New Thought Library is an online public library with free eBook and audio downloads.
Links to downloads for Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda are at the bottom of this web page
This library should make your reading, research and writing projects easier.
Fully processed books have yellow page scan links to check text accuracy.
File numbers for .jpg and .htm files etc... match the original page numbers for accuracy and ease of use.
This enables writers to create reference links for research or publication. Use it, send in additions and keep in mind that your support means more free books, better processing and more downloads.
The Heart of a Stone Image
"As a loyal
Hindu wife, I do not wish to complain of my husband. But I yearn
to see him turn from his materialistic views. He delights in ridiculing
the pictures of saints in my meditation room. Dear brother, I have
deep faith that you can help him. Will you?"
My eldest sister
Roma gazed beseechingly at me. I was paying a short visit at her
Calcutta home on Girish Vidyaratna Lane. Her plea touched me, for
she had exercised a profound spiritual influence over my early life,
and had lovingly tried to fill the void left in the family circle
by Mother's death.
sister, of course I will do anything I can." I smiled, eager
to lift the gloom plainly visible on her face, in contrast to her
usual calm and cheerful expression.
and I sat awhile in silent prayer for guidance. A year earlier,
my sister had asked me to initiate her into Kriya Yoga, in
which she was making notable progress.
seized me. "Tomorrow," I said, "I am going to the
Dakshineswar temple. Please come with me, and persuade your husband
to accompany us. I feel that in the vibrations of that holy place,
Divine Mother will touch his heart. But don't disclose our object
in wanting him to go."
hopefully. Very early the next morning I was pleased to find that
Roma and her husband were in readiness for the trip. As our hackney
carriage rattled along Upper Circular Road toward Dakshineswar,
my brother-in-law, Satish Chandra Bose, amused himself by deriding
spiritual gurus of the past, present, and future. I noticed that
Roma was quietly weeping.
cheer up!" I whispered. "Don't give your husband the satisfaction
of believing that we take his mockery seriously."
how can you admire worthless humbugs?" Satish was saying. "A sadhu's very appearance is repulsive. He is either as thin as
a skeleton, or as unholily fat as an elephant!"
I shouted with
laughter. My good-natured reaction was annoying to Satish; he retired
into sullen silence. As our cab entered the Dakshineswar grounds,
he grinned sarcastically.
I suppose, is a scheme to reform me?"
As I turned
away without reply, he caught my arm. "Young Mr. Monk,"
he said, "don't forget to make proper arrangements with the
temple authorities to provide for our noon meal."
"I am going
to meditate now. Do not worry about your lunch," I replied
sharply. "Divine Mother will look after it."
trust Divine Mother to do a single thing for me. But I do hold you
responsible for my food." Satish's tones were threatening.
alone to the colonnaded hall which fronts the large temple of Kali,
or Mother Nature. Selecting a shady spot near one of the pillars,
I arranged my body in the lotus posture. Although it was only about
seven o'clock, the morning sun would soon be oppressive.
The world receded
as I became devotionally entranced. My mind was concentrated on
Goddess Kali, whose image at Dakshineswar had been the special object
of adoration by the great master, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. In
answer to his anguished demands, the stone image of this very temple
had often taken a living form and conversed with him.
Mother with stony heart," I prayed, "Thou becamest filled
with life at the request of Thy beloved devotee Ramakrishna; why
dost Thou not also heed the wails of this yearning son of Thine?"
zeal increased boundlessly, accompanied by a divine peace. Yet,
when five hours had passed, and the Goddess whom I was inwardly
visualizing had made no response, I felt slightly disheartened.
Sometimes it is a test by God to delay the fulfillment of prayers.
But He eventually appears to the persistent devotee in whatever
form he holds dear. A devout Christian sees Jesus; a Hindu beholds
Krishna, or the Goddess Kali, or an expanding Light if his worship
takes an impersonal turn.
I opened my eyes, and saw that the temple doors were being locked
by a priest, in conformance with a noon-hour custom. I rose from
my secluded seat under the open, roofed hall, and stepped into the
courtyard. Its stone floor was scorching under the midday sun; my
bare feet were painfully burned.
Mother," I silently remonstrated, "Thou didst not come
to me in vision, and now Thou art hidden in the temple behind closed
doors. I wanted to offer a special prayer to Thee today on behalf
of my brother-in-law."
My inward petition
was instantly acknowledged. First, a delightful cold wave descended
over my back and under my feet, banishing all discomfort. Then,
to my amazement, the temple became greatly magnified. Its large
door slowly opened, revealing the stone figure of Goddess Kali.
Gradually it changed into a living form, smilingly nodding in greeting,
thrilling me with joy indescribable. As if by a mystic syringe,
the breath was withdrawn from my lungs; my body became very still,
though not inert.
enlargement of consciousness followed. I could see clearly for several
miles over the Ganges River to my left, and beyond the temple into
the entire Dakshineswar precincts. The walls of all buildings glimmered
transparently; through them I observed people walking to and fro
over distant acres.
Though I was
breathless and my body in a strangely quiet state, yet I was able
to move my hands and feet freely. For several minutes I experimented
in closing and opening my eyes; in either state I saw distinctly
the whole Dakshineswar panorama.
x-raylike, penetrates into all matter; the divine eye is center
everywhere, circumference nowhere. I realized anew, standing there
in the sunny courtyard, that when man ceases to be a prodigal child
of God, engrossed in a physical world indeed dream, baseless as
a bubble, he reinherits his eternal realms. If "escapism"
be a need of man, cramped in his narrow personality, can any escape
compare with the majesty of omnipresence?
In my sacred
experience at Dakshineswar, the only extraordinarily-enlarged objects
were the temple and the form of the Goddess. Everything else appeared
in its normal dimensions, although each was enclosed in a halo of
mellow light --- white, blue, and pastel rainbow hues. My body seemed
to be of ethereal substance, ready to levitate. Fully conscious
of my material surroundings, I was looking about me and taking a
few steps without disturbing the continuity of the blissful vision.
the temple walls I suddenly glimpsed my brother-in-law as he sat
under the thorny branches of a sacred bel tree. I could effortlessly
discern the course of his thoughts. Somewhat uplifted under the
holy influence of Dakshineswar, his mind yet held unkind reflections
about me. I turned directly to the gracious form of the Goddess.
Mother," I prayed, "wilt Thou not spiritually change my
figure, hitherto silent, spoke at last: "Thy wish is granted!"
I looked happily
at Satish. As though instinctively aware that some spiritual power
was at work, he rose resentfully from his seat on the ground. I
saw him running behind the temple; he approached me, shaking his
vision disappeared. No longer could I see the glorious Goddess;
the towering temple was reduced to its ordinary size, minus its
transparency. Again my body sweltered under the fierce rays of the
sun. I jumped to the shelter of the pillared hall, where Satish
pursued me angrily. I looked at my watch. It was one o'clock; the
divine vision had lasted an hour.
fool," my brother-in-law blurted out, "you have been sitting
there cross-legged and cross-eyed for six hours. I have gone back
and forth watching you. Where is my food? Now the temple is closed;
you failed to notify the authorities; we are left without lunch!"
I had felt at the Goddess' presence was still vibrant within my
heart. I was emboldened to exclaim, "Divine Mother will feed
Satish was beside
himself with rage. "Once and for all," he shouted, "I
would like to see your Divine Mother giving us food here without
His words were
hardly uttered when a temple priest crossed the courtyard and joined
he addressed me, "I have been observing your face serenely
glowing during hours of meditation. I saw the arrival of your party
this morning, and felt a desire to put aside ample food for your
lunch. It is against the temple rules to feed those who do not make
a request beforehand, but I have made an exception for you."
I thanked him,
and gazed straight into Satish's eyes. He flushed with emotion,
lowering his gaze in silent repentance. When we were served a lavish
meal, including out-of-season mangoes, I noticed that my brother-in-law's
appetite was meager. He was bewildered, diving deep into the ocean
of thought. On the return journey to Calcutta, Satish, with softened
expression, occasionally glanced at me pleadingly. But he did not
speak a single word after the moment the priest had appeared to
invite us to lunch, as though in direct answer to Satish's challenge.
afternoon I visited my sister at her home. She greeted me affectionately.
brother," she cried, "what a miracle! Last evening my
husband wept openly before me.
"'Beloved devi,'1 he said, 'I am happy beyond expression that this reforming scheme
of your brother's has wrought a transformation. I am going to undo
every wrong I have done you. From tonight we will use our large
bedroom only as a place of worship; your small meditation room shall
be changed into our sleeping quarters. I am sincerely sorry that
I have ridiculed your brother. For the shameful way I have been
acting, I will punish myself by not talking to Mukunda until I have
progressed in the spiritual path. Deeply I will seek the Divine
Mother from now on; someday I must surely find Her!'"
I visited my brother-in-law in Delhi. I was overjoyed to perceive
that he had developed highly in self-realization, and had been blessed
by the vision of Divine Mother. During my stay with him, I noticed
that Satish secretly spent the greater part of every night in divine
meditation, though he was suffering from a serious ailment, and
was engaged during the day at his office.
came to me that my brother-in-law's life span would not be a long
one. Roma must have read my mind.
brother," she said, "I am well, and my husband is sick.
Nevertheless, I want you to know that, as a devoted Hindu wife,
I am going to be the first one to die.2 It won't be
long now before I pass on."
at her ominous words, I yet realized their sting of truth. I was
in America when my sister died, about a year after her prediction.
My youngest brother Bishnu later gave me the details.
Satish were in Calcutta at the time of her death," Bishnu told
me. "That morning she dressed herself in her bridal finery.
special costume?' Satish inquired.
is my last day of service to you on earth,' Roma replied. A short
time later she had a heart attack. As her son was rushing out for
aid, she said:
do not leave me. It is no use; I shall be gone before a doctor could
arrive.' Ten minutes later, holding the feet of her husband in reverence,
Roma consciously left her body, happily and without suffering.
became very reclusive after his wife's death," Bishnu continued.
"One day he and I were looking at a large smiling photograph
you smile?' Satish suddenly exclaimed, as though his wife were present.
'You think you were clever in arranging to go before me. I shall
prove that you cannot long remain away from me; soon I shall join
at this time Satish had fully recovered from his sickness, and was
enjoying excellent health, he died without apparent cause shortly
after his strange remark before the photograph."
passed my dearly beloved eldest sister Roma, and her husband Satish --- he
who changed at Dakshineswar from an ordinary worldly man to a silent
Back to text
The Hindu wife believes it is a sign of spiritual advancement if
she dies before her husband, as a proof of her loyal service to
him, or "dying in harness."
Back to text
Links to Additional Media for Keep A True Lent by Charles Fillmore such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.