Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Passing the spiritual baton

It was late into the night in Vrindavan, near Mathura. Four young sannyasins – two couples – from the bhakti marg (the path of devotion) were huddled around the bed of their sadguru who had chosen to take samadhi – in this case, to give up his body.

The two young men were brothers. They were both gold medalist engineers from VJTI, a prestigious engineering college in Bombay, and had been very successful businessmen when their heart led them to sannyas. Fortunately, their young wives too had been simultaneously touched by vairagya (dispassion, non-attachment) and were as keen to take sannyas. They had already found their guru and he had summoned them to Vrindavan. So they wound up their business and households and began, in August 1954, their new spartan life as sannyasins with their loving and spiritually demanding guru.

They had spent three intense years with their father-mother-mentor-sweetheart guru and now…he has departing.

It was a little after midnight when their guru breathed his last. Now with heavy hearts and a calm mind they had to get down to follow their guru’s last instructions.

And the instructions were precise; they specified not only what they had to do on his passing but also where and how they had to locate his successor.

The two young sannyasins set out immediately to locate their new guru. They had no one to ask directions of in those desolate lanes and bylanes, and in their heart of hearts they felt they had no need to…their guru was with them every step of the way. The village lanes were rudimentary, dusty and cratered and so narrow in places it was difficult negotiating them and the stray dogs in the shadows were robustly inimical to shaven-headed strangers walking through their sleepy village. Unmindful, the young sannyasins walked with hastened steps from one dark village to another. Come what may, the successor had to be found before sunset for only he could perform the last rites of a realized sage.

Around three that morning, the two young men finally landed up in a sleepy hamlet lying alongside a sacred pond. Their hearts a-racing, they started moving towards the location their guru had verbally pinpointed.

They reached a spartan hut. They had barely peeked inside when a crisp voice called out: “So, you have come. Let’s go. There’s no time to waste.”

How does shunyayogi know all this? The two young men were his paternal uncles.

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