I will conclude the section on ‘GOD IS YOUR GURU’, with a wonderful story of a holy man who acknowledged the ‘GRACE OF GOD’.
Swami Tapovanam was a monk (SWAMI) par-excellence.
He had no disciples, but had many students who came to him to study the scriptures.
As he was a good scholar of the scriptures and as a matter of duty, he taught his fellow junior monks resident in the area, the scriptures on a systematic basis.
This is to ensure that the scriptural knowledge and wisdom gets transmitted from generation to generation of monks.
Thus in this manner, the ancient wisdom gets transmitted just like one torch flame igniting another in the progressive history of mankind.
Thus the scriptural knowledge and spiritual light is kept aflame.
He alternated his stay between Uttara Kasi and Gangotri.
During the summer he would reside at Gangotri situated at 11,000ft up in the high mountains of the Himalayas.
And during the winter he would come down to Uttara Kasi situated at 4000ft and even further down to Rishikesh.
All three places were the abode of monks in this part of the Himalayan region.
I too, personally alternated my stay in these three places during my 50 years of life as a monk.
At that time a good many monks lived independently in independent huts.
Thus it was a conclave of monks unaffiliated to any institution or big ashrams.
This way of life is necessary and what’s more would facilitate a monk to be in TUNE with the Divine within.
While in an institution or big ashram one gets tuned to a worldly agenda and thereby miss the main purpose and thrust of an inward contemplative life.
Thus this conclave of independent monks is a brotherhood.
In this brotherhood of monks, there was mutual guidance, instruction, teachings and mutual care too.
Yet each was totally independent and lived his own life and had his own spiritual practices and lived his own way.
There were frequent dialogues, enlightening each other.
Thereby, over a period of time each monk acquired a wealth of spiritual knowledge and wisdom.
Alas, this culture faded away by the turn of the last century.
Everything has its time.
In the latter days of SWAMI TAPOVANAM’S life, he had a young Swami attendant administering to his needs.
This Swami attendant, was personally known to me and he recounted to me the last moments of Swami Tapovanam’s earthly existence.
Just as he was about to shed his physical body, he looked at each of the four corners of his little humble hut and gave thanks to ISHWARA (GOD) for the GRACE that had been conferred upon him in this life,
And then shed his body. This is the THANKS-GIVING for God, for the final benediction.
Hence GOD IS OUR GURU.