Last weekend I once again had the opportunity to have darshan with my current guru-ji Swami Vidyadishananda, via a live feed. Anyone who says that it is not the same as being in the physical presence of the guru…may be onto something, granted. Maybe. I mean what is “presence” when it comes down to it? Anyway, at the end of his discourse he always offers arati to this “virtual mela” and though I cannot smell the smoke, and cannot actually hold my hands over the flame and waft it over my person, press its warmth to my face, I still experience the arati in a way that is just as “real” as when it is taken in temple.
Swami V is a very (anything I say here will be a tremendous understatement) character. I’ve known it ever since one of the first times I saw him via webcast. I have yet to have physical darshan with him, but like I said, what is “presence” when it comes down to it? In any case I have experienced enough with him to hold me. At the end of the talk a strange swirl of light that I couldn’t explain seem to play upon his face. Not the first time. It always seems that when things like that happen there is a glint of awareness in his eyes. Kind of a “I know that you know” sort of connection. Most of you wont know what I am on about right now, and one might say “It’s just a light. Don’t get too hung up on what may be just siddhi.” True. And maybe that is the message whenever I feel this eye-to-eye connection with the Swami. “See this? Ignore it.”
It is tough though, seeing him only online, because much like reading a book on a mobile device affords the would-be reader the temptation to drift off or distract oneself online with something else that comes to mind, the same CAN happen when you are watching a discourse online. Perhaps that speaks volumes of the devotee’s dedication to the subject. Fair enough. And I don’t mean to compare one’s guru to the latest entry in the Oprah Book Club. But attention is attention. Something we all lack from time to time.
While listening to the Swami I found myself looking for an email from a friend, and had to replay various segments of the discourse. I found myself upset with my lack of focus, questioning what I was getting out of this talk that the Swami had offered for my betterment, if I wanted it. It is there for the taking. It is not being, and will not be spoon-fed to me. Just as I began to examine the source of my monkey-mind, the Swami said something about how we are continually shifting from one focus to another, pin-balling back and forth “from this and that and this and that and this and that.” Yeah…I don’t know the remedy for that distraction, but I think that in mere recognition of it, we disarm it somewhat. Recognition is awareness. Awareness breeds focus, eventually bringing you back to where you were before the monkey-mind began carrying on.
Aum Hara Aum Hara Sadashivaya
Aum Hari Aum Hari Narayanaya!