A memorable visit with Kriya Yoga Master Paramahamsa Prajnananda ji
We are all petals from the same Eternal flower, intrinsically divine
On September 9-11 Kriya Yoga master Paramahamsa Prajnanananda took time out of his busy schedule to visit Moose Factory. We were so grateful and pleasantly surprised he had accepted our invitation and come to our little island on the tip of James Bay to stay in our home.
When Guruji stepped off the small plane in Moosonee all the way from Vienna, the sun was shining high in a pale turquoise sky. The kind of blue that is impossible to replicate. Like awakening from a dull grey dream to bask in the eye of creation at its most glorious.
We had originally hoped to come over in our Norwest, to pick up our revered guests, but Clayton had injured himself at work and was suffering from a pinched nerve, so instead we took a cab to the docks and then all boarded a canopied boat taxi to the island.
Moose river glistened like polished silver, smooth as glass. reminding me of the importance of keeping the mind calm and clear, and Indeed, we would be blessed with perfect weather for the next three days and in the wonderful presence of "Babaji."
Fathers and grandfathers are often called Baba in Cree culture as well, and our children and grandchildren naturally gravitated towards him.
Prajnananandaji, in his gentle and humble way, greeted them with loving kindness.
Prajnananandaji eats vegetarian food, no dairy, garlic or onion, essential in the practice of Kriya Yoga but not mandatory. My family was fine with this even though in Cree culture the Niska (Goose) is considered sacred and an important food source dating back well before the arrival of the European. Yet here was no judgment just acceptance by all and it was an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to cook for him. Anna, Marlon's partner made a special quinoa soup that everyone enjoyed. Baba also shared a good tip on how to make a dal which i think i succeeded in following except on the last day where i lost my focus, allowing my mind to wander, speculating on how much time before we had to leave for the airport. A lesson in maintaining a one pointed mind and dedicating it all to God!
We prayed together before each meal and ate in silence. Sharing our first meal, Clayton said an uplifting prayer of thanks in Cree to the Creator, Shamandoo and Guruji and Sampurnananda expressed their thanks with a beautiful Vedic prayer to the Creator, Brahman.
My grand daughter was listening intently to the prayers at supper, and now before bed each night she whispers a prayer which sounds like a sweet and curious mix of cree and sanskrit.
A beautiful reminder that no matter in what language we pray to God, our prayers are heard.
Baba is a prolific writer and has authored numerous books on Kriya Yoga, many of which expound the attributes of the divine mother in her many names and forms. He spent some time that first afternoon browsing through my library of esoteria and eastern philosophy, resting and then making notes for an upcoming book which he writes in a state of samadhi or deep meditation.
On the first day we took Baba and his assistant Swami Sampurnananda for a tour of the island and the Hudson Bay Company Staff house which displays many old artifacts from the late 1700's during the days of the fur trade. We then visited the Cree Cultural Interpretive Centre, home to historical items, art, crafts, and cultural displays depicting the life of the Mushkegowuk Cree people from past to present.
Sampurnananda enjoyed listening to some authentic old fiddle tunes played by my mother and father in -law, James and Daisy Cheechoo, who welcomed them into their home for an afternoon visit.
i watched Guruji as he sat quietly, observing and listening intently, visibly absorbing more than the music. He has that wonderful yogic ability to comprehend the true nature of of those around him and decipher what that individual soul's journey may be. I took a few pictures of him with my family during his three day stay and noticed one in particular that touched me deeply. He had a beautiful smile of pure compassion on his face, his hands lightly touching James and Daisy's shoulders as they sat holding their instruments. Upon closer scrutiny I noticed a small tear forming in his eye and a flash of radiant light. My first impression was that he realized Mom and Dad had just recently lost brother Gilbert, one of their beloved seven sons. in a fatal car crash. Looking into the eyes of a realized master is like looking into a mirror where you see your own reflection. My second impression was that he must have picked up on the fact that both my adoptive parents had long passed and Mom and Dad Cheechoo had lovingly and unconditionally filled that void for me. It can often be difficult, beautiful and bittersweet but always transformative. Indeed, impressions such as these often come in threes. I felt there was something else in these knowing eyes. A few months after Guruji's visit, Dad's heart slowed down and stopped for ten minutes. Shortly after he arrived at Kingston General. I contacted Sampurnananda. She assured me they would pray for him and that "Guruji sends his prayers and Love. " Miraculously Dad had a full recovery . I am certain the power of Guruji's prayers and my sister in law speaking to him in Cree at his bedside were a part of this great blessing.
That evening after supper members of our family gathered in our living room to greet Guruji.
On the second day of Guruji's visit he held a Satsang and evening of sharing at the EPR Centre here on the island.
My sisters Rita and Treena had lovingly decorated an altar of flowers with a photographic display of the Kriya lineage of Sages beginning with Mahavatar Babaji.
We covered the old couch with an orange blanket of North American Indian design where Guruji was to sit during Satsang.
Blankets are an important part of Cree Culture, predominantly used in traditional marriage ceremonies and in the Blanket Dance, a Memorial Round Dance acknowledging the ancestors.
To be gifted with one is considered an honour.
Opening up the evening, our son Marlon sang a moving honour song for "Baba" on his hand drum, Dad James and Mom Daisy played a few old fiddle tunes accompanied by the wooden spoons and I sang my "Thank you Song" on the ektara, each of us expressing our gratitude to him for travelling all this way across continents to be with us.
It was an intimate evening of sharing with friends and a handful of community members present asking questions about the practice of meditation and the importance of dreams. I had hoped more people would have come out and only found out later someone had unceremoniously scrawled. "who put this up?" across the poster on the board at the complex. This kind of
Prajnananandaji began his talk with a beautiful prayer, bowing to God, and all the Saints and Sages throughout the ages from every Tradition.
He then bowed with humility to all of us present in the room.
Guruji shared wonderful stories with an equal measure of humour and intent, touching on the importance of the breath, and finishing with a heartrending devotional bhajan written by Meerabai, the famous Rajasthan princess who adored Lord Krishna.
I awoke at 5.30 am the next morning for an energizing guided meditation with Guruji and Sampurnananda.
In the short time we had to spend together it seemed like a life time had passed experiencing the simple joys of everyday life, with grandchildren underfoot, cooking, praying, taking food, talking and laughing together as one family.
To have had this opportunity to be in the Presence of this beautiful Self-Realized Soul is something I will cherish always.
"Life is like a candle, designed to radiate knowledge and love, a symbol of continuous sacrifice for others.
Life is like a candle. Kindle it with care." Paramahamsa Prajnanananda