Gurudeva Meets Yogaswami, Part 2

Stories of Yogaswami


Part 2, Gurudeva's story of his first meeting with Yogaswami. Gurudeva said that Advaita and Dvaita, both are true. Equality of Vedanta and Siddhanta. Yogaswami who then bestowed the name Subramunia upon Gurudeva with the mission to return to America and build temples. Subramuniya means a self-restrained soul who remains silent or speaks out from intuition, one who speaks out from the inner sky.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

This morning we're continuing with Gurudeva's first meeting with Yogaswami.

"Then Yogaswami asked about the difference between advaita and dvaita. Gurudeva answered that 'both are true, depending on one's perspective.' Yogaswami smiled, obviously enjoying the way in which the disciple had grasped that it is not one and not two. Swami, well familiar with the controversy between the two schools of philosophy was satisfied.

"Dr. S. Ramanathan who was there later provided the following insights:

"Swami once told me that the mahavakya 'Aham Brahmasmi' is not correctly understood by people who criticize Advaita Vedanta. He had high regard for the Advaita Vedanta of Sri Sankararacharya as well as for the Siddhanta Shastras. One day when I was going to the ashram at Columbuthurai, I was thinking of the debate between Vedanta and Siddhanta. The minute Swami saw me he sang a line from the work of Tayumanavar: 'We belong to the group of learned mystics who have understood the complete agreement and equality of Vedanta and Siddhanta.' Then he placed his hands on his chest to indicate that it was the firm truth..."

Well Vedanta and Siddhanta, it's an interesting point. Couple of years ago I was with one of the swamis from the Divine Life Society in Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur who was quite familiar with Gurudeva's teachings, really respects Gurudeva. And see if I can think of his name here, it relates to the, it'll come to me in a second. He explained that Gurudeva taught Vedanta as it used to be taught. That was an interesting statement to start with. How did it used to be taught, right? He said: he taught Vedanta within Siddhanta. Oh, I said: "Okay that's an interesting way of looking at it." In other words, to him the Siddhanta was the theism, temple worship and all, the devotional service oriented practices. And you learn that first and then when you have a foundation in that, then you are ready for the monistic teachings. Another way of saying what he was saying is Gurudeva didn't teach monism only he taught Monistic Theism. Monistic Theism would be another term for Vedanta in Siddhanta.

"...Their philosophical repartee lasted about twenty minutes. Finally the grape juice arrived and Yogaswami offered it to his guests. That ended all discussion for the evening. Swami told them to begin their trip home, as it was a long way. Taking Swami's leave, they walked to the waiting bullock cart. The devotees, still entranced by the enigmatic encounter, also made their way off into the night. Kumar Surian, an astute man, was impressed, and a little upset, too. He interrogated Gurudeva:

"'Why did you tell Swami you saw him at Nallur Temple this evening? I was with you the whole time and I didn't see him.'

Gurudeva replied:

"'I saw him in the inner sanctum during the puja. He was standing there, right in front of me.'

"With that, the lawyer grasped the mystical nature of the relationship between Yogaswami and Gurudeva."

Then we have Gurudeva's recollection of the first meeting with Yogaswami.

"One day, I was invited to go to Yogaswami. Jnanaguru Yoganathan, affectionately known by the people of the area as Yogaswami, was a magnificent man. No one approached him unless they were in the right mood. (Cause you'd get severely scolded if you weren't in the right mood.) Some were literally afraid of him. (That was his gate so to speak, was his reputation of being fierce, and so he didn't need to lock the gate. He just had a fierce reputation, so individuals wouldn't go there unless they were willing to endure that.) When within the radius of him, one could feel the atmosphere scintillating. One felt electricity in the atmosphere. Devotees would prepare themselves on the inside so everything was all right before visiting the guru. Just to take him a little bit of fruit, they would sometimes prepare themselves for three or four days. If asked when they would be seeing the guru, they would say, 'Well, I'm not quite ready yet to see Yogaswami today, maybe tomorrow.' Or, 'I will go on a very auspicious day.' This was because they didn't want him to look through them and point out something that they saw in themselves that they thought he might see. He always knew when people were coming to him before they arrived.

"My meeting with him was unusual because I was introduced, and he said, 'Come on in and sit down.' Everybody else prostrated before him. In the Orient, devotees prostrate in front of a guru, placing the entire body face down on the floor. He said to me, 'You come in and sit down. You don't have to do that. You and I are one.'

"Then he started asking me the deepest of philosophical questions. I must have given the right answer each time; he seemed very pleased. As soon as he had asked the question, without hesitation I spoke the answer. Then he gave me the name I hold today, Subramuniya. 'You are white; Subramuniya [Lord Muruga] is white,' he told me boldly. He was my guru, my master. Subra means 'the light than emanates out from the central source.' It just emanates out. Muni means a silent teacher, and ya means restraint. Subramuniya means a self-restrained soul who remains silent or speaks out from intuition, one who speaks out from the inner sky.

"He showed me the book he had on Patanjali's yoga aphorisms. I had studied Patanjali, too. We had just a wonderful, deep and inner meeting. He treated me more like a brother. This did not surprise me, though, because I was so far within and not in the consciousness of being surprised, but it surprised everybody else. He made me eat food with him, and we parted. Before leaving, I mentioned to my guru that I had established an ashram in nearby Alaveddy and would like to have his blessings. He said, 'Fine, good, it will one day become a three-story building, and you are going around the world, and you will feed thousands of people. You are going to build palaces...'"

Well, of course, at the time Gurudeva didn't know that palaces is the same word as temples, kovil. So, he could say: You're going to build temples.

"...He began giving me many different kinds of instructions, such as 'You will return to America, and you will roar. And when you come back here, nothing will be gained and nothing will be lost.' He said, 'Now you go and teach the realizations that you have had.' I was used to being told what to do by my six teachers on the path, so I was happy to have this positive instruction. After I left my guru's presence, everyone started relating to me differently."

End of story. Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
The most important rule of honesty is to be be honest to oneself, to be able to face up to our problems and admit that we have been the creator of them. To be honest with oneself brings peace of mind.
—Gurudeva