Next time we went to Thapovanam Siddhashramam as early as we could with the intention of spending the whole day in ashram.
We reached there around 8:30 in the morning & saw a large group of people gathered together in prayer. A disciple came towards us with a kind yet very warm smile and informed that it was ‘Guru Upasana Day’. Its that day of the year when all the disciples gather together and spend the whole day in prayer & worship. ‘Guru Upasana Day’ literally means a day to worship Guru. But not in the religious sense of worship. It just means that all the disciples spend the day silently expressing their gratitude towards Guru Madhavacharyan for being the light of their lives & much more; and also in deep prayer.
We were also invited to join the prayer if we liked. My husband happily agreed. He was always in a fantastic mood whenever he came to the ashram. Like a small kid, he found everything in ashram very amusing & was always laughing & smiling.
I, however, felt a bit reluctant. I was not sure that I wanted to pray. I hadn’t prayed for months. I had given up & stopped praying when my family didn’t come back to me even after I prayed hard & intensely. I spent weeks & months in prayer weeping & begging for a chance to get back with my family but nothing happened. Eventually, I gave up hope & I gave up prayer. I lost my faith in God.
I went to Thapovanam Siddhashramam again wishing to meet Guru Madhavacharyan. All I wanted was to see Guruji & listen to His words as I could not forget the overwhelming sense of peace and joy I felt the last time I spoke to Him. However, Guruji was nowhere to be seen. Having nothing else to do, I followed my husband & sat among the crowd.
The next session of prayer was about to start. Another disciple of Guru Madhavacharyan was sitting in front facing the crowd. She too had a kind & affectionate expression on her face. She would be guiding the prayer & we were supposed to repeat after her. She too, like Guruji, spoke softly which instantly put me into ease. I immediately liked her and started to listen intently. She gave us a brief description of Guru Upasana Day and its importance. (which I will definitely put in another post as it’s a bit long to be put here).
After she finished the description, she asked us all to close our eyes & take deep relaxed breaths. I followed reluctantly as I understood that the prayer is going to start. I was still angry with God. I didn’t want to pray. Yet, I followed the instructions.
I was expecting some hymns or mantras in languages like Sanskrit which are supposed to be the divine languages but was astonished as the prayer was in the common native language & very simple. Even a kid would be able to understand the meaning & follow with ease. Basically, the prayer was for the redemption & betterment of ourselves, others & the whole world. We were praying to become better human beings & bring peace upon the world. We were praying for good changes in us, as only when we change, can the world also be changed.
There was no poetic arrangement of words, nor were there any hard complicated words which are usually meant to impress. The simplicity of the prayer touched my heart. The effect of that simple prayer was sudden & massive. I felt a huge wave of peace & relief washing over me. I felt completely immersed in it & for a short while I forgot my surroundings. This was a whole new experience for me. I never knew prayer could bring such an instant and deep effect on you.
I used to spend a lot of time in prayers right from my childhood. But after this experience, I felt ashamed of the way I had been praying all these years. All my prayers were so self-oriented. It was always about me or something I wanted. Whenever I wanted to achieve something or some circumstance to happen which was beyond my control, I would immediately start to pray and my prayers were always answered. My prayers were not like prayers, they were like demands. I was demanding something from God and He always fulfilled them. And for the first time in my life, a prayer was not answered, I got angry with God and stopped praying. What a selfish thing to do.
These disciples, on the other hand, were praying with such huge respect and love for God and they were not asking for any personal gain. The prayers were frequently filled with words of gratitude for all the blessings we humans received from God. Their prayers were so selfless and that’s why it brought such a soothing effect. I felt huge respect for Guruji and His disciples.
I was taking God for granted & always demanding one thing or another. I wanted to run away and hide somewhere in shame but as there was no place to hide from the Omnipresent Supreme Power, I sat there instead and asked for forgiveness. I could feel tears running down my face but they were not tears of sadness. I was feeling overwhelmed as I realized the immeasurable amount of love & care that God has been showering all my life. At that moment of realization, I felt a deep sense of gratitude and affection which was filling my heart and was making me feel elated.
At that moment I really wanted to meet Guruji and thank Him for this wonderful experience. I couldn’t explain how but I was completely sure that Guruji was the one behind this suddenly found wisdom of mine. But He was still not out for us to see. Something inside me told me that you need not see Him directly to tell Him this. He can still hear you even if He is out of your sight. I don’t know what made me think so, but I was so sure of this. So I closed my eyes & silently expressed my heartfelt gratitude to Guruji.
The whole day was spent like this. There were sessions of guided prayers as well as sessions of silent prayers. We were asked to observe the sensations in our body to feel the energy we received through prayers. It was explained that energy can also be felt like we feel sensations of heat, cold, etc. This was another new information for me and as I observed I found out that it was true. I could feel sensations like vibrations, pulsations, warmth, sometimes like prickling, etc in different parts of my body.
It was a day full of deep indulgence. I can’t express in words how I felt after that day full of prayers. At the end of the sessions, Guruji came out to see everyone. I was already feeling so calm & relaxed after all the prayers. I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel any more peace. But as Guruji came out, a more strong sense of peace and calm spread throughout the place.
I wondered inside, what is this place and who is this person? Am I dreaming? How is all this possible? What’s actually happening here? I looked at my husband and he was staring at Guruji with a completely dazzled expression. I noticed that almost everyone around had the same expression. So I knew it was not just me who felt this effect.
On the way back home, my husband couldn’t stop talking about Guruji and ashram and the disciples. And inside me, a quest was initiated. I wanted to know more about the place and about Guruji. I wanted to understand what’s really happening there. And I was determined to find the answers.
[to be continued]
For more information about Nirvana Yoga and Guru Madhavacharyan and the ashram, you can visit the official website http://www.nirvanayogaglobal.com. You can also visit the facebook pages ‘Madhavacharyan’ and ‘Thapovanam Siddhashramam Trust’