I just finished a simple rice-gruel breakfast in the Ashram kitchen.
I was told the Swami will meet me at 10:30 AM. I sat down on the stone bench and waited. I was eager to meet a Swami steeped in non-duality.
The call came minutes later. A short walk brought me to the hall and in sight of him.
The swami had a luminous smile and twinkle in his eyes. He was in his mid-nineties. His presence felt like here and now. He welcomed me into the room with warmth and openness.
The Swami spoke directly.
“Self is true knowledge, knowing which all is known”.
“When you study the Upanishads and realise the knowledge contained in them, you reach the end of all knowing and enter the eternal world that has no beginning and no end”.
“The self is the reality and eternally exists in waking, dreaming and deep sleep. This has to be discovered”.
“If Vedanta was more commonly studied, the country would have significant depth and originality of thought. The progress will be significant in all levels. This is real Hindutva”.
The swami echoed distinctive features and knowledge of Upanishads.
It is two years since the time I took up serious Vedantic studies. Pressing questions remain.
“Why should the self’ experience creation, Swami? “
“Investigate what you call as creation is real or unreal. The answer can be both real and unreal, depending on how you perceive. If non-duality is the only reality, can creation be distinct from you?”
Our talks continued for more time. The Swami had to ultimately retire considering his age. He asked me to meet him the next day morning again at 10:30.
Contemplation and meditation filled the rest of the day. Both heighten awareness and steadies the mind. You become hyper sensitive even to feel the surge of energy rising in humans.
I met the Swami promptly the next day. The meeting was of shorter duration.
He laid out a road map asking me to begin all over in specified order.
“Complete Shankara’s commentary on Tattva Bhoda”.
“Then Mundaka, the gem of Atharva Veda”
“Followed by Kathopanishad”
“Then the metaphysics of the universe in the frame of Advaita tradition, the hyms of Dakshinamurthy”.
“This is the very science of consciousness at both human and cosmic levels. A mirror of eternal wisdom”.
“Half hour a day, you internalise the Gita”.
He nodded to another young swami standing with a bunch of books and audio material containing various commentaries of centuries old texts.
“Have a systematic plan to complete this in one year”.
“And read this book, Guru & Disciple”.
I have read this before. An extraordinary book giving a magnificent account of a disciple meeting with the Guru.
He continued. “You are there. You will pursue this further in your next birth”.
Now I know I will be born again.
The Swami thus concluded.
“You are not limited to this physical body or the individual mind. You are the awareness that was never born and will never die. You are pure, perfect, eternal and free. That is the greatest truth of self. Tat Tvam Asi.
It is lunch time as I walked towards the Ashram Kitchen for a meal. The meal was simple and delicious sattvic food served on traditional banana leaf.
I had to head back home.
It is said that humanity will eventually develop metaphysical senses for deeper understanding of being, becoming, existence and reality as part of the conscious evolution process.
The mind widens and dissolves in the presence of higher knowledge.
An Ashram is a place enabled by subtle minds. The subtle mind is a transformational place.
I will be back here soon.