In a remote forest at the Pokhara valley, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) meets Gary again, in an incredible reunion. Gary had been sleeping on the moving bus and just as he opened his eyes, he caught a glimpse of the headlights momentarily flashing on Richard as he was climbing down a cliff. Gary screamed out for the bus to stop and jumped out, in the middle of nowhere. Amongst millions of people in a huge country, the two friends met coincidentally for the second time. Both agreed unanimously that no one will ever believe this.
This wasn’t the last time in the lives of Richard and Gary that such an unbelievable coincidence took place. Seventeen years later in 1988, Richard who had now become Radhanath Swami looked into an open telephone directory at a roadside phone booth at Malibu Beach. He noticed Gary Liss’s name and sure enough meets him there.
When I first read the ‘Journey Home’, a seed of doubt entered my mind; how can something so fantastic take place. It could happen once, but thrice in the lives of two people was far out to me. I thought this was the height of mysticism and coincidence. My doubts vanished when I met Gary two years ago. When Uncle Gary, as he is popularly called by Radhanath Swami’s students and friends, came to Mumbai, I was stunned by his personality; he is a handsome, well-built old man in his early sixties but appears to have the spirit of an adventurous youth. He spoke in an emotion choked voice, tears streaming down his face, “This is an incredible act of grace on me that God has given me a friend like Radhanath Swami. Everything he writes in his book is absolutely true. I still can’t believe it. It’s God’s unbelievable blessing on me.”
I also reflected later that spiritual journeys are different from the daily humdrum of our material lives. Radhanath Swami’s life has been one spiritual experience after another, where God has been arranging amazing lessons and experiences in his life. Considering his extraordinary life, his meeting Gary is another evidence of God’s grace upon one of His dear most children. I can only marvel and rejoice at being given the rare fortune to witness these kinds of friendships, even in this mortal world. As Gary and Radhanath Swami spoke that evening I pinched myself repeatedly to assure that this isn’t a dream, but a reality that I am being blessed to witness.
Even if we disregard the divinity aspect of this astounding reunion, it is still a plausible story, for I can now recollect many such examples that I have been hearing since school days. Ten years ago I heard about two ladies Ferne Hare and Moyca Christy who met each other after sixty three years. They were both friends while graduating from the Phoneix Union High school in 1937. Finally in the year 2000, the two eighty plus old ladies met in a dramatic reunion. And they even joked that it’s hard to be nostalgic when you can’t remember anything. Elyse and Paula are another classic case of twins separated at birth. One lands up in Paris and the other was in Yale. Finally they met thirty five years later. I also read about Avi Lavi who narrowly survived the Nazi holocaust and prayed daily to meet his separated sister Erna, and sixty years later they met, in yet another incredible story that happens in this material world. For more such coincidences documented one can check out http://www.metafilter.com/43331/Incredible-but-true-coincidences . Besides Alan Vaughan’s ‘Incredible Coincidence’ and Vikas Khatri’s ‘136 incredible coincidences’ are a rich source of astonishing and entertaining stories where we could see this world in a much different light.
Of course I understand the story of Radhanath Swami and Gary is much different from the stories I had known before. Radhanath Swami is a seeker of God and in his case God personally arranges events and people, for a loving, wealthy father personally supervises the needs of his dear child. Radhanath Swami and Gary have given me hope in the power of divine.
Live a Reply