As a teenager I spent some months working in a paint factory, where paint was mass produced. Today I feel like I’m living in a saint factory in India, as I hear first-hand accounts every day of heroic love and selfless giving.
Of course, one can’t mass produce saints like paints. But we are now seeing so many souls rising up to the spiritual heights. I’m starting to understand how India has been the source of so much spiritual greatness over the centuries. The present looks difficult — the spiritual future looks very bright.
Growing up in America, there was a beautiful children’s show called Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. In his humble way, the saintly Mister Rogers taught children how to be better human beings.
Mister Rogers famously said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.””
During my years in India, I’ve heard Indians and Americans complain, “where are the saints nowadays? There used to be so many, now they can’t be found!” My response has been some variation of, “Just look around you! They are here!”
They are becoming easier to see now, all around us even. There is a great light coming into the world at this moment, as hard as that is to believe. Every day I hear stories proving it.
A dentist (the wife of an Ananda member) who has dropped her dental practice for now, so that she can serve on the covid front lines. A girl, youngest in the family, recovering from covid herself who can barely get up at times — yet is lovingly visiting her family members in the hospital every day. A doctor who wryly, but joyfully, shared that ‘I don’t even need a bed to fall asleep anymore,’ because of endless hospital shifts. There are many others.
These are not people who are already perfect. How do you think saints are made? These souls are simply willing to give, serve, and love — ignoring the all-too-common feeling of unworthiness or insignificance.
To paraphrase Mister Rogers, “Look for the saints. You will always find them.” Right now, look for the light. It is there. It is all around us.
Better yet, become one of those helper saints yourself. Be the light that is needed in the world. Jump onto the saint-making assembly line.
You might ask, “What can I do if I’m in lockdown or quarantine?” You can pray for others. Pray for those who suffer. Pray for those who grieve. Pray for the helpers. You can also give financial help to the many who can’t pay for their own medical needs.
Prayer is one clear path to God and to saintliness. Read the lives of the great saints and you will see the common thread of prayer.
If you like, you can follow the example of our Ananda Centre in Chennai, India. They have been holding a pray-a-thon last week and this week. Every weekday hour, on the hour, they gather together on Zoom. First, they listen to some music or other inspiration. Then they launch into healing prayers. Fifty people have been taking part, with fifty new prayer requests coming in each day.
What is the best way to pray? In an upcoming blog, I’ll share some tips on how to pray more effectively during this time.
Many people find themselves pulled emotionally downward, into the pain and grief of the people they are praying for.
Effective prayer is inspiring, uplifting, and even joy-awakening.
You can start by following this simple approach given by Swami Kriyananda: “Joy will be yours when you can hold the griefs of others up to God’s love for His comfort.” — Swami Kriyananda