A Long But Short Guruji Satsang* Story ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Silence is the language of God,
all else is poor translation.”
~ Rumi
“We search for Him here and there,
while looking right at Him

Sitting by his side, we ask:

Oh Beloved, where is the Beloved?

Enough with such questions

Let silence take you to the core of life

All your talk is worthless
when compared with one whisper of the beloved”

~ Rumi
Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


As explained in other memoirs chapters, during a traumatic 1976 divorce I experienced a transformative mid-life spiritual awakening.  Two years later, I met a one hundred year old Hindu guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and evolved from being a secular Hebrew, to becoming a “born-again Hindu”. And thereupon I developed an ever increasing interest and curiosity about Indian spirituality and culture. After a few years, the “universe” presented me with an ideal opportunity to satisfy that curiosity.

In 1981, soon after my beloved Guruji, Dhyanyogi, had returned to India, I met Sant Keshadavadas, a devotional Indian spiritual teacher known as a singing saint. Thereafter, on learning that Sant Keshadavadas would be conducting a spiritual tour of Indian holy places, I wanted to join that tour, if it was okey with Guruji.

Guruji had always told us that it was not necessary to see other spiritual teachers, but permissible. So I succeeded in getting his approval for me to tour with Sant Keshadavadas.

Thereupon, in January and February 1982, I journeyed with Sant Keshadavadas on a wonderful spiritual pilgrimage to Japan and India. That guided tour was, and remains for me, the most important trip of my lifetime. Never before had I been in a land with such a palpably spiritual ambiance as I experienced everywhere in India.

Our tour group crossed the length and breadth of that vast country (mostly by airplane and local buses) visiting many spiritual shrines and meeting saintly beings, like Mother Teresa, Anandamayi Ma and Satya Sai Baba. And I had numerous wondrous experiences. (In other chapters I will recount some of those experiences.)

Throughout the tour I was constantly seeking to learn how I could best advance my quest for “enlightenment” – my spiritual “sadhana”. By the time that the guided tour ended in New Delhi, I was quite weary from following the intense tour schedule. But I was determined to remain in India to pay my respects my beloved Guruji, and to receive his guidance and blessing for my “sadhana”.

With unexpected difficulty, I finally succeeded in having only one brief ‘satsang’* with Guruji. This proved much more complicated – and much more memorable – than I could have previously imagined.

Here is the story of what happened.

After four years of tireless efforts in the US, Guruji had become extremely debilitated and was obliged to return to India in 1980 to recuperate. After his arrival in India, his whereabouts were sometimes kept confidential so he could rest and recover without constant interruption.

Before I departed for India in January 1982, I was told that after my guided tour ended I would be able to learn Guruji’s whereabouts by calling Shri Anandi Ma’s father, Pundit Pravin Jani. And I was given his Bombay phone number.

Over a month later, just before our guided tour ended in New Delhi, I began trying to phone Pravin Jani – who was in Bombay – from my New Delhi hotel. In those days India had not yet joined the digital communication age, and surprisingly I could never get a long-distance telephone connection from Delhi to Bombay.

After repeated unsuccessful attempts, I decided to make a brief trip to Katmandu, Nepal to see Buddhist and Hindu holy places there. But, I remained determined to see Guruji. So on return to Delhi from Nepal, I again repeatedly tried calling Bombay to learn his whereabouts.

But I was still never able to get a long-distance telephone line from New Delhi to Bombay. So I had to book a flight across all of India from Delhi to Bombay, so that I could then make a local Bombay phone call to Pravin Jani. Only by so flying to Bombay was I finally able to reach him by telephone.

Whereupon he readily told me that Guruji was then staying in Godhra a small town not far from Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujurat state. Paradoxically, my flight from Delhi to Bombay had overflown Ahmedabad long before it reached Bombay. If I had known Guruji’s whereabouts while in Delhi I would have flown directly to Ahmedabad. But that hadn’t happened.

So, it was now necessary for me to book a flight from Bombay to Ahmedabad, and to arrange ground transportation from there to Godhra.

But I then learned that the only flights to Ahmedabad had been cancelled, and that I could only get to Godhra by train. So, I needed to take an eight hour trainride from Bombay to Godhra, and learned of a departure later that day.

Thereupon, I promptly took a taxi to the Bombay central railroad station where I arrived less than an hour before the train was scheduled to leave. At the station ticket booth, I was told that no first class train compartment was available; that only non air-conditioned second class space was available for the long trip. With no other choice, I attempted to purchase a second class ticket using my American Express dollar travelers checks or credit card, which until then had been accepted everywhere I traveled in India. But they were both rejected by the train station cashier, who told me that they only accepted rupees, which I could get at a nearby American Express office in downtown Bombay.

Hurriedly, I left the train station and on the sidewalk asked the first knowledgable looking person I encountered if he could direct me to the nearby American Express office. Instead of telling me he couldn’t help me, he pleasantly and unequivocally told me where to go. I quickly followed his directions, which turned out to be completely wrong.

Frantically, I finally got proper directions which I speedily followed. Arriving at the American Express office soon after it had opened, I obtained necessary rupees from a very lackadaisical clerk and rushed back to the central station, arriving just as my train was scheduled to depart.

At the last minute I purchased a ticket and boarded the train just before its departure. Up to then my body – already quite weary from over a month of intense travel and last minute stress in getting directions to Guruji – had been running on extra adrenaline. But on boarding the train I soon realized that I needed to rest. However, that proved difficult.

The seating was not very comfortable, my compartment companions were not quiet, the sultry temperatures required that we keep windows open to outside disturbances, including noises from many interim station stops. So my first long journey on an Indian train proved very interesting, but not restful.

On disembarking at Godhra that evening I was quite travel weary but excited at the prospect of seeing Guruji again for the first time since he left my San Francisco apartment in 1980. I called the Godhra phone number given me by Pravin Jani and was courteously welcomed by one of Guruji’s hosts, a woman lawyer. I learned that Guruji was convalescing at the home of her father, a retired judge, and that I could see him for a short while at an appointed time the next morning.

That night I stayed at a Godhra guest house in a very warm room with a mosquito netted bed. Because of heat and bugs, I did not sleep soundly. But nonetheless I awakened with great excitement about my imminent satsang* with Guruji.

A few hours later I arrived at the judge’s house where Guruji was staying. There I was pleasantly greeted and told that Guruji was then in the garden, but that he would soon come in to greet me. I was brought into a lovely room with an altar and fresh cut flowers and an empty prominent throne-like seat for Guruji.

As I waited there, my ‘monkey mind’ became quite active. Despite all of my wondrous experiences during the pilgrimage tour, I was busily dialoguing with “the voice in my head” about questions for Guruji. So when Guruji came into the altar room and sat down in front of me, I was feeling far from peaceful. But I sat there quietly gazing at him, waiting for him to entertain my questions.

Though Guruji looked physically healthier than when he had been carried out of my apartment to return to India, he still looked quite fragile and much weaker than when I first met him four years earlier. But he was emanating indescribably intense ‘shakti’ life-force energy, which seemed as strong as ever. His aura was so extraordinarily powerful that it soon transformed my previously agitated state of mind. As I sat there I began harmonically resonating with Guruji’s supernal ‘shakti’ life-force and felt more and more peace of mind.

And so “the voice in my head” stopped ‘talking’ and my previous questions for Guruji gradually seemed to melt into silent infinite awareness. But not quite. So after sitting there in silence for a while, I asked Guruji a preliminary question. But he kept gazing at me without answering the question, and remained silent. Whereupon, supposing that he might not have understood me, I asked Guruji another question. But he still remained silent.

Finally, in desperation I exclaimed:

“Guruji, I’ve come halfway around the world to see you. Please tell me what I should do for my sadhana.”

After a pregnant pause, Guruji at long last replied:

“Meditate regularly!”

We had no further dialogue. And soon I was politely informed by Guruji’s host that it was time to leave.

*Satsang is a sanskrit word meaning here the company of a guru or the company of “highest truth.”


Epilogue

As you might imagine, the memory of Guruji’s profoundly silent ‘satsang’ has remained indelibly imprinted in my ‘mental software’. Without words but only with deep silence and an extraordinarily intense emanation of shakti love, he eloquently taught by example that what we seek is within each of us; that “silence is the language of God.”

This poem written years later, only hints at Guruji’s profound teaching that day:

In silence sweet
we may retreat
from every care and woe,
and there we’ll learn in perfect peace
all we need to know.

In silence sweet
we shall meet
the thrill of ecstasy.
and thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
we’ve nothing more to be.

In silence sweet
we shall find
all we’ve ever sought.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
that all our wants were naught.

In silence sweet
we shall see
that everything is light.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
there’s naught to fear but fright.

In silence sweet
we shall greet
our own true Self and Soul.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
we are the timeless Whole.

In silence sweet
we shall enjoy
Eternity’s repose.

For perfect peace we e’er shall be,
Peace no mortal knows.


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One Response to A Long But Short Guruji Satsang* Story ~ Ron’s Memoirs

  1. Kapish October 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    The form and the formless
    There’s the name and the nameless
    There’s a clear blue sky above
    As pure as the guru’s love

    Live life like the lions
    Who rule over their land
    No need to be afraid
    Faith in the Guru is brave

    Practice not in pride
    Do or die this is your life
    Let humility be deep
    Lay your ego at the guru’s feet

    Change your Ravana
    Into your Varana
    Say devoted ram ram ram
    And sing sing your soul’s song

    Trust trust trust and look inside
    Listen close to your breathing
    Focused intent intensely
    You are limitless like the world energy

    We are all your children
    Taking these baby steps
    Help us up when we trip
    Please let maya’s allure slip

    Ambe mata ki jai
    Sri sadaguru deva ki jai

    ~Kapish

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