Paramhansa Yogananda taught us above all that the true goal of life is union with God. Devotion, self-offering, self-surrender, oneness in Bliss and Divine Love: these are the entire purpose of life.

I lovingly remember one day when Master played a recording for a small group of us by a famous singer of Bengal, Mrinal Kanti Ghosh. It was a devotional song, “Pashan Hoye”:

How long will You remain, Mother,
A stone image before my gaze?
Set fire ablaze in Your eyes
And come to me, dancing over all Creation!
O Mother! divine energy fills the universe
With Your flowing hair!
Garlanded by thoughts in all minds—
Dancing! Dancing!
O Mother! free me this day—
This very moment — from delusion’s bonds!
Countless lives have I lived apart from You.
At last, now, bring peace into my body temple!

I don’t remember all the words, and am not conversant enough in Bengali to understand many of them. But I remember Master telling us afterward, “As I was listening, I too was dancing over all Creation!”

Man’s relationship with God is intimate, and infinitely dear. What I’ve hoped above all in writing this book has been to convince you, dear reader, to live more deeply for God: to love Him so completely that you become wholly absorbed in Him.

God hears our every prayer. Of all aspects of the Divine, that of Mother is the sweetest. As my Guru once said, “Mother is closer than the Father.” I, too, prefer to pray to God as my Divine Mother. And I can testify to the truth of what my Guru told us: “When you pray to Her, She will answer!”

How often have even my trivial requests been answered — like the so-unnecessary wish I expressed to Her many years ago (I mentioned that episode in these pages) for Swiss chocolate.

One needn’t be formal in prayer. Indeed, God should be approached as one’s own Dearest Friend and Beloved!

Many years ago — another example — I felt that Divine Mother wanted me to return to India. I had been absent from there for ten years, but now I had enough money saved to go back and stay there for about two months.

Shortly before my scheduled departure, I was driving my car into San Francisco when the engine threw a rod. I realized I’d have to trade in this car for a newer one. This need, however, placed me in a dilemma. The money for my trip was all the wealth I had. Should I trade in my car and buy a new one? or should I keep my money for the trip Divine Mother wanted me to take? I’ve always tried to reconcile faith with common sense.

Ananda Village is in the mountains, far from urban conveniences. A car is, for me, a virtual necessity. I wouldn’t be able to stay long in India. Without a vehicle, I’d be virtually “stranded” upon my return. What should I do?

I asked Divine Mother for guidance. I knew of no place in which to sit quietly and “tune in.” All I could think of was to have a quiet lunch with a few friends in a downtown restaurant. No guidance came.

Finally I said, “Divine Mother, You haven’t answered me; perhaps I haven’t been silent enough to hear You. Common sense tells me, however, that I must have a car when I return from India. I see no reasonable choice, therefore, but to buy one. If You still want me to take this journey, You’ll have to reimburse me!”

I paid $1,100 for a good second-hand car. This money, along with $700 I received for my crippled vehicle, covered the cost. I left the car dealership on a Friday evening. The next Monday morning, at home, I received a letter from someone unknown to me. Enclosed was a check — made out to me, personally — for a thousand dollars. The letter stated, “Please use this money as Divine Mother wants you to.”

Now, please ask yourself: How many people in America pray to God as their Divine Mother? Hardly any! Every time I recall this episode, my eyes fill with tears. Many, many times in my life have I found Divine Mother’s loving assistance fulfilling my needs, answering my questions! In living for God, I have found the thrill of an unceasing, divine romance.

Let me end this book by writing out — first in Bengali, then in English — a devotional song. Thoughts from it found expression in two of my Guru’s favorite chants:

Amar shad na mithilo,
Asha na purilo,
Shakholi phuraejai Ma!
Amar shad na mithilo.
Janomer shod,
Dakhi go Ma Tore,
Kole tule nite ai Ma!
Shakholi phuraejai Ma!
Ei prithibir keu
Bhalo to bashe na;
Ei prithibi bhalo bashite jane na:
Jetai achhe shudhu bhalobashi,
Sheta jete pran chhai, Ma!
Shakoli phuraejai Ma!
Bado daga peye
Bashana twejeyechi—
Bado daga shaye
Kamona bhugeyechi.
Anek kandeyechi:
Kandite pari na.
Bhuk phete bhengejai Ma!
Shakoli phuraejai Ma!
Amar shad na mithilo.…

My desires have not yet been fulfilled;
My hopes, not yet realized.
O Mother! my earthly dreams have all fled away!
Once more I call out from the pain of my heart:
Mother! Take me on Your lap!
O Mother! my earthly dreams have all fled away!
In this world, Mother,
Who is there that truly loves?
In this world they do not know how to love!
There, where true love is,
There alone would my heart dwell forever.
O Mother! my earthly dreams have all fled away!
Long, long have I called You, Dearest One!
How much longer can I keep on calling?
For love of You my heart is breaking!
O Mother! my earthly dreams have all fled away!
Yet my hopes, alas, have not yet been fulfilled.…

And so ends my story. As Sister Gyanamata would often say: “God alone! God alone!”