And Mother Claps Her Hands…

SvabhavaThe Portland SRV Sangha now has a new Sangha brother. Andrew McDonald received from Babaji the name Svabhava which translates as “one’s essential nature,” meaning the essence of Brahman.

Born in Toronto, Canada to first-generation Irish immigrants, Svabhava and his family eventually moved to Southern California where he grew up. He was raised in a Protestant culture and went to a Christian high school. As he tells it, this is not necessarily a positive influence, nor did it provide satisfactory answers to the spiritual questions that he was asking.

In college he began reading the Western philosophers and then moved on to Eastern religious studies.

When he met Babaji there was an immediate sense of recognition. The lecture that Babaji was giving made sense. It was simple and direct and deep all at the same time – like peering into the depths of deep waters that were clear and pristine. Svabhava was surprised at how drawn he was to Babaji and the teachings of Vedanta. Asking for guidance from Babaji, he was directed to start reading some of the foundational literature of the tradition. Svabhava started with the Bhagavad Gita and also read the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, whose brilliant and rigorous mind served as a bridge for him. He began to dive into The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and attended satsangs. This naturally led to initiation.

His first response to initiation was an overflowing of gratitude. A particularly poignant teaching received was when Babaji noticed that he was not entirely comfortable using the japa beads. Babaji said “your soul will remember,” and to his surprise he found this to be true. Meditation also deepened and became easier and more natural.

Working in the banking industry, Svabhava trains people and treats all his duties as a service. This, along with his detachment around the volatile issue of money, makes him stand out amongst his peers.

Svabhava has also introduced the teachings to several of his friends who have attended SRV events.

We welcome the company of this noble soul and look forward to getting to know him better.