During a trip to South India in the 1990’s, I was fortunate to travel with Loretta’s group. By the time we taxied into Puttaparthi, it was too late for ashram life; we only had time for supper at one of the local hotels. Early the next morning after the rain stopped, we felt electrified as we landed in the front row at darshan (the sighting of a holy person). This was an extreme experience: first darshan, first row; and in those days, the first row really meant the first line. We didn’t mind that the cement felt damp or that water puddles from the summer monsoon downpour collected near our feet.
Swami floated in on an ocean of silence. As he came closer, everyone reached toward him to offer letters, longing to receive a blessing. He strode intimately close and said, “Wait, wait, wait.”
We felt elated that spoke to our group, and upon arrival at that. We hoped we were waiting for that sought after interview.
Liberation or Naught
A few days later we traveled to Whitefield. A handful of us stopped off at the Boy’s College office after lunch. Dr. Anil Kumar, the principal, knew Loretta, and after a short conversation he invited us to tour the college.
We were treated like VIP’s. As we entered each classroom in session, the boys stood in respect. Those moments felt extraordinary as we breezed through the college corridors in the company of Dr. Kumar. When we were about to leave, he guided us into the auditorium jingling his set of keys as a percussion instrument and singing in full crescendo—the man had a phenomenal bass voice.
Although his professional studies were in Botany, Dr. Kumar’s true gift was public speaking. After the song he broke into a mystery, sharing secrets of an intimate conversation he had with the Master.
“Would you aspire for liberation?” Swami asked.
“Not really,” he replied.
“And, why not?” The smile from the Master’s lips was engaging and the look in his eye questioning.
“It sounds desirable, at least we’ve been told to renounce this world and strive for release, to reach moksha, and end the cycle of birth and death,” Dr. Anil Kumar spoke while the Master’s attention was riveted. “But, I’ve never experienced this, so how can I desire it? I have to trust, not knowing anything about that experience. But, the world—I know.”
A New Life
This is the crux of the issue: to let go of the birth-death cycle is to aspire for a part of our journey that is unknown—it’s a new world, uncharted territory—from which we will not return to this worldly life. We need to wait until the inspiration for this spiritual endeavor fires our passion.
To receive this blessing we need to burn the boats, so to speak, leap ahead knowing that we must fight or perish and never turn back. This will give us the confidence, directive, fortitude and will to implement the changes necessary so we succeed.
You have the potential. The ruby slippers are on your feet.