During the days of the COVID-19, Rev. Dhyani Simonini has been writing remembrances of special interactions, over the years, with Swami Satchidananda. Here is a recent one:
I’d like to share a little love tale of Swami Satchidananda—our Gurudev—and a special project from long ago.
After one of his trips abroad, Sri Gurudev came back very overtired and not in his best health. Our Prem Anjali (Gurudev’s personal assistant) looked for a way to encourage him to rest and rejuvenate since there were health concerns, but it was very hard to try to keep him resting.
To help Prem, and for love of our Guru, I started a bit of mischief. I invented a news sheet, which I called “W-God” (like call letters for a news network). I would run around and interview people around the Ashram as to what had happened to them that week that was fun, funny, and/or inspiring. Then, I’d write it up and cartoon it in sections like a comic strip and send it to entertain our Gurudev.
It was fun for me, but really a lot of work and I didn’t know if it accomplished any real service in helping to keep Gurudev resting, or if he even had time to read it with all his worldwide correspondence.
Late in the afternoon one day, my phone rang. There was no greeting, no introductory words. “Is there no news?!” It was Gurudev and he sounded quite serious and a bit concerned.
“Oh, Gurudev! I’m so sorry. I got busy and didn’t print anything today.”
“I thought Yogaville had vanished,” he replied. “All news of it seemed to cease existing.”
Then there was one of those long silences that rattle every cell in the cerebellum.
“I’ll get right to it, Sri Gurudev,” I promised.
Then his tone changed, and the sweetness and gentleness made me cry.
“I like to know all these things—all the things that make you happy or laugh, or examine the teachings. I’ll look forward to receiving my news.”
I had a sudden vision of our teacher keeping up with all the events of our lives—all the big things, all the daily dramas—that he might need to send some energy to. And, also that it seemed he was getting real joy from the tiny little amusing vignettes of things that made us laugh or look at ourselves with humor instead of drama.
I must have made a hundred calls that night—to find out what was fun, funny, inspiring in all these lives that he watched over and loved so.
So, now we are in a hard and confusing time. I know he watches us. I know he still wants us to have the things that are fun, or funny, or inspiring, and I can’t get out to interview anyone, so I thought I’d write some of these stories. It is my love note, my W-God to my beloved sangha, my spiritual family.
About the Author:
Rev. Dhyani Simonini is a longtime student of Sri Swami Satchidananda. She became an Integral Yoga Minister in 1990. She retired from Buckingham County High School, where she taught English, drama, and speech for 31 years and was instrumental in establishing the operation of a student-owned touring theatre company that specialized in public service tours. She serves as captain of the Disaster Action Team (DAT) for Buckingham County through the American Red Cross. Her lifelong love of Native American spirituality led her to become involved with a phonetic transcription of the sacred songs and rituals. She transcribed for Walker Calhoun, sacred firekeeper of the Cherokee nation, and for Doris Riverbird Woman, clan mother of the Lenape nation, who later adopted her and made her legal representative for “all things Native American.” She created a Native American medicine wheel on her property which she hopes will serve as a gathering place for Native ceremonies and, later, intends to create a center for indigenous people on the property.