I was recalled to India by Swamiji in 1983 to assume the presidency of Bihar School of Yoga. On that very day of 19th January, when I readied Munger, Swamiji said to me, "I have called you here to take over the entire work of BSY and all that I have created, and succeed me in every way. My role here is over. There are other horizons beckoning me and I must go."
Of course his words brought tears to my eyes then, as they do now, because I did not want to lose Swamiji; but I understood that Swamiji's role is far greater and more universal, and in order for him to experience his universality, we may have to lose his physical presence. However, I did take the liberty of requesting him to stay at Munger a bit longer if only to be physically present to guide and inspire me, as I had been away from him almost since my childhood. To this he agreed and as you very well know, he remained at Munger until 1988.
1988 came, and he once again started speaking of his plans to go away. This he mentioned both publicly in his Satsangs as well as privately to his disciples. Of course, he always did say, "My departure will be sudden and I will leave as I had come, with only one jhola!" Many did not believe this would ever happen and overlooked it, and many of us secretly prayed that it may never happen. But true to his word, on 7th August 1988, Swamiji bade farewell to BSY, to Munger, and to all that he had created in the short span of 20 years.
Since then we have been receiving his newsletters from time to time, describing his experiences at the places he has been visiting. They have served as a window into the present life of Swamiji, offering us a glimpse of the direction in which he is heading- These have been published in our past magazines, and for those of you who have missed out on them, we are once again printing a compilation in this magazine of all the letters received from Swamiji since he left.
One thing is clear from these newsletter, that Swamiji is now completely and totally surrendering himself to the Divine Will. His life as we have seen it earlier, has been an expression of that too; however, now his aim is total surrender, even to the extent of giving up food, clothing and shelter, if that be His will. He meets no-one, eats once a day a meal so sparse that it could not feed a bird, cooks for himself, lives anywhere in any mud offered to him, and is forever lost in naam smaran.
I have had the good fortune to have his darshan four times since he left. At Baidyanath Dham where he broke the news to me that he was definitely now on a new path and his return to Munger, as before, in the role of guru was impossible. At Kumbh Mela where he spoke of now living the life of a Paramahamsa Naga as that was the initiation which he received from Swami Sivanandaji. At Rishikesh and Gangotri where he was lost in an inner vision and told me of his last visit to Gangotri in 1956 when he had taken the sankalpa of making me his successor, four years prior to my birth. And finally at his mud kutiya in Trayambakeshwar where, without his saying anything, I myself knew that the bird had finally left the cage.
The transformation is unbelievable, but the change is so natural and spontaneous that one is left feeling that this too is an aspect of the divinity which Swamiji has shown us in so many ways. Perhaps all this is a bit strange for us as we do not hear or know of any sannyasi or mahatma within our living experience who has taken such a step; but we have only to look into the shastras to know that the path Swamiji has chosen to tread is the same one which the great mahatmas such as Sukadeva, Adi Shankaracharya, Dattatreya Mahavir and other paramahamsas who have left their footprints in the sands of time, have chosen for themselves.
Since I have taken over the work, I have always endeavoured to shoulder the institutional responsibility myself, leaving Swamiji free for the greater mission that he is destined for; but now more than ever, I strongly feel that Swamiji's path should no longer be restricted or hindered in any way by any of us, either - by emotional attachments or personal needs, for which we may want to approach him from time to time. His destiny is that of one who can create the universal vision and we should consider ourselves privileged to support him in whatever way we can, for through that association we ourselves can be raised spiritually.
Therefore, it is my request to all householders, devotees, disciples, karma sannyasins, friends and well-wishers, that they should not try to find out where Swamiji stays or try to meet him unless he calls them. And to all sannyasins I say, prepare yourself for the work which lies ahead and try to emulate the example which has been set before you by our beloved Swamiji, Yes, the bird has truly flown and no cage or shutter can hold him now.
The last letter (No. V) from Swamiji which will be his last one to us, should sum up in his own words where he is heading.
Good wishes for a happy and promising New Year.