17 Dec 2014

The Tests of the Guru, a Master of Maya

This article is the fifth one in the series of five posts, previously introduced in the article “The Amazing Grace of meeting Sri Swami Vishwananda – Aspects of a living Guru”. It is based on a testimony shared by Tapesh from Zurich during last Darshan of Sri Swami Vishwananda held at Shree Peetha Nilaya on the 29th of November.

Sri Swami Vishwananda explained to us during His commentary on the Guru Gita about the importance of the Guru's tests and about the nature of the Guru as a Master of Maya. He said:

“The Guru tests His disciple, so that one realises the eternity of oneself. Because without tests one will not be ready. If the gold doesn't go through fire, how would it be purified? It would still be gold, but it would not be pure. It attains its purity only when it goes through tests...and the aim of the Guru, the aim of testing the disciple is not for His personal gain but it is always to save the disciple from falling.”

“The Guru has mastered darkness, He has mastered Light, yet He is residing above the darkness and above the Light. So that's how the Guru dispels the darkness of ignorance in the one who surrenders to Him.”

“This first syllable ‘Gu’ stands for Maya Prakriti, Devi, the Shakti that binds and holds one to this reality. And the second syllable ‘Ru’ stands for Purusha, stands for the Supreme Absolute which frees one from illusion. So, in the same word, ‘Guru’, you have Maya and you have the One who frees you from Maya. So having both aspects inside, this shows that the Guru is the Master of Maya, Master of this reality. He knows how to free one from that reality and He knows also how to put one in that reality – both... He knows when to cast a shadow over somebody and He knows when to remove that shadow.”

“To the one who is surrendered to the Guru's Feet, the Guru reveals that one is beyond that; you are not in the game of the outside; you are not in the game of the mind, but you are beyond that reality. You are in the True Self! And in your True Self, in your true aspect, you have control over the cause and effect.”

"It happened some years back. Suddenly I had this feeling of coming this way with Swami and staying with Him in the future. But I was not too sure about it – it was even before I did my studies and I was thinking, 'Do I follow the worldly path or the path with Swami? Or is there any combination of the two?' So I was not too sure about it and then on a Sunday I actually asked Him – it was very easy to approach Him and to talk to Him. So, I asked Him, 'How is it? Is it predestined that my way is together with You or shall I just do my studies and go back into worldly life?' Swami said something like, 'It depends if you are strong enough – maybe I can test you a little bit and see how it is.' And I thought, 'Okay, yeah, easy.' But after one day, it started to be very, very difficult – you can imagine that whatever you do in your daily routine is wrong. So I was there, living together with other people and whatever I did was somehow wrong; I stepped on people's feet and whatever I did – it was just horrible and it went even worse and worse. And after two days, it was like, 'I can't stand it anymore! I am probably the most stupid person in here and what am I doing here?' I was thinking, 'I should leave.' And then I tried to approach Swami but He was very reserved saying, 'No, no, no!' And I couldn't approach Him.

So, I decided to stay another day. And you can imagine, it was like hell; it was an inward hell, not outside. Swami had just made things happen as they should have been, and then after three days I really couldn't stand it anymore. I went up to His room and I knocked on His door. He said, ‘Yes!’ I opened the door and just wanted to get in and fall at His feet. But He said, 'No, stay there! I don't like people waiting in my room.' And I was so shocked! It was like being pushed away from Him. It was so horrible. I was standing there trembling and He said, 'Just wait. I will come later.' Then, He finished something in the altar, He just took His time and afterwards we went to the office. Paartha was in there and Swami said, 'Paartha, can I talk to him quickly? Please go out for a minute.' Then Swami asked me, 'What? What's wrong? What do you want?' I said, 'I can't stand it!' He just looked at me smiling and saying, 'You know what? It was me putting you in this dilemma.'

It was like as if I had built a house made of playing cards, a big tower, and then in one go it was gone! And I realised that it was just Him joking with me. And all the things which had happened there, during these three days, were just nothing. I felt so stupid to have been in such a mood. Then He said, 'Yeah! But you know what? Just stay for a few days and I will test you again.' I said, 'It was horrible! It was a hell for me.' Then, He said, 'In three days we will see, and we will talk.' I said to myself inwardly, 'Okay. Three days - everyone can survive whatever happens.' So, I decided to be very firm and asked, 'What if it rises again?' And Swami said, 'Yes. It will rise again. I will make it rise again.' And I was like, 'Oh God, no, no!' And that's what He did, He really did it. He made it rise again and it was really horrible. Inwardly it was like hell again and I was going left, right, crazy again. One or two days later, I was sitting next to the fireplace and there was one of these Hindu comics, the story of the crocodile and the elephant. Some of you might know, it is from the Srimad Bhagavatam [Mahavishnu riding on Garuda saves His devotee Gajendra, the king of the elephants, from the crocodile's attack]. Then, I just decided, 'I look at this comic, maybe it will change my mind a little bit.' I took this story, went through it quickly and thought, 'Nice story, blah, blah, blah.' It just helped me to be somewhere else a little bit. After three days, I thought, 'Okay, three days. Finally I did it.' All day long, I was looking at Swami and He was not looking at me at all, nothing! Not even a slight approach. So I though, 'Okay, maybe in the evening.' But the evening arrived and nothing happened. Another night arrived and I then thought, ‘Maybe it is another test. I will just wait until tomorrow morning.’ But the fourth day, nothing happened again; the fifth day nothing again; so it was the same story, I was almost going crazy. Then maybe on the sixth day, Swami came down and said, ‘How are you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, it's okay?’ And then He said, ‘Ah, by the way, do you know this story of the crocodile and the elephant?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ I didn't know about all these Hindu stories but somehow, by some funny circumstances I had read exactly this story as it was only this comic lying there. Then He said, ‘Did you read it?’ And I said, ‘Yes, yes!’ Then He said, ‘Did you like it?’ I said, ‘Yes, yes!’ And Swami looked at me, stared at me and said, ‘But you didn't understand it.’

And I felt so stupid again! I had to agree that I just went through the story and didn't get anything at all. Then He said, ‘Do you know what the crocodile represents?’ Some days back I had asked Him, ‘What is Maya?’ And then He said, ‘It can't be explained. It can only be experienced.’ And I thought, ‘Oh man, this is the same story, which all the Masters never answer at all.’ And then He said, ‘This crocodile is Maya. And this is what you went through.’ And then I realised, ‘That's it!’ - Tapesh, Zurich

The Sri Swami Vishwananda's Sri Guru Gita – Commentary on the great mysteries of the Guru Disciple Relationship will be launched during Christmas Celebrations at Shree Peetha Nilaya (Bhakti Marga shop)
In the book Blossoming of the Heart, which is available in the Bhakti Marga shop, relatives, friends, devotees and disciples from different countries and different cultural backgrounds share their very personal experiences with Sri Swami Vishwananda. The original English version (right)  is already translated in German (left), Polish and Portuguese.