Sister Parvati, a long-time nun with the Self-Realization Fellowship, passed away on December 11.
Sister Parvati came to study and work under Paramahansa Yogananda at age 13 and was a direct disciple. She took formal vows of renunciation and was responsible for serving the spiritual needs of members and friends.
(The Fellowship invites people to explore the teachings of Yogananda, which embody techniques that show people how to bring lasting peace, joy, and love into his/her lives and into the world.)
Her name was Rosemary and her father told her she was going to a girl’s school. At that time the Master did not plan to receive any teenagers into the ashram, but when he asked God if he could take them, God said, “Yes.”
The description of the sister’s life comes from her, which she spoke about at a 2017 retreat.
She said, “I had just arrived at Encinitas. One day, the Guru was greeting each one of us. The other devotees replied, calling him ‘Master.’ Inwardly, I had a terrible time with this. I struggled with this so.
“I had a Christian background and a loyalty to Christ. I felt that only Christ should be called, ‘Master.’ The Guru spoke to me last. I was unable to speak, because I was so worried about loyalty. I was so silent for so long. He looked up at me with the sweetest smile and said, ‘Just call me, ‘Little Sir.’ He had read my mind. I knew that if He could do that, something was going on.”
Near the end of 1946 when she was 13, she explained, “I was cleaning the drawing room at the hermitage. It was early in the day. The hall to the living room in the hermitage is a long, dark hallway. Few lights were on in the dining room. Master progressed along the hallway. I gazed at his face. Even in the dark hallway it was radiant with light, all the way from the forehead to the upper lip. You will see this in his photos. I remember thinking, ‘So this is the light from within.’
“His consciousness was interiorized. I stood very still. I observed him when he passed. This is not a light from the outside; it is the inner light of divinity. Master’s kindness was limitless.”
“Our training was always based on spiritual principles but designed to meet individual needs. Master told us, ‘When I look into your eyes, I see back to the beginning.”
“Master used to question us about doubting. He said doubt is like the static on a radio. He wants to and is trying to read you, but your doubt leaves a barrier.
“Master told us to take care of the things you have. He blesses you for everything you do for this work. . .
“Don’t worry about man’s appreciation,” she said. “Know that God knows everything. We have an inner and an outer life. The inner life is our relationship with God.
“Gurudeva (“divine teacher”) said the personal relationship, the quality of the relationship and our love, is what we should develop. They are right within us at all times. . .
“Your outer life is lived in maya, in the world. The conditions of the world may seem disturbing. Don’t identify with it.
“I often think of billionaires and their greed. What are they going to do with all of that money? They could help those who need it, but they don’t know how to share.
“A great Moslem saint once said, ‘Avoid greed. It is another form of poverty.’ Don’t dwell on all that is going on outside. Don’t take it so seriously. Hold to the thought that you are energy, joy and love.
“We are made in God’s image but feel the effects of the world. The world of maya is a dream. Things go on, but you don’t have to be flattened by them. Reach out to one another, even those who don’t know how to behave.
“Years ago, at the San Diego temple service, Master told us not to get attached to luxuries, because in the future we will all live our lives more simply. We don’t need most of the things. Be simple. We need a warm bath, a meal, basic clothing. When everything else is ripped away, God is there. . .”
Sister Parvati lived at the International Headquarters of Self Realization Fellowship on San Rafael Avenue in Los Angeles.