“I do not care for liberation, or devotion, I would rather go to a hundred thousand hells, doing good to others silently like the spring – this is my religion.” –Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Vivekananda was the first  yogic bodhisattva   in our time to come from India to teach in America. He arrived in America in July, 1893.

I fell in love with Swami Vivekananda’s master, Paramahansa Sri Ramakrisha, while reading “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna” in my teens. But I never really appreciated Swami Vivekananda until one day while sitting alone at Gurudev’s feet. An hour of blissful silence had passed by. Suddenly, with dramatic gesture, Gurudev raised his hand and said, “It is impossible to comprehend the greatness of Swami Vivekananda.” Then, just as dramatically, Gurudev laid back on his large, reclined chair and returned to silent tranquility.

Ramakrishna used to say that Vivekananda is one of the legendary Sat Rishis. I returned home and, with this declaration by Gurudev, began avidly reading Vivekananda’s books. He then began coming into my dreams and teaching me. Two months later Gurudev came in a dream and said, “Come back to see me. I will initiate you. ”Three days later I walked into his ashram. I said, “You came to me in a dream and said you would initiate me.” Yawning casually, he responded, “It was only a dream.” But in my heart I knew differently. The full moon would rise in five days and I felt that it would be the day of initiation.

This was in the scorching hot desert of Rajasthan. On the morning of June 6, 2001,  lying  on the cement floor, the ceiling fan, at full speed, only blew hot air on my naked body. Suddenly I was awakened. Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna stood before me. Swami Vivekananda held out his hand in blessing as Ramakrishna gazed at me with a blissful smile. Then they vanished.

Joyfully I made my way to the ashram. Upon entering, Gurudev immediately said, “So you had a divine experience this morning.”

 

“Yes, Gurudev.”

“And Ramakrishna was there too. Right?”

“Yes, he was.” 

“And he was smiling at you, on Swami Vivekananda’s left side.”

“Yes.”

 

Then, in a instant, Gurudev put his fingers between my eyebrows and his left palm on my crown and commenced initiation.