Wednesday, June 25, 2003

My CyberGuru

I'm not a Hindu but for many years I was a regular visitor to a Hindu cyber-monastery, reading and listening to sermons of the late Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami who passed away (attained Mahasamadhi) on November 2001. The site is updated daily by the monks in this Hindu monastery physically located on the beautiful island of Kauai in Hawaii. The late Satguru - affectionately known as "Gurudeva" - had been a leading figure in the Hindu world, responsible for raising the religion to greater heights, especially in the Western world.

What is surprising about Gurudeva is that he was an American, orphaned at a young age and started out as a classical and ballet dancer! Responding to his spiritual calling, he later went to India and Sri Lanka and tutored under the great Saivite Hindu guru Yogaswami. Gurudeva had since founded the Hinduism Today magazine and had written many books about the religion besides conducting his many retreats, speeches and sermons all over the world.

I first became acquainted with Gurudeva when I chanced upon his book, Merging with Siva at a new age bookstore in Mountain View, California in 1999. It was a thick book which I started reading then in the US, and continued doing so when I was back in Singapore for the duration of almost a year - slowly sipping and digesting the profound insights and wisdom embedded in this magnificent piece of work. The book changed my perception of life and deepened my understanding of religions. I have always been a student of yoga philosophy and eastern religions and read widely on all these subjects. Gurudeva's Merging with Siva expounds many religious concepts already known to me but it was done with such lucidity and beauty of expression, with an underlying voice that is wise, serene and compassionate that reading the book through those days and months in Mountain View and Singapore, I felt like I had gone through an intense spiritual transformation.

Merging with Siva is the book that I keep on my bedside, even here in Jakarta. I dip into it every now and then to gain fresh insights into Gurudeva's writings. Everytime I read his words, I understand something new. Like a scalpel of the psyche, Gurudeva's words help me to penetrate deeper and deeper into the inner layers of my mind and soul. I now view things and events with a keen intuitive perspective. It is a process of spiritual flowering. And my soul unfolds a little bit more everyday, watered by the transcendent genius of Gurudeva.

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