“You carry within your heart a portable paradise.”—Paramahansa Yogananda
A reader asked me the other day why I chose nine experiments instead of 10 for E-Squared and E-Cubed. She wondered if there was some deep spiritual significance. In numerology, nine is the symbol of wisdom and initiation (or mental instability, depending on who you consult), but here’s the real reason I chose nine.
The original book (God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days) had ten experiments. But I found readers to be quite resistant to the Lillies of the Field experiment where I asked people to hold the Dude to that guarantee he made in the New Testament. The one where He promised that if we’d just quit worrying, we’d be clothed, fed, and taken better care of than the lilies of the field?
In our culture at least, people don’t have the chutzpah to place all their trust in the care of the universe. They just aren’t willing to “leave their wallets at home” or have the faith that life really does have their back.
In an effort to convince people to try it, I told the story of Paramahansa Yogananda.
When he was 15, he was sent to the Indian city of Brindaban with nary a rupee. He had been yammering to his family about wanting to quit school and devote his life to God. His brother, a stolid accountant, decided to pull a fast one on his pious pipsqueak brother.
“Okay,” he challenged him, “You wanna do God’s work, fine. But let’s forget about your inheritance. If you wanna depend on God, I insist you depend on Him for everything. What do you say we put your vaunted philosophy to a test in the tangible world?”
Ananta, the sermonizing elder brother made this proposal. “I’ll buy you a one-way ticket to Brindaban. It’s where Lord Krishna first displayed his glories, so it’ll be a good place for you to start. You spend the day there. Take no money. No food. You’re not allowed to beg. Yet you can’t go without food or transportation. Furthermore, you’re not allowed to reveal your predicament to anyone. If you return to my bungalow before midnight without breaking any of these rules, I’ll not only give you my blessing, but I’ll become your first initiate.”
Ananta undoubtedly smirked as he sent his penniless brother and a friend off to the strange city they’d never visited, but not before searching both of them for a hidden hoard.
The friend, lacking the young yogi’s faith, was nervous—almost as nervous as you probably are in contemplating this experiment.
“Shouldn’t we take a couple rupees just as a safeguard?” he pleaded. “At least then we’ll have money to telegraph you in case of misfortune. There’s something reassuring about the clink of coins.”
Paramahansa rebuked his friend, refusing to proceed with the test if he took any “safeguard.”
As the train rumbled towards the holy city, the friend started whining. “I’m really getting hungry. Why did you talk me into this?”
Right before the last stop, two men stepped into their compartment, began joking with the young boys. When the train pulled to a stop, the two men linked arms with the boys and led them into a horse cab.
Well, long story short, they ended up at an ashram, taking the place of two princes who, at the last minute, had to cancel their lunch plans. Not only were they served a 30-course meal, while being fanned by a hostess, but they visited Madanamohana Temple and other Krishna shrines, were given train tickets back to Agra, and fed the finest of Indian sweetmeats for dinner.
Was Ananta ever surprised when, at a few minutes before midnight, the young yogi walks into his home with piles of rupee notes and bursting with stories. His brother, as promised, insisted on receiving spiritual initiation that very evening.
Two quick announcements. The kindle version of Thank & Grow Rich is on sale for $1.99 for just two more days. And there’s still time to enroll for the 5th annual Hay House World Summit (it’s completely free) and features hundreds of authors and speakers talking about really enlightening things. You can sign up here. Hope you’ll join us.
And as always, my friends, thanks for your continuing love and support.
Pam Grout is the author of 18 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the recently released, Thank and Grow Rich: a 30-day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy.