My Guru is Swami Muktananda. Baba left his physical body on October 2nd, 1982. At the time, I was seven months pregnant with my first son. Baba had been clear that I would have a boy. He had been clear that he wanted the child born in India. He had been clear that it would be an easy birth. And he had been clear about the time of conception.
Baba had instructed me to conceive at the time that the life breath was put back into the Nityananda murti in the temple. The statue had been sent out to be dipped in gold. Before its departure, there had been a ritual removing and storing the life force. When the statue returned, that life force had to once again infuse the murti.
So at this auspicious time my then husband and I proceeded to follow Baba’s instructions.
In May of 1982, Baba had named two successors, Malti and Subash. Baba had already named Subash, who had become Swami Nityananda. Malti took her vows that May before the installing of the successors, becoming Swami Chidvilasananda. The installation of successors was on Baba’s birthday.
For me, that time was not easy for many reasons. Baba is my Guru, I wanted to remain with him forever, and his naming successors made me aware that my time with him in embodied form might be winding down. Being pregnant in the heat of India was also not easy. At Baba’s birthday celebration, which was held at the yagna mandap, I wore a red silk sari. I felt drained and exhausted. But I was there.
During the ceremony, there was a ritual of washing Baba’s feet. The feet of a Great Being are revered. After the ceremony, people dispersed to their rooms at the ashram or back to Bombay. A close devotee of Baba’s, Yande Dada, asked me to come to his bungalow in the ashram. Baba had given him something for me.
Baba had reserved for me the water from the washing of his feet. This cherished gift was for the baby. I drank the water as if it were life itself. For me, it was.
Baba was always there for all of us. He gave all of us everything he had. The Shiva Sutras say, “The Guru is the means”. Nothing could be more true. In every tradition, the Guru is revered. The physical Guru is revered as the spiritual Father or Mother who directs the disciple toward the goal of Love. The physical Guru is always using the physical to guide us toward the Guru Principle. The embodied Guru knows that the Guru is not limited to the physical body. The Guru is therefore always guiding the disciple inward, toward the Guru Principle.
The Guru resides in everyone’s Heart, without exception. Our wrong understanding and identification keep us from this truth. The Guru’s job is to remove the darkness and bring us into the light.
Baba knew that having children was important for my sadhana. I resisted. Baba slowly and persistently prodded me until finally I assented. At last I was clear. He had waited patiently. Then he guided me through it all so that what was truly best would occur. The human form of the Guru was so accessible, and I loved relating with that form. It was that form that guided me toward the Guru Principle. The form and the formless are both to be valued.
Baba was so right. Every day I am thankful that I listened, because if I had not, I would not be sharing the journey with my sons Ian and Aaron. How foolish I was to resist. When I finally surrendered, I won the greatest gift: Love. All that Baba had wanted for each of us. And still does.
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