Through God's Grace I was led to Swami Aseshananda. I was young and steeped in ignorance -- but I thought I knew something about spirituality. I had met Swami in Los Angeles prior to my initiation but had not spent any "one-on-one" time with him. My first interview with him was when I flew to Portland for Mantra Diksha. He asked me what I had been practicing, and I told him I had been meditating on Sri Ramakrishna who was my Ishta. (In hindsight I think of my audacity at saying this to such a great, realized soul; I should have begged him to choose my Chosen Ideal.)
Swami was quiet for some time. He then asked me if I had ever considered the possibility that Holy Mother might be my Ishtam. I responded by telling him that Sri Ramakrishna was my Chosen -- not Mother. (in thinking back on this episode I wonder why he just didn't kick me out.) Swami was quiet again for some time and then said to me that he would initiate me the next morning, being Holy Mother's Birthday. He said that he would give the Master's Name -- and also something special.
The next morning he did give me Sri Ramkrishna's Name. And, of course, the "something special" was a Holy Mother Mantra.
At first I gave most of my meditation time to the Master. But, as the decades have come and gone, Mother has gradually became my main focus. Swami knew what was right for me. And, knowing my stubbornness, he knew how to handle me.
I started off young and ignorant and am now old and ignorant. Despite all my samskaras and character flaws, I had the great blessing to be drawn into the orbit of a Mahapurush. My head is forever bowed at his feet.
I never lived in Portland. I would visit Swami about once a year for 1 to 3 weeks. What I came to understand is that being in his presence caused my mind to become "lifted up". I literally would not experience any impure thoughts the entire time I was with him.
One year we were speaking before my flight back to Los Angeles. I told him how my mind was lifted up when I was with him, but as soon as I left him my mind would "come down" to its normal state. Well....as a result of saying this I received one of the worst scoldings ever. With his voice raised and booming he continuously thundered "THAT IS NO GOOD, IT IS NO GOOD". I understood that I needed to be able to maintain that level of consciousness when I was not with him.
It is still a work in progress......