January 26, 2015, Harisar Ashram, Qila Raipur, Nirvana Diwas celebrations of Swami Dayalu Puri Ji Maharaj:
The Story: Winters usually usher in a period of rest and hibernation. But there is a very euphoric saying from the spiritual canon that the saints remain awake while the world sleeps, and they sleep when the world is awake. So this winter, Sadhwiji and other valiant souls spent working hard in the lab of their own bodies, doing chaaliyaa sadhana, which Maharaj Ji says takes the spirit of a warrior-in-a-battlefield to complete or wherein burying all the surface tendencies of the body, one has to light the fire of yoga inside (the featured article in the current issue of the quarterly, Kund Agni Shikha, is on Chaaliyaa sadhana too). Many aspirants remained immersed in seva and sadhana all this while, both at Mallke and Qila Raipur Ashrams. So by the time the winters had started to bid a slow farewell, it was January, the 26 – the Nirvana Diwas of Swami Dyalu Puri Ji – which also marked the completion of Sadhwiji’s retreat. She had emerged on the 24th (to adjust to outer environ before the grand ceremony of the Nirvana Diwas), but observed silence for two days. Finally, when she spoke addressing the sangat, it was the heart of a disciple speaking with love, devotion, humility, and plentiful tears about the grace of the guru, about selling one’s mind at the guru’s feet. We have tried to share the highlights of what was said. Hopefully, we have been able to put across something of benefit below for the readers on their respective spiritual paths.
Sadhwiji began with eulogizing the Harisar Ashram for it is a land tilled with the samskaras of sadhana, tapas and tyaag of Kambli Wale and also of seva carried by the devotees in a spirit of utmost surrender. (Eds. note: This seva was carried with such extraordinary spirit that there were such disciples who broke their own houses in order to supply bricks to the ashram as it was being built. For more details, Hindi and Punjabi readers can look up Kund Agni Shikha.) It is also the land where, even when all prominent village leaders had requested Swami Dyalu Puri Ji to accept the pagri after the passing away of Kambli Wale Prabhu Ji, he had humbly renounced the honor, realizing that other people at that time desired to run the administration of the ashram, and chose for himself a life of teaching and contemplation in places like Vrindavan, Haridwar, Kashi. Of course, in time, when he was requested by the same people to return to the ashram and accept all the responsibilities, he did so happily (ever-living like an instrument in the hands of Kambli Wale), without alluding in the least to the incidents of the past. Such was his compassionate nature. In fact, he spent the last three years of his earthly play here and the samskaras of his purity have seeped into this soil to such depths that any aspirant, inwardly-tuned, who practices here is bound to be touched by them. Sadhwiji mentioned that she was stating this on the basis of her recently-concluded chaliyaa. She stated that the purpose of gathering on his Nirvana Diwas was to refresh our memories of his impeccable purity, of heart-melting compassion, of valiant instances of vairagya and renunciation, and most of all, of his extraordinary service to his Master.
- The Bhakti Sutras explicitly mention that there is no difference between God and God-imbued saints. Because it is difficult to connect straight to the incomprehensible Supreme, it is His saints that serve as the beacons for the aspirants on this path. Contemplating their lives becomes a potent potion of purification is a thought aired by none other than Sage Patanjali in his profound Yoga Sutras. Sadhwiji drew a beautiful analogy between the lives of saints and the stream of Ganges. Just like some people use the waters of the holy Ganges for worship, others use it for cleansing, still others for washing clothes, some to irrigate their fields, similarly, some people utilize the presence of saints for mundane benefits, some wish to become healthy by their grace; very rare beings seek from them the Ultimate. The saints, compassionate as ever, have space for all in their hearts, just like the mighty Ganges.
- With burning emotion Sadhwiji reminisced Swami Dyalu Puri Ji’s wondrous life. She compared him to a lamp that burns itself, to give light to all; to a bridge that leads people from shore to another, valiantly bearing their weight all the while; to a flower in perennial blossom that spreads its fragrance at all times, in every circumstance. Just like anything offered to the fire becomes fire itself, similarly, whatever, good or bad that came on his path was purified by the fire of renunciation that blazed in him. Contemplating his life with truth and sincerity is bound to affect and change us deeply.
- Sadhwiji then went on to mention that the gist of the spiritual path lies in becoming gurumukh and she also shared a way to become that, in the light of Gurbani, form the nectar-like Sukhmani Sahib:
ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਸੇਵਕ ਜੋ ਰਹੈ।।
gur ke grehe sevak jo rahai
The servant who lives in the home of the Guru.
ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਹੈ।।
gur kee aagiaa mann mahe sahai
(And) bears the commands of the Guru in his mind.
ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਕਰਿ ਕਛੁ ਨ ਜਨਾਵੈ।।
aapas kau kar kacch na janaavai
(And) does not show himself in the least.
ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਸਦ ਧਿਆਵੈ।।
har har naam ridai sada dhiyaavai
(And) remembers the Name of Hari repeatedly and at all times in his heart.
ਮਨੁ ਬੇਚੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਪਾਸਿ।।
mann bechai satgur ke paas
(And) sells his mind to the Satguru.
ਤਿਸੁ ਸੇਵਕ ਕੇ ਕਾਰਜ ਰਾਸਿ।।
tis sevak ke kaaraj raas
The endeavours of such a servant are fulfilled.
ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਤ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਹਕਾਮੀ।।
seva karat hoe nehkaamee
In performing service he is selfless.
ਤਿਸ ਕਉ ਹੋਤ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ।।
tis ko hot paraapat suaami
To such (a one) the Lord is attained.
ਅਪਨੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇਇ।।
apani kripaa jisa aapa karai
To him whom (the Lord) blesses Himself
ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਲੇਇ।।
nanak so sevak gur kee matt lai
Says Nanak, such a servant imbibes the teachings of the guru.
- This means that in order to become Gurumukh, we have to first become servants. To become a servant means to renounce the thought of “I”. As long as “I” is there, “He” cannot be. And we should come and stay at the Guru’s home (a place devoid of raag-dvesha, a place of purification) and live there serving, without calling attention to ourselves and always remembering the Gurumantra in our hearts. And to put it succinctly, becoming Gurumukh means to sell our mind to the Guru.
- With great emotion Sadhwiji recounted some instances from lives of Kambli Wale which portray how he had sold his mind to the Guru. Similarly, Swami Dyalu Puri Ji sold his mind to Kambli Wale (a fact brought out amply clearly in the letters that he wrote in response to various devotees – Swami Dyalu Puri Ji, even after obtaining the full-surrender of disciples and students, always regarded himself as a servant, as an instrument in the hands of Kambli Wale), and so did Shri Maharaj Ji to his master. In fact, this is the way: whosoever sells his mind to the Guru, in time, must ascend to the throne of the Guru Himself. And why must we sell our minds to him? He doesn’t need our money. He asks for our mind, so that he can purify it, burn its trash, thrash its limits and reveal the Divinity inside.
- But usually, even those who regard themselves as close devotees and offer many things to the Guru, have not, in truth, surrendered or sold their minds to him. They keep their authority on their offerings and therefore we often hear devotees say, “Meri ditti chaadar Maharaj Ji de bistre utte bichni hi chaahidi hai – the blanket that I am offering must be used by Maharaj Ji” or the “prasaad that I have brought must be partaken by Maharaj Ji”. Usually we sing numerous glories of our Guru but his teachings do not shine through our lives and conduct. This must change. When you sell your mind to the Guru, then it is totally up to him how to take care of us. Outwardly, he may be strict or lenient with us, that is upto him.
- Sadhwiji then went onto recite the renowned story of Upamanyu from the period of the Vedas, which is the story of selling one’s mind at the Guru’s feet. Even when Ashwini Kumars offered him the medicine to restore his eyesight, he responded that first he would seek his Guru’s permission.
- Sadhwiji said that it is a matter of great pride that looking at Maharaj Ji’s life it is clear that this tradition of sadhana is flowing without break, rather it is flowing with increasing momentum. It is our opportunity now to take plunge in this stream. Time is passing. No one knows how much time each one of us has here. So let us not delay. An atmosphere of sadhana and seva is building up in both the ashrams. Let us keep the goal in focus and utilize these favorable currents.
Thereafter, Swamiji, wishing not to speak much for according to him Sadhwiji’s speech sufficed all that had to be said, yet gazing at the life of Swami Dayalu Puri Ji in his mind’s eye, as he began to speak, words, emotions, and tears gushed out of him in rich profusion. Below are some diamonds from what he shared staright from his heart:
- Swamiji began by bringing to light a vital point. He said that when people glorify their guru saying, “My guru is…, my guru has…”, ego comes trapping them big time. For how can a drop say, “My sea…, my ocean…” It is the drop that belongs to the sea; the sea does not belong to the drop; it is the disciple who belongs to the Guru. So rather, a disciple ought to say, “I belong to the guru”, and not “my guru”, quoting the bhajan that Maharaj Ji has written, “Main baneya guruaan daa, guru mere. – I belong to the guru, and the guru has become mine.”
- Swamiji mentioned that every night at Mallke Ashram the inmates read the letters of Swami Dyalu Puri Ji and one point is stressed again and again in them – This human life is very precious, take care that you don’t have to return to the womb again. Swamiji mentioned that this fact had touched him deeply for it is striking to note that when we can’t bear any dirt or filth on our body or clothes, still we never think of the hell that we have to pass through for nine long months when we have to spend that time in that constrained, dirty environment. But we are unable to understand this because we say, “My guru…” We haven’t yet become of the guru, we haven’t sold our minds to him.
- Swami Dyalu Puri Ji never said that everyone should renounce and become sadhus. But one thing that he said again and again was to carry out the affairs of your household as servants rather than as masters. But that is what we exactly do when we say, “My wife”, “my children”. Naturally then we would also say, “My guru”. If we don’t drop these tendencies first, living in our household, we will fail to become ‘of’ the gurus. There also we will continue to assert our authority.
- Maharaj Ji often gave the definition of an animal as pashnaathpashu i.e. an animal is one who is in bondage. Aren’t all of us in bondage when we say that we cannot come to satsanga because we have to attend one or the other duty. But do note that we even take an early discharge from the hospital and even furlough from jail when the need arises to attend our works, but what happens when it comes to satsanga, the dates of which are known in advance. Why? Because we say “My Guru..” Right now the ego is on the top.
- Swamiji narrated the visit of a well-known ‘saint’ to Mallke Ashram. This person kept bragging about his ashrams, about his prominent disciples. In the light of the discussion that Swamiji then had with him, Swamiji questioned whether being a sadhu meant to travel abroad, having big ashrams etc. He said, he is a sadhu who does sadhana. Again the example of Swami Dyalu Puri Ji was pertinent. Maharaj Ji taught numerous students. In fact, one of his students who is a Shankaracharya now mentioned that he used to carry the chippi of Maharaj Ji at one time. But Maharaj Ji was so dispassionate about name, prestige and glory that he never even asked the names of his students. This is the example of a sadhu. In him there was not a trace of “I”. It was impossible for him to utter words, take decisions emanating from the ego. But it is very difficult to understand the actions of saints.
- Swamiji went on to narrate with great emotion, the extraordinary way in which Swami Dyalu Puri Ji had served Kambli Wale. There was a time when Kambli Wale Prabhu Ji’s sadhana was going on with great intensity. The action of the Kundalini inside him created so much heat in him, that even in the chill of the winter, pots of cold water had to be poured over his body to provide some relief. Only one disciple was allowed to be in service and it was a kind of service that required you to be on your toes 24 hours. At any time Kambli Wale could signal and the disciple had to be present. Many disciples came but could not bear the intensity of the seva. One of them however reached to the last test, and Kambli Wale asked the disciple to feed him poison. But how could the disciple have served poison to his Guru. He declined. Kambli Wale said, “Your seva is complete. You rest now.” But at the same time he summoned Swami Dyalu Puri Ji, who was then teaching at Kashi. Swamiji left everything as it was and hurriedly reached to his gurudeva. After days of serving, the same test came upon him. But this time around it was the Jnani, Yogi, and Bhakta Swami Dyalu Puri Ji and his deep and emotional reply to the same question was, “If that is your command, it will be followed. But a part of the poison will be down my throat as well at the same time.” Only a true disciple, who’s entire world is in the Guru could have responded thus. This instance should silence the critics who say that Swami Dyalu Puri lived far from Kambli Wale and therefore how could he have been his prime disciple; that he was a Vedantin, he did not practice yoga. In truth, all his actions were commanded by Kambli Wale. He lived in Kashi because that was the command of Kambli Wale. And if he wasn’t a yogi himself, how could he have served a Mahayogi. If he wasn’t a Jnani how could he have responded in this way to his guru’s test. And if he wasn’t a bhakta how could he have become one with the guru.
- Swamiji urged the audience to read the recently written book on his life by Shri Maharaj Ji (that also carries incidents from the lives of Kambli Wale and Swami Mewapuri Ji). But citing the analogy of the cow chewing the cud, he said it is important to contemplate what is read.
Swamiji concluded by sharing three new initiatives with the sangat:
1. A Body-Mind Shaping Camp is being planned in Qila Raipur Ashram this year, in addition to the one at Mallke Ashram. Earlier such camps could not be organized here because there weren’t sufficient rooms for sangat to stay in large numbers.
2. Another initiative is the renovation of the temple complex. Shri Maharaj Ji in his last address to the Trust Committee had expressed a wish that like there are samadhis of Kambli Wale and Swami Dyalu Puri Ji at the temple shrine, there ought to be something in memory of Swami Mewapuri Ji. The audience applauded this plan.
3. There is a goshala at QRP Ashram and the administration was wondering how to deal with the proliferating numbers. So it was decided that few cows would be gifted to some volunteers from the sangat. In this way, they would get pure milk to drink at their homes, and also that serving gau (but not at cost of sadhana) is a noble deed, and that in this way a link of love would be maintained between the devotees and the ashram.
The gathering concluded with the chanting of Raam-naam.