By Sadhvi Parānandā

Often people tell me of their troubles and struggles -- their woes.  In the past, my response has been “Life simply isn’t fair.”  Lately, however, I have reframed that my reply to something that I hope is more helpful.  The response now is “Grow where you are planted.”

How many times do we feel that we would be happy “IF?”  We would be happy if we had more money, a different partner, a different job…. a different LIFE!  It reminds me of the time when I had been practicing meditation for about 7 years.  I believed that to further my growth I had to go to Ganeshpuri to sit at Bhagavan Nityananda’s (Baba’s) Mahasamadhi shrine.

I made that trip to India in the early 1980s.  My first adventure happened when the visa rules changed while I was in mid-flight and consequently, was detained at the airport.  In the time before I was released my luggage had been stolen.  Like many first time travelers to India, I had been warned that I would experience culture shock.  I completely denied that would happen to me.  And, it didn’t…. until about day 10 when I had made my way up into Kashmir. 

Purple and orange pansies

I had some work to do in Srinagar.  It was my last stop before I could head to Ganeshpuri.  I arrived after driving through a snowstorm in the mountains.  I arrived at the hotel and there was a buffet.  I saw a very large pot of food that was about 30 inches deep and 20 inches wide.  In it was floating white masses in what appeared to be a red, thick soup.  I asked the waiter what the dish was and he replied with great pride, “PIZZA!”

I totally lost it.  I went to my room, took off my Indian garb, put on my blue jeans and read a Newsweek magazine that I had brought along.  I recovered from the experience and finally made my way to Ganeshpuri.  

I was completely ecstatic.  Now I could advance my practice.  I walked into the Mahasamadhi hall and promptly sat on the men’s side.  The very kind Indian women came up to me and ushered me to the women’s side.  As I sat there and began to meditate, waiting for Baba’s blessing, grace and direction, I heard his voice and saw his face as real as if her were physically present before me.

He said to me, "It is nice that you came, but your really didn’t need to do so.  You have everything that you need back home" (in Bloomington, Indiana).

REALLY!  Knock me over with a feather.  I was stunned…and a little disappointed.  But, it was a lifelong lesson for me:  “Grow where you are planted.”

Grow where you are planted.  Give it a try.  Happiness is a state, regardless of our external circumstance.  It is a CHOICE.  If we are happy today and not tomorrow, what happened to that happiness?  We forgot!

Try growing in the soil that is beneath you.  Water the soil.  Nourish it.  Sink your roots into it and rise toward the sky.  Now, it is true that sometimes replanting is necessary.  But replanting must be done with great care and consciousness.  It is very stressful to the plant.  So, you must be pretty sure that the new soil is beneficial and appropriate before you impulsively pull up those roots.

The analogy works for me.  I hope it is useful to you.  Try growing the love where you are planted.  Be grateful that you have the chance to grow at all!  Nourish this plant of a human life where you are and watch it reach into the heavens.