Guru Poornima is an important day for seekers who have faith in Guru Principle. It has special place in my life as (of course, without knowing its significance at that time) my journey commenced on this day in the year 1985 in Osho Ashram, Pune. Twenty years later, again in seemingly unplanned manner, in the year 2005, I became a disciple of another Guru, Shri Paramhamsa Nithyananda on this auspicious day.
Last weekend, I was in Bangalore. On Saturday, I was with Swami Virajeshwara (who lives in a remote village in Tamil Nadu with no contact with outside world except meeting casual visitors – prior to becoming a Sanyasi, he did his MS and Doctorate from US and worked in various top research organizations there for about a decade – after being in the state of Samadhi, he has been living alone for more than next 30 years). I keep visiting him every few months.
Sunday was the day for Guru Poornima Celebrations. Though, I knew it well that he does not accept any money from anybody, I foolishly thought of contributing something for the celebrations. Soon there was a person who insisted on giving him some money. Swamiji not only refused it, when the visitor insisted, he bluntly told him to throw it in the dustbin. With Guru's grace I was thus saved from the embarrassment which I had to undergo, if I had made the offer.
In the morning on Guru Poornima day (25th July), I went to the ashram of Paramhamsa Nithyananda, a Guru who was in a storm of controversies recently. I have been with him for last five years and was expecting it to be a low key affair as there would be few visitors because of the recent happenings. But when we reached there, it was amazing to see that there was a huge crowd of devotees and he was being taken in a procession to the place for Guru Poornima Celebrations – waiving to the devotees with broad smile (I felt honoured when he spotted me in the crowd and waived in recognition). The proceedings began with Guru Pooja followed by Aarati and Guru Poornima message from the Master. The message was beautiful. I am trying to share what he said, as I understood it (obviously we do not exactly understand what masters say as our understanding arises from our level of consciousness and the master speaks from his level of consciousness).
Every body was eagerly waiting to hear what would be his first words and he, exuding authority and love of a master, said – “Coming directly to the point (with obvious reference to the video clippings aired in visual media, criminal cases and consequent arrest by police)" and added that traditionally on this day the disciples convey their gratefulness to the master but today he is grateful to all his disciples who have stood by him in the face of ‘cyclone of sensationalism’ unleashed by the media.
Then by way of his message he went on to add that when an unexpected ‘happening’ (perceived to be negative like loss of a close relative or friend, a job or reputation) in life confronts a person, he may respond in four different ways.
One of the ways is responding by way of reaction, carrying the wounds within, loosing faith in the persons and institutions and thinking of revenge – this way one is immediately transported to hell – one shrinks and becomes like a stone – this is what happened to Ahilya when she was caught with Indra by her husband Rishi Gautam (in lighter vein he referred to it as first sex scandle).
Second way is the way of tolerance. In this mode, a person shifts his attention from the ‘happening’ (like a person trying to enjoy honey drops dripping from a honeycomb while holding on to root of tree from a mountain cliff which could give way any time and there are crocodiles in the river waiting below for their breakfast and a tiger is waiting above on the mountain cliff for his). This person, one may say, is trying to view an entertainment channel or trying to choose lesser suffering in the hell. Such person continues to be in the hell.
Third way is the way of acceptance – to put the 'happening' behind and look and work for the task ahead. This is the way all CEOs and successful politicians act – they do not carry the wounds within – but scars are still there. They are successful persons in the external world. They are out of hell but not in the paradise.
The fourth way is the way of friendliness, compassion and surrender. In this, one understands and approaches the situation and the persons in an atmosphere of friendliness and compassion. Then, on interaction with them, one finds that the players leading to unfolding of events have their own compulsions for acting the way they did. As an example, he referred to his interactions with press people who are supposed to get five sensational news everyday as a part of their assignment. Obviously they are expected to sensationalise if they find something somewhere and may sometime have to create a news out of nothing. They have to be very creative! – he remarked. It is question of survival for them! This way one knows that in their position, one may also have acted in the same way and thus has compassion for them – one sees the situation standing in their shoes.
While explaining the aspect of surrender before narrating a poem of a Tamil saint, he narrated one happening when he was in Jail. One inmate came to seek his blessings for getting bail. In a week’s time he got the bail. While leaving, he came to convey his gratefulness and suddenly a question cropped up in his mind and he asked – Swamiji how is it that I got the bail with your blessing whereas you are still inside? Nithyanandji asked him, did you have this doubt that how can a person who himself is in the jail can bless and help others? He said, no! Then Nithyanandji told him that it is his trust and surrender that worked for him.
Then reverting to the poem of Tamil saint, he said that in jail, the poet feels as if he is at the lotus feet of Lord Shiva and full of bliss. In this state of surrender one does not even wish the God to take one out of a difficult situation.
This way one opens up – one becomes part of everything and everything is one's expression – there is tremendous explosion of energy – leading to enlightenment. This is the way Lord Rama showed to Ahilya and she came back to life.
As a final message Nithyanandji added that his work will be done if he is able to enable everyone of his disciple to take one step forward, i.e., from 1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd, and 3rd to 4th.
In the evening we went to Shri Raj Supe Ji (a master from the lineage of Baba Sitaramdas Omkarnath) for Guru Poornima celeberations. He started with telling about different Geetas and then went on to explain some verses of Guru Geeta followed by chanting of 'Aim' Mantara (Mantara of Guru, Saraswati, and third one I have forgotten), Guru Gayatri Mantara and the Tarak Mantara (Hare Krishna …). It was a very charged and wonderful evening.
One of the participants asked Supeji how to find a Guru when one finds that many of them are not the real ones. He said, one way is to see the lineage, whether the Guru of the Guru was a real master.
This was followed by Prasad and then I boarded the train back for Kochi.