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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Mahaswami and Mathematics

Brought up in a strict orthodox family, and actuated by the samskaras of past life, I was, like millions of others of this holy land, a quester for Truth in own humble way, almost right from my birth. This naturally meant seminality of a certain unusual kind in as much as the verifiability of an input was sought to be established not merely with reference to the customary, desire-ridden mind, but to the deepest principle within; viz., the atman.

As I now retrospectively realize, this was why I got rather abruptly disgusted with the theoretical framework, characterized by strange inconsistencies, of most of the disciplines taught at college, and that again, even in objective subjects like Maths, Physics and other physical sciences representative instance, I never appreciated as to what “meaning” could possibly have before we dare find out its “value” Hindu ideal is at its purest best, I believe, and stood fiercely in the way of my nodding agreement, even at the tender age of Fifteen years as a first year college student, to its value being rather facilely derived as 1. Negative indices and factional indices only used to draw my ridicule for the simple reason that they do not have the expected correspondence with the real world around us. Lessons in Physics and Chemistry also, to my analytical mind, turned out likewise to be exercises in mere autistic thinking. Questioning in classroom invariably drew either silencing admonitions, or worse still, accusations at being presumptuous.

But, the spirit within would permit neither rest not respite and I therefore continued a life long quest after the truth as against the diluted reason because less pains taking versions of it were preferred rather routinely in the so-called centers of higher learning.

The very restiveness brought me to lean increasingly on spiritual literature ranging from the kavyas in Sanskrit, Telugu, Oriya, Hindi, to philosophers like Sri Sankara, Sri Aurobindo etc., regular reader of Bhavan’s Journal as well, I would be deeply impressed by the all too simple yet mysteriously appealing maxims of His Holiness that his articles which the magazine were replete. I took no time in realizing the authenticity of the experiences as distinct from mere `concepts’ – that went into those powerful utterances. A determined journey all the way from a remote town of Orissa to Kanchipuram ensued. On the first visit itself, when my turn in the long queue came, the Mahaswami `detained’ me and questioned me with great concern about several things in my personal life and through those very ordinary questions, passed on to me esoterically as it were a great many hints and clues about sadhana I ought to do. I need hardly add that such compassion and grace as I experienced in the 40-45 minute conversation bestowed a divine bliss on me that is too ineffable for words.

Drawn again and yet again, I visited the Ashram five times the same year, followed by visits especially whenever I go to Tirupati. Reaching the Ashram on my second visit, I discovered again the usual rush of devotees but was happy at the sight of a large multitude basking in the spiritual glory of that doyen among saints. I was perfectly content to prostrate at His Holiness’s Lotus Feet from a distance and leave to have darshan of His Holiness Jayendra Saraswati Maharaj But, no, that was not to be, at any rate not so soon, for even as I was crossing the threshold of the room, I was called by my name by a dozen or so total strangers and told that His Holiness was calling me. I was moved beyond description, or rather dazed, because I just could not understand how His Holiness could know my name complete with my surname, for to the best of my memory the question just did not crop up during my first visit. I wondered again as to how His Holiness could spot me. Seated as he was in the familiar bamboo compartment at considerable distance. All the more because as a late arrival, I was at the very tail – end of the queue and did not in the least want to be addressed by His Holiness, perfectly content with and even relishing as I was, the highly satisfying act of prostrating at His Lotus Feet unknown to His Holiness, as at least I thought. Dazed thus, the literally pushed by the devotees to the very forefront of the queue, I once again offered my humble salutations, whereupon His Holiness again very kindly inquired after me, my name, my surname etc., although, of course – such are the Lilas of Ahatmas with ordinary worldings. I have already been called by my full name by the devotees as related above. When I mentioned my surname to be `Gumma’, His Holiness with a divine smile on his lips, drew an imaginary square – like figure in the air with His finger and asked if my surname was that for `Gumma; kin to the word `Gummam: means `the threshold’.

But, this one gesture of His Holiness, small as it may seem set rest, forever as it were, my many doubts that had tormented my mind since childhood on several aspects of Maths and of course, philosophy. I had always mused, albeit, fruitlessly as to how the inexplicable beauty and perfection of the circle can be formulated and explained in terms of palpable perceptional parameters as we can easily do with the square. The Acharya’s gesture, using my surname as the occasion, conveyed to me, as nothing else could have, the precise inter-relationship between a square and a circle, and on further ruminations, between `Satya’ and `Rita” between `Pitripurushas’ and `Viswedavas’ between `Law’ and `Love’ and what is more, it also gave me that much needed inner quiet sans which my mind could have got lost in the quagmire of inquiries launched without any reference to the absolute as their background.

Needless to add that the Jijnasu in me owes a profound debt of gratitude to the Mahaswami and to His illustrious disciples now adorning the Peetham for opening up my inner spiritual eye, thus enabling me to look for the very source of all empirical and relational phenomenon based discoveries.

Author - Shri G.Ranga Rao, Orissa

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