There is much more to our life than the obvious sensory and emotional existence. His Guru told him "Go to Himalayas. Do not beg for food or accept money. The food that comes to you is meant for you, accept with gratitude. When food fails to reach you, observe fasting. I shall be with you." He married poverty and sought the highest inner richness possible in a human existence on earth. Taking a deep plunge into the unseen depths of destiny, his life began. The journey of a young man into the unknown terrains of the mysterious Himalayas, seeking the unknowable! This is the story of Avadhoota Nadananda.
This is the story of an Avadhoota. Who is an Avadhoota, one may ask? To paraphrase what Mast Ram Baba of Rishikesh once told me, "Aakash chath hai, aur bhoomi bichona hai. Aur sirf Guru pe vishwas". For whom the sky is the roof and the earth is the bed. And one who relies only on the Guru (spiritual preceptor) and the Divine for fulfilment of one's needs. What does an Avadhoota do? While describing our tradition, my Guru, Avadhoota Tara Mayee (Amma), told me, "A person who lives for himself is an animal and a person who lives for others is a Bhagavan (God). Now you have to decide what you want to become - an animal or a Bhagavan. If you decide positively, take an oath that you will live for others for the rest of the life, only for others. No matter what the consequences are to yourself." At that moment, I touched her holy feet and took that oath which is the guiding light for every Avadhoota. Seva hi mam dharma. Selfless service is the religion of an Avadhoota and it extends to every being on the planet-humans, animals, birds, plants and all living creatures. An Avadhoota sees God in the grass, worms, flowers and all the living and non-living things on the earth.
When I first thought of writing my autobiography, the first face that appeared in front of me was that of my beloved Guruji who is everything to me and is with me, rather in me, at every moment. I was a rough, black and shapeless lump of clay that was moulded into a smooth, beautiful idol in her hands. Due to Amma's skill in transforming that dingy clod of clay, a few kept that idol in the altar of their hearts and worshipped him as their Guru. That is me and this is my story.
It is the story of a never ending journey of an Avadhoota with all the trials and tribulations of a life enriched with all the tastes - bitter, sour, sweet, hot and spicy. And I feel this is a story that must be told. Not for personal glorification. Far from it. Paramahamsa Yogananda said in Man's Eternal Quest, "It is not necessary to go through every kind of human experience in order to attain ultimate wisdom. You should be able to learn by studying the lives of others." Ignoring the unceasing struggles involved in this effort and the naysayings - both from my own self and others, I have bared my soul to reflect the vulnerabilities, the tenacities, the determination, the Grace, the purpose, the miseries and the Masters that illumined my journey. If a single person gets inspiration from these words and changes his attitude towards life, I will consider myself a successful writer.
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