Richard Clark. Trinidad
“If I give myself to you to be my teacher, I will not go elsewhere no matter what”. For me, Sri Swamiji is my deepest part. I interpret Him as Dattatreya Avadhoota. I don’t want to get too attached to a form as what has beginning has end.
In 1986 I met Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji for the first time. My story is a little unusual as I never had an interest in following anyone, as I was never a follower. Earlier I was having a conversation with a school friend who was telling me about someone who had come to Trinidad that he thought we should visit. I was studying Gyana Yoga at this time and I was more focused on principles and not people and appearances. There is the principle of self-reliance to personal development as where you should not burden others with things that you have to fix yourself.
I was really not interested in going to see this person but since my friend explained it so well, it seemed interesting so I decided to go. I went to the California Temple where a program was being held and I just followed the crowd. All these people had come to see Him, as they had heard about Him, and I was following their lead, even sitting on the floor. Sri Swamiji was in another room and had not come out yet. I decided to meditate while waiting for Him; and for the first time it was easy to get into the right frame of mind and position to meditate. I felt the crowd starting to mill about and I opened my eyes to see Sri Swamiji entering all in white. He was very serious without a smile.
To be candid, I had a slight aversion to appearances. A physical body has a beginning and an end, so I never thought that I should pay much attention to those things. However, there was a feeling that was interestingly static. It was if my meditation efforts were increased tenfold while I was just sitting there. I was not paying attention to Him physically but to His effect. When my friend asked me later what I thought of the experience I told him that it was easier to reach a point of stillness with Him there. I have a scientific background so for me to believe in something it has to go through a period of observation, analysis, repetition, verification and conclusion. It takes a while for me to say yes to things.
That same day Sri Swamiji was going to inaugurate the site for the Datta Temple but we did not go. That was my introduction to Sri Swamiji. Sometime later the same friend told me about a Kriya Yoga course and invited me to go. This was not my background or my practice but I decided to go anyway. I believe that it you are going to do something you should do your best at it, but I still treated it as an adjunct practice to what I was already doing. One of the main objectives in Kriya Yoga is one-pointed directness and this is a main component in Gyana Yoga so I thought that it would be helpful. One of the methods in my practice is to make observation while training, and make notes. This oftentimes shows that something will seem to be off. When these notes start to get significant I will decide if I need an explanation then I will to ask questions and try to learn more.
One day during the Kriya course we were given the opportunity to sit in a room with Him alone. I was wondering of the necessity of it, but while in the room I felt very sensitive to Him. Before this time I couldn’t look directly into His eyes, however from then till this day when I look at His eyes, all I see are diamonds. Once when the yoga group went to visit the Aripo River, people were being asked to go and touch the water. When it was my turn I dived in, but was wondering about my own action as it was so spontaneous. I came out dripping wet and Dr. Chandool asks me some questions. He wanted to know what my perception of Swamiji was, so I told him that He reminded me a lot of my own father.
Recently I had a dream where my father appeared, but with the features of Sri Swamiji’s face. I still was not interested in form so took all these experiences with a grain of salt and just observed and noted them. Then there came an opportunity for Guru Deeksha. This for me was totally about form. I also believe in self-reliance but I do think that it is helpful to have someone with knowledge guide you. However, this is Sadguru’s initiation. Now that I had some exposure to this, I was very cautious as I know that this was commitment for eternity. It would be a different kind of relationship that would be more than just taking instructions, but a bond where Sadguru would never leave you even if you left Him. I really questioned myself about this decision.
The observations and evidence that I had gathered over the time since I had met Him led me to believe that He was real. For example, once we were driving late at night on a lonely road and our lights went out. A car came and followed us and gave us light and when we reached our destination the car was gone. These kinds of events led me to test Sadguru and as He was offering Himself I decided to test by interpretation.
There were three major tests that I used. The main one was the interpretation of the fourth Mahavakya. I have been sufficiently trained in the verbal part of this; the slokas. I was looking for errors but realized that His interpretations were correct. Then I started looking closer at any sort of statement that had any philosophical statement for Vedanta. I looked at all the books like Guru Gita and Avadhoota Gita in detail. I found all his explanations were proper. Another more subtle test had to do with the Shakti, and I found that interpretation in Sri Swamiji’s book.
I have a lot of other experiences, some of which I cannot speak about here, but these things made me realize that this offer was one that I could not decline. Dattatreya means Absolute. I concluded, scientifically, that He could guide me. It was the only time that this would happen and it should never happen again. My thoughts were traveling and I was speaking to Him from my heart; “If I give myself to you to be my teacher, I will not go elsewhere no matter what”. For me, Sri Swamiji is my deepest part. I interpret Him as Dattatreya Avadhoota. I don’t want to get too attached to a form as what has beginning has end.
However, my sense of self has neither beginning nor end and that is my formidable Sadguru. I looked at the relationship that I have and see all the positives in it. Since I have accepted His offer I have relied on Him only; the highest part of me to the Dattatreya Avadhoota. If my wife was present here today, she would tell you that this is something that is on my mind at all times as I call to the Divine in my sleep. I find myself intuitively speaking to Him. I see our relationship as being more spiritual, where we are part of each other, and I cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. Sree Guru Datta.