This is part VIII of “Guruji in the Horizon”, a spiritual novel consisting of many parts. To read the previous parts, please go to the labels on the right bar and click on this title or click on this link:  Guruji in the Horizon

When he finished, tears were rolling down my cheeks.  I never thought of my life without Jimmy, as it has become part of my life.  When he finished, my mother was entering the verandah.  She saw me crying. Had she known the reason, I am sure, she too would have cried. She does not express anything and carries everything in her heart.  By this time, the pericardium of her heart would have become a pachyderm.  No further emotions can penetrate into her heart.  Guruji asked her to sit down.  She sat on the other side of the verandah.

“Amma, your food was very good.  It is long time since I had such a scrumptious food. I do not take food cooked by others, except my mother.  I am not married.  Generally one should not take food in others’ place, as law of karma operates there. One can take food cooked by his mother and wife.  Self cooking is fine.  Similarly, I do not eat food which is older than six hours.  I do not take food without having my bath, without doing my prayers, without offering the cooked food as oblation and without making at least one charity within my means. Even throwing a few rice grains is also a charity.  When you do this, your stomach is filled with happiness and you will not take more food than what is required to maintain your body.

“God has sent me here to heal you.  While I was healing you last night, I found lot of bad energy within you.  Your heart is not as it should be.  You are nursing many worries.  I can assure you today that you need not worry about your son.  I will surely take care of him.  He has bright future.  This house and your land is more than enough to take care of you.  The place you live in, is peaceful and vibrant with lot of positive energy.  This is a very ideal place for you to spend the rest of your life.

“You have suffered more that what you could withstand.  By God’s grace, your ailments have been cured and will not recur.  Spend rest of your time thinking about God.  You will have peace.”

He stopped and asked for water.  I went in and brought water in a vessel which he poured into his glass and drank. 

“I used to take a nap after my meal.  One should not take a nap immediately after lunch.  At least one and half hour has to pass by, before taking a nap.  Nap refreshes you to a great extent. Nap infuses a lot of energy for evening work. Voluntary actions are suspended during nap.  I call nap as a quick rejuvenator.”

While saying this, he had already spread his towel on the floor, getting ready for a nap. I was recollecting the past pace of actions, unfolding in my life since yesterday.  My life was almost sailing in the same lines without any major deviations. I do not move out of my hamlet unless it is absolutely essential.  My major surprise was, how guruji had come into my life.  I know that I am not a devout person. Only thing that I have done was to renovate Ganapati temple, light a lamp and offer something to eat for Ganapati. My attention was drawn to Ganapati temple after repeated hallucinations of playing with Ganapati.  I went to my rocky bench.  Jimmy followed me.  The pain of losing him bothered me too much.  He is my only honest friend. I really do not want to believe guruji’s words, though I know pretty well that he is not an ordinary person.  I am surprised with his balanced way of life.  On one side he lives a typical human life.  On the other side, he has divine qualities. How a person can be so unassuming and humble though possessing divine qualities.  This thought was repeatedly pervading my mind.  I have decided that I cannot find an answer and I can know this only through him.  I again tried to recollect the past twenty four hours or so.  Though I was not sure about the purpose of guruji’s visit to my place, in the corner of mind I nurtured a thought that he should leave this place soon.  In his presence, I had a feeling that I am being controlled unknowingly.  I always loved solitude. When you are in solitude, your mind remains calm and composed.  In a place like mine, I cannot have any worldly desires.  You do not have newspapers, TVs, radios, festivals, visitors, not even a tea shop.  There is no way I can gather information about what is happening around me.  I like this way of living. 

I thought that playing with Ganapati has determined my future life.  There is no other way that anybody could interfere in my present life. I do not have even relatives whom I know.  None visit our home.  I have not seen any family functions, at least after my father’s death.  I came to a conclusion that there has to be a connection between Ganapati and guruji.  I have decided to ask guruji.  I got up looked at the place where guruji was taking a nap.  He has already gotten up and was walking towards me. Hardly could he have had a nap for forty five minutes.  Jimmy got up and wagged his tail on seeing him.  I also got up and moved towards him.  He smiled at me and walked towards the river. He washed his face, feet and hands with the flowing water.  He returned to the stone bench while drying his face and hands with his towel. 

“Shankaraaaaa, whatever the yoga postures you were taught is not right.  Yogic postures should correlate with breath, both inhalation and exhalation.  Yogic postures enable the vital organs to function more effectively.  It prevents stiffness in the body.  Flexibility of body parts is important for a healthy living. In today’s hectic life, people do not sit on the floor and eat food.  They do not have time and inclination.  If body is not freely stretchable, there will be blockades in the free flow of prana.  You should understand that prana is different from our breath.  Breath is the inhalation of atmospheric air containing more of Nitrogen and less of Oxygen.  The air we inhale goes only up to our lungs. We also inhale and exhale prana like we inhale and exhale air. Unlike air, prana enters through nervous system and creates a magnetic field inside the body, in the form certain chakras or wheels.  They are called chakras because they rotate like a wheel due to the pranic force. Prana is also called life energy.  Prana is as important as our breath. Ancient saints cured many men using their prana.

“Yoga should be learnt only from experienced teachers.  A small mistake could cost your life.  Let us start it all over again for you.  Your mistakes need to be corrected.  You should not be committing mistakes even in the initial stages of practice.  First and most important thing that you should know is abdominal breathing.  Generally if you observe that many of us push out our stomach while exhaling and constrict our stomach while we inhale.  This is wrong. Inhalation should not be shallow.  Inhalation has to be deep and the lungs have to expand.  If we expand our diaphragm, the lungs will expand paving way for more air to go in.  The air that we breathe in should reach the edges of the lungs, providing more oxygen to the body. In the same way, all the air that is inhaled should be expelled by constricting the lungs to the maximum extent possible.  This is possible only if you pull up your diaphragm.  Only pulling up the diaphragm will constrict your lungs.  This type of breathing is called yogic breathing.”

He gave a lecture on breathing and asked me to do it.  It took some time for me to perfect the yogic breathing.  But, I realised that my body is getting rejuvenated.  After having satisfied with my progress, he proceeded to the next exercise.  I have developed great confidence in him by now.  I know for sure, that he can show God one day. 

“The yogic breathing is going to be the same.  Now when you inhale, slightly push your head backwards.  Hold your breath for a second or two.  No more than two seconds.  It is not about holding your breath.  You are giving some flexibility to your neck.  When you exhale, slowly release your breath by bending your head forwards.  When you do this breathing for some time, you will realize some sensation in your spine and forehead.  Do this breathing as many times as possible.  But do not overdo this, as you could develop pain in your neck.  Whenever you breathe in, your breathing should be deep and during exhalation, you should try to push all the air inside your lungs. Never resort to fast breathing.  Always inhale and exhale slowly, but steadily. 

“Though I know that you do not have knowledge about kundalini, it is my duty to caution you that the sensation in your forehead is not due to kundalini.  It is due to the vibration of air and prana.  These vibrations are normal when one knows how to breathe properly.  Your life span is calculated on the number of breaths.  Your karma is directly related to your breath and prana.

“Now it is time to have our evening bath.  We will then go to Ganapati temple.”  He started moving towards the river.

I was not able to calculate his age.  He should be around seventy.  The way, in which he walks and talks, he appears to be much younger than me. Probably, his ageing is directly related to his food habits and yoga.  My yoga teacher once told me that perfect yoga can keep a person in his youth for years.

The water current in the river was not forceful now.  He was enjoying his bath in this amazing river, where water is neither hot nor cold.  I observed that whenever he takes his bath, he took water in both hands and by murmuring something he poured the water back in the river through his finger tips and later through the end of his palms.  I wanted to ask him later about this.  In the morning He did this facing east and in the evening I saw him doing this facing west. He finished his bath and returned to the banks.  He washed his used clothes and took another set of clothes to wear.  He declined to take my help to wash his clothes.  My mother had told me once, that it is the duty of a disciple to do all sorts of service to his master.  I was wondering why my guruji is not allowing me to do any service to him. He is in total contrast to new age gurus. I thought that I have not blossomed into a full-fledged disciple.  Probably he is putting me to test.  As usual he dried his clothes on the rocky bench and we walked towards the temple. I thought this is the right time to clarify my doubt about pouring water through his hands while taking bath in the river.

“Guruji, why do you pour water through your hands while taking bath in the river?”

“This is called tarpana. Tarpana means libation of water to gods and ancestors. We should always remember God and our ancestors. God is the creator, He is the sustainer and He is also the cause for death.  When a person is born, his date with death is also fixed.  Birth, pleasure and pain and death are determined by one’s own karma.  I offer libation three times through the fingers of my hands.  Gods reside in the tip of our fingers.  God is the supreme and He does not have a form and you will realize this when you reach the summit of your spiritual pursuit.  He is pure and blinding light. Even if you are away by millions of miles from him, if you happen to see Him you will be burnt to ashes.    Planets like sun and moon derive light only from Him.  My first libation is for the God as the Creator, second libation is for the same God for His act of sustenance and the last libation is also for the same God for His act of absorption into Him.  Absorption into Him means liberation. 

“You would have noticed libations though the end of my palms. They are meant for my ancestors. First libation is for my parents, but for whom, I would not have been born.  Second libation is for my grandparents and the third libation is for my great grandparents. They are called ancestors.  Our DNA is decided on our hereditary. 

“This is my way of worshipping God and ancestors.  Everyone should follow a particular way of worship.  God is beyond religion. People are unfortunately fighting under different religious banners.  Think for a moment.  How can there by so many Gods.  Different religions address God by different names.  Though He has different names, He is One. Since it is difficult for everyone to conceive different methods, dharma shastras have been written by sages and saints, prescribing certain rules and regulations to be followed.  They are called religious dictums.  There are people who can always connect themselves to God at their will.  They can offer worship in whatever manner they like. They receive cosmic commune and they go according to that. A close comparison is Vedas and their origin.  Vedas were revealed to ancient sages during their trances known as Cosmic commune.  There could be small differences between two great sages.  The difference is due to the interpretation by the individual concerned and not in the commune itself.  I am doing what I have been asked to do and I will teach you what I have learnt through my experience.  That is why I have said earlier that personal experience is important for a guru.  Because of the differences in experiences of two different individuals, different sects and cults have come into existence. Mainly it is their ego that is responsible for all these diversifications. Whenever there is divine commune, you have to keep it to yourself and should never reveal to others.  Sometimes, disciples receive commune more often than the guru himself.  But this does not mean that you can’t break away from your guru.  Divine commune happens only during deep trances.  If someone says that they are talking to God, do not believe that, unless he is a master in meditation and he has a good guru.  A disciple is known only by his guru.”

I thought he has begun his ‘mission Shankara’.  The Shankara of yesterday was different from Shankara of today.  I am able to understand and grasp whatever he says.  Probably he has transformed me before proceeding with his teachings.  I do not know, but he knows for sure. 

I lit the lamp in the Ganapati temple.  I had cut two more bananas from my land for offering to Ganapati. My guruji was simply watching with a naughty smile on his face.  He always smiles, probably revealing his happy mind.  The sun vanished in the western sky.  I have to have my dinner.  I thought of offering these two bananas to my guruji, as he will not take anything for dinner.  I offered him the two bananas and he took one of them and kept it on his lap.  He wanted some water.  This time I brought water in a jar.  As usual he washed his face, feet and hands and wiped his face and hands dry.  He took the banana, drank some water, gargled and wiped his face again.  He prepared his bed and sat on the towel in the lotus posture and did some mantra chanting for about ten minutes.  He smiled at me and then slept on the towel using his bag as his pillow.