It was a crisp sunny day on the top of Sahyadri Hills! As fate would have it, I met father of my daughter’s friend and we got chatting. I remember it so vividly even today. It was probably the turning point in my life. Talking about kids, studies and school somehow we started chatting about Swamiji. He told me about the entrepreneur who gave up his business and become a monk. He told me about Swamiji’s memoir and I got hold of it as soon as I got back.

Reading the memoir, my desire to meet Swamiji became urgent. I too wanted to experience the peace within. On my visit to the ashram, I met a few people and was discussing with them as a skeptic would. I was amazed with the devotion and belief they exhibited.   I met Swamiji on one of the events and became a devotee too. 

I started on this path not because I wanted to experience God realization. My main motive was to conquer my own mind. That constant blabbering inside was and still is very disturbing. I realized many years ago the wonders of this mind. It can within a fraction of a second go back many years to a random event on its own and at the very next instant can lead into the future without any purpose. This yo-yo effect has been draining and I have become my very own worst enemy. 

So, with a purpose in hand, I started on this hike to Lake Bliss. On 30 Dec,2018, I was flagged off by Swamiji on this quest within. With a pep in my step, I was ready to go to battle with my own mind. The belief that I can and will someday reach the famed Lake Bliss keeps me going. 

On this journey, I have come to know many wonderful people. Some I have met, many I have read. But it feels like I have someone to call to when I need help. With Swamiji’s grace, I have started on this journey and may his continuing love and grace shine light on this arduous path. I know its a difficult task I have embarked on. Thanks to Covid, I am still on Level I. I have many responsibilities as a householder which I cannot ignore. And there is this constant pull to put in more effort towards my quest. To find that balance is another quest.

I am reminded of Robert Frost:

The woods are lovely dark and deep

But I have miles to go before I sleep.

I hope someday I will experience the peace of Lake Bliss before I finally sleep.

 

 

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TONY OM KATARIA

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