Many people have read my story of being given the Guru stone in my book Walking Home with Baba. For those who have not, I will give a short summary and continue from there.
Over my years with Baba, he gave me various semiprecious stones. There were several citrines; they are lovely but only resemble the Guru stone, which in Indic traditions is a yellow sapphire. At Christmastime in 1980 we were in Los Angeles. One day, after I had reached a place where I was no longer willing to waste my time and energy on someone who was not on the same path as me, Baba called me to his room and, in that person’s presence, gave me an 11-carat yellow sapphire. The Guru stone. As he handed it to me, he said, “Now you have the real Guru”.
He later directed me to have it mounted in a ring to be worn on my right index finger, set so that the stone touched my skin. I felt the ring was very intense, so to soften it I had two small diamonds placed on either side of the sapphire. When I showed it to Baba in the darshan line, he said, “No. Take the diamonds away”. He was not pleased with what I had done. I had the diamonds removed, and wore the ring without them. Baba was happy.
When I came back to America from India with a newborn son in late January 1983, my life completely changed. No Baba, no ashram, no sharing sādhana. The environment was hostile to where I had lived and what I practiced. I removed all the trappings of my prior life and, as Baba had taught me, took my practice completely inward. Wearing the Guru stone as a ring on my index finger did not quite fit the lifestyle of a new mother living what felt like an alien life.
Part of the change was transforming the ring into a necklace. Simple, with a strong chain, it remained around my neck every day. Several years ago, I switched to a stronger chain with an extremely secure clasp. Every day, from simple living and teaching to traveling abroad several times, I wore the stone.
On the morning of May 20th, I finished teaching and went outside to talk to my student Fraz and his landscaping crew, who were clearing away a massive pile of yard waste. We spoke for a good long time. I walked around among the debris and in the parking area, which was layered with wood chips. The phone had rung and David handed it to me. I talked and walked my way across the driveway and up the front walk into the house. While speaking, I went into my teaching room, and when I reached my pillow I leaned over. Out of nowhere the gold chain that had held the Guru stone slid from my neck and snaked down onto my seat. It appeared the chain had broken. The stone was gone. Without telling the caller why, I got off the phone abruptly and started the search.
I called to David, and we informed Fraz and the other two men outside. Everyone was one-pointed on finding the Guru stone. I patted down my body hoping it had fallen into a piece of my clothing. No luck.
Outside, we all scoured the large area. Knowing that the stone was large helped, but it was not large enough to find amongst the debris. I went in the house again. What did Baba want?
Surprisingly, I was calm. “Whatever God does He does for good”, I said to myself, and I felt it as well. The only thing was, I knew that later, at some point, I would be devastated. But for the moment I was peaceful, everything was as it should be. A half hour went by. Nothing.
Outside again, I walked along the front garden bed. At my feet were a couple of weeds beginning to wither on the asphalt. I vaguely remembered that I had pulled them out of the large area of sedum. Leaning over I separated some of the plant. And there, just lying there as if the place were its home, as if it belonged there, with no fanfare—was the Guru stone. Resting on the dirt under the sedum, of course it was there. “I found it,” I called. Relief and quiet remained, as if everything was going according to the script. There was no excitement.
Now, I could take the time to look at the chain. What had happened to it? Nothing. It was fine. I had assumed the chain had broken, but it had not. There was no logical reason for the chain coming undone. What was I supposed to learn from this?
The answer was clear. The time when I had concealed the stone in plain sight was over. It was time to return the stone to what Baba had told me to do with it. No more necklace: time to make the Guru stone into a ring again.