To Guruji – With love (Shri. Pattabhi Jois)

Three years of love, discipline, patience, endurance, and humble submission under Guruji! I love him, and remain gratuitous for humbling my ego, by teaching me nothing – the most important thing I learned – was – he never wanted me to learn what he was teaching. He unlearned me!

The whole excitement about learning something new everyday, a new posture, arriving at a new spiritual experience, to be able to enjoy watching the body flexing to perfection, was cut short with constant obstacles like cramps, and stiffness! But, Guruji, increased my frustrations much more.. by introducing me to a new lesson once every month, and also by making me wait… wonder.. speculate.. and doubt.. by not teaching me or assisting me with any posture at all for a period of six months and more. The process of Guru-Disciple relationship is not a definitive structure, or theory which may apply one and same to the students, and no Guru, will be the same or teach in the same manner, and no Guru (if enlightened), will train his/her students alike. To each one – they will impart lessons suited to their consciousness and body growth. Understanding this, and keeping it close to my conscience, Guruji, purposely gave me this humbling experience… and pushed me into greater silence, and withdrawal.

He taught me to practice non-expectation, accept obediently, with a neutral and humble, non-questioning mind, what he imparts directly, or even if he ignores me for days together, it is still a way of shaping up the mind, body, and consciousness – the wholesome aspect of realization! Hard are the ways, ridden with pitfalls, and hurdles, and each effort was equally filled with greater failure…. and he stamped my ego down every time I aimed at achieving success.

Never cling onto the ideas of achievement, success and failure. What you receive,  is that which is your portion, being filled into you by the universe!

There was always one corner in my heart which would pop out and question, “When is he going to finish with the primary series?” The human mind is so strange and difficult to control.

Most of the times, we communicated mainly through silence. I always sensed his answers to my questions were transmitted through silence. The immense respect I had for him, was the reverence for the Consciousness hidden behind the mask of, Shri. A.K. Pattabhi Jois – and a Master of such honour, and dignity, imparted one consistent lesson – “Silence will reveal everything.”. He just knew how to speak through silence, hint signs of indiscipline, lack of concentration and dedication, and even anger – which was rare, and I had to catch it and shift my mind and flow. One day, as I was practicing, suddenly, the two words from the Yoga Sutras resonated in my mind, and they were, Abhyasa, which means practice and, Vairagya, which means detachment. I looked at him and asked, “Aren’t, Abhyasa, and, Vairagya, the two most important principles for realization? He gazed at me with his usual compassionate smile and quoted a few shlokas in Sanskrit which I don’t remember, and said, “Yes, both are very important. Continuous practice and detachment helps you progress and they must be adopted for the practice of yoga.”


Later on, I contemplated on what he said, and it revealed more answers. If we don’t have practice and detachment moving together, then we are not freeing the mind from aim, and ambition and goals. Each time we notice an achievement or result, they are simply to make us realize, it as a consequence – the consequence should never be the ultimate aim or destination. Abhyasa, and, Vairagya, are two wings of the bird flying across the Oceanic Void higher, and higher! Like this, there are many examples which I could share. But it was only after I attended Guruji’s birthday for the first time, in 2004, our relationship started to get closer. It wasn’t obvious for anybody. Not even for me did he show that he loved me, but it was just understood between us. He always made it a point to maintain a healthy distance with his dignity and self-respect.

Another day, during my practice I asked him, “Guruji, how do I get rid of my vasanas (sense pleasures and desires)? He said, “As you practice, it will all come out on its own.” I wasn’t satisfied with this answer and I repeated my question, “But how do I get rid of them?” He again repeated the same words and then I just kept quiet and thought to myself, maybe I should meditate harder (but we just cannot do things hard. Just string the instrument, and play the right note till it plays right). It was time, he had to teach me, Baddhakonasana, a posture in which we have to bend our legs at the knees, with the feet placed close to each other sticking to the buttocks, and gradually, spread open the bent knees flat on the floor sideways. The pain would be excruciating and it has caused injuries for many people including myself. I was complaining of pain for days and I couldn’t walk properly. Then suddenly, Guruji walked up to me smiling and gave me Tiger Balm and said, “Use this, it will be good for your pain”. I was surprised and thought to myself, “Does he really mean it?”. It was for me to realize, I shouldn’t have questioned like that. I realized, “Never cling onto the ideas of achievement, success and failure. What you receive,  is that which is your portion, being filled into you by the universe!”

Guruji was also very strict about his tradition and caste and religion. Above all, he was very strict about being a vegetarian. I just asked him once, “Guruji, doctors say egg is good for health. Do you think it’s fine if I take eggs?” I asked him this question because on the previous day I had eaten two boiled eggs. He smiled and said, “No, you should not eat eggs. No non-vegetarian food, only vegetarian.” It was early New Year in 2005 and I wished him a happy New Year. He looked at me and said, “English New Year, only for English people. For Indians, New Year is Ugadi”. Ugadi is the New Year celebrated by the people of Karnataka around 27th of March.

to be contd..