Welcome Eve, good to have this opportunity to speak with you and it’s great that you agreed to share some stories with us. Please can you give us a brief introduction.
Born in Kenya of Goan heritage, left at 17 to come to a convent boarding school in the UK to finish my education and never left. Brought up a very devotional Catholic and had a love/hate relationship with God when my father died a month after I arrived in the UK at 17. God had taken my father who I needed more than Him but God was my only recourse in all my troubles. I have been a teacher of mathematics all my career and a spiritual seeker all my life, still married with two sons and two grandsons.
My first question is: What prompted you to become a Kriyavan?
In 1977, an older cousin persuaded me to join her in a 28-day Greyhound trip across the USA where she would visit old Peace Corp volunteers who had stayed with her in Bombay when she taught there. In early August, we found ourselves in a strange place in San Diego, the Pacific crashing on one side, young Americans in white clothes drumming on tablas and singing bhajans…we couldn’t understand where we were. Someone announced that we would meditate “as we know how” before we ate. I used my TM mantra and was struck by the “strong sense of the presence of God” and I cannot quite say what I mean by it, only I knew it to be true.
Next day, as we left they gave us a book. It was the “Autobiography of a Yogi” and this was Yogananda’s retreat centre in Encinitas. I couldn’t put the book down and in the UK tried very hard to join the organisation which I now realise was Self Realisation Fellowship, but it seemed very difficult and I gave up. My cousin and I decided to visit India the following summer and see as many holy places and people we could. She wrote in December that she was excited by what she’d researched but it was not to be… by June she was dead of a brain tumour.
I believe that significant events in life happen when the time is right. Life went on, and in 2008, I retired and went to India on holiday. On tour in south Goa, the first stop of the bus was at the Mangeshi Temple. Here I got into conversation with one of the temple priests when, apropos of nothing, he looked at me and said “Something good will happen to you next April”. I was taken aback and surprised as it was not a significant month for me and I forgot all about it, until… initiation.
So could you tell us about your initiation?
I found myself on April 25 2009, seated in front of Guruji on the South Bank, London, being initiated into Kriya Yoga. My sister, who had herself got initiated in Vienna, said there would be initiations in London and so I went. There were 100 initiated by 6 initiators and was the last time Guruji did initiations in London, so I was lucky. I was very caught up in the whole event but when he asked “Do you hear the Divine Sound?” I got completely confused as I just heard in my head the Goan Temple priest say “Something good will happen to you next April” and realised he was referring to this event. Guruji looked at me intently as I stuttered and continued with the initiation.
Do you think practising Kriya Yoga has benefitted you? And if so, in which ways?
In studying the practices of the holiest beings of both Hinduism and Christianity I have understood meditation is the link that takes us, who are spiritual beings having a human experience, back to the world of spirit, renewing and strengthening us. Having retired, I now have more time to study the scriptures of the two major faiths. My meditation practice has brought more peace and calm into my life and increased in me the love for God.
Could you say something about your meditation practice?
My sleep patterns are not good so I often find myself meditating at 3.30a.m seeing it as a positive thing and not moaning that I am awake. I meditate daily, mainly a fairly long morning one, not so much the evening one.
I make more of a practice of remembering God during the day and expressing gratitude for little things, especially when opening my eyes in the morning, giving thanks for a new day and asking a blessing on the day before me. My prayer life is also fed by my Christian background, both the life of Christ and the mystics as well as the emphasis of non-judgement and forgiveness as emphasised by ‘A Course in Miracles’.
Have you visited any of our ashrams or been on Kriya Yoga retreats?
I’ve visited Tattendorf once and Sterksel a couple of times. I’ve stayed at Balighai about 3 times and Uttarkarshi once. I’ve done two trips up the Himalayas, once around Dharamsala with Guruji and once up to Gomuk in 2017 I think it was. In 2018 I did the Balashram Rift Valley trek in Tanzania, a wonderful trip given my Kenyan upbringing. I’ve also walked in Switzerland on one of Christine’s lovely treks in the Alps.
Have you been involved in any other Kriya activities? And if so, are there any occasions which spring to mind which were significant in some way, perhaps amusing or perhaps creating an inner change or major stepping stone?
I did the big pilgrimage in Dec 2011 and it was here I first came across the exquisitely beautiful Anandamai Ma. We visited her place in Haridwar where I experienced the most wonderful peace. I also revere Ramana Maharshi and have spent 10 days in Tiruvannamalai, Arunachala Shiva.
There are wonderful courses run by The Centre for Hindu Studies at the University of Oxford . Being strictly academic, they are a good balance to the devotional approach of the same subject matter we get from our teachers in Kriya.
What advice if any would you give new initiates?
God has plans for you, just remember Him ,show gratitude and accept everything as it is. Don’t think “I am practising and practising and nothing is happening.” It is not arriving at the final destination only that’s important but being on the journey that counts. God’s Grace shows up when we are being faithful and it’s not always easy but we keep on keeping on.
Thank you for sharing, Eve. I can see that others could benefit from your experiences and how you’ve interpreted them and put them into practice.
With love and blessings to all.