"My heart was broken in the 6th grade." the Swami said with a grin, "The girl I was interested in went off with a boy from High School." We find this news amusing as we consider Swami to be above these human emotions.
"My mother saw my condition and attempted to comfort me, to see the 'bigger picture'. These things happen frequently, to everyone.In time you get over it.
'This is really useful' I thought, 'seeing the big picture, I don't need to suffer anymore.' I say this out of respect for my first guru, my mother."
45 heads nod in agreement, some touch their chins, pondering how the story links to his deep, technical presentation replete with Sanskrit terminology. I wonder how many are able to grasp what's been said. "The lila purushottama has become the prem purushottama, the ashraya has become the vishaya."
Our 17 year old son is in the crowd listening attentively.
He has accepted Swami as his guru.
Next week there will be a ceremony for him and others who will be taking initiation.
|17 year old Narayan listening to his guru.|
"No one wants to be controlled by others.", Swami continues, "There are 3 ways of being controlled. Physical control means you are tied by ropes and forced to act, threatened with punishment. Mental control means you've been convinced by someone's words to act. Your friends can see you're being manipulated, they warn that this is against your interest.
To be controlled by love is the best. When you are controlled by love, you readily give yourself with no thought of getting anything in return. This is how Krishna wants to control us. He can easily use the other two methods, that's nothing for Him.
Once you allow yourself to be controlled by Krishna in love, He becomes controlled by you. That's a problem for Him. He can't help Himself."
I feel a smile stretch across my face, ' How can this be a problem? How can Krishna, the Supreme Lord have any problems?'
Swami elaborates on this point for another 20 minutes referring to Shruti, Smriti and Puranas, covering all aspects of evidence from the Vedic texts.
A young hand goes up,"Yes"
"How does one find their guru? How do you know which one to choose?"
Swami's answers are not brief. This could easily fill an hour or two, but it's getting late.
"Guru is not for everyone. The Vedas say it is for one who wants to make a comprehensive solution to all problems of life, to see the 'bigger picture'. This is for one who is very serious and determined. When you hear someone speak and it resonates with you, 'this person is articulating something I've been feeling, he or she is able to put into words what is in my heart, define it and give it direction.' That's a good indication.
Also, the guru should be deeply immersed in spiritual understanding and able to convey that in words, Shrotriyam brahma nishtam. to help you see the 'bigger picture.'
When you are moved by such a person, the student approaches, 'I've been moved by your words and want to give my life to you', the student become a 'problem', because the guru will want to give his life in reciprocation.
Our Western Civilization looks down on this, we have a bad experience of being manipulated by others. Because of this we are shut down, our hearts are closed. "
I know that Swami has given himself freely to our guru, Srila Prabhupada. He speaks from experience. Since 1977, we served together in Berkeley and Chicago. Swami's surrender was an inspiration at that time and continues to inspire hearts to open.
I'm grateful my son has access to what was available to me in my youth.
He's getting a jump on me, I was 18 when I met my guru.
Good things should increase, get better with every generation.
That's real progress.