ONE IN MILLION:
A LEAF FROM A TRAVEL DIARY!
Only a seeker who is ready benefits from the teachings. Otherwise, one may be living with or around the greatest teacher in the world and completely miss it!
History and our current experience amply bear out this fact.
The greatest spiritual teachers of humanity were either opposed vehemently or met with complete indifference during their lifetime.
The other living teachers are also not treated any better. I will like to share some of my experiences in this regard.
In 2010, a friend of mine from Canada sent me a book in Hindi called Vedānta Nishakarsha—Brahmātmanubhava (वेदान्त निष्कर्ष (ब्रह्म-आत्मानुभव) written by Swami Brahmatmananda Saraswati ji. After reading a few pages, it became evident that the writer of the book is speaking from direct personal experience.
Most modern books on spirituality present second-hand, derivative information.
Immediately, i decided that i need to meet with this Swamiji.
In December 2010, i, along with two dear friends of mine, paid a visit to Swami-ji’s ashram in Rishikesh, located in a residential area in Muni-Ki-Reti, near the famous Kailash Ashram.
His humility and ordinariness struck me. Here was a man who has dedicated his entire life to the quest of the Self, to see God face-to-face. A tall, towering, and rather a very good looking person, 73 years of age at the time. His self-effacing smile left me speechless. There was no trace of ego in his demeanor and dealings. Just a child-like intrinsic innocence and natural simplicity!
I spent 5 days with Swami ji and tried to spend all my waking hours with him, starting with 4am in the morning. I used to record every word that Swamiji will utter, even while walking along side with him in the streets of Muni-Ki-Reti, on the way to Ganga-ji. Swami-ji will take one hour morning walk (at 4am) alongside the banks of the holy river Ganga. After completing each round, he will pause, bow down and do namaskaram to Ganga-ji.
One day I asked him, “Swamiji, you are an advaitin, Brahma-nishtha. Why do you do this ritual of namaskaram?”
Swami-ji smiled and said, “I do everything while established in my svarupa, real nature.”
I felt so blessed to be in the company of this unassuming self-realized teacher. One day, while walking to the holy river besides him, I said to him, “Swami-ji, how lucky these people are who live around your āshram. All these people who live in this street.”
Swamiji said, “It will surprise you to know that I have lived here for over 40 years in this very āshram. Not even a single person living around here, even once, ever came to visit me.”
Similarly, once I visited Sri Ramesh Balsekar in Bombay. Ramesh-ji was over 90 years old at that time. My travels to India generally do not take me to Bombay; it is kind of out of the way. But we made a special trip to Bombay just to have satsang with Ramesh-ji. He was a direct disciple of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. I also visited Music Planet where i met a person who took me to Sri Madhukar Joshi’s house, the son of Pt. Gajanan Rao Joshi, the great doyen of Agra-Gwalior classical music Gharana. I found some rare music at Sri Madhukar Joshi’s place that i have been looking for many many years. Pt. Gajanan Rao Joshi also played violin; he was a gifted singer as well. It has been my repeated experience that life provides us with whatever we really need. We only have to have an intense desire for it (teevra-icchaa).
Ramesh-ji lived in a big apartment building in Bombay and visitors (mostly foreigners) will assemble at the base of the building early morning everyday. I asked the same question to Ramesh-ji. Someone from his household replied, that many people living in this apartment building consider them a “disturbance.”
So, this is the irony. People coming to see this man from all over the world. But people living next to him in the same building, never cared to visit him!
I experienced the same thing about another teacher in Chennai, who is probably the most accomplished teacher currently teaching Vedanta in English in the world.
Finally, I was looking for some rare books of an obscure Vedanta teacher, a self-realized person, by all means. This teacher passed away in 1992. His children are currently in the USA. So, I asked someone who knows his children if they would have a copy of their father’s books. The person said, “sir, they may not have the books.”
“Why?” I asked.
“They are not interested. They have no value for this subject-matter!”
So, this is how it is.
One in Million!
One is reminded of a śloka from the Bhagavad Gītā:
manuṣyāṇāṃ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye I
yatatām api siddhānāṃ kaścin māṃ vetti tattvataḥ II Gita 7.3
मनुष्याणां सहस्रेषु कश्चिद् यतति सिद्धये I
यतताम् अपि सिद्धानां कश्चिन् मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः II
Hardly one in thousands strives to realize Me.
Of those striving, some rare one, devoting oneself exclusively to Me, knows Me in reality.
Or else as the Gurubani puts it: कोटन में नानक कोऊ नारायण जिह चीति ॥24॥…
One in million has heart suffused with the remembrance of the Lord.