I decided to go around my land.  My land is fertile. It gives plenty of fruits and vegetables and I sell the surplus.  A middle man comes on alternate days and buys my produce.  I get money immediately.  A part of it, I give to my mother and with the rest, I used to maintain the land.  I use only natural manure and do not go in for insecticides and pesticides.  When I went to the place where I buried Jimmy, I could not control my emotions.  I thought I have transformed.  Now I understand that transformation is not yet complete.  Grass has begun to grow on the place. Now I do not have anybody to take care in the world except my mother.  She now has a perfect health, thanks to guruji.  At the same time I was wondering why he should have cured my mom. He would not have done this out of sympathy for her.  I thought there must be some good reason for him to cure my mom.  In a corner of my mind suddenly some flash struck.  Guruji always talks about the future.  If he is really a god man, he should have known about our past.  I wanted to ask him and at the same time I know that I can’t.

I plucked some tomatoes, green chillies, ladies finger, two pomegranate fruits, a few guava and curry leaves.  Curry leaves add flavour to the food.  Only oil, dhal, etc we buy from outside.  I go to the nearby town once a month and buy these items.  I never liked travelling and I always remained a home bird. Except working on my land and going to yoga master, I do not have any work.  Many times, I had to spend my entire day in the land.  I sat under a tree.  Nobody was there around and it is always the case.  I like both dawn and dusk.  I always have a fascination for twilight. I felt hungry, though I had my lunch an hour back. I washed a guava in the running water nearby and began eating the fruit. Pure water was running just a foot away.  There are many waterways to water the crops.  I moved a little towards the small waterway and kept my feet there.  The flowing water pedicures in no time.  The mild force of the water will be like a Swedish massage. 

I heard the noise of dry leaves.  I turned to look sidewards and guruji was walking towards me.  At least there should be couple of hours before dusk. 

“Enjoying the solitude?” he quipped.

“Yes guruji and I am used to this.  In fact I like solitude a lot.  I like the melody of the breeze, chirpings of the birds and the flowing water with a rhythmic sound. They join together and make a music troupe and I derive happiness when I listen to this melody” I replied.

Guruji also sat down by my side placed his feet on the water.  When he placed his feet, I took off my feet, as the water was flowing from me to guruji. 

“Nature’s beauty is unparalleled.  In creation mother earth plays an important role.  We are born on this earth and at the end of this life cycle we are going to be consumed to Mother Earth.  During the intervening period also, she alone nourishes us. She tolerates our sins and atrocities.  When she is so compassionate, I do not understand why we are stripping her by chopping so many trees.  At one point of time, frustration could also set in her. If she is frustrated, we cannot live even for a minute.  She expresses her anger more frequently now by means of earth quakes, tsunami and volcanoes.  Though she is our mother, how long she can remain subdued?  Compassion also has a limit.  Everything in the earth has a limit.  When the limit is crossed, Nature acts in such a way that the limit is always maintained.  Earth can sustain only a certain number of creatures and when the population explodes, she caves in to eliminate a few of them.  Nature always ensures that a proper balance is maintained between humans, animals, birds, plants, etc.  We never learn from Mother Earth.  One has to be compassionate like her.” It is difficult to find out on which subject guruji will speak about. But he has enormous knowledge.

“I will tell you more about philosophies in the evening.  Let us now go for a bath” he began to walk towards the river. The river was slightly ferocious than other days. The river is not very deep in the middle.  When the water flows normally, the height could be five to six feet.  Rarely, water flows with great force.  Only then, one has to be careful while taking bath.  I have not seen floods in our area.  People worship the river Cauvery as their mother.  Many people worship the river regularly both in the morning and the evening. People say that river Cauvery nurtures them like their mother.  Mother Cauvery reciprocates the love of people living in its banks. 

“Can we swim across the river to reach the other side of the river?” asked guruji. I was shocked for a moment.  I was not sure whether I have heard him properly.  The width of the river in our place could be about forty feet.

“Guruji, do you mean that we can swim across the river to reach the other side?” and I was not too sure about the tone of my voice.  It could be a mixture of fear to cross the river and respect for guruji. I have not attempted to reach the other side so far.  Only thing I know about the other side is about its greenery.  I also know that there is an ancient Shiva temple amidst bushy trees.  Rarely people visit the temple.  There is a person who lives close to the temple and performs all rituals.  He is alone. Many mistake him for a saint.  It is also said that he does not know anything except Shiva.  The place in which the temple is situated appears like a forest from our side with no sign of temple.  

“We have to go to the other side of the river today.  There is an ancient Shiva temple on the other side. Today is a full moon day. On every full moon day around late in the night, Lord Shiva and His consort Parvati used to dance there, which none is aware, including the person who takes care of the temple, by staying there.  Shankaraa, would you be interested in working in a temple?”

“I have no knowledge about temples guruji and you know that?” I thought for a moment that I have taken too much of freedom with him. He merely smiled at me. He was not obviously pleased with my casual reply. I would not have minded if he had ridiculed me, but his smile dealt a severe blow to me.  How could I have replied to him in such a callous way?  I thought for a moment.  Maybe I do not like the proposed life, maybe I do not want to leave this place, or even the thought about my mother could have haunted me. My mind at that point of time was not stable and horribly confused.

Guruji did not wait for my reply and began to swim across the river.  When I began to swim, I saw guruji on the other side of the river. I could not believe my eyes.  I know for sure that it is impossible to swim across the river in less than a minute, though I am not sure how much time it would take to reach the other side. Hardly could I have crossed half way, I was not able to see guruji.  From the banks of the river to the bush, it should be at least more than five hundred feet or so and it is impossible to walk through this area easily, as it is full of nice sand.  It is now close to dusk.  I was getting worried as I did not inform my mother.  At the same time I also know that she would be sensible enough in deciding that I would have gone only with my guruji.  All these thoughts were occurring to me while I was swimming.  All these days, my mind was clear and composed all the time.  When things are happening against my wish, I am now struggling to keep my mind under control.  When my mind struggles without any commitments, what could be the mental status of those who have too many commitments in their lives?  Now I could understand why guruji had said that mind is very important in realising God.

Without my knowledge, I have now reached the other side of the river.  This side of the river is new to me.  I do not know how to reach the temple.  I know that guruji should have gone to the temple.  A sort of fear began to engulf me, as I was all alone.  It was almost dark.  The sun had already set in.  The red colour of the sky has faded away paving for the darkness.  It will take a while for the moon to appear on the eastern side. I wanted to shout guruji, but I decided against it, as my sound could attract attention.  First I crossed the bank of the river.  Sand on our side is not as nice as this place. Then I walked through the bushes.  There were a lot of dry leaves below the bushes.  Nobody would have ever visited this place for a long time. My treading over the dried leaves created bloodcurdling sound.  It almost looked like a forest.  The visibility has become extremely poor due to the darkness. I turned around and tried to find guruji but I could not.  In a distant place, I saw a fire torch burning. I began to walk towards the light.  I know that guruji would save me in case of any difficulty.

Slight breeze began to blow across.  I would say that the breeze was caressing.  Even though I was wet, the breeze was warm and had drying effect on my body.  After walking some distance I landed on plain land.  Now I could see the silhouette of the temple.  A fire torch was made out by using cloth as wick and immersing it in oil.  A pot containing oil was kept by its side.  There was a thatched hut and a wooden bench outside the hut.  But nobody was there.  In the darkness I could not see whether the temple door is closed or open. I moved closer to the temple and noticed that one of the doors was open. I entered the temple.  There were two fire torches inside the temple.  But for these torches, the whole temple would have been in total darkness.  I walked towards one of the lights.  My guruji was doing pooja for Shiva. 

Guruji after finishing his pooja to Shiva sat before the idol.  The helper man sat way behind him and I was sitting still farther away.  Guruji started reciting ‘om namaḥ śivāya śivāya namaḥ om (ॐ नमः शिवाय शिवाय नमः ॐ).  He started with mild voice.  He went on reciting.  After sometime, the other man also started reciting the same mantra.  Though he could not synchronize with guruji’s chanting in the beginning, he perfectly aligned his chanting with guruji’s after sometime.  I could not resist my temptation of chanting and I aligned my chant with both of them with ease. The chant became louder and louder as the time progressed.  There was a sort of powerful vibration prevailing in the atmosphere.  Not only did the recital become louder, but also faster. All the three of us were clapping our hands in synchronization with the chant.  The emotion ran very high in me which burst into tears and choked my voice. When chant reached its peak, there was a mild and clear music of veena, violin and other musical instruments.  The instrumental music suddenly became thunderous submerging our chanting.  Unable to compete with the musical notes, we have on our own stopped chanting.  The Linga form of Shiva idol suddenly became illumined and the illumination became powerful.  At one stage, I could not bear the power of the Light and had to close my eyes.  When the Light became brighter, the sound of the musical notes toned down.  The Sanctum Sanctorum vanished from my eyes and I saw a well decorated huge hall.  There was an elevated stage.  Behind the stage I saw sun, moon, earth and other planets.  I was not sure whether what I see is our galaxy. On both sides of the central stage, appeared musicians whose music I was listening to just now.  The whole place was beautifully decorated and illuminated.

The air was suddenly filled with divine fragrance.  The great sages and saints entered the hall one after another.  Surprisingly, I saw my guruji there also.  The only difference was his attire.  He was wearing a saffron robe. I wanted to find out whether my guruji is still sitting there, but I could not see anything.  My organs refused to function and my mind became still.  I became unconscious.  Suddenly there appeared from a ball of majestic light a Divine Couple.  The moment they appeared, divine fragrance became stronger.  I am not able to say who they are.  The saints and sages paid their obeisance to them by saying om namaḥ śivāya and om śaktī mahāśaktī om śaktī parāśaktī (ॐ शक्ती महाशक्ती ॐ शक्ती परा शक्ती).  Now I understood that they are Lord Shiva and His consort Parvati.  I could not describe them properly, as anything associated with them cannot be described.  Shiva has the complexion of transparent white and was radiating.  There was a tinge of redness in His complexion.  Parvati was standing very close to Him.  She is dark red in colour.  Shiva was wearing a white dhoti and Shakti was wearing a yellow colour saree.  Both of them were adorned with indescribable jewels. They are wearing the same garlands that were placed on Linga statue of Shiva. Shiva stood straight and Shakti was standing with slight bend in Her hips.  She is standing just behind Shiva. Their beauty cannot be explained in words. I wonder how they can smile as their faces appear always smiling.  Sages and saints continued to remain with folded hands.  Their standing postures conveyed their respect for Shiva and His Consort.  Shiva did not have tiger’s skin, or His famous trident.  There was however a third eye, which was distinctly visible.  Both of them had only two hands.  They appeared like humans, except the beauty and the divine fragrance. Shiva was self illuminating and the Light that originates from Him cannot be explained.  It is almost blinding.   Between them, the Light was the only difference. 

Shiva moved forward, leaving Shakti behind.  When He began to move, His golden anklets created some strange musical notes. Surprisingly when Shiva moved away from Shakti, His complexion became pure white. Shakti walked towards Shiva and Shiva’s red tinge is back.  The instrumental music stopped and the musicians disappeared.  In their place came drummers with huge drums.  There are hundreds of them.  The drummers are dark in complexion and well built.  The sound of the drums began.  At that time, I saw the temple disappearing and I felt as if I am sitting in the air. I could not see anything around me, except what I am witnessing in front of me.  The sound of the drums grow louder and faster.  When the sound was about to explode, Shiva began to dance. He danced at slow pace.  When He moved away from Shakti, the red tinge on His complexion wanes and when He moves closer to Shakti, the red is back. When they are very close, the deep red complexion of Shakti mixed with crystal white complexion of Shiva appeared like a big orange colour ball which men could mistake them for the rising sun.  Shakti also joined the dance. She adopted the same posture as that of Shiva.  All postures originated only from Shiva.  After dancing independently, they began to dance together.  Their every movement synchronized without even the slightest deviation.  The movement of their heads, fingers, feet, their eye balls, everything synchronized. It was an amazing sight. The drummers began to drum with faster pace.  Shakti stopped and moved to a corner.  Shiva continued His dance ferociously.  He was gradually becoming ferocious.  The air began to blow with high density.  The whole place was reverberating with the sound of the drums.  The drummers could not beat their drums to match the dance of Shiva.  At one point of time, they stopped and Shiva was still dancing.  Shiva’s anklet produced the sound of millions of drums.  Due to the high friction, sparks of fire emanated between His feet and the ground.  His eyes became too reddish.  Saints and sages began to move away from Shiva.  They could not bear the heat generated during His dance. He continued to dance uncontrollably. 

Many gods and goddesses descended on the scene.  They all begged for Shakti’s help.  They pleaded to Her that if Shiva continues to dance like this, the universe will be annihilated. Probably they know that only Shakti can stop Shiva from this state.  Shakti thought for a moment.  She also began to dance and picked up pace to match with Shiva’s pace.  When She synchronized with Shiva, then only Shiva noticed that She is also dancing with Her.  Shakti gradually slowed down Her pace and Shiva also slowed down His pace and finally, Shakti brought Shiva to stop His dance.  In spite of the ferocious dancing, they never appeared tired and not even a drop of sweat was found in their body. When they stopped dancing, gods and goddesses who have descended disappeared followed by the drummers and sages.  The hall became dimly lighted and ultimately disappeared.  Only Shiva and Shakti were standing without any support.  Suddenly there appeared a blinding light and Shiva and Shakti also vanished.

Gradually I regained consciousness and saw guruji meditating before the Linga form of Shiva. My whole body was aching.  I was not able to move.  I felt totally exhausted.  With great effort I got up and moved out of the temple.  As I was sweating profusely, I thought that I should get some fresh air.  I sat on the bench near the fire torch outside the temple.  I was getting back to my normalcy.  I could not believe my eyes and I was not sure whether what I had seen was illusion or real.  I got up and walked up and down to relax my legs.  I should have sat in the temple for a long time.  If I do not restore proper blood circulation to my legs, I may not be able to swim across the river to go home.  The thought of my mother appeared to me and felt sad for not having told her.  I should have told her before crossing the river.  It would not have taken much time. 

Except the burning torch, there was no light.  The moon has just begun to rise.  Possibly there could be some visibility in an hour’s time.  I was feeling very thirsty.  I thought of going to the river to drink some water.  But coming back to the temple seemed to me an uphill task.  I decided to stay here till guruji comes out of the temple.  Probably I should have waited for half an hour more when guruji came out the temple.  The moon light is still not bright enough to see his face.  I could only make out from his silhouette.  He walked towards me.

“Shankaraaa, when did you come?  I thought you are not going to accompany me.” He began to walk towards the river.  I quietly followed him.  The sound of walking over the dry leaves made sound of old time horror movies.  When we reached the river, he began to swim across slowly this time.  I simply followed him.  On reaching our side, I was totally relieved.  The sight of my house, my land, my rocky bench had impelled away my fear.  I ran into the house.  I saw my mother sleeping.  There was no symptom of any anxiety in her face.  I quietly walked out.  The moon is bright now. I saw guruji sitting on the stone bench.  I moved towards him.

“You are blessed to have darshan of Shiva and Shakti today.  Full moon night is very ideal for Shakti worship.  I did not have the kind of experience you had today.  This is first time for me also.”

“But, I saw you guruji among those rishis.” I said.

“Yes, you could have seen me.  But he is different from me.  Both of us are not the same.  I am real. What you had seen just now is my visualization.  If you have power to visualize, you can create. But the power to visualize does not come that easily.  You have to learn it only through practice.  It is an out of body experience. You might have heard that great saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had shown the divine Mother in flesh and blood to his disciple Vivekananda.  Then only Vivekananda agreed to become a disciple of Ramakrishna.  Though I am not Ramakrishna, I am sure you are going to blossom as another Vivekananda. I was directed to display the power of visualization to you by my masters.  You will know further details, as we progress.  It is now time for us to retire.  It is past midnight now.  Tomorrow, I will tell you more about philosophies as they form the foundation for spiritual growth.  Shankaraaa, we have other jobs on hand.  We have to move quickly from here.  No time should be wasted.   Time is the most precious thing in this world.  If it is lost, it cannot be regained.”  Guruji prepared his bed and got ready to sleep.  

(to be continued)