After my first and most beautiful journey with my Master to Kolkata and getting my first divine experiences meeting Sri Ramakrishna Ji and Kali Ma, I returned to Bangalore feeling exalted and yearning to live in a land far beyond this material existence.
Before we proceed though, I would like to mention one very important aspect of the teachings given to me. When I was in Kolkata, my Master spoke about his first student and this immediately triggered a fight between my master and myself. He spoke of this student in a manner that was meant to provoke me but of course, I was new in my journey at the time and was blinded by feelings of jealously, wanting to be his best Student. It was only much later that I realized that these were his ways of teaching. As I dwell deeper into the beautiful journey you are going hear about from me, you will hear tales of how my Master uses each person in his world as a catalyst for the other’s progress. He uses this technique of teaching to help each individual rise in his/her world and attain the pinnacle of Spiritual Perfection. His unique methods and his wonderful ways!
This journey is the equivalent of a full 70 mm Dolby Digital story. Romance, love, happiness, bitterness, villainy, anger, songs and a million shades of adult gray material too! This is what is called ‘Krsna Leela’ (The Lord’s Play) in which he so beautifully sports and enjoys every aspect of his play as he is the Story Writer, Creator, Director, Cinematography and Actor/Actress in his own Movie/Creation.
This is why Krsna is called the highest Rasika (Enjoyer) who enjoys this ‘Rasas’ from his own leelas (Sweetness/Nectar from his Play). The Master is none other than the Divine Lord Himself who has manifested in this Universe to establish Dharma and impart Knowledge about the Divine Lord or the Divine Truth. Only the Lord Himself and no one else in this universe is qualified to expound on the Truth about the Divine. Hence, the need and importance of a Real Guru or Master. That is why he is known as the SatChidAnand (Truth Knowledge Bliss).
Now coming back to my story. My master began to speak to me and give me examples about his first student how good she was and when and how he had met her, and so on. As the days went on, every mention about this student started creating a sort of competition for me – a bar which I set for myself that one day “I will be my Master’s Highest Devotee”. More than any Radha’s or Meera Bai’s of this world.
It became my Life Goal to reach this state of Love and Devotion for my Master and attain Prema for my Krsna. At the time, I did not realize that this is what he wants from me and he was continuously nudging me in that direction through his truly unfathomable ways of teaching. Of all the things that he did, He showed me how much he was in Love with this student making me turn ‘Green’. The first rule of Spiritual is one needs to have Unconditional Love for his Master/Lord. No conditions or attachments. For me though, this was another big blow. It was crushing to my Individual Ego. I used to be in tears and constantly in anger with my Master for what he used to do to me. Despite this, the most wondrous thing was that I was not able to stay by myself without meeting him or reading with him the Bhagavad Gita even for a day. The Gita is one of the most difficult scriptures of all time to understand. To learn and apply its teaching in our life is a tedious journey, an equivalent, if not more difficult than a journey to Mount Everest.
This is why the Gita is called ‘The Way of Life’. Krsna teaches how to attain Spiritual Perfection while still continuing to do one’s duties being born as a human in this material world and serve the purpose of your birth. The path to attaining Spirituality is a very steep upward climb, filled with landslides, snowstorms and horrid weather conditions which makes you slide down very easily every now and then. You might climb one step but due to the one slip of the foot, you can come ten steps down. What I mean here by landslides is the obstacles caused by our Mind, Body, Senses, and all our past tendencies. This is the most difficult to overcome, but with the Master holding your hand, he guides you through each and every step of the climb. Even when you slip or slide, the Master holds your hand tight, and will not let you fall. But always remember, it is in your hands to give your hand to him so that he can pull you up.
When I first started out, I would sit with him all day long, every single day, and learn from him while still doing my office work from his home. I would stay until the time he would forcibly send me home as it would be already dinner time and late in the night. I used to feel so listless and lost when I was away from him so it was always with great difficulty that I pulled myself away. I never wanted to leave. My yearning for his teaching and his presence was so powerful. This was how my journey began.
He asked me to give him my ‘Wish List’ – all the things I wanted in my life – whether it was marriage, money, a different job, etc. This he was asking because when he had his first Student, she too had given him a list which he got sanctioned for her. What he was testing in my case was whether I was keen on my Spiritual weal or I had come to fulfill my material wants and desires.
While it is true that I also did go and ask my Master for all the things I wanted in my world, but when the time came and he kept asking me for my wish list, I told him I did not have any list to give him or anything to ask for. I said that I will surrender my life into the hands of my Master and go with what he does and accept what he gives me. It is only my Mother, who is my Master, who knows what is best for me in my life. Let me make a small reference here from Ramakrishnaji’s story – He says that the wonder of the mother is that she makes different types of dishes from fish such as curry, fry, pulao, etc. which is digestible by each of her children accordingly. Likewise the Master/Lord knows what is best for his children and it is our duty to have complete Faith and Trust in the Master.
This is when I passed my first test with my Master and earned some brownie points. Then one fine Saturday morning in Oct, 2009, when I visited him, he had just offered his morning prayers to his Guru (Dattatreya) and kept ready the flowers which was given by his Guru for my initiation. The caveat here is that my Master never indicated to me before this that he was going to initiate me on that day. When I met my Master as usual and continued with my lessons I noticed the flowers that were kept aside near the Gods but I did not ask. He then asked me if I was ready to come to him totally ‘Naked’ referring to casting off one’s past family, relatives, mind, body, clothes, name, ego, attachments with the material world, etc. and accepting the new birth or life which is conferred by your Master. You are twice born, he said. He names you, gives you fresh clothes, family, etc.
The Guru accepts the disciple into his world unconditionally and takes him/her to be his child. You now belong to the lineage of your Guru, it is said that when you get initiated by True Master your inner Spirit is awakened with devotional feeling and Love for God. It is according to the depth of your Surrender and Faith that you can experience this fervor of Love and devotion to the Master/Lord.
One should never think of Spiritual as an escape route from their problems in the material world. Being in the Spiritual is to develop unconditional Love and exclusive Devotion to the Lord. You must be willing to completely surrender your Ego and have absolute Faith in that One alone which is your Guru/God. The Guru takes all the sins incurred by his disciples onto himself from the moment you commit yourself. The Guru accepts all the Karmas of his disciple, his/her past, and future. This is the reason why a Guru is far greater than any God in this world. He is an Avadhoot who has transcended the material world. He is far beyond the human ken and understanding and truly sublime.
I will definitely go deeper in explaining the greatness of who this Guru/Master/Lord is in reality. But for now, to conclude my story, my Guru used the flowers to initiate me in my Spiritual. I completely surrendered everything that day, from within and without at his feet and began this marvelous journey of ‘Spiritual’ which is all about the Spirit and has nothing to do with the material creation. My Master named me ‘Shree’ and initiated me into the world of the Spiritual. From this moment on I became one with my Master in mind, body and soul. An Eternal Dive into the Athaanga Sagar (Limitless Ocean) as I took off with my Helmsman – the Ocean of SatChidAnand – Truth Knowledge Bliss/Supreme Divine Consciousness.
Watch out for my next write-up about my first vision of who I am – Who is Shree?