This is part VI 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: Will You Come Back Guruji.
Someone touched me at my shoulders. I turned back and he was standing there. Involuntarily, I got up. My eyes were filled with tears, ready to roll down my cheeks. I looked at him. His entire structure was gleaming and shining. There was a bright shine around his whole body. His grey hair was shining like showcased silver vessels. Everything about him was strange.
“Shankaraaaaaaa! How is your mother now?” He asked. His voice was like music. I liked the way he calls my name. He stretches the last a in my name and call me Shankaraaaaaaaaa. I never knew that my name has such distinct musical notes. When he called me, my body was vibrating. Since I was so engrossed in his voice and the way in which he called me, I forgot to answer him.
“Shankaraaaaaaa” he called again.
“Sir, my mother is completely alright. All her ailments were cured. That is what she told me now. She is jumping like a little girl.” This time I answered promptly. Even though I have great respect for him, I had also developed an inexplicable fear towards him. Anybody in my place would have felt the same kind of fear. In spite of the fact that he appeared very soft and gentle, he commanded not only respect but also a sort of fear. If some God appears before you, what would you do? That type of fear I had, on seeing him.
“Can we go and see her now?”
“Yes sir” I began to walk towards my home without waiting for his reply. He walked brisker than me.
“Amma” I called my mother. She did not come. I again called her. Probably she would have heard me now. She came out.
Ananda asked, “How are you ma?” (Ma is the short form of mother)
“Swami, all my illness had gone. The God was kind to me by extending His help.” I was surprised when my mother said this. She never worshipped at home nor went to temples.”
“Sir, She..” I did not even finish when he stopped me by showing his hands.
“After sometime, you will have vomiting sensation. You vomit thoroughly when you have the sensation. You will feel very tired after vomiting. Do not take anything, till I tell you. Meanwhile, I will go and have my bath.” My mother was startled. Probably she would have thought about his prediction of vomiting.”
“Swami, I don’t feel like vomiting now…” She could not finish.
“I never said that you will vomit now, but after sometime” and he walked towards the river. I ran behind him. He turned back and on seeing me running, slowed down his pace.
“Where do you exercise?”
“I learnt yoga from a yoga master. He lives in the next village. Immediately on getting up, I wash my face and practice all the yogas taught by my master and I do it here.”
“Can you do your yoga now?”
I started trembling now. I know for sure that I have not learnt from my yoga master thoroughly. I continued to be disinterested in yoga also. Knowing my attitude, my yoga master did not take pains in properly training me.
“Yes sir. But I have not learnt thoroughly.”
“Don’t worry Shankaraaaaa. Do whatever you know” his voice was reassuring.
I always use father’s old dhoti as my seat. I ran towards my home and returned with the dhoti. Dhoti was unwashed and emitted the smell of my sweat. I felt very awkward while I spread the dhoti. I looked at him. He was keen to watch me doing yoga. He seems to have not bothered about appurtenance.
I mentally paid obeisance to my yoga master. Facing Ananda sir, I paid respects to him. Then I sat on padamasana (lotus posture). I erratically inhaled and exhaled. He was standing and observing me very carefully. His observation made me jittery. After exhalation, I bent my head to touch the ground and simultaneously taking my hands backwards and clasped both the palms together. Then I returned back to my original position by exhaling the remaining air within. When I went back to my lotus posture, I was gasping for breath. I looked at Anandan sir and continued to remain as before. Then I did few other postures and ended up with sarvanga asana. I would have taken about twenty minutes to do all postures. I had omitted some postures that I found difficult to perform.
“Shankaraaaaa, go and assist your mother now. She is about to vomit.” There was a tone of urgency in his voice.
I ran home and saw mother vomiting. I held her head firmly, so that she does not fall down. She vomited for about ten minutes and she was sweating profusely. When she finished vomiting, she gargled and wiped her face clean. With my support, she was able to get up easily. Except the strain of vomiting, I did not find anything wrong with her. After seating my mother in the verandah, I ran towards Anandan sir and told him that she had completed vomiting. Till my return, he was playing with Jimmy.
Without waiting for my report, he asked “Can we bathe now?”
“Yes sir” I said. Somehow, I did not like using sir to address him. But I used to address my yoga master as sir only.
He took a soap cake from his bag and washed the clothes. He walked towards my rocky bench beneath the banyan tree. Jimmy also walked with him. He spread his clothes and allowed them to dry. He came back to have his bath. He took water in both hands and by murmuring something he poured the water back into the river through his finger tips. This he did several times, which I did not count. Then he took the water again in the same fashion and again murmuring something, he poured the water back into the river, but this time through his palms. Probably he enjoyed his bath and hence stayed in the river for more time. He never uttered even a single word during his bath till he came out of the river. Subsequently I came to know that one should not speak while taking bath in sacred rivers.
“Shankaraaaaa, can we go to the temple?”
I was still in the river, watching his every movement.
I shouted, “Yes sir. I will join you in a minute”
I ran home and changed my dress. I did not bother to wash my clothes. I took some oil, a wick, picked some flowers and took bananas from one of my trees and walked towards him. He was waiting for me. I lit the lamp, removed the old flowers and placed new flowers and placed the bananas before him. I was standing with my hands folded together just below my chin. He was simply standing by my side and was observing me. I was wondering as to why he was observing me instead of praying. As I got tired of standing in that posture, I put down my hands and looked at him. He smiled, turned back and we started walking back.
We reached my house and sat on the verandah. My mother appeared very healthy and she had regained her confidence and grace. She brought diluted butter milk in a stainless steel jar with two glasses. She poured the butter milk in one of the glasses and offered it to Anandan. He looked at my mother and said “Please pour the butter milk in this vessel” by pulling out the copper glass from his bag. My mother transferred the butter milk to his glass. She gave me a glass of butter milk.
He held his glass with butter milk in front of his chest and murmured something and then drank the butter milk. He asked my mother for water to wash his glass. He politely refused the offer made by my mother and me and he himself washed the glass, dried it with a small towel kept in his bag and kept the glass back inside his bag.
“Swami, what would you like to have for lunch?” asked my mother.
“As you please” he replied.
“I will prepare lunch in an hour’s time” said my mother by collecting the glasses.
“Whatever you prepare for lunch, I would like to finish my lunch before noon. I do not take anything past noon” he said.
“Swami, I will serve lunch well before noon” said my mother going back into the house.
“Shankaraaaa” he called me with musical note and continued “can we go to the bench there?” he asked me by showing my rocky bench. We walked towards the bench. On reaching the bench, he collected his clothes, folded them and kept them in his bag. He sat on the bench.
“Sit by my side” he said looking at me.
“Why you are not like other boys of your age?”
“I do not know sir” I said.
“Don’t you think that you are wasting your time?”
There is no answer for his question. I kept quiet.
“Why can’t you speak Shankaraaaaa?”
Since I did not answer, he himself answered his own question on my behalf.
“Because you do not have any requirement, or ambition, it is difficult to see a boy like you.”
I was shocked for a moment. He exactly read my mind. I do not have aspirations in my life. I do not need anything. My life is limited to my mother, my house, my land and Jimmy. I work in my land throughout the day. I eat whatever my mother gives me. During leisure time, I sit on the bench and brood over. Sometimes, I play with Jimmy.
“Why can’t you meet God?”
I looked at him surprisingly.
“Is it possible?”
“I will arrange the meeting for you”
“Have you met God before?”
“Yes. Even now He is with me”
I thought this man is crazy.
“But I am not able to see Him with you”
After my question there was complete silence. He did not speak for two minutes.
“I will take you to see God. Your yoga is not perfect and is full of mistakes. That is not the way you should do yoga. You should synchronize your breath with body movements. Probably your yoga teacher had not taught you this.”
“Can we meet yoga master today or tomorrow” I asked.
“No need. He is wrong and I know that. We should never expose somebody’s ignorance unnecessarily. We should not hurt him.”
“How long you are going to stay with us?” I asked him, worried.
“As long as you like”
I smiled and he was happy.
“How do I address you, sir? I do not find sir is the right way of addressing you. Can I address you swami like my mother does?”
“I am going to be your first teacher. In Sanskrit, a teacher is known as guru. You address me as guruji where ji means respect. You should always respect your teachers, including your present yoga teacher.”
“Guruji” I addressed him once and I was happy with the word guruji.
“Shankaraaaaa, you are going to begin a new life. For seeing God, your way of life should change.”
“Yes guruji, I understand. But what if I do not see God?”
He looked at me surprisingly. “Seeing God is generally used as a jargon. God cannot be seen through your biological eyes and can be envisioned only through a Divine eye. He is extremely bright, several times brighter than the sun. I will explain to you later. To answer your question very simply, if you happen to see God, you are not reborn.”
In spite of his explanation, I was not clear about the difference between seeing God and realizing God.
He continued, “God is everywhere and He knows everything. Nothing goes unnoticed by Him. He can know even our thoughts. As far as He is concerned, there is no difference between your thoughts and your actions. Both your thoughts and actions originate from your mind. You have to learn to keep your mind clean, without any blemishes whatsoever.”
“But guruji, what is mind?”
“Just now I told you, your thoughts and actions originate from your mind. You should be more attentive. A good pupil should carefully listen to his master. If you lose your attention on what he says, the absorption of his teaching will lead to further confusion and dilemma because you would have skipped noticing a particular point. If your assimilation is not perfect, your practice becomes irrelevant. For example the teacher would have explained to you how to light a lamp. ‘Take an earthen lamp, pour some oil, place a wick and then light the wick with a match stick.’ Suppose you have failed to notice ‘place a wick’, then you will light the lamp without a wick and the light will never burn. Then you will go back to your master saying that lamp could not be lighted. By not listening to your master carefully, you will raise unnecessary doubts. By not being attentive to him, you not only waste your time, but also waste your master’s time. Some masters are extremely busy.” I thought that he is going to be tough as a teacher.