(This post was created on 20141220 – but I am only just now getting the chance to publish it.)
Today has meant an unexpected flurry of emails and communication among the Sahaj Marg community – our beloved and revered master has left his body. My math is probably a little off, but the passing happened around 11:15 this morning (local time).
For anyone who’s been around long enough, our guru-ji’s health struggles were no secret. He was up in his years and his health had been somewhat of a roller coaster – periods of illness and infection followed by good health and recovery. This is natural for all humans as they age and it seems to me that the biggest threat to an old human’s physical existence can be the smallest and most mundane occurrence that most of us who are younger take for granted.
My own grandfather was weakened by very concerning health issues, but what had at once threatened his life in a very real way was something that I could easily catch and overcome in a week or less and hardly miss a beat. My guru, Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari (Chariji Maharaj) was very much in line with Nature’s way where this was concerned – and very fitting, too, because one of our Maxims calls us to be in harmony with Nature and to be simple as Nature is simple. I think (and perhaps I’m mistaken) that it had been some years since his health was enough of a threat that we thought he might leave.
This year, however, was very clearly a time of battle for his health. For any abhyasis who subscribe to the Sahaj Sandesh e-newsletter, we were updated as often as was necessary to keep us informed and in a prayerful / meditative condition regarding our master. Just yesterday, a Sandesh was released with a statement from Dr. Sharma indicating that our guru had been very ill for the last two weeks – first with respiratory infection and then / also a urinary infection. His condition was called “worrying and similar to what it was in 2012.”
The hint that things were actually quite serious, and that master may not survive, came in statements from the same Sandesh telling us that the doctors are doing everything possible to help him through it physically, but that there is a spiritual aspect that cannot be treated with medications.
Fortunately, preparations for this day were started long ago and Chariji’s successor has already been appointed. As I understand it, Brother Kamlesh Patel will be the new master of Sahaj Marg. Hopefully, this will alleviate, if not eliminate, any discord our guru’s passing may stir among abhyasis – as happened when the last master left his body.
While I have at times felt particularly drawn to Sahaj Marg’s earlier masters, Chariji is the only one I’ve ever known. In regard to the Marg’s literature, Chariji is, by far, the most prolific author of all the masters and as a result he is the one I’ve learned the most from and in the most direct way.
I’m including a video of Chariji here, which I’ve posted here to Sthapati before. The video is of him talking about our practice of spiritual transmission (which in some ways links our practice to Sufism). For those of us who are more familiar with master, so much more is evident even in this video than just the words that are being said.
I suspect that we’ll hear from Chariji from the Brighter World. Soon enough, his whispers may be coming to us to offer continued guidance in addition to the leadership brought by Kamlesh-ji.
Tonight, and everywhere across the globe, abhyasis and prefects are holding a sitting. Our ashrams everywhere are opening for this purpose and those who are not near an ashram or are not able to go to one are encouraged to sit from their homes or wherever they are.
Aum Tryambakam Yajamahe – Sugandhim Pushtivardahanam – Urvarukam Iva Bandhanan – Mrtyor Mukshiya Maa Amrtat
I’ll share a quote here from my grand-master, Babuji Maharaj in a book titled “Spiritual Training.” I feel, when things like this happen, it’s important to keep one’s compass pointed in the right direction. This quote was emailed out right before Chariji’s passing. I find it encouraging and speaks a bit on the essence of the Sahaj Marg practice. — “God is simple and can be achieved by equally simple means. The hard and fast rules of life and tiring practices prescribed by teachers for realisation have really made matters so complicated that people are led to believe it to be beyond their power and capacity. I may assure you very sincerely that realisation is not at all a difficult thing, only if you earnestly divert your attention to it. Iron will to achieve the goal, together with proper means and guidance, is the only thing required for the complete success.”
On a quite personal note this is a very challenging time for me. The 2014 year has been just about the worst year in memory (although it’s also held some of the very best moments!) and with everything else on my plate, including the recent loss of my birth mother, I really could have done without the passing of Chariji. To say he will be missed is such an understatement it’s practically inappropriate.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Additional notes to be added since the above was written:
Last night I found myself able to attend the global satsangh that was held shortly after master’s passing. Local abhyasis gathered at our prefects’ home and a sitting was given. The crowd was smallish but the sitting was incredible, no less. At least three distinct times I felt waves of master’s divine transmission wash over me. The first two nearly knocked me out of my asana. When the sitting was over, we were allowed a few moments to bask in the transmission and I unexpectedly found myself smiling. Unknowingly, I had secured a seat about 10 feet diagonally across a nice framed photo of my recently deceased master, himself in his meditation asana. On a table behind where this photo had been placed, was another table with framed photos on it and on that table was a photo of master that I think I’d purchased online and framed and donated to whomever would want it. The photo looked a little familiar, but the frame itself was very familiar. As my prefects’ home serves as the closest ashram to me, it warmed my heart to see something (I think) I had contributed to the local community. After the sitting was over, the prefect who had given the sitting read from a book called “Devotion” a number of snip-its. As someone who had been in master’s presence many times in the past decades, it was clear to see how his death had affected her. I did my best to hug her with my heart from where I sat. This year, as well as many of the recent years, has left me quite familiar with death and what it means. Strangely, I am nearly completely comfortable with it, but one thing that stings me each time I have a brush with death is the pain I see on the faces of others – that pain is the sad part of death for me and it was very clear that my prefect’s heart was hurting a bit as she read to us and then shared a story about the last time she was in master’s presence.
An extended satsangh was held this morning but I didn’t attend. I wanted to because I knew there would be discussed things that might answer some of the questions I have now, and it was mentioned that a few videos would be shared – which I really wanted to view. But I couldn’t bring myself. Instead, and this has been mostly true since learning of master’s passing, I sat alone in meditation. The heart knows what it wants, and that’s what my heart has sought increasingly as this year winds down to a close.
An email was issued this morning saying that Chariji would be cremated tomorrow in the morning.
Lastly, I mentioned in the main portion of this post that I imagined Chariji would be speaking to us from the Brighter World – and he has spared no time! This morning a message was received. I’m not sure it would be appropriate to share the whisper here, but I can say that it was a welcome greeting this morning!