I was well on my way to accepting Master as my guru, but I had never met Swamiji and I had a hard time seeing how he fit into the picture of my spiritual life.
I am a music teacher and a professional musician. I play the flute, but music isn’t something I do. Music is what I am. So it is no surprise that Swamiji entered my heart through his music. I had picked up a free tape from a basket in the lobby of the Ananda Mandir where I went to classes and services. It was called The Spirit of Ananda in Music.
I had an art project to do, so I put the tape on as background. It was chants, Ananda Singers, choir pieces, and several selections of Swamiji singing solo. I enjoyed the melodies and the vibration, even though my trained musician ears picked out every missed note and flawed intonation. I carried on listening in this way, half-enjoying, half-criticizing, all the way through a few of Swamiji’s solos at the end of the tape.
Then he started to sing Love is a Magician:
Love is all I know:
Sunrays on the snow
Of a winter long
In darkness, without song.
Oh, my heart’s afire,
Burning all desire.
Only you remain, and life again!
He sang with exquisite beauty, but I hardly noticed. My musician ears had disappeared, overwhelmed by my devotee heart. And that heart had been pierced by something so profound I knew it was irrevocable. As the words unfolded, I began to cry, then to sob.
Too long I did stray,
Flung lifetimes away,
Imagined you did not care.
I know now your smile,
Was mine all the while;
I listened, and love was there.
I can’t breathe for love.
All the stars above call to me:
Life’s waves all end in foam!”
Only love can heal
All the pain I feel.
What a fool was I to turn away!
When the song began, Swamiji was irrelevant to my spiritual life. By the time the song ended, Swamiji had a permanent home in the center of my heart.
Taken from Swami Kriyananda: As We Have Known Him, by Asha Praver, a collection of personal stories detailing the experiences that many people had with Swami.
Listen to Love is a Magician: