Salutations to the Lotus Feet of my beloved Gurudev, Parama Poojya Swami Virajeshwara
When I first had Darshan of Swami Virajeshwara in 2003, I was literally in a sewage pit. At that time, I thought that the only thing to do in life was earn money and run after women. According to me at that time, there was no other higher aim in life. Thinking about God was the last thing that I had in my mind. I would spend less than five minutes a day in any form of prayer.
I do not know what good deeds I had done in my previous lives or in this life, which has resulted in the nectar like grace of Gurudev Swami Virajeshwara falling on me. Once I came under his care, life was no longer the same for me. I started coming to the Ashram once a month to have Guru’s Darshan. For this desire to germinate in one’s mind itself has to have Guru’s grace. Otherwise, I am convinced it is not possible to set foot in the Hamsa Ashram.
Through these visits, as well as the satsangs at the Ashram from time to time, I realized the true purpose of life, which is to realize ourselves. Gurudev clearly showed me the path of sadhana and meditation. It is so simple. All one has to do is to simply practise following his advice. He has repeatedly told us that by following this path, it is possible in this life itself for each of us to attain liberation.
It is by his grace that I continued to visit the Ashram regularly. During my first few years after coming to the Ashram, there were times when I was slack in following his guidance of doing sadhana regularly. There were also times when I did not visit the Ashram regularly for long stretches of time. On such occasions, a message would come from him asking why I have slackened in the sadhana and why I am not coming to the Ashram. Through this, one can see the personal care he takes in ensuring that each one of us progresses. One can also infer that he is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient.
During the initial years of my coming to the Ashram (2003-2009), there were many times when I may have slipped back into the gutter. Such are the temptations of normal human existence. During those times, I always felt that he is watching, and in case I yield to the temptations and do something that is not according to Dharma, I will not have the moral courage to step into the Ashram ever again. This automatically brought discipline into my life in my thought, word and deed. In this way, life had become very regulated and very disciplined.
Once the purpose of life is clear, and we follow the advice of the Guru, doing sadhana and meditation daily, there are no more anxieties. The mind becomes much calmer. Solutions to life’s most difficult problems start coming. We stop running after things that are not important. Fear, anger, greed, jealousy, etc. leave us. I would like to give several examples.
A few years ago, I got the offer to be director of a large private university for MBA program in Bangalore.
I came straight to Guru and asked for advice. In 30 seconds, he told me: ‘What do you want in your life? If you want power and position, take this job. Then forget about sadhana and spiritual path. You will have two mobiles and many bosses to answer to. You can never lift your head. If you want to make progress in sadhana, forget that job.’
A second example: The mind of man is mysterious. We want more and more. Some three years back, I had booked four apartments, thinking this investment will increase in value, and I can sell off and make more money after five years. For the last three years, I have increased my frequency of coming to the Ashram. I come now once in a week. During one of these visits, Guru clearly told that any amount of wealth or power or position cannot take us nearer to Moksha. This thought worked in my mind. I had paid advance for the flats. I got loan sanctioned. I had signed all papers. One fine day, I surrendered the four flats by withdrawing my applications. I lost some money, but gained immense peace. If I had gone after those apartments, I would have been bound for another ten or twenty years, trying to repay the loans, find tenants, find someone to buy the apartments, etc. This was a big lesson that Kanchana cannot give us Moksha.
In the Same way, Guru’s grace drilled into my mind that the notion that we are the body is a big lie. The body is nothing but bones, flesh, blood, skin, urine and stools. To think that this is me is total foolishness; this has over a period of time greatly reduced the desire to run after woman (kamini).
I would like to narrate a fantastic incident that happened one day in August 2009, when I was essentially alone at home, as my wife had gone off to USA for six months for daughter’s delivery. I would get up at four in the morning. As I was doing my daily morning activities, getting ready for sitting in meditation, I was listening to a shloka from Adi Shankaracharya’s Nirvana Shatakam. Its essence was that the Atma does not hate anything nor does it have any delusion of liking for anything. At that time, I was going through a lot of suffering. Suddenly, it all became clear to me. In a flash, I got three quick thoughts:
“I am no longer a failure.”
“I do not need to prove myself to anyone anymore.”
“I am a gift to the world the way I am.”
On the personal front, with regard to running of life and relationships at home, things have improved a great deal in the last nine years that I have been coming here. Yet, the clarity have is that there is only one purpose of life: ‘God Realisation: for which we must intensify Sadhana and Dhyana. Hence now, from earlier five minutes per day, it is easy for me to spend upto four hours a day on sadhana, something I would never have visualized as being possible a few years back. If this is not Guru’s grace, what is it?
I would like to conclude with a beautiful story. There was a little boy and his mother, who were in a ship, along with hundreds of other passengers. As the ship was sailing in the high seas, a storm struck. The mighty ship started tossing around violently in the big waves. All passengers were filled with fear and they were running helter- skelter. The mother woke up the little boy who was asleep in her lap and told that a major storm had struck and they would have to jump out to save themselves, as the others were planning to do. The boy got up, walked straight, went somewhere and came back in five minutes. He then went back to sleep in his mother’s lap. The storm finally subsided and the ship reached the destination. Many passengers, while getting down, stopped and asked the little boy the secret of how he was so calm when everyone else was in panic. He told them that right from his young days as a toddler, his father was very protective and never allowed the boy to have any injury. Even a small scratch on the boy would pain the father. The other passengers did not see any connection of this story as to why he was so calm when the ship was getting tossed around in the ocean. The boy went on to explain that when he got up and went straight to the captain’s cabin, he found that his own father was the captain. Thus assured, he returned and resumed his sleep, because he was sure that his own father would never allow his son to die. This story exactly fits my situation at the feet of the Guru.
With his blessings and his guidance, I have no more anxieties and worries, even if the boat of my life violently rocks, because I have cent percent confidence that no matter what the difficulties in life, my Guru will reach me to the shore in safe condition.
Guru Paada Dhooli D. V. R. Seshadri
2nd September, 2012
Indian Institute of Management