Tuesday, June 29, 2021

"Initial days into fold of Guru" - (Leela Garu)

The eternal being in the heart has taken the form of Nannagaru: I have the good fortune of Jinnuru being my native village. My parents, as well as in-laws’ houses, are in Jinnuru. My mother’s place is quite close to Nannagaru’s house and Nannagaru used to come to our house regularly to meet my grandfather. My cousin (uncle’s daughter) was married to one of Nannagaru’s relatives. Hence, being a relative too, we often visited Nannagaru’s residence. Nannagaru used to sit on the raised platform (Arugu) and sing Bhagavadgita shlokas. Nannagaru had learnt Bhagavadgita from a Sanskrit teacher. Years later, when I met this teacher, he said to me, “It is true that I have taught Nannagaru how to recite the Bhagavadgita. I held on to the technical aspects and am still in this state. Nannagaru held on to the inner meaning and became a Jnani. That is the difference between Him and me.” My grandfather used to share anecdotes from the time he spent with Nannagaru. Nannagaru and his brother would sing, “Hey Bhagavan, Jaya Bhagavan” song while walking towards our house for lunch.

Nannagaru started giving discourses at the post office. That is when we all started attending his talks. At the post office, a stool with very little elevation (peeta) was arranged for Nannagaru. Nannagaru used to sit on that stool and I found it bewitching to see Him seated that way! He used to remain silent for an hour or so in those days. I had no spiritual background before I came to Nannagaru. The only time I had a spiritual encounter was the darshan of His holiness Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi at Palakollu in 1969. The next one was Nannagaru’s darshan! Nannagaru said, “If we do fall, then we must fall into the jaws of a King Cobra. It will swallow us totally. If we fall into the jaws of a marsh snake, we are in trouble as it can neither swallow nor let go of us. Nannagaru used this simile to describe a real Guru. I feel we are all very lucky to have fallen into the jaws of this King Cobra. As I had no previous spiritual exposure, I could not understand the prolonged silence of Nannagaru. Nannagaru used to say that the Guru is one who teaches even immovable objects like a wall. I would like to share with you all how Nannagaru moulded my mind from complete ignorance to spiritual life.

Nannagaru used to maintain silence for an hour or so. I could not understand the silence, but I loved to stay there in His presence. When I looked into His eyes, they would appear very large and red. Sometimes tears would roll from His right eye, but not from His left. Many times I felt afraid of that silence. I asked one of His close devotees the reason for all that I observed. He replied that that was indeed the glory of a Jnani. Of all the talks I heard in those days a few made a deep impact on me. One of those was- “Having come on this earth you must get rid of at least one tendency before you leave the earth!” I used to watch whether I was following Nannagaru’s words or not in those days. As I did not have enough experience, I thought I was doing well. I was happy and thought, “Nannagaru asked us to come out of at least one tendency, and I have got rid of two tendencies!”

In one His discourses He said, “ Do you all remember the movies you have seen previously? If yes, it means that you have tendencies related to them and they have not disappeared in totality. It is still there in a seed form. You have to get rid of that seed too!” Meaning that, even if you remember a certain name, you should not feel any kind of identification with it. Only then can you assume that you got rid of the tendency completely!” Whenever I remembered NT Rama Rao or Nageshwar Rao, I remembered the whole reel of the movie. That means my tendency had not yet been vanquished. Then I realized that there was way more work to be done towards it. Whenever Nannagaru was clarifying some point, He would look at me if it was related to me, and give a nod as though he was saying, “ Did you understand?”

The next sentence that made an impact is as follows. In one of the talks, Nannagaru said, “When your newly-wed daughter-in-law comes to your house, it is a totally new environment to her. Her home and our home may differ in many ways. Till she gets accustomed to your home environment and culture, be supportive of her. See to it that she does not get disturbed. Cook what she likes and help her to settle down. Once she feels accustomed, she will be good to you all lifelong.” When Nannagaru told us this, my children were little kids, but this sentence made a deep impact and it worked like a mantra in my relationship with my daughter-in-law till today. Nannagaru once said, “Eshwara (God) is not a postmaster. He is a postman. “Just as a postman delivers only letters meant for us to our residence, so also Eshwara(God) gives to you circumstances based on your prarabdha alone.” Whenever I faced difficulties, it was this sentence that taught me not to question ‘Why me! Why is God doing this to me? What have I done?” but to understand that I am now facing my own previous doing. Thus these words taught me how to lead my life!!!

In the beginning, I could not appreciate the silence, but I loved to look at Him without ever blinking. The gathering in those days would be around 30 devotees. It always looked like a glorious time to me. He would look at each one of us in silence. One day, He looked at me too. At that time, a spectacular ray came forth from his right eye and touched my heart. Instantly, my body starting moving upwards and I could hear sounds that felt like a train’s movement inside of my body. The people around me had to hold me firmly. I had no idea why all this was happening. Again, I had no idea about the ray that came from his eye. Even after I came home, the fear I experienced would not leave me and I sat silently in our pooja room. The following Sunday, Nannagaru was looking at each of us. As he was looking at my neighbour, I bowed my head down looking elsewhere out of fear. After his gaze shifted to the next person, I looked at Him again. The next Sunday, I dared to look at Him slowly. I saw no rays but a kind of fear seized me and I felt disturbed and wept. Again, people around me had to hold me. A few days later, Nannagaru told me that I would not have that kind of fear again, and soon I could look at Nannagaru without feeling any fear.

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