The term “Guru” nowadays is used to mean an expert or a teacher. However it has a deeper meaning. This article explores the deeper meaning of the term within the context of a story of A.G. Mohan and how he found his guru.
The deeper meaning of the term “Guru” is “one who leads you towards God”. A guru is both a teacher and a guide. But a guru is not a porter. He (or she) will not carry you on his back. You have to take the journey yourself. To do this you have to have a strong desire within yourself to undertake the journey. Part of the process of finding a guru is being worthy of a guru. A true guru will not accept a disciple unless he or she is convinced of the disciple’s ability to undertake the journey.
Let us now jump back to the story of A. G. Mohan.
A.G. Mohan is now a world-renowned yoga teacher. He is one of the few people who has spent a long period of time studying yoga under the guidance of the legendary yogi Krishnamacharya. How did A. G. Mohan find Krishnamacharya? How did Krishnamacharya come to accept A. G. Mohan?
Growing up A. G. Mohan always had a deep burning desire to find deeper spirituality and he was always looking for books and material that could quench his deeper spiritual thirst. At one stage he was all set to rush out to find and meet the renowned yogi Ramana Maharishi only to discover that he had passed away decades earlier!
As a teenager A. G. Mohan somehow managed to put his spiritual quest aside and focused on the task at hand: putting his mind on studies. Soon he became a qualified engineer and also got a postgraduate diploma in management. After a few years of completing his studies A. G. Mohan had a steady well paying job and his mind once again began to wander in the spiritual direction.
This was now 1971 and A.G. Mohan was 26. While doing a project with a textile mill he ran into Srivatsa Ramaswami. Perhaps likes attract like and they were drawn to each other and struck a friendship. In a passing conversation with Srivasta Ramaswami he mentioned his interest in deeper spiritual matters. Ramaswami who was already a long time disciple of Krishnamacharya mentioned to him of an upcoming lecture of Krishnamacharya and asked him to attend.
When A. G. Mohan attended the lecture he was stunned at the majestic sight of Krishnamacharya and his sage-like demeanor. Krishnamacharya was already 82 years old but sat ramrod straight and spoke without hesitation and with complete authority. It was as if he was in the presence of a deep flowing river of knowledge and all he had to do was give his attention to tap into its flow! Never had A. G. Mohan met somebody of this caliber and he was completely captivated. He immediately knew that this was a very critical moment in his life and his life would be forever changed.
Without wasting any more time he approached Ramaswami for advice on how to approach Krishnamacharya. He did not want to mess this up and was not sure if Krishnamacharya would accept him as his disciple. Ramaswami suggested that he approach Desikachar (Krishnamacharya’s son), who in turn suggested to first start with a yoga class with himself. Though A. G. Mohan had no interest in yoga and was only interested in pursuing deeper philosophy he agreed. Thus began A. G. Mohan’s journey into yoga.
After he started his regular yoga classes with Desikachar he also regularly attended whatever public lectures Krishnamacharya was giving at that time. He was slowly building his credibility in the eyes of Krishnamacharya. Two years went by and finally A. G. Mohan mustered the courage to approach Krishnamacharya. After a public lecture by Krishnamacharya he approached him. “I would like to study the Upanishads,” A. G. Mohan said. Krishnamacharya studied him intently for a few minutes and finally said, “We shall see.”
After a few more weeks, and at the end of another public lecture by Krishnamacharya, A. G. Mohan once again approached him and reminded him of his request. It was only then that Krishnamacharya agreed and the Guru-disciple relationship commenced.
A. G. Mohan was now having daily private one-on-one lessons with Krishnamacharya on deep eastern philosophical topics. It so happened that Desikachar had to travel abroad, and so as not to interrupt the yoga practice, Krishnamacharya agreed to teach yoga-asanas to A. G, Mohan as well. A. G. Mohan was now a happy man. He had found his guru and his journey into a deeper spiritual yoga had commenced!
This story has been adapted from A. G. Mohan’s deeply touching book on Krishnamacharya.