"How I Came to Babaji"
The following are excerpts from a much longer personal account.
Two weeks before my wedding in March of 1988, I felt some low back strain. At the time I was Director of Biofeedback and Stress Management at J.F. Kennedy Hospital in Lake Worth, Florida, and ran the Biofeedback Department in the Center for Comprehensive Pain Management.
In the course of seeking traditional health care to heal my back, I found myself unable to walk, stand up, or even turn over in bed, and was diagnosed with a herniated disc. Making full use of the conventional resources, I was, however, able to attend my wedding.
Somehow, between the love, prayers, light and blessings, I got on my white and gold wedding gown -- they tell me I looked beautiful. My husband looked like Prince Charming, with a magical twinkle in his eye, love written all over his face, and with loving gestures etched indelibly in my memory. I was filled with so much love and gratitude: grateful for the gift of life and grateful to be marrying the man I had loved since the moment our eyes first met on a Florida beach ten years earlier. We had been spiritually married and living together for six years and had given birth to our beautiful, spirited daughter, Sasha Harmony, five years before. Family and friends gathered from all over the country to kiss me and pray for Sal, Sasha and me on our new journey of life.
One of the vows Sal and I shared was “My darling, I love you for teaching me surrender, that I may surrender to God; I love you for teaching me devotion, that I may be devoted to God; I love you for teaching me joy, that I may be one with the Universe.”
The wedding was beautiful. I sought to understand the debilitating pain that brought me to my wedding in a wheel chair and then returned me to my bed for eight weeks. My question to God was: “What can I learn from this experience and how can I grow from it?” Every day the same question revealed new answers and new, profound healing and beautiful lessons.
In this process I came to know and experience Haidakhan Babaji. The wedding was March 27, 1988. Easter Sunday fell on April 3rd. On Good Friday I received a phone call from Marge and Angelo DeVivo (Hookah Ram and Hansa Singh). They were in town for the weekend, had heard about me through the grapevine, and were available to visit me. Angelo had spent seven years with Babaji during the last years of His incarnation. Marge had spent 6 months at His ashram in India and was now planning to wed Angelo. Marge explained that they were traveling from Babaji’s ashram in Haidakhan, India, to their ashram in Nebraska, and I invited them over for the afternoon.
I had read “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda back in the 70s, and I remember fantasizing about trying to find Him. But at the time I believed that you had to trek for miles, depending very much on luck, and I had no idea where to begin. As a teacher of Hatha Yoga and meditation in the 70’s, I had studied and practiced Yoga with many teachers who came to the U.S.: Swami Satchidananda, Swami Muktananda, Swami Rama, Yogi Amrit Desai, Dr. Rammurti Mishra, and Dr. R.P. Kaushik, and had spent almost two years living in ashrams in California and New York. But, by 1980, I had decided to pursue a traditional life. I wanted to get married and be a mommy and do mommy and wife things.
So, in 1988, when these events happened, I wasn’t even looking for a teacher. Marge and Angelo and I had a beautiful visit. They left some books and photos of Babaji, a calendar, and one of the Aarati tapes I asked for. Together we created a healing agreement in which I envisioned beginning my healing that day and walking by Easter Sunday. And by Easter I had no pain! I was still not looking for a teacher, nor did I yet realize that I had found one.
I reread “Autobiography of a Yogi.” Later that week, when my chiropractor, Dr. Mike Marshall, made a home visit, the first thing he said when he walked into my room was, “I feel the presence of Lord Babaji.”
Then one of my dearest friends, Victoria Johnson, who is a psychotherapist, came to do play therapy with me. She gave me a lump of clay and my task was to model my protector or guardian angel with my eyes closed. It turned out to be quite profound: my guardian’s shield was imprinted with Om, it held a healing sword that could double as a surgeon’s scalpel, in its arms was the Book of Knowledge, and its heart was both inside and outside its body. Then Victoria led a guided imagery exercise during which we both visualized me being healed. When it was over we compared notes. She saw me in a cave -- my image exactly -- and when I showed her the calendar Marge had left, Victoria said it was the same cave she had seen me in. It was a picture of the cave into which Babaji had incarnated.
A week later I got a call from Saraswati, who at the time headed Babaji’s Boynton Beach center. She came over to grace me with an Om Namah Shivaya bracelet.
Then my spiritual name came to me directly during a rereading of “Autobiography of a Yogi”: “GangaDhara” -- which translates to one who has control over the river of life current in the spine. During the 1990 World Healing Tour, Shri Muniraj gave me permission to use the name.
All this time I was healing physically and emotionally as well. My big issue was “I do not want surgery!” But I know and teach about unconscious positive commands: the brain does not compute the don’ts, the subconscious mind reinforces what you focus on. So I changed my thought from “I don’t want surgery” to “I trust God to heal me in the way that’s most perfect.” Of course what that implied was that if I had to have surgery I would accept it, and trust that God would work miracles through the surgeon’s hands. That lightened everything up.
Every day I woke up expecting a miracle ... every day there were new miracles... big ones and little ones. I did some powerful emotional healing work with my inner child and around unresolved issues with my father who had died in 1969. These issues arose through distressful experiences with one physician in particular during this present traumatic time.
Intuitively knowing that Cranio-Sacral Therapy and Therapeutic Touch would help me, I arranged to receive them, even though I was homebound. Cranio-Sacral Therapy came through the Upledger Institute in Palm Beach, and the Therapeutic Touch through Linda Joseph, then Vice-President of the American Samaj and Director of J.F. Kennedy Hospital’s Pain Management Center where we both worked. Small world.
I still did not understand Aarati, but I enjoyed listening to it, and it had become evident that even though I wasn’t looking for a teacher, a teacher had appeared. To fail to acknowledge that fact would be a denial of what was and is. Shri Muniraj has since said that it is not necessary for me to go to India. It seemed that India had come to me and I am eternally grateful and blessed.
As a result of this transformation, I have avoided surgery and am now able to live my life normally - completely healed and free of pain. I swim, I walk, I bike and I do some Hatha Yoga regularly. My back is 110% healed -- stronger than it was before all this happened. We are blessed -- Babaji is in our lives and we are living in Grace.
In October 1988 I founded my wellness corporation, “Transformative Associates Inc.”, out of which grew my record label, SHAKTI MUSIC, which produced Turkantam’s NECTAR OF LIFE in America and my CD, GATEWAY TO INNER PEACE For Deep Relaxation and Self-Healing, which is now available to be previewed and special-ordered nationwide through Barnes & Noble bookstores. Both CDs are also at the ashram in Crestone. All this while, I have worked clinically, specializing in Mindbody Medicine and Biofeedback, and I am also an LRT-sponsored Rebirther in private practice. For the past 12 years, Salvatore and I have expressed our passion by co-hosting the Shri Haidakhandi Babaji Center called Harmony House where we hold monthly Aarati and Sacred Fire Ceremony. My website is Our beautiful daughter, Sasha Harmony, has now graduated from college and is teaching English as a Second Language in elementary school. Her life is a miracle blessing of Baba.