Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Prem Moksha who lived in an ordinary house in the suburbs of a big city. Although she was quite an ordinary girl, and was only eight-years-old, she already had a guru. Prem Moksha, like most disciples, wanted very much to be close to her guru and meet him and talk to him as often as possible. It was very difficult for her to see him because he was always so busy running the ashram, giving programs and helping people with their problems.
One day, Prem Moksha was sitting on the front steps of her house moping and wondering how to get to see her guru, when her friend Mangala came visiting and asked her why she looked so forlorn. Prem Moksha told her that she wanted so much to see and talk to Swamiji but couldn't. Then Mangala said, Why don't you invite him to visit you? Swamiji always walks past here when he gives his programs at the hall up the road. Take that ugly sign: 'TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED' out of your front garden and put up a sign: 'WELCOME SWAMIJI'. I'm sure he will come and visit you! Prem Moksha thought about it for a while and decided that there was no harm in trying out the idea, after all, Swamiji might just come in and visit!
So she went to the front of the garden and pulled out that old wooden sign. She sand-papered it nicely and painted it in a beautiful bright yellow. On the yellow background she wrote the words 'WELCOME SWAMIJI!' in a deep red and decorated the sign with attractive dots and wriggly lines. She installed the sign in the garden near the pavement and admired how beautiful it looked. Then she saw that the fence was rather old and peeling and she thought that no one would want to come into a house with a fence like that, especially her guru, so she decided to scrape it and sand it and paint it a fresh white. It looked very good against the green grass. But the grass was rather overgrown and untidy and she thought she would make it all as attractive for her guru as possible. So she weeded and mowed the lawn and made it look clean and neat. Then she planted pretty coloured flowers all along the front fence and beside the path that ran up the centre of the garden from the pavement to the house. It all looked so pretty now, but wouldn't it be nice to have the sweet scent of flowers to attract him as he walked past? So she made a trellis archway of rose briars, one at the front gate and one further up near the house so he could walk under them and smell the sweet scent of the roses as he came in.
Prem Moksha was careful to always leave the front gate and the front door open whenever Swamiji was due to pass by so that it would look even more welcoming. And to make sure he would want to come in, she always played his favourite music and cooked his favourite dish so that the sound of that music and the aroma of that dish would be wafting in the air when he was passing by.
Finally the day came when Prem Moksha's guru passed by her house on the way to the yoga program. He had many followers accompanying him to the program. Prem Moksha ran out and called him and pleaded: Hari Om! Swamiji! Please come in, just for a few minutes, there's plenty of time before the program gets started.
Swamiji saw the bright sign, 'WELCOME SWAMIJI!' and also the pretty flowers; he heard the sounds of his favourite music and then smelt his favourite dish and he thought She's gone to so much trouble, it looks so sweet, let me go in for a few minutes. Prem Moksha was thrilled! Let everyone come in Swamiji, there's plenty of room! So they all went up the path, under the beautiful rose creepers and in through the open door. Prem Moksha showed the disciples into a separate room to wait for Swamiji. And she invited Swamiji to come and sit in front of the fireplace which had a great roaring fire to warm the house as it was a very cold day! Swamiji closed his eyes for a moment, leant back and folded his arms behind his head, stretched out his feet to be warmed by the fire, and was overcome by a great feeling of peace, warmth and welcome.
He rested deeply in that feeling for a moment and when he opened his eyes he realized that he was quite hungry, and said, Mmm, what a delicious smell, what have you got there? Prem Moksha led him to a beautifully carved oval table in one corner of the room and said, Swamiji, please have something to eat! And there was such a spread of delicious food, and strangely enough, all Swamiji's favourite dishes. The other disciples came out of their room and also joined in the feast, each finding that his or her favourite food was there. As much as they ate, they never felt full so they were able to keep eating all their favourites to their heart's content or rather, tongue! Then Swamiji said, Oh! But now I'm thirsty! and they noticed on one side of the table, all manner of hot and cold drinks and they each found their favourite can you imagine what you would have eaten and drunk?
When Swamiji had had his fill, Prem Moksha, knowing that he loved computers and computer games, said to him, Swamiji, please come and look at this, it is the latest in computers. And there was such a new model that even Swamiji had not heard of it before. He tried it out and found that he could contact the ashram and see the latest that was happening on the ashram computer right here on this computer. He found that it played games that he'd not even seen, and also cracked jokes in between the moves. It was such a good computer that it could even forecast your moves before you made them and you had to be really good at controlling your thoughts so that it couldn't guess your next move.
After a while Swamiji saw there was a bookshelf with a very good selection of books, some of them brand new ones that he himself was wanting to get and read. He was so excited that he opened one and found that just by flipping the pages from the beginning to the end of the book, one could read and understand it without even having to read each line and each page. In this way, he read several books that he'd been wanting to read! Which ones would you have chosen to read?
Next door to the bookshelf was a shelf full of indoor games. Some were traditional like chess and monopoly and cards, others were science fiction and there were even yogic games, every game you could conceive of and more. Swamiji chose one at random and everyone sat down to play. No one had ever heard of this particular game but it was so much fun and so testing that everyone was in stitches of laughter and most people got 'out' quite fast. Can you guess who won?
There was a balcony where Swamiji went to stretch his legs and see the view. A different view presented itself to each viewer depending on his or her preference. Sometimes you could see a panoramic view of the Swiss Alps and smell the fresh mountain air and hear the sound of the cow bells in harmony. Sometimes you would get an ocean beach with coconut palms bending over clean white sand and the sound of frothy white waves washing up onto the shore, the feel of the sea spray and the smell of the fresh breeze. When Swamiji went outside, a beautiful garden scene appeared before him with exotic plants and masses of sweet scented roses. There was even a stairway down into the garden and Swamiji went down the stairs and into the adjoining golf course where he enjoyed a game of golf in the most scenic professional golf course imaginable where all the 'pros' play, and he even met some of them.
In the house beside the balcony was a room where you could go in and have any experience you ever wanted. One devotee wanted to fly an aeroplane and when he had experienced managing the controls, talking to the co-pilot and enjoying the view, he decided he wanted to experience parachuting. Suddenly he found himself in mid air, hanging in the harness of a parachute, plummeting down to earth! Luckily the parachute opened and he sailed down gently landing back in the room. In that room you could even find yourself in a jungle full of wild animals or go back in time to a different era. You could be giving speeches to millions of people or find yourself in the bowels of hell beside Yama, the god of death, or at the pearly gates of heaven waiting for St Peter to let you in. Or you could meet a tantric guru and learn secret sadhanas, just whatever experience you wished for, so you had to be careful what you wished!
As Prem Moksha was watching everyone having so much fun, she remembered her astrologer friend, a very wise and unassuming person, and how he had said that soon would begin the time that would be suitable for her to live in a community of people and not alone. She wished she could talk to him about everything that had happened and was happening. Then she happened to look down and saw the phone on a small table. She picked up the receiver and intensely thought of him. She could hear the ringing on the line. She waited in anticipation. At the other end of the line someone answered the phone and it was his voice! She could hardly believe it. She was so excited and she talked to him for ages about what had happened and what was happening. She hadn't realized you could talk to anyone in the world on this phone. Who would you ring up and talk to?
Just nearby was the bathroom door. When you walked in, you could use an Indian type, or Western, and there was even a 'bidet' to wash yourself. The shower would change from a fine wide spray to heavy pelting drops as you desired, hot, warm or cold. Or you could enjoy a good soak in a bath full of scented suds with beautiful delicate ferns all around, and your favourite music playing in the background. Swamiji chose the bath tub, and when he'd finished, as he had not brought a change of clothes, there neatly folded was a full set of his favourite outfits, just as if it was his own cupboard at the ashram.
When he came out, Swamiji noticed a life size, recent photo of Paramahamsaji above the fireplace. It was so good that it looked almost lifelike, with his fine hair streaming down around his shoulders and his white beard. When you looked at his eyes, they really twinkled and sparkled. If you looked very carefully at them, they looked real, and the realness spread out to his face and hair, his chest seemed to move with his breath and he gave a broad smile and said, I've been really enjoying this fire! You should try it. He stretched out his hand and said, Here, give me a hand, and Swamiji and some others helped Paramahamsaji as he got up and stepped out of the photograph frame, onto the mantelpiece and down to the floor. Then we all sat in front of the blazing fire and gazed at the flames in silence. There in the flames, after a while, we could see all our samskaras and life memories coming up one after another. Life seemed to be dancing in the flames, our karmas were appearing and becoming clear, different ones for each person. If you posed a question mentally, the answer would appear in the burning embers as a scene or a sign or the gentle hiss and crackle of the fire would whisper the answer just for you. Each person watched, enthralled, mesmerized by their own lives subtly appearing before them in the flames.
At last Swamiji broke the silence and turned to the little girl, Prem Moksha, and said, Well, you invited me in, what is all this about? and she replied, Swamiji, I wanted to talk to you, to ask you something. Swamiji said, When you can create all this, why do you need to ask me anything?! and Prem Moksha broke into a beautiful, simple kirtan, and everyone joined in:
Satyananda, Gurudeva, Niranjanananda, Gurudeva,
Softly, softly come to me, take my hand, and let it be
Softly, softly come to me, turn the key, and open up my heart.
They all sang until everyone was into it and some were even up and dancing. Swamiji looked down pensively as he sometimes does, and then looked up. Prem Moksha looked into his large, doe-like eyes with their long lashes; they were so deep and mysterious, and as she gazed into his eyes, she saw and felt the love and trust that she needed, and she let go, and very gently melted, melted right into those eyes.
The kirtan was over, and so was the time, Swamiji suddenly realized, and he looked down at his watch and found only five minutes had passed in what felt more like 24 hours. They all got up and went out the door, down the path and off to the program. And Prem Moksha found herself just like you, right here reading this story, all her questions answered, and all her needs fulfilled.