December 16, 2014, Harisar Ashram, Qila Raipur: The fragrance of the October 3 inauguration of Dhyana Mandir, Tripur Shiva Peetham still hangs on in the air but time is certainly moving on. Before Maharaj Shri entered into total solitude he passed on the spiritual welfare of the sangat to the hands of Swamiji (Swami Suryendu Puri) and Sadhwiji (Sadhwi Yoganjali Chaitanyaa Puri); himself moving on to fulfill a subtler and a more expansive role in the form of advanced Mahayogic sadhana. And it is quite apparent (at least to ashram inmates already and would become more so to every visitor) that both the dedicated disciples have committed themselves to this significant seva that Maharaj Ji has offered them.
In line with Maharaj Ji’s directions Swamiji completed a 40 day retreat (chaliyaa) at Shabad Surat Sangam Ashram, Mallke. During this period Sadhwiji not only fulfilled her own share of duties but also took on the additional duties of Swamiji. And now it is Sadhwiji’s turn to leave all mundane matters behind for her chaliyaa; needless to say that now Swamiji will share the duties of Sadhwiji – in this way both working in tandem just like “Shiva and Shakti” – to quote Maharaj Ji’s expression of faith in them which he had bestowed on the occasion of roles’ transfer to them (installing them as heirs).
And the really beautiful thing is that both of them are not only committed to walk the inner path themselves but are making efforts to give wings to the similar silent wishes of the onlookers and the reluctant, apprehensive folks like us. The letter that Swamiji wrote some while back was in this spirit. He has already started rekindling the flame of divine longing amongst the routine visitors from nearby villages. One or the other seeker is continually sitting for weeks’ long retreat at Mallke Ashram. And much more is sprouting behind the scenes.
The ongoing 40 day retreat of Sadhwiji at Qila Raipur too has inspired an atmosphere of service and practice. Where Devis Anu and Babli are doing their 40 day retreats alongside Sadhwiji, various other sadhaks are participating in their individual week long retreats at Qila Raipur. A few lady aspirants are doing seva at Mallke Ashram and wish to enter into retreat practice once Sadhwiji returns.
Just before Sadhwiji entered into her retreat she gave a very emotional address. It also happened to be the occasion of monthly Sankranti Sabha at Qila Raipur. Some salient points from what she spoke have been shared below to be of use to seekers, aspirants and readers.
- Don’t try to hold onto the Guru’s hand. Instead, offer your own hand to him and pray that he takes your hand into his. If it is we who have held on to the Guru’s hand we may also leave it because name and fame, pleasures of the senses can lure our hands to grasp them and thus cause us to leave the Guru’s hand. But if we have given our hand to the Guru then come what may, he will never leave it and we will be able to cross the numerous subtle pitfalls lying on our path successfully.
- The fact that Maharaj Ji has entered into solitude should not become a false reason for us to stop attending satsangs, stop coming to sadhana shivirs, or stop practicing. The ego may entice us by saying, “What is the use of now going to satsangs. Maharaj Ji is not there.” But if we give in to this we would only cheat ourselves because the vital point to be understood is that whether Maharaj Ji may be sitting in Mallke, Qila Raipur or in the Himalayas, a subtle part of him is always within each and everyone of us, in form of the boon of the Naam he has granted us, and therefore he is always aware of what we are doing, or what is crossing our minds. And when we disconnect from the sangat, we also disconnect from Him who resides in the sangat.
Sadhwiji narrated a little incident from her own life which shows how a true Guru knows all that is happening to the disciple. Many years ago when she was still studying at school, all satsangis of her village, Panj Grain used to gather at one place and practice. In one such practice session during the night things started happening inside her and she became unconscious and fell. Next day as she was waiting outside Maharaj Ji’s room, with her mind pondering how to share her experience from last night, but the moment Maharaj Ji opened his door and she touched his feet, he asked, “What happened last night? Sadhana was going on quite strong.” The amazed Sadhwiji just stood dumbfounded but understood that “Satguru mera pura” (My Satguru is whole and complete). She added, “So Maharaj Ji’s physical absence should not trick us into thinking that he is not there. He is always with us and knows what is happening. However, Maharaj Ji’s nature is such, as all of you know, that he hardly ever presents himself in that way, except on some rarest of ocassions. Doing everything in a hidden way, he says that it is the result of your faith etc.”
- We can succeed in cheating anyone but we cannot cheat our Guru. The reason is because he is not different from us. Do not mistake the Guru to be just an embodied being. Those who still keep their secrets from the Guru are really unfortunate. The disciple should be like an open book in front of the Guru. There is a reason for the existence of Guru-disciple lineage for the inner path; otherwise all practices that a Guru teaches are also mentioned in the scriptures. Why can’t one simply read from there and practice! But it is not so for one fact is certain – without surrendering to the Guru the inner path does not open up for anybody. One can become scholarly by reading, may even practice great many kriyas but it is only by surrendering to Guru’s loving discipline that one can transcend the subtlest of all barriers – haume/aham/ego. But how can we surrender to the Guru if we have kept our secrets from him.
Sadhwiji concluded with the mention of her chaliyaa and explained the reason why it has been publicly announced when normally one would expect that such things be done in secrecy. It is to take everyone along. Her sitting has inspired various others too to put their worldly duties on hold for sometime in order to attend the highest duty of ‘Self Discovery’. Further, practicing as a group does not strengthen the individual’s ego and also creates a positive atmosphere. For such reasons, Sadhwiji’s chaliyaa has been openly announced.
Swamiji followed up on Sadhwiji’s speech with a penetrating, inspiring and above all a love-imbued discourse. Parts of that are presented here.
“In the last 40 days (referring to his recently completed chaliyaa) many things went on in the mind. But one thing was most clear: something should be done with urgency that Maharaj Ji feels the need to guide his children once more. You all know that he is extremely loving, kind and compassionate; he has done so much – even feeding little children from his lap. Why did he do all this? When Maharaj Ji used to mention the grandeur of this path, his eyes always shone with tears of compassion. He always wanted that all should travel on this path. Wasn’t it for the same reason that though he was sitting all-content in the forests of Himalayas still he came down on request of villagers from Mallke – for they said to him that they seek guidance and want to walk strongly on this path. And didn’t he mention the same thing when Mallke Ashram was being built that his own role would be wholly and solely to guide those willing on this path and he would play no role in administration of the ashram. And all these years anyone who came to him with any desire, his reply was always one, “Bhajan Karo”. Yes, worldly desires were also fulfilled at his door but the core of his advice and guidance was always to do practice, make the necessary effort to stand on one’s feet because a principle that he stated repeatedly was “only through struggle does consciousness flowers”. And when people complained that they could not practice because their bodies didn’t allow them to, he gave to us “Surya Sadhana” which is simple yet so effective. When people said that they cannot find the Sun all the time to practice Surya Sadhana, he gave “Sanjivani Kriya”. When people said that they were looking for something strong with immediate results he gave “Agni Kriya” – all of this with just one intention that one way or the other all should walk on this grand path.
And now he has mentioned one thing, “All is ready – course, books and teachers. Increase your hunger and if you are really upto it come and join.” Maharaj Ji is not leaving anybody behind. But he has given us one course to complete now. When we are ready we can study further with him. One cannot confine the ocean; similarly, we cannot confine Maharaj Ji’s sadhana to one ashram or a circle of devotees.”
Swamiji mentioned that his recent letter was inspired by such thoughts as shared above. The reader is invited to pursue it once more here and learn of the plans shared therein. Swamiji went on to share the spirit of the letter and concluded on a note of intense love and tenderness. With opened arms he invited all to walk on this grand journey but with one caution: On this path of love Khudi “I” will not remain, that will be erased; only Khuda “God” will remain. So those who are ready for this, should join.