Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mantra Muulam Gurur Vaakyam

When i used to volunteer at the Art of Living ashram, Gurudev used to always tell us in the satsang: "You take care of my work and i will take care of your work."

Given my doubting mind, I honestly thought, at first, that it was probably a cliched saying meant to foster trouble free seva.  But i kept wondering if this actually works. (And very much in my heart i was hoping it would.) My pressing need at the time was that both my parents (my dad and mum being very involved in church work) both my sisters, as well as two of my best friends would do the happiness program (basic course back then).

Within 2 years all of them had done the course.  My parents did it together.  My sisters independently.  And my two best friends did it independently as well.  All of them with no prompting from me at all.....mainly because i was really busy with sadhana(ones spiritual practice), seva(service) and satsang(being in the presence of the wise) in ashram at the time and didnt have time to have those conversations.

I felt so grateful i thought: "wow this actually works."  So i continued giving 100% in my seva.

But when i left ashram after few years to start working in South Africa.  I thought okay its a different setting now, maybe i should give 100% in my job instead; quickly realising that when working with the amount of energy and efficiency as gained via aol practices ....even 20% of my effort in the workplace seemed to match 100% of my colleagues. Non the less i gave 100% and got 3 promotions in 2 years until i received a senior post in the company i worked for at the time.

Then this thought came to me: "why don't you become your own boss and go into consulting." That way i could free up time for Ayurveda  (which i love and was a big part of my seva in ashram as a therapist for about 3 and half years)

As soon as i made that decision and left the company in May 2018, Ansuya (an aol teacher and close friend of mine) calls and tells me there is a teacher coming from India named Sunil Jain, Gurudev has sent him.  Why don't you host him in your home?  Immediately the first thought in my head was WOW.....teacher from India. ....blessed by Guruji......it will be like having Guruji staying in my very own house.  So at Ansuyas request, i contacted the South African teacher coordinator (Morgie, whom i didn't know at the time) and she immediately said: "okay. ... but I'm also going to put you down for seva opportunities."   Now i had just recently done the VTP (Volunteer Training Program) with Anand(an Art of Living teacher and former ashramite), it was a very powerful experience so my whole being was saying seva seva seva.....So i said yes without a second thought.

Immediately after. ... second thought came: but Vishalin you just started a business.  How are you going to get clients? How are you going to pay your expenses and rent etc? How are you going to build the business?  There are so many things you are required to do. You won't have enough time to manage everything alone......now in addition you want to accommodate somebody and organise courses!!!!????  Nevertheless in spite of these thoughts, i chose to keep my commitment to the teacher coordinator.

Having Sunil in my home and serving him and the course participants was like serving Gurudev himself. When he spoke it was like Gurudev was speaking.  It was really a divine experience for me.  I used every experience to learn something and in that way there was no really good or really bad experience. ....it was just all a happening.  When i had to say goodbye to Sunil at airport it felt like my own dear brother was leaving. .....he miraculously said something very special to me that was a secret prayer between me and Gurudev only so i will never forget that.

Fast forward 6 months down the line: i have been spending about 40% of my time doing seva (i love it) 20% of my time to Ayurveda and family and about 40% of my time focused on business. I have been receiving twice what i used to earn previously. I've lost good friends and found better ones.  I have more time in my day to appreciate nature and cooking and art. I am becoming more joyful and relaxed.  And life is becoming seemingly effortless.

Last story: There was an aos course with swami Purnachaitanya this last week.  I was supposed to only attend Thursday morning for registration seva as per tc request and then leave for work. (As i felt i needed to catch up because my contract with my only client had ended and i made no concerted efforts to renew due to seva and other commitments.) When i got to the course venue, I was told there was a place on the course available. It was paid for and that nobody else was going to take the spot.  I was challenged by Dev (one of the vtp volunteers) to take the spot and be on course with Swamiji. Immediately i thought about my meeting with my client which i was supposed to have that day.  As soon as i thought about him he called me at that moment and asked if we could meet on Monday instead.  So i said yes.  Although it felt like a small miracle, i still felt it necessary to present myself at the office that Thursday and Friday to take care of peripheral work in order to secure my argument for an extension of contract. (I had felt like i hardly gave much attention to this project and that the chances of my contract being renewed was slim without intervention) This was the only work bringing in income at the time.

But due to Devs convincing and Morgis approval i joined only to find that the weekend course with Swamiji wasn't an opportunity for me to relax and be in silence but instead an opportunity to do more seva. (Wasn't really what i had in mind but was excited when Morgi put the challenge forward to be the course angel instead)

I have to say that although i wasn't in 100% silence during the course, it was a giant leap for me since my first course in 2009.  By the third day i felt as light as a feather.  Swamiji was so transparent. ...it was as if nobody was home. ....no one personality or a single ego or idea. ....just the boundless sky.   Every time he was in the room i felt like i was in the presence of Gurudev.  Every time i closed my eyes i felt so full and grateful that tears would well up.

Today i went to the meeting with my client not knowing what to expect but still feeling positive and light like i was wrapped in some grace.  The client opened the conversation by telling me 3 things:

1.  How happy he was with the work i have been doing (6 other consultants who i feel have been putting in 3 times the effort as me where layed off in the last month)
2. That he wished to renew my contract at 6 month intervals indefinitely until the project life cycle ended.
3. That he wished for me to write my own scope of work, terms of reference and draft schedule and he will approve based on concensus.

Now how crazy is that!!?? Who gets a blank cheque when other peers are being asked to leave?  Logically,  I was supposed to be working tirelessly in order to get this appraisal not spend half my time in Seva and get it!?

"You take care of my work and i will take care of yours."  I think i am now increasingly convinced that this applies not only to people in certain circumstances (like teachers, swamis or ashramites) but to all of us in all circumstances.  Sometimes i think all of this happens so that we can just learn to trust him more. .... to drop a little and let go a little each day so that one day we may be able to fall completely in his arms and say yes. ....you are my master and i am your disciple, yes i am your yesterday and you are my tomorrow..... my meditation is on your form, my worship is at your feet,  your very words are becoming my mantra, my salvation is only by your grace.   You have ceaselessly worked at restoring my trust, my faith, my health, my devotion, my surrender, my joy,  my childlike smile, my well-being, my salvation.  You have done all of this because of your selfless nature and unfailing love for me.

Jai Gurudev