Towards Guru Seva

I would like to talk about my impressions of Swamiji in Kolkata and his relationship with the people. Watching the people and observing their problems, I noticed that many people are really sick and come with a list of different problems, diseases and medicines.

People are just searching for something that will give them relief. Many people knew Swamiji from the time when he lived in Kolkata and for them it was special that he was coming back. Swamiji would recognize them in the crowd and say, "Oh I remember you. You've gotten old." Then he realized. "Actually so have I," and they had a little laugh together. There was a really nice feeling from the old people and also the new people who were coming for the first time.

Many practise yoga – the asana, the pranayama – but they have never seen such a sannyasin as Swamiji. They see gurus and yoga teachers only on TV, but as I watched them walk up towards the stage their jaws just dropped. In particular in regard to the yoga practices, they learnt something new. Swamiji teaches simple asana, simple pranayama and simple mantras.

On Saturday night we did 108 Mahamrityunjaya mantras. The whole room stopped still, and focused for 108 rounds. There were maybe a thousand people chanting Mahamrityunjaya mantra together from little kids to the elderly. I would sneak a peek to see what was happening: everyone was totally focused for the whole 108 rounds and the vibe was so peaceful, clear and strong. Afterwards, the satsang and kirtan were beautiful and there was a big shift and change in everybody's approach to everything.

A simple class became something that people found mind blowing, "What was that? Thank you. That was amazing." It was just Swamiji doing what he always does: teaching yoga. The satsang affected people, and to have just a glimpse of Swamiji changed their lives, inspired them and lifted them up.

This experience in Kolkata made me appreciate how there is one person who is going out to the world and all he is doing is good and helping everyone he meets along the way. That is why he came, the reason for which he was born.

This morning Swamiji was talking about selfless service and how people want to serve the poor and serve the sick. I thought, 'No, to serve somebody like Swamiji who is only doing good, only trying to help people is the best selfless service that I can do.' Because in that process I have to look at my stuff, I have to go through my negativity and deal with it and still keep serving. When the ego comes up I just have to drop it and keep doing that selfless service.

—Swami Prembhav, Ganga Darshan