Raman’s path was clear. The loss of his closest family members did create a huge vacuum within, and yet, before dying, Raman’s mother had given him a definite destination and a firm purpose in life to be fulfilled in the days ahead. He had firm faith in his mother’s words. So, he decided to walk towards north. Where is north? On his right, the sun rose and on his left, the sunset. The way in front was his path. He knew nothing else and he needed to know nothing else.
As he took his first tiny step in the path of ultimate liberation, the guiding masters took ten steps towards him. This is always the case. Once conviction, determination and dedication is absolute, Masters, God or Universe helps to complete the task. Raman had wandered the whole day and by sunset, he found the verandah of a seemingly unused building, near a village pathway, and decided to spend the night there. There was a well in the compound. He saw a bucket and understood that the well was usable. Maybe the nearby villagers were drawing water from this well. He washed his face and drank some water. He did not feel any hunger even though he had not eaten anything ever since his mother’s demise. As he sat on the verandah looking at the setting sun, an old woman appeared in front of Raman. A toothless smile brightened up her wrinkled face. She also looked like a wanderer.
She sat down next to Raman and asked: “What are you carrying in your cloth?” Raman said: “Some rice and some coins, a couple of loin cloth.” She said: “Let us cook the rice.” Raman opened his cloth sack and put the rice in her bowl. She went towards the well, washed it, put some stones together, made a make-shift oven, took some dry sticks and dried cow dung that was lying around, put them under the bowl and lit it with a match stick. Soon the rice was fully cooked. They shared it. The old woman gave Raman the major portion, which was not much, and herself ate the rest. They also shared the soup of the rice.
By that time, the sun had set. It was quite dark. But, the partial moon lit up the sky. Apart from Raman and the old woman, there were no humans visible anywhere in the neighborhood. The old woman swept the veranda, which was covered with dust and dry leaves, spread on it many rags that she carried, and invited Raman to sleep with her. For a moment, Raman felt that his mother was calling him. In the darkness, the old woman’s voice felt like his mother’s. Raman lied down next to the old lady. She said: “I could not find any food to eat the whole day. You were hungry too. But, you gave me all that you had. Bless you, my son, you will never starve in your life. My words will never go wasted. I bless you.” Raman was already quite tired and drowsy. He slipped into a deep sleep; a kind of a trance. The last few sentences that he heard from the old woman went straight into his subconscious mind, as an assurance as well as an important direction:
Never allow dust to settle on your consciousness. Be Alert. Be Aware. Inertia always lurks around the corner. It is not always easy to sweep the dust and bring back its usual shine, especially if the dust piles up. It may take life times. You may not see me ever again. But, remember, your mother is with you. She will protect you till you reach your final destination. She is guarding you now and she will guard you until you are in safe hands or the realms of the Almighty. She is postponing her further lives for your sake. She is a divine soul. She knows who you are and what is the purpose of your birth. She has decided to walk with you, till the end. You will not see her, but, will feel her presence at times. She sent me today. She will send many more, more powerful than me, to assist you in your journey. It is a divine collaboration.
These words always remained with Raman as re-assurance during days of occasional uncertainty, always afresh in his mind.
Raman partially understood the words of the old woman. But, he was so tired that he slipped into a trance state. When he woke up in the morning, the old woman had already disappeared. There were young girls playing in the open court yard and some women drawing water from the well. He got up, went near the well, and asked for some water. A plump woman looked at him questioningly, but, without questions, poured water into his hands. He washed his face and mouth. He took some leaves from a mango tree and brushed his teeth with that. When the women left with children, he bathed, washed his loin cloth and tied another one. He saw a mango at hand’s reach. He plucked it and ate it. Then, taking the loin cloth that he had kept for drying, folding it and packing it in his cloth bag, he walked towards the north again.
The Merger of Great Oceans
Raman’s total journey can be classified into three parts. The first part is, after leaving his home town, meeting a brahmin priest and staying at his house for a few years where he learnt sanskrit and manthras. The second part – meeting Atmananda and the third part – leaving Atmananda and the actual journey to Badrinath, alone.
The priest lived in a small house near a river. Raman had walked days and nights to arrive at the priest’s abode. In fact, he was guided there. Apart from one incident where one greedy merchant tried to enslave Raman to work in his shop, his journey was quite smooth, as he got assistance constantly and miraculously, whenever he needed it. This merchant gave him some food and then trapped him as a domestic help. He kept away Raman’s cloth bag that contained his loin cloths and the few coins that his mother had given him. This was the merchant’s way of making sure Raman stayed with him.
But, due to the twist of events where a fight happened in his neighborhood and in the chaos, Raman ran away from this entrapment, without any belongings. Thus, destiny removed even his paltry earthly possessions from him. He walked empty handed towards north and while sleeping at a temple inn on the way, which used to be free accommodation for travelers, the middle aged temple priest saw this small lonely Brahmin boy Raman and out of pity, took him to his house. After his service hours as a priest of the temple, he used to teach Sanskrit language, Vedas, Upanishads and manthras that are used in pooja or worship, to the Brahmin children of his neighborhood. At that time, he had about 17 students. Raman joined as the 18th student.
Raman stayed with the Brahmin priest, helping him and his small family (which consisted of a pious wife and a beautiful, elegant daughter) with their household chores. He always accompanied the priest. He attended classes without fail and in a few years, Raman became quite well versed in Sanskrit, Vedas and Upanishads. He could also perform poojas (prescribed format of Ritualistic Worship), and many times, when the priest, his teacher, was unwell, he performed the poojas in the temple as well, so systematically, that all the devotees loved and respected Raman.
Everyday, Raman woke up along with the Brahmin priest at 3AM (Brahma Muhurtha) and went with him to the nearby river to take a bath and complete the morning rituals that brahmins performed. The river was wide, but quite shallow near the bank. They chanted Gayathri Manthra together and took bath in the river, along with many other Brahmins. They washed their own clothes and kept them for drying, tied to poles or pillars of the post-bath worship sheds, a few steps from the river bank. All the brahmins chanted manthras together and in the early hours of morning, it created beautiful vibrations all around. The priest and Raman would then proceed to the temple to light lamps, bathe the deity, change its costumes, decorate it and perform the regular worship, without fail everyday, irrespective of whether it was raining or cold weather.
By the time they complete it, and open the doors of the temple for the arathi, the temple hall will be filled with devotees. The arathi lamp has five wicks representing five elements, five praana, five koshas, etc. and essentially, the fire element in us. The wet cloth used to hold the lamp to prevent the heat from affecting the palm, represents the water element, vital for sustaining life on earth. The peacock feather fan represents the air element. The flower represents earth. And the yak tail fan represents subtle form of ether. Thus, the five elements that constitute earthly existence are offered to the Lord. Along with that, the incense stick that represents the purity of our state, the fragrance of pure consciousness, is offered as well. Thus, we are offering every aspect of our existence to the Lord Almighty and live our life in total surrender to His will.
After the arathi, they would offer the lamp to the devotees to purify themselves with the fire that has caught the essence of the deity/divine. The priests also offered sandal wood paste to the worshipers, to apply on their third eye, to cool the heat generated through intense prayers communicated through the third eye (with eyes closed) and flowers, which represented the earth, to stay grounded, yet totally grateful. The day is started with the request to earth, to forgive us for stepping on her, or walking over her body (earth’s body. Earth as mother earth). Earth is a gift to us from God, for the fulfillment of our desires or to exhaust our vasanas of earthly nature. Flowers remind us of this beautiful gift from God, with a warning to handle it delicately, with care, as we would handle a delicate, tender flower.
Raman could not live with his own father for long as he died when Raman was quite young. Hence, he could not experience the lifestyle of temple priests. Here, living with his Guru, he learned the lifestyle of Brahmin priests and he also got to know the pure and pious way the whole family existed, totally surrendered to the tradition and Lord. He never heard them quarreling or even seemingly imposing themselves on each other. Likewise, their young daughter also always behaved elegantly and selflessly. He never saw them advising her or training her. She seemed to have picked up qualities spontaneously, as part of her prarabdha.
He saw that no wandering monks or beggars ever left their house without food, clothes or money. They considered everyone as guests who are representation of God and gave them whatever they had or could part with. Deep harmony, firmly rooted on spiritual conviction and faith, existed in the whole household. This gave Raman stability and well-being in his formation time. They always treated Raman as part of their own family. They never displayed any kind of discrimination. He never felt like a stranger there. He was given full freedom in the house and shared everything that they had, with him too. They were not rich in terms of wealth. But, they were very rich at heart, which is much more valuable and have more permanence.
The priest and his family always woke up at 3AM and always went to bed at 9PM. They had their dinner at 7 PM. They only ate satwic food, made of vegetables grown above the ground and basked in sun. They never consumed any roots or barks of plants or trees. They had a cow and calf at home. They treated the cow and calf as family members, with utmost love and care; and always made sure the calf gets sufficient milk before they milk the cow for their purpose. Calf was always let loose and could have her mother’s milk, whenever it wanted. They never sold the cow when milk ran dry. They served the cow with the same dedication and care, with gratitude for its selfless service that they received from her. Raman learnt a very important lesson in the expression of gratitude towards all beings and take none for granted. He understood that the pleasant vibrations that each being produces when showered with love, harmonizes the whole atmosphere, especially that of homes where love prevails in abundance. The well being of all creatures on earth gets reflected in the whole earth and beyond. It removes all emotional blockages and grace flows abundantly.
After five years of stay, Raman completed his education. He decided to continue his journey. The priest and his wife told Raman to stay for a few more years. But Raman had already decided to continue his journey to the North. It was the Lord Himself, in the form of a beggar who came to their house and told Raman, as he was handing over cooked rice to him “Son, it is time to travel again. This is neither your abode nor your destination. It is time to leave this place”.
Raman told them about this incident and his vow. They did not object to his decisions any further. Raman had cultivated a mango plant in their garden. In five years, it produced a few mangoes. He washed them and brought five mangoes in a plate, put them at the feet of his guru and said “Swami, this is my gurudakshina for you. I am indebted and grateful to you and your family for all you have given me; the food, shelter, the knowledge and above all, the unconditional love towards a poor, homeless child. The mango tree will grow and thus will grow your riches. You will have no dearth in life.”
Guru blessed Raman, lifted him up and hugged him. Bidding adieu to the lovely family, Raman started his journey towards north, once again. (Raman’s prediction or blessings certainly bore fruits. In the later years, the priest and his family inherited great fortunes, and the priest’s daughter got a very pious and wealthy husband too. they lived their life happily ever after. But, they never boasted or become egoistic and always lead a life of simplicity, surrender and gratitude to the deities they worshiped.The priest continued to do his work in temples and also teach children.)
Swami Atmananda Chaithanya told one of his constant companions, Swami Chidananda: “A boy who belongs to the place where the “great oceans merge ” has reached the konkan land. We must meet him.” Swami Chidananda (Manav) asked Atmananda: “How is he relevant to us? You never go in search of disciples!!!” Atmananda laughed and said: “He is relevant to the tradition. I am not just a man. I am the tradition.” Even though Chidananda had learnt not to ask questions and learn through practical lessons that life and Guru gives, which is how the tradition works, he blurted out: “Which tradition?” They were walking. Suddenly Atmananda stopped, turned, looked straight at Chidananda’s eyes for sometime. Chidananda felt that his nerves and meridians were shivering at that intense gaze. His whole body started to shiver. Sweat started to pour from all pores of his body. He saw a very strong intensity and power like that of Lord Shiva himself. He felt paralyzed and immovable. He stood frozen. He felt his third eye burning and bursting. His spine became like a hot rod!
Atmananda spoke in a calm, deep voice:
The Navnath tradition. Lord Krishna called all the higher beings before he left his physical frame and told them that the purpose and message of His avatar must continue in the whole universe. He chose nine people as its messengers. They are the Nav Nath Saints. They are Matsyendranath, Gorakhnath, Jalendarnath, Kanifnath, Gahininath, Bhartarinath, Revananath, Charpatinath and Naganath. Lord Dattatreya is the Param Guru, who started the tradition. They are the nine Narayanas. The name “Narayana” means the “destination of man”. Lord Krishna Himself Narayana, summoned the Nine Narayanas, who are projection of Himself to His presence and ordered the formation of Nath sampradaaya. Thus Krishna expanded Himself from one to many. The purpose was the continued preservation of Dharma. The realm or “karma bhoomi” is the whole universe. Each Nath Guru displayed profound wisdom and distinct and unique character and characteristic which made people wonder if they were indeed part of the Nath tradition at all. Some stressed on Yoga, some on just observing silence, some on devotion and some on knowledge, some stressed on faith and patience while some stressed on Purity, non-violence and faith at all levels. Nath Tradition is like a grid. In the seeming diversity, there is extreme unity and purposefulness. All Nath Gurus operate as one entity, one breath, even though each Guru displays a different method. There is extreme oneness and diverse expressions. Some of the saints of the tradition chose to burn themselves as candles, giving light and purity to the chaotic world. They decided to settle almost 15,000 feet high in Himalayas, in caves, hidden in ice away from human eyes. They recycle their own semen backwards through Yoga siddhi and they glow like glow worms. They are luminescent. They silently send soothing energy to the whole world. They are intense. This is their mission. When it is time to shed their bodies, they walk towards the nearby pool, withdraw their soul, cell by cell, to the top of their head, and remove themselves (their soul) from their bodies. They shed their bodies in water. They always choose samadhi in water. They only live for the world and not for themselves. Their prayer is “May the whole world along with its various beings be saved and elevated, except us”. They sacrifice their life for the world, unassumingly, expecting nothing in return; not even gratitude. Some saints of the tradition choose to be among people, in the market place, like you and me, to demonstrate the dharma of existence. Most Nath Gurus do not have any formal Gurus. They are chosen and guided by Divine, purely based on their eligibility. Thus, there are no initiations. Common man cannot understand nor appreciate this truth. They will miss the grand message too.
All of us are distinct and inimitable. Each Nath guru displays a different aspect of life and living. They are usually polite, but extremely rude at times, only to serve certain purposes. All are extremely powerful, and yet extremely unassuming. Only those who have eyes to see will recognize them. It is very difficult to recognize an unassuming Nath Guru. Even if one recognizes, it is very difficult to follow them. Even if one follows a Nath Guru, it is very difficult to get anything from him, unless they surrender and dissolve themselves completely. Others will just see and will never understand or be benefited. And our tradition is an open river. There are no initiations. None with selfish motives can enter this river. They will get killed and thrown into the mud. Only good souls and true believers can enter this river. A Navnath Guru will travel Seven Worlds and Seven Oceans to find and rescue a pure soul. Eligibility is the only criteria. Eligibility is achieved through Purity. Purity is achieved through Conviction, Commitment and Consistency. The tradition is created to spread the message of true love, beyond all boundaries, and preserve the ultimate dharma of existence.
This message was literally drilled into Chidananda. He stood there in trance state for hours, completely paralyzed. When he came out of his trance, it was late at night and there was nobody around. He understood that Swamiji has gone towards Konkan land. He walked as fast as he could towards the direction of Konkan land. He walked the whole night and by morning, he found Swami Atmananda and his entourage, and joined them. Atmananda did not acknowledge or pay any attention to Chidananda, even though he saw Chidananda walking in. This was typical of Atmananda. One glance was equal to a ceremonial welcome! He never believed in formalities, even though he believed in discipline; discipline as a walking stick in the path of purity.
Three days later, Atmananda and His whole entourage reached Konkan. Atmananda and his people kept walking until they reached a huge Banyan tree. There were many men, women and children sleeping on the man-made platform under the tree. The day was breaking. Atmananda went straight to Raman, touched his third eye and said “wake up”. As if hypnotized, Raman got up. He stared at Atmananda’s eyes for a minute or two. Atmananda stood up. Raman fell at his feet, held both feet for a long time and kissed them repeatedly. He recognized the tradition more than the saint. He had not physically met Atmananda before. He found his tradition in the eyes of the saint. It was unmistakable. Truth gets reverberated in the depth of one’s consciousness. No one can miss it, when they encounter the eternal truth.
Raman travelled with Atmananda and his entourage for five years. At Varanasi, Atmananda called Raman and said:
You must leave now. You have to go up north. You have all siddhis. Never display them for fame or power. Never display them in front of skeptics or people of power for recognition or money. Do not be “visible” unnecessarily. Be visible only to those who come with Purity and Faith. Do not interfere in people’s future. Stay in their present. Guide in the present. You will become a great master and a beacon of light of our tradition. Your invisibility and invincibility will be your strength. Usual karmic beings will not recognize you. Those who recognize you will be of our tradition. They are eligible. I will be with you always.
Be always aware of your spine; especially the thin string that runs through the spine linking the poles of your consciousness. That is your stairway.
Lures of the flesh are unavoidable. But, I have given you the wisdom and awareness to see beyond. You will not be affected by the flesh, both yours and others’. Both will be well within your control. In extreme conditions, self indulgence is better than entanglement. Entanglement leads to karma. Karma pulls you down. Women are unique creations. They represent shakti, the creative dimension of Parabrahma. They are powerful, yet fluid. They are flexible and creativity becomes fulfillment, as a mother. They have multiple dimensions. They should be revered. Indulgence is not a sin. If it becomes entanglement, it binds. It prevents liberation. Emotion attached with entanglement prevents liberation. Anything that prevents liberation, is sin for the soul. Be Aware.
Raman was 18 years old. He was at the door step of his youth. He began his ultimate journey in total renunciation. Step by step, he went higher and higher in Himalayas. Due to the grace of the tradition, nothing affected him. Nature provided him food and water. He learned through his consistent practices to stay beyond elements and its requirements. Body is made up of elements, elements that are put together for a purpose and will disintegrate when the purpose is completed. At Badrinath, he became a complete renunciate. He met many masters. Many guided him and protected him. And he stayed there ever since, invisible to human eyes, until the two travelers discovered him. He is centuries old. But, age has no value. He could live for ever, if he wants to and will leave the body, if he wants to.
This is what the travelers understood from the communion with the Great Saint who has no name, no address, and no identities, to say the least. In a world where people are competing to carve images, this saint lives as a strong reminder that:
WE MUST LEAVE EVERYTHING HERE, WHEN WE FINALLY DEPART. No earthly conquests or possessions can be carried with us, to the other dimensions. A Liberated existence is truly worth it.
When a student is eligible, the teacher appears. A teacher cannot deliver anything to a student who is not ripe and ready for knowledge. The whole universe comes together in the creation of True Spiritual Masters. The whole universe is their operating plane. There are no walls or boundaries. The great masters existing in various planes of the universe operate on one rhythm and purpose. They all are one. There are multiple forms because forms are needed to express. But, beyond all the forms is one single entity. One creator. One creation. One purpose.
The biggest and most substantial creation of our Father was relativity. Along with relativity occurred duality, time, gravity and space. Everything was ready for grand expressions to take place. Expressions took place, and are still taking place in every level, every moment. There is no negative or positive in absolute sense. All are just expressions of the grandeur of relativity.
The Father never really “created” anything further. His creations created many things further. Father arranged the creation objectively, just like our soul objectively aids the daily creation of our own personal realities. Shiva and shakti potential existed in each single creation. The shakti aspect that molded beings using consciousness as the substratum, created all that could be created. Creation continues unabated. Creation also has its duration. So, dissolution also happens simultaneously. On one side creation and on the other, dissolution. When these two aspects are established, existence also comes into play within that duration between creation and dissolution. Creation itself has its dimensions. Characteristically diverse, but essence-wise, one.
Father made the first of creations and those creations made further creations. So, even though the same consciousness was at work, awareness levels of the new creations and their further creations were of diminishing nature. Some created just dependents or slaves, just like we create walking and talking robots. They had no specific identities. They kept binding restrictions on them so that they remain bound and enslaved. They had specific breeding patterns and gestation times while higher beings multiplied at will for a specific purpose and dissolved at will when the purpose is fulfilled. The relative lower beings operated on limited awareness and more on herd instinct.
Every creation does have the inherent dimension for achieving the father’s consciousness. But, entanglements, inertia and lack of awareness prevents them from seeing beyond. When the veil of ignorance is removed, by the grace of Gurus, visibility becomes constant. Path becomes well lit. Understanding the divine will, relishing in divine stature, out of compassion, higher entities assume tangible forms in various corners of the universe, to guide those who need to be guided. On earthly plane, most have only terrestrial needs. They sway with karma. Those who are ready for elevation, will get elevated. Even to salvage one such soul, a higher being may arrive. Everyone has value. Each one is valuable.
The path of liberation is a path of non-conformity. Most saints chose to wander to stay detached. Images, like places influence people. Images have effect in the minds of people. When images change, mind experiences confusion. Mind craves for images and we try to quickly replace the lost image with something new. Often times, this is an unconscious activity, which we often regret later. Sometimes, the sudden loss of an image will seem like a b0ttom-less pit for the mind and the mind pushes for an immediate replacement. Often times, in order to fill this gap, we choose the next best possible image or simply the next available identical image, ignoring the glaring incompatibilities and counting or hoping on developing a few seeming ones. When the closeness surfaces incompatibilities more than compatibilities, disillusionment happens. People become disoriented! What to believe in? All that we believed in so far, has been lost and gone. Why was the loss felt so deeply? Because, the belief had given forth certain expectations, partially influenced by wishes and partially based on realities. Sometimes, the line between the wish and reality is so thin and invisible, that our mind fails to differentiate or recognize which is which. All this matters exist only in the conscious mind. In dream state and deep sleep state, we are reasonably immune to such afflictions.
Wish You the Highest Awareness in this life.
I Love You Always
Atmananda is a fictional character created by Mohanji to explain the Tradition. Any resemblance to the living or dead is purely coincidental.