I was self-realized as a child, but I didn’t know that, and the child that I was trusted its elders to guide him. Unfortunately they guided me into the quasi-religious, a world of Saturday schools and meaningless ritual that only compounded the contradictions and other falsities I was quickly becoming aware of around me in the interactions of society and their communication with me. I was quickly becoming lost and neither my parents nor most trusted teachers or baby-sitters or anyone could hear my voice. I turned to books early and found the Autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda first.
Though gradually spiraling down in the parallel rabbit-hole of society’s sensibilities, a host of paranormal experiences kept me anchored to the idea that worlds beyond my physical eyes existed and a Self beyond the one whose good behavior was encouraged at home was always within me witnessing these external dramas. When I read Yogananda’s account of his struggles to reconcile a similar understanding, the wonderful and romantic adventures he took part in leading him into the Himalayas, and the masters waiting for him there when he finally arrived, all impacted me with such force that I knew then and there that I would be doing the same. I believe I may have been thirteen years old at the time.
Having grown up in a semi-Jewish home, it wasn’t a leap for me to grab the Zohar next. Hebrew was familiar and the colorful depiction of the Tree of Life on the cover of the book appealed to my senses. Cabala would begin to confirm for me in academic terms what I’d only intuited thus far, what Yogananda pined over in his poetry. What he personified with his talk of deities, the Cabala laid out with metaphysical precision, giving definition to concepts that supported my inner vision of the human construct.
Fast forward through a longer story of adolescence, a stay in Israel, the discovery of Buddhism and mysticism in Japan. I am now 24 years old, a bit of life-experience under my belt, some academics, some bucks, a good sense of my freedom and personal potential and a day-to-day literally filled with magic. One evening after work I am sitting with some mates in a park having a beer where, I shit you not, Peter Pan comes flying into the park followed up by a robot, an angel and a teddy bear. Peter, a young girl, was approaching all the people sitting around and encouraging them to get up and play with her. Nobody accepted. When she came to me she looked into my eyes deeply and asked me. “Do you think I’m strange?” I said to her “My dear, you are the most Natural thing I’ve seen in a very long time.” She beamed. And her big eyes got much bigger as she stared at me aghast and took my hand as I got up to dance with her. My mates looked at me as if I’d lost my senses completely. But they didn’t really know me. Neither did she. And if she were surprised by my acceptance of her, my next statement shocked her completely. “Take me to your master.” I beckoned her. I knew this whole thing had to have been choreographed by an operator. These kids were too innocent to have come up with this themselves. She silently pointed me in the direction of a studio wherein some kind of self-awareness training had been taking place. Another longer story cut short, I met her teacher, played in their training and several months later was on my way to an audience with the Dalai Lama before taking myself a bit further into the mountains where I would meet the sage who’d set this dancing teacher alight.
When I approached the path on which the Baba kept his abode, He’d already known I was coming and greeted me warmly. “Ah, this is David.” is all He said as He pulled me in for a good hug. I followed Him, along with the small group I was with, up the path and into His home where I would listen to His conversation with the dance teacher, when He wasn’t in conversation with unseen spirits around Him.
He was an elegant man, well-mannered, gruff, electric and passionate, of piercing intelligence, reserved, eloquent, happy, at peace and seemed to be on a first-name basis with God. Although I never once spoke directly to Him, no less than 8 times that very first day did He spontaneously look over to me in the middle of a conversation and answer whatever question happened to be going through my mind at the moment. And then, that evening, I saw something that nobody else appeared to see. The Master called the Dragon. I call it that for want of a better word. Merlin’s Dragon. Kind of like Yoda’s Force, but it was different. Neither is it the Kundalini, but could be a manifestation of the same… anyway, I ramble. I still have no better poetry to explain today the presence He called into His bed chamber that evening as we sat around listening to Him. A woman sat on the edge of the bed while we huddled around on the floor. One moment we were listening to His conversation, the next moment the room went still, as if a thin, glimmering curtain had been pulled over us. Nobody moved; they were all in a trance. Only I appeared to be unaffected. And the girl started moving like a snake to the rhythm of the Master’s hand which was also now moving like a snake. And then she struck! First the dance teacher. I saw the look of fright on his wife’s face. She, too, was witnessing. But the dance teacher was totally unaware. I watched, chanting the whole time behind them ‘it’s only God. It’s only God’, which angered the snake something terrible when she heard and then she struck me. And then the Master pulled her back. And then the curtain was withdrawn and the people came back. Only me and dance teacher’s wife sat there in shock and awe while the rest got up to go downstairs for tea and dinner.
My Guru was everything I had ever read about, anything I had ever visualized, anything I had ever dreamed of. He was the Cabala walking around in a body. He was the Masters of Yogananda. He was my very own Self, and He mirrored me in every respect. He was what I wanted to be when I grow up and every word He said rang out like ten bells at once in my heart. There was no doubt. And though I did wake up one morning at around 4 to follow Him down to the fire and have a private cup of tea, He did not become my Guru then and there. I went back to Japan and wrote Him letters, sometimes two or three a day for three whole months, sending each by express mail, sometimes accompanied by books I’d read, and pages full of questions and dreams and aspirations. I begged Him to teach me, to take me on and make me into one like Him.
And then one day my phone rang and He asked me if I would be visiting Him again. This is how my relationship with the Guru began.
…is a practicing Jnana Yogi in the Aghor-Nath lineage, direct disciple of Vinayagananda Babaji, and founder of UmaMaYA (Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda), the legacy of Uma Maheshwar Ashram. David has an M.A. in Semiotics and Ph.D.(c) in Eastern Philosophy and works in learning and development as a coach and mentor. He lives in Japan with his family and devotes his time to exploration of the human condition, in order to develop science-based tools, programs and products that help humans reach their fullest potential by delivering optimal body/mind health, abundance and joy.