CHAPTER – 2
When Namadharaka woke up, his dream had infused in him a determination to contact that avadhuta on the physical plane. He wandered about, deeply meditating on the form he saw in his dream. At last, he saw a yogi who was merciful and who transcended the dualities like joy and sorrow. Indeed, he was the same yogi who appeared in his dream.
Namadharaka was thrilled to see him and the hair on his body stood up on end. With a quivering voice, he hailed the holy one thus: “Lord! You are my father, mother, protector, teacher and dispeller of fear. Whither are you going? It is my good fortune that you have appeared to me now. Fellow human beings flock around one, only in time of his prosperity and desert him in his times of misery. Only the holy ones come to his rescue, when he is in distress. You are my all in all. And I am disillusioned with all worldly ties. I have realized the five miseries that afflict the mortals. I am one Namadharaka. I am desperately in search of Sree Guru and I am determined even to lay down my life in search. It is not possible for every one to dispel my deep despair. But at the very sight of you, my heart is filled with bliss. I therefore knew that only you could ward off my misery.” The siddha (perfect one) replied: “I am the disciple of Sree Guru whose devotees are ever assured of both physical sustenance during their life and spiritual liberation. He ever abides later on the banks of river Bheema. He is beyond the reach of three modes of existence (thrigunas) and his true nature can be perceived only by yogis in their meditation. I have attained realization by the grace of Sree Guru and wander about this earth for the welfare of all beings. I am known as Siddha (perfect one)”.
Namadharaka said, “Lord! Your teacher Sree Guru is indeed our ancestral deity. I have been serving him with faith and devotion. How is that he has been throwing me in this ocean of misery?” Siddha replied, “My son, even when others are angry with us, the guru ever protects us, his devotees. If, indeed, as you say, he were ever to get angry with us, there is none who can protect us from his wrath. Even when an ordinary mortal of a guru is angered, none can protect us. It looks as though you are estranged from the Guru for such a breach in your trust. He who is doubting and faithless is never accepted by any one as a disciple. Then who can grace him has no faith in Sree Guru himself and who is therefore ignored by him”. Namadharaka asked, “Lord, you have said that none can protect a man who has angered even a mortal of a teacher. Has this truth ever been confirmed in anyone’s experience? Besides, how did the divine, who is beyond the three-fold nature of all phenomena manifest himself through same?”
Siddha replied at length, “Long long ago, the non-dual Supreme Self wished to manifest Himself as the many. That wish is the Lord’s Maya, the divine creative power. When he was in sleep of yogic trance, the whole cosmos was created by the power of Maya. From the navel of Lord Vishnu emanated a divine lotus, from which sprang Brahma, the creator. Knowledge of Vedas was bestowed on him by Vishnu. In accordance with the Vedic wisdom, Brahma projected the universe. He also created the natural classification of the various codes of conduct for castes (Varna) and the four stages (ashramas) of human life, to suit the human beings endowed with different propensities. He also created the cycle of the four yugas or universal epochs. Of these, Kritayuga is symbolized by the principles of truth, dispassion, wisdom and religious sacrifice. The intricacies and details of Yagna or religious sacrifice characterize the Tretayuga (the third, when counted in the reverse order from the age of Kali, and which is thrice as long as the age of Kali). The Dwapara epoch is weapon – wielding. Kali age has its tongue and genitals prominently displayed signifying the preoccupations of the age. He is dirty as a ghoul. The Krita or Satya yuga is 17, 28,000 years long. The Treta is 12, 96,000 years. The Dwapara is 8, 64,000 years. The Kali age is 4, 32,000 years in extent. So did the Lord ordain. Now listen to the story of the Guru which was narrated by Brahma, the creator, to Kali, the spirit of the dark age, on the eve of its advent on earth. Kali said, “Lord! How can I ever hope to enter the earthly realm of existence which is inhabited by those who are righteous? My mind despairs even on hearing of it. I am the breaker of the bridge of righteousness. I am the inspirer of grief, dispute, hate and the fire of craving. Even my brother is even allied to lust and anger and he is dear to me as my very life. The godless, the unrighteous and the non-observer of religious vows are my very life. All the righteous ones in the Indian peninsula are my enemies. My very life is threatened at the sight of those who serve the guru, the deities, righteous Brahmins and their own parents. Even the very sight of a yogi or a sage is as unbearable to me.” Brahma replied, “You enter the mundane life of men through their instinctive propensities for sense pleasures. The average life span of a human being in the kali age is 100 years. Anyone can attain perfection at any time during his life-time. So, don’t leave them. But your evil tendencies will not be able to touch those who are devoted to the guru, god, deities and righteous Brahmins, and especially those who are devoted to the guru, just as water cannot moisten a lotus leaf. Even the Gods cannot harm one who is devoted to the Guru”. Even Kali asked him surprised, “Lord! Why is the guru superior to the gods and why is the devotee of a guru unconquerable even for the gods? Has this truth been ever demonstrated? If so, may you narrate the incident”. Brahma said, “Oh Kali, it is impossible to acquire wisdom without a guru. Even the gods achieve their objects through devotion to the guru. Once upon a time, there lived a sage named Vedadharma, on the banks of river Godavari. He had numerous disciples. Once he wished to test their devotion and said, “My dear beloved disciples, I have burnt out a major portion of my previous sins through my austerity. Yet a little of it remains. And I have to patiently bear its consequence in the form of a disease and live at the holy city of Kasi. Who amongst you is willing to attend on me during that period? He who is willing has to wash my body every day and ward off flies as I will have to suffer from leprosy”. All the disciples were afraid and kept silent. But one of them by name Deepaka came forward and said, “Oh, my Guru! No impurity should be allowed to impede you from attaining liberation. I shall willingly undergo that suffering in your stead. May you permit me to do so.” “No, my son, I alone shall suffer for my sins. It cannot be taken over by my disciples. If you can, you serve me,” said the guru. Deepaka assented and accompanied his guru Vedadharma to Kasi. There the guru was overtaken by leprosy and the disciple started serving him. The whole of the guru’s body was covered by the sores and he became blind. Also, he lost all sense of propriety in his actions. Often he used to get angry with the disciple and beat him. He used to demand food and service at odd hours. And he used to trouble Deepaka if he failed to furnish the same. In his agony, the guru often got wild and threw away the food; Deepaka got by begging, saying that it was bad and demanded good food. When the disciple set out for alms, the master used to call him back saying, ‘My body is covered with filth and urine and flies will trouble me. Stupid, where do u want to go, leaving me like this?’ When Deepaka got ready to wash his body, the Guru prevented him saying, ‘I am dying of hunger, you wicked fellow! Don’t you know that you have to feed me first?’ Sometimes, after partaking of the food brought by his disciple he would tenderly say, ’Son, you are worn out in serving me; lie down and sleep for a while,’ But by the time Deepaka fell asleep, he would yell, “You rascal, get up! How dare you sleep peacefully when I am hungry? Go and get me food!’
In spite of such severe testing, the disciple served him cheerfully for he believed that his Guru was the supreme lord incarnate. He willingly sacrificed his food and sleep in serving his master. He believed that the washings of the guru’s feet were as holy as Ganges water and he never thought of anything else even for a moment. Charmed by the devotion of Deepaka, Lord Viswanadha (Siva) of Kasi appeared before him and volunteered to offer a boon and commanded him to ask for anything he liked. Deepaka said, “Lord, what do I gain by seeking boon for myself? I shall find out from my guru whether he would be pleased to allow me to pray for his health’, and promptly reported the matter to Vedadharma. The latter grew wild and said, “I shall work out my sins only through suffering and I do not need any other means. Have you adopted this strategy in order to spare yourself the trouble of serving me?” The disciple returned to Lord Vishwanadha and said,”As my guru is not willing, I do not want to ask for anything”. Lord Vishwanadha went away feigning anger. He went to Vykuntha, the celestial abode of Lord Vishnu and told him, “There is a great sage by name Vedadharma who is ill, living under a peepul tree at Kasi. He has a great disciple by name Deepaka. I lovingly went to him to grant a boon. He who is absorbed in serving his Guru refused to ask me anything”. Lord Vishnu, longing to see him, at once appeared to Deepaka and offered to grant him a boon. When the Lord who cannot be persuaded to appear before the devotee even through the eight fold yoga, austerity, contemplation, religious vows and other religious practices, said to Deepaka, “Oh pious one, in spite of the severest trials, you are faithfully serving your master and we are much pleased with it. You ask me for anything you want”. Deepaka replied, “Lord! The guru indeed is the god of gods. Liberation is possible only through wisdom. Through wisdom one attains mastery over deities like you. What else do I need? If you are not pleased to go away like Lord Vishwanadha, bless me that my faith in my guru shall increase. As all other things are perishable I shall not ask for any.” Lord Vishnu said,”You already have immense faith in your guru. Therefore, I grant you the power to save those who yearn for faith and devotion through your fame. By glorifying the guru with Vedic recitations and total surrender to him, I am ever pleased. I shall bestow my presence only on such. Even the Lord of death cannot cause any fear to such a devotee. What else need he fear? The eight supernatural powers serve him. There is nothing superior to it.” When Lord Vishnu vanished, Deepaka reported this incident to his guru. Vedadharma was much pleased and, placing his blessing hand on the head of his disciple, made him a master of all Spiritual Wisdom.
It is only to proclaim the sanctity of Kasi and to test the devotion of his disciple that Vedadharma who was skilled in spiritual wisdom and liberated while living, took on him self the ordeal of illness. A true sage has no more sins to suffer. Oh, Spirit of Kali! There are several such stories that speak of the glory of the guru. They are indeed such as would sanctify those who recount them and their listeners. But never cast your eye on anyone who is devoted to his guru!”
As per the command of Lord Brahma, the spirit of kali entered the earthly plane and did as he was ordered. If even a mortal of guru is so great, what to speak of the glory of a perfect Sadguru? Whoever serves such a guru with true faith and devotion, shall achieve the supreme object of life. The doubting, however, shall never achieve anything. Therefore, Oh Namadharaka, if you wish for the highest good for yourself, you seek refuge in Sree Guru who still exists in human form and serve him with unwavering faith. Then you shall cross the ocean of misery, viz., this phenomenal existence.