Written by Sumit Partap Gupta
With the Grace and blessings of our Master would like to share some key insights and hidden messages in the amazing blog “Born from the fire.”
This story awakens my understanding and throws light on many aspects of the eternal truths of our tradition. This truly opens one’s eyes..
Tradition never leaves us…once we embrace the tradition; it takes care of us always through time and space, through lifetimes which is an eternal promise. Atmananda Chaithanaya who is Aghora Baba himself found and met Rama Shastri. Rama who was living his life compassionately and doing his business ethically could easily recognize His Gurudeva. It was his well-kept purity of inner space that allowed him that instant recognition. In today’s business world, due to greed for profits, most people never take care of their inner space and contaminate them unconsciously. Business also can be done in a pure way which benefits everyone. This is a great lesson to be learned. The advantage of being pure within is the gift of the “true eyes” to see.
When Atmanandaji gave money to Aruna the second time to fetch some sweets from Rama’s shop, He was very much aware that Rama would not be in the shop and that his granddaughter would readily accept the money for the sweets. The hidden message was that Atamanadji knew that Panduranga’s journey was about to get over and after eating the sweets, Panduranga’s last desire would be fulfilled and he would breathe his last. To cut Panduranga’s last karmic bond Atmananda himself gave money to Aruna for sweets. There are two aspects to it. The same morning, Rama Shastri had delivered sweets and food as usual.. Atmananda could have saved some sweets for Panduranga. He did not. Instead He chose to spend money from his pocket and buy more. In a way, as I understand, Atmananda fulfilled two debts at the same time. 1. He paid for the services rendered by the pious Rama Shastri. (There were no sweets in his shop. Atmananda materialized the sweets and also paid for it). Secondly, he indirectly paid Panduranga also, for his services, through the final fulfillment of his deep desire for sweets. And this also can be looked at as a kind of Dakshina or a gift of money a father might give to his son who is embarking on a long journey. Even though physical cash was not given, this can be considered as dakshina.
On the other hand Aruna’s mind didn’t understand the logic behind Atmananda’s action of sending him to fetch the sweets but he never questioned his Master. He never asked “ Why “. A perfect sign of our tradition. The all-knowing master is never questioned and the ego, intellect and mind is totally surrendered at the feet of the master. His wish is the disciple’s command. We must also understand that a thought indeed sprouted in the mind of Aruna as to “WHY” which itself showed that he has indeed miles to go in surrender. Atmananda perhaps wanted to prove this aspect to Aruna too. That is probably why he chose Aruna for this errand. Atmananda was also about to leave his body. If Aruna does not shed his last remnants of resistance now, he may have to come back again into the birth-death cycle. A golden lesson indeed!
Aghora Baba represents Shiva, Vishnu & Shakti Bhaav. These are the three main aspects that constitutes three major paths of Hinduism. Shivaite path, Vaishnavaite path and the Shakti path (The goddess). (This is not Shaktipat, the transfer of energy from a guru to a disciple) In other words, Aghora Baba represented the whole Hinduism. The Shiva Bhaav was evident from his face and appearance, celestial fragrance emitting from his body represented the Vishnu Bhaav, His action of carrying a skull always in His hand and dancing naked on the burning pyre along with His group portrayed His Kali Bhaav. So, he represented the whole aspects of Hinduism in its totality. He is everything, yet he is nothing. Non-conformity in its perfection!
Aghora Baba used to dance naked and be with naked women. People accused him of promoting prostitution and indulging in all kinds of bad habits but Aghora Baba represents “The Source ” and One who is the source Himself is beyond any expressions, impressions and cannot be put into any frame of morality. In fact with His own life, he was mocking at the fragile morality of the villagers, who wear masks of morality at convenience. Deep fear held them back from attacking the powerful Baba head on. This is also another mirror to the society. A challenge to be fearless! Living in burial ground, that too with His disciples, fire rituals in funeral fire, dancing in fire etc signifies, total denial of any norms and total control over fear of all kinds. Modern man may call it insanity. But, Babaji’s life is more of a bold statement towards the fragile, fearful and tamasic society.
Aghora Baba is fearsome to the society. But, when he touched the young Rama Shastri, he had motherly love and kindness. He was kindness incarnate. This is a far cry from what the society thought of him (as a drunkard, womanizer and a mad man). Society gave him fears and Babaji removed his fears. Another sign of our tradition! General society often condition minds. It sows seeds of fears. A true guru removes all fears and instills faith and devotion instead. This was the transformation that Rama Shastri experienced. Inner purity was all that mattered for the blessings to flow.
Later years proved the selflessness of Rama Shastri and Babaji came back to bless him as Atmananda. And he was also blessed with the recognition of the familiar fragrance. There are many occasions in life where mind does not permit recognition when the action takes place. This takes grace. And Rama had sufficient grace to have this recognition. It takes deep devotion and clear and clean inner space. The rest is grace.
Atmananda is unassuming, ordinary to public eyes, but extra ordinary to those who have uncontaminated inner space. This is typical of any Datta Guru. He has amazing siddhis, but will never display them for his benefit or to create an impression. His all actions are purpose bound, just like his words. There is nothing wasted, even a breath. This is a golden lesson for life. Waste nothing in life, everything is precious and god given. There is absolute clarity in thoughts, words and action. But, never interferes in karmic flow of others. Again, this is typical of our tradition. Every words or actions of his have multiple purposes. His visit to the place where we see him in this story has two or three different reasons. Panduranga’s fulfillment, death, Rama Shastri’s fulfillment, Aruna’s education, clearing karmic debts as well as promises etc. What we can perceive with our limited understanding is just the tip of the iceberg of the reality on which great saints operate. A great eye opener indeed!
The Shopkeeper’s uncle represented mindset of those people who look at life in a superficial way, they judge people immediately based on outward appearances and habits. They never care to go beyond the deceptive outward appearances sometimes taken by Higher Entities to distract people. They lose heavily in life.
The shopkeeper’s mother portrayed a mentality of a meek housewife who is neutral, influenced by both positivity and negativity time and again, a regular person full of fears. She is a typical housewife who has no voice of her own and is always afraid to leave her comfort zone, even if it costs the ultimate truth. Her conforming nature to the approved norms of the society despite evidences of truth otherwise.
The other lesson we can learn is that NEVER judge a Master from a worldly point of view and through other peoples opinion. Always listen to your heart and your own truth. Other’s words could be terribly deceptive.