So this is the story of a cheerful seeker who didn’t know who/what she was seeking, until one day when she met an intelligent, lovable gentleman.

He gave her a little nudge. She was taken aback. But she was a compliant person, and so she gamely went along. Followed his lead, moving towards greater clarity about herself and the world around… until she hit a wall one day. Befuddled for a moment, she gingerly stepped forward, hand outstretched, only to realize that it was not really a wall she had encountered, but a gateway to a hidden path.

As she started on this new journey, she realized that she was somewhat alone. She had left behind nearly all her companions. But it didn’t feel lonesome at all.

She wondered, is it okay to have such a wonderful time, all by yourself?

I met Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in early 2005. I had recently taken the Art of Living Course, and begun practising the breathing techniques. Soon enough, I came to know about the creator of the program, Sri Sri. The opportunity to meet him arose within a few months, and I took it up. Went to Miami for a Silence Program, and ended up meeting Gurudev. He has a magical persona, what can I say! It is all joy and smiles around him, and you feel elevated. I have often thought that the love surrounding Gurudev is like a tangible object; you can feel its solid presence. He epitomizes love, joy and wisdom for millions around the world. It is a miracle to see people from Latin America, Europe and other places respond to his presence, as if they have known him all their lives. This phenomenon defies logic and explanation.

I was similarly charmed. Then I began listening to his talks/videos, and I was drawn to the simple elegance of his explanations. His words seemed to be filled with timeless meaning. I chewed on them for years on end, as my own intelligence matured, granting me newer perspectives of all that he said.

A wise woman recently remarked that I was currently in a period of “blossoming and blooming intelligence.” And so it happened that I began to view the world (inner and outer) somewhat differently from my cohort. And then I wondered, is this original thought? How can it be so? Surely, someone like Gurudev would have spoken about it?

It occurred to me that words lose the ability to convey meaning beyond a certain point. Gurudev had patiently led us, again and again and yet again, to that point. And he would probably continue doing so for a long time to come. What lies beyond that juncture is an individual, solo endeavor. Or so it seemed to me. But I felt so supported, so strengthened and ready and capable for that journey… it was as though he had prepared me for this moment. It was perfect.

To me, this is freedom.

It also freed me from him. For many years, I lived in deep adoration of Gurudev. I followed him around, too shy to even say a word. I hung on to his very presence, keeping it alive around me in every way possible. I treated the idea of Gurudev (yes, I do mean “the idea of Gurudev” because I believe that it is clearly separate from who he is) like a sacrament, a precious relic that I would sully or dirty if I wasn’t careful or aware enough. Yes, I certainly did my part in ensuring that this idea remained as far away from me as possible.

One day, it struck me, these very words – You don’t need to move an inch to meet the Guru.

And thus Gurudev freed me of himself too… Like every beautiful relationship in my life that gave me the gifts of time and space.

Gurudev gave me wings, taught me to fly, cut me loose.

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