Living with the master
Roopa Rani shares her experience of having a living spiritual master in her life, Maitreya Dadashreeji, guiding and protecting her all the way
Train journeys are beautiful in so many ways. A long journey, in particular, gives us an opportunity to connect with new people, exchange ideas and thoughts, and, of course, share food, which is becoming so rare in the present-day, fast-paced life. On one such train journey, while travelling from Mumbai to Coimbatore, I met a fellow lady traveller, Mrs Ghosh, a well-read and cultured lady with a vast knowledge of spirituality. During the many conversations we had (wherein she would talk, and I would listen), she shared with me about various spiritual programmes she had attended and her learnings from these programmes. She asked me about the reason for my travel and, knowing her spiritual inclination, I opened up to tell her that I was returning from Mumbai after attending a programme of my master Maitreya Dadashreeji.
She was surprisingly elated. Usually, people withdraw when we tell them we have a master. But her response was heart-warming. She told me it is very good to have a living master in one’s life. She said that many people follow the masters of past ages, like Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Buddha, etc., the divine masters who had come to help the people of their times. She emphasised the need for a living master who is physically present with us on this life journey and who can understand the challenges of our times and help us overcome them.
I felt deeply connected to this lady, who could understand so well the need for a living master in one’s life. This conversation triggered a train of thoughts in me. I started to think about the previous divine masters whom I had related to. I had the fortune of receiving initiation from a well-loved and established order of monks—the Ramakrishna Mission in the form of mantra diksha. But my heart was not satisfied with receiving a mantra alone. The reason was none other than Sri Ramakrishna himself.
Having read so much about Sri Ramakrishna and his young disciples, I was fascinated by the concept of having a living master. I would often wonder what it is to have a living master. During my prayers to Sri Ramakrishna, I would express my intense desire to be with a master like Him and experience the unconditional love that He showered on his many young disciples. This prayer to Sri Ramakrishna was answered very soon when I met my master, Dadashreeji, within two years of the mantra diksha at Belur Math. I bow down to Sri Ramakrishna and all the divine masters for blessing me with a living guru, my master, Maitreya Dadashreeji.
How a gurus changes your life
Many of us wonder what it is to have a living master; I can only share from my own experience and understanding. First and foremost, and so dear to my heart, was my experiencing of the unconditional love that I had read about so much in books. It was now my ‘own’ experience. From the time I met Maitreya Dadashreeji, nothing changed externally. My life was flowing as it was supposed to flow, throwing challenges now and then. I experienced both the highs and lows of life, but with a higher awareness. An awareness that these were my life lessons and I must learn from these experiences. These learnings are possible only when one has a master in one’s life.
What I noted from these experiences, especially, was that when you are down, your so-called friends and relatives desert you. But a master, in fact, will hold your hand reassuringly in those difficult times. Even if you have erred and made numerous mistakes, He never forsakes you and reposes immense trust in you. This is exactly what makes Him a divine being. This is my understanding of unconditional love.
I have personally realised and felt the presence of my master, Dadashreeji, who was always guiding me and teaching me through my life situations. And when I faltered or slowed down, He would wait with infinite patience for me to gather energy and walk again. And as I moved ahead and evolved in this spiritual journey, He seems to be the happiest. Just like a loving parent, who is so proud of their child’s achievement!
To have a living master is like being connected to the GPS. Wherever I am, I have felt that my thoughts and actions are being noted by the GPS. Let me explain this further. After my first meeting with Dadashreeji at his ashram in Karjat, during the return journey, we took a flight from Pune to Bangalore. From Bangalore airport, we were travelling by bus to the city bus stand for our journey back to Coimbatore. The conductor had issued the tickets and the lights were put off. It was then that I was suddenly overwhelmed by thoughts of Dadashreeji. I felt that I was now hundreds of kilometres away from Him and would I see Him again? Will Dada even remember me? Such thoughts started troubling me and tears began welling up in my eyes. I was crying very badly, remembering Dadashreeji. The bus, by then, had stopped at a traffic signal. And serendipitously, my eyes fell on a big message display board of a Church, which was right across the road in front of the bus, with this message “I HAVE SEEN YOUR TEARS. I HAVE HEARD YOUR PRAYERS. I WILL HEAL YOU.” It was a message for everyone, but for me, it was straight from Dadashreeji himself. I was wonderstruck because it so well answered my state of being at that point in time. I showed the message to my son, who was equally astonished to see it. He said, ‘Maa, this message is for you.’ This was my first experience of being connected to the GPS, my master, Dadashreeji. Many a time, I have a question in my mind which needs an answer, and even as I direct it to Dadashreeji, I read the answer on big signboards by the road. This is the magic of having a living guru; He’s always there for you, in that moment, answering you instantaneously, without delay!
A living guide
Yet another important aspect of being with a living master is that when any wrong, uncharitable thought is entertained in the mind, one is reprimanded immediately, with no further delay. I remember this incident when I was travelling with my family from Mumbai to Karjat by local train. All of us had got seats, having boarded at the starting point itself. As the journey started to progress, the train began to get crowded, and many passengers were crowding around me putting their luggage around us. Near me was a handicapped girl with a big bag. Somehow, at that point in time, I did not want to part with my seat, nor did I feel like offering any help to the girl. I was thinking that now that Dadashreeji is with us, I don’t have to make the effort to help anyone. Once this thought crossed my mind, the train which had stopped in Kalyan station did not go any further. It was cancelled due to some engine problem. All of us disembarked from the train, and with no other train for the next one hour, we had to take a taxi to Karjat, our destination.
On the way, I was wondering why a journey that had started off so smoothly, suddenly become a difficult one. What was the reason for this? I was closely scrutinising all my thought processes, and I realised my mistake. I had not offered any help to the girl on the train, and my suffering had started from then. The moment this realisation dawned on me, I immediately sought forgiveness from Dadashreeji for being so uncaring. It was a hard lesson indeed, but an unforgettable one.
The next day, we met Dadashreeji at the ashram, and He smilingly enquired about our journey. Though I felt too embarrassed to tell Him about this incident, I told Dadashreeji that after meeting Him, the lessons of life were coming very quickly, one after the other in quick succession. Dadashreeji smilingly said, “One has to live with awareness to identify the mistakes, correct them, and grow.” I understood that He knew about this incident, and I bowed to Dadashreeji for giving me this realisation.
There have been quite a few instances when I have held on to some wrong notion or thought and suffered mentally because of it. But the moment I realised it and surrendered at His lotus feet, I felt uplifted in my consciousness, as if something holding me back was released—a sense of unburdening and lightness.
The presence of protection
Another aspect of having a living master in our life is the protection that one feels merely by remembering Him in any difficult situation. An example that comes to mind is in connection with my fear of being in crowded places, called claustrophobia. I could not avoid going to crowded places, but I found a way to overcome my fear. Whenever I found myself in these crowded places, I would remember Dadashreeji and start chanting His mantra to calm myself, and it would work like magic. Somehow, the fear would vanish, and I would be able to face the situation calmly without panicking. People who have this fear can understand how terrifying it is. A million thanks to my master for helping me overcome this fear.
And there is one more beautiful thing about being connected to a living master, and this is very close to my heart. Somehow, I found that people get drawn to me and they would share their problems, challenges, or sufferings. I would listen to them with empathy, and since we are connected to such a compassionate master, I would implore Dadashreeji to listen to that individual and pray internally to him to solve their problem. And I can say with conviction that Dadashreeji has been there with all my fellow beings, guiding them as well. Which I came to know much later in my conversations with them.
The realisations and understandings are many when you are with a master. The more you begin to see Him everywhere and in everyone, the more He reveals himself to you. Visiting temples to have darshan (pay obeisance) of the Lord has been my practice since childhood. But after meeting Dadashreeji, I realised that the Lord himself has come down in human form as the Master. I found my Dada’s presence in every temple I visited. Undoubtedly, the divine link with one’s master opens the door to all the divine forms in the temples.
There are many instances wherein I experienced His grace by having just the precise amount of money I needed to pay at the cash counter, either at the groceries or the medicals. My son also noticed it on many occasions. He would look at me astoundingly and say, ‘Maa, Dada’s grace saves you always!’
On many occasions, while travelling to new places, I found that I got help and guidance by divine providence. Once I got out of a train, and right in front of me was a police constable who guided me correctly on my further train journey. Such instances in my life reiterate that my guru, Dadashreeji, is always with one as the Divine Friend. It’s not for no reason that his devotees address Him as such. This may be very simple to read, but to experience his grace in my daily life makes me feel so grateful—immensely grateful for being under His umbrella of grace.
This divine connection with the living master is very valuable and can benefit both our own upliftment as well as that of others. What a blessing it is to have a living master! “May everyone be blessed with this ultimate connection with the Divine,” is my earnest prayer to Maitreya Dadashreeji.
If one has truly prayed for a master,
He will come to you for sure,
To take you ahead on this journey of life.
The master will teach you lessons of life which you need to master.
With his compassionate and ever-loving gaze on you,
He walks with you, talks with you, laughs with you, and cries with you,
Not leaving your side for even a second!
When the going gets tough, just hold on to his feet with faith,
The master’s grace will help you overcome every hurdle with ease.
For the Divine has come as the master,
Just for you! Just for you! Just for you!
– From the book, The Divine Connect with Maitreya Dadashreeji
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