I knew my father was different, I was different. But what it was that made us unique, I did not yet understand. It was my first time in an airplane, an international Air India flight loaded to the brim. In my deep excitement, I enquired from my father the purpose of our travel and our destination. He smiled and said, “It is time you meet her, our mother.” I looked at him confused. “Mother? Didn’t we leave her back home? And our mother? Shouldn’t they be different?” Before I could ask, the plane started to take off and I was again lost in my child-like wonder.
From the moment we landed, my Guru became nostalgic and started telling me the tales of his past. He took me to ‘Chowrangi Road’ and told me how he would go for long jogs.
In Maidan, he showed me the location where he would practice judo. After that, he took me to Park Street to eat Chinese at Waldorf. it was there, that for the first time he taught me how to eat with chopsticks. I felt like a man that day. I surely was treated like one, eating noodles with chopsticks was certainly the most grown up thing I had ever done.
From there, we walked along Park Street, the nostalgia overflowing from within my Guru. We ate ‘Puchkas’ and munched on Jhalmuri as he explained to me about his adventures in the city of Calcutta.
He told me that in Kolkata people think a lot, talk a lot and eat a lot. Jokingly, he said, “Now, like a true Bengali, we must indulge in intellectual and philosophical debate.”
I didn’t mind. The more he talked, the less he ate. That meant more of the tasty Jhalmuri for me.
The next morning, I woke up to see his mood had changed. There was laughter and nostalgia no more, just a very serious expression. In a very deep voice, he told me, “Son it is time to meet the mother.” I was too afraid to ask any questions. My father’s eyes were becoming red. As we made our way through the busy streets, his emotions seemed to be coming to the surface as if he was about to present me to someone. I wondered who the mother was and why I had not been informed of her.
It took us a long time to reach Dakshineshwar temple. My father had completely changed by now. He seemed to be radiating heat, his eyes were starting to go in Shambavi Mudra. His voice had been extremely deep, like a boat cuts through the waves towards its destination. It seemed that the sea of human beings seemed to automatically give way to us.
I was holding his hand and through his fingers, I started to feel a strange vibration flowing towards my arm. The vibration was so strong that my hand started to pulsate to the level of extreme physical pain. But I didn’t let go of his fingers, lest I may lose him in the crowd.
Baba pointed to the temple saying, “Mother, we didn’t go in the temple.” It seemed impossible. There were so many people that one couldn’t see an inch of ground, instead just in front of the temple there was hall with many pillars. He took me to one of the pillars and told me to sit. By now, my claustrophobia had started to kick in. I was anxious, afraid and confused. But that still was no reason to question my Guru’s Command. I sat down and he put his hand on my head. In my ear, he whispered a divine chant and told me to repeat. So much heat radiated through me that I felt each and every cell of my body was melting. I felt like a block of ice succumbing to the noonday sun. My every emotion left my body like life leaves after death. I could not hear any sound, I could only feel. I could feel goosebumps all over. Wave after wave orienting from his hands, all the way down to the soul of my feet.
As the cells felt like melting I realized, no form was left, just the light flowing towards me with the force of a thousand rivers. I tried to look for the source and in it I felt a divine presence and I knew she was the mother. Not my mother but the energy from which the whole universe takes form. She was pure, she was eternal. I didn’t want to leave her, I felt that the objective of my life was complete.
Any joy I had ever felt from any of my five senses could not compare to what I felt in that moment. It was like at the same moment the tastiest of food I can imagine but infinite times more tasty in my mouth, it was like the most delightful breeze I could think but infinite times more I felt in my skin, a fragrance not of this world, a sound unheard. And I, the object of her affection as if I was the only child of the universal mother, as if all the love of the universe. All the energy belonging to all, just for that moment was concentrated towards me.
Wave after wave of intense energy and after each wave, I would hear a loud booming explosion, after each explosion, peace a million times deeper than before. Seven times, I heard the boom in total and after the seventh I was lost like a drop in the vast ocean.
He tapped me on my shoulder and said the mother loves you my son. I opened my eyes and on that exact moment, all the people ahead of me had moved in such a manner that inside I could see the idol of goddess Kali perfectly smiling at me. It was as if her eyes had hit me with all the mass off the galaxy.
I was out, cold & lost completely. When I opened my eyes again, the temple gates were closed. It was dark and all the people were gone. Just me and my father. I got up held him as tightly as I could and I cried. I howled like a baby, I don’t know why. But I did. It was not sorrow, it was not joy. It was surrender.
That moment, when I had my head on his shoulder, was the first time I realized the purpose of my life.
Just like there is no healthy apple, there is no sick apple, the moment you break the apple from the tree, all you have is a dead apple; in the same manner, there is no health nor there is disease. The moment we disconnect a man from the divine, all we have is decay.
I realized my path. I had to help all men reconnect to the bliss, I felt that day. To bring the joy of life once again in all of men’s life. It was my initiation, an introduction to what a man is and through the the inner awakening what a man had the capacity to become , like a bird on a wire, unaware of the immense electricity that flows under its feet, we live oblivious to the power that flows around us, a power that had touched me that day through the grace of the one who I loved the most. And because I loved him, meant I would honour him by recreating in others, the power he had created within me.
A lot has happened since then. I have learnt much from my Guru, travelled around for the world many times, met an uncountable number of people, yet my days in Calcutta I cannot forget. The city had great meaning and history with my father and an even greater history with me.
It was the city in which I gained my purpose and hence every time I return to the city, I become the boy in that temple that night. My objectives change. This is a city where I want to give everything that I have. This is the city I started my journey into the unknown. My heart opens when I think of those streets. Prayers start to flow through my lips for all those people and I realize this body may be new but some relations are ancient.
I salute you and the God within you. Namah Shivay