It was July of 1982, and I was in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. I had taken the vows of sannyasa to become a Siddha Yoga Swami a few months before. And I had just learned that I was being assigned to be one of the resident Swamis at a Siddha Yoga Ashram abroad.
When I heard this news, I felt conflicted. On the one hand, I wanted to serve Baba with all my heart, and in any way that I could. On the other hand, this assignment meant leaving Gurudev Siddha Peeth and being physically far away from Baba.
One night, after the recitation of Shiva Mahimna Stotram, I was sitting in the courtyard on a marble bench across from what was then Dhyan Mandir, the meditation hall—and what is now Baba’s Samadhi Shrine.
As I was sitting there, my heart filled with sadness. I was mulling over the situation, praying desperately to Baba to help me be strong and accept this change. Suddenly I saw a light right in front of me, in the window of Dhyan Mandir. It was a flashlight, and the person holding it was turning it on and off, beaming the light right into my eyes.
I got up and peered into the window. I thought it must be a security guard telling me I needed to vacate the courtyard, since it was getting late.
And then, as I was staring into the light, I saw: it was Baba! Smiling broadly, Baba gestured with his hand for me to come closer to the window.
I ran over and looked up at Baba.
Baba looked back at me, his eyes twinkling, and asked, “Happy?”
“Ji, Baba. Yes, Baba,” I said. Suddenly, I was feeling very, very happy.
But no sooner were the words out of my mouth that I realized this was an opportunity to share my innermost feelings with him.
“Baba,” I said, “I am happy, but… I also feel sad to leave you. I’m afraid I will feel separate. I’ll be so far away… so much distance…”
Suddenly, amidst my stammering, Baba took his hand and sliced vertically through the air. He said emphatically, “Nahi, nahi !”—which means, “No, no!”
Then he looked me in the eyes with so much love, and said in Hindi, sprinkled with English: “Guru and shishya ek!” The Guru and disciple are one! As Baba said this, he held up his index finger. One! One!
Then Baba started to dance, singing ecstatically, “Guru and shishya ek! Guru and shishya ek!” The Guru and disciple are one!
At one point, Baba leaned forward through the window and squeezed my shoulders. He continued to sing: “Guru shishya ek!” Guru and disciple are one!
After some time, Baba stroked my cheek, patted me on the top of my head, and left.
This exquisite memory, that night with Baba in the courtyard of Ganeshpuri, is imprinted on my heart. His teaching—“Guru and shishya ek”—has guided me throughout the years.
The understanding that the Guru and disciple are one, that they have an eternal, unbreakable bond of love that ties them together, has uplifted me, sustained me, and informed all aspects of my life.
Each time I become still and turn within to my own heart, I feel the undeniable, loving presence of Shri Guru in my being, in my life, and in others. Experiencing this connection with the Guru, I feel supported to take the right actions; to do that which is productive, inspiring, and beneficial for those around me, and for myself.
My prayer is that I always remember Baba’s teaching, “Guru and shishya ek,” so that when I speak, when I act, others may feel the Guru’s love and blessings. This is such a joyful way of living.
Thank you, Baba. Happy birthday!