About the Author

The Beginning of An Unsuspected Path

Born to a deeply religious Catholic family in Sri Lanka, I entered National Seminary to study Philosophy and Theology for seven years, where I was ranked always first in my class. I was ordained a priest in December, 1960 and served in the North of Sri Lanka for nine years

I believed fully in all the doctrines of the Church for the first five years. Then I began to question various doctrines, starting with the position of the Church on birth control. I voiced my opinions publicly, writing articles in English and Tamil, and publishing a magazine in Tamil to discuss these issues.

In 1970 I accepted a scholarship from Union Theological Seminary in New York City to do a Master’s degree in Theology with the hope of salvaging my faith in God and Christ. I went on to do a Master’s degree in Sociology at Fordham University.

In the meantime, I had become an agnostic and gradually embraced materialism as a sane philosophy. I was employed as an adoption case-worker at New York Foundling Hospital, and seemed to be quite content with my life, enjoying the company of many friends.

An Experience That Changed My Life

 

Ten years had elapsed since my father passed away. I did not believe in life after death or in the reality of love. I was living at a fifth floor apartment in Manhattan. One evening in 1977, after dinner, without giving into the usual distractions, I was fully focused on observing my thoughts and feelings.

So intent was my concentration that I did not have a wink of sleep during the night. Towards 7 am, I was unusually calm and alert, when I vividly experienced the presence of my father in the room. Father kept saying to me: “I love you” again and again. I felt the vibrations of love within my body and around me, as if I was floating in a sea of love. My first thought was: “So love is real! And this is love!”

Then my materialistic mind intervened to say that I was going through an hallucination. I received an immediate, intuitive response from the depths of my being: “if this is hallucination, then my body, the room and the furniture are a  greater hallucination.” I knew beyond any doubt that my experience, which went beyond the physical senses, was much more real than an everyday sensory experience.

I continued to enjoy my father’s love for a few more minutes, and it faded away slowly. Now being sure about life after death and the reality of love, the first question that came to me was whether God is real. I dismissed that thought quickly as I did not want to deal with the mental turmoil that could ensue.

How A Single Book Impacted My Life

 

Three months later, I attended a week-end seminar on Silva Mind Control. The seminar leader Paul Grivas told me that he too had been an agnostic and came back to Christianity through Yoga. For three days consecutively he insisted that I should read the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Reluctantly I brought the book home, expecting to read a few pages and put it away quickly. Instead it turned out to be an awesome, exhilarating experience. Intuitively from deep inside myself I felt that the saintly author could not deceive me. I was glued to the book that whole night crying and laughing, as Yogananda described his close association with Christ-like Masters of modern India.

The power and presence of God was palpable throughout the book. The questions and doubts that had plagued my mind earlier disappeared as altogether irrelevant. I understood that the primary purpose of human life is to realize directly my own true Self or God.

Various Paths To The Same Place

 

The neighboring Catholic Church pulled me like a powerful magnet. I started attending daily mass and went for Charismatic meetings. Though I enjoyed their prayers and soulful singing, I was repelled by their intellectual intolerance and parochialism.

Hence I decided to explore other spiritual paths that were more open-minded like Zen Buddhism and so on. I spent much time at various ashrams learning to meditate. Four years later I accepted Paramahansa Yogananda as my Guru and joined Self Realization Fellowship.

Around the same time I became a caseworker at Child Protective Service in New York City, and a supervisor a few years later, working there for twenty years. For the first six months I was rather critical and judgmental about the parents alleged to be abusive and neglectful of the children. Hence I found my contact with them to be full of tension. Then my attitude changed radically so that I was quite at ease with the parents  and able to help out the whole family.

In 1996 my wife and I met Ammachi the ‘hugging saint ‘in New York City. It was an overwhelming experience of pure, selfless love.I felt an inner need to share my experiences and ideas about spirituality with others, and retired in 2002 to do a thorough research on the subject. Ammachi encouraged me to write the book with many hugs and much laughter.

The book titled Living with Saints and Sages was published in 2007. Some people told me that they postponed reading the book due to its title that seemed to be too religious. I revised the book and published it in 2015 with a new title: Limitless Love, Truly We Are That.

Essentially we are not different from the saints. They have realized the truth of their being whereas we are still steeped in ignorance. Our main concern should be to realize that we too are limitless love. I co-authored another book titled The Prosperity Factor with Dr. Joe Vitale, published this year. It has already become a best-seller with Amazon.com.

Devadas Chelvam

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"Let us remove the veils covering the truth of our being, and be aware that we are love."