Saturday, April 23, 2011

Facing the inevitable

Now I probably know what it must have been like during the Buddha's time when he was about to pass into Maha Parinirvana at Kusinagara. All the gloom and sadness pervading the earth and heavens. Even the gods shed tears despite knowing the nature of impermanence. And I think it is quite appropriate to feel that way. If you do not feel anything and cold as a stone when your guru is about to pass away, then that tells us something about how you probably treated your guru, i.e. unimportant. 

There is a feeling of resignation that he has to go away but yet our heart longs for him to be with us for a longer time. There is this feeling of being abandoned like a child who suddenly loses both his/her parents. Whose going to take care of me (us)? Whose going to guide me (us) from now on? Am I (are we) going to be on the right track without your presence? When the guru is around, he can scold us or prompt us whenever we stray from the path. But when the guru is no longer around, we are forced to be independent. To walk or own path. To make important decisions ourselves. If we make mistakes, we have to face the music ourselves. The guru will not be with us always and forever taking our hands and telling us the do's and don'ts. In such a way, we will never learn from our mistakes and be matured. So, essentially the guru will have to be away from us. However, he will always be watching us from a distance. This I am sure.  

Even though I am short of some type of blessings but I have been real fortunate in some ways too. And I am eternally grateful for this kind of blessings to have known Sathya Sai Baba. Not everybody has it. Nowadays the younger people in Malaysia do not have such fortune to know genuine gurus on the level of Sai Baba. The center in Farlim complained that they do not have any youth section. And the reason is the youngest member they have is over 50 years old. So, how to have a youth section? 

Anyway, since Sai Baba's health took a turn for the worse, I have been held to the edge of my seat every now and then. My heart is not at peace and it will never be so long as he plans to go "away". Before Master Hsuan Hua passed away, I did not know he was ill. So I did not have to worry. I would feel the same way too had I known he was ill too. And I would feel the same way too for all my teachers. I was worried too for Khenrinpoche, the Abbot of Kopan Monastery. When Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen was taken ill several times in the past, I always did some prayers for him. I even compiled a book on teachings on the Mani mantra (given by various teachers) and sent it to him. At another occasion I wrote a long life verse for him. It's published somewhere in this blog. Go read it if you haven't. 

As long as Sai Baba still hovers somewhere between life and death, that's so long we will be held in suspense. Not knowing what will happen. It's the uncertainty that's terrible to bear. But we'll watch and see what happens next. Some people say Sai Baba predicted he will die at 96 years old. But the truth is, he can decide not to follow that early prediction. That's not a problem for him but a problem for us. If he goes away sooner than later, then it is our lost. Indeed, humanity's lost. Not his. So, now all devotees are face to face with the inevitable and it's not impermanence that's the problem for us. It's knowing our good karma with the physical body of the guru is over and not knowing how we will fare without our guru thereafter that's worrying many devotees. That's what was probably on the minds of many people who surrounded the Buddha on his death bed. But the Buddha assured them and said that let the Dharma be their guide after his death. He said that he who sees the dharma, sees the Buddha. And indeed, it is no different. I am confident that that's exactly the advice Sathya Sai Baba would give to all his devotees.


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