Sridhar, a disciple who has taken initiation in October 2010 writes about his experiences related to his initiation and meeting master in great detail. He calls himself “Stupid” because of his ignorance, he could not recognize Master when he met for the first time.
07 – 21 October 2010
This is a story of 14 days which starts with a New moon day and ends with a Full moon day which symbolizes my spiritual journey from Darkness to Light.
I reached Rishikesh ashram by 5: 30 in evening on 6th October for which I took flight from Delhi at 4:00 pm and then a cab from Dehradun to Rishikesh. At the reception, I met the receptionist who I felt was a cool guy.
Then I saw Master for the very first time at the reception who just walked in. He was in western clothes with a cream colored jacket. He was looking around 60 years old with a bright face and a cute looking smile. I thought he could be young because I saw his picture on his website where he looked like 45. I spoke to him for few minutes about my journey and after that he said I will have my initiation at 11 am in the morning that is tomorrow. Though, I have thought of taking initiation from Baba (Swami Shankarananda Giri) and this was the reason I dropped myself attending the retreat in April 2010 as Baba was not coming then and it was conducted by my Master. For some strange reason, I couldn’t say “No” to master this time and he told me to get 5 types of flowers and Fruits which is a symbolic tradition to follow for the initiation ceremony.
I woke up early in the morning and spoke to receptionist about the market to get fruits and flowers. He suggested me to go to Triveni Ghat to get them. I took a cab to reach the place and found the market. I took 5 types of Tulips, a flower bouquet and some marigold flowers and 5 types of fruits bananas, apples, pomegranate, Oranges and one more type of fruit and headed to ashram.
I was really excited to get initiated in the tradition because I have been reading scriptures from past 4 years and I understand the value and importance of kriya yoga meditation in a human life. I am also fully aware of the benefits a person can get from meditation. For this reason, I had the utmost respect for the ceremony.
I reached the temple before 11’o clock and there were students sitting in the temple to meditate. It was a whole new experience for me and I felt this is one of the happiest days in my life. As said in scriptures, taking initiation is equal to taking birth again (Dwija) and been compared to that of a bird which comes as an egg from mother which is the first birth and then gets life from the egg which is a second birth. Initiation ceremony can be compared to Baptism of Christianity and Thread ceremony of Brahmin community. It is been around ages in India and very few are aware of this. A person’s initiation is his/her starting point in search of God.
Master came to the temple and started the ceremony and as usual he has a bright smile on his face. He was wearing traditional indian clothes which are Kurta and Pyjama with a shawl. I sat close to master and he was sitting on a small chair and I was seated on ground. He was reading mantras and at the end of ceremony touched my 6th centre (Point between eye brows). The ceremony lasted for 15 minutes and later taught me the Kriya Yoga techniques. At the bottom of heart, I was feeling bliss and I felt every minute of the ceremony was so precious to me. Then, I took his blessing by touching his feet in Indian way; he was so kind and said, “It is not necessary”. The reason I felt could be “God exists in every soul and master and me are the same except he is a realised soul and I just started”. Master then distributed the fruits to all the students meditating in the temple. He served himself to all of them.
After finishing the ceremony Master whispered in my ear that, “He was happy to initiate me” and also said “There is nothing special about a miracle, Life itself is a Miracle”. After the ceremony, I asked Master If I could take pictures of meditation temple, he said “Yes”.
I came to my room and took a digital picture of the initiation flower and saved it forever. Then it was a routine day with Ashram regulations. I used to visit the restaurant outside the Ashram for coffee and I saw Master going for a walk after lunch and dinner. There were many people from west who were students in the ashram but for some reason I could only watch Master. I was not keen to know about the rest except master. At this moment, I was thinking that this could be because of my quest for knowledge.
After watching master going out for walk for 3 days, I thought which place does master visit during the walk. I also wanted to walk down the street to see the place for myself and it turns to be banks of River Ganga, I was walking towards it and I saw Master coming back towards ashram. We met and it was a casual talk and he asked about my age and my profession and I replied it in a casual sense. I noticed he felt happy while he was talking to me and after few minutes we left.
Meditation was going good but I was not experiencing Silence which I used to, when I practiced few years back on my own and I was getting little bit nervous. Apart from this, thoughts were taking me away from meditation and I was struggling with myself to concentrate. I also felt that I was not able to follow the techniques as taught by master.
After evening meditation, I felt I should speak to Master about this and I spoke to him about my problem of not following the techniques properly. He said, there is no need to worry because I was doing bit different but it still solves the purpose and also said not to worry about thoughts as they are part of life and with regular practice I can overcome them. He explained it in a very simple way. If a person has to run 1000 meters and his capacity is 10 minutes and with practice for 2 years, he could do it in 5 minutes. In the same manner, with practice you can overcome your problems and move towards your goal. One has to be realistic about this. I was relieved with his answer and we discussed about spirituality for some time and later Master asked, “Did I read his texts and commentaries”. I have gone through the website but didn’t read them. I also told Master that I didn’t like his website and said it has to be redesigned according to latest design as it was looking very old (ancient) with simple HTML. This was the first close meeting with master and there is no looking back for me. I started feeling to speak to him in every opportunity I get from that day.
Master is a very silent person who is most of the time within himself, not much in to external Life and he always taught us the same – to look inside that is where consciousness exists. He didn’t talk much unless it is necessary. During our discussions of website, I wanted to post his name with a salutation like Acharya. He did not like that and asked me what “Acharya” is. I replied Acharya means Master in Sanskrit. He told me that he wanted people to call him with his first name and not with any titles. I could see such simplicity in master. Later I realized that Titles are for Ego bound souls like us and not for realized souls. Master also told me that, “He was thinking on updating his website from quite some time and interestingly I said the same thing to him”.
I met him the next day to discuss about the design and told about my experience with his picture on website where he looked young. He laughed at that. I told him that we need to keep a good picture of him in his website; he replied “It is hard to take picture of me”. I was confused at his response, why it could be hard to take a picture of a person? I could only get the answer the next day. Master checked his email on my laptop and we discussed about few other things.
The next day, after evening meditation I met him in his room, whenever we discussed about the website, he never took a decision when I came with my plan, he always said “We will see”. This was his favorite statement. I was little puzzled about this response. I told master that I read his scriptures and commentaries last night. Master then said me, “Now I understand why I don’t find you in early morning meditation”. I explained master that I have this habit of working till late nights. In one of the commentary, he wrote that he initiated one of his disciples in fourth kriya and explained about the experiences of fifth, sixth and seventh kriyas.
Oh My God, I was surprised about this because 7th kriya is the last stage of the meditation and the person is a realised soul after that. I explained the same to Master and asked him to forgive me for my ignorance because I thought he could be in second kriya or third kriya. I thought so because of my knowledge of Ananda Kriya Yoga by Swami Kriyananda which allows second kriya acharyas to initiate people into first kriya and I was thinking the same about my master. This was the reason, I avoided taking initiation from master in April and hoping to get initiation from Baba. Master just smiled at me for my answer and said nothing in reply.
Being a mind, all I could understand was physical appearance and social status, I was so driven with saffron clad swamis and matted hairs like most of us thinking of them as great realized beings just based on their appearance. Alas, I missed the whole point, Spirituality is about being inside and experiencing god within, not outer appearance. I felt there is no end to human stupidity. This reminded me of the incident when Swami Pranabananda (saint with two bodies), disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya met Babaji once and asked him, why Babaji is not wearing saffron clothes like a Sadhu 🙂 . For this Babaji answered, “No one recognizes him in his plain clothes and by doing so he could avoid people who bothers swami’s with all kind of questions”. I could say, same is true for my master. He is walking all over the world freely and no one knew him nor bother him with stupid questions and inquiries about their future 🙂
Now I could realise why he said, “It is hard to take a good picture of him”. When a person is with complete consciousness that is ever changing like the world, it becomes hard to take his picture. Even though you can take the picture, one cannot get the right expression from him. That is what he really meant about picture. It also reminded me the incident about Lahiri Mahasaya where he did not allow the photographer to take his picture, every time the photographer took the photo, it was blank. Later after request by his disciple, lahiri baba allowed to take the photo which is very famous now.
I came to my room and felt blessed that I got a chance to meet a realised soul so close to me. Every sunrise is bringing me closer and closer to Master and now I started watching him every moment to spend some time with him. I also could feel the bond with him every time I met and spoke to him. This bond only could grow stronger and stronger with each passing day.
Next day, after lunch I was waiting for master to confirm myself that he was a realised soul, I asked Master with a straight face, “If I am right, your identity and ego doesn’t exist in your body, its only god consciousness now”. He smiled at my question and said “Don’t think about this”. I could easily understand from his smile that he is no more his identity now; he is a self realised person or a Yogi which we call in east.
From the next day, I started watching his Adidas shoes, if he is in the ashram or went out for the walk. We are not supposed to get in to the ashram temple with shoes. Whenever I saw that his shoes were not there, I felt I had a chance to meet him at the coffee shop. I used to go out and look for him in the coffee shop. One day I could find him and he waived at me, I felt happy and went inside and started speaking to master. I used to ask him all my stupid spiritual questions which were stored in me for all these years and he would answer them very patiently and always said one thing, “Every human is divine and everyone has the same opportunity to get realised and No one is above, No one is below”. He also said that “I should not think him as a great person and respect him for that, I should treat him as a friend who is guiding me in my spiritual path”. I really felt blessed listening to his words and still could not stop thinking of him in highest regard; no matter I understood what he said.
Master has this unusual habit of drinking sugarless Tea/Coffee and eating sugar crystals after taking a sip of coffee. I became so close by the time and jokingly said, “He is eating sugar like an ant”. He always laughed at my jokes and conversations. He always had a smiley face but never laughed. I felt blessed to laugh with him for few moments.
While discussing spirituality and the questions I asked, Master said, the answers for my questions are very subtle to understand with intellect and one need to experience on his own. For asking these questions, he said “I had a good intellect”. I took it as a compliment from master. I spoke to master about my dear friend who is in to Bhakti Yoga and strict follower of a religious scripture who won’t believe anything except written in scripture. I and my friend used to argue for hours regarding meditation and true essence of religious scriptures. Master said, “Don’t worry, No matter how hard you may explain him, he won’t get it now”. Everyone has their time to realise and they will when it comes. I was relieved with his answer as I want my friend to realise the truth.
I once asked master, “How can a person live in peace without any arguments?” Master replied, “It is simple, you just need to have patience and most of the times, you could say, you don’t have an opinion on the topic”.
Master at times, used to tell me small stories which I used to hear with great enthusiasm. Once we had a discussion on miracles and Master said the story of a Saint and an Indian Yogi. Once Saint was traveling on a boat and saw a Yogi coming from the other end walking on water and Saint asked the Yogi, “How long did it take to do this exercise”?, Yogi replied , it took 40 years of meditation to do this, then saint replied “It costs five rupees to travel to the other end on boat”. I laughed a lot on this. I felt it was a great lesson for me who was fascinated about miracles like any normal human. Master also told me that one needs large amount of energy to do miracles.
Master is kind to me and offered me Lemon tea when I was in his room for spiritual discussion or discussing about the website. He used to offer me raisins or chocolates to eat while drinking sugarless tea which is a different experience for me, but I really enjoyed it and accepted everything which he gave me to drink or eat as a blessing. Once I was reluctant to get the cup from kitchen which is little far from the room and said, “I don’t want the tea as I have to go all the way to get the cup”. But Master insisted to get it, I could never say “NO” to master and got it. While leaving the room at the end of conversation about Religion, I said in an uneasy tone “I don’t understand, why god would create so many religions and put all parables and riddles in every gospel. He could just create one religion and keep the real essence in it. I guess God don’t want to fill heaven with people”. Master smiled at my statement and said nothing in reply.
After few days of meditation I could understand this clearly, while I was working on website and wanted to put some quotes for the images on home page and asked master to come up with some lines on meditation and later I felt that it would be great if we can put the quotes of all gospels from different religions to make people understand that meditation is for everyone and started working on different gospels. I shared the same idea with master and he was happy with the way I think and said “We do it like that”. I collected verses from Hindu scripture Gita, Jewish scripture Torah, Christian scripture Bible, Islamic scripture Quran and verses from Buddha, Sikh saint Guru Nanak and Indian saint Maharishi Patanjali. While doing so, I happened to see the religious symbols of all religions and to my surprise; I found all of them were associated with God who is revealed as a spiritual eye when one attains self realisation or seeing the Self.
The sound OM which is a Hindu symbol comes from the sound of god, when a human attains self realisation, OM sound resonates in his/her body. The Jewish symbol with seven dots on a stand is a symbol of seven chakras or energy centers of human body. The Christian cross is a symbol of 6th centre or our door to god’s kingdom and Star is from spiritual eye. The Islamic symbol of crescent moon and star is a resemblance of spiritual eye. The light behind Buddha’s head is a symbol of light which is the form of god. But, how many of the religious followers truly understand their religion and its symbols. The person who attain self realisation or who has the knowledge about the chakras and spiritual eye could only understand the true meaning of the religion and they are all the same and all the Prophets of the religions are true Self Realised masters. Let there be no doubt about that.
As I said above, I have read many scriptures from all the religions, Gita, Bible and Quran but I could only fully understand the true meaning of those scriptures after acquiring my knowledge of meditation and its true essence. I assume that God is the Universal intelligence and it might the three guna (Satvic, Rajas, Tamas) manifestations that happened during that time of need which created a religion or may be God loves to test human wisdom and intellect to find him who is staying inside a human body in a subtle form. I understand that I can only completely know the reason when I realize myself. Till then, it’s all guess work :-). All one could do is believe or disbelieve. Believing cannot take one close to the truth nor Disbelieving would take one away from the truth. God is all about experience, not belief systems.
Humans are trying to find God by visiting places of pilgrimage and chanting hymns in prayer houses so loudly but could not feel God anywhere. Alas, what a misery to human life, they could find him just by closing their eyes and feeling the breath inside them. It also reminded me of Master who once said during the talks that, all the swamis of east and people coming from west to seek spiritual knowledge are moving from one place to other and one master to the other like nomads and not able to understand that every teaching is the same and every spiritual journey leads to the same destination that is god. I could feel the pain in master’s voice for them. I said, Master it could be, because of lack of knowledge and understanding. Master replied, “Yes.”
Master suggested me to read the scriptures, be it Gita or Bible or Quran or some other scripture depending on one’s interest and religion they follow. Reading scriptures would be a great help in the path of realization. I could understand the real reason behind that as I have experienced myself while reading them. Whenever I read scriptures, my spiritual eye became active and it created an urge to meditate.
During our meetings, Master said a story about his conversation with Baba. Baba once told master that there are 3 types of idiots in this world. One is Baba, where all kinds of people come to him with their problems (personal, social, spiritual) and he attends them patiently. Second is master, who takes loans with huge interest rates to donate for spiritual purposes (building rishikesh ashram) and third, master said he cannot recollect it now. We both laughed at this loudly. I always felt happy to listen to master’s stories, they used to be very small but have great humor in them and at times a spiritual message as well.
One day I went to walk down the street and found shops selling many different things. I went in to store and found conch shells. I was always fascinated with the sound of conch shell from child hood; the sound always touched me inside. I bought a medium size conch shell to gift it to master. After evening meditation, I went to master’s room and said, “I have got a gift for you”. Master was curious to know what I got for him and was looking the wrapper anxiously when I was opening it. He felt very happy to see the conch shell. I demonstrated on how to blow it. He liked it and thanked me for the gift with a bright smile.
Master has this western habit of saying “Thank you” for every small thing and I insisted that master has to say “God Bless You” instead of “thank you” as it would help a person in many ways. Master reminded me of a story where one of the ashram members said the same to master and after two days, he again thanked her. Master said, as he belongs to west and the way he was brought up in that culture, it was hard for him, not to say “Thank you”. I always asked master to bless me so that I can reach my goal of self realization without any obstacles in my path. He was very kind and said, “I can help you, if you can practice every day”. This was enough for me and I felt very happy and delighted.
Once I told master that my family is not aware of my trip to the retreat and I lied to them that I am on a business trip to Delhi because they are afraid that I might end up as a Sadhu leaving worldly life. Then Master said that, I can get married, lead a family life and still can achieve Self realization in the same way master did. He told me to speak to the girl before getting married about my interests towards spiritual life and it will not change, no matter what happen in the future. As he mentioned in his articles, he was married and have a well established business, but it was his strong desire towards spirituality which helped him to reach this stage. He told me, he used to meditate even in middle of work, Be it 10 minutes , 15 minutes. Such is his longing for God and Truth. He also said me, “One needs to put 100% effort to get realized”. I could relate master with a great spiritual master from Benares who was a family man and still could achieve it. At the end of conversation, Master told me, “If family man is not there, Where is the Sadhu?” We both laughed at this sentence and how true was it.
Master also told me a small story where a swami asked master to keep long beards and master replied, “In what way that would help him? “. How true is that answer, Can any person become spiritual, if he displays that in physical appearance by wearing religious clothes or doing rituals in the name of god or religion? A person has to be spiritual inside from the bottom of heart, in the same manner where Christ spoke of cup inside.
I once told master that all my life, I have this crazy idea to make big money and put it in a bank for rest of the life and wanted to retire as soon as possible. I never understood why I would want to do this and what would I do after making that money. I also had this strange feeling that I was not born to make money and do merry. Now I understand why I had this idea. I wanted to make money and end the day to day race of life to seek my goal that is Self Realization. Master laughed at me and said, “Yes”.
Every death in my social circle reminded me that I have to start the meditation soon and whenever I saw an aged person above 50, my inner voice asked me, “Do you like to stay as deluded soul even at this age? and What would you become at this age?.” I have interest in spiritual matters from child hood but never took it seriously even though I have read all religious scriptures. Something in me always told me, “enough of reading, time to practice”. I started praying God everyday to bless me to find my Guru whenever I felt the urge. After four years, I could find my Master and I am delighted now.
My dear friend and I used to talk a lot on spiritual matters and he always said me that his religion is the greatest. But I could never accept that and I always said,”Every religion is the same and they are just different paths to God and I related this with a destination which a person could reach and there might be ten different routes and one can travel in any route and still end up there”. I also was amused at my responses whenever I spoke with my friend because I did not even know that I had this knowledge in me. He used to tease me that I am a very old man in my thirties because of my responses related to life, religion, world and other topics.
I once had the same discussion with master and told master that, “Meditation is the only way to reach God” but Master said, “I was wrong about this, there are many ways as mentioned by Hindu Scripture Gita, it could be Bhakti – prayer, it could be Karma – by just doing ones work without thinking about the fruits, Jnana – Wisdom and few others which I don’t remember now”. But master said, “Meditation is an easy way to reach God”.
I did not interact much with the students at ashram for few days and later most of us started moving closely and it was spiritual discussion mostly. I found many of the students did not understand the true value of meditation which can lead us to Self Realization and for them it is only to experience peace of mind and a medication for their Stressful life.
One day one student spoke to me and said he was experiencing Silence from his childhood but could not understand it. He used to experience Silence while driving, working, and speaking to others and in almost every activity of life. Ah, what a blessing to him. He spoke to his family and friends about this and no one could understand what exactly it is and He went to Haridwar to meet some spiritual masters and ask them for solution but he could not find any there and all he saw was mere rituals and then some cab driver suggested him to go to Rishikesh and he ended up coming to our Ashram. After coming here, he met Master and understood he was so blessed. If you are aware of Meditation, Silence is God himself and all you do in meditation is to achieve it. I remember reading a book by a Yogi where he mentioned that one Christian Nun used to experience Silence while praying and she thought it was a disturbance caused by Satan. Aaah, what a pity? We could find many people like her in this world who are true seekers but end up like this because of lack of knowledge. God is blessing them with the fruit of Bliss and they are rejecting it by considering it as a distraction in the path of God. I feel very blessed now to have this knowledge after reading about them.
I also spoke to another student and he said, he is practicing meditation for two years and he would only experience Silence twice or thrice. I asked Master about the Silence one day and he replied that one might have visions with beautiful colors while experiencing it but the visions are different to every person depending on his thinking and spiritual aspirations. A person is not supposed to reveal the visions or stages of meditation to anyone except his Master and it is considered as a secret.
During the conversation at Coffee shop, I spoke of an Indian Yogi who is very famous, who could not handle the bliss and always was in god consciousness, drunk in God’s love and asked Master, “How he could handle that bliss and still behave normal?” Master said, “I eat, drink, sleep like a normal person”. For this I said,”You don’t need to eat, drink or sleep”. Master smiled at me for my answer. Master also said that he is not that Yogi which I spoke about and he is himself. Then I could really understand the true meaning of his sentence as mentioned by him in an article “Silence in activity is the Greatest Nirvana”. Being in Silence 24/7 is not easy in the first place as a Yogi will be fully drunk with Bliss, on top of that master is referring to do Activity in that Silence. Verily, this sounded to me like Nuclear Physics for a primary school student. He was way ahead of that Yogi and attained a level which a normal human cannot understand with intellect and one can only understand it by achieving Self Realization.
The Coffee shop was on Main Street and there was busy traffic all the time with vehicles making loud noise and I was very annoyed inside with the shop owner because he always opened the door to attract the customers. Because of this it was hard for me to hear Masters Words when we had conversation in the coffee shop. Even while taking meditation sessions, Master Spoke like an ocean tide where his voice goes up and comes down. I used to have a tough time to understand him when he drops his voice. He also has a habit of speaking very slowly with a soft tone which was quite opposite to me where I spoke very fast and loud.
Master behaved so normal that not even one person staying at ashram or people who were associated with him for so long did not know that he was a realized soul. I felt very fortunate to know him completely and I know I had a deeper connection with him. To clear my doubt, one day I asked Master during our spiritual meeting that, I felt nothing new while doing meditation, I felt I have done this before, may be in my past lives and also asked him, is that true that a Master and disciple relation is eternal unlike parents, family, friends, wife, children who can change in every incarnation, but Master and disciple relation is the same in every incarnation. Master said, “Yes and nothing is new”. I felt delighted to hear this. Master always kept a low profile and asked me not to think “great” of him but it was hard for me to behave normal after knowing he is a realized soul. I could compare this with a bud and a flower. If Master is a flower which has a grace and fragrance and I am like a bud which does not have this essence at this stage, but bud can become a flower for sure and this is what master meant.
At this time, I also felt his consciousness while talking to him. One day during our talks, I started looking at him with my spiritual eye and suddenly I felt bliss which I cannot handle. I was trying to get the same feeling during meditation for hours but could not get it. Master was saying something and I said, “I cannot handle it”. Master smiled at me and asked, “What is it that I cannot handle”. I smiled at him as well and he knows what it was. I said master jokingly that “Cat has smelled the milk”. I asked Master If I could meditate with him for few minutes and he agreed for that. I sat close to him and was feeling really good and suddenly I felt light was hitting my eyes after few minutes and I could not meditate, I opened my eyes and the room was completely dark. I could figure out that it was from Master where the light is coming from.
During my stay at ashram, I never attended early morning meditation as I was working till late night and I used to wake up at 9:30 or 10 in the morning to attend 11’o clock meditation. For many days, I always found master was the first person to find whenever I came out of my room in the morning. I thought it could be just a coincidence. But the next day, I went back side of ashram to take my clothes after waking up, to my surprise I again found master even there.
During lunch, I once asked master, what his age is; he was deeply inside and replied “65”. In one of our conversations, master said his only desire is to teach people and said he really don’t need to be here. I could understand the real meaning of this sentence. We are so blessed to find Master to learn from him and speak to him. In a real sense, being a Self Realized person, he has nothing to do with the world and he is only keeping the body to give some good things to world, that is teaching the importance of self realization and helping spiritual seekers to find the Ultimate truth.
One day I have taken pictures at temple and fortunately master was standing next to me and I asked master If I can take a picture with him. Master was kind and agreed. One of the students has taken the picture of me and Master. When I was showing the picture on laptop, I was looking like a monkey in that picture and said the same to master and master said, “Yes, Good Monkey”. I smiled at his comment. Master also allowed me to take video with him once which will be always dearer to me and I watch it whenever I feel like seeing him.
Once I asked Master to write his Autobiography and asked him to title it as “The Western Yogi” or “The Unknown Yogi from the West” and asked him to write two more books related to his spiritual experiences and commentary on religious scriptures. I also told him the importance of book because he being a family man from the west, it would be inspirational for western people in the path of realization. I said Master, “As you are born and destined to be a Self Realized Master, you should take this task seriously”. As usual master said “We will see”. I now understood clearly why he tells me, “We will see” whenever we discussed something. He never can make a decision before time because he wants the three gunas to act at that point of time and manifest, then only he could do something based on that. I now understood, why Baba could not come up with a design and he was himself not sure how the temple is coming up while building it and there was chaos situation with workers and people associated with it.
During a spiritual conversation at coffee shop, Master told me “If you are thirsty, I can describe water in 10,000 different ways but still you won’t have the same feeling unless you taste it”. In the same way, spiritual consciousness cannot be made understandable to intellect, no matter it can be explained in many ways. One can only experience it to understand it, what exactly it is and how it tastes.
During meditation sessions, I used to open my eyes because of lack of concentration at times and could see master in deep meditation state. Most of the times, he used to give instructions in that state of deep meditation. I know for sure that he was not with us at that time but he never missed a single instruction and every time it was perfect one after the other. I once told master about this and he smiled and told me it is hard for him to recollect what he said during that state. He could only remember things when he is in normal state of mind. It was very tough for him to be in normal state of mind as he has completely dissolved his identity.
I wanted to go for a walk with master all the time but I also felt that I should not disturb his silence. One day while he was going for a walk, I asked if I can join him, he said yes. I walked with him for a while but could not keep the pace. Master walks so fast and it was hard for me to keep the same pace like him. It was walking for him and was almost running for me. I said – Master, I can’t walk with you. He laughed at me and said “This is how I walk”. I said okay and asked him to move ahead without joining him. Master also said me that he was a good sports person when he was young. He used to play soccer and was good at the game and also he has athletic appearance. He also played Chess and participated at higher levels. He still follows the game and checks out the news.
I used to waive my hand like a kid whenever I saw master in ashram premises. He always replied me with a great smile on his face. Once I asked Master about his birthday and he said it is 31st of May and he is double, a Gemini. I felt how true is his zodiac sign, he is two in one, both father and son in the same body as said by Christ. Master once told me, “When he was young, he thought he would get the enlightenment within a week of meditation”. I replied, I also think the same that I will be enlightened in two years. Master laughed at this and said, “Better than me, one has to be realistic with his goal and need to be patient. It will come gradually step by step”. I am not sure but I think it took around 20 years for master to realise himself with regular practice every day. Master said he has 35 years of experience in meditation and spiritual awareness. He practiced meditation seriously from the age of 30.
At ashram temple, every morning and evening we have a puja ceremony in Indian tradition where the priest offers Smoke, Water, Fire, Air and Flowers to God that resembles the five elements of nature. During this time, we all bow to God to take his blessings and pray to help us to attain self realisation. Master also used to bow and I used to watch master every time he bows and what a blessing to master, “He bows to himself”. Master once revealed that one of the greatest spiritual masters who started the tradition asked him to take up teaching meditation and help the spiritual seekers. What a blessing for all of us to learn from our master.
We used to spend a great time at coffee shop and it was the only place where I could find master alone as there were many students in ashram. Master once told me that, once a swami at ashram told Master, if he would like to wear a Rolex watch by showing a watch and master replied, “What good this Rolex watch can do to me?”. Master told that swami was joking with master even though the watch was not Rolex. But I could see the great character of master. He was always thinking about his spiritual life and wanted to improve it and see everything in life in that aspect. I felt, what a true character to lead a spiritual life. While coming back from coffee shop, I said jokingly to master, “He is the only Yogi on planet wearing Nike shoes”. He laughed at my joke and said He is not a Yogi, he is an Oracle.
Master once told me to practice well and not to leave the practice even for a single day. He said he is watching out for me as I am aiming high for self realization and nothing less than that. He also told me that he doesn’t have much time left. I felt panic inside and said – Master you can live for 30 more years as you are 65 now. He smiled at me but I felt that he is revealing to me that he don’t have much time left on the planet and asking me to practice well and get on to a higher stage so he can still be in touch with me. This happened in the evening and next day after lunch master again told me the same that he don’t have much time. This time I was quite sure what he really meant.
The retreat was about to end in two more days and I started feeling bad to leave master and ashram. I have planned my departure after the retreat but master wanted to stay for few more days. I asked master if he could come with me till Delhi. He said “I have some work here”. I felt very disappointed. Before one day, I asked master again, “If he is staying”, He said yes and wanted to catch a train from Haridwar the next day after the retreat. We checked for the trains but could not get a seat. I insisted master that I will book the flight for tomorrow to travel with me. He said “Okay”. I felt very happy and booked the ticket online immediately. Master rushed to market to buy something as he is coming with me tomorrow.
It was the last day of retreat and I could feel it in atmosphere with people collecting things for their return journey. I am completely down as I have to leave the ashram especially master. I was sitting alone in the coffee shop for long time thinking about this. My spiritual mind always gave me the answer; this is the way how life is. People come and go, nothing is permanent, and everything in this life is temporary. If you really want permanent bliss, God is the only way and Self Realization is your goal.
It was lunch time and as usual I went to coffee shop for a coffee. I was about to drink, I saw master coming very fast to the shop to find me. He knows that I stay at coffee shop after lunch and dinner. He said “Picture”. We were about to take a group photo with all students of retreat and Master don’t want to miss me in that picture. I could feel this and felt as a blessing that Master care for me so much. During the photo session, master jokingly asked “Where is my beard “? I said master, “I am not a sadhu”. I could deeply feel that I must be a sadhu in my past lives and that is the reason I liked matted hair of sadhus and was fascinated about it. I even tried keeping my hair long twice or thrice but could not do so because of the social life.
After evening meditation, master spoke some good words of wisdom which can help students to continue the spiritual journey after reaching home which was very important because once we get in to own life and routine, you need to keep the practice going on every day. He also felt happy with the retreat as he has initiated some Indian students including me this time. After dinner, few students were about to leave and Master was sitting on a chair to give his blessings, I sat down by keeping my arms on his thighs and I said “We also have to leave tomorrow” with a heavy heart. Master smiled at me and said that I can attend retreats in other parts of world. I said, “Master, you will be busy at retreats”. He smiled at me and said, “I have to be busy in life”.
My mom called me in the evening and said there were heavy rains in Delhi and flights were canceled and she was worried what would happen tomorrow as I am taking my flight. I conveyed the same to Master. Master smiled at me and replied, “We go to the airport and see the situation there, If we don’t get a flight, we go by train, If we don’t get a train, we take a taxi” and I replied jokingly, “If we don’t get a taxi, we go by walk”.
Master was packing his luggage and I reminded him about the departure time for tomorrow. Master gave me his shirt which we used to wear during our visit to temple. He did not use it and I accepted it and kept it with me as a sweet memory for the time we spent for 14 days. I also took blessings of Master in Indian way and said “I am happy to come to the retreat as I found my Master now”. Master replied me with a bright smile.
The day came, where we have to depart and I was both happy and sad at the same time. I was happy because master is coming with me till Delhi and was sad as we have to depart from the ashram. We got the cab at 9 am in the morning and master was in western clothes again. Though master is 65, he looks very handsome in terms of physical appearance with sharp face features. All the students were present to send off Master. One the students said me, “Ah.. are you going with Master, you are very lucky”. From the bottom of the heart, I know I am and smiled at her. We went to Dehradun airport and have to wait for an hour to board the flight.
Master has this great way of explaining things in a simple way, so I asked master to explain three gunas with an example while we are waiting to board the flight. Master quoted the example of trees, when its spring, new leaves will come, stays for some time and they fall off in fall, and this is how three gunas work. Same example can be seen in every aspect of life and nature. Creator creates it, sustains it for some time and then destroys it and again creation happens after this and cycle goes on and on and on. When creation happens we call it Brahma, when it is sustained we call it Vishnu and when it gets destroyed we call it Maheswara but all the three are same. The three gunas are explained as Satva, Rajas and Tamas in Sanskrit scriptures. I felt happy to understand the true meaning of three gunas. I read so many scriptures but could never understand the real essence of it and master cleared it with a very simple example. The same thing can be applied to a human soul, it takes birth, sustains for few years and dies and the cycle goes on and on till it reaches Self Realization and this is only possible with meditation by watching your every breath.
We sat in the lobby of airport and were facing the sun; Master took out his sunglasses and wears them. No one could recognize him as a Yogi in that attire of western clothes with jacket, shoes and sun glasses. For us, a Yogi is a person who has renounced worldly life and wears saffron clothes with long hair and beards. What a blessing to see a Yogi in a common man’s attire. He stands as a tall example that a family man who is leading normal life like any of us still could achieve the highest stage of human life.
We boarded the flight to Delhi and Master asked me about my business and how do I operate it. I saw for the first time that master spoke to me like a normal person. All the days during retreat master only spoke of spiritual things and hardly were interested in worldly matters. I felt happy that master was keen to know about me and explained him in great detail and he was impressed with my business domain.
We reached Delhi and now me and master has to depart and take different flights to reach our destinations. My flight was at 3’o clock and master has to stay in Delhi for that day and catch the flight next day morning. So we decided to eat lunch together and depart then. We had lunch at the airport restaurant and spent almost two hours there. We spoke in great detail about my business, my spiritual aspirations and master also shared a secret with me about one of our spiritual masters which I cannot reveal and it will always stay closer to me for the rest of life. Master also revealed another secret about planets and galaxy.
Master told me that, he is not much interested in speaking about worldly things and only liked to answer questions related to meditation and practice. Master also shared some personal things about his family and his mother. I felt happy that master shared his personal life with me but as the clock ticks I was worried that we are about to depart. I wanted to send off master before I board the flight but master insisted that he will come to send me off and joined me. We discussed on ways to improve the next retreat and I made some suggestions and master was impressed with them.
We reached the departure place and I have to leave now and I was getting late for the check-in. Master hugged me and hold my hands and I could see lot of love and care for me in master’s eyes. This could be the most emotional moment of my life. Master blessed me and my family and in return I also said, “God Bless You” which came out in flow. I went few steps ahead near the lift and Master said He will wait and stood there till I move away from his sight. Tears were almost running down my face and I could not control them. I could feel the pain of departure and I was completely down.
After boarding the flight, I felt I would have stayed back for that day with Master but this idea did not strike me before as I was completely lost myself.
I know from the bottom of my heart that I could feel Master in every aspect of my life especially during meditation as I could hear his instructions while practicing. The only possible way to show my love towards Master is to practice every day and reach the goal.
I know that this achievement can only make my Master happy and nothing else would do. I pray almighty to give me the power to do so and experience the word “Aham Brahmasmi” myself.
I thank God for blessing me with a caring and loving Master.
OM Shanti – Shanti – Shanti
Life is Disciple
It’s time again
Life has to become Life, losing its duality.