Meeting the Master Part 3
Why? Can’t Remember
I was very hurt by Swamiji. I cried. Tonight was a gathering at Cassie’s house. Justin left earlier and when I told him I was not going to be with Gurudev, he looked a bit frightened.
“Look you have to go! He said you must come tonight.”
“Well I’m not going. I’m finished with taking orders from him. I never want to see him again. Why can’t I just have a normal life? Why do I have to keep doing what he says?”
Justin thought I’d change my mind, so he left the car parked outside, getting a lift from one of the other students.
I was not myself. After about 20 minutes I got into the bathtub and filled it as full as possible. Perhaps I would just drown myself. Perhaps I would just disappear and be born on another planet! The telephone began to ring, but I pretended that I didn’t hear it. I slipped under the water pretending there was no sound.
It seemed that I was in a tub for a long time. What else could I do? My life was over. Everything I did I failed at. Why was this man I loved so much hurting me? Suddenly there was a knocking at the bathroom door.
“Theresa, are you OK?” asked Justin in a troubled voice. “Swamiji sent me back here to get you. He wants you to come to him tonight” he said shakily.
I stopped crying long enough to cry through the locked door, “I don’t’ care what he wants! And you can tell him that. I’m not going with you or with anyone else. Leave me alone!” And like a spoiled, but very upset child, I started to cry again, ignoring Justin’s pleading at the door. Finally I heard the front door slam shut and I felt very strange.
There was a quiet around me, and a feeling that some of the pressure had been lifted after the good cry. But there was a strong feeling of emptiness inside. I wrapped myself in a robe and walked around the house. Everything in it was about my spiritual life and my teacher. Books, photos, the clothes we wore, the food we ate, in fact the entire apartment building was because Swamiji asked us to give our house to someone else. I began to feel fear creeping up my spine, but my ego would not get out of the way. “Too bad!” I thought to myself. “I don’t need him!”
After another ten minutes of walking around in fear, the phone rang, startling my heart to a rapid pace. I picked up the phone on the sixth ring and said nothing. Slowly and clearly, and filled with power, the voice of my guru said into the receiver, “Come to me right now, or never come again!” With that the phone went dead.
This time I began to cry in earnest. “What does he want of me? Why can’t he leave me alone? Why do I have to be on this path anyway. It’s too hard!” My mind ran through the rest of my life past and future and I felt caught in a trap. Wherever I went I was not good enough; whatever I did was not enough. His voice kept echoing in my ear, letting me know that my heart did not want to live without him. My mind told me that my husband was ashamed of me and if I did not obey right now, our life together would be drastically changed. My spirit was hiding in the closet; I could only feel fear in my entire body.
As I looked around the room again my eyes fell on the little teddy bear that Justin had given me last year. It reminded me of happier days when I felt strong and peaceful and sure. I picked up the bear and gave it a hug, slowly feeling more of myself. “All right,” I decided, “I’ll go see my guru because I have to.”
The drive over seemed too short. My swollen face and shaking hands got there too soon and were it not for the teddy bear sitting on my lap, I don’t know if I could have made it.
When Cassie opened the door, her eyes were cast down and the entire room was silent. I kicked off my shoes and entered the room, very frightened and ready for a severe (scolding, discpline, dressing down???). I walked over to Swamiji, sitting in a chair and knelt before him. He bent over, looked deeply into my eyes as his thumbs wiped the tears from them, and pulled me close to himself. I felt his heart beating as well as my own. For a long time he held me and I felt strength flowing into my mind and body as slowly he dropped his arms.
“Ah look!” he said to the gathered students to break the stunned silence, “she brought me a gift.” It was then that I realized I had the little bear tucked close to my side looking like an idiot. In a flash I knew that Swamiji knew exactly what the bear was for and did not want me to be embarrassed in the group, so he made up a story about how I remembered how much he loved bears and brought him one.
“Make me tilk” he said softly to me and I escaped into the kitchen to cook for him once again, knowing that my life was totally built around this man and that I had indeed made the right decision.
When Swami Satchidananda Saraswati came to see Swami Rama in his hotel room during a conference in Chicago in the 70’s, I opened the door for him and he fell down on his face to touch Swami Rama’s feet. Of course Swami Rama pulled him up, embarrassed, and told me to make tea. On the way back to his room Swami Satchidananda said to me, “People do not know who he is!”