Shalmali Talwalkar- Baltimore USA
I am very fortunate to have met Swamiji for the first time six years ago. Over these years, his guidance, blessings and support have instilled faith in me and in my family members and have given us tremendous strength.
While Swamiji is a continuous presence in my life, I would like to share specific narratives that describe how Swamiji touched and changed my life.
I met Swamiji just before returning to school to complete my internships and my degree. During our meeting, he told me that he would visit me in Chicago while I was there for training. When I had spoken to Swamiji, I did not know what he meant and at the time, I did not realize how challenging my stay in Chicago was going to be. I must say that those couple of months were very difficult and lonely. However, a few weeks into my rotation, Swamiji visited me as he had promised. ---- After I had had a particularly challenging day at the hospital, I was feeling very upset. I was invited to my American friend's house for dinner. The lady worked with me and was aware of the challenges that I was facing at work. After dinner my friend and her husband gifted me with a beautiful Hanuman made from brass. They told me that he would protect me and that he would give me the strength that I needed to complete the training. I realized that Swamiji was had come in the form of the brass hanuman statue as he had told me he would. The gift made me conscious of Swamiji's presence and provided me with strength to finish my work in Chicago.
Before leaving home for my final semester of graduate school, I was very fortunate to get Swamiji's darshan. He spent time talking to my parents and myself and told me many things. Most importantly, he told me to have faith and that while there would be difficulties and challenges throughout the year; he assured me that everything would be alright.
First, as I was graduating, I started looking for a job and I applied for positions in hospitals. There was one field in particular that I wanted to work in however the positions available in that field were very few. For the first four months, nothing came of my applications and interviews. However, deep down inside, because of Swamiji's words, I knew that everything would be alright. There was one hospital in particular that I was very interested in working at. However, this hospital did not have any openings and had told me that they did not anticipate anything in the near future. A couple of months after speaking with individuals from human resources, I decided to contact them again. During this second attempt, I did not hear from the hospital. Finally, a month later, I decided to contact another lady at human resources as a final attempt to apply for a position at the institution. This third time, the lady at human resources informed me again that there were no openings in the department that I wanted to work at but that there were possibilities of working at another department. After this, miraculously, a week later, there was a sudden, unexpected opening in the department of my choice and because I had been in touch with this particular lady at human resources so recently, they informed me of the opening immediately. Within no time, an interview was scheduled and I was fortunate in being offered the position. This was just before my graduation, when my need for a job had become desperate. I believe that it was Swamiji who created the position for me at this hospital.
I am away from home and have been away for many years. While this is no excuse, I often feel overwhelmed and worry about how things are going to work out. Swamiji has been my pillar of strength throughout. For example, there was a time when I was having health problems. I was very worried about this and Swamiji knew this. He told my parents that everything would be alright and that the health problems were only temporary. Sure enough, when I went and saw the doctor, I found out that there were no serious problems.
After graduation I had to appear for a licensing exam. I was alone in a new town and studying continuously for one month. I was very nervous about the results because not passing the exam and not obtaining my license could have caused me to lose the position that I was fortunate in getting. Again, Swamiji reassured me through my parents and told me to have faith.
I passed the exam and I got my license. All this is, because of Swamiji. Such instances have taught me that I must have faith, that it is important to be positive and do my best but that ultimately I must have faith in Swamiji.
Baltimore where I live is known to be unsafe and everyone is instructed to be careful, especially at night. One Sunday evening I parked my car in an underground public pay and park garage which is across the street from where I live. In the evenings there is no guard and one is required to use a card to exit the garage. This particular evening, my card to exit the garage stopped working. The door refused to open and I found myself stuck inside the garage. Additionally, just on this occasion, I had forgotten my cell phone in the apartment and therefore had no way of calling for help. After standing inside the garage for a few seconds I thought strongly of Swamiji and asked him to please help me out of this situation. A few moments later, I tried swiping my card again and miraculously, the card worked and the garage door opened! The following day, when I tried to exit the garage again, the card no longer worked. Fortunately this time, it was during the day and there was a guard to help me out. Swamiji had made my card work the night before so that I could return home safely.
Jai Sri Ram