The Telegram

From Our Inspirer, An Offering of Love

Swami Gorakhnath Saraswati: Sri Swamiji trained us in how not to use our own head but to follow instructions and learn to be obedient. This was a great way to take care of our inflated egos. After one of his trips to Australia, he returned via Kolkata and came to the Dhanbad ashram where I was at the time. He went into every room and inspected every corner of the ashram. Before leaving, he said to me, “Look, please keep everything as it is now. There is no need to move things around from here to there.” There were also two other swamis there at that time. He gave this instruction very clearly and then he left for Munger. A few days later, I called the other two sannyasis and said to them that the cupboard which was right next to the door in one of the rooms looked odd. We decided to shift it into a corner and make sure it was out of the way.

A day later, a telegram was received from Munger. It was addressed to me and sent by Sri Swamiji. In those days my English was not at all good so I asked the other two swamis, who were from England and Australia, to read the telegram.

The message was short and succinct: ‘Leave the ashram immediately’. I used my own head and automatically assumed that I was being called to Munger by Sri Swamiji. The next day, another telegram came with the same message and on the third day, another similar telegram. The other two swamis then said to me that it looks like you are being told to leave the ashram for good. “What nonsense,” I retorted, “You people can read English but you understand nothing. Why should I be told to leave the ashram? He is just calling me to Munger, that’s all.”

Well, three telegrams with the same message on three consecutive days is not an everyday occurrence so I packed a small bag and went to Munger. When I got to the gate of the ashram, a sannyasi informed Sri Swamiji that I had arrived. The message that came back from him was to ask for the reason for my visit. I said that I was called here by Sri Swamiji himself, he had sent three telegrams to me, and I gave them to the sannyasi so that he could show them to him. The sannyasi returned with another question, “Do you understand what it says in the telegram?” Of course I did! The telegram message meant that I should leave Dhanbad ashram and come to Munger and that is what I had done.

Then Sri Swamiji called me inside his room. After I sat down, he asked me whether I remembered what he had told me fifteen days ago when he had come to Dhanbad from Kolkata. That was when I started thinking and initially nothing specific came up. Then I remembered and I said, “Yes, Gurudev.” “And what had I said?” he asked. “You had said that nothing should be moved around and that everything should be kept as it was.” As soon as I said that, it clicked in my mind what this was all about. Then he said to me if I could not read English, why did I not ask the other foreign swamis there to tell me what it meant. I went on about how it said that I should leave the ashram immediately and come to Munger. “Don’t use your head too much! Either you follow instructions or take off the geru clothes and get out of the ashram.”

This was a very great and important lesson for us because we all think that we are very smart and are arrogant about even little things. This was how he taught us to see how our pride comes in the way of simply obeying the guru and humbly following instructions.

I will always be grateful for the good fortune to have had such a guru. He guided me all through and continues to do so even today.