Sample from the Fall 2003 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine

By Hersha Harilela

August 22-24, 2003, devotees from around the globe gathered in Yogaville to observe the one-year anniversary of Sri Gurudev’s Mahasamadhi. Hersha Harilela-who grew up in Hong Kong and whose family Guru is Sri Gurudev-shares her very profound experience of the weekend.

As I stepped off the plane in Charlottesville, I looked up at the sky, took a deep breath and let my face bathe in the warmth of the sun. One year ago, I had come to mourn the departure of our beloved Guru from this earth. Little did I know that I was to be consumed by his Shakti and that my life would turn around completely. My illusory world was shaking around me. Everything material that I was holding on to for happiness was crumbling before my eyes. However, I knew Gurudev was there because I could feel him. I could hear his message loud and clear: “It’s time to let go and let me take over from here.”

The past year, I have been shedding the layers of attachment; trying to let go completely. However, the series of events that marked the Mahasamadhi First Anniversary Memorial made me question the quality of my faith in Gurudev. Do I really have faith in my Satguru from the depths of my soul?

My introspection began as I observed those I deeply respected. On Friday night, at the Akanda Japa (continuous chanting) at Chidambaram, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Nalanie Chellaram and Amma Kidd. I watched them sing with their hearts, dance with their souls, and sparkle like two bright crystals. These two women-two amazing souls-have complete faith in Gurudev and were tasting the pure nectar of his Grace, as they sang his Grace.

On Saturday morning, at the Homa (Sacred Fire Ceremony), Sri Swami Maruthachalam Adigalar of Perur Temple, Coimbatore, and Kandaswamy Gurukkal from Toronto, performed a very powerful ritual. Swami Maruthachalam called upon the children of Yogaville to make offerings to the fire before anyone else. I watched these pure, untainted hearts offer the fruits of their actions into the fire. In their eyes, I could see their hearts glowing with blessings from Gurudev.

I questioned myself and my faith in Gurudev when I learned from Swami Vidyanandaji that as we drive our cars on the road of life, Gurudev is driving us. Most of us are familiar with Gurudev’s favorite way of driving: FAST! If we drive with our hearts, we will get to our final destination so quickly we will even have time for a cup of tea. If we let our heads get in the way, we may miss our opportunity.
Was I driving with my head or my heart?

Read the rest of this article in the Fall 2003 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.