It was one of the most beautiful mornings, the sun was slowly rising, birds chirping, large jungle squirrels running everywhere, and deers wandering in search of food. Man, nature and God in perfect harmony! After breakfast was served, Sri Digvijay Patel prayed to Swami if everyone could go on a drive to see the world famous Armstrong Redwood trees. Swami granted His blessings, and along with the entourage and others guests proceeded on the 45-minutes drive to the National Park. Packed snacks accompanied everyone, and a memorable morning awaited all!
As the cars were parked, there seemed to be a bit of confusion with regard to the path which had to be taken to see the largest Armstrong trees, the main attraction of the visit. Though there were discussions, and even a map to trace the path, Swami urged everyone to walk, led the way and it seemed as if He knew exactly where He was going, and everyone followed Him. At a very human level, it may seem it is His first visit, but after all He is the Creator, a fact that is forgotten, when one is around Swami and interacts closely. But there are those moments when He reveals, with almost a knock on the head to say, “Don’t forget, I am God!”
After a short walk of 15-minutes, the oldest Armstrong tree stood majestically in front on everyone. Swami took a group photograph, before heading back to a little quiet area for some refreshments. As snacks were being served, Swami lovingly spoke to all, before heading back to the Patel residence for lunch.
In the evening, a small Satsang was organised, which commenced with soulful Krishna Bhajans and songs by Brother Sumeet Tappoo. Yet again, an amazing evening filled with devotion and emotion, probably one of the best Satsangs ever! Swami asked Sri B N Narasimha Murthy to speak. He spoke saying that I t is not given to everybody to think of God, chant His name, in the presence of God Himself! He went on quote Adi Sankaracharya, “Durlabham Trayam Eva Etat Daiva Anugraha Hetukam Manushyatvam Mumuksharvam Mahapurushasamshrayamaha“, a stanza which Swami quotes often. It is the rarest of the gift of God, boon, to have three things in life which arise from the grace of God and which will ultimately lead to the grace of God – to be born as human beings; desire for liberation, desire to know the truth, desire to experience God, desire to love God; and the guidance of a spiritual preceptor. He concluded by saying that the only thing which distinguishes human beings from animals, is love for God!
Bhagawan is His discourse spoke about Bhakti, and said that simply having Love for God is not sufficient, as it must be coupled with unshakable faith. He said, “Truly, the highest of all the Bhakti, the devotion that Lord has ever experienced, is of the Gopikas and Gopalas. Their love was selfless. They were the best devotees, as they did not expect anything from Krishna – just His love and just His presence.” Swami also spoke about Radha’s love for Krishna, due to her power and purity of devotion. “Only such devotees are capable of understanding God. The rest can try but they cannot. But one who selflessly offers himself / herself to God without any expectation, that kind of devotee alone will understand God, and will experience God.”
After a few Questions and Answers, Mangala Arati was offered, and dinner Prasadam was served to all.
The next morning, June 22, after breakfast, Swami blessed the ladies who had toiled day and night cooking delicious food for everyone, with a group photograph. Mangala Arati was offered, and everyone proceeded to the Santa Rosa Airport to depart for the last leg of the US trip, to Orange County near Los Angeles. Everyone reached the hotel in the evening, and after a quick refreshment, dinner was served to all. Bhagawan partook His dinner, and retired for the night.