An offering to the Guru
Experience Shared by Smt. Sunetrā Nāgarkaṭṭi, Beṅgal̄ūru.
|| Shrī ||
In February 1977, Shrī Jagadeesh Balsekar’s family invited Parama Pūjya Parijñānāshram Swāmījī to their residence in Paṭnā (Bihār). All present there were their close family members, except 5-6 of us which included my mother and myself. They wanted to take Swāmījī to Nepāl for Pashupatināth darshana, so a few people accompanied Swāmījī to Nepāl while the remaining group stayed back in Paṭnā. After their return, we all stayed with Swāmījī in Paṭnā for another 3-4 days.
During this time, we once went to the River Gaṅgā to have a holy Snāna. Swāmījī also came with us. It was a beautiful sight with the River Gaṅgā flowing in all her gushing, divine glory. Those who knew swimming waded into the waters with Swāmījī while He encouraged all the other boys to join Him and swim. I completed my Gaṅgā Snāna with one quick ‘Dubki’, and went and stood in one corner giving my mind a ‘Snāna’ with visuals of Swāmījī playing, laughing and enjoying in the river with other members of the group. Those who were hesitating to get in were pushed into the water by Swāmījī and if they got scared, He would bring them back to the shore. We ladies standing there were observing all this with astonishment!
While Swāmījī was at the river bank, I saw a devotee offering Him a Paan (viḍŏ). Swāmījī just accepted it and put it in the mouth. Seeing this I was a little uncomfortable. I carried the memory of this incident for many many years...
Several years later around 1993, I learnt Guru pūjana from Bhāyyā (Mohan Koḍikal), and started performing it myself. It was then that I came to know that The Guru is offered Tāmbūla during pūjā. But my stubborn mind was not ready to accept a change, and I justified it thus: it is okay to offer a Paan symbolically to the Guru during pūjā, but not in person!
In 1995, I was present when HH Īswarānand Girijī Mahārāj was invited for a Bhiks͟hā at Ākkā’s house in Beṅgal̄ūru. This was immediately after Gaṇesha Chaturthī. After Bhiks͟hā, myself and Ākkā decided to offer ‘Supārī’ to Swāmījī as is our tradition. So Ākkā offered it first, but when my turn came I could not find Supārī. I picked up an ‘Ashok’ Supārī packet lying nearby and offered Supārī with Coconut and paan Supārī to Swāmījī. He took the packet asking what was in it. I told Swāmījī it was Supārī. He tried to open the packet, but was struggling with it. I got impatient and took the packet from Him and opened it myself. Swāmījī held the Paan in his hand in front of me, and I poured the Supārī on to that Paan, chanting the Shloka from Guru pūjana, “Jīvabrahmaikyavijñāna-tṛptāya Gurumurtaye, jīvanmuktisukhākāraṁ tāmbūlaṁ pratigṛhyatāṁ”... Swāmījī folded the Paan with Supārī in it and put it in His mouth. I heard other devotees sitting behind say “ What a beautiful way of offering Tāmbūla to The Guru”. Other devotees present there got to know that Swāmījī eats Supārī, so quickly brought some of Jaipur’s famous silver coated Sugandhī Supārī for Swāmījī. But Swāmījī gestured saying what he had got was enough. Later I came to know from Swāmījī’s host in Beṅgal̄ūru, that she had never seen Swāmījī eat Supārī, before or after this incident.
Lo! My view that offering Tāmbūla to The Guru during pūjā is okay, but not in person was defeated practically by my Guru Himself! Look at the irony... a Supārī packet can be opened so easily, but in this case I had to open it myself and pour it on the Paan held by Swāmījī!
What can we call this other than a plan of my Dīks͟hā Guru Parama Pūjya Parijñānāshram Swāmījī? He wanted to teach me a lesson by getting the SAME act done by me for which I was blaming the Devotee who had offered Him Paan in Paṭnā. With this I realised my mistake, and my mind was cleared of the doubt.
In Gurubhajana-stotram, one of the Laks͟haṇa-s of GURU is given as Saṁshayochc͟hedane Daks͟haṁ ... that is, The Guru is always in readiness to uproot the wrong perceptions of a bhakta. Is this incident not a perfect example of it?
This experience of mine has confirmed for me that Guru-Shakti is ONE, and it works in different forms.