In the Company of a Sage

Swami Atmamuktananda Saraswati, Acharya, Rocklyn Ashram, Victoria, Australia

The blazing sun has set over the holy Ganga and the soft colours of sunset spread across the evening sky. A peaceful quietness falls upon the ashram. In the background noise of the surrounds can be heard music of kirtans coming from the nearby temples and village. At this time of the day the barefooted geru robed sannyasins and devotees make their way in one direction to the centre of the ashram grounds to a special, but very simple building known as Swamiji’s kutir.

This is where Sri Swami Satyananda, guru for the disciples, resides. But for the sannyasins it is a time for satsang, to sit in an atmosphere where the body and mind become quiet and still, where the soul is in contact with a vibration of complete harmony. Like chords of heavenly notes, the soul sings to unwritten chords.

The room is simply furnished with only the essential possessions. In winter there are mats on the floor and an earthen pot of glowing coals in the corner. A soft light is burning, and a sweet but pleasant incense pervades the air.

As you enter, you bow to a being who radiates an abundance of warmth, grace and understanding, knowledge of scriptures, of worldly affairs, of simplicity of life, and above all a love to guide you as an atman and not a separate personality or an individual. He looks not for the good or bad, but like a candle in a dark room sheds evenly his light upon all.

His desires are of no material value or personal gain. His only interest is to help you grow spiritually and pierce the barriers of mundane existence. But first we must open the door to let this light enter. The more we open the door, the more light he will pour forth until the light is golden, constant and always a part of you. Every thought is accompanied by the thought of guru. Each action is guided by his grace, and the whole of your life becomes a tune within a tune, which is in tune with the cosmic flow of pure and eternal energy. This is guru, that spontaneous overflow of divine energy of joy and bliss, leading one to experience the true self of infinite oneness.

Slowly and carefully he empties the vessel. Once again the clay returns to the earth, not a rock or stone, but fine earth ready to be remolded, baked and filled to the brim.

When one can live within the guru, surrendering every particle of the human form, every thought and desire of the mind, only then is life in harmony and balance, and like a fountain a quality of happiness and freedom flows forth from deep within. Guru is that never-ending natural stream of divine grace.

So, satsang is over. Although very little was said verbally, the sannyasins and devotees have received a transmission of true spirit. They gently touch their guru’s feet and peacefully leave the room.