On the eve of Guru Purnima, OSWALD PEREIRA pays tribute to his guru Paramhansa Yogananda, who taught him universalism, unity, and oneness of the human race ― and of all religions ― based on equality and freedom of faiths and people
Love is a many-splendoured thing. So is a guru. She/he is a father-mother-friend-philosopher and guide. It all depends on how you interpret the word ‘guru’ or whom you consider a guru.
When we are youngsters, we tend to get infatuated with a person or hero worship someone. We look up to that person as our role model and consider him/her our guru. As we grow up and grow out of that person, we drop the crown of guru for that individual.
Finding a true guru is a continuous, often life-long process. There are so many human gems that we come across, one better than the other. Choosing the one meant for us is not an easy task. Or should it be the other way round ― a guru chooses his chelas or disciples.
There are stories of saints, sages and yogis, who came across many great spiritual beings in their lives. But eventually, the right guru came their way, as if by Divine appointment.
The relationship between a guru and disciple is sacred. A guru is a channel to God. But this doesn’t mean one cannot reach God without a guru. Everyone may not be lucky enough to have a guru. In that case, when the seeker is sincere, God steps in and assumes the role of guru as well.
For those who are not religious or spiritual, the concept of a guru may sound alien to their psyche. But rather than looking down upon non-believers, we should respect them for their individuality.
Every human, whether he believes in Him or not, is made in the image of God. For non-believers, their guru is their super-consciousness, through which they see Divinity in a hue of their own.
My first guru(s) were my mother, Maisie Pereira, and father, Cyprian Pereira. Both were brave and compassionate people. I vividly remember Mother lying on the road in front of a police jeep, when the cops picked me up from the veranda where I was studying for my second-year college exams.
The police were trying to falsely implicate me, then just out of my teens, as being a leading member of an agitation by residents of our village, Kolbad, in Thane. The villagers were agitating against the grabbing of our village playground by the municipal authorities, who were reportedly planning to set up their own sub-office there.
“You can take my son over my dead body,” my mother, shouted, as she lay on the road. She was soon joined by scores of villagers, who scared the police away. Such was the power of the people in those days.
While being brave, my mother was also compassionate. A less fortunate villager in need of food would drop in at our home and mother would feed the person with a good, hearty meal. Mother would also generously gift our house helps clothes and cash on various festivals.
My father, too, was a very brave person. One day, a neighbour came screaming in panic to our home, crying that his tenant was threatening him with a knife and refusing to pay the rent of several months that was long overdue. Father rushed to the neighbour’s rescue and disarmed the knife-wielding man, in an instant. He felled the bully to the floor with a massive sock on his jaw. The man begged for forgiveness, bolted inside his house and returned with the rent money.
On another occasion, Father rehabilitated a beggar, who used to come begging in the village, by giving him some cash to buy new clothes, and employing him in the factory where he worked as chief engineer.
When I lost my parents, I was anchorless, without a guide or guru. For many years, like many others, I managed to be my own guru, successfully, but not quite so, ideally speaking.
Then some years ago, I chanced upon an organisation that taught seekers the philosophy of the great yogi and sage, Paramhansa Yogananda. Gurudeva brought Light into my life and helped me to rediscover myself by introducing me to a scientific technique of God-contact through yoga and meditation.
Universalism, unity, and oneness of the human race ― and of all religions ― based on equality and freedom of faiths and people, is the simple Truth that Yogananda taught me. Gurudeva’s vibrations are so strong that he seems so real, like he were present in flesh, in person.
Yogananda has broken the myth that you need a live guru to show you the path. As we celebrate Guru Purnima tomorrow, I wish to express a million thanks to my gurudeva, Paramhansa Yogananda.
Featured Image: Paramhansa Yogananda (Photo Courtesy: Los Angeles Times)
Oswald Pereira, a senior journalist, has also written eight books, including The Newsroom Mafia, Chaddi Buddies, The Krishna-Christ Connexion, How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Life and Crime Patrol: The Most Thrilling Stories. Oswald is a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, and practises Kriya Yoga.