The Life of a Shiva Devotee
Section VI - The Death of the Guru
So I found the Shiva-worlds and knew them as I knew the physical world. I liked the Shiva-worlds better, for they had more freedom and beauty than the physical world. But then, the physical world had my guru whom I loved, and many beautiful mountains and waterfalls. It later came to hold others that I loved as well.
But I was still in my teens and devoted to Truth, and finding out about the things of the world. Some things I learned from my guru, and some from other sadhus I met on the road. We rarely encountered bandits or thieves - they knew that ascetics had nothing worth stealing. We sometimes ran across soldiers, but they too ignored us. Usually I learned answers from meditation.
As I grew older, I became attracted to women. I did not plan to do so, but my eyes went to them against my will, and my body was drawn towards them. My guru said that this happens to all men, ascetic or householder or king, and that that was why men married. He said that I had taken vows never to marry, so I must resist the attraction. For a renunciant to turn his back on vows was a great sin. This was why he wanted to delay my initiation. I must decide who is more important, Lord Shiva, or a woman.
Obviously a god is more important than a human being, and I valued my visions of the Lord, but turning my face away when we passed women was very difficult. They were beautiful in bright colors like butterflies and birds, and they laughed and walked gracefully. They were not bony and full of ash like sadhus. They were plump and wore perfumes. It was a big problem.
My guru tried to help by keeping us away from cities, out in the mountains and burning grounds. But there was little food in these places - we had to beg where there were people. So it was hard to stay isolated. We ate fruit from the trees, bananas and mangos and coconuts, and sometimes got milk from a milkman. We didn't need much clothing - a robe or a blanket could last for years. I didn't have a trident like my guru, but I had a thin tree-trunk that I carried. My bowl was made from half a coconut, and it could carry water without leaking. We walked barefoot, and our hair stayed long. It was a free life except for begging. We were on the road and could go where we chose.
We went this way for many years, until my guru's death.
We traveled together for many years, until I was in my mid-twenties. Then my guru began to have pain. As ascetics, we always had some collection of pains - it came with the territory. But his pain was so bad that he could not walk. So I carried him until we were near a river, and he could get water to drink. He did not know the problem, and the Lord did not reveal it, but his chest hurt so that it was hard to breathe. I said healing mantras over him, and tried to find herbs so that I could make healing teas, but it did no good. His breathing was difficult and ragged, and then he died.
Before the pains became severe, he knew that he would die. He said that the Lord welcomed him in a dream, and foretold his death, and he was welcomed into Shiva's garden. He blessed me and told me that I was his spiritual son, and that he was proud of me. He said that I should return to the source of the waters, and seek his own guru, also in the lineage of Nadabinduji. His guru's name was Nathdwar. He could give me advice about practice. He said that he would visit me in dreams, if he were able. Otherwise, I should realize that we were all parts of Lord Shiva, and we must recognize that unity
When he died, I dug a grave with my begging bowl. I looked for a place that felt holy, and found one near a large tree. Sadhus are not burned, but buried, and I did not want animals to eat him. I said prayers over the grave for his soul to reach Shiva's garden. I cried, though that was unsuitable for a sadhu to do.
Then I went off to find his guru. It was hard, for I didn't really know where I was, or how to get there. I had to ask many people, and for the latter part of the trip, I traveled with a group of silent sadhus. I felt safer in their presence, but we didn't really have much conversation. I missed my guru.
It took many months of travel, once again going up into the mountains, but I returned to the source of the waters. There were small sadhu-houses there - places of meditation, and large houses that could hold many monks. I asked after Nathdwar, and found that he was named after his birthplace. He was an old man with white hair, but he remembered my guru, and was saddened at his death. He said that we were part of the same lineage, and that I could learn from him.
To continue with the life of Bhairavanath, click on the [ NEXT ] link below :
Introduction | The Bhairava or Spiritual Guide | Lives of Spiritual Weakness | Lives of Spiritual Awakening | Conclusion
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