Chapter 47 - I Return to the West
"I have given many yoga lessons in India and America; but I must confess that, as a Hindu, I am unusually
happy to be conducting a class for English students."
My London class members laughed appreciatively; no political turmoils ever disturbed our yoga peace.
India was now a hallowed memory. It is September, 1936; I am in England to fulfill a promise, given
sixteen months earlier, to lecture again in London.
England, too, is receptive to the timeless yoga message. Reporters and newsreel cameramen swarmed over my
quarters at Grosvenor House. The British National Council of the World Fellowship of Faiths organized a
meeting on September 29th at Whitefield's Congregational Church where I addressed the audience on the weighty
subject of "How Faith in Fellowship may Save Civilization." The eight o'clock lectures at Caxton Hall
attracted such crowds that on two nights the overflow waited in Windsor House auditorium for my second talk
at nine-thirty. Yoga classes during the following weeks grew so large that Mr. Wright was obliged to arrange
a transfer to another hall.
The English tenacity has admirable expression in a spiritual relationship. The London yoga students
loyally organized themselves, after my departure, into a Self-Realization Fellowship center, holding their
meditation meetings weekly throughout the bitter war years.
Unforgettable weeks in England; days of sight-seeing in London, then over the beautiful countryside. Mr.
Wright and I summoned the trusty Ford to visit the birthplaces and tombs of the great poets and heroes of
Our little party sailed from Southampton for America in late October on the Bremen. The majestic
Statue of Liberty in New York harbor brought a joyous emotional gulp not only to the throats of Miss Bletch
and Mr. Wright, but to my own.
The Ford, a bit battered from struggles with ancient soils, was still puissant; it now took in its stride
the transcontinental trip to California. In late 1936, lo! Mount Washington.
The year-end holidays are celebrated annually at the Los Angeles center with an eight-hour group
meditation on December 24th (Spiritual Christmas), followed the next day by a banquet (Social Christmas). The
festivities this year were augmented by the presence of dear friends and students from distant cities who had
arrived to welcome home the three world travelers.
The Christmas Day feast included delicacies brought fifteen thousand miles for this glad occasion:
gucchi mushrooms from Kashmir, canned rasagulla and mango pulp, papar biscuits, and an
oil of the Indian keora flower which flavored our ice cream. The evening found us grouped around a
huge sparkling Christmas tree, the near-by fireplace crackling with logs of aromatic cypress.
Gift-time! Presents from the earth's far cornersPalestine, Egypt, India, England, France, Italy. How
laboriously had Mr. Wright counted the trunks at each foreign junction, that no pilfering hand receive the
treasures intended for loved ones in America! Plaques of the sacred olive tree from the Holy Land, delicate
laces and embroideries from Belgium and Holland, Persian carpets, finely woven Kashmiri shawls, everlastingly
fragrant sandalwood trays from Mysore, Shiva "bull's eye" stones from Central Provinces, old Indian coins of
dynasties long fled, bejeweled vases and cups, miniatures, tapestries, temple incense and perfumes,
swadeshi cotton prints, lacquer work, Mysore ivory carvings, Persian slippers with their inquisitive
long toe, quaint old illuminated manuscripts, velvets, brocades, Gandhi caps, potteries, tiles, brasswork,
prayer rugsbooty of three continents!
One by one I distributed the gaily wrapped packages from the immense pile under the tree.
"Sister Gyanamata!" I handed a long box to the saintly American lady of sweet visage and deep realization
who, during my absence, had been in charge at Mt. Washington. From the paper tissues she lifted a sari
of golden Benares silk.
"Thank you, sir; it brings the pageant of India before my eyes."
"Mr. Dickinson!" The next parcel contained a gift which I had bought in a Calcutta bazaar. "Mr. Dickinson
will like this," I had thought at the time. A dearly beloved disciple, Mr. Dickinson had been present at
every Christmas festivity since the 1925 founding of Mt. Washington. At this eleventh annual celebration, he
was standing before me, untying the ribbons of his square little package.
"The silver cup!" Struggling with emotion, he stared at the present, a tall drinking cup. He seated
himself some distance away, apparently in a daze. I smiled at him affectionately before resuming my role as
The ejaculatory evening closed with a prayer to the Giver of all gifts; then a group singing of Christmas
Mr. Dickinson and I were chatting together sometime later.
"Sir," he said, "please let me thank you now for the silver cup. I could not find any words on Christmas
"I brought the gift especially for you."
"For forty-three years I have been waiting for that silver cup! It is a long story, one I have kept hidden
within me." Mr. Dickinson looked at me shyly. "The beginning was dramatic: I was drowning. My older brother
had playfully pushed me into a fifteen-foot pool in a small town in Nebraska. I was only five years old then.
As I was about to sink for the second time under the water, a dazzling multicolored light appeared, filling
all space. In the midst was the figure of a man with tranquil eyes and a reassuring smile. My body was
sinking for the third time when one of my brother's companions bent a tall slender willow tree in such a low
dip that I could grasp it with my desperate fingers. The boys lifted me to the bank and successfully gave me
"Twelve years later, a youth of seventeen, I visited Chicago with my mother. It was 1893; the great World
Parliament of Religions was in session. Mother and I were walking down a main street, when again I saw the
mighty flash of light. A few paces away, strolling leisurely along, was the same man I had seen years before
in vision. He approached a large auditorium and vanished within the door.
"She and I hastened into the building; the man was seated on a lecture platform. We soon learned that he
was Swami Vivekananda of India.1 After
he had given a soul-stirring talk, I went forward to meet him. He smiled on me graciously, as though we were
old friends. I was so young that I did not know how to give expression to my feelings, but in my heart I was
hoping that he would offer to be my teacher. He read my thought.
"'No, my son, I am not your guru.' Vivekananda gazed with his beautiful, piercing eyes deep into my own.
'Your teacher will come later. He will give you a silver cup.' After a little pause, he added, smiling, 'He
will pour out to you more blessings than you are now able to hold.'
"I left Chicago in a few days," Mr. Dickinson went on, "and never saw the great Vivekananda again. But
every word he had uttered was indelibly written on my inmost consciousness. Years passed; no teacher
appeared. One night in 1925 I prayed deeply that the Lord would send me my guru. A few hours later, I was
awakened from sleep by soft strains of melody. A band of celestial beings, carrying flutes and other
instruments, came before my view. After filling the air with glorious music, the angels slowly vanished.
"The next evening I attended, for the first time, one of your lectures here in Los Angeles, and knew then
that my prayer had been granted."
We smiled at each other in silence.
"For eleven years now I have been your Kriya Yoga disciple," Mr. Dickinson continued. "Sometimes I
wondered about the silver cup; I had almost persuaded myself that Vivekananda's words were only metaphorical.
But on Christmas night, as you handed me the square box by the tree, I saw, for the third time in my life,
the same dazzling flash of light. In another minute I was gazing on my guru's gift which Vivekananda had
foreseen for me forty-three years earliera silver cup!"
Chapter1 - My Parents and Early Life
Chapter2 - My Mother's Death and the Mystic Amulet
Chapter3 - The Saint With Two Bodies
Chapter4 - My Interrupted Flight Toward the Himalayas
Chapter5 - A "Perfume Saint" Displays His Wonders
Chapter6 - The Tiger Swami
Chapter7 - The Levitating Saint
Chapter8 - India's Great Scientist, J.C. Bose
Chapter9 - The Blissful Devotee and His Cosmic Romance
Chapter10 - I Meet My Master, Sri Yukteswar
Chapter11 - Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban
Chapter12 - Years in My Master's Hermitage
Chapter13 - The Sleepless Saint
Chapter14 - An Experience in Cosmic Consciousness
Chapter15 - The Cauliflower Robbery
Chapter16 - Outwitting the Stars
Chapter17 - Sasi and the Three Sapphires
Chapter18 - A Mohammedan Wonder-Worker
Chapter19 - My Master, in Calcutta, Appears in Serampore
Chapter20 - We Do Not Visit Kashmir
Chapter21 - We Visit Kashmir
Chapter22 - The Heart of a Stone Image
Chapter23 - I Receive My University Degree
Chapter24 - I Become a Monk of the Swami Order
Chapter25 - Brother Ananta and Sister Nalini
Chapter26 - The Science of Kriya Yoga
Chapter27 - Founding a Yoga School in Ranchi
Chapter28 - Kashi, Reborn and Rediscovered
Chapter29 - Rabindranath Tagore and I Compare Schools
Chapter30 - The Law of Miracles
Chapter31 - An Interview with the Sacred Mother
Chapter32 - Rama is Raised From the Dead
Chapter33 - Babaji, the Yogi-Christ of Modern India
Chapter34 - Materializing a Palace in the Himalaya
Chapter35 - The Christlike Life of Lahiri Mahasaya
Chapter36 - Babaji's Interest in the West
Chapter37 - I Go to America
Chapter38 - Luther Burbank -- A Saint Amidst the Roses
Chapter39 - Therese Neumann, the Catholic Stigmatist
Chapter40 - I Return to India
Chapter41 - An Idyll in South India
Chapter42 - Last Days With My Guru
Chapter43 - The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar
Chapter44 - With Mahatma Gandhi in Wardha
Chapter45 - The Bengali "Joy-Permeated" Mother
Chapter46 - The Woman Yogi Who Never Eats
Chapter47 - I Return to the West
Chapter48 - At Encinitas in California
Chapter49 - The Years - 1940 - 1951