When I came to Munger, I brought my body in a half-pant and a half-shirt, but I did not bring anything in my mind. I came with an empty mind. Whatever I have received and learnt in life, it is due to the grace of guru. No previous learning has ever been useful in life, not a single one.
When we came to Sri Swamiji, we had no idea about how to behave with a guru or offer him respect, as he would never project his gurudom. He would never act like a great guru, he would be like a normal person; our relationship with him was like that between father and son. We would play together, laugh together, eat together, never realizing what a great guru he was.
Yet, when it came to discipline, there was never any compromise. If you did not arrive on time for a meal, you would not get any food. Sri Swamiji himself followed this: if his food arrived even one minute late, he would not have the meal. If some mistake was committed, you could not get away with it. In fact, the ashram discipline and the lifestyle was so strict that on many nights I would think, ‘Maybe I should go away from the ashram.’ But in the morning, I would say to myself, ‘So why did you come? What for? Follow the purpose for which you have come.’ Immediately I would become peaceful and get back to my duties. It was hard, yet it was the most rewarding experience of life.
Through all this, I came to realize that without guru kripa, without his shakti, nothing is possible. This is something I have experienced throughout my life. When we would work with Sri Swamiji, we would never get tired. On the contrary, it was as if the energy would increase manifold. There was balance between difficulty and ease. Guruji would keep us on a tight leash and also make us feel that ‘he loves me the most’. In this way, he would make us experience the different facets of life: joy and sorrow, day and night. It is when you live these things in a practical way that the mind becomes empty, not otherwise.
20 October 2019, Munger Yoga Symposium, printed in Yoga Chakrodaya Book 1/3