Eat Rasagulla or Become One
I knew Shri Maharaj Ji was a special personality before I met him. I had a strong belief and a strong faith in that. Somehow or the other I came to Shri Maharaj Ji because I knew that I was being kicked around so much, and I wanted to find an answer.
I was born in Southeast Asia, but spent twelve of my earliest years living in South India in a very spiritual Brahmin environment. I knew about the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Vedanta. Chanting and reciting shlokas were part of my upbringing. But it wasn’t until I returned to Asia to pursue my studies that I heard about Shri Maharaj Ji, through one of his preachers who was visiting during the late 1980’s. What transpired three months earlier set me on a course that would change my life forever.
For a number of years I had been living in an ashram in a North Indian state with a well-known Guru. I was not practicing bhakti but Jagadguru Shankaracharya’s philosophy of advaita (non-dualism). I was being trained in the Gita and the Vedanta. I remember those classes being very solemn, serious and intense. I heard shlokas and then explanations were given to me in English. I had many questions in my head, “If God is formless, why do we do idol worship? Why do we have this mixture of bhakti, karma and jnana all in one? It is true that everything is Brahm, but this conscious understanding comes through sadhana,how do you do that on your own? Just saying, “I am He, I am He, I am He,” I have done that for ten years and nothing has happened.”
Finally everything came to head one evening during a 3-day conference being held within the ashram where I lived. It was my duty to ensure all thirty-two guests were well taken care of. There were a number of older swamis present; they were such personalities that garnered great respect. There was one in particular who I had heard a lot about, and I met him. One of my associates told him that I had many conflicting ideas, and that he should ask me what I wanted. I was carrying a tray of refreshments in a room filled with swamis when this respected Guruji bluntly asked, “Do you want to eat rasagulla or do you want to be rasagulla?” I said, “I want to eat rasagulla. Rasagulla has no mouth, no mind and no stomach. How could rasagulla know what its own sweetness is? But I have all these things.” He replied, “Then this path is not for you.” At that moment, all the swamis got up and walked out of the room! I was left in a very fearful state. It was as if I had been told, “Get out of this ashram!”
As I was leaving the locality, I went down to the banks of River Ganga. Evening arati was going on and I asked her, “O Mother Ganga! You are known as purity. I have no idea what is happening to me. What is my path? You go to every place; you reach places I cannot go and You get things done. Please show me the way.” After that, I left India and returned to Asia.
Three months later, I met the preacher of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj.
To be concluded soon . . .
Now in his mid-forties, the author resides in Australasia and continues to come to India regularly to practice devotion under the divine guidance of Shri Maharaj Ji.