Krishna Maharaj, Trinidad
What impressed me though was the human side of Him; every now and then He will stop teaching and He would ask, in a soft way, if anyone had questions.
In 1986, as per His divine sankalpa, I met my Sadgurudeva Parama Poojya Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji for the first time in the physical frame; that we see and adore. However, there is a sustaining force that is unseen, a force that draws souls to this being at His cosmic command. First He prepares you and then He cleans you to make you fit for the ultimate physical meeting.
From the early 1950s, throughout my high school days, up till 1985, I had taken a dislike for religion and all that it stands for. My family was a very religious one; performing pujas and rituals religiously for all my life, but I was not akin to their beliefs and traditions. For me these were a lot of mumbo-jumbo activities without any explanations. My High School religious classes only seem to reinforce these beliefs, as they were meant to indoctrinate the students into the teaching of church policies and theological views; things that they wanted you to know and believe.
Systematically I tried to resolve within myself the nature of a higher good. Then in 1985, during my dilemma, a friend invited me to attend a course, supposedly on healing principles. Being a skeptic, I decided not to attend. After the program, she came to me full with excitement and made many exaggerated claims as to the results of her exposure, however I dismissed her claims as pure trash. With this discrimination she offered to pay for me to attend the next workshop.
Seeing her persistence, I reluctantly decided to accompany her to the session on condition that I would pay my own way. My motive was to have a first hand look of the situation. At the introduction of the session, what was told, further reinforced my anti religious beliefs, but I thought that as I was already there I will continue for the entire weekend program.
At the end of the course, participants were put through an exercise where they had to identify the general characteristics and medical ailments of an unknown person who was initially interview by the program coordinators. The results were supposed to match the likeness and treatment for the person, and to the amazement of all, I was one hundred percent correct on my subject. I was viewed as a hero, but more than that, as a marketing ploy for the organizers. Realizing this gimmick I understood that this was more of a marketing phenomenon rather than being Holistic. I wanted no part of this project.
Anyway, after analyzing the program I decided to move further and scientifically discredit the project although I did not dismiss the true purpose of their intention. I put together a group to collect data for my project and after awhile I found that I could not disprove their theory. I was also becoming convinced that there was some relevance in their procedure. Also I was noticing some fraudulent misgivings with my co-workers and this gave the impetus to abandon the research.
My appetite was being wetted for more knowledge and information was coming to me unasked for. A friend, who has been encouraging me to read some books on spirituality, which he was willing to loan me, thought that these would help with my skepticism. Although I kept refusing his pronouncements, he kept insisting that I should borrow and read some. Finally one day I decided to take one of his books; one written by a Yogi, Paramahamsa Yogananda – Autobiography of a Yogi.
While reading the book, I was amaze to realize how riveting I was to the contents and writings of this Yogi. One process however held me in awe; that of Kriya Yoga. This process was new to me, but something in my psyche was making me to want to know about it. It seemed as though every atom in my body was awakening to this Kriya Yoga. So I started to seek out all the authorities that I could on this subject. There were lots of answers, but nobody knew anything about it. It is said that only when the sishya is ready, the Guru will definitely come.
Then one day, one of the persons whom I had asked for information approached me and informed me that he had heard on the radio that a Swamiji from India was coming to Trinidad to teach the Kriya Yoga. My excitement stirred and I wanted more information. I found out that David Mukunda Balroop was one of the coordinators and I went to see him at his home. Mr. Balroop informed me that the list of names was very long and that I can add my name. The final list will be at the discretion of Sri Swamiji.
With my brash attitude I told Mr. Balroop that I did not care for his list, even if it did exist on not, but I will attend that class and do that Yoga, whether he likes it or not. He then gave me a contact for Sri Swamiji and he asks me to write a letter to Him. As far as I know that was the only letter I had ever written to Sri Swamiji, but I never received a reply. A few weeks later, as if by magic, while tumbling through my pockets I found the piece of paper with Mr. Balroop’ telephone contact.
I called him to get an update on Sri Swamiji’s trip, he told me that Sri Swamiji was arriving that Friday and He will be at the St James Mandir. He also advised that it will be beneficial if I attended the program there. All the markers seemed to be moving in the same direction and I attended the program. This was the first time I was going to see Sri Swamiji in the physical frame; I just looked without trying to speak to Him. Then I was told that He will be at a program in Hindustan Village, South Trinidad.
In my mind, I wanted to know who this Swamiji was and what He stood for. I wanted to have a close-up look at Him. So I traveled to Hindustan and prepared myself for a meeting. Mr. Balroop introduced me to His Holiness but I could not feel a connection to this being. There was no extraordinary feeling with Him. However, I did learn that I was accepted into the class. Twenty seven participants were chosen and we all attended the sessions. I sat in the front row, very close to Sri Swamiji with a motive of finding out what was so special about Him. I saw Him materialized things, but I was not impressed as I see them as gimmicks.
What impressed me though was the human side of Him; every now and then He will stop teaching and He would ask, in a soft way, if anyone had questions. I believed that I asked more questions than all the other participants combined. Still there was nothing significant in the way I felt about Him. One of the questions I asked was; was it okay for me to continue with my healing practice? He did not respond.
At the completion of the program, His Holiness was having a one to one interview with all the participants. I prepared a long list of questions that I wanted answered, when it was my turn. As I entered into the room Sri Swamiji was looking at me and smiling, and before I could take my seat in front of Him, He said, “the Mother said that you should not worry, that you should continue with the healing and She will take care of you, She will bear the karma”. I was stunned with that statement and all my queries and questions literally went out of the window. I failed to ask anything that was on the list.
The next day the students had planned a cultural program for Sri Swamiji’s entertainment, and to offer it as a token of appreciation for His benevolence. I preferred not to be a part of this and stayed as far back as I could without leaving the compound. To my amazement, one of Sri Swamiji’s assistant came to me and said, Mr. Krishna Maharaj, Sri Swamiji wants you to give the closing speech” that was all. I became confused and was stuttering to myself, ‘why me, why me, out of all the people here, why me?’ I considered that my purpose of being there was to learn the Yoga and I have done that, why me, to give the closing speech? Thoughts like these were wandering through my mind.
I thought that if Sri Swamiji says so, then I must give the speech. After my delivery, I experienced an outpouring of emotions that I could not explain. Everyone was congratulating me on the contents of the speech and I was totally bewildered; I was wrestling with my emotions and I couldn’t speak with anyone. My concerns were; what might have gone wrong? After that I became conscious that His Holiness was keeping me away from Him and I could not understand why. Sri Swamiji’s visit continued and I attended all the programs.
Then on the final day of His tour, after He had gone to His room, I was standing there recounting my experiences since I met Him, when suddenly a person who I recognize as a fellow student from the Kriya Yoga class, approached and started talking to me. He said that he realized that I had asked a lot of interesting questions, and to my surprise he was giving the answers to the questions I wanted to ask Sri Swamiji. I was dumbfounded with this person’s bold countenance.
I became very interested in this person and wanted to know about his spiritual progression. To my amazement, he confided that he was not a spiritual person but he believed that Sri Swamiji was speaking to me through him. He did not know or understand what he was telling but the speech was flowing so casually. Then he said that the only spiritually he had known was from a book he recently read, Autobiography of A Yogi; the same book I had read earlier. I just started to laugh at this coincidence. What a game the Guru plays?
I told him that I had recently read that book and nowhere in there was the information you were giving, however he firmly believed that unconsciously he was propelled by His Holiness to relate this to me. This revelation startled me, it jolted me. Gaining composure of myself, I accepted this as a fact. The wonderment of this being was subjecting me to His call to His mission. Before he left I was given an instrument of maintaining the practice, and the teaching of Kriya Yoga. During this period and later, on several trips with Sri Swamiji, I had many experiences which I cannot discuss because I cannot prove them.
Since knowing Him, I have tried not to form a close relationship with Him, however I would listen to His words and see how closely they fit into my everyday life, and how does it apply to me. And although I have had, what others will term, major conflicts with His Holiness, I see every instance shared with Him as a part of my learning process, as part of my growth. To alleviate this doctrine, I will cite one instance; a period when Sri Swamiji visited Trinidad.
His Holiness had visited Trinidad and in the first week or so, He seemed to be very furious. He was chastising the executive committee, the trustees and everyone else, or so it seemed. As head of the Kriya Yoga classes, I was called upon to submit a report, but I had not prepared one. So I had nothing to submit. I told Sri Swamiji so and He was furious. My peers were asking that I apologized to Sri Swamiji and prostrate to His Feet. I thought the punishment was not justified so I did not do as I was asked. Then His Holiness walked away and held a short conversation with His assistants.
After that conversation, He returned to His seat and a big change had come over Him. He said to us that from this point onwards all the infighting will stop and calm will come to the place, and the meeting ended. Sri Swamiji walked towards me and embraced me with the biggest and softest bear hug that I ever experienced, something which I will never forget, and then turning to the other members He apologized for His personal behavior. This situation bothered me and I was questioning myself as to what had changed for Him to return to His old self.
Later that night, Sri Swamiji sang some very sweet melodious bhajans and the audience was in a state of spiritual ecstasy. After the bhajans session Sri Swamiji gave a small discourse, in which He said; “When Swamiji wants to pour milk into a bowl, He first has to wash the bowl to remove all the impurities so the milk will not turn”. I interpreted this statement as how it applied to me, as it was having a profound impact on my psyche.
In 2000-2001 while traveling through India with His Holiness, I was becoming impatient with Him, as I thought He was making and breaking commitments to me. He will tell of some program and within a short space of time He will cancel altogether. This infuriated me and I decided that I should write to Him about my predicament. One day, on His return to the Mysore Ashrama, I joined the queue to offer my pranams and have His darsan. Instead of offering flowers and fruits like the others, I handed Him a six pages letter, which I had written about my feelings. I was convinced that as soon as He touched the letter He will know what the contents were. He took the letter and He remained unmoved.
The next day He left for Bommeparthi by helicopter and returned the same evening. On His return He called for me to come to His quarters. When I arrived there He was smiling at me and He said, “Krishna Maharaj you are a good writer, you write very well, you are a lawyer, and Swamiji is a liar”. What I wrote in that letter was what I believed. Then Sri Swamiji went on to explain as to why I thought I was being dismissed by Him. He related this experience to that of Kabir Das. At that moment I wanted to grab at His Holiness Feet, but He said that I should wait a little longer for what is to happen will happen in a few weeks.
The result of this situation culminated with Sri Swamiji initiating me in the waters of Mekadatu early one morning. After the initiation I looked up into the hills surrounding the rivers and I saw three suns shining into the waters. This phenomenon expressed to me that this was indeed a very special occasion indeed. The Guru verily knows when and where a disciple would receive His Grace.
This has been my filial relationship with His Holiness Parama Poojya Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. I am fully convinced that the Guru is nothing but my conscience. I understand that the body of the Guru is there to help and guide you to get to the point where you can hear the voice of your conscience. If you can hear the voice of your conscience then you are in constant contact with the Guru. And as such, even if Sri Swamiji exists in the body or not, He will always remain an inseparable part of me. This has nothing to do with temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, or as a matter of fact, religions. This is the way I see it, and I believe that I cannot lie nor deceive my conscience; neither will my conscience misguide me. I know that my contact and relationship with my Sadguru is permanent and without end. Jaya Guru Datta.