Everybody says you are
A human form. A man.
A friendly person. A learned one.
So simple. So humble.
Always smiling and compassionate.
That you are.
I have found what you are.
And that is totally inexplicable.
It is a wonder beyond words.
A wonder that shines through
Life’s darkening clouds
As well as the glitter and glam.
A wonder that sits within
Still amid turbulence
Blissful amid sorrow.
A wonder that is so effulgent
That mind is pulled back
To witness this brightness
After every thought that goes out.
How can one as lowly as me
Have even a glimpse
Into such wonder?
Its not my effort.
It is only immeasurable grace.
That has poured on me.
I want to stay drenched for ever.
Does praise affect him?
Inspite of a wonderful devotion towards Swamiji, I control myself not to constantly show it amid people. I think it would make people uncomfortable to see unbridled devotion (It used to be the case with me – when people raved about their Gurus, I have stood embarrassed and unable to understand the guru bhakthi not many years ago, so I do understand!)
However, once in a while, it gushes out. Words of praise and gratefulness gush out, often incoherently. A friend told me to control it since it might make Swamiji uncomfortable. I feel strongly that it will not – I will control for others’ sakes, but he will understand. He is not like us ordinary mortals for such praises to go to his head – we cannot superimpose our weaknesses on somebody like him.
After all, for such saints, “tulya-ninda-stuti ” (Bhagavad Gita 12.19) Criticisms and compliments are alike for them.
When I do say such things, he passes it on to his guru. Kanchi Paramacharya speaks of this too in his “Namaskara mahima”. Let him pass it on, but for us, we do need to verbalize this once in a while directly.
Continuing on my Guru’s immensely beautiful actions.
Weariness with samsara
It is hard to measure progress in spiritual sadhana. However, the increasing periods of calmness and the ability to be in solitude have been blessings for me.
What was troubling me was a notion in my mind that family and work relationships were intruding in my contemplation and sadhana. Following my planned sadhana and my chosen values felt difficult and I was tending to pass the blame onto others close to me.
While this unnecessary torment went on for some time, it reached breaking point one time and I broke down before Swamiji. The compassion I got from him is incomparable – this is a compassion that is devoid of any judgements, any disappointments and any expectations. (when I analyze the compassion I give even my own children, it is tinged with either a judgement on their behavior or an expectation from them or stems from a disappointment in them).
His message was simple – nobody can hinder your spiritual progress/sadhana. However, in samsara, one also has to be subtle and not so in-the-face when following one’s path. Sadhana cannot be devoid of love for family, friends, etc.
When I analyzed my blabberings to him later, I felt it was very childish of me. However, he never treated me as anything other than an exalted person. I hope to show the same kind of compasstion to others.
I am going to maintain a running list of all the things my Guru says and does – I find each of this not just inspiring but so beautiful – the beauty of something that is unadulterated, filled with love and unmistakably divine.
Guru demonstrating his own guru bhakthi
Swamiji has been recommended quinoa for his diet for some health reasons. We have been including quinoa during his bhiksha for several months.
However, over the summer, when I went to provide bhiksha with quinoa, he declined. I was shocked at this sudden puzzling change. On asking, Swamiji says he was following the instruction from his guru to avoid new-fangled foods. My first reaction was to argue against it and defend quinoa as not being new-fangled and being healthy/diabetes-friendly, etc. However, Swamiji said “Guruji said and that is enough for me”.
I was fuming, but I chewed on it for several days. The message he was teaching is that it is necessary to completely surrender to the guru. One cannot pick and choose what one will follow and what one won’t. Disagreeing with even one of the messages with our intellectual powers will only undermine shraddha and hence, disturb sadhana.
In retrospect, I thought, how does it matter what it is right or wrong in these non-spiritual matters? What matters is the fact that Guru completely banishes one’s ego that one lets go of the intellectual rights and wrongs.
Swami Gnananadha says “A true disciple has no sadhana to perform. He has only to surrender himself completely to his guru”. Our swamiji demonstrated this in such a simple manner, but it has left such a powerful expression in me. I feel the complete surrender and can only pray to Swamiji to keep me surrendered. Alan Jacobs-ji calls this “the jaw of the Guru-tiger” from which there can be no escape”. I will be blessed to be caught permanently in the jaws of my Guru-tiger!!