It was the second day of my surgery. It was very painful. I could not sleep the whole night. But the mind was not staying focused on the pain. The conversation I had with Swami Radhikananda Saraswatiji in the hospital when she came to see me, was lingering on my mind. I kept asking myself, “Now that I am to represent Poojya Guruji, what do I represent?” His whole life, his work is so vast. Where do I start? Will I be able to do justice to that vastness and greatness? My struggle with my thoughts and my body pain continued. I don’t know what was more distracting, my pain or the thoughts.
Until now I was so used to being guided by Guruji at every step of my life that I was looking for the same guidance even today. I remembered one of my conversations with him, when I kept asking him if he would communicate with me like Sai Baba communicated with him. He promised that, yes, he would. I needed that communication now. I needed some sign, some signal, which can give direction to my undertaking of presenting ‘The life and works of Guruji Rishi Prabhakar”. The struggle was very tiresome, and somewhere along the line, I dozed off.
The next awareness came when I started hearing Guruji’s voice. He was himself talking about his own life and work. It felt as if I am sitting in the class in front of him just like any other session. And in a very peaceful, calm voice, he was telling me the basic foundation of his life and his work. There was no actual sound. Everything was so quiet and silent. It was just his presence and the understanding in my mind. I had lost the awareness of my body, my pain, even where I was. I don’t remember how long this went on. But suddenly at one point my own thought came to my mind that “I must note these down.” And at this moment, there was sudden awareness of acute pain in my shoulder, and the flow of Guruji’s words disappeared.
This was just one of the many interactions that I have had in this last one year. I know he has kept his promise. But the question is, “What about my promise?”
I always felt that I was his very special disciple. While being far away from him physically, Poojya Guruji has been 100% involved in whatever I have been doing. He has been personally guiding and mentoring me for every aspect of my life, may it be my challenges with my children, my marital issues, finding the real purpose of my life, creating the work around that purpose, creating a sound base for my life far away from home, establishing the center, and every small challenge I have had in building the center. I never had to explain to him the exact nature of the problem or its intensity. There was no direct verbal communication, but he would always know. Sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly in a very mystical manner, the problem would be solved. I felt as if he is watching me all the time.
But I think he has been connected in this manner with all his disciples. Each one of us had a very intimate and close bond with him, and he was always available to us when we needed him.
But it is not that he always gave us the solution that we were looking for. In fact, many times, he would give a solution that would make life more challenging than the problem itself. He never made it easy. He always challenged in such a wonderful way that until we pass the hurdle, we did not realize that we are jumping way higher than the previous trotting which had scared us in the first place. Very effortlessly he pushed us in our higher possibilities.
I remember my beginning in the SSY culture. The class and its effects on human life no doubt captivated me, but more captivating was the picture of Poojya Guruji sitting on the table. On one hand, my conditioned mind was resisting the photograph and what I considered to be the deification of a human being. On the other hand, a childlike curiosity about discovering the truth behind this person was urging me to inquire about him.
I don’t know whether it was my seeking the truth or his recognition of my struggle that got me closer to him. Before I knew it, I was sitting in front of him interviewing him for a magazine article. I am sure he guessed my confusion. While I was sincere in seeking the truth, there was tremendous resistance in accepting what was being presented to me. While wanting to know him better, I was searching untruth in his being. As I was struggling to discredit him in my eyes, It was becoming increasingly apparent that he not just recognized my intensions but fully accepted my distrust. No matter how much I questioned and doubted, he opened the doors and allowed me to enter, explore, and examine his life as if I was a childhood friend. His generous openness was like a king opening the doors of the royal treasure to a petty thief.
This was my first introduction to his vastness, his greatness and his generosity. I witnessed this on innumerable occasions being with him. It was as if he had no fear of letting anybody enter his life, as if he had nothing to hide. This naturally disarms you. You start seeing the same openness within.
Every time I was in his presence, I was strongly aware of the fact that my own presence was different from before. I was seeing a completely new side of my personality. In leaps and bounds I started changing inside out.
I accepted him as my Guru. It was not because I thought he was great, for I don’t think I was even capable of understanding his greatness. I accepted him as my Guru because of what I became in his presence. He made me fall in love with myself.
I don’t think any disciple can ever describe his Guru well enough. In the last 20 years, I have been discovering Poojya Guruji but cannot claim to have understood him fully. He was so simple, so accessible, so involved, but completely detached. Every time I felt that I knew him better, a new angle about him would surprise me. Today when I try to capture him in words, no right word comes to my mind. He is like a deep silence to me, inexpressible and can only be experienced. He is a real Guru for silence training.
All I can say is, comprehending who he was and understanding his contribution to the world is itself a lifetime Sadhana for me. Today I refresh the promise I gave to him that –
Dear Guruji, I will continue exploring, learning, enjoying and sharing gift of this birth on planet earth as you prescribed. I seek your blessing in my journey.