Where Are You From?

One summer my friend Gerry—who was not a Siddha Yogi—was visiting Shree Muktananda Ashram and happened to be sitting in the lobby when Gurumayi walked by. She stopped and looked at him.

“Where are you from?” Gurumayi asked. She paused only for a second, then walked on before he responded.

A few days later, when Gerry left the Ashram to return to school, he took with him Gurumayi’s words, Where are you from?

Gerry’s father had died when Gerry was very young, and for years he had been estranged from his father’s side of the family. As the question Where are you from? continued to reverberate in Gerry’s head, he decided to look for his father’s family. Gerry had no idea where to look, so he started with the internet. In the recesses of his mind, he remembered the name of an aunt, his father’s sister. He looked her up online, and lo and behold, he found a listing that matched her name. Even more amazing was that the address was within walking distance! So, Gerry walked to his aunt’s house.

He felt some anxiety that his aunt might turn him away. When he knocked on the door, a middle-aged woman answered, and Gerry said, “Hello, I’m your brother’s son.” He steeled himself for rejection. Instead, his aunt threw open her arms and embraced him with so much force he nearly fell over. She said, “Oh my God! Oh my God! We have been looking for you your whole life! Where have you been?”

Inside the house, Gerry’s aunt had pictures of Gerry as a young child everywhere. As they spoke, she wept—and Gerry wept as well.

“How did you find us?” she asked.

He told her the story: “An Indian Guru named Gurumayi asked me where I was from, so I began to look, and it led me here.”

His aunt stood up, left the room, and returned with a CD. She explained, with awe in her voice, that the CD—a recording of Gurumayi chanting the mantra Om Namah Shivaya—had been given to her by a friend.

“I listen to this a lot,” she said. “It comforts me.”

Gurumayi’s seemingly simple question—Where are you from?—changed Gerry’s life forever.