~ TRIYOGA FRIENDS WHO HAVE PASSED ~
We have often wondered if those who pass can hear our words, intuit our feelings, answer our calls, and give us inspiration from their divine abode. It is only natural to want to believe as this gives comfort when close friends leave their physical body. Yet, it is more than comfort; it is a reality that we can feel their presence without the physical form. Most importantly is to feel with the heart. Let the thinking mind rest. As the mind calms and the inner heart feels, one can be receptive to the soul in subtle form. Throughout the world we can hear of varied experiences with those who had communication with the subtle realm. A universal thinker realizes the atman (soul), is eternal. We have three bodies; two that remain. The physical body at some time in everyone’s life will dissolve back into the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. The mind will continue in the subtle body. Upon passing from this physical form, we are still in full remembrance as the mind awareness is still present. We still know one another. It is pretty much the same except for the “WOW, I am still alive but in a subtle form that is so full of light and color it seems I have an even greater form.” And the sublime peace is immediately experienced due to increased knowledge, awareness, and the release of the physical form. And with this, I can feel at peace with my friends passing from physical to the subtle realm. I accept that the great timing of birth and departure are so significant that it must be destiny at play. A destiny we create over eons of time. But nevertheless, we wish our friendships were unbroken even in physical reality. This is where surrender to a higher pure consciousness must take over. We can only achieve peace of mind by such absolute surrender to a higher cause that is far greater and reaching in eternal wisdom to know our time of departure is always in the flow.
These dear TriYoga friends continue to be close at heart. Their presence is not diminished with the release of the physical form, but rather expanded through their subtle form. Jai to Atman, our Eternal Soul. We will remain connected in our hearts… and treasure the thought of our next meeting in this journey…
~ Yogini Kaliji
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Video: Kaliji visits Rolf in hospice • April 24, 2019 • Berlin, Germany
Rolf’s words, selected from the transcript of his visit with Kaliji and TriYoga friends:
Yoga changed my life very, very deeply. When I started 17 years ago, it was at the end of my normal profession as a chemist. I was in India and I had my first lesson in yoga, directly on the ocean and I thought, “okay, yoga can be a new variety in my life.” When I came back I spoke with my daughter Sonja. She had started to practice yoga with Urvasi, and I thought, “Okay, what shall I do now?” Then I started to practice yoga but very, very soon I began to realize that you can practice yoga only when you have a deeper knowledge of yoga, more in the spiritual mind than in the physical mind. I thought that perhaps I had to begin a yoga education, and Nandi convinced me: she said, “Rolf I think you can be a good yoga teacher,” and I thought “Well okay, I’ll do it.”
The yoga course changed my life very very deeply, and I became a “new man” I guess you could say.
My friends told me, “Rolf, at your age (I was 64 when I started), you will begin a new education? Why?” And I thought, “Why not?” Now they say, “Okay, it was a good idea for you.” I’m very very happy to have had this time.
Unbelievable that I am here in your presence.
What can I tell you? This is here, my last station before I change my life from here to the next…to another form.
I’m a chemist. As a chemist I think about what will be changed with all my materials. I have the carbon, the nitrogen, the oxygen, what all is existing in my body. And then I think okay, the energy will leave the body and then I’m dead. But the material…for example, I organized my funeral and I will be burned. What will happen afterwards? All my molecules and atoms will be gone away, into the water, the air, and all of the people who are living on earth, as an individual I will go to the universe. That is a concept I can imagine and I can enjoy because I am not away. I’m still existing, with all the information in my molecules and atoms. And that is a very acceptable situation when you go from here to the universe. As a chemist, of course. There are a lot of other thoughts you can think, but you have to decide which for you is the right one.
But let me be very very relaxed, I hope you see me as relaxed.
The last five or ten years, I’ve talked with friends a lot about life and death and this is, for me, not a problem, because I have not been anxious.
In Greek mythology there is a picture of Death that is not the man who comes with the scythe and will cut your head, but Death as a loving man who will embrace you. This is my expectation. Okay, why not? Another kind of living. And I feel the Greek people have thought in the right manner.
When I can I see forward, when I can see what is expected of me, then I’m very, very relaxed; I can organize and I can decide what will happen. And I can show my children from life to death is one step. Could be a longer one or a shorter one, but it is a step that you don’t have be anxious for. You can do it very very quietly. And I think that yoga brought me in this direction—other things, too, but of course yoga, and especially you and all your speeches. I didn’t understand every word every time, but you had wonderful translations, from Urvasi and Eva Maria, and I remember the music from Mercury.
I understand Yoga now as a science of life…with all different aspects, you can imagine it is.
That’s what I also learned, Kaliji, from you: the intonation of yoga. I had an English teacher who said that the three most important things when you speak English are the intonation, the pronunciation, and the pauses. And with yoga it could be nearly the same. You have to intonate it very deeply, you have to make the pauses, the resting, and you have the pronunciation, what happens with your body, and with your mind when you practice yoga.
I remember you explaining that when you started TriYoga you felt in your fingers, in your hands, very exciting movements. I try to explain to [others] but they don’t understand it. It is not possible to understand it without knowing you. I wonder every time that I am so deeply involved with or touched by yoga, and then when I see you I think “Oh, there are people who have incorporated all these thoughts of yoga very, very deeply” and sometimes I think, “A little bit I have learned from it. A very little bit.”
I lived in Corbusierhaus near the Olympic Stadium. Until this year, this March, one year ago, I had a group of people who were interested in practicing yoga in my house. It’s a building with nearly 800 people living there. And I had some visitors every weekend because all the architecture students from all over the world want to visit the Corbusierhaus. So a lot of students come to Berlin to see it and one time they came to my flat and I was practicing yoga. They asked if I was a teacher, and I said yes. And then they asked me if I was able to teach a yoga course, and a quarter of a year later we started yoga in a great flat with 10-15 people and they were very, very impressed [as architects] because it was very, very exact.
[about a video that was once made of Rolf in TriYoga Flow]: This video I like it very much because I understood that I felt the flow. You can say, okay perhaps he could be not still alive, but the flow is still alive.
When people are visiting me, I feel what is with their behavior…three of my friends came here and we never could speak anything about these circumstances, death and life. “Oh I will have a voyage next week,” they go away from what is happening now. And that you feel very sensitive, more sensitive than before. It is my experience in the last weeks and months to see the differences from a lot of people to these situations, death and life.
When my son-in-law was dying, I told him, “You are in a very good situation, you are dying, but we have to accompany you and we are still alive while you are dead.” So i think the people who are surviving are in the worse position than those who are dying.
And to my children I feel the same. Because for all the children, the parents will die, but I hope they will learn how you can die. That’s my first thing, to show them that you can die in a very, very relaxed situation. Love—it can embrace you, say goodbye have a good life, I will say goodbye.
I will thank you very much, for coming here, for visiting with me, for seeing all your wonderful faces, and I will remark that this day, with your coming here, will be very, very deeply incorporated in my body and of course in my mind.
Thank you, thank you very much, now I will fulfill my circle and I’m very, very happy that you were here. It’s deeply conserved in my heart.
May 18, 1976 – September 2, 2018
Many years ago you were chosen by the Divine Mother to show me the meaning of my coming and being here on Earth. You brought me to Kaliji and thus opened the door to TriYoga for me and helped me find what I’d been looking for all my life. We were so close and harmonious that we could stay by each other in silence and feel calm and peaceful. We haven’t ever argued or had opposite views. We supported each other in all difficult moments and were glad for any success of each other.
From your very birth you were very different and special. You had always had your own view and opinion about anything and you never betrayed your soul always following your own way. It’s rare to meet such humility, inner strength, spirit, wisdom, calmness and heart purity like you had. Your loving and unselfish heart was vast!
Fighting cancer for 4 years you stayed the same. Even suffering from pain you never complained. Your eyes remained beautiful and clear till the very last days mirroring your beautiful soul.
You were so creative, talented, kind and loving. Your marvelous, light, pure, angelic soul felt too tight in this body. Oh, how you will be missed! Light memory to you.
Rest in peace my dear, sweet, beloved sister. Nobody and nothing compares to you. Life goes on but it will never be the same anymore. I have to learn to live without you. I’m very thankful to my destiny for those years when you were in my life. I know we will meet again and it makes me feel calm that I still have you. But I’m sure to miss you here, in this incarnation. I will always love you. I will always remember you.
Your sister Julia.
JAYA GURU DEVI
December 29, 1953 – May 2, 2018
Our love and deepest condolences to Joan’s husband John, daughter, Jordan, her her extended family.
Mother of Mercury Max
– June 1, 2017
October 20, 1966 – March 31, 2017
Laurie McLennan passed away March 31, 2017 after a seven year struggle with ovarian cancer. She was a certified TriYoga teacher and taught for 15 years in her adopted home of Durham North Carolina. An avid nature lover and activist she inspired all who knew her.
December 5, 1943 – March 21, 2013. Anniversary
Paul Johnson, affectionately known as “Pablito”, left us on March 21, 2013. He was a TriYoga student from 1993 to 2013, taking 3 to 4 classes per week.
In 2010, Paul wrote, “I have now been doing TriYoga for over 17 years. I give great credit to my yoga practice, and yoga buddies, for keeping me well and able to meet the challenges of life with internal strength and external vigor!”
In 2012, he wrote, “I have been a teacher in other fields. I have gained so much from my TriYoga practice that I want to be able to provide that experience to others. My life is changing and moving in a more spiritual direction.”
Pablito joined three TriYoga Internships–Basics, Level 1 and Prana Vidya. On his application, he wrote, “TriYoga has assisted me in becoming the strong, joyful! ! ! ! person I am now. I have gained in all manner of health—physical, mental, spiritual through my yoga practice. Strength, endurance, focus, concentration, awareness. I have come to understand my true nature as energy and that my energy combines with that of the universe. I have had Kundalini experiences in classes starting August 2011.”
Dealing with cancer, he wrote, “Through my TriYoga practice I have found inner strength, inner joy, inner acceptance. And I have made wonderful friends.” He penned many poems at this time, including this one –
*My nirvana is everywhere*
my bliss is all the time
be ever free
my body may stay
my spirit will go into the infinite
strengthening and stretching
my world may be challenging
my spirit is strong calm and joyful
i am existence knowledge bliss.”
In loving memory to Pablito.
1921 – May 22, 2016
In honor of Emma Golds, the dear mother of Shanti
Emma was highly intuitive. She would give “readings” to anyone at any time. She inspired everyone she met. Emma left an impression on all. One could feel she was a bridge to the subtle realm. She had one hand here and another hand in the subtle plane.
Fortunately i had a feeling in this past year to ask to see Emma on SKYPE. We had a wonderful meeting:) She will always be remembered with a big smile on my face with my inner ear listening for her messages.
When I spoke with Shanti on the phone, she shared these special memories with me:
When the young Shanti was leaving her home in New Zealand, she told her mother that she would return. Emma predicted, “You will take residence in another country”.
Emma asked Shanti to promise that she would never be left in a nursing home:) Shanti told Emma that will never happen. Emma spent her last 11 years at Gabriel and Shanti’s Tree of Life Center.
Emma lived to age 94. She never took any medications during her life. This included aspirin. She did enjoy the natural supplements that Shanti & Gabriel provided and happily enjoyed a vegan diet. She left her body naturally without sickness. She began to eat less, then left on the auspicious full moon in May on the holy day of Narasimha and the birthday of the Buddha. Emma’s last words were “Beautiful” with Shanti by her side.
– March 21, 2015
On behalf of TriYoga International our condolences go to the family of the TriYoga Teacher, Joy. I had the pleasure of knowing Joy since the early 90’s. I thank her brother, Jivada, for introducing us.
I am glad to have spoken with Joy on the phone a few days before she left her body. It is amazing to witness the clarity and acceptance that comes when the time is near for one who has surrendered to the flow. She had no fear knowing the time was approaching.
She fought a long, hard battle with many health issues along the way. Yet most of her life though was blessed with radiant health and youthfulness abound.
Joy’s sweetness and love inspired many to her large circle of friends and to yoga. She helped so many to return to health from illness and disease. She spent years teaching yoga at the Duke University. A TriYoga Community sprung up in Durham after she moved there from our ashrama in California. Her love for the feline species was her passion. We shared this great admiration for our ’tiger friends’. I will miss Joy as she was a family member to me. She
was/is a yogi warrior and will come to support us here when she can. And, we will see Joy again and again on this eternal path.
May we join together in celebrating her Life. She was kind, she was strong, she was a yogi with a big heart for all paths.
Ah, what a great sign appeared when she departed her physical form ~ it was the Vedic New Year! She loved astrology~ Oh how i wish she knew the flow had her depart on this most auspicious day! The day before departing thought was the energy of new moon & spring equinox plus two eclipses. This she knew and felt. Wow what a time to fly ! Another angel as joined the TriYogis in the skies ~
Below is part of my message i read to Joy when we last spoke:
JAYA GURU DEVI
to the one who SHINES ~~~
I love you Joy. The moment we met,
it was as if time stood still and we
had always known one. I enjoyed
so much sharing our life together
and for some time sharing our hOMe.
Our common love for yoga, music, and the felines
gave us so much to share. Your TriYoga
Community will miss you. One never knows
how much until the time has come for one
to go to the next loka. You will love where you
are going. Your family is there to greet you.
I know you are excited to see your parents.
There is Mata Jayalakshmi and TriYoga
family there too so please give Mataji
You never aged in all the photos we have
of you. Your name JOY is perfect
as you look like the vehicle of Joy.
Thus your Sanskrit name is Sri Lakshmi.
In my deep sleep here on planet Earth,
my subtle body will come to see you.
We all visit during our deep sleep time.
So for those passing over to subtle realm,
they have conscious awareness of visiting
us on earth during our sleep. This makes
it easier for those who have departed.
Thank you for being my constant friend.
Thank you for expressing lightness & joy.
Thank you for blessing us with your presence.
I miss you, Yet, I know we are never apart.
I truly know this to be true.
When you have a chance, please check in with us
to see how TriYoga will continue to reach many
souls. Now TriYoga is in 40-countries and growing.
Thank you for being part of this sacred mission.
Thank you for taking TriYoga & Vegan to Durham.
We have a beautiful community there now.
Sri Swamiji always remembered you.
He called upon you. Wanting to see you.
His affectionate name for you is ‘The Cat Lady’.
I know His Blessings are with you.
On behalf of TriYoga International Family ~
we feel your great love so we take comfort in
knowing you will have an enlightening experience.
The Mystical Shine has begun !
I love you always…
See you ~~~
JAYA GURU DEVI
– January 11, 2015
~ September 9, 2014
JAYA GURU DEVI ~
May our community of loving thoughts flow to John wherever his soul is traveling now~
May he feel our love and continued support for his journey.
May the disease of depression be left behind in the physical brain and not in his subtle mind that remains.
In this case, he will feel the breath of happiness.
My condolences to his partner Deb. May all support her during this difficult transition.
John is blessed to have experience Theresa sharing TriYoga from her heart. This gift remains.
Together ‘Let’s Make the World Smile’…….it is much needed….OM
Dear Friends and Family,
Now for a different type of message. One of our TriYoga flow-ers passed on this Tuesday. John and his wife/partner Deb Fisher, who brings flowers to class, have been taking Wednesday evening classes for a while now at TriYoga Bellefonte. John’s last breath was a conscious one of a different sort, in that he took his own life.
John had a hard winter full of depression, I believe, and seemed to be lightening up in recent months. When I asked him about it a while back, he said the spring and early summer greens were helping.
I hope to find an appropriate way to celebrate his being with the larger TYCP community. In the meantime, here is a sweet message from the Bellefonte Art Museum which Jennifer forwarded and which I want like to share with you. I like it that he’s wearing orange in this picture. Some of you may recognize his artwork as the face of Crickfest T-shirts this year.
I will miss his presence in class, his ever-evolvoing/revolving twists, and his recently acquired habit of smiling on the way out the door.
With love and tenderness,
Daniela “Dani” Palik
December 11 1961 – August 26, 2012
A lifelong traveler, Daniela was described by her friend and teacher Roselyne as always “seeking the deeper sense of life”. She began her TriYoga experience in the early 2000s, and became a regular at the Bad Meinberg and Goa retreats, as well as a repeat visitor to Santa Cruz and the Malibu ashram. She made deep connections with those she met, and was always sharing a warm smile and a deep thought with those around her. From her sister Gabi:
To my dearest sister!
Daniela – or Dani, that`s how we called you.
You were a globetrotter and so curious to explore the world!
From the very beginning, when you were a little girl of 4 or 5 years, where you disappeared to some places in the neighbourhood to find out about what ́s outside our home – that was driving our parents almost crazy.
And at the age of 18 you decided to go to Berlin to find out more about the world, the people, freedom and life as such, where you tried out „nearly everything“.
And you were always travelling around the world where you made friends with a lot of people.
You were a real good friend to your best friends, and sometimes you forgot about yourself.
You did cut your own path, although the journey of life was „cobbled“ – not only with good experience.
You seemed always so strong, but deep inside of you, there was also something fragile, tender and even a bit of „blue“.
Yoga had been an essential chapter of your life – and they said, you were such a good teacher.
Spirituality was also of utmost importance – and you found your own way.
You were chaos, you were discipline, you were Dani – we will never forget you!
January 13, 1951 – January 10, 2012
This message was Kaliji’s last written communication with Debby:
Dhanyavada (thank-you) for sharing your earth journey with us,
and now you are guiding us through debsway ~~~
You have an enduring fan base who are grateful to read your words of wisdom.
We love you ~ and as a yogi ~ we know this LOVE is lasting.
Our friendship and yoga lineage continues on and on ~
I will be visiting your blog daily to bask
in the rich friendship, insights, and devotion
that is shared among you and your friendly admirers.
Rarely does a soul welcome their loved ones and extended family of friends
to share their path to the other worlds ~ what a gift you are giving us.
The TYI team have been preparing an announcement to be shared with the TriYoga parivar (family).
As soon as we were ready to send this message, it was announced that debsway is now open. in the flow ~
Please know I am here for you in all ways ~ as are your many, many friends family members.
Let us know if you have any requests or feelings to share ~
we are ready ~
We feel blessed to have been touched by your shining light.
We deeply appreciate that you are inspiring all who know you ~
that when the time comes,
let us aim to leave the body in peace, and with full acceptance.
May we embrace the celestial realms
where bliss pervades ~
and family friends:)
We may enter this world crying ~ may we leave laughing ~
or at least may we have come closer to the LIGHT.
Debby, you light the minds and hearts of many ~
with the blessings of mother goddess,
your eternal yogi friend,
Debby also spoke on this video, giving a testimonial about her experience with Kaliji and TriYoga:
~ August, 2011
We can all give thanks to TriYoga Friend, Michael O’Hearn.
In the 80s, I was teaching daily classes in my small living room in Santa Cruz, CA. It had never entered my mind to open a yoga center. Then destiny took place.
Michael was the helper! I did not know Michael, yet he had heard of me. In early 1986 he called and offered me the opportunity to share rent with other yoga teachers at his very sweet building on New Street in Santa Cruz. Within a short time all the students were taking only TriYoga classes. Michael then offered the whole center to TriYoga at the low fee of $600 per month.
His generosity continued. With his amazing eye for beauty and his green thumb, he oversaw the planting of many trees and bushes lining both sides of the street. And to complete, he added tall gas lamps to stand between the trees. Ah, what an eye for beauty he had. And this was not all. . .
He was a true philanthropist as he gifted Santa Cruz many beautiful places. He restored homes and gave neighborhoods a touch of the Garden of Eden.
Michael always kept our rent low until we outgrew the place and moved to our present location, just around the corner.
It was in this first TriYoga Center on New Street in Santa Cruz where destiny also unfolded. A respected yoga teacher in her later 70s came to my class. Afterwards she called the top coordinator of yoga conferences to say, “Kaliji is a world-class teacher. You must arrange to meet her for potential yoga conferences”. We met a few days later, and I have been teaching nationally and internationally ever since.
Our first TriYoga Teacher Trainings were also held at the TYC on New Street. The original teaching team began there. Oh, so many memories I hold that took place on 113 New Street.
We were fortunate Michael was our next-door neighbor. The last time I saw Michael he was making an offer to our present landlady to buy the TYC on Washington Street. He also put in a bid to buy the house next door so TYC would have accommodations. Neither of the offers was accepted although he kept trying. He continued until his last breath helping to make whatever he touched a place of peaceful beauty.
Thank you, Dear Michael for inspiring me with my first TriYoga Center. You were the perfect vehicle to support our first center! Many people have been trained inside those walls. And many people outside those walls have gained from these senior teachers sharing TriYoga in over 40 countries. Now there are more than 50 TriYoga Centers worldwide and growing . . .
Wherever you are ~ I know it is beautiful.
We miss Michael O‘Hearn in the neighborhood of TriYoga Center Santa Cruz.
I often think of Michael who kept the neighborhood beautiful with his landscaping.
He was appreciated at TriYoga Center.
Michael O’Hearn was an acclaimed architect and a longtime Santa Cruz resident
who built his life around making homes, office buildings and gardens that look
like they belonged in a magazine. He died August 2, 2011 from throat cancer. He was 71.
-from Kim Beecher, D.C. (Nandi)
Facts from Santa Cruz Sentinel
1925 – August 9, 2010
Dear mother, wife, and friend made her transition in the early morning of August 9th, after a short illness. Jeanette was peaceful and comfortable at home with hospice care. She was 85. Jeanette was born Zynaida Romanavna Dontzova in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Her parents emigrated from Moldova in 1920. Jeanette was always a very active and athletic child, and her mother wasn’t quite sure what to do with her! Though they lived in poverty, she had many fond memories of her childhood. Born on Friday the 13th, she would taunt her childhood friends with “I’m going to put the jinx on you!” and thus her nickname Jinx or Jinks was born. Jeanette graduated from high school at age 16 to attend Hunter College where she played on the field hockey and basketball teams. She went on to the Cornell University/New York Hospital School of Nursing, receiving a BS in Nursing. She would tell people, “I am a Cornell graduate but have never been to Ithaca!” One month after graduation she was promoted to head nurse for labor and delivery then six months later to head nurse of the OB/GYN complications department. In 1950, she and a classmate bought a car and had an adventure driving across the country to San Francisco, where she was the Maternity Department Supervisor at Franklin Hospital. She was also a childbirth and parent educator and advocate for natural childbirth. She then worked in a private OB practice, where they were revolutionary in allowing fathers into the delivery room, which was against the law at the time. She received her Master’s in Education at San Francisco State in 1957. In 1958 she married Henry Hines. Son Donald was born in 1960 and daughter Antonina in 1962. In 1964, as a single mother, Jeanette and children moved to New York to be closer to her sister’s family. She received her MS in Nursing from NYU in 1969 where she researched and wrote her thesis on fathers and childbirth, a first ever in nursing literature. In 1969, she moved her family to Amherst, Massachusetts. She was an Assistant Professor of Nursing and developed a community-based curriculum, another nursing first. In 1975, they moved to Washington DC, where she was Director of Nursing Services at PreTerm Institute. She wrote the nursing manual “When You Only Have Five Minutes” on teaching during short clinic visits. In 1977 she became Associate Professor of Nursing at San Diego State University. Jeanette mentored another generation of future nursing leaders, and was very active on the Education Committee of the California Nurses Association and state curriculum accreditation committees. She took a leave from teaching to attend UCSF where she received her Doctor of Nursing Science degree in 1987, doing a qualitative study on the experiences of first-time fathers. She retired in 1991, staying in San Diego assisting midwives in alternative birthing centers and continuing work with the Bi-national Nurses Association in Tijuana. Her doctor told the 63-year-old that she had to give up running because of arthritis “Arthritis!” she replied, “That’s for old people!” In 1993 she moved to Santa Cruz to be closer to her children. Right away she was a leader in the Campaign for Single Payer Health Care. She helped found and was very active in Health Care for All – Santa Cruz and Health Care for All – California from 1995-2005. She’s been active in the WILPF Santa Cruz Branch and sang with the Raging Grannies. She was a Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission member in 1997, and involved in the Santa Cruz Sister City Committee. Jeanette traveled with a delegation to sister city Alushta, Ukraine, and housed visiting guests in her home here. In February 1999, she joyfully married Paul Johnson, whom she met during the 1994 Prop 186 Single Payer campaign. In 2001, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Cornell University/New York Hospital School of Nursing. Jeanette enjoyed riding on the back of Paul’s motorcycle into her late 70s. Late in life she developed a fondness for Mother Russia, studying Russian at UCSC and travelling there as well as visiting Moldova. Recently she has enjoyed her family, her cat, and reading murder mysteries. Jeanette is survived by her husband Paul and his brother Robert in Los Angeles, son Donald Hines of San Jose, daughter Antonina Hines of Santa Cruz, sister Antonina Blotsky of Florida, one niece, and several great and great-great nieces and nephews. Jeanette was a spunky, intelligent, energetic and committed person. She was very opinionated and fiercely independent, yet she also had a wonderfully kind and compassionate heart. We miss her dearly.
October 7, 1953 – April 29, 2010
A student of TriYoga for several years, Paula worked in nursing in Dubuque and Iowa City. While in Iowa City, her interests turned to the role of women in society and she entered the University of Iowa to study Anthropology. Her studies took to her to rural and urban communities in Guatemala and Nicaragua. She was awarded a Master’s of Art in Anthropology in 1990 for her thesis Social Transformations in Guatemalan Communities: Class, Ethnic, and Gender Relations and a Ph.D in 2000 for her dissertation thesis Narratives of Social Healing: Cultural Politics and the Nicaraguan Women’s Movement. Following that, she returned to nursing at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where she provided compassionate care to those with mental disorders, particularly eating disorders.
– September 23, 2009
Robert Astrich left his physical body on September 23th, 2009 during the Yoga holy days of Navaratri (worship of the Divine as Mother Goddess), and during the Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah. On this auspicious yoga day of Vijaya Dasami (celebration of good over evil), and on the holy day of Yom Kippur, I write in celebration of Robert and his life on planet Earth. To leave during the high energetic times (holy days) is auspicious.
I can see the flow in Robert’s life leading him to this day. The flow of events that emerged is a compassionate gift from the universe to let us see it is destiny at play. When one embarks upon a journey and one is about to reach the destination, signs will be along the way: 100-50-10 more miles, next exit. In the same way, we can often see the signs it is time to leave the body. The last time I saw Robert was May 2009 when he was nearby for a coin show. He was en route to the ashrama when he called requesting to have time to ask questions about “What happens when one leaves the body; are they still aware on the other side; will they see their loved ones again ~ asking if he’d see Barb, his beloved wife”. I eagerly said yes, we will speak on this tonight. This is the first time Robert had ever asked such questions.
When I hung up the phone, I told Mercury to prepare the sound system for chanting when Robert and the “coin boys,” as I affectionately call them, arrive. I felt Robert had to hear chanting. It had been a long time since the last chanting session with him. Upon arrival, we gathered in the Devi Temple (meditation room). As always, Robert shared how his dear wife and children were doing. The love for his family was always first in his life. We would enjoy his expression of pure love for Barb and his fatherly protection for the children. Bob had such a caring heart. If he ever telephoned, it was in concern for someone he loved, from a family member to someone in the coin community.
It was rare for Robert to ask a question regarding yoga philosophy. Our connection was heart to heart. I don’t even recall a question until the last night we met. He asked “What happens when someone dies? Will I know Barb? What will it be like?” We spent the evening on this topic only. He was relieved to know he’d see Barb again and again.
He became like a child with such curiosity and said “I am not afraid of death. I am actually curious about it and about what will happen!” With this said, we went to chant. I had his seat placed in front of me near the puja / altar. After an hour of chanting, as they were leaving to go, Robert began to recall the first time he attended chanting and the life-changing experience that took place in him. It was truly remarkable to witness the miracle of ‘grace’.
Around 12 years ago, Robert was in the area due to a coin convention. Our ashrama was in Aptos at the time. At the request of Manu, Ahimsa, Jana, and others, Robert attended his first satsanga. He didn’t seem too interested during the chanting. After chanting, I went to greet them. I spontaneously reached out to both of Robert’s hands. Immediately his eyes began to tear as a big smile emerged. He began to dance throughout the room. This was so out of character for him. He said energy flowed from his feet to his head. The next day, Robert expressed that the energy experience enabled him for the first time to look at him self in the mirror and into the eyes of others. This opening continued for Robert.
There was a coin show in the area two months ago. Our paths did not cross. He emailed to say he missed our meeting. I ran across this email just the night before he left his body. Interestingly enough, I deleted it without a response. I had always responded previously whenever he wrote. After rest, shortly upon waking, I had a strong feeling to write this message:
When does man start to cry
Life’s too short
The blink of an eye
Heroes take a stand in flight
When you feel no fright
Where the shadows roam
I see the Light shining ever so bright
From the cornucopia setting
Morning’s glory is setting the story.
Later in early afternoon, I read again this writing. I questioned “what does it mean”, as it sounded like a man soon to leave his body; a man who is a hero as he conquered fear; facing the light. Then the phone rang. It was Manu, informing me that Robert had left his body. Then I realized the meaning of the message. When I informed students that a dear friend from the coin world left his body, many felt it was Robert. I asked how they knew. They each recalled his inquisitive questions on departure. For the past few visits, I was asking Robert about his check-ups. It seemed the prana was leaving. He said the doctors always gave good bill of health. Somehow I wasn’t surprised, even though it feels his life is too short. Fortunately, Robert slipped effortlessly out of the body. It was fast without pain or suffering. If one has to go, then this is a blessed way.
Robert visited three times a year when he attended a coin convention. This made him part of the ‘A Team’. The coin boys, who come each time, call themselves the A TEAM compared to those who visit less frequently. When he called between visits, it was only to check on the welfare of others. He shared the same birthday and birth year of the King of Rock, Elvis Presley. And he also was a king, a King of Hearts. And there he will remain, in our hearts, until we meet again…
~ Yogini Kaliji
November 14, 1951 – February 14, 2009
Natalia was just 57. Full of energy and plans for the future, she lived every day to the fullest… and all at once she passed away…
Self-motivated and sunny, she gave so much of herself to the people she loved, her parents, her son Dmitri, her three grandsons and her friends. She was successful everywhere. Concise and careful Natalia tried her best to bring goodness and beauty into the world. She ran a small business. She designed and built her own charming, cozy house. She loved her garden where she planted fruit trees and vegetables; the flowers were her favorite. Like a child, she was so excited about every flower. She could talk for hours about them and always invited friends to look at them. She liked travelling very much and visited a lot of historical places in Russia. She was so delighted about mountain trips. Natalia together with her son went the length and breadth of the Caucasus Mountains.
We became friends, Natalia and I, a long time ago, when she was 14 and I was 4 years old. Despite the long separations we met each other again and again, always friends. We also came together in yoga in 1992. I came back to my home town and dreamed about yoga. It turned out that Natalia was interested in yoga, too. The dreams came true when we joined a TriYoga workshop. In 1994, we, again together, met Kaliji in Crimea. Since then TriYoga became a part of Natalia’s life. A curious spirit, Natalia was not only practicing yoga but also interested in other streams. Every time Kaliji visited Russia, Natalia always made an effort to come and meet Kaliji. This made Natalia feel that life is full. It helped her a lot to fulfill her dream and brought so much joy and happiness.
Natalia left her body… there are cherished memories of her in my heart and in the hearts of all her friends. This life is just a moment. My dear friends, please enjoy every bit of this moment.
By Anna Morozova
The life is just a moment –
And the time comes,
When we become one with the universe.
We live on the Earth this last time
And it will never be repeated in the same way
Love and Death – this is only and all
What Wise Eternity Laws give us.
People pass away in the cycle of life,
So don’t waste a moment of this precious life
To do as much good as you can while you are here.
Kindness and good make us immortal
Not gold, not silver.
– January 1, 2009
Mohini has been a long-term supporter and cheerleader for TriYoga. From her first experience, she loved TriYoga and Kaliji. She inspired many to come to TriYoga during her short stay on planet Earth. On the cliffs of California, she accidently fell, taking her last step. We feel her joyful steps now in the subtle realm. No doubt she is still the TriYoga cheerleader. Mohini had a lively personality and devoted her life to her spiritual journey. She is survived by her twin sister, Laura.
May 13, 1948 – August 17, 2008
The first time Kaliji went to Ukraine in 1992, she met Olga and her son, Oleg who was then 17 years old. Olga and Oleg fell in love with Kaliji and TriYoga. They became the first TriYoga teachers in Ukraine, practicing diligently on their own for years without teachers or DVDs.
With only a few belongings, Olga and Oleg moved from their small town to the big city of Kiev to bring TriYoga to a larger audience. Despite many hardships, they persevered and there is now a strong following in Kiev, including several certified TriYoga teachers.
Olga passed from this life Aug. 17. She had cancer. Her departure was on the full moon at the time of a lunar eclipse, and was painless.
She always wanted to go to Malibu and learn from Kaliji. Her ashes were brought to California to find their place in the Pacific ocean. Her son Oleg now lives in the United States and will carry on Olga’s dream to serve TriYoga and spread the teachings far and wide.
My greatest respect goes to Olga. She is part of my spiritual family whom I love dearly. She now will continue her seva to TriYoga as she is with Mata Jayalakshmi in the spiritual planes. Her vision was clear and pure in her support of TriYoga and in her devotion to guide Oleg in his journey to fulfill his destiny. Oleg recently moved to Malibu to be with me. This was their dream and it has come true. Both his parents left their body this year. We all surround Oleg with love and encouragement to continue their vision. Oleg shows great promise in teaching TriYoga to many. We all give our support.
In spirit Olga lives with us. She is not separate. She will always live in our hearts. I can not express in words my unending love for her and great appreciation for her selfless service in TriYoga. She was one-pointed in her vision and always gave every breath to insure TriYoga would flow through Ukraine, and so that Oleg could share his natural TriYoga talents on planet Earth.
In Oleg I will always feel Olga as she loves her son with all her heart. She gave her life for him and TriYoga. She lives with us in her subtle body and will continue to serve this Devi Mission.
Guru Mata Ki Jai
Olga is an inspiration to many and will go down in history as the “mother” of TriYoga in Ukraine.
TRIBUTES TO OLGA
There are some people whose presence can be experienced even though you have never met them in a physical body. Olga was such a person. All the way from Kiev I could feel the deep love Olga had for Kaliji, TriYoga and the Ukrainian students. To have had a small connection with Olga and the Ukrainian family of TriYoga students was a great privilege. While I regret never having met Olga, I will always be grateful to be a part of the large family of people who have been blessed by Olga’s life.
Olga’s dedication has always been amazing. Since the very first time she met Kaliji back in early 90s, she devoted her life to TriYoga. For her it was the ONLY yoga! She kept practicing with no TriYoga teachers around. On top of that, she supported her son with all her heart and effort to stay on the path of TriYoga. Even 10 years with no chance to see Kaliji did not diminish her love and devotion. I met them in 2004 in Moscow. Since that time Kaliji has come to Russia or Ukraine every year, and Olga and Oleg would always come, despite the great travel distance from Ukraine. She was so eager to learn the English language to finally be able to speak to Kaliji and come to Malibu to study with her. No doubt she could always speak to Kaliji with her heart.
Alba Maria Garford
January 7, 1954-May 16, 2008
Alba was a long time TriYoga student at the Kali Ray TriYoga Center on Washington Street. She came intermittently but often over the years. She would take her usual place on the stage to the teachers’ right. She always said how much she loved it, and this was obvious by her smile. We will miss you, Alba.
Alba was such a sweet, kind person, beautiful and gentle. She was the friend of a friend from many years ago, but I was blessed with her presence at many yoga classes we took at the Kali Ray TriYoga Center on Washington Street. Many people at Kali Ray TriYoga remember her fondly, as will I.
Alba Maria Gafford age 54, a strongly independent, giving and loving spirit, died of neuroendocrine cancer in Boulder Creek, California on May 16th. She was born in Los Angeles January 7, 1954 and grew up in the 1960s in San Jose. In the 1980s, Alba became interested in the field of health food science and began a long career in health food retail service and nutrition. She received a degree as a nutritionist and later as an esthetician. In 1982, she helped her mother give loving care to her sick and dying father, retired Army Colonel, Virgil Seabron Gafford. This experience aided her when she provided heartfelt caregiving to a boyfriend’s dying father and then later his mother. Alba was very appreciative of the dedicated support and love she received from her devoted mother, Alba Anna, her five brothers, Jack, Bill, Bob, Michael, and Ray, her sister-in-law Judith, her fiance Dan Downey, Hospice of Santa Cruz County, and all her caring friends. She will be remembered for her radiant smile, spontaneous loving kindness, and her naturally giving nature. (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Our beloved Ahimsa left this body on Thursday, January 3, 2008 surrounded by family and friends.
From Yogini Kaliji
To the Beloved Ahimsa
Your laughter and positive outlook on life inspired and touched
the hearts of everyone who had the blessing to meet you.
This gift you gave will continue to be a Light for us all.
I recall our first meeting when you were introduced as ‘Killer’.
Immediately, I called you Ahimsa ~ the Sanskrita name for ‘nonviolence’
LOVE shined from your heart so the name had to be changed
Of course, if the name ‘Killer’ referred to
the ‘killer of negativity’ then this is you too
The strength you demonstrated during the body’s illness is unsurpassed.
You spoke the Truth, you lived the Truth ~
the greatness of one is known in how they lived their life
and how they lived their last days.
I will never forget how you told me about the diagnosis with laughter in your voice.
No fear of death was in you ~ this is the great strength you embraced.
During the difficult treatments and further diagnosis,
you continued to be the embodiment of strength.
This fearless quality and acceptance of what is,
will continue to be told to the countless people I know…
who will have to face the body’s mortality at some point in this human life.
Your gifts live on ~
Even though you are greatly missed (and always will be),
I can be calm with your departure from Earth
as I know you are in the higher blissful planes ~
laughing, loving, living to the fullest ~ and at the same time inspiring everyone.
You are LOVED by me and countless others.
We will meet again and again ~ oh, Son of the Universe.
I asked Sri Swamiji for Blessings prior to your departure:
Jaya Guru Datta
I prayed to Dear Appaji for AHIMSA and showed his photo.
Appaji took it to his hands and closed his eyes for some moments.
Prayers were done.
I LOVE YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART
your ever-devoted soul mate ~ Betty
September 25, 2007
Barbara Westlake, our dearly beloved friend and TriYoga teacher from Shasta, California, left her body on September 25, 2007. On September 9 Barbara was diagnosed seriously ill. Her friend took her to Ireland to be with her sister on September 24 and she left her body the next day. She was very close to us, and attended classes and teacher trainings regularly for many years. We send our condolences to her sister and brother-in-law, Beverly and Anthony MacKay, and family and friends. Barbara, we love you and miss you. You are always in our hearts. (From Nandi)
Hanuman – Sergey Belozertsev
July 15, 1971-October 17, 2007
TRIBUTE FROM YOGINI KALIJI
Since 1992 When Hanuman and I first met in this earthly life ~ It was a deep connection as if we had known one another forever. We both felt this blessing of our hearts speaking…LOVE
Each of my visits to Russia ~ total of 8 times ~ dear Hanuman was present. He served selflessly. Whether the task was small or large, Hanuman served with pure heart and a big smile.
His healing touch has graced our lives ~ whether he is in physical form or not ~ our love remains like an endless river flowing to the ever expanding ocean ~
Hanuman ~ you are flowing in your subtle form. Your physical Presence will be missed by everyone ~ You are so loved by your TriYoga family.
I rest in peace knowing you are now at the Holy Feet of our Divine Mataji and with all the TriYogis who are in subtle form ~
When we chant to HANUMAN…we will always think of you ~ as you carry this energy for eternity.
Love from the heart of Devi.
From Shakti Dass (Olga)
Hanuman was born July 15, 1971 in Levni, Russia (still a very poor city) near the big city of Oryol (what means Eagle). He passed on October17, 2007 in Oryol where he was studying massage and working as an electricity specialist. Hanuman was a wonderful natural healer and massage therapist with a very open heart.
Between the ages of 25 and 30, he used to go to Christian monasteries and stay for short time. Olga (Shakti Dass) relates that she met him in 1992 in Crimea during a Yoga conference. In 2006 he started to teach TriYoga, using DVDs. He came to see Olga in Moscow almost every month. He always came to see Kaliji when Kaliji was in Moscow. He was growing up spiritually and intellectually very fast.
Shakti Dass says, “Oh, he was my very dear son and friend.”
From Nandi (Kim Beecher)
I will miss you.
You are in my heart.
Kind, caring, quiet.
Always there to help.
You are in my heart.
With all my love
I cry with your departure
from this earthly plane.
Past, present and future
With the complete love of Devi
We are together
In the Heart of Devi.
I will miss you.
You are in my heart.
Jaya Guru Devi
July 13, 1946-October 29, 2006
Caswell, a professional writer since the age of 21, started writing for television for the mid-1960s game show Everybody’s Talking, hosted by Reg Grundy. This led to a career writing, in his words, “whatever was made on television in those days”, including Number 96, Certain Women, Bluey and The Sullivans.
He co-wrote the comedy script for Lasse Hallstrom’s documentary ABBA: The Movie (1977), and wrote Jimmy Dancer (1980), an acclaimed play from the ABC’s Spring and Fall anthology, starring Garry McDonald as a funny radio announcer who is diagnosed with cancer. After countless scripts, Caswell considered this his first important work.
In a bid for more creative control, Caswell formed his own production company, Glasshouse Pictures, with some idealistic notions. “We want to talk about what’s really happening,” he explained. “The sorts of things that people pretend aren’t happening here.” The popular miniseries Shout! The Story of Johnny O’Keefe (1985) was one of his first projects.
Going back to basics, his next big screenplay retold the story of baby Azaria, Australia’s most famous crime story of the time: Evil Angels (1988), starring Meryl Streep as Lindy Chamberlain. It won five Australian Film Institute awards, including best film and adapted screenplay (for Caswell and director Fred Schepisi), and was an international box-office success.
This prompted Caswell to move to Hollywood, writing the screenplays for The Doctor (1991), A Far Off Place (1993), and many others that were contracted, but — to his frustration — never produced.
He was also artistic director for the Sundance Lab, working with emerging screenwriters. After 10 years of unproduced screenplays, Caswell’s comeback was the HBO telemovie Something the Lord Made (2004), about black and white heart surgeons Vivien Thomas (Mos Def) and Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman), who overcame social mores to work together in the 1930s. It won Caswell almost as many awards as Scales of Justice, including a Christopher Award, for a work that “affirms the highest values of the human spirit”. Perhaps it is a happy accident that the last produced screenplay from Caswell, who wrote so much about misery and injustice, told an inspiring story.
He soon returned to Australia, where he was writing a project about the Bali bombings. At the same time, he was working on Sony’s Return From the Dead, based on another true story about a pediatrician who, after one experience, becomes a believer in the afterlife.
Caswell is survived by his wife Liz, father Cas, daughters Louise, Mary Jane and Rebecca, grandchildren Liam, Holly and Emily, and brother Don.
Robert and Liz first met Kaliji in Malibu. From the first satsanga, it was magical. Robert experienced the ‘laughing kriyas’ for over one hour. The next morning he called the ashrama and said, “What happened? All I know is that I met Kaliji and suddenly laughed for one hour. Now I am transformed.”
November 8, 2005
I know Cassandra’s death was not as short and easy as most would hope for but she was very well prepared to make this ultimate transition and you (Kaliji) were part of giving her the focus and lightness that both in their impossible combination make it possible.
Here is my and Debora’s tribute to her and our connection:
Jai Guru Devi
Received a phone call today that informed us that our beloved Cassandra Schmidt left her physical body yesterday, November 8, 2005. As you might have known, she was in Cairo, Egypt with her husband. He is presently in Egypt in intensive care, due to the car accident they were in.
In the years of knowing Cassandra, I’ve seen her only express joy, happiness, and an overwhelming love for life and everyone… including the precious animal kingdom.
She was a life-long vegetarian. We would affectionately call her the President of the Universal Vegan Association.
After her parents conceived her, her mother suddenly couldn’t eat any animal products. When Cassandra was first given food, she only would eat vegetarian food. Even when the family objected to the young child being vegetarian,
she still would not eat non-vegetarian food. Her parents said they wouldn’t take her on family trips if she didn’t eat differently, so she stayed home with her grandmother. Once in a hospital, the staff found out the young child wasn’t eating the animal products from the meals served there. She was throwing it out the window and it soon clogged the water drain. Even with the various obstacles, she held true to her love for animals.
I am happy that I visited her this year where she taught in Nevada City, California. It was so good to see how loved she was by her students.
I last saw Cassandra this summer when she was an excellent alignment assistant during a TriYoga program I taught in Berlin. Since she was originally from Germany, this was like a complete circle for her. Also, she and her family come from the same town in Germany that my mother’s family does. Cassandra was recently certified in TriYoga
There aren’t enough words to express our love and admiration of Cassandra. She was a light, an inspiration to all who met her. She was not only colorful in her appearance but inwardly too. Oh, how she will be missed…
We can only trust in her – in her flow. That death isn’t really an accident but orchestrated by the Divine, as our birth was. Thus, wherever she is…. she will continue to share the spiritual light in herself through the vehicle of TriYoga. This lives beyond the physical form, as does her soul.
Let us meditate… sending her our love. Feeling her close, feeling her vastness.
My love to Cassandra, now and always. We will meet again and again.
Sweet friend… TriYoga sister
I am remembering flowing with you at so many of Kaliji’s workshops in Santa Cruz and Malibu and always your beautiful flow, your dedication to learning and your glowing energy… I am grateful to have been with you last summer in Berlin assisting in Kaliji’s workshops working, laughing, learning together… I am happy for our emails and hearing your excitement about sharing TriYoga in Cairo. Your life has brought joy to so many, through your teaching, through your gentle kindness, through your loving spirit. You will be missed and always remembered as you remain forever
in our hearts
in the flow
in the light…
JAYA GURU DEVI
– with love from Tarini (Terri Richards)
Founder of TriYoga Center, Gujarat, India
February 8, 1933-February 3, 2001
Keyur Mehta – From an Officer to a Yogi
Born in the coastal town of Khambhat (pronounced “Cambay”) on the west coast of India on February 8, 1933, Keyur Mehta’s ambition in life had always been to be the best that he could be – physically, mentally and spiritually. As a boy, Keyur’s idol was Mahatma Gandhi, who was later assassinated by a radical faction of Hindus when Keyur was 14. This event would have a profound effect on the young boy, inspiring him to do something significant and outstanding with his life.
Keyur spent his younger years in Vadodara (one of the major cities in the state of Gujarat) proud of his accomplishments as a boy scout. In 1949, he joined the National Cadet Corps as a volunteer and studied at the local university in Vadodara, earning a degree in chemistry in 1955.
But the military proved to be Keyur’s calling, judged as the best volunteer cadet of the National Cadet Corps and joining the Indian Armed Forces in 1955. One of his most memorable experiences included fighting an insurgency in Nagaland, leading the world-famous Gorkha soldiers in 1965 and again in 1971 in the Indian/Pakistani war. “One of the most valuable lessons I learned from 24 years in the army,” Keyur said, “was confidence and self-discipline. Learning to serve is its own objective.” In 1979, Col. Mehta retired from the Indian Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. People affectionately called him “the Colonel”. As a civilian, Keyur joined the ranks of corporate management, earning a post-graduate degree in 1980 that was titled a Diploma in Industrial Management (DIM). With this credential, Keyur entered the industrial field as a senior executive, initially in the fields of human resources, personnel management and general administration. Subsequently, he worked in other areas, finally managing the entire operations of that particular industry. After 17 years, he retired from corporate life in 1994 in order to dedicate himself to the spiritual pursuit of yoga.
Although Keyur was always inclined towards spiritual development, his spiritual life blossomed at the age of 57 when he met Kaliji in 1990. After receiving his guru mantra during his second visit to the United States in 1995, he studied TriYoga with Kaliji and she gave her blessings for him to start a TriYoga Center in India. Through this inspiration, Keyur opened the TriYoga Center in Vadodara, Gujarat, India, on September 20, 1996. For nearly five years, Col. Mehta provided TriYoga programs for hundreds of students. Keyur was a true disciple and teacher of yoga. He devoted his life to teaching TriYoga, fueling his personal pursuit of higher consciousness.
His private life was deeply committed to his wife Sheila, daughter Seema, son Asim and their families.
On February 3, 2001 Col. Keyur Mehta died of a heart attack, although he had no history of heart problems. While playing golf, Col. Mehta peacefully left his body. He is deeply missed by his family, friends and students.
TriYoga continues to be taught in the TriYoga Centers in Gujarat, India.
March 16, 1962 – November 29, 2001
Written by Mukti about Kaliji
When I first saw Kali Ray, it was from across a room of crowded people in 1995. People had gathered in Baton Rouge to see Sri Swamiji. I remember turning to the person beside me and asking the question “Are there other true Yogis here?” The way she moved through the room was breathtaking. It would be another three years before I would see her again and have the chance to discover the guru within.
Those three years were the most painful yet most enlightening years of my life, and included an incredible search for the meaning of my presence. By this time the realization had come that while I had everything the physical world could offer it would never be enough to fill that empty void within. With this came the need to serve a true teacher. Now the question was where to find this teacher?
Skip forward to July 1998; Sri Swamiji was once again coming to Baton Rouge and had planned to come to our home for an evening program. While preparing for this, I was curious as to whether Kali Ray would be traveling to Baton Rouge again. So I emailed Kali and asked if she also would share in the program with Sri Swamiji. Much to my surprise, she agreed to join us. During preparation for this event, Kali had written asking me if I could provide information and transportation for those of her students who would be coming for the programs. I agreed to help in any way. Through emails with Kali and her students I began to see Kali in a different light. I began to think of Kali as Kaliji – a teacher that might be worth contemplation. Little did I know that this revelation would change my whole world, as I knew it.
Due to family circumstances, Kaliji was not able to join Sri Swamiji at our home for that evening. However, her students did join us and we began to form some lasting relationships. I later saw Kaliji while attending the Saturday evening program at Sri Swamiji’s temple. It was mentioned that there would be satsang in Kaliji’s room at the hotel and I asked if there would be any way to get an invitation. After being told that yes I could attend I was so excited and could hardly contain the anticipation. Once Sri Swamiji’s program ended and we were preparing to leave I had the overwhelming feeling that something incredible was about to happen and glanced at Adi wondering how could I leave him out. He was well read on Yoga and was always open to new teachers. He had expressed more than a passing interest in Kaliji and I wanted him to have the chance to go, but had not asked. I looked up in time to see Kaliji walking through the door knowing I would have to ask, but was not sure of how to approach Her. At the last minute I went running up to Kaliji as She crossed the lawn and asked if would be okay to bring a young man with me, someone who I knew would love to meet Her. It was the first time I experienced that incredible smile and total acceptance as She said, “Of course, bring him.”
It was in the room of that hotel that my life would change so profoundly. Kaliji’s presence and grace were so overwhelming. Never had I experienced the kind of joy and peace that seemed to radiate from Her very being. That night after leaving Her, Adi and I were up until four in the morning discussing the miracle of what had just happened. The next day there was no way to get the previous night out my head and with it came the fear that Kaliji would soon leave Baton Rouge–and then where would I be? So immediately I called Medha and told her that if it were any way possible I needed to see Kaliji before She left town. Kaliji obliged by allowing me to speak with Her privately. Today I cannot remember the words, only the exalted feelings. The memory of those emotions experienced in the privacy of that room brings tears that flow freely. It is a memory that will last many lifetimes. There are no words to express the total acceptance and love that She has given so easily and freely. The touch of Kaliji’s hand vanished a lifetime of walls built through pain, struggle and fear.
As they say, the rest is history. I just recently celebrated one year of working for the Teacher – the Guru. Kaliji never ceases to amaze me with Her unconditional love, Her quick wit and Her unceasing laughter. The greatest gift She has given me is the opportunity to serve by Her side. It is a true blessing to watch as each person comes into Her light to be lifted to heights they did not know were possible. Kaliji tends each and every one as if they were a gardener’s prize orchids, allowing each to bloom in their own time. It has been a most incredible journey.
– Mukti, Malibu, California
A POEM FOR MUKTI
You arrived Wendy in November
offering your intellect and many talents
With devotion and perseverance
You served TriYoga 3 years
You departed Guru Day
with the November full moon
Your dharma complete
Your past released
Your heart open
Your love free
And so you will be remembered
for all you did and for who you are
in the heart of Devi
you live forever
~ Mukti ~
– From Anasuya
A SLOKA FOR MUKTI
– by Dr. Sarawati Mohan, Ph.D.
I had the greatest opportunity to work with Mukti.
Here is a little Sloka written on her:
priye mukte punItAsi
dhanyam ca tava jivitam |
tvayA saha prANavidyAm
kRtvA mamApi jiivitam ||
Dear Mukti, you are holy and your life is fulfilled.
Working with you on Prana Vidya, my life also is fulfilled.
Divyananda (Deb Megill)
December 20, 1948 – September 4, 1998
Divyananda means ‘one who shares the bliss of divine light.’ Divyananda (Divya) received her spiritual name from Kaliji and was devoted to TriYoga. She radiated the light and shared it with everyone she met.
Prior to her passing, Divya had been certified as a TriYoga teacher. She worked hard and overcame many obstacles to achieve this longtime goal. Her dedication and obvious transformation inspired many others.
Divya was born on December 20, 1948. She married Norman Megill in 1988 and their son Robin was born in 1991. Divya was a devoted wife and mother. Originally planning to attend medical school, she chose instead to be at home more and be with her son. She had completed her premedical-school requirements by going to school at night while she worked during the day as a heart research technician at the Veterans Administration Hospital. Divya loved children. She was a children’s piano teacher and was much loved by her young students.
Divya had a keen mind and intellect. When they were dating, her husband Norm recalls that he found it hard to believe she had achieved an 800 on her Math Scholastic Aptitude Test. When they joined the Mensa Society together at his suggestion, it became clear that she had indeed received this highest possible SAT score of 800.
Divya graduated from Wellesley College, which she attended as an adult student. Before going to Wellesley, Divya spent most of her twenties as a ‘professional student’ switching majors just before getting enough credits to graduate. During this time, her parents and odd jobs supported her, including waitressing and joining migrant laborers. She had a horse and entered rodeo contests. She hitchhiked around the country with an Irish dwarf, Clancy Sheeny, doing puppet shows for children. They must have been quite a duo, since Divya was 6′. 2″! For a while she lived in the mountain woods of Colorado in a tiny one-room shack with no facilities, with just her dog and her horse. She found the shack during a horseback ride. It was long-deserted so she just moved in. She spent at least a winter there, painting and writing.
Divyananda passed away on September 4, 1998, just a few months before her 50th birthday. On December 19, 1998, the night before it was to have been her birthday, Divya’s music teachers, students and friends gave a Memorial Concert including music, poetry and holiday singing. Beth Gold-Bernstein, her close friend and senior TriYoga teacher, offered a closing meditation on the Divine Light, and prayed that Devi (Universal Energy) grant everyone the ability to feel what Divyananda so freely shared, and thereby experience her great big embrace. In her loving memory, TriYoga established the Divyananda Scholarship Fund to help train TriYoga teachers.