Visions of Light

To celebrate Swamiji’s anniversary, devotees gathered at the house of Mahayogini and Rohan on November 3rd for kirtan singing, reading, chanting, socializing, drinking tea and eating prasad. On this occasion, reversing the usual order, Yogini had prepared a sumptuous prasad before the kirtan itself rather than afterwards.  Then the devotees listened to and participated in numerous songs and chants, some led by Tryambaka (who introduced a new bhajan from Ammachi, having just received her darshan at Alexandra Palace), others by Gayatri, Yogini and Sanjana. Beautiful music was also provided by Hari Om, Sri Lakshmi and many others. Altogether a memorable kirtan.

The readings included  an important series of Swamiji’s sayings redacted by Satchitananda in her collection called Feeding the Soul[1]. There was also a reading on the theme of light, concentrating on the visions seen by our guru at a kirtan shortly after his recovery from serious illness:


In October 1982 Swamiji was rushed to the Pilgrim hospital in Boston for emergency treatment. As soon as possible he discharged himself and organized the following kirtan, which may be regarded as a thanksgiving to God for his recovery.

‘The kirtan opened with a devotees’ bhajan, led by Tryambaka, to Shiva as Nataraja,  Lord of the Cosmic Dance:

OM Shivaya, OM Shivaya, Sambhu, Sankara OM Shivaya.   OM Nataraja, OM Nataraja, Sambhu, Sankara, OM Nataraja.

‘ “Lord Shiva blesses you all,” Ambikananda suddenly called out. “Don’t doubt it. Believe, believe you will become children of God. …”

‘There followed numerous Sai Baba bhajans, with Swamiji singing with divine fervour: Govinda, Gopala … and Bolo Ram… and Om Namah Shivaya, Shivaya namah Om…

‘ “You will hear this one day up there,” he told us, “Lord Shiva records just what we have done. One day you will hear, in Kings Cross, 1982 about 6 pm – devotees, whoever is singing now, will be recorded… Blessed be God. Blessed be the preceptor, blessed be the devotees…”

‘Swamiji added another refrain to the Sai Baba bhajan, constantly repeating: “Om Nataraja, Om Nataraja, Jai Nataraja…

“God is here, believe me!” he cried in ecstasy. “There is light, peace and light, light, light, light. Think you are floating in light, in your subtle body… God is blessing you, believe me. You see these little lamps here? Count them! How many? But I see nothing but more lamps here, more lights – I see with my gross eye; it’s a blessing eye that I am seeing with! That’s why I asked you to count the lamps. Now I see nothing but Atma, no name no form, singing the name of God… At this kirtan you have been so so blessed, believe me…”

‘Then came a tape of Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh singing To the right is OM, to the left is OM and ending with the injunction: “Don’t just think of God, but trust in Him.”

“Lofty words,” Swamiji confirmed. “There’s God in them, you must believe. The veil of ignorance is destroyed… I tell you, I saw with my gross eye, I saw that you all had disappeared, and that’s why I said to you how many lights are there? I saw a lot of little lamps, so I said, ‘Count these.’

‘Later Swamiji distributed his special mahaprasad, and this was followed by an extended reading from Visions of Sri Ramakrishna to a music background. The reading featured Sri Ramakrishna’s visions of the Divine Mother:

His heart was spurred to a profound and now famous prayer… Taking a flower in my hand…

‘Ambikananda broke off to say, “I tell you my brothers and sisters, my flowers, earlier I saw you as lamps, and now, as I look at you, I see nothing but the heart of flowers! All of you have transformed. – please take a flower if you have one, or offer yourself as a flower – I just saw the devotees as flowers, so offer yourself, surrender – We will pray with Sri Ramakrishna:

“Mother, here is Thy knowledge and here is Thy ignorance. Take them both, and give me only pure love.    Here is Thy holiness, and here is Thy unholiness. Take them both, Mother, and give me pure love.    Here is Thy good, and here is Thy evil.  Take them both, Mother, and give me pure love.    Here is Thy righteousness and here is Thy unrighteousness. Take them both, Mother, and give me pure love.”

“I mentioned all these,” Swamiji read, “but I could not say, ‘Mother, here is Thy truth and here is Thy falsehood.’  I gave up everything, but couldn’t bring myself to give up truth.”


‘While prasad was being prepared, Ambikananda read from In the Hours of Meditation (inspired by Swami Vivekananda), “…Nothing shall conquer thee; God Himself is bound to serve thee. For he is attracted by that which is Himself in thee… Verily thou thyself art divine…Tat twam asi, Thou art That…How can thou believe in God if thou believest not in thine own self!…Know that thou art not the body…The final truth is realization. Therefore, arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached…”

‘Swamiji paused and then said, “God blesses you now again, my children! Believe me, last kirtan I said we were groping in darkness. This kirtan the darkness is being removed. I, the son of Shiva, a dark child, tell you that …

“A-U-M. Meditate, worship. Here you have the chance to do all these. God is in His image. OM namah Shivaya, Shivaya namah OM… Remember, God blesses you now, God blesses you this very minute. This is the word of this dark one. OM namah Shivaya, OM namah Shivaya…Blessed be the devotees of this ashram! They are flowers, they are eternal flowers. Let them be like that, it is enough for them…This is my state of meditation, I will never give Thee up. OM namah Shivaya, Shivaya namah OM. Thy will be done. Do with me as it pleases Thee…

“We will read now from For Seekers of God:[2]

“…When asked by an attendant about his reason for saluting one and all, Mahapurushji said: ‘As soon as people come in front of me, I get visions of different gods and goddesses…”

‘Swamiji burst into laughter: “A little while ago all of a sudden there were no devotees here. So all we could ask was, ‘Can you count how many candles there are?’ That is a state!… There is no intellectualism here. It’s out of love that I dance… I have seen the light. The moth has seen the light…

“I am just a foreigner in this land, I am a pilgrim, that’s why I was sent to Pilgrim Hospital.[3] Mother did a lot of things, but He wished it otherwise. So we are still here. The secret of your reality is from here to here, from what I am trying to say and what you have not felt. But because you have had a spray of it, a fragrance sprayed from somebody else, you are attracted by it… You are attracted here, but that attraction is a bait. That bait is not an end… The same God that I worship I am giving to you. And this body has survived. It has touched this little drop of love… Everyone is the same, everyone will go, so have zeal, have detachment.

“These bhajansand scriptures are kindlers… I worship Shirdi Sai Baba, my life, my soul, and if they say Sathya Sai Baba is the same – accept his truth, his word, his work… Many a time Sai Baba would come, and kindle more love again. ‘All names, all forms are Mine,’ he says. You must accept truth, you understand? God is truth, so embrace truth, live in truth, welcome it…

“I said, ‘Where I am going you too will go.’ That’s why it’s no joke to initiate anyone. You have to take the responsibility. Not until the disciple is liberated will the guru find his liberation. But that must be a true guru, you understand. That’s why Sai Baba says, ‘Give your guru exactly what he is, no more, no less.’…

“You people take drugs sometimes to experience something high, isn’t it? But we are intoxicated by truth… I am under the spell of God. When I say, ‘Sing, clap your hands.’ I am only stripping you of the dark clothes you have come in, and rehabilitating, rehabitayloring you in a garment full of light, so that when you go you will know that ‘I am not this dark man that came here. I am light.’ Didn’t Sai Baba say, ‘Think of light, meditate on light, send light, merge in light’?”

Light with the essence of love. Think of that for a minute, ponder on that. Light with the essence of love, the foundation of love. No motive. It’s love eternal. So many times we are blessed… Listen, I tell you, my friends, I want you to believe in my word, because my word is an experience of the Above. That’s all I can tell you. If you have really come for me you must take the trouble to believe me a little bit… You don’t need any more reading. All scriptures speak of one God. When you know there is this one God, then by hook or crook or by any means, decent or indecent, try to purely love Him!

“That’s why we love all of you, those who meditate, those who do not meditate – what counts is that you have come here. ‘Whoever calls on Me even once shall be liberated,’ Sri Ramakrishna has said. But he didn’t say they would be liberated there and then. So if you don’t get it now, it will be at the time of death. If not then, it will be after a few births, isn’t it? I keep telling you, you are very, very blessed. Do not worry. Develop love for God. God is love. Give up intellectualism, give up ‘What will people think of me, listening to an illiterate, a fool man?’

“Keep your job, keep your life. You are householders, why should you go mad so much? You are all calling on God. I tell you, householders are so blessed. Ramakrishna says that they have such a burden on their shoulders of work and all these things – and with all these burdens still they call on Me. That’s why He responds…”

‘Swamiji  returned to  his reading of Mahapurushji’s experiences in For Seekers of God:

“ ‘As soon as people come in front of me, I get visions of different gods and goddesses. That’s why I make my obeisance. The divine forms disappear after my salutation, and then only can I see the human figures distinctly and recognize them as well.’

“You understand this state of realization? Can an ordinary being understand these?… Listen, I can’t go on reading… Just believe that God is here. I will close this scripture for the time being. Sita Dev and Raja Ram will read…” [He indicates the passage]

‘Raja Ram and Sita Devi read together:

“ ‘When somebody approaches me, first of all I see that particular effulgent form of God through which He reveals Himself in that particular personality…’

‘Ambikananda interrupted: “ Just a minute – say ‘Kali, Kali, Kali.’ Yes! She is here! She alone reads. All right, give book to Gayatri, now Gayatri read, please.”

‘Gayatri read: “The persons themselves appear indistinctly, like shadowy beings, while the divine aspect itself appears vivid and living.”

‘Swamiji: “Yes! You see? And what did we see, who did we see just now? In you? When I asked you to stop reading, we saw the very very black hair [of Mother Kali], covering both of you, Raja Ram and Sita Devi both. You are selected. God is in your form. Believe us. I didn’t invent this book. I just wish to do Her will, to do what She wants.”

‘Raja Ram and Sita Dev continued reading in unison:

“That’s why I make my obeisance. The divine forms disappear after my salutation, and then only can I see the human figures distinctly and recognize them as well…”

‘Swamiji: “It tallies directly, no? Now close down, close the lamp, and thank you very much… I am very pleased today. You have been blessed, really. It’s like I am reborn after the operation, and really another life, and I am the spiritual son, as we all are, of Lord Shiva. And I promise you, with the very few hairs left on my head, that I will take it back when I go there. Thank you very much indeed.”  [4]

“…You must come into your light, raise yourself  to the level where you feel your light working with His Light. Your light is the light of God, and if your light agrees to that Light, light merging with Light becomes Light. Then it is not you, but Him through you…”[5]

“…What is the power of light? It makes you see – and it makes you disappear. If really I have light of God I don’t see you at all. You and all this do not exist. The man in the screen of the cinema in earthplane is false, imaginary, temporal projection of the Maker, the producer, the actor, the director of the whole. Man really is God.”[6]

“…Eternal Light. This is a secret mantra, a mahamantra, a MA Mantra of the Christians.  And Gayatri mantra is also light. It enlightens the three worlds of Bhu, Buva, Swaha. Ancestors also. It is like a tree, with ancestors the branches in Swaha and Buva; children are the root on earthplane, Bhu, and the children give liberation to the ancestors.

“Truth is God. Truth is the tapasya for our age. All are children of the Mother. This mahamantra is only one of Her graces.… A child who takes God seriously gets Eternal Light. It is the gift of love. We are children of God when we take God seriously.”[7]


[1] Available from Amazon online, Watkins bookshop, or direct from Satchitananda  at

[2] Discourses from Sri Ramakrishna’s direct disciple Swami Shivananda  (Mahapurushji).

[3] Ambikananda had been taken to the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

[4] Oct 16, 1982 Kirtan at Kings Cross

[5] 86.05.17 Kirtan Exeter Rd

[6] November 1 1986 Kirtan Wales

[7] 88.07.05  at Ramakrishna Loka

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