It happens in Pushkar. I am walking through the temple area near the Pushkar lake and I am welcomed by a guru to come sit next to him. We sit together amongst one of the holiest lakes in Rajasthan watching the sunset together. His name is Maha Raja Shiva. He travels all over India, but has many followers in Bangalore and Pushkar is his home at the moment. We exchange information and he tells me about his many followers from all over the world. He pages through his notebook showing me the names of followers with many being from Poland, France, and a few from Argentina. Maha Raja Shiva asks for my birthday and I ask for the meaning behind the birthday. He responds that he likes to know the birthdays to burn the holi lamp on the lake on the birthday of his follower. This burning of the holi lamp wishes his follower a bright and happy future.
Shuffling through his bag, he looks for his sandelwood powder, which he softly places on my forehead. He requests I take a photo of him and then requests a couple more photos. We get together close for the photos and I gently rest my head on his shoulder feeling content with his presence and thankful for our meeting. He asks if I can come tomorrow to perform the mantra ceremony to “give me the power” and make him my official Guru. He is so cute asking me what he shall make me for lunch. He asks if Potato pakodas are okay with me and asks how many I want to eat. I sit and think to myself, “This man is so kind.”
We decide to continue our time together at Hotel Sunset Restaurant over some chai. He tells me about the people he meets in Pushkar and the ladies who ask to marry him. I just look at him surprisingly as I did not expect him to talk about marriages and how some have boyfriends, but he explains there is a different mantra ceremony for those single and in a relationship. I tell him that I do not have a boyfriend, but I hesitate when I think of the piece of me left in Istanbul. He continues speaking of his followers from all over and again begins to shuffle through his bag. He pulls out a stack of business cards to show me all his followers. It is adorable to see how proud he is of the wide variety of people he has met from all over- Japan, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Poland. He tells me the best time to be in Pushkar is November when there are thousands of people cleansing in the lakes and there is music, colors,and many visitors. We talk about our confusion and dislike for Russians. We talk about meditation and a routine schedule of 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. He tells me about the ashram he wants to start in Pushkar- a yoga center, meditation, swimming pool, rooms and a restaurant. I am supportive of his long term goals and interested in his passion. He has never been married and his motto is “Born alone, live alone, and die alone.” I question this motto for myself, “Will this be me in another 30 years?
He is confused by my name so he gives me the Indian name Sapnaa, which means “Dream.” It feels special, but I read this name for another follower in one of his letters. I do not want to be just an ordinary follower, I want our relationship to be special, meaningful, and sacred. I have been waiting for the right time, the right moment to meet my guru and that time happened now.
After our tea and while walking to the bus stop, he makes me feel special and not just like any follower. He tells me that he would like me to be his assistant and if he passes away, he wants me to take over the ashram. I am feeling unworthy of the responsibility and unsure of why he wants me to essentially take his place. I tell him he has many years until his death and that I am flattered by his words, but I am not sure if I am the person to fill his shoes. He tells me we are “Two bodies, but one soul.” He wants me to stay in Pushkar for a week until th New Year on March 23. I decide to just take things day by day and not put a number on my stay. I walk him onto the bus, he pats my head and we say “Namaste.”
This guru may just be the father I never had and the father I have always wanted…
After our meeting, I meet another Guru who says I look familiar and he does as well. It turns out that he was in my spiritual city of Trivinumalai-what a small spiritual world it happens to be. He invites me to sit and have food with him and the other gurus. I decline as I want to spend some time writing. He invites me to wake up and see the sunset with him in his “powerful place.”