“Realized souls never see this door as a door. They don’t see the wall as a wall. They only see everything around them as, God They don’t see things, normal, like we do”. – Guruji
The universal principle of the Guru-Disciple relationship is eternal and established on a permanent platform of universal compassion, absolute love, and total forgiveness. There is no way to determine or judge who has practiced and perfected these principles, except – can only strive to withdraw and attune to the three natures of the Consciousness! My increasing love, and fondness for, Guruji, had to stop short of “conditioned attachment”, to the “image” of the “Guru”, to realize the formless! I had come back to Chennai for a few months in 2003. In December 2003, one night he appeared in my dream and said, “I won’t be living on earth for long”. I reflected on it, and knew in advance, I would be receiving this message in some form or other.
Many days, he would message me mentally, “I am not coming today”. The clairvoyance would confirm itself, while I would be waiting outside his doorstep, to receive a personal message sent through his driver.
I grew beyond this connection with a ‘man’ or a ‘personality’ who was ‘Shri Pattabhi Joise’, to realize the true worth of the Consciousness – mandatory, not to cling onto the, Guru! Whatever the teaching maybe, whatever the outer perfection of the body one may have to attain, but finally, nothing is achieved without annihilating the ego. Pride, at moment of our lives, any second, if allowed to occupy our minds, then it is a sure sign of downfall – an insult to our humility, which remains ignored and shut, mirroring the conscience. I had drop this pride, and embrace the simplicity he beheld, yet displaying the dignity, of a teacher, and humility of the student. Constant reflection was, “Non-expectation, from everything, – every being! The Self, ever is and will be – and this is the only truth we can hold onto, achieve, live, and express!”.
It was late 2005, and I was already feeling irritated with the life in Mysore, and I felt a strong urge for a change of place. And I was also almost about to complete with learning the Primary Series. I was still wondering, what kept him waiting and unwilling to finish with me and start the intermediate lessons. Pressure was building up on my father to support me further as well. And it all accumulated into one situation of unease. I just wanted to leave Mysore, but not Guruji. But finally, in early 2006, he started with the finishing postures, but I was sad, and only wished I had met him so late. Tears of emotions of having learned through self-introspection, and withdrawal, wouldn’t be enough.. and I could see, it was time to snap the chord. He made it obvious to me the next morning, as he showed signs of indifference, meaning, I was free to leave.
Earlier, the previous three years, whenever I used to restlessly reflect and wonder if I should stop midway, or ask him in silence, if he could complete it quickly, so I can move on, and teach somewhere, he would never allow it, and messaged it with a positive note, to humble me further.. and continue learning under him – an intuitive message, “It wasn’t time yet!”.
Months in advance he knew, I wouldn’t be with him after the summer of ’06. I hadn’t planned my date of departure, but still he knew I won’t be coming back, and somehow he was successful in breaking this attachment. He started to ignore me, reduced his response to my emotions. He kept me totally away from him, so I must find my way out slowly. The last couple of months in 2006 were really tough to handle. On one side, I couldn’t continue due to personal circumstances, and on the other side, I couldn’t leave him due to the connection I had developed with him.
But all through these three years I spent with him, everyday I learned something new and different. I learned what tolerance and patience, and unconditional love is. It was a direct lesson by watching him impart wisdom of the Self, through practical asanas, while in mind – one has to constantly connect and communicate with the, Guru! He taught everybody in a different way. He did push students for perfection, with the same force, allowing each to progress at their own pace, but what he gave to each, is unique and incomparable. He never discriminated or gave special attention to the one who was extremely good to ignore the novice.
He did show that he was attached to gold and money. He did show he was living in luxury. But, I noticed that he knew very well who he was and what he was doing. One part of him was attached to materialism, while another part of him was resting in the Supreme Absolute. There was no doubt he had realized, God. His body was living in luxury, masked by the Universal Consciousness, which he knew!.
I left Mysore with a heavy heart and I could never come back to see him. But I continue to reflect his teachings – a very valuable flow, to this day. Once I asked him, about realized souls. I just mentioned about some great yogis, their attainments, and he replied, “Realized souls never see this door as a door. They don’t see the wall as a wall. They only see God They don’t look at things as normal, like we do”, meaning, they all see the infinite hidden in the finite.
Guru, is the dispeller of darkness, one who leads you to the ‘light’ within you. If somebody is learning from a Guru, he or she must reach out to the person inside, and learn to communicate in consciousness more than the body. Body can bend, muscles can stretch, and one can sweat night and day to prove or flaunt perfected flexibility, which is nothing but a, “Michael Jackson – Moonwalk”. The process doesn’t unveil till the Guru in us blossoms with or without body flexibility. In fact, the ego increases on pride over greater fluidity of the bones and flesh. The purpose of learning is wasted.
I always felt, I left the class everyday with something precious…. more precious than Ashtanga Vinyasa. I learned from him…. it is not important how well we can bend our body; it is not important how far we can stretch. This is just a primary preparation for our bodies to be able to sit for long periods of time in meditation. But through this process of bending and stretching, it is important to attune to the Self, watch the mind process. In the process of observing oneself, we get to realize the changes happening within, slowly revealing brief glimpses of emptiness, a state of permanence. It is obvious to feel happy over maintaining a slim and perfect body, totally flexible.. but, the point is not to perfect a stunt.
Over the years, I was not able to perfect the asanas he taught me, but still, I learned to flex my ego as much as I could. He always, reminded me subtly that it is not important to bend your body, but it is important to bend your ego. Bend your mind, and control it so you don’t get attached to the asanas and don’t let your pride settle in, at any point of time. Pride, is the main factor, which draws our attention, forcing us to project and believe, the outer image of who we are – a perfected teacher, dancer or anything…. which masks our humility.
Many of us miss the inner learning and remain attached to the physical self which is bound to perish any moment. People forget that. Our pride makes us forget that one small accident or a mishap could stop us from practicing yoga for life. Then where is the body which was, before? Is that the true learning, Guruji, has been giving us – perfection of the physical body? No. His teaching was blended with connecting to the consciousness through physical practice. We may think and believe, it is we who practiced, and progressed.. and perfected.. and regardless the effort we put in, it is the Guru, who perfects us, shapes us..! No disciple, will be able to make it, would have made it… if he hadn’t unleashed the energy blocks. He can stifle, stop, regardless our abilities to perform better…! The Guru, can also decrease our excellence! And, this is the reason to remain humble, and not aim for egoistic perfection, and once it gets demeaned or we feel unappreciated, provoked… as if nobody has the right to insult us. Question for us, “Who is the person in us, that wants to be somebody “Great”, just because, there was a, Guruji, or, B.K.S. Iyengar, or, a, Jiddu Krishnamurti. That’s not the point or principle – to copy! Everybody, is only copying a text book, scripture, and mimicking the act – which is not “Teaching”, neither, “Learning”!
The way, is to withdraw, instead of showing it out to the world – “I do this.. I am this or that.. and, all of you should come and acknowledge my credentials… offer me a position to rule..”. If this is what Yoga, has done to everybody, then we might as well be a movie or pop star.
When I heard finally, that Guruji passed away on 18th May 2009, I remained silent, reflected and paid my respect, “His duty is over for this lifetime, and he has left his body. But, we must keep his teachings alive. Salutations to the ‘Master’!”