Solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters

by M. Govindan Satchidananda

I visited Japan during the catastrophe March 16-23, 2011. Less than six days before I was scheduled to depart the USA and travel 11,000 miles to Japan, we learned of the devastating effects of the 9.0 degree earthquake, and the tsunami on the northeast coast of Japan. A few hours later, during my morning meditation session, Babaji suddenly told me: “You’re going anyway, and everything will be alright.” It was a relief. I remembered his reassuring words during the next days as news of the leaking radioactivity from the damaged nuclear reactors was reported in the news.

With Babaji’s grace and faith in his protection, I left home in the early morning of Tuesday January 16, and traveled for 19 hours until I reached Narita Airport on Thursday January 17 as the sun was going down. I looked for signs of devastation. But saw none. The plane on which I traveled was one third empty, and the cavernous arrivals hall was unusually quiet and nearly empty. Traveling on the airport bus to my downtown Tokyo hotel I remarked that the street lamps seemed to be off and there were relatively fewer cars on the roads. My hotel, the thousand room, Washington Shinjuku Hotel where I have stayed many times during my previous 25 trips to Japan since 1993, seemed curiously empty, but no sign of panic or privation. Everything seemed eerily quiet.

The next morning, I learned that firefighters had started to spray water from their trucks onto the overheating nuclear reactors, 170 miles north of Tokyo. Acharya Nagaraj, came to my hotel with a rented car at the appointed hour, and after stopping for lunch, we purchased fruits and flowers at a multi story supermarket filled with house wives going about there weekly shopping. We arrived at the site of our Anthar Kriya Yoga spiritual retreat at a YMCA camp overlooking Mt. Fuji. The view of Mt. Fuji was spectacular. It seemed much higher than I remembered, and I took comfort in noticing that as an extinct volcano, the recent seismic rumblings had not caused it to erupt! Things could be worse! I learned from the news that Narita Airport was now jammed with persons fleeing Japan. Inspite of the evident danger, 26 of the 27 registered retreat participants arrived that Friday evening and attended this 2nd initiation, with a day of silence, followed by a mantra yagna, and everything was so well organized by our resident Japanese Acharya Nagaraj. I was amazed that he did so well, despite the fact that his entire family lives in Sendai, the city on the northeast coast just above the nuclear reactors. Their home was not damaged, and despite power outages they are safe.

At the end of the retreat everyone expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the presence of Babaji and his grace. I shared my sentiments of wanting “to show solidarity with my Japanese brothers and sisters” and my admiration for their calm, courage, courtesy and order. I felt that I was among my family, and that the Japanese term for “let us all hang together through this,” included me too. I also reminisced about the circumstances of how I had come to Japan to teach Babaji’s Kriya Yoga the first time, in 1993, after a young Japanese woman, Eriko Sekaguchi, studying architecture in Paris, invited me to Japan, and translated my first lecture and seminar there from French to Japanese. I was moved by the memory of her selfless act of service, and those of many subsequent Japanese volunteers, and how they have rippled through the lives of nearly 500 Japanese initiates since then. We are truly all one Being.

Since my first visit to Japan in 1981, it has been a window on the future, with its high tech efficiency in communications, transportation, housing and social order. During this recent visit it has become a window on the limitations of our collective attempts to control nature with technology. This nuclear disaster may be the first man made environmental disaster which we will not be able to control. We will all need to be strong, and to seek inspiration in the calm, courage, order and self-sacrifice now being displayed by the Japanese. May it serve to warn all of humanity that we must make conservation of the environment our number one civic priority, individually and collectively.

If anyone wishes to communicate with Acharya Nagaraj in Tokyo he may be reached at Nagaraj

From the Kriya Yoga Journal, no. 69, Spring 2011

Copyright © by Marshall Govindan March 2011


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