They say that when the disciple is ready the ‘Guru’ will come. For years I sat at my altar daily and begged God to send me a Guru. I did not know how I could find a Guru in Winnipeg. Our scriptures say that enlightenment can be achieved only with the guidance of a Guru.
Then in July 1994 a Swami came to Winnipeg to share His vision of publishing the Encyclopedia of Hinduism. The Hindu community welcomed Him and his group with a large yagna at Birds Hill Park. With a torrential downpour, my sari was soaked as I sat with my family around the havan kund offering ahutis to the chanting of Vedic mantras. Then the thought came to me that I should become vegetarian. It was the first time I recognized the difference between a thought coming to me and my thinking a thought. I decided in that moment to become vegetarian! My Guru impacted me even before we met or He officially became my Guru.
In April 2001, I attended a business retreat. All the exercises at the retreat resulted in only one answer – I was going to the Ashram in India to be with Pujya Swamiji. I was aware of a sense of joy on my drive home and attributed it to the warm Spring day. I decided to take advantage of the warm day for some gardening. I turned on the music but the warm sunshine and gentle breeze called to me. I lay down on the lounge chair to enjoy the sunshine. As I listened to the Shiva bhajans I was transported to Ma Ganga in Rishikesh, feeling Her waters on my body. I could actually smell the air and hear Her waves. I returned to ‘reality’ to find myself lying on the warm grass dancing in complete ecstasy.
When my husband returned home I told him that I was going to India for 3 months. I knew with every fibre of my body that I had to go to the Ashram. I wrote to Pujya Swamiji to seek permission and He replied, ‘Come home’. We did not have the money and I was working fulltime. I went to my Executive Director and asked what I needed to do to get a 3 month leave of absence to go to India. The organization had never given a 3 month leave of absence unless it was for medical reasons; however, she said I could write a letter to the Board of Directors. The 3 month leave was approved! On Oct 6th, 2001 I left Canada for Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India.
At the Ashram, I listened to Pujya Swamiji’s voice and wisdom, observed His mannerisms and movements, the look in His eyes and His gentle and loving smile. A few days after my arrival at the Ashram I shared with Him my desire to serve a guru as my mother had served wandering sadhus in Trinidad. In that moment of grace, all my prayers were answered when He said, ‘I will be your Guru’! On Oct 17, 2001, on Mom’s birthday, during NavRatri, H H Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji gave me my Guru Mantra and I became His disciple. He later said to me, ‘there is so much more’!
Many people want peace and joy. We must be willing to do what is necessary to be ready to receive the blessings. With patience and faith, the willingness to constantly discipline my life, to give up that which is harmful to my soul, to surrender completely, I have a Guru to guide me along this wonderful journey to enlightenment. I am living a life of pure ecstasy, peace and joy – the ‘more’ that He promised!
Tara is a speaker, learning facilitator, focusing practitioner, yoga instructor and holistic interpersonal wellness coach guiding individuals and groups to discover their purpose for a life of peace and joy. She offers workshops internationally on Finding Peace in the Chaos, The Human Aspect to Inclusion and Co-Creating Your Life; and has a growing holistic interpersonal wellness coaching practice.