When Master Kamlesh Patel visited Austin in June this year, we Texans were beyond excited about the opportunity to meet our spiritual Guru. Personally, I had never met any of the Masters of Heartfulness in my life in spite of being in the system for almost 8 years. Circumstances had never been favorable for me to be able to travel to meet the previous Master. I started with Heartfulness when our previous Master, Chariji was still physically present on this plane. Like everybody else, I too yearned to meet him but it never really worked out.
In December 2014, I was relaxing in a shady corner under the coconut trees on a peaceful beach in Puerto Rico… reading Chariji’s book when my friend sent me a text message letting me know that our beloved Master had passed away. I quietly closed the book and stared at the ocean. I was absorbing the news. After a few minutes, I finally managed to smile. I was happy that my Master’s physical ordeal had come to an end. Deep inside, I had been concerned for his health. But I wasn’t worried about anything else other than that. I did not shed any tears. There was no need to.
Some friends asked me if I felt sad because I did not get a chance to meet him before he was gone. At that point in time I did not say anything other than a simple “no” and I am sure they did not believe me. But it did not matter.
When our new guru, Master Kamlesh was visiting Austin, which was only three hours away from where I lived, I was definitely not going to miss the opportunity. I drove to Austin and we had a lovely gathering with our new Master. I am glad I went to the gathering because I learned some very important things about myself. Had I not been there, I would never be able to share this experience with you through this post.
During lunch at the gathering, a close friend asked me an innocent question. She said to me, “I know you speak so highly of the previous Master and we know how much you loved him…so based on that, what do you think of this Master? Are you able to accept him as the new Master?” At that very moment I felt a huge lump in my throat and I was unable to speak. She was waiting for an answer and I knew I had to say something to not hurt her feelings by being quiet. But before I could respond, I ran into another older friend in the crowd who stopped to say hello. She had something very similar to discuss with me about our new Master. She said, “Yes, I know he is the new Master but the old Master was something else. I am sure the new one will eventually evolve to be like the old one.” By now the lump in my throat began to hurt immensely. I smiled politely and went back to my friend who had asked me the question. In both cases, I sensed some kind of insecurity, doubt, and hesitation.
There was so much I wanted to tell them but I remained silent. I had learned it the hard way that people don’t really understand what other people feel or what other people are going through until they themselves experience it. Empathy is difficult to develop these days. I believe that being deeply empathetic is one of the greatest spiritual blessings. So I really did not think they would understand my feelings for my Master. However, I was going to do my part. I was going to try. I answered my friend’s question in very simple words.
I told her that I felt extremely unworthy to discuss what I thought about the current Master. I was not spiritually accomplished to give my opinion about him. However, I told her that I had absolutely no problem in accepting him as my new Guru. Nothing had changed for me. I had never met Chariji and I loved him deeply. I had only heard of the two previous Masters before Chariji but I felt completely connected to them too. If I could be in great love with the Masters before Chariji, why couldn’t I love the Master after him? Only the physical bodies had changed over the years. Everything else was the same. I did not care one bit about the current Master’s shape, size, or color. I could only sense the Love in him. The same Love is carried over from one Master to another. Love doesn’t change even if physical bodies change. I told her that I experienced my Master and His Love in such a way that I did not feel the need to hang his pictures on my wall or have their photo frames on my table. My Master is Love himself. I use the words “Master” and “Love” as synonyms for each other. I do not see any difference in them. And this Love was so great and grand that no photo or a physical human body could contain it within itself.”
She nodded in agreement but I don’t really know how much she personally understood or agreed to. And I thought that was absolutely okay. We are all on the same journey; going towards the same source, only at different speeds. I knew she would reach this stage eventually. Maybe she would have a better understanding than me and someday help me understand things that I did not.
Yes, personally I have been through my own “photo phase” too. We all do! And there is nothing wrong with it. That is also a phase that needs to be embraced lovingly. Possessing the pictures of Masters, meeting them in person, and reading the books written by them is very necessary. We need these tools to know about them and understand their teachings. We need these things to introduce our children and the future Heartfulness generation about spirituality and meditation. One cannot reach the stage of not needing the books, photos, and tools like these without going through what I call the “photo phase.” But we also have to remember that these are only means to help us reach the goal and not the goal itself. I believe sooner or later we will all overcome this material phase and be directly connected to the inner Master. It is never about the current Master evolving to be like the previous Master but about us evolving to be like our Master.
So you may ask me if I had overcome my “photo phase”, what was I doing at the gathering eagerly waiting to meet the physical Master. Personally, I drove all the way to Austin to pay my respects to my Master. I knew he and I were connected beyond the material plane but he had traveled all the way from India to meet us; so couldn’t I drive at least three hours to acknowledge his loving gesture?
It is always a great thing to be able to meet your spiritual Guru in person. But not everyone can do so. We could face issues like health problems, financial difficulties, or even immigration issues to be able to travel to our Master. And he knows it. I know deep in my heart that he knew the problems I went through in reaching him physically so he reached out to me by blessing me to overcome my sadness of not being able to meet him while he was still on this plane. He blessed me with a greater understanding of what a Master truly is. He helped me understand that he was not his body, pictures, books, or a pendant. He was only and only Love. And that Love needed to be felt inside me. My Master never resided outside of me; he had always been inside me.
Chariji had never left me. How could he? Over the years, he had blessed me with his divine transmission (pranahuti) – the life force itself. Through this divine transmission, he continues living through me. He continues living through all of us and also through our current Master. He has left back his divine legacy in our form. Now, it completely depends on us what we choose to do with this legacy – with ourselves! I believe it is time to multiply and move his legacy forward with our actions, faith, and most of all with Love.