"When the bud breaks, it becomes a flower. When the heart breaks, it becomes divine."
~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
I offer this remembrance of Guru Purnima, the full moon of the Guru, not only to beloved Shri Shri, but to all who might not be able to attend the celebration of Guru Purnima in the Guru's presence on July 31. It doesn't matter. You are the presence.
Oh my Guruji, we were in Nova Scotia at a ten-day mid-summer silence course in 1991, ending on full moon. Seventy people attended: a large course then, though tens of thousands gather with you now. On the final night, after Sat Sang, about twenty of us took a moonlight walk with you. The night was hot, humid, yet breezy. Through onyx skies gleamed the full moon. Cool mist draped the forest vales and meadow edges. We strolled to a field and sat in dewy grass singing, "Shri Radhey Radhey Radhey Shyam."
Suddenly, you stood up and began to dance! Silk trailed in the breeze about your whirling form. The moonlight was pearl with flecks of gold. Surely, our souls were Gopis and cowherd boys in the garden of Vrindavan. And you were Krishna, Shyama Sundara, the formless sky of divine Beauty! That's what we were all thinking, but no one spoke. No one broke the ancient spell that glimmered down the centuries into this fleeting night of yearning.
At the core of our joy was the sorrow of your departure. It was our last night together. You would leave for India tomorrow. None of us knew when we would ever see you again. Our hearts were intoxicated by a troubled mixture of sweet and bitter wine, longing and ecstasy, fulfillment tasting of foreshadowed absence.
We gazed, sang and wept with wonder and sadness, while you whirled whimsically across the meadow. Finally, at the edge of the forest, you were dancing in the mist at the borders of form, on the threshold of invisibility. How did you know exactly where to perform this lila, at the precise distance from our eye where you could momentarily appear and dissolve, appear and dissolve, playing on the borderline of time and eternity? You teased us with the mystery of form and the formless. Or was it just a coincidental vibration of innocence, without meaning?
As you danced on that threshold, your whirling Self was bija, then nirbija: the seed of form, then no seed. One moment the embodied Guru, the next a moonlit mist of un-knowing. In and out of transcendence you danced. Your ever vanishing shape stirred my heart with waves and troughs of pang and presence.
All at once, a profound smile erupted from the base of my spine. It widened toward my heart, out of a dark root deeper than sadness, deeper than creation, blossoming through my face, my lips, the well-spring of my eyes. It shone through the hollow crown of my skull, releasing a causeless untethered eternal happiness into the moon-drenched sky. Not in miraculous vision or ecstatic trance, but in a subtle inner shift and sigh, my longing came to an end. My journey was over. My seeking dissolved, as you dissolved, in the formless sweetness that is never diminished by parting, never divided by absence, never depleted by tears.
Whether you come or go no longer matters to me. Behind the fluctuations of light and shadow, You are omnipresent. I don't need to wait for the full moon. The moon is always full.
Jai Guru Dev