Muz Murray, “Arunachala”, 179 Monte du Levant,30820 CAVEIRAC, France. Muz Murray felt Swamiji to be one of the few genuine sages he encountered in three years as a wandering sadhu all over India.”
During my three years as a wandering sadhu all over the length and breadth of India, I came into contact with hundreds of so-called ‘gurus’ and ‘masters’ of all kinds and visited over three hundred and sixty ashrams. Because of my experiences, many foreign pilgrims often came to me for advice on where to go to learn whichever type of spiritual practice they sought. I gradually amassed reams of notes, which were eventually written up and published in 1980 as ‘Seeking the Master’ — the first ever, comprehensive guide to the Ashrams of India and Nepal.
However, few of the masters I encountered impressed me as much as Kumarswamiji, whom I met at Tapovanam, early in my travels around India. There was great love between us from the start. And to my mind, that is what it is all about. There is little of value to be learned if there is not reciprocal love between master and disciple. A distant figurehead is of no use at all. And what is being taught is of secondary importance. It is the quality of the being through whom the teaching comes that makes its mark in our hearts and souls. So it was with the genuine concern and light that sparkled from the eyes of Kumarswamiji. Unlike many ‘masters’ who like to play ‘God’ and act untouchably ‘holier-than-thou,’ he graciously made himself available to all.
Before I left the ashram in 1972, I he gave me initiation into the mysteries of Shiva Linga meditation and I found its practice very steadying and illuminating during the trials of the road. As a result, I found my mind becoming clear and sharp, with a piercing vision. This held me in good stead when, for six months, I became co-editor and book reviewer for The Mountain Path journal of Ramananshramam in Tiruvannamali. But it was another two years before my travels took me back to Tapovanam, having deepened my experienced in the practice. Swamiji then gave me permission to teach it to others. I have judiciously done so over the years since returning to Europe, whenever I have found a seeker for whom I felt this practice was suitable.
With the publication of ‘Seeking the Master’ many more western seekers came to discover Tapovanam, for which Kumarswami expressed his gratitude. He was thereby enabled to pass on his wisdom to a wider audience. When I returned again with a group of my own students, I was happy to see the developments to the ashram during the building of the Sri Chakra Temple. It was heart-warming to see that (apart from the frailty of age) Swamiji had not changed at all, and we had the same loving rapport as before. All my students considered Tapovanam the highlight of their tour and felt welcomed by all at the Ashram. Not surprisingly, as even the Ashram Manager, Sri Anad, a rare jewel, similarly radiated the grace of Swamiji from his eyes and heart.
It was during my last visit I had a feeling that Swamiji was grooming me to carry on spreading his teaching. Endearingly, he offered me a private bungalow on the estate and encouraged me to stay on at Tapovanam for at least a year or two. Although my heart very much desired to do so, at the time I had commitments and financial obligations to attend to back home in the West. Fortunately for everyone, Shri Balbhim Anna has now stepped into the sandals of the sage.
However, having read Swamiji’s edifying work ‘Dimensions of Yoga’ I offered to revise the book to make it more accessible to a western public. Some of the Sanskrit terms needed explaining and the phraseology required copious editing and clarification for those unused to Eastern concepts. Kumarswami warmed to the project and together we decided to rename the book as ‘Higher Dimensions of Yoga.’
My intention had been to rewrite half the text at home and then return to the ashram to collaborate with him on the completion of the work. Alas, it was not to be. After several weeks of learning to scan the book into the computer, I set to work on Chapter One and cheerfully sent my first revisions back to the ashram. A letter came back with the dismaying news that Swamiji had gone on to higher spheres. I was instructed to rewrite the book as I saw fit, as he had faith in my understanding of his teaching. Perhaps in premonition that his time was drawing near, Kumarswamiji had already kindly given me permission to republish the work in the UK. And although deprived of the pleasure of collaboration in his company, somehow I have never been able to feel that he has gone. I felt that his soul had dispersed and settled in each of us like a bird into its nest. I have the impression that the joy of Kumarswami lives on in all of us who came into contact with his love.
At present, I am frequently travelling the world, leading Mantra and Mysticism Workshops in many countries. Each time I return home (to several hundred emails on the computer!) the book also still peeps accusingly from my mound-high ‘Pending’ pile. But at the request of many, in between workshops, I am also attempting to rewrite an update of my Ashram Guide: the new edition to be called ‘The Seeker’s India.’ (For the benefit of all seekers, information on any ashram–whether wholeheartedly recommended, or warnings against dubious ashrams–will be gratefully received).
Unfortunately, I also have several other books burgeoning within my soul and clamouring for attention. But among my many literary projects, my commitment to Higher Dimensions of Yoga, is still strong. However, with all the vicissitudes and ups and downs of life, time is at a premium. And I fear I may have overstretched myself with promises. Pity the plight of the poor urban sadhu, who has not the wherewithal to allow himself the luxury of sitting down and writing books all day.
So I sincerely hope that Swamiji’s students and all friends will therefore have infinite patience with me.
My hearts-warmth to all,
Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti —- Muz Murray