Sage Of Ananda:

   Satsang with Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati

Volume 1


“To give up all desire for personal life, for personal pleasure, to dig your way into the very heart of that Presence, to become Him and His for all time, never to act as an individual … what a great life and what a great pleasure that is. But it is not for all.”

Then our Guru was silent for a moment and we, too, were still. The words rang in our minds and we grappled with the immensity of this message.

Guru went on and on, telling us about that state in which there is no person, where there is only the One in action, when the soul has become transformed into that which is not only its source, but the source of all.

“What a power and what a glory is there,” he said, recalling his beloved teacher, “and what a security and what a safety. That state, so rich and so filled with grace, is one that is rarely attained.”

Yet, in the very telling, he showed such a familiarity with it, making it clear that he had become the pillow, that the breath of his body was the breath of the cosmos, that the life of his heart was now the life of all life, that the thoughts of his mind were somehow the thoughts of that One who alone exists.

And all the various images that he used to make it clear to us! Guru presented so many illustrations, so many comparisons, in order to help us grasp the facts of the situation.

“Just as an ambassador should follow the orders and the injunctions of his nation implicitly, so, too, the student, the disciple must, at every breath, recall to himself or to herself that at each instant, one is the ambassador … but of what? The ambassador of Truth, of Light itself. To be an emissary of the Supreme God. That is no easy task and there are few, if any, who will rush to ask about such a post … indeed, what does it mean to be the disciple of a guru who has merged with the all?”

He spoke of the rays of light that come from the sun, of the waves on the ocean, of the pulsations of the heart. Yes, he made it clear that the master and the student have a closeness and an intimacy so sacred that not a thought, not a wish nor a word could pass between them that was not wholly harmonious and based in love and in eternity. And so that person who seeks discipleship must be prepared to give up all that is of time, all that is partial, to lose himself in the guru who has become the Absolute itself.

“Do you comprehend all of this?” he asked.

There was a quiet then, a sober stillness.

The image of the pillow remains with me still. But now, the thought of the pillow is a special image. It is a picture of contentment, of self-effacement, and more than all, of an ability to take on fully the wishes and the desires of the owner of the pillow, the Pillow-maker, the maker of all that appears in the world.

What it is that I must achieve, what must I attain, before I can put the question to my master, “When, oh divine friend, shall I be a disciple?”

Sample Chapter

Written by George Bailin

Editedanddesigned by DarylBailin

Published by SeaportPoets&WritersPress

First Edition 1993

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The Pillow

Satsang at Ananda Ashram

March 28, 1991

The fire ceremony had ended, and Shri Brahmananda was in the process of telling us a story to illustrate master and disciple relationships. It was a tale about his teacher, the saint Baba Bhagavandas. He started talking with a distant look in his eye, as though there was some difficulty in recapturing that day, those distant and rare times. However, as he continued, he grew more lively; there was more zest, as if that very day was being restored to his consciousness.

“I was sitting,” he began, “at the ashram of my sadguru Bhagavandas.” Shri Brahmananda paused, looked at us, and then continued. “Never, never in all of my life, had such a thing happened to me. It was as though until that time I had been deaf. I asked him about disciples and masters, why he did not take disciples since he was a great teacher. Baba looked at me, and for a moment, there was a stoppage. A blank. A space. My sadguru stared at me for a moment, or was it longer, and said to me, ‘Master? Disciple? Oh, Dr. Mishra, do you know what these words mean?’ And then he was silent for a while.

“When Baba spoke again, he told us that in this entire universe, in this vast and unmeasured space, throughout all the galaxies and among the most distant ethers and in worlds as yet undiscovered, there exists one master, alone. He said to me, and to all of us, ‘There is and was and shall be only one master, one guru. This guru has no name, no shape and no form, but is Pure Awareness. It is the light of Consciousness alone, a being so subtle and with such unimaginable power that the human mind, even a powerful one, is helpless to comprehend it intellectually.

“‘That is what you mean, is it not, by the word guru, that is what you intend when you speak of the master? This light, this truth, this unborn and living spirit which is beyond birth and which is beyond death?’”

Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati paused for a moment, his gaze steady.

“None of us spoke,” he continued, “for Baba no longer was addressing us. It appeared that he was lecturing the stars, urging and informing the interstellar reaches … ‘There is one guru alone for you and for me, for Jesus and for Mohammed, for all the saints … Now the question comes, what about the disciple? How will this master take a disciple …’

Baba continued in this vein. He spoke about a God, who on inspiration breathed in a constellation of stars, and who on exhalation gave birth to the world — a child, a star, a moon, a new forest — all in accordance with his laws and with his purity of creative majesty. ‘Now, how do you become a disciple of this infinite guru?’ he asked.

“Then Baba took a pillow in his hands, a lovely white pillow, and embraced it, holding it to his chest. ‘The universal Mind, this pure God, this vast consciousness, sometimes creates and cherishes and preserves His creations, just this way.’ And Baba then laid his beautiful and massively handsome head on the white silken pillow, and rested there a moment.

“‘But sometimes,’ he said, ‘it is different. See!’ Then he lifted the pillow and flung it across the room, slamming it against the wall, where it made a thudding sound and fell limply to the floor. ‘If,’ Baba said, ‘if there is only One — who knows, and who leads, who creates and who sustains — then there cannot be two, can there be?’”

Shri Brahmananda stopped talking.

He looked at us and we could see something, we could feel something we had never known before. That man, that saint, that teacher of his had told them clearly that he was nothing but the Supreme Being, and yet, somehow seemed to exist as a human being. His sadguru had revealed the ineffable, had spoken the unspeakable. No wonder that the young Dr. Mishra had been filled with allegiance and become aflame with loyalty to this Being.

He spoke again. “One Mind, One Consciousness, One God, whose will alone exists, whose choice alone is true, from whom come all things and all creatures and into whose power all creatures must return … do you follow?

“To be a disciple, to have no will of your own, to have no desire of your own, to be merely a pillow, a sail in the great wind of God, to be a ship under the direction of a single captain, do you know what this means and what kind of offering it requires?

In Sage of Ananda, George Bailin provides us with intimate glimpses of the meditation programs that Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati offered at Ananda Ashram. Each chapter reveals the teachings of this spiritual master, the questions and experiences of his students, as well as the nature of the teacher-disciple relationship.