FEEDBACK FROM SADHAKA-S: PARIPRASHNAH - FOR A MAHATMA WITH LOVE . . .
Everyone was pleasantly surprised and extremely happy to see Pujya Swamiji’s memoirs, shared by His Holiness in His own impeccable handwriting. But not everyone realized that this was our Beloved Mathadhipati’s unique manner of introducing a novel method of sadhana during these troubled times, when celebrating Utsava-s or conducting satsang-s was impossible.
Under those handwritten accounts, hidden in the seemingly simple narratives were ample opportunities for the discerning devotee to dive deeper, introspect, discover what kind of discipline, devotion and dedication are needed before an aspiring sadhaka becomes an ideal shishya.
Seekers who understood this and were able to get over the initial inhibition about commenting on matter written by their Guru, sent valuable feedback sharing what lessons they had imbibed from these precious manuscripts. We present excerpts which provide penetrating insights into many dos and don’ts emerging from these engaging and enlightening documents…
Vrinda Trikannad, USA
Putting my thoughts together in a capsule is so difficult when it comes to penning how much our Beloved Guru has been striving for our uplift. The Teacher coming down to the level of His students to explain so sensitively and graciously sharing His own experiences is sacred and precious to all of us. His loving concern for all of us and how He kept us busy to help us cope with the prevailing difficult situation to maintain a state of calm, is similar to what was observed in Pujya Swamiji’s narrative-
The immaculate writing, perfect choice of words, the precious narrative provide clear guidance about achieving perfection in action, bearing in mind that this is an offering at the Lotus Feet of the Gurudeva.
The immense love and alertness with which seva is to be offered to the Guru is seen in the example of the water lily shown to the Mahatma and Pujya Swamiji basking in the pure joy of the radiant smile appearing on the Guru’s Face upon seeing the flower…
Deeply touching is the mention of the delayed shock that Pujya Swamiji felt after the Mahasamadhi of the Guru and the subsequent peace experienced after His sojourn in the Arbuda woods, where He heard the eternal Anahata-nada in the deafening silence and found the very Presence of the Mahatma..
Tejashri Bailur, Mumbai
What I learnt-
An ideal shishya does not get bogged down by any turbulent or painful situation. Instead, he uses it for sadhana and Atmanusandhaan and inspires others to do so too.
We must learn to let go of our petty ego and serve our Guru and try to make Him happy in whichever way we can.
There is a deep and inexplicable bond between a Guru and an ideal shishya, wherein no words are needed to communicate…
The Guru knows our deepest desires and gives us opportunities to fulfill them when the time is right…
Raghuvir Kalbag, Cambridge
What have I learnt?
New information.I don’t suppose many of us knew what happens when a Sannyasi or Yati takes Mahasamadhi. The description of Antarmukhata is so moving.
Dedication. How so many people blessed to be close to Pujyashri did so much in such a short period of time to make sure all went well.
I had a smile on my face when I read about the bears. As Swamiji has quite rightly put it, it is ‘encroachment on their territory’…..for animals were around before we arrived on this planet and we have continued to be their nemesis ever since…
The language used to describe the water-lily incident is so sweet, the adjectives so delicate…wonderful!
Above all Swamiji, thank You for letting us into Your emotions and how You found solace in a difficult situation.
The end is so moving…
Kavita Karnad, Mumbai
The title itself has a story to tell…of the ardent shishya who leaves no stone unturned to offer seva to His Beloved Guru and this love is reflected in every paragraph. HH’s discipline and dedication have always been a Guiding Force for us sadhakas.
What was striking is HH’s remarkable ability to do what was necessary at that moment. I was really awestruck by that lesson of being in the Present and doing what is required Now.
The part where HH mentions about the freshly blossomed water-lily was so sweet. What wouldn’t a devoted shishya do to see his Guru smile?
May we learn to keep our Guru Prasanna and may we learn to do what we need to do NOW.
Priti Panemanglor, Pune
This is just amazing! The flow of language is so natural, each word packed with so much meaning. It is poignant in part, as it is honest and human. But the softness and power of the Divine is tangible providing hope and healing to the Writer and the reader. Pujya Ishwarananda Giri ji Maharaj’s Mahasamadhi and Shodashi are handled crisply, yet with total clarity. So full of Love and Reverence for this incredible Mahatma!
Ravi Padukone, Bengaluru
The spate of articles penned by our dear PP.Swamiji are virtually like the Eashwara- darshana bestowed by Lord Krishna on Arjuna in the form of Vishwarupa-darshana! Truly blessed!
An innocent void stepped into my heart upon hearing of the final Prasthana of our dear revered “ Pujyashri” and it found welcome solace upon reading the words penned by our Beloved Parama Pujya Swamiji. The mention of the divinity of the Arbuda Parbat takes me back to the late ‘60s, bringing to memory the reverberations of day-long treks with Pujyashri and the then Brahmachari, now Swami Hemgiri, to every nook and corner of the Arbudachal wilderness, particularly those spots mentioned in the Purana- Chandra Kund, Surya Kund and also bewilderingly isolated spots like the Brahma Gufa where Pujyashri often conducted Swadhyaya-s. We are indeed blessed to have our Guru, PP Swamiji giving shape and meaning to the vibrations felt then, in our journey towards ultimate fulfilment.
Deepa Murdeshwar, Mumbai
Today, as I moved my gaze from Pujyashri Bade Swamiji to the water-lily, then to our Beloved Swamiji, I recognized once again that Parama Pujya Swamiji’s Life was His Message – a continuous, tireless demonstration of seva!
It takes the Matrutva of Swami to chisel and shape our near- fossilized existence and transform it into water-fresh lilies, worthy of being placed at the Lotus Feet of Shiva.
One again I find myself at school – but not the primary one, where the format was dictated and I had learnt it ‘by heart’ before writing that essay on ‘Myself’.
Today, I am learning to travel towards my True Self, but this time with no script.
To such a Mahatma, who is making this happen, my love and pranaams!
Sabita Harite, Goa
From the making of a Shishya in ‘Once Upon A Hill’ to the expression of Love, Gratitude and Reverence for His Master in ‘For a Mahatma , With Love’, has been such a wonderful journey with so many lessons to imbibe.
At Mt.Abu, Swamiji’s loving care of Bade Swamiji in those final days, , His efforts to keep the sadhaka- busy in sadhana and satsanga to arrest the engulfing gloom and the narration about overcoming His own sense of grief and loss after the Mahasamadhi… all these experience of a Shishya and a Yogi enrich us with the subtle aspects of Samarpana,Atmeeyata and Atmabala.
The inauguration of the Vasishtha Mahadwar which He had designed was a significant milestone for Bade Swamiji and our Swamiji’s sense of fulfilment about making His Master happy about the joyful participation of a large number of Saraswats at the event, was very evident.
Chandrima Kalbag, Mumbai
Swamiji’s open, heartfelt, poignant memories, which He has shared with us were truly overwhelming. I realized that this is because we have got used to hiding our innermost feelings, fears and failings behind a patina of perfection and are scared to face ourselves honestly. Swamiji’s profound Love for us had led Him to guide us by revealing His own journey from sadhaka, to Shishya to Guru. Even a Sannyasi is bound by duties which have to be done. Even Swamiji can be accosted by grief and disconnect. Swamiji has graced us with a glimpse of the true meaning of humility. Seva, Love and Courage…I am truly blessed to have found my Guru and hope to become deserving of this honour!
Shantish Nayel, Bengaluru
In a shift from the previous article that covered the distance between Sevak-Shishya to Mathadhipatya, here is a touching tribute to a Master that scales the vast distance between a deeply personal, cherished memory drawn out from the depths of the heart to a hugely public, bustling, outpouring of adulation for a Mahatma. With the sharing of a delicate moment that one wants to hold on to forever comes the bewilderment following the snapping of a relationship beyond description and with it, an echo of that silence in the woods – that embodiment of the ultimate, which penetrates to calm even the greatest turmoil within. The description of the behind-the-scenes activity is an eye-opener not only because of the scale involved, but also the reverence Bade Swami commanded….
Sushma Nadkarni, Sydney
Personal moments with the Guru are few and so, all the more precious. We can relive and keep them fresh, much like the fully blossomed water lily, thus maintaining samipya even when physically distant.
Loss of loved ones can happen unexpectedly, at any time. But it is possible to regain composure and strength in the lap of nature’s solitude. The words “vibrant stillness” are just so beautiful.
When circumstances change we must move on…Seva and sadhana can be our two-pronged remedy…together they can absorb, console, reassure, strengthen and uplift us…
Uma P.Trasi, Bengaluru
The narrative keeps one spellbound and each time I read it, there is more to learn and absorb for sadhana. It gives a deep insight into Guru Mahima. Every moment that we spend with our Guru is precious. Pujya Swamiji has so beautifully described the path to Antarmukhata and brought out its importance succinctly. How to remain connected to the Divine at all times and total surrender to the present is what matters, while all other things in life become only a ‘nimitta’.
Vinaya Nadkarni, Mumbai
Reading the Pariprashnah series is an upasana in itself. The chapters, beautifully penned in lucid calligraphy by our beloved and most revered Swamiji are jewels, for Their personal narrative is brimming with subtle, yet strong messages.
Obeying the Guru’s Adesh through seva and total devotion is observed through this heartwarming narrative, as also how the effort to stay connected to the ‘Anahata-naad’ even when it is faced with challenges.
Nimish Ubhaykar, London
To comment on the Guru’s Vakya is almost like sacrilege. These articles are manifestations of Swamiji’s immense Prem and Karuna, for they allow all of us to share such personal and precious experiences. Another aspect that stands out is Swamiji’s most beautiful and perfect handwriting that matches the Amritvani of His Ashirvachans.. Seeing those photos was also a real treat. In the articles about Bade Swamiji it was touching to read about PP Swamiji’s time at Mt. Abu and to catch a glimpse of that most beautiful of bonds – the Guru-Shishya Sambandha…
Divya Vinekar, Mumbai
While the current pandemic has kept us physically away from visiting the Math, reading Pariprashnah made me feel as if I was not missing anything. It was almost as if Swamiji Themselves were reading it out to us. Truly, truly blessed….
Sunayna Padbidri , Honnavar
This piece describes beautifully the tensile strength of a great Guru who gave His shishya-s that last opportunity to serve, while He went into deepening antarmukhata. The wheelchair ride is extremely touching. We can actually visualize that beautiful guileless , radiant smile on Bade Swami’s Face. Thank You Swamiji, for sharing with us this most cherished memory when He placed the water-lily was placed on the Shiva-linga in the Anushthan room for the last time. …a moment ‘frozen in time’! The entire description of the rituals is vivid and the Greatness of this Mahatma palpable in ever word offered in this narrative.
Priyanka Gulwadi, Sydney
My humble learnings from this column which expresses the loss of a Fatherly figure and the resultant emptiness in a unique way:
The qualities to inculcate even in challenging times-
Attentiveness, an eye for detail, caring for everyone – the Mahatma and all disciples too, maintaining poise despite the inner turmoil and anxiety, dakshata about everything, being hospitable, the ability of Anusandhana with the Paramatma within and how beautifully the connection is maintained….
Omkar Dhareshwar, Mumbai
There are moments when I got goosebumps reading this piece, Truly amazing! The pix at the end took me to a different Universe altogether! We are truly blessed to have Swamiji guide us from the point of view of a sadhaka….and the manner of writing is such that it makes the matter so relatable! Thank You Swamiji!
Love and devotion to the Guru and the poignant moments before the inevitable loss are very touching to read. We get a glimpse of the stature of Bade Swami and the tapas He had done in the lap of Arbudamata. PP Swamiji’s sacred communion with Arbudachala even in the most difficult of times, leaves us in awe. To use every opportunity for anusmarana and anusandhana as taught by PPSwamiji is perhaps the best tribute to the Guru. We are grateful for the constant Love and Guidance we receive from PPSwamiji.
Monisha Bharadwaj, London
An intimate and deep account of the love between the Guru and a Shishya, beautifully related. The love, gratitude and reverence expressed is so profound and personal that I almost felt like an intruder reading this piece. Swamiji teaches us the beauty of surrender to the Guru, Nature and the transient nature of everything around us. How difficult it is to be attached in a detached way. This is what we have read in our sacred books, but for us it seems like a lifelong sadhana and a state that is like a mirage, just a little out of reach. One can only aspire to learn how Swamiji came to terms with His great loss, but we surely need constant Guidance to attain this difficult mindset. Our minds are constantly flitting, attached to so many people and things. How beautifully Swamiji shows us that we need to keep striving, keep learning how we can get closer to that state, so that one day a flicker of understanding will make things a bit clearer.
How can we arrive at even a fraction of that understanding of detachment, while we still carry a world of love in our hearts?
Trupti Hattiangdi, Atlanta
Thank you for sharing these auspicious and special moments in HH’s beautiful handwriting. Each message is inspiring and fills our hearts with shraddha and Guru-chintan. Thank You for uplifting us and filling our hearts with Love for Bhagavan, our Guru-parampara and HH. We are indeed blessed and will cherish these gems.
Archana Kumta, Bengaluru
The expression, “I elbowed my way in to do as much seva”…is so sweet and childlike and the description which follows is exactly what we sadhaka-s can relate to. HH has shown as by example how an ideal shishya should be – giving all credit for the arrangements of the successful Shodashi to others – even as He is doing all that needs to be done. I was very touched by “ I wanted to leave for Karla on the very same day , but stayed back till the Shodashi…”…all the time keeping the connection to the Ashrama Parampara intact. Thank You Swamiji for sharing these gems!
Jayant Gulwadi, Sydney
In this column PPSwamiji has described the last few days of Bade Swamiji in human form, in very few sentences, but the picture is very clear as are PP Swamiji’s controlled emotions. Reminiscing about the past spent with Bade Swamiji, our Swamiji has also given a very candid report of His introspection and state of mind at the time. Indeed, it is a great lesson for all of us to reflect upon all that has happened in the past with an open mind…
Asha Awasthi, Bengaluru
This is homage paid by a Mahatma to a Mahatma, with love…
A sadhaka, over time, can become a Mahatma through intense, one-pointed sadhana. A Mahatma becomes an exemplary vehicle for the expression of Gurushakti, through His very Life, guiding shishya-s on the path He Himself traversed by, doing what needs to be done, despite challenges at all levels. The divine Guru-shishya Sambandha is so poignantly expressed. Prakriti -Nature, being sarvajnya, maunavedyaa, the Jagat-janani reaches out through the aranyamouna to heal the tormented mind. The Jnani-shishya is in silent abidance in Her.
Therefore, when troubled, we need to maintain this ‘Belongingness’ and quietly surrender to Her, in order to absorb Her Vatsalya….to learn that the limited form may be discarded, but the Eternal, Formless, All-pervading Gurushakti is forever accessible!
Parama Pujya Swamiji brings Himself down to the shishya’s level yet again for us, but we should reverentially remember and recognize the Gurushakti behind His Vyaktitva…
More Feedback on PARIPRASHNAH 1: Once Upon A Hill…
Gowri Trasi, Bengaluru
I read this while I was recovering, during my 14 days of isolation. It brought back memories of my first experience of doing the Ashtamurti Upasana under the Guidance of PP Swamiji atop Panchavati Hill in Shirali. One line in the narrative that particularly drew my attention was about the importance of this Upasana of how “ trees can actually draw out depression and nourish a depleted sadhaka who opens himself out to them” and how large boulders are “ powerhouses of energy.”Evenings in isolation tend to make one melancholic. While I did not have access to any view of nature from my room, I spent my evenings picturing myself on hilltops and watching wildlife documentaries that lifted my spirits. This, along with mantra-japa, Swamiji’s Blessing and listening to stotra-s and bhajan-s in Swamiji’s powerful and resonating Voice gave me much-needed strength.
Asha Awasthi, Bengaluru
An overwhelming learning experience..so many lessons..
Instead of spoon-feeding, the Guru gives just a hint to kindle vimarsha. It is a lesson in developing keen alertness, an eye for detail, a heightened sensitivity to the surroundings and to the Master’s seemingly casual words. Am struck by the sheer impact of the Guru’s Sannidhya on the Shishya’s very Being, pushing him to more subtle realms. Pujya Swamiji’s completely free and frank writing is a peek into our Guru’s intense Love… to give , share all that He can, to enhance our sadhana. A wonderful, powerful lesson in effortless Abhivyakti too. What a reassurance to know that my limited faculties and puny efforts can progress beyond their normal, gross range..and to know that we belong to Him..Aisa Guru mazhaa.. and unto Him my grateful pranam-s!
The article PARIPRASHNAH: FOR A MAHATMA, WITH LOVE... can be read here
We will be uploading the feedback received on Column No.3: A GROWING FAMILY... soon. If you would like to share what lessons you have gleaned from this write-up, please send your response through the Feedback form of PARIPRASHNAH by the 15th of November 2020, latest. Let us together try our best to draw out the lessons that lie hidden in these invaluable pieces of writing by Parama Pujya Swamiji.
We look forward to hearing from you!