I have been thinking about my mother and how Maharaji gave me a present.

You see, I was a Freudian, and that’s a bad place to be in relation to mothers. Sometime after I had been with Maharaji, I was having a darshan and he said something to me: “Your mother is a very high being.” Now my mother had died. So I perceived my mother in a new way. I had seen her as a Jewish middle-class woman filling the role of mother with all her personality things. But that person is all gone. So he said that about her, and I asked the translator to clarify whether he meant to say “is” or “was.” So, the translator went back over, and Maharaji got angry and said, “Is!… Is!”

Now ever since then, when I see my mother I see her as a very high soul, because souls don’t die. And he said, “Is.”

Throughout my entire life we were playing this game of mother and son, while she was really a fellow soul all along.

There was an incident between her and I. I was teaching at Harvard, and I went up to the family farm in New Hampshire. One of my patients had been put in a mental hospital, and so this patient called me from the mental hospital collect, and didn’t talk at all the whole time. So my mother and I were both at the farm, and I took the call, and there was silence. You see though, my mother paid the bills on that telephone, and so she said, “Do your friends have to call collect?” I said, “That’s alright that he did that. You know, I have one category in my life, and that is friend. My friends treat me with respect, and I treat them with respect, and if I tell him to call, I must have a reason. And I find that I’m only happy with friends. So what do you think? You think we could be friends?” She walked up to bed and about half an hour later I went up to her bedroom and she was reading. I pressed the door open and she said, “I want to be your friend.”

So I’m going to give you the present that Maharaji gave me.

Today, would you think of your mother as a soul? You may have already done that, but maybe you haven’t. That is the way you can give your mother a present, if she’s living or if she’s dead, either way, by thinking of her as a soul… as a soul who has taken on this body, this personality, this incarnation. You and she, the two of you, the two beings, grasping across incarnations.

-Ram Dass