I cannot possibly thank you adequately for your invitation to attend the Sita Kalyanam festival at Rikhia and in your presence. I had no idea what to expect, but the reality was beyond anything I could have imagined. The effect will remain with me always, as an ever-present inspiration to follow where you lead us to total love of the Divine and of his creation, in particular our own poorer neighbours. Your 'humble neighbours' are indeed blessed, in having your light and generosity to enrich their lives. The celebration made manifest so much for me personally, through your living example, for all of which I thank you profoundly.
First, there was the wonderful example of your warmth and open-hearted welcome to us all, so genuine and spontaneous. I know you indicated that you would be just as glad to see us leave that is how I would also feel after giving a successful party that I had put my all into.
Second, there was the example of your incredible hospitality to all your visitors, backed up by the tireless efforts and organizing skills of Swami Niranjanananda and all his staff of helpers all working together with such devotion to make your party the huge success it was. The whole event was a real offering of love to you and, through you, to us all.
Thirdly, as well as the hospitality and attention to our every need, there was also the generosity of your gifts so carefully chosen and appropriate for each recipient. I shall always treasure my T-shirt with Swami Niranjanananda's portrait on it, as a reminder that he is your beloved spiritual son and successor. Watching you working together complementing each other so beautifully and lovingly, was an inspiration in itself for it brought out the best in each of you. I do hope that your 'child prodigy' will follow in the same tradition and bring you both great happiness over the coming years.
Fourthly how can I thank you adequately for the book, the Ramayana in English, signed by you personally and given to me by your own hand? I shall treasure it and also study it (daily I hope), helped by the memory of the beautiful chanting of it that we listened to each morning. I hope to discover some of the ways by which each soul can relate to the One Spirit, as the characters in the story relate to their Lord Rama and how he relates to each of them.
My overall impression and lasting memory of this wonderful festival will be of JOY your own joy bubbling up like fountains of light around you. You demonstrate so clearly what it means to realize and walk with your God, and thereby to be fully yourself. This joy was expressed in so many ways your hospitality, your giving, your concern for our comfort, your love for your humble neighbours and your spontaneity. It was reflected in the beautiful marigold colours of the pavilion, the geru robes, the garlands. It sounded out in the chanting, the music, the discourses.
I think the Jain nun summed up the whole message in her instruction to be happy and make others happy, as the lotus blooms out of the same mud that makes the mosquito bad-tempered and biting. I hope to keep happy if not as radiant as when in your presence! and to share my happiness with others, strengthened by daily sadhana. May my heart eventually become as open as yours, the abode of Sita and Rama, soul and Spirit, forever coming together in joy.