Sri Ramakrishna gradually began to take precedence.

A deepening connection with Babaji as a person and as a spiritual teacher developed. Avinashi then made the decision to attend the SRV retreat in Oregon and committed to taking initiation.

Those of us at the retreat were struck by his devotion and quiet intensity as he availed himself of the precious boon of receiving the teachings first hand from the Guru in the midst of Holy Company.

Since initiation he has thrown himself fully into spiritual practice, deepening his meditation and study. In hindsight he sees that he was a “frustrated yogi.” Under Babaji’s guidance he has learned how to turn study into practice and now he says, “There are not enough hours in the day for sadhana.” Feeling optimistic about the future, he has learned that he can make each moment into something meaningful.

We wish many blessings for our new sangha brother, Avinashi, and look forward to his presence via email and future retreats.