To me my Guru
was everything; his instructions were gospel truth
for me; discipline was everything; my submission to his will was total. To a soldier discipline is dearer than life. Call it blind faith, or love for discipline, whatever duty was assigned to me or whatever life routine I was asked to follow have been carried out with utmost devotion and dedication.
Two phases of my spiritual life have been completed in 24 years between the age-span of 15 and 40. Deviations from the precepts of "Matrivat ParadareÌu" and "LoÌÚhavat ParadravyeÌu" normally occur during this phase of life. This is the period when normally the pull of cravings, lust, greed and ambitions is almost irresistible. This period in my case was spent in studying, thinking, introspecting, self-restraint, meditation and Sadhana. Generally persons past adulthood are selected for spiritual Sadhana.
People of young age can, and should, shoulder the responsibilities ranging from financial management to military service. There is enough scope in these fields for fulfilling ambitions. The youth can also contribute in service activities. But youth is not the appropriate phase of life for spiritual leadership. There are a few exceptions like Shankaracharya, Dayanand, Vivekanand, Ramdas, Meera, Nivedita etc., who right in their early youth, successfully shouldered the responsibility of spiritual leadership.
Generally raw youth is devoid of mature wisdom. Those who enter the public field while still gripped by greed for power and fame and are prone to temptations and sensual attractions, create problems for themselves and the society. Downfall of even the best institutions is caused by such novices. Though evil is not restricted to any particular age, the normal perception is that youth is for pursuing ego-centric ambitions. With receding age, a person grows physically weak and so do his material desires. With lurking fear of death entering the mind, an interest in inner life, and religious activities develops. Hence scholarly seers have considered the post-adulthood phase of life appropriate for Vanaprastha (transition from material pursuits to spiritual aspirations) and for Sanyas
(renunciation of all worldly pursuits). I do not know as to why my master engaged me in tapaicarya (life of devout austerity) at a very young age and in accomplishing it when I reached the age of 40. Maybe, he apprehended that I may slip down and get carried off by temptations of name, fame, pelf and power. He must have visualized that without inner strength and maturity, accomplishment of a great missionary task would not be possible; and that it was essential to inculcate in me the qualities of firmness, patience, courage and equanimity as pre-requisites before entrusting me with the great task. Thus, my youth and adulthood were spent in austere Sadhana. Everything went on normally during that period. The only uncommon feature was the "Akhand Deepak" burning day and night with ghee of cow milk.
It was kept incessantly burning in the prayer room. Its spiritual or scientific secret was not exactly known to me. To me my Guru
was everything; his instructions were gospel truth
for me; discipline was everything; my submission to his will was total. To a soldier discipline is dearer than life. Call it blind faith, or love for discipline, whatever duty was assigned to me or whatever life routine I was asked to follow have been carried out with utmost devotion and dedication. The installation of Akhand Deepak in the prayer room is part of this process. After relying on the Guide and fully submitting to him, there was no question of doubt or debate. On being told that Akhand Deepak had a role in the Sadhana
prescribed to me, I simply complied with it and kept it burning throughout the duration of 24 Puraicaranas.
Later on, it became dearer than life. It could be put out after 24 years, but such a thought was tantamount to extinguishing my own lamp of life. Hence it was decided to keep it lighted. When I was away in unknown parts of Himalayas, my dedicated soulmate (my wife) would take care of it. Had I been alone without a soulmate, I would not have been able to do any other Sadhana. It was very difficult to keep the Akhand Deepak ever lighted. Servants, disciples or people of weak spiritual conviction would not have been able to do so. It could not have been possible by mere external alertness; it needed total inner dedication, which only a true soulmate could provide.
Maybe, this Akhand Deepak is symbolic of Akhand Yagya. The joss sticks may be playing the role of material for oblation, japa
playing the part of recitation of mantras, and the Deepak (Lamp) playing the part of offering of ghee in the sacrificial fire. In this way an automatic process of sacrificial offering may be getting accomplished. The pitcher of water and the lamp kept together could be instrumental in producing vaporization in a subtle way and be generating some subtle power, like steam in an engine. Or it may be that this external light is helpful in kindling the light within. Whatever it may be, I have been getting spiritual light and inner bliss from this Akhand Deepak in ample measure.
This lamp placed on the pedestal was burning externally in the beginning. Later I experienced that the lamp was burning within me in the same form and was illuminating my entire inner being as the outer one illuminated the room. The illumination I was feeling within my body, mind and soul - in the gross, astral and causal bodies - might have been its repercussion. Throughout the duration of Upasana
this light was glowing in the senses, just like the room was illuminated by the ever–alight lamp. Everything about me became illuminated, the veil of darkness was removed, desires and cravings vanished. Mind and body were radiating illumined feelings, thoughts and actions.
The ocean of light was undulating everywhere and I was merrily swimming in it, like a fish in the lake. The role played by these sensations in the development of the power of self, divine outlook, and joy is beyond description. Maybe it is my imagination, but had not the Akhand Deepak been kindled my inside too would have perhaps remained as dimly lighted as the prayer room. Now it is seen glittering like the festive light of Diwali. It is in this emotional flow that the magazine I started years back in 1937 was christened "Akhand Jyoti ", the name that I liked the most in the world. Maybe it is due to this devotional start that the small sapling has now grown so large that its present circulation is estimated to be over 10 lakhs and the magazine is spreading its enlightened message all over the world.
On entering the third phase of Sadhana, the rays of "Âtmavat SarvabhuteÌu" began to illuminate my soul. The first two phases i.e. "Matrivat ParadareÌu" and "LoÌÚhavat ParadravyeÌu" were concerned with my own body only. When sin entered in the two eyes, the third eye of discernment made it beat a hasty retreat. The body was subjected to austere discipline and snapped the roots out of which sinful sprouts originated. So the evil tendencies had no soil to take roots.
The "Sadhana of Matrivat ParadareÌu" was mastered without any difficulty. Mind created a little trouble in the beginning, but the body was always at my command and control. The mind ultimately accepted defeat and began to cooperate like a good friend. By voluntary adoption of poverty and minimizing the needs to the barest, as well as giving up the tendency to hoard, there was no question of
coveting "paradravya" (others wealth). When ones own earning was adequate to feed the stomach and cover the body, why to covet others things? Whatever could be saved after meeting the minimal needs was distributed among others.
Those who are by nature prone to giving and distributing and deriving joy out of it can never hoard. A life style based on minimum needs, simplicity and a non-hoarding Brahmana (One who is devoted to spiritual pursuits and leads a simple altruistic life) has filled my inner-self with unexplainable happiness and contentment. Had this happiness and contentment been the way of life of masses, there would have been hardly anyone wanting to earn sin, by coveting others wealth. Merely boasting to be an Aparigrahi (non-coveter) would not do. How many can feel in themselves the unique joy that comes out of giving? In my case, I got the treasure of these divine gifts effortlessly.