By Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati
I always knew that my time with him would be short. I felt that if I didn’t go right then, I wouldn’t have another chance. I was unfortunately right. I had almost 7 years with Muktananda, though I’d still be there if he were there. He’s not. Instead, he lives in my heart and soul — and sources me from deeper within.
That day, October 2 1982, I phoned my roommate in Madrid, where I’d been setting up a yoga program for Baba’s Ashram. I was on a weekend trip to a small Mediterranean town and called in from a public phone booth before heading home. Maruja said to me, “Baba ha deja su cuerpo.” I knew enough Spanish to translate it, but I told her that I didn’t understand. Really, I didn’t want to understand. She repeated it twice, then finally said it in English, “Baba has left his body. Baba died.”
I knew it was true because, the night before, I’d experienced him filling me like never before. I sat and watched the Mediterranean sunset for hours. Mostly it was orange, then finally purple and black. I watched on the outside but something phenomenal was happening on the inside. I knew he was speaking to me. I didn’t have words for it then but now I know, he was becoming me. Except I had always been him, although I hadn’t known it. There is only One. You are that One, too.
I rode the mantra all the way back, with it upwelling inside as the bus made its way through the picturesque countryside. It was beautiful, but I didn’t need beauty to fill me up anymore. When I got back, we chanted 24/7 for a month. I didn’t need the chant to fill me either. I was already full.
Baba had prepared us. Again and again he had explained that, when a great being leaves his body, he merges into Consciousness and abides in the inner space of the hearts of his devotees. I hadn’t been able to imagine it, but now I was experiencing it.
With time, I forgot. I never forgot Baba, of course, but I forgot to look inside for him. I chased sweet memories as well as the painful ones. I visited other Gurus, who were wonderful, but they weren’t Baba. I cried sometimes, screamed into my pillow a few times, and finally found my way back home, inside, where he was already and always present.
I am never lonely now. Because I am not alone. Even when I try to think I am different from him, he keeps me on track inside. Because there is nowhere else to go. There is nothing else to be. There is nothing else to do but to serve him. Life is so beautiful. I serve you in order to serve him.
Jai Muktananda! Hail to Muktananda!