Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Akash Barwal - Welcome Home

Senior Art of Living, Art of meditation, Blessings and Art of Silence Teacher
(Follow Akash ji 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aolakash)
Twitter: @aakashavani )

I think I’ve always been strange, not that I’m not now … : )
I grew up in the Gulf (Abu Dhabi), my childhood was full of love and care, well taken care by my beautiful parents ‘my teachers’, who stood by my side and taught me to believe in myself.
As a child I preferred being with the elders rather than my own age group, had a questioning mind and would not readily accept social norms and religious beliefs, sometimes being satirical or rebellious. I had an eventful youth, time passed by…
When I was nineteen, one day at a family friend’s house I saw picture of this bearded man with these deep compassionate eyes, at whom I kept staring for a while. I was told he was Sri Sri Ravi ShankAr,  a great spiritual master  from India. Although I don’t dream, that night I saw the same bearded man  holding my hand, walking by a garden at sunrise… I woke up feeling strange and laughed at myself… for the next three days I had the same dream… I ran to our family friend’s house to enquire what was happening to me… that was the first time I heard ‘Jai Gurudev ‘. He just smiled.
Within a week I told my parents about my decision to embark on a journey to meet this strange man coming in my dreams, a decision which they were strongly against, naturally. Strangely no amount of love, persuasion, force or greed stopped me and my urge to meet this strange bearded man kept growing. Finally, everyone had to give in….
And, finally here I was on my first train journey to Bangalore, with high fever and no idea as to where I was being led to, really! It was 14th May 1995, I remember reaching the ashram gates tired and weary after the journey and the fever, looking around. How would I know this would be my home for the rest of my life? I asked somebody where I could meet Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the person smiled at me and took me along to this beautiful amphitheater called Sumeru Mantap.
And right there at Sumeru, with an amazing sunset behind him, I finally saw my bearded man sitting under the Bodhi tree, eyes closed, singing and playing cymbals. I had never attended a satsang before, I was more interested in meeting the man in the center and was just wondering, when I would meet him, and voila! He just turned sideways looked straight at me at smiled, adding fuel to my excitemen At the end of the satsang he made everyone close their eyes, and as everyone was meditating, quietly walked away. As I was sitting by the entrance stairs, he walked straight towards me, looked at me and said, “Are you from Abu Dhabi?”  I don’t know what I said, I just nodded and looked at him with disbelief, we had never met before… He looked at me lovingly and said, “Now take rest, we will meet tomorrow”.
I had the deepest sleep that night and woke up fresh the next morning, my fever had gone. Sitting on the bed gazing outside the window, I was in absolute amazement, I did not know what was happening, where I was and what I was doing amidst these people dressed in white…
After a wonderful breakfast, I was moving about looking around when this calm looking gentleman came to me, asked me if I was from Au Dhabi and that the Master was calling me. On the way, upon my request, he was kind enough to give me one of his dhotis and help me tie it too; the gentleman was Raghuraj Raja (now Swami Sadyojatha).
I was led to this serene round cottage surrounded by trees and lots of bells - Shakti Kutir. And in Shakti Kutir, on a beautiful throne was sitting my bearded man… he was looking so majestic as though he was handling the affairs of heaven and earth from right there… yet so calm and compassionate, with twinkle in his eyes and a childlike naughty smile.
There were a few people in the room; he was combing his hair, talking to them, once in a while He would look at me and pass a smile; I was growing impatient. All of a sudden he looked at me and gestured, calling me towards him. Like a child runs to its mother, I went near him and looked at him. At once he said, “ask, what you want to ask”. To my amazement, I just looked at him, grinning and fumbling, didn’t know what to say, as all my great queries had evaporated! Not knowing what to say, I looked up and said with a tone of secrecy, “I want to talk something important, but alone”.
Since I was adamant on talking alone, after a while he sent everybody out of the room, this made the situation more comical as I didn’t know what I wanted to talk to Him about!
And, finally when he said, Hmmmmm..? I looked at him smiled and said, “nothing”!
So, here was I, far away from my home and family sitting at the feet of a strangely beautiful man not knowing what I was doing there but still felt as if all my journeys and quests had ended right there…
He just held me close and hugged me, that moment felt like an eternity, everything stopped, my heart was aching, I wept in his lap not knowing why, I was happy yet I had tears….
He asked me, “what do you want”, and at that moment there was nothing else I wanted. All I could say way, “I want to be with you forever”, He just smiled at me and said “Welcome home”