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Chapter 12

The Guru in His Physical Absence

Chapter 14

How can we experience Your presence more when You are not with us physically?

Think of me and think that you are doing everything for me, then you will feel my presence there. Every minute, whatever you do, think, "I am doing it for him." Either that, or think, "He is doing it through me." Because you can't just sit with closed eyes and bring a mental picture of me all the twenty-four hours. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, "Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice unto Me, bow down to Me. Having thus united yourself with Me, taking Me as the supreme goal, you will come to Me."

The Presence seems to go away only when you put yourself first. You can't have two things in the mind at the same time. It's either me, or you, or somebody else. It's like the Christian monks who say, "All for Jesus; all for Jesus." If you ask, "Why are you working?" "It's for Jesus." "Why are you eating?" "It's for Jesus, not for me." If you can keep up a feeling like that then you will feel my presence always.

[Gurudev then addresses some of his disciples in the Satsang.] Each one of you might have your own technique to remember me always. Can anybody else suggest some other ways?

Swami Hamsananda Ma: Every time my conscience speaks I feel that is the Guru.

So I am there as your own conscience guiding you from within. Good.

Swami Sevananda: I find that if I carry on a conversation with You in my mind, I am always hearing Your voice. If I have a problem or don't understand something, the answer comes very clearly in the very words You would use.

That's beautiful. Anyone else?

Marthandan: To me You are the Teachings. When I find myself forgetting the Teachings, I see them in the people around me. If we try to see the Guru in each other and focus on Your Teachings, rather than on the parts in each other that irritate us, it seems to be helpful.

Bhavani: I put down in my diary everything that is important to me and then give it to You. I write things that maybe wouldn't be important to a Sannyasi [monk] - things like cooking really good meals for my children - things that I might otherwise feel ashamed of and that would separate me from You. Anything I feel could separate us I write down and give You, saying, "Here, I've done what I can; it's not much." And I find that when my shame is gone and I am open with You, You're with me all the time.

Kumar: Whenever I have an experience which gives me pleasure, I try to see it as a gift from You. If I am suffering or finding myself very attached, I try to see it as You testing me and trying to refine me.

Padma: Whenever there is an opportunity to do something for somebody, even if I don't feel like doing it, I say, "If this was Swamiji who needed it, what would I do?" Then there is no question as to what extent I would go to do the best possible job.

Swami Abhayananda Ma: When I feel a harmony in myself and among all of us I feel You are here.

Vimala: I experience You in peace and in the nature - in the sunlight, in the clear sky, in the birds.

Good, Good.

Jayalakshmi: I find that when You're not here and I'm feeling, "Oh, I can't do this," or I can't do that," then I think of how You can do anything and everything and how relaxed You are, and the way you say, "If it comes, fine. If it doesn't come, fine — I don't expect anything; I don't want anything." When I remember that, I'm fine.

Kumar Zelin: When I don't pay attention to what I'm doing, I feel I'm not paying attention to You. When I find that happening, I try to catch myself and deal with the situation.

Kalyani: I remember something my friend Devi told me. She said that when You weren't here in the physical presence she always felt You were looking over her left shoulder, and I always think of that.

Pip: When you're not around physically, Gurudev, and I'm bowing down before doing some sadhana or meditation, I conceptualize, I visualize, that You are right there in front of me. It's even better than a picture and seems to work very well.

Asangan: When the witness in me is watching what is going on, I feel that this is You witnessing in me.

Swami Gurucharanananda Ma: Devotion to Your Lotus Feet inspires me constantly. Before eveverything I do, I try to kiss your Lotus Feet with the remembrance of You. Then I really feel Your energy and Grace and can surrender to that Knowledge and Light and Divinity that come through You constantly. And I'm trying to see that same Light in everybody.

[Gurudev speaks to the original questioner:] See, now you've heard many ways. Use anything that is applicable to you. There's no one way. If you are really keen in wanting my presence always, you can just find your own way. You can see me within or over your shoulder, or in the Feet, or in the heart, or in the sky or the moon or sun or in harmony. That's where you see how one and the same thing is experienced in many ways or approached in many ways by different people. If you really want it, you will certainly get it.