The first disciple
The place was full people. Srivasu’s guru had sent him to Delhi in his place.
“Please make yourself at home.Guruji” was the refrain everyone gave him. It was his debut to the career he had selected.
His silence had given an aura round him. It also gave him the advantage of observing people.
Among his host’s friends was Prof.Shankaranand who just shifted from some southern university where he headed the department. His entire career in a one horse town where his wife moaned the lack of Hindi speaking crowd and children grew in the protected asocial environment of the university campus.
One thing that was good about Shankaranand was that he was like a walrus in appearance and spiderlike in tenacity. Every batch he taught he cultivated the most likely to succeed students, and created a coterie. As it happened his students were well placed and liked to return his favours.
“Poor professor Saab, now that he has retired and returned to Delhi he is still lonely”
“Acha” said Srivasu, and kept quiet he knew by experience people liked to gossip and when things are told to a supposed holy man, it is taken as concern and not gossip.
“Yes Guruji, his son is in states, he refuses to come back and one cannot stay with the daughter.”
“Karma aise kiye honge” blaming the Karma was always a convenient answer.
After while Shankaranand happened to be alone with Srivasu and the usual question of afterlife came up.
“Aise bathon ko, guru pe chodena chaiyeye, you should let the guru guide you so that you will not have rebirth. As long as you serve you guru sincerely he will take care of everything.”
Srivasu then just left the conversation at that. A month later when Srivasu returned to Delhi he heard from their common friend that Prof. was sick and so was his wife.
Srivasu promptly visited him, “so, you are missing your son, from this moment I am your son, my wife and I will look after you.” For a fortnight Srivasu and his wife took care of the Shankaranand’s afterall his skills as a doctor was applied. During the time he slowly spoke of philosophical things.
How Shankaranad’s wife Gauri gained good karma by looking after a nasty mother-in-law. Shankaranand’s difficulties put down to some past life Karma. At the end of it all Shankaranand and wife really felt good and looked after. It was the saviour had come down to rescue them. They were impressed by the Guru’s insight of their need, a son to look after them, and humbled by his act of becoming that son.
Srivasu talked of building an Ashram for his Guruji, very smartly he did not talk of himself. The matters of funds, land and manpower came up.
Shankaranand, who was master at the art of gathering resources, and having built a meticulous network of alumni promised to help Srivasu.
The journey had now begun in earnest.