The path of spirituality would be like a desert without an oasis, if the element of love were missing in it.
My first experience of love was when I had entered my adolescence. I was besotted by Shailendra ji when I first saw him at Osho Ashram at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India. I had gone there to celebrate Osho's birthday, with my family. That time I was studying in 9th standard. I liked his face so much that I wanted to see him again and again. But much to my disappointment, constrains were such that I was blessed with this opportunity only once every year and that was on Osho's birthday celebration. His face left a strong imprint in my mind.
When I was undertaking my education for Bachelor's Degree, I made friendship with an Osho sannyasin, who was studying with me in my college. She was the daughter of Osho's childhood friend and shared family relations with Osho's family. I opened my heart to her and told her about my fondness for Shailendraji. I said to her that I find his face so divine that I could experience meditation just by gazing at his divine face. She shared good friendly relations with Shailendraji. One day she conveyed my feelings for him. Much to my surprise, this time when I went for Osho's birthday celebration, Shailendraji responded to me with so much warmth. I was tongue-tied and almost stammering when he first started the conversation.
Soon he started coming to my house. Now I can say that love reverberates and it always does get a response. Soon the cycle of our love life started rolling. I experienced cadence of emotions in my love for Shailendraji. My relations with him have shown me almost all the colors of other centered love and emotions.
Gradually the intensity of my love and feelings grew and we decided to get married. After marriage we started living in Pune Ashram.
After a few years Osho left for Rajneeshpuram, Oregoan, USA. Shailendra ji also went along. But life had planned something else for me. The toughest phase of my life started as I was left behind for around 10 months due to some visa problem. This was the phase of longing and suffering. Since my love was other centered, my entire energy was moving out towards Shailendra ji. The feeling of insecurity, missing, self-forgetfulness had put me in immense despair, so much so that I fell sick and attenuated.
Due to numerous reasons I was unable to keep a regular communication with Shailendra ji. Without Shailendra ji I felt as if I were living in hell. I felt empty and incomplete as if he has taken away my entire bliss, my happiness, my pleasure, my ecstasy along with him. I looked cadaverous. I was living each day in a hope, maybe today, I will get some news of my husband. But with every passing day I was beset with even more pain. The moment came when I reached the climax of my misery without him.
One day while working in the garden of Osho Ashram in Pune, I was looking at the flowers with totality, as if I was seeing the glimpse of my beloved in them. In those moments someone, who was going to Rajneeshpuram, approached me. I gave the letter for Shailendra ji and also kept some flowers along. This gesture became such an intense moment of my love that I was filled with the presence of my beloved. I felt Shailendra ji so close to me as if the distance of time and space disappeared. My love for him gave me the first glimpse of self-centered love. The feeling of uncertainty and the fear of losing something were nowhere left in me.
For the first ime I came back on myself. I started doing things that gave me pleasure. I started listening to music, singing, cooking food of my choice, gardening, and being with the nature. Slowly, I found that I was filled with my own presence, self-remembrance along with remembrance of the love of Shailendra ji. My morning started becoming more joyful. This self-remembrance was happening on its own. This was the beginning of my self-centered love.
Soon I got the chance to go to Rajneeshpurum. I stayed there for four years and we returned to India together. My husband got a job in Amlai, Madhya Pradesh, India, and we stayed there for 12 years. We were enjoying a happy married life over there. Our life was devoted to spiritual pursuits. Meditation remained the foremost precedence for us.
Osho left his body in 1990 and there was a profound frustration, as we felt that now there would be no one to guide us to experience Divinity. We lost all hopes, as we were not proficient enough to experience enlightenment on our own. Although, our life was going on smoothly but our spiritual path reached a dead end.
Just around the same time Osho Siddharth ji came to visit us and invited us to attend Samadhi Pragya Program. My husband and I were in the first batch of 21 people to attend the Samadhi Pragya Program under his guidance. Gradually, while undertaking the program, a deep love and trust grew for him. We developed confidence that we would be able to experience what Osho, Nanak, Kabir, Buddha, Mahavir and many other saints had experienced. The presence of Osho Siddharth ji (Swami ji) brought hope along with festivity in our life. Our journey of spirituality became piece of cake under his guidelines and blessings.
Swami ji now wanted us to work with him. He wanted us to take programs with him and trained us for the same.
We came to Chitwan, Nepal for the first time in 1998 and started living there since 1999. On occasions, Swami ji had to go back to his family and attend his job. His absence was really unpleasant and bothered me. I could not see him away from me even for a single day. He was my Living Master and the centre of my life. Without his physical presence I would feel lost and everything would go hay why.
On one occasion I was again left alone in Nepal for some time, as Swami ji had gone to Bilaspur, Madhya Pradesh and Shailendra ji had gone to Japan to conduct Anand Pragya Program. An inspiration came from within to use this aloneness to go back to myself. Swami ji had given me the secrets of samadhi and the knowledge of Omkar. Since I had hardly any work and was free of all the responsibilities, I started going into samadhi for 8 to 10 hours daily. I had deep experiences of samadhi.
By now the love for my Living Master had also transformed into pure trust and self-remembrance. I could feel his grace, love, and compassion surrounding me all the time. I was so much filled with self-remembrance and at the same time the presence of the Living Master that distance of space and time seemed irrelevant.
This time I was lucky enough to have been in regular touch with Swami ji as he was just a phone call away. Sharing my experience with him on the phone and getting further guidelines for my sadhna from him was always inspiring.
This time when Swami ji returned to Nepal, looking at me he said, "Dawn has come, the petals of flowers are cracking, and anytime the flower of enlightenment will bloom." Swami ji told everyone that in few months we would celebrate the birth of a new born Buddha.
I took a quantum leap in my sadhna when my devotion became self-centered. I have so much trust, love, and devotion towards Swami ji that whatever he says is ultimate for me. If there is anything equivalent to Divinity for me, then it is Swami ji. What I learnt and experienced as Bhakti Yoga in his guidance, now I would like to share.
Bhakti Yoga is related to Anahat or Heart Chakra. It is the path of love, trust and devotion while remembering the Self. It has following steps:
- Being in love with someone and making him or her center of our life - This is the stage of other-centered love or impure love, since it invariably has element of hate and self- forgetfulness.
- Being in love with the Self. Feeling love waves from our beloved coming towards us. This is Self – Centered love or pure love. This is Meditation. This is the stage of Pure Love. It leads into Self-Remembering.
- Trusting someone as the Master, and making Him the center of our life. This is other centered or impure trust, since it always has element of doubt and self-forgetfulness.
- Feeling the grace of the Master coming towards us. This is pure trust. It again leads into Self – Remembering.
- Seeing the presence of the Divinity in the Master and gradually in whole of the Existence. This is impure devotion, since it has element of contemplation and self-forgetfulness.
- Realizing grace of the Divinity and feeling showering of Divine grace coming towards us all the time. This is pure devotion. It leads into self-remembering.