'If the guru is to transfer spiritual power to the disciple and make him or her a medium through which he can work, it can only be achieved by total obedience.'
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
The guru's word, and therefore his every order, is mantra. When the mind of the disciple receives his command, fully accepts it at ajna chakra, and forthwith acts upon it, then that very action releases the hidden, power or shakti lying deep within the word, enabling him to carry the action out. The action, once set in motion, performs itself and the disciple is merely the participant.
When Ganga Darshan was still wild and uncultivated Swamiji used to lead us on jungle-clearing expeditions. He would appear from his kutir at 5 a.m. on the dot and go forth in all his glory, with measured stride, stomach to the fore like a conquering hero. Those disciples eager and lucky enough to be up to witness this would follow behind like imprinted ducklings, carrying whatever instruments they could find.
The most dense part of the undergrowth would be selected and there would then follow great cuttings and clearings, pushings and pullings, heavings and sweatings, in an intensity of concentrated work as Swamiji ordered and directed, encouraged and cajoled and sweated and worked fully with us. In this way the gardens and disciples were gradually trimmed and trained.
On one such occasion it began to rain just before breakfast, so we adjourned to the kitchen building. Everyone was exhausted but there was mixture and bananas and Swamiji sitting above us on one of the little ledges in the corridor, so the atmosphere as well as being infused with Swamiji's presence was one of light laughter and joy. It was raining heavily outside and not being able to see Swamiji from where I was sitting, I put my full concentration into my breakfast.
Suddenly two feet appeared right in front of my plate. Absorbed in those feet, it was some time before my rational mind realised above these beautiful feet must be one, rather large stomach, and above that again, a magnificent bead. Then it struck home; Swamiji is standing right in front of ME. Looking up I met his eyes and he gave me the order to clean up the outside kitchen area.
Without a second thought I went straight to the work. It was raining very heavily and everyone had gone, but I seemed to be caught up in a kind of whirling energy. It was doing the work and I was just riding its waves. The strength of several strong men seemed to surge through me and I forgot myself in the work, sweeping and lifting and pulling and weeding, merging with rain and mud and dirt. So much joy was there in simply obeying. The more I worked the more energy I received, and the more energy I received the more I worked, until the area was cleaned.
Now why did Swamiji tell me alone to perform this action? I may never know, I do not wish to know and it is not important for me to know, because I acted on the unconsciousness trust that whatever he tells me to do is entirely for my own benefit A very deep meaning underlies the guru's command, for although he cannot directly interfere with nature, he can save us from the disaster of our own karma. So it is pure common sense to obey the guru if nothing else.
Swamiji once had a disciple who was a government official. He used to distribute cards for Guru Poornima. Once, just before Guru Poornima, Swamiji asked him how he would distribute the cards, to which he replied that he would get one of the office boys to do it. Swamiji told him to take the day off and distribute the cards himself instead, because it involved a different route from the office, but he said he could not do so as there was much work at the office.
On reaching the office he was sent out to a place where it was believed there were some thieves, in order to investigate and on the way the car went out of control and into the river. Within two hours of his having left Swamiji, he died in hospital repeating from his unconscious state, 'He told me, he told me not to go'.
These few pages deal with only several hours but to be able to sustain the joy of continual obedience, inner and outer, to ride the constant current of guru's grace, how many such disciples are there who can achieve this? I have had only brief flashes of ignition where my mind appeared to connect with his, but if he were to tell me to enter the fire, touch that thousand volt wire, or jump off the top of the seven-storey building, would I be able to do that without a thought? Would you? Life is anybody's game and the goal is anyone's for the achieving, if we can simply - obey.