One day, after Sunday service at Ananda Palo Alto, I walked through our beautiful sanctuary with my 3-year-old nephew Drew. He wanted to see the altar, which has large photos of our line of five Masters.
Drew was looking up, craning his neck. He said, “Lift me up, Wohwee, I want to see Babaji.” (Wohwee is the 3-year-old version of my given name, Lauri).
I lifted him onto my hip, and he was admiring the pictures. Then he pointed to one of them, and said, “Who’s that?” “That’s Yogananda,” I replied.
Then he pointed to another photo. “Who’s that?” “That’s Sri Yukteswar,” I said.
“Who’s that?” “That’s Lahiri Mahasaya.”
“Who’s that?” “That’s Jesus.”
Finally he pointed to the top photo. “Who’s that?” “That’s Babaji.”
Then he turned his clear, blue eyes to me, and said, “No, Wohwee. They’re all God.” He pointed to each picture in turn. “That’s God, and that’s God, and that’s God, and that’s God, and that’s God. They’re all God.”
I looked at Drew, amazed at the depth of wisdom and understanding in this tiny child. I said, “You’re right, sweetheart, they’re all God. Good for you!” Inside I teased myself that he was testing me, and I had failed! I later asked my sister if she had talked to Drew about the divinity of the Masters. She had not. Drew had either picked that up somewhere, or as I prefer to believe, he brought that information with him when he was born. He remembered.
I think many children are born with a memory of God from the astral world. When I was a child, I had experiences of light in my body. But over time, we forget, and get caught up in the details of our busy lives.
How can we remember again? The key is to opening up to what is called in Sanskrit, “smriti,” or divine remembrance. My two favorite authors, Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda, have written hundreds of books and articles that can help us tune in and remember, not only the divinity of the Masters, but our own divinity as well.
One simple aid is to look up, especially during meditation. When our eyes float down, we tune in to the subconscious mind. When our eyes are straight ahead, we are in the conscious state. But when we look slightly upward, towards the spiritual eye, we direct our minds toward superconsciousness. This is a place of stillness.
Jesus, Yogananda, and the other Masters came to show us the way to this stillness. They are our dearest friends, offering to guide us away from suffering into the bliss of knowing that we came from God, we live in God, and at the end of our lives, we go back to God. When we know this perfectly and continuously, we merge with Him, and reach Self-Realization.
Drew seems to be pretty clear on this concept. So now I use my nephew’s words as my mantra: “Lift me up, God. I want to see Babaji.”