Why Was I There?

Sannyasi Shantipriya (Uruguay)

When I last saw Paramahamsaji in November 1992 he had said not to come and see him again, that he wanted to be alone, and I accepted that. How could he have changed so much? What did he want from us?

When we arrived in Rikhia I saw Paramahamsaji smiling, alert, kind, full of energy. He was talking to many of the guests, participating in each activity, telling us about every event taking place in front of our eyes, teaching us like a true teacher.

The key word was giving. This happened in a subtle way, because all the activities were geared to uplift the spirit, to make us aware of humanity in general, to warm our hearts. All this became more evident to me when, after the shivalingam ritual, Paramahamsaji asked, “Are you happy?” This was it, making us happy was the focus of this event, which was why he was so alert.

Now I knew what this loving old man wanted – but was that all? No, he also wanted us to feel God, and for that the program included a three hour fire ceremony with tantric yoginis. Paramahamsaji said very clearly, “Do not try to think...love, hatred, passion can only be felt. Listen to the mantra and feel...tantra is a way to go into atma, your own spirit, where there is moksha, samadhi, absolute contentment, satisfaction.” Again another invitation to be happy. This was a very powerful experience and I can still feel the mantras resonating inside.

Paramahamsaji gave us all presents in a very subtle way. For me the Christian Mass was a very special present. Because I am Jewish, in all my forty-four years of living in Christian countries I had never been invited to take communion. During the ceremony I cried a lot and when I explained why to the person from Switzerland sitting next to me, she told me that she was also Jewish. Paramahamsaji showed us in practice how to be open-minded. He said, “There is not one way...pick up the direct route from where you are...to ultimate union with the supreme power.”

These were some of the presents to keep in our hearts. But this was not all. Every day I saw Paramahamsaji, seated on the ground, handing out hundreds of presents, one by one. We received T-shirts, saris and books directly from him. Why does he have to give so much, I asked myself? Why can't I see it? Well, it struck me when at one point Paramahamsaji said, “Peace follows renunciation.” The giving and the humbleness Paramahamsaji shows is truly that of a man who is great. This humbleness was such that it touched a chord in my heart, like music that is too great to comprehend.

However, there was still another puzzle. Why am I here? Why am I so lucky to experience this gathering of bliss? Again Paramahamsaji gave me an answer – kripa. He said that we were all here due to the grace of God. I can't recall the exact words, but I do recall his smile, and I could feel a pure energy coming from his eyes.

Thank you for all this, thank you for sharing with your villagers and for bringing us here to see you. It would be easy for you to go to France, England or any other rich country, in first class. But instead you chose to have us come to Rikhia and open our eyes. You have touched us all in a most profound manner.