A sadhu from South India by the name of Swami Bhaskarananda was quite conceited about his knowledge. He had Mastered Sanskrit, the language of scholars and he could also quite eloquently express himself in polished Hindi and English. Through impressive speeches he gained influence over many a rich and famous man, even ministers and Maharajas. He was proud and haughty and had declared himself the greatest yogi of all India. Wherever he went he demanded acknowledgement and admiration, often at the expense of others, to prove further evidence of his eloquence.
One day Swami Bhaskarananda heard of the glory of Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji and seized with jealousy, decided to pay him a visit in order to embarrass Mahaprabhuji in front of his disciples.
He arrived at Khatu Ashram in an Impala car. He wore chains and pearls over expensive clothes and on his feet were resplendent gold sandals. In his self-image of Gurudeva, he saw himself as the JagatGuru and arrogantly stepped before Mahaprabhuji without bowing in proper greeting.
"I will show this Maha Prabhu that a true siddha yogi stands before him," he thought to himself.
Mahaprabhuji welcomed Bhaskarananda with usual friendliness but, with one glance of his Divine eye, shook this haughty one deep within his soul. In that single moment, through his unique Divine power, Mahaprabhuji completely altered the swami's mind. Beneath the gaze of the Omnipresent, the swami’s ego melted like snow under a hot sun and he realized his faults, the hollowness of pride and vanity, and he was deeply ashamed. During this moment the swami and his companions also felt immersed in an immense sense of happiness.
Humbly, Bhaskarananda bowed before Mahaprabhuji and with folded hands began to speak.
"Lord, I confess to my many bad qualities and habits which despite all efforts I've been unable to give up. You are Omniscient and nothing is concealed from you. I had imagined you as something different from what you are. What I have now been permitted to experience is a Divine miracle, the day of the Lord's immeasurable grace has come for me. Until now I was consumed with ego and pride, but your look has freed me from all worldly wishes and desires, anger, greed, attachment and pride. Joy and peace now fill my inner Self. Your gaze and words have showered my heart with nectar.
"O Lord of Mercy, you have poured your grace on me and blessed me! Please let my soul unite forever with your Divine atma! I have made life difficult for many sadhus and swamis and with my sharp, sophisticated logic, defeated them in debates on the holy scriptures. I sought to scorn them only to increase my fame. How ashamed I am of my malicious thoughts and words. The veil of illusion which enveloped my soul was dense and impenetrable, but you have removed it. O Lord of Mercy, please tell me, what shall I do now?"
"If your mind has indeed become pure from being here," Mahaprabhuji answered, "then tell me the difference between prabhu and mahaprabhu."
Swami Bhaskarananda gave this reply.
"Before I saw you it wasn't possible for me to distinguish between prabhu and mahaprabhu, but today in your Divine Light, paravidya (Divine Knowledge) has come my way. Prabhu is the formless God, nirguna, from which the creation of the universe originated, is preserved and is dissolved. According to His law all beings must bear the consequence of their karmas. Through His maya, all beings are bound with karmic fetters.
Mahaprabhu is the Divine incarnation, he stands above prabhu. He conveys knowledge of the atma and paramatma (the self and highest self) and grants self realization to those who are deserving. Though belonging to the highest atma, the atma is separated from it for ages. Only the Satguru, Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji, can reunite them. With the sword of knowledge he cuts the fetters of attachment and illusion and leads all beings to the experience of their true Self.
"Sri Mahaprabhuji accomplishes that which prabhu is unable to do. Those beings created by prabhu suffer from the misery and affliction of this world, however, a true devotee of the Satguru Sri Mahaprabhuji will always be protected."
Mahaprabhuji then spoke to Swami Bhaskarananda.
"Saints and wise men have the duty to free the world from its heavy load, but if they themselves become a burden to it, they are a disaster for the whole universe. The task of a sadhu is to follow the path of righteousness and sacrifice in order to save others from the wrong way. A sadhu shall be like Lord Shiva."
In a bhajan, Mahaprabuji explained the outer appearance of a sadhu:
SHIV RUP SANT MAHARAJ HE
Sadhus are like Shiva,
They do not wander singing and dancing from house
Doing this they would be treated like beggars,
Sadhus neither participate in a stage-play nor attend it,
Sadhus do not attend feasts nor gather alms,
Sadhus stay in lonely places and accept what God
measures out to them.
They do not waste their time with trickery,
Nor teach such things to their disciples,
They keep away from magic and miracle
As they are not interested in being called Siddhas,
To decorate the physical body is not at all a sign of Holiness,
If a Sadhu lives like a householder he will never be respected.
Swami Deep says:
Only such Sadhus should be called Narayana
Who may convey the Truth to their devotees.
Mahaprabhuji explained that in order to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death, to avoid passing again through the 8.4 million forms of life, those who are born as humans ought to follow the Satguru and attain self realization. For only through human birth can one use the power of intellect to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong.
"Therefore don't waste this precious life in the pursuit of wealth, name and fame. The desire to possess all riddhis and siddhis is misleading imagination, for the world resembles a dream. Nothing which you experience in a dream stays with you, it is not Reality. Humans entangled in this world of illusion are in a dream and will continue to dream until that moment when they realize the futility of their actions."
Mahaprabhuji severely admonished Swami Bhaskarananda to adopt the right course of action in his life. Vanity is the greatest enemy of people, it destroys even mighty kings and heroes, he told him. Vanity can entice in many ways: through pride of knowledge, strength, youth, social position, noble birth, beauty or fame. The most dangerous among these is the ego which is nourished by the thirst for fame — it completely destroys the human being.
Mahaprabhuji warned his disciples never to fall prey to the deadly thirst for fame.
"Saints don't strive for might and fame, nor for worldly possessions. They are conscious that this world is temporary, like a dream. They refuse to attach themselves to worldly goods or relations and in this way remain totally independent of the world."
Swami Bhaskarananda praised Mahaprabhuji as the twenty-fifth Incarnation of God.
Then he asked whether Mahaprabhuji had seen all avatars.
"Yes, I know God Rama and God Krishna who preceded me," Mahaprabhuji answered. "I am the eternal, Conscious Brahman, witness of all that happens in the cosmos," The soul stands beyond birth and death only knowing the enlightened, but the ignorant are unconscious of this truth. By the grace of the Satguru, Divine Vision comes to their eyes and the Truth is then recognized. The Satguru's teachings conveys and leads to the true path, sat sanatan dharma. In India and in the whole world there exist thousands of paths and religions which assert their way as the only true path. True dharma, however is free from such fanaticism. That's why perfect realization of Truth is only possible by complete surrender to the Satguru."
Swami Bhaskarananda stayed at the ashram for some time and with great devotion eagerly absorbed Mahaprabhuji's teaching. He then moved to Andhra Pradesh and led the simple life appropriate for a Saint, based on the principles taught to him by Mahaprabhuji.
Until the time of Buddha, Indian philosophy officially acknowledged twenty-four avatars or incarnations of God.
Next Chapter: Cure of the Boy Asha Ram
Previous Chapter: The Liberation of a Snake
Overview: My life with Sri Mahaprabhuji