Chapter 4 – My Interrupted Flight Toward the Himalayas

Death

The seat of the “single” or spiritual eye. (The point between the eyebrows.) At death the consciousness of man is usually drawn to this holy spot, accounting for the upraised eyes found in the dead.

 

 Divine Healing

“My brother officer and I first encountered him five days ago. We were patrolling by the Ganges, on a sharp lookout for a certain murderer. Our instructions were to capture him, alive or dead. He was known to be masquerading as a sadhu in order to rob pilgrims. A short way before us, we spied a figure which resembled the description of the criminal. He ignored our command to stop; we ran to overpower him. Approaching his back, I wielded my ax with tremendous force; the man’s right arm was severed almost completely from his body.

“Without outcry or any glance at the ghastly wound, the stranger astonishingly continued his swift pace. As we jumped in front of him, he spoke quietly.

“‘I am not the murderer you are seeking.’

“I was deeply mortified to see I had injured the person of a divine-looking sage. Prostrating myself at his feet, I implored his pardon, and offered my turban-cloth to staunch the heavy spurts of blood.

“‘Son, that was just an understandable mistake on your part.’ The saint regarded me kindly. ‘Run along, and don’t reproach yourself. The Beloved Mother is taking care of me.’ He pushed his dangling arm into its stump and lo! it adhered; the blood inexplicably ceased to flow.

“‘Come to me under yonder tree in three days and you will find me fully healed. Thus you will feel no remorse.’

“Yesterday my brother officer and I went eagerly to the designated spot. The sadhu was there and allowed us to examine his arm. It bore no scar or trace of hurt!

“‘I am going via Rishikesh to the Himalayan solitudes.’ He blessed us as he departed quickly. I feel that my life has been uplifted through his sanctity.”

 

A Christlike miracle by Lahiri Mahasaya took place in Kebalananda’s presence. My saintly tutor recounted the story one day, his eyes remote from the Sanskrit texts before us.

“A blind disciple, Ramu, aroused my active pity. Should he have no light in his eyes, when he faithfully served our master, in whom the Divine was fully blazing? One morning I sought to speak to Ramu, but he sat for patient hours fanning the guru with a hand-made palm-leaf punkha. When the devotee finally left the room, I followed him.

“‘Ramu, how long have you been blind?’

“‘From my birth, sir! Never have my eyes been blessed with a glimpse of the sun.’

“‘Our omnipotent guru can help you. Please make a supplication.’

“The following day Ramu diffidently approached Lahiri Mahasaya. The disciple felt almost ashamed to ask that physical wealth be added to his spiritual superabundance.

“‘Master, the Illuminator of the cosmos is in you. I pray you to bring His light into my eyes, that I perceive the sun’s lesser glow.’

“‘Ramu, someone has connived to put me in a difficult position. I have no healing power.’

“‘Sir, the Infinite One within you can certainly heal.’

“‘That is indeed different, Ramu. God’s limit is nowhere! He who ignites the stars and the cells of flesh with mysterious life-effulgence can surely bring luster of vision into your eyes.’

“The master touched Ramu’s forehead at the point between the eyebrows.

“‘Keep your mind concentrated there, and frequently chant the name of the prophet Rama for seven days. The splendor of the sun shall have a special dawn for you.’

“Lo! in one week it was so. For the first time, Ramu beheld the fair face of nature. The Omniscient One had unerringly directed his disciple to repeat the name of Rama, adored by him above all other saints. Ramu’s faith was the devotionally ploughed soil in which the guru’s powerful seed of permanent healing sprouted.”

“It was evident in all miracles performed by Lahiri Mahasaya that he never allowed the ego-principle to consider itself a causative force. By perfection of resistless surrender, the master enabled the Prime Healing Power to flow freely through him.”

 

Divine Intervention

The forceful prognostications of the young man had slightly shaken my confidence. With all the fervor of my heart I prayed silently to God:

“Please solve my bewilderment and answer me, right here and now, if Thou dost desire me to lead the life of a renunciate or a worldly man!”

I noticed a sadhu of noble countenance standing just outside the compound of the pundit’s house. Evidently he had overheard the spirited conversation between the self-styled clairvoyant and myself, for the stranger called me to his side. I felt a tremendous power flowing from his calm eyes.

“Son, don’t listen to that ignoramus. In response to your prayer, the Lord tells me to assure you that your sole path in this life is that of the renunciate.”

With astonishment as well as gratitude, I smiled happily at this decisive message.

 

Kriya Yoga

“No matter what the disciple’s problem, the guru (Lahiri Mahasaya) advised Kriya Yoga for its solution.

“‘The yogic key will not lose its efficiency when I am no longer present in the body to guide you. This technique cannot be bound, filed, and forgotten, in the manner of theoretical inspirations. Continue ceaselessly on your path to liberation through Kriya, whose power lies in practice.’

“I myself consider Kriya the most effective device of salvation through self-effort ever to be evolved in man’s search for the Infinite.” Kebalananda concluded with this earnest testimony. “Through its use, the omnipotent God, hidden in all men, became visibly incarnated in the flesh of Lahiri Mahasaya and a number of his disciples.”

 

 Lahiri Mahasaya

Lahiri Mahasaya had often characterized Kebalananda as rishi or illumined sage. … My tutor obliged me one day by telling me something of his own life with the master.

“Rarely fortunate, I was able to remain near Lahiri Mahasaya for ten years. His Benares home was my nightly goal of pilgrimage. The guru was always present in a small front parlor on the first floor. As he sat in lotus posture on a backless wooden seat, his disciples garlanded him in a semicircle. His eyes sparkled and danced with the joy of the Divine. They were ever half closed, peering through the inner telescopic orb into a sphere of eternal bliss. He seldom spoke at length. Occasionally his gaze would focus on a student in need of help; healing words poured then like an avalanche of light.

“An indescribable peace blossomed within me at the master’s glance. I was permeated with his fragrance, as though from a lotus of infinity. To be with him, even without exchanging a word for days, was experience which changed my entire being. If any invisible barrier rose in the path of my concentration, I would meditate at the guru’s feet. There the most tenuous states came easily within my grasp. Such perceptions eluded me in the presence of lesser teachers. The master was a living temple of God whose secret doors were open to all disciples through devotion.

“Lahiri Mahasaya was no bookish interpreter of the scriptures. Effortlessly he dipped into the ‘divine library.’ Foam of words and spray of thoughts gushed from the fountain of his omniscience. He had the wondrous clavis which unlocked the profound philosophical science embedded ages ago in the Vedas. If asked to explain the different planes of consciousness mentioned in the ancient texts, he would smilingly assent.

“‘I will undergo those states, and presently tell you what I perceive.’ He was thus diametrically unlike the teachers who commit scripture to memory and then give forth unrealized abstractions.

“‘Please expound the holy stanzas as the meaning occurs to you.’ The taciturn guru often gave this instruction to a near-by disciple. ‘I will guide your thoughts, that the right interpretation be uttered.’ In this way many of Lahiri Mahasaya’s perceptions came to be recorded, with voluminous commentaries by various students.

“The master never counseled slavish belief. ‘Words are only shells,’ he said. ‘Win conviction of God’s presence through your own joyous contact in meditation.’

“No matter what the disciple’s problem, the guru advised Kriya Yoga for its solution.

“‘The yogic key will not lose its efficiency when I am no longer present in the body to guide you. This technique cannot be bound, filed, and forgotten, in the manner of theoretical inspirations. Continue ceaselessly on your path to liberation through Kriya, whose power lies in practice.’

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