The Jivamala
The life of a Shiva Devotee

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Section IV - Becoming a Sannyasi (renunciant)

The sadhu was right. He asked me not to use his name, and I do not. He taught me how to live as a sadhu, and he was a true sadhu. He never bullied me, or took advantage of me. He never approached me sexually. He never had me beg in his place. He always took the more difficult situation, for traveling, sleeping, and eating.

When he wrote the mantra on my chest, I felt different. My chest hurt on the outside, but it also felt different on the inside. My chest resonated, and it felt deep like a cavern. I could hear deep echoes in it, like men with deep voices chanting together.

After that when I asked the sadhu a question, he said, "Meditate on the answer." So I did, and one day, it was as if the back of my mind broke open. I could see a universe of stars and suns and moons, and pathways to follow made of sound. I chanted my mantra, and found myself flying along a pathway of blue light, like a rainbow going straight to the sky. I could feel others around me but I could not see them.

I flew until I saw a great gateway, and was stopped. I saw a warrior there, who asked me my Shiva-name. I said that I did not have one. He said that I could not pass without it. I felt a curtain of darkness fall, and I could see no more.

I told the sadhu what had happened, and he said, "It is time for your name initiation." For this he said that I had to decide for the rest of my life. Was I willing to renounce my whole past, and never visit my home village again? Was I ready to be dead to the world, living only for the god?

When I said, "Yes", he said,

I wanted to put this off for you - it is a major decision and there is no turning back. I look upon you as a son, and I want you to be happy. This decision makes you dead to all else - when I give a new name, I give the funeral rites for the old one. But you have surely been called - how many other children your age have broken through and reached that gate?
I ask you again, "Do you have any doubts?"

I said,

I have no doubts at all. There is nothing else that I want in this life, nothing else that I love but you, and it is acceptable to love and revere your guru. There is nothing else. That is what I want.
He said,
So be it. From this day forth, you are a living soul in a dead body. You have no family, no village, no clan. All property is forfeit. You may never see your family or village again.

Will you swear to follow only the god Shiva?

I said, "I do."

He said,

From this time forth, you will be named Bhairavanath, after your lord. I too will have no name to you, only Guru, for I am your earthly teacher as Shiva is your heavenly one. You will carry only the objects that I do, and you will own nothing. I will give you your lineage.
He named many teachers deriving from [the sage] Nadabinduji.

He said,

You will travel by sound and light, and enter the depths of the world. You will enter the mind of Lord Shiva, and the mind of the universe, of Brahman. Your mantras will be his thoughts; your imaginings will be his dreams. Your ego will disappear, and Shiva will walk in your footsteps!

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