The real connection between guru and disciple is the feeling and respect which the aspirant has for the guru. You have to look beyond your conceived impressions, ideas and feelings in order to truly connect with the guru. You have to respect what the guru has done to change your present pattern of life. If real feeling and respect are there then the connection with the guru is felt all the time. Even if you are thousands of miles away, you do not feel a vacuum or emptiness or the absence of a link, guidance or support.
I have lived very little with Paramahamsaji. I left his side when I was eleven years old and stayed away from him until I was twenty-two. In between I only saw him a couple of times and stayed with him for only a few months. There were times when I didn’t see him at all for five or six years, and I never missed him. Later on I wondered why, because here in the ashram I saw people coming with hopes of living close to a master. They would try to see him every day, even if only for a short time – just a glimpse, if not a chat or a discussion or a lecture. But just a glimpse was enough. To me that was an imposed attachment by the disciple in relation to the guru. I could never understand it because I had never experienced it.
I was also very critical of Paramahamsaji because he had given me freedom. When I was leaving India, he said, “Look, you’re going abroad. I don’t want to hold you as a sannyasin. If you want to live abroad, get married, study, work, you have my permission. I won’t stop you.” And that really went deep inside me. I thought to myself, “This person is giving me total freedom to lead my life as I want.” He is not saying, “Look, if you don’t behave yourself I’ll call you back, take off your geru and disrobe you.” There was nothing like that.
I analysed him critically over a period of years. I came in contact with many great gurus, famous ones, realized ones, and I always compared them with Paramahamsaji. I found that there were certain qualities in Paramahamsaji which attracted me, which I aspired to attain, which became the aim in my life. I didn’t feel his absence at all, not even for a day. Now I attribute that to being able to accept my circumstances, my company, my life, my environment. There was no struggle. When we are not able to accept our environment, company and situation, then at that time we encounter difficulties with ourselves.
I did not experience any loss of a link. I must have had some very good previous karmas or samskaras not to have gone through that stage, the experience of attachment and the desire to run and be with the person I liked. It is due to my good karma and I’m very happy about it. In that stage I found a very deep inner feeling. No matter what anyone said about Paramahamsaji my feelings remained unchanged. If somebody said, “Swamiji is a very nice person,” I would say, “Yes, he is. There is no doubt about it. I have seen that niceness in him.” I did not feel elated in any way; rather it confirmed my realization. If somebody said, “Oh, he’s a such a strict disciplinarian that I left the ashram,” I would say, “Yes, I have seen that in him, but it hasn’t bothered me because I accept that side as well.” So even his strict disciplinarian nature did not affect me in the negative way that it affected many people.
There was acceptance of the company, situations, life, events, environment, people, guru, father, mother and so on. Many times we don’t accept the actions, beliefs and thoughts of our father, mother, brothers and sisters or of other people. This is where the problem lies. So aspire to develop a deep inner feeling and respect. Make sure that these two things are your very personal treasures and don’t allow anyone to touch them. Then you will feel the presence all the time.
February 1995, Ganga Darshan, Munger, printed in YOGA, Vol. 7, Issue 4 (July 1996)