Living with Baba

Living with Baba

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Breaking the Barriers

Close physical proximity to the Guru is not easy, but absolutely necessary. He is very demanding. The standards He sets are impossible to attain. He knows our limitations and strengths. He knows how far each individual can be stretched. He knows the limits of our endurance, the breaking point. He takes us to that limit and forces us to cross the border of our limitations.

Each time we go over the limit, we transcend our limitations. We progressively become bigger personalities, better able to serve other people, more useful to the world. There are countless instances when Baba applied pressure on His workers, demanding perfection on their part; punishing them when they slacked or failed to reach established targets; and in every instance, the pressure was applied with unalloyed love. This is one such case.

In 1980, Baba stayed for a few days in Patna. I remained with Him at Patna as acting GS. It was my duty to submit the daily organizational report to Him. One day, I was severely punished for an unsatisfactory report. The management structure of Ananda Marga is such that the higher one is in the hierarchy, the more he or she is expected to be accountable for the work and conduct of the other junior workers. Ananda Marga adheres to the principles of leadership by example and leadership with responsibility.

After receiving the punishment, I was a little angry and disturbed and wanted to be physically away from Baba for some time, just to relax my tensed mind. Somehow, He had sensed my thoughts and inner feelings and said, "Tapeshvarananda, you can massage Me now, and then I will take some rest." I really wanted to be away from Him, but clearly He would not let me be separated from Him, either physically, mentally or spiritually. As I massaged Him, He told me very affectionately, "Tapeshvarananda, I have great expectations from you. I want to expand your capacity, so that you can provide better service to humanity."

His words were immediately soothing, like a cool breeze in a summer afternoon, at once removing my grievance and pain. His punishment heals and expands our minds. It may be painful on the body, may hurt our emotions, but it helps us to do great things we cannot ordinarily do.