The Exploding Light

Betty Francis (Parvati), The Acacia House Centre, London, UK

Over forty years ago in the late 1960s when we opened the Acacia House Centre for universal spiritual events (the centre teaches healing, meditation, vegetarian cookery classes, and more recently hatha yoga classes), little did Karl, my husband and I realize the exploding light of wisdom, teachings and life experiences that lay before us.

We were helped and guided by a very loyal and well-connected Indian family who lived nearby, Mr and Mrs Ashoka. They introduced us to the various visiting swamis in London, and it was through this that our spiritual awareness was extended.

However, the beginning of our spiritual awakening was when by request and arrangement with Mr Ashoka, we were invited to have a private meeting with Swami Satyananda, who was then staying with an Indian gentleman who had a big house in Mayfair. We drove up from Acton very early in the morning, full of apprehension and wonderment as to what this meeting would present.

On arrival, we were greeted by our host and ushered into the room where Swami Satyananda was waiting for us. Being quite inexperienced with the eastern culture, we sat rather nervously on the floor opposite Sri Swamiji, who greeted us with great humility and spiritual warmth. To remember what the conversation consisted of now, at the age of 84, is rather difficult, but I do remember the atmosphere and sense of peace, loving kindness and superior wisdom. After a discourse and conversation, Sri Swamiji proceeded to give us a blessing and our spiritual names, Shiva and Parvati. This was quite an unheard of practice at that time. He also gave us our mantra. It was at this point that the exploding light seemed to manifest around me. It was like entering into a new dimension. We drove back in a trance-like state of exultation and peace. Sri Swamiji had assured us that he would come and stay at the centre and take classes in hatha yoga, meditation, etc. in the near future.

Later in the day, I walked over to the park to buy a newspaper. I looked at the Indian newsagent and he seemed to be surrounded by a bright light. The atmosphere was charged with energy and human love and compassion. I think he was aware of something unusual, going by the expression on his face.

At that stage of my life, I was unaware of spiritual emanations and auric fields. All I knew was that I was surrounded by this wonderful, harmonious light of love. That is why I have called this story ‘The Exploding Light’ – an experience which manifested this wondrous phenomenon through my first encounter with a spiritual being, and which lifted me into another dimension.

How blessed I am to still be in contact with Swami Satyananda through the ashram, which is still spreading the light of God to those in need! May the work of Sri Swamiji and all those dedicated to him be upheld as a shining example to others in the world.

Now, in the evening of my life, another phase of experience is presenting itself. We had a motto in the Acacia House Centre – “Teach by being, learn by doing.” It is only through the experience of everything do we learn, and in how we use that experience do we silently teach others.