The institute has a few programs around the year and the hall is usually full for these events, even before the invocation starts. Yesterday was Guruji’s 2nd punya thithi and no exception. This time of the year also sees a lot of international students so it was a big gathering.
The program was a straight forward question and answer session with Geetaji. The questions posed were mostly about Guruji and his life. There were a few but two that stuck with me were the initial ones.
The first one was to understand the relationship of Guruji with the three important people in his life; his guru, Shri T. Krishnamacharya, his friend and pupil, Yehudi Menuhin and his beloved wife, Shrimati Ramamani Iyengar. Most of the world knew Guruji’s guru as a strict teacher to him. Geetaji showed us another aspect to the Guru Shishya relationship. It was his guru’s apparent refusal to teach him in depth that was essential for his self discovery and transformation. Knowing what not to teach is more important that knowing what to teach.
The second with his friend and pupil, Yehudi Menuhin marked a turning point in his life’s purpose. His famous student was instrumental in bringing Guruji worldwide recognition and bringing a fresh lease of life to this ancient science.
The last but perhaps most important person in his sadhana was his wife. It is hard to imagine a relationship such as theirs today where we often do not have the magnanimity of heart to let go. Theirs was the equality of husband and wife as suggested in grihasthashram, soul mates in the true sense of the word. Ardhangani was the word used by Geetaji, an Indian word to denote wife. Perhaps a better description would be to say half of one’s being. Ardha means half and anga means body. Even Shiva need his Shakti…
Gurujis’s line of love, labour and laughter had someone wondering about ‘laughter’ since he was known to be a very strict teacher. Except for a brief moment as part of a crowd that took his blessings, I never knew him. But I always associated laughter with his personality. How could that expansive chest not be one of lightness and laughter? I hadn’t heard of the line before and coincidence or not, it was similar to what I write in greeting cards, “Love, laughter and sunshine”. Geetaji put it very beautifully, his laughter was Ishwara Pranidhana, an offering of everything to the Divine.
Ruminating over these three words, I can’t help but think about the childlike innocence of these aspects of life. Children embody the best of being human. Their honest expression of love, their labouring to stand on their feet and gurgling laughter that light up the lives of those around. A little child is here, now. How can it be anything but pure joy?
As a line from an old song goes, “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good..”, to have found a way to Guruji. He lives on.