It was January 2009 and with the customary chill of winter, I and my friend MD finally reached Sringeri on a pleasant evening after a rather comedic start to our trip 8 days back from Mumbai. It was my first visit to Sringeri Sharada Peetham and more than excitement, I found myself starving and raging to eat something asap. A pity food was not to come by for another 3-4 hours at least. Haha.

After attending the evening pooja of the Shankaracharya, we retired to our rooms and slept soundly. The next morning, after bath and the ablutions, we had darshan of the various deities in the temple complex and of the Shankaracharya himself. We sat down in the hall and I was more in awe of the presence of surrounding peaceful settings than in a spiritual presence. Before the trip, having just learnt about what Self-knowledge or Brahman is, I decided to ask the Guruji to grace me with this knowledge upon the first meeting itself. Thankfully, his grace kept my audacity in check and I was silent for the next couple of days, just feeling contented having his darshan in the mornings and evenings.

After a couple of days, while having the morning darshan of his Holiness, He very condescendingly and lovingly asked us where we both came from. We replied accordingly and were asked to sit down in the hall. That was all the conversation I had with him during the 7 day stay at Sringeri. I was sure at that moment, He knew everything about me and there are things in my life, if I told anyone, not even the vilest sinner would love me. Some of those misgivings hit me back many a time and I used to reel under its blows and think if I could ever be forgiven. Yet, He spoke gently and it was beautiful.

If not for those words and the calm His presence bought in me, I would have been a lost cause for sure and for a person about to complete graduation and enter into the corporate world for livelihood. It gave me strength, faith and hope. It is a feeling that cannot be put down in words.

Every one of us, in a sense, wants this kind of acceptance in life – not being judged for who we are or what we did, but what we can be.

I am still far from my goal of Self-realization or being a sincere sadhaka, but whatever little I could do in life thereafter, it is all due to His grace.

May the soft moonlight of love and compassion of the knowers of Brahman shine on all of us and leave us in peace and contentment.

Sadguro Sharanam.

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Abhishek Iyer

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