One day a young man decided that he should learn to meditate, but thought it would be good to seek the guidance of a saint first. He went to visit a solitary man who used to take rest under the shelter of a tree on the outskirts of his village, feeling that he might be able to point him in the right direction.
“Excuse me,” he said, “do you think I will be able to find a real saint in my life? And can you tell me how to recognise one? I want to learn a meditation practice.”
“There is no doubt,” the older man replied, “that you will find the person you are looking for, and when you find him, he will be willing to teach you. He will be sitting under a fragrant temple tree in full bloom and this is how you will recognise him…” The man went on to list several physical characteristics and even gestured with his hands whilst his listener nodded, clearly satisfied with the fullness of the answer.
The young man travelled far and wide in search of a saint who matched the description he had been given. His faith did not waver for many years, and although he did not find his spiritual teacher, life taught him many lessons. The feeling that he wanted to learn meditation remained, but decades passed, and it was with resignation and dejection that he finally resolved to return home.
As he was within a kilometre of his village, he passed a temple tree in full bloom. There was something familiar about the welcoming gesture and warm smile of the old man who sat beneath it, and everything clicked into place.
“But why didn’t you tell me it was you?” cried the man, falling on his knees before him.
“When you came to me all those years ago, you were in too much of a hurry to even think about it,” replied the saint. “You were blind. But now you have had the experiences you needed to begin to understand, and I can teach you.”
“Layers upon layers,” Guruji said after telling this story during a Satsang last year. “Don’t think that you can recognise a holy person so easily.
“I draw a picture in your mind of reality and truth. It happens many times that, when I’m speaking, despite what I mean to say and the sense I am giving, people draw their own meanings according to their mind or knowledge. Never mind, it is natural.
“There are two things: prose and poetry. When we write prose, it is according to our mind and knowledge of grammar that we put together the words with the correct grammar and punctuation. It comes from the place of mind.
“But when we write poetry, it comes from the heart. We have more liberty to use the words we choose because we are in a flow. Songwriters, when writing songs, also know that the words they choose are different to writing prose. So the expression that I am using when I speak is also according to my feeling.
“In daily life, mind is generally only focussed on one point, it is one-dimensional. But when you are practising yoga, and Kriya Yoga, you will find more and more that you become multi-dimensional. You will see several meanings where before you thought there was only one.
“Then you will begin to understand the words and the message – the deeper meaning given by the spiritual masters.”