“Shall I to go back to the corporate world?” I asked myself.
I had the third and final interview for a job at Mckinsey India, scheduled for the next day. I wanted to exit the process but comfort with my decision evaded me. I sipped more of my cinnamon flavoured steeped tea.
It was 11 in the morning and I was in deep contemplation, looking outside the large window in my room, wondering what to do next in life. Having just returned a few days ago from an expedition to Canada and listening to chirping sparrows perched on beautiful Gulmohar trees that were dwindling in the fast-changing landscape of Mumbai, my mind drifted to the memories of witnessing nature’s wonders near the Pacific; the unparalleled beauty of the mountains, melting glaciers, pristine lakes, gorgeous falls and secluded forests had humbled me. The thoughts interrupted by sudden traffic and honking at Pali Hill, a cozy pocket in the city of Mumbai, brought me back to present time, and I wondered “When was the last time I was as relaxed during a holiday or this easy on time to be day dreaming?”
The action of such careless musings and relishing home-style tea, at home on a weekday, without being plugged in thru remote access and/or without any looming stress whatsoever, were unimaginable and an unaffordable luxury for a professional in a high-visible role, having a career at a Fortune 50; for one who felt submerged in the urgency of perennial report submissions and presentations to Senior Management and visiting Regional Heads. I had not known whether I had hit the wall of mental stagnation or whether it was Intuition telling me it was time to move on? Was it a classic case of 'confusion' or was my quest for meaning and purpose genuine and legitimate? Despite multiple lucrative opportunities, I was unable to take lead and further my career.
After months of mulling over, I had decided to shut my mind and take the plunge. I had voluntarily resigned from my successful corporate career and waited for better guidance through life’s experiences itself.
I re-focused on my dilemma. I had achieved everything I had possibly wanted - great education, rich work experience, promotions, recognition et al but I was simply not convinced. “Will attaining more, feel any different?" Until then I had found the guidance given by friends, family and mentors regarding the next steps on my career, to be futile as they were biased in some way or the other. "Who could truly guide me, dispassionately?" I thought. Just then the door bell rang.
My father had invited a highly evolved Spiritual Guru to visit our home and to speak with me on my plethora of troubled questions regarding satisfaction in life, the existence of a Higher Force, the application of the Absolute Truth in the real-complex-world and whether measurable-worldly-success could be achieved by living on such a path. I did not want to convert to a monk, neither did I have a Ferrari to sell.
In walked a tall, rich-looking, senior Gentleman, with all-silver hair, who was speaking impeccable English. It is not uncommon for the rare set of educated Indians, born in the pre-Independence era, to have this air of sophistication. There were few benefits of the British ruling over India for over 140+ years, apart from the set up of education, banking and legal systems and the modernized infrastructure they left us with in 1947.
The Gentleman did not wear any robes and did not look like Gandhi but in-fact looked like the Director of an illustrious company (which I found out later, that HE actually was). I was stumped by the external appearance but I was also glad that I did not have to show any obligatory display of respect that is sometimes demanded by certain Spiritual Guru's.
“Do you think that you are alive because of the air you breathe? You know, all of nature is inert by itself.” stated the Gentleman, who is also an Engineer by profession. "The concept of Reality Vs. Illusion of the physical world is a play of Consciousness within. You will see it for yourself when you wake up from the waking world" HE said. I was startled.
"Until you do not REALISE who you truly are, all the possible knowledge and understanding with respect to the world and your role in it, will be a mere distorted picture. You may claim "to know", but in fact the more you achieve, know, acquire, gain or lose, the further away you are from the Absolute Truth" HE said.
Given my own foundation in Spirituality built over a decade, through the study of Holy Texts of major religions of the world, attending seminars, discourses and meeting so-called Gurus, I had learnt that Spirituality is meant to free a soul and not bond one. Hence, it was relatively easy for me to identify the true from the not-so true category of Spiritual Guru's based on what they preached; I was never swayed with what people said about their greatness. I had wanted to experience a Real Guru's Greatness first hand, if at all, by testing if their advice and guidance as per the Holy scriptures, matched with how they lived that Truth in daily life. With this background, over time I met wonderful Spiritual guides but as my level of curiosity heightened in the previous few years, I seemed to bump into not-so-true Guru's, who had very short attention spans and were unable to answer my pointed questions, some only spoke about their own experiences endlessly while some got distracted with the food or beverages being offered to them during a visit causing me to feel disappointed in my unknown quest to find a Real Guru who could answer my anxious questions to my satisfaction. Today I did not know what to expect from this Gentleman, as everything was taking me aback, ever since HIS entry into the house and into my Consciousness.
The Gentleman chose no special treatment, nothing to eat or drink during the visit, no distractions and responded with Highest Spiritual Guidance wherein everything made logical sense to a person like me, possessed with several doubts about the application of Spiritual Knowledge in Life, at that point in time. HE patiently shed Light on my questions right from the meaning of God and Life, Nature, karma, inner voice and intuition, stages of consciousness, kundalini awakening, meditation, purpose of organized religion, concept of heaven, horoscope readings to the meaning of dreams.
I had my eyes wide and mouth gaping, as HE quoted rich examples from the 4 Ancient Hindu Vedas, Upanishads, Shastras, Puranas and Epics; HE demystified the Spiritual Truth that I had heard but not fully understood until then. HE converted all the Supreme Knowledge into tools for daily use and Living Practice, which opened up new dimensions of understanding.
On my query regarding Self-Realization and related conduct, HE explained that an Enlightened One is not attached to the agreeable, neither averse to the disagreeable; needs nothing, does nothing – actions are performed through the body, without one’s mind getting absorbed as the do-er as HE lives in Oneness with the world; HE does not leave the current practice or vocation nor are duties and responsibilities abandoned on Self-Realization, infact life is lived to its fullest.
The dialogue seemed like the finding of an unexpected fountain of water by a parched seeker, after years and years of failed efforts of digging at innumerable points. It led to deep inner tranquillity. Little did I know I had been on an eternal search. It took a single meeting with the Gentleman for something to ‘click’ inside.
It has been seen in all the ages that the Highest Truth about Human quest, has been passed down from a Supreme Master to a Seeker, in a language as is relevant to the time periods. My Master appeared in the form of a Professional - one that I could identify with, who spoke the language of Science, Management, Business, Design & Strategy - that I could relate to. Just as a Master appears when the Seeker is ready, My Supreme Spiritual Master appeared in front of me as a Real Guide, when I was ready and in a receiving state of mind, thanks to the 'mental stagnation' and the yearning for spiritual clarity.
The wait was over. I had found my Spiritual Master / My SADGURU. The word Guru has its roots in Sanskrit and means "Dispeller of Darkness" : Gu – Darkness, Ru – Dispeller, whereas SADGURU, who is over and above any Guru, is The One who makes you experience your True Nature through Sat-Gyaan (True Knowledge) ; to uplift and ‘Dispels the Darkness Within’ to establish one in the Oneness of Life, the essence of the Supreme Knowledge "I AM".
That day, I lost all track of time and space. I did not realize I was seated in the same spot for 3 hours without moving, until I received a call on my landline and found my legs too sore to walk and reach the phone. I wanted to slip down from the sofa that I had sunk in to sit on the floor while in front of Him. I could neither look nor sit at the same eye level as HIM. My incorrect notions and illusory perceptions of the world were crushed during the Enlightening dialogue.
“You may work in any field - whether at home, at a job or in business, but until you do not think of it as Service, you will not find peace in any work"
"In the journey of Enlightenment, there is no path to be covered. The starting and the destination is the exact same place. You must only realise who you are, there is no place to reach/ arrive at. And so, an Enlightened One need not leave his field of activity and escape life. In fact, the purpose of Devotion, Meditation, Higher Knowledge and so on, is to establish oneself in Enlightenment, to remain exactly where you are and live Life more fully, with the sense of Serving Back. So, Serve and Serve, just as everything in Nature does. " HE stated.
"Bring your passion forward within your field of interest, why is it a passive hobby?” HE had asked me that day, and left me pondering over my long-forgotten firm U-Coach 360°, which I had founded several years ago, to help family and friends in their business and professions.
With HIS guidance through constant dialogue, there was a natural convergence of my experience, passion in coaching, talents and deep spiritual foundation over time and now I have a single pointed focus to serve and give back to others what I received, through my profession.
‘You cannot complete a task and then become happy; rather you must BE happy and complete the task. Happiness is the not the end ... it is the means.’ HE had said.
The Gentleman is better known as SRI SADGURU DADA – a Self-Realized Soul who imparts the Knowledge of Advaita Vedanta, the non-dualistic sysem of Vedanta, to true seekers; a mystic scholar, he propagates no specific religion, instead he propagates the message of Love and Oneness, through the essence of the True wisdom stemming from Ancient Spiritual Texts of the world.
[Note: This essay is a mere expression of my state of mind at a point in time and does not intend to discredit or discourage anyone from being employed with any corporate or be engaged in any profession.]
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