Guruji- A tribute! (Shri. Pattabhi Jois)

Thought to practice and obey – “Never criticize or judge the Guru, whether they appear to be, right or wrong”.

I was so stupid, I didn’t come prepared. So I had to just remove my shirt and practice with my tracks on. He started with the Surya Namaskar -1 and finished it short the first day. As it was my first time, I experienced tremendous energy – sort of receiving initiation from the Guru!. Every touch from his fingers, and the pressure from his palms had a healing touch. The way he communicated through silence was more than enough and never gave me the feeling or need, to talk or engage him in any kind of conversation. 

Even though the first part was short and easy, it wasn’t simple enough for me to memorize the sequence, and refrain from committing mistakes. If I erred, he would make me start all over again. And, it so happened, on my third day, I was forgetting the sequence, and he made me start all over again at least 12 times, and I ran out of steam, but he continued to push me harder. I was just loving the perfectionist teaching a perfectionist.

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Weeks and months passed by, and I slowly started to realize the greatness of my, Guru, whom I hadn’t accepted as a Guru yet. I was still testing him to see how true and qualified he was, to be a Guru. In spiritualism when it comes to realizing the Self, both the Guru and the Disciple have the right to test each other. One day, he was observing me in silence as usual. It was one of those days, when the mind gets muddled up with cravings (totally sexually connecting to one of my girl friends), and he was quietly reading all of them. 

So, as he was looking at me, I just turned around and asked him, “Guruji,  when I go back to my room, I am always filled with worldly (indirect hint – sexual) thoughts”. He smiled and said, “You should not think of unnecessary things, you should think of God”. That was so sweet to hear, as it I realized, he was looking to answer my thoughts. Somewhere, he had this childlike concern, which filled me with immense warmth. He didn’t judge! There was never one moment where I felt his absence for the three years I lived in Mysore. 

He was always quick to notice me lose focus and dedication, not offering hundred percent of myself, and he would show it very subtly, but in a stern manner through his expressions and energy. His silence was more vociferous than his words. His silent and subtle disciplining methods, always pushed me to focus harder. 

The basic and most important way for winning over the mind is to control the senses, and resist all sorts of temptations, not falling for the opposite sex, or both –  but the very idea of being sexual, is ostracized in most schools of spiritualism.. Attraction isn’t right or wrong, but applying wisdom with discrimination and intuition helps one understand the ‘timing’ as appropriate or not, to flow with the senses. Reducing the needs of sense cravings is not easy, and developing will power to weaken them, requires a lot of mental discipline.

He would be sitting outside in the hall, but still he would know when to come and assist me in a posture which I had been struggling with. He would continue to stay upstairs and not pay attention, and I would be thinking, ‘Maybe, he doesn’t remember he has to help me with this asana. But, he would surprise me with his precise timing of appearance whenever I needed assistance, and this happened every time. He knew everything. He saw everything, and He heard everything, in SILENCE and made sure, I don’t talk, but kept it dignified enough, so I open my mind to tune into his thoughts. He just read me and scanned through my person… completely!

There would be days when I’d be feeling low in confidence, wondering if I practiced well losing hope on making progress. He would sense it right away, and smile at me with a comforting expression, “Your practice is really nice”. That would instantly uplift me, offering inspiration to practice better. He always knew how to work with energies. I would constantly hear criticisms regarding his attitude from the locals, as well as foreigners. 

One day, I was travelling in the auto-rickshaw and the driver asked me what I was doing in Mysore. I told him I was learning yoga with Shri. Pattabhi Jois. The minute he heard the name, he started saying, “He is a very money-minded person and very stingy and never helps anybody with money”. I was shocked and upset to hear this and I heard the same sentence from many people. But I just kept quiet even though, I was criticizing him in my mind, the next day during the class… and I could see, he was upset. I felt embarrassed, since I knew you was making it clear, he was reading my thought.

But later on, I understood that he is not what he seemed from his appearance. The message was, to look through his consciousness. He was a man with a heart of great patience and love. And the relationship which we shared was special, but still… he showed the same love and patience to the rest… who came to learn from him. He was never biased. He answered every doubt and question of mine. A few words from him, most of the days, was wisdom enough!

to be contd…