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Radha's Life of Service – Part VI

February 20, 2008 by Lightwaves

radha_home.jpgIn a continuing series of articles, Swami Durgananda will present her research into Swami Radha’s life before and after she met her guru, Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, India. In this installment, Swami Radha finds Yasodhara Estates, the home to be of her Ashram.

The last issue of Lightwaves revealed the incredible search that Swami Radha went through to find the right place for the Ashram. She followed clues, looked for signs and asked the Divine for directions. She followed all possibilities. But the Divine closed the doors of the choices that were not IT.

The next happening was an incident I could not find in our archives but one that Swami Radha mentioned a number of times when telling of her search. When she was in Banff, perhaps after the information she got from the mining company, she was looking in the want ads in a Banff radha_2.jpgnewspaper. She said among all the many tiny ads in the Property for Sale section, her eyes went to just one little piece that told about a property in BC on beautiful Kootenay Lake. She took the phone number and they set out for Kootenay Bay. When she inquired about the phone number she found out that it was a Calgary number and the person to help her locally was Bill Fraser who had come here as a child when his family immigrated from Scotland before World War I. He knew about the area and even had property for sale.

Bill showed Swami Radha a couple of possibilities including a property that was just off the road between Kootenay Bay and Crawford Bay. There was a house and a private lake. When he showed Swami Radha and the fellows who came with her, they were thrilled with the idea of having their own lake and a house that suited their purposes. The only problem was that someone else had an option to buy it first. In the archives, I found a letter Swami Radha had written to Bill Fraser on June 30, 1962. Here are excerpts:

“Dear Mr. Fraser,

“Just when we thought of phoning you the mail brought your letter. We are all very disappointed….but want to thank you for all the trouble you took in explaining and showing and providing us with the nice tea and food. We had the feeling we had visited with friends rather than making a business deal.

radha_3.jpg“We hope all works out for you as you expect, and we will look for other opportunities around the Kootenays…. If at some time you should be able to refer us to something suitable, we would certainly appreciate it.

“Thanks again for all your hospitality,

With warm regards,

Mrs. U.S. Hellman”

Some of the important letters with information in them do not always have dates on them, making the gathering of facts more difficult. Excerpts from one such letter refers to a property that Bill Fraser showed them that had been for sale for several years. It is written to friends and reads:

“We have the land!!!….. The place is near Walker’s Landing,…and has 1300 ft. lake frontage and is altogether 83 acres. There are about 100 fruit trees and 3 old buildings which will serve for shelter until we have built something, as they are not worth improving…. The price is $16,000. The owner, Mr. Graham Brown wants 1/3, $5,500 down and the remaining money at 4% paid off in 3 years…. The Frasers invited me to stay in their house and the next morning Mr. Fraser asked me if I knew what Yasodhara means, if it had anything to do with Yoga. Fortunately I remembered that this is the name of the mother [wife] of Lord Buddha. I was just overwhelmed and felt almost like crying when Mr. Fraser told me that this land is registered under this name. Later when Mr. Brown gave radha_6.jpgme the plan, there it was. [What I heard later was that the tract of land called Yasodhara Estates was originally bought by a retired British officer who served in India for a number of years and was familiar with the Indian stories and myths, so he knew who Yasodhara was and used that name. Swami Radha bought a section of this land.SwD]

“We have a friend who is a very able architect. He is going to do all the lay-out designs and blueprints. And a lawyer friend makes right now the last checkup on the registration…. I have to leave on the 26th for Kootenay Lake to finalize the buy…and all the boys come along to see the place and make plans. Mike and Hugh will stay on the land and make a topographical map for the architect…. Joe will come back to Burnaby. Joe Reuter and I will carry on to Virginia Beach….You will not hear from me before my return from Virginia Beach…. Say some prayers for the work. It will be quite a task.
“With love,

radha_4.jpgPart of the tapestry of Swami Radha’s story is the connecting thread with Hugh Lynn Cayce (Edgar Cayce’s son) and the ARE (The Association for Research and Enlightenment) at Virginia Beach. She was invited to give lectures there and she also went to take courses from them. In the midst of this search for land she had invited Hugh Lynn Cayce to visit the Burnaby ashram. So she was involved in hosting a visit with him and Elsie Sechrist, one of the key persons in the organization. She had to organize places for lectures in Vancouver and publicize the programs they would give—all of this in the midst of the search for the land.

In the next Lightwaves article on Swami Radha’s Life of Service we will focus on her move to a new life on the Walker’s Landing property that would have its challenges and many surprises.

Click to see full list of Radha’s Life of Service articles.

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