(this photo is of Jonathan and some dear American friends/family...)
being back here after a year, and seeing how the Soul University is progressing, is an eye-opening experience. about 100 beautiful spiritual students have come to study with Sri Kaleshwar, some of whom were never exposed to formal spiritual training before deciding to join this university.
hearing the level of their studies -- which are sometimes quite grueling -- and listening to the discussions the students here are having is really impressive. they have done their homework (and then some!) and are rapidly chewing on and digesting huge amounts of divine knowledge and understanding.
for me personally, living now mostly in the USA and only visiting Penukonda (on the surface, anyway) once a year or so, it's been a little heart-tugging to see how the advance of time and experience in Penukonda has equipped the students here, while I've been out teaching and not necessarily developing these same areas of knowledge.
at the same time, I recognize that Jonathan and I have -- at the moment -- a particular dharma, which involves teaching Sri Kaleshwar's systems to Western people who otherwise really wouldn't have the chance to be exposed to this knowledge and these energy channels.
chacun a son gout, as the French say.
creating a strong group in the Santa Cruz area is in itself a kind of soul university experience, just from a different angle. and intensity.
a few days ago, I was watching a whole group of students here in Penukonda dropping flowers on the feet of Shirdi Baba (the living statue of him that is the central focus of the main temple). I realized that among the 30 or so in that particular group, about 10 of the people had come from the USA with Jonathan and me, on this trip, or as a result of our work in California. another 5 people are here from Singapore -- each one of them studied with us seriously during our teaching trips there over the last several years.
and now they were all in Penukonda, Californians from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, mingling with Singaporeans of Chinese and Indian descent, at the feet of Shirdi Sai Baba. talk about a glorious melting pot! rishis, every one...!
I noticed the statue was beaming at them all like a grandfather receiving a visit from favorite grandchildren he hasn't seen in a while.
and in my heart -- I felt like a proud mother, so amazed at the depth and the open-hearted capacity of these divine souls, coming as they are, maybe confused about what they're really doing here in India, or being uncertain about protocols or customs, or not feeling well (a lot of purification illnesses have been running), or some combination of all of the above... and yet, they're here, putting flowers at the feet of Shirdi Baba, earnestly, with love writ large on their faces and a kind of luminous peacefulness starting to shine through their eyes.
and I realized, once again, and certainly not for the last time, how great god really is.
how the divine works through each and every person in a unique and unfathomable (yet palpable) way, to bring love and joy, peace and beauty to everyone it touches.
that is the real miracle; I mean, we, each of us, divine flowers that we are, is the real miracle.