The wise words of a yogi, who came to my house to seek alms, became my pathfinder, always challenging and assuring me on my spiritual journey, says Swami Anand Arun
For as long as I can remember, I was seized by a sense of discontentment, which sprung from a rather abstract source. This is what triggered my spiritual quest. That’s when I started looking around for a master. Of course, finding a master is a rare fortune and it was a good many years before I finally met Osho, my master. I used to be a BSc student at Trichandra College in Kathmandu and I had gone to Janakpur, my hometown, for some familial chore. By then, I had been initiated by a few gurus and was trying many different techniques of meditation without much success. Countless times I had been praying to existence to bring a real guide for me.
One morning, I woke up to find a yogi standing silently at our gate, seeking alms. Such a sight is not that uncommon in Janakpur. Janakpur used to be the capital of the kingdom of Mithila and the centre of Mithila culture. I noticed that this yogi had an exceptionally bright countenance as though he was dripping with radiance. I went to the kitchen and filled a handkerchief with rice and came outside to give the pouch to the yogi. The yogi was in silence so instead of speaking he took out a slate from his bag and wrote down, “I don’t have anything to carry the rice in, so it would be better if you could give me some money.”
I fished into my pocket and found a quarter, which I gave to the yogi. He accepted the offering gratefully. We did not exchange words. He was about to leave when he suddenly turned back and started scribbling on his slate again. His English was notably good, as was his handwriting. “What kind of meditation do you practise?” I was taken off guard by this rather strange exchange and told him that I didn’t practise any meditation. But he insisted, “Your vibrations tell me that you are trying hard to meditate.”
Surprised by his clairvoyance, I told him how I had been trying different techniques of meditation without much success. “My meditation is not going well at all. Although I have learnt many things from many gurus, I am not able to practise something that is meaningful,” I told him with utmost honesty. He again wrote on the slate, “If you are ready, I am willing to help you.” After hearing that, I cordially invited him into my house, made him comfortably seated, and started sharing my queries. He started writing the answers in perfect English and Hindi on his slate. After a while it was time for lunch and I asked him what I could serve him. He said, “Anything vegetarian which has been made in the house is good for me.”
We had a tradition of eating all our meals together, so my family members joined us too. After lunch, I invited him to my room. He shared some of the most insightful analyses of Aurobindo’s integral yoga, Vivekananda’s karmayoga and gyanyoga, as well as Raman Maharshi’s silence. His presence was so pleasurable that I lost all track of time. When the time came for the yogi to leave, he wrote on his slate, “You have all my blessings. Now I shall leave.” I was enchanted by his presence and didn’t want him to leave, so I requested him to come the next day. The next morning, the yogi arrived as he had promised. After a light breakfast, we again sat together. As I mentioned earlier, I was struggling with my meditation and asked a great deal of questions.
His answers reflected the depth of his own meditation, inspiring fresh reverence in me. I was intrigued by his answers and insisted on knowing more about him. He wrote that before taking sannyasa, he used to be a professor in South India. Gradually, it dawned upon him that no outward excellence or accomplishment could satiate his deepest longing. When this realisation crystallised within him, he took the jump and became an ascetic. Initially, he had taken a vow of silence for 12 years. Those 12 years gave him the taste of solitude and beatitude. By the time his vow was over, he had immersed himself too deeply in the blissful world of silence to ever utter another word again. Whenever necessary, he communicated through his slate.
The yogi also gave me a short mantra and a beautiful technique of Rajyoga. I pleaded with him to be my guru, but he refused. “I am not destined to be your guru. You will find your guru at the right time.” I had come to inaugurate a yoga school in Siliguri. There I heard your cry for help and came to Janakpur just to help you. Whenever you have a real quest and pray for it, someone will appear to help you. I am happy with your thirst and this thirst will lead you to your guru in right time.”
I got the darshan of Osho three years later. On the third day, the yogi arrived at my house as usual. That meeting was to be our last one. With a cryptic precision, he told me to fetch a diary, and wrote his answers on it. I brought a small notebook and started asking him questions:
Which sect are you from and who is your guru?
“I don’t belong to any sect and I haven’t been initiated by anyone. God himself is my guru and humanity is what I believe in.”
How can I meet you?
“I don’t have an ashram. I am a wandering monk. I go wherever existence takes me.”
What shall I call you?
A yogi’s past has no meaning and we don’t usually talk about it. And since I wasn’t initiated by anyone, I don’t have a name either. Due to God’s grace, I am usually blissed out, so you can call me Mastaram (the divinely intoxicated one).
Is it true that yogis have various miraculous powers? Do you also possess such powers?
“The mind starts to become pure and sharp once meditation takes hold of you. A silent mind becomes very powerful. A lot of miracles start happening. These miracles are not necessary on the path of samadhi, rather they are hindrances. I do experience such powers but discussing them will not help you in any way. You are very inquisitive about such spiritual powers. Begin practising meditation as I have taught you and soon you will experience these powers by yourself. But it is not good to think and enquire about them. A lot of meditators go astray this way.”
There are many yogis, such as you, who have a lot of spiritual powers but misery and injustice is only growing in this world. Why don’t the yogis make this world a better place to live in? Why do they escape from the world?
“The world has always been like this. There was injustice and misery even in the time of Ram, Krishna or Buddha. Ram himself had to live in the forest for 14 years in exile. Sita was also kidnapped. Buddha had to bear a lot of humiliation. During his own lifetime, he saw the end of the Shakya clan and Kapilvastu. Krishna couldn’t stop the Mahabharata war or the demise of his Yadav clan. The war between good and evil has been going on since eternity and will go on for eternity. The desire for freedom from this world arises only after you understand that absolute justice, peace or system is not possible here. This world is a school. Learn your lesson and be free of it. This is not a place where you should live forever. I see a strong wish in you to change the world. This is a good wish, but you will not be able to change the world. We come here with limited time and energy, which should be used for self-transformation. First realise God, then whatever the divine wishes for you will be the best for you and the world at large. After enlightenment, God made Buddha roam around villages for 45 years, while he made Raman Maharshi sit silently below the Arunachal hill.”
It is said that not even a leaf on a tree can move without divine will. If this is true, then why do you tell me to make constant effort in my meditation? Will my meditation not happen naturally if He wishes?
“It is probably not happening now because He doesn’t wish it to be so. On the surface, your question looks like the ultimate philosophical query but underneath it shows the lethargic tendency of the mind. It is my understanding that even a leaf doesn’t move without God’s wish. I am telling you to make effort in meditation so that you realise this by yourself. Through constant meditation when your ego melts and you realise that you are not the doer but just the watcher, only then will you see that this whole world is a divine play and runs exactly according to His wish. When you say this now, it only aids your laziness.”
Soon the time came for the departure of the yogi and although we were both unwilling, we bid farewell to each other. For the next three years before I met my master, his words became my pathfinder, always challenging and assuring me at the same time.
The writer is an author and an international meditation teacher