Nama Article 1st August 2008
Excerpts from "Living with the Himalayan Masters" of Swami Rama
Once, the author of this Book - Swami Rama - was ordered by his Guru to go to Darjeeling and stay in a graveyard there for forty-one days and practice a particular sãdhana. The Guru had insisted that he (Swami Rama) should exercise patience for forty-one days and practice the sãdhana. Losing patience, he should not discontinue it before the stipulated time. Swami Rama, as ordered by the Guru, began to live in the graveyard. He built a small hut there and began to practise the prescribed sãdhana.
For thirty-nine days he practiced the sãdhana as advised by his Guru. He did not fear living all alone in a graveyard. He lit a fire there for cooking his food. On the thirty-ninth day all of a sudden his resolve changed. "There has been no change even after thirty-nine days of sãdhana. I have moved into a graveyard, where one would dread to come, on the mere words of the Guru! How can the Guru who commands me to do this be a good one? Should I not write letters to my friends?" With such thoughts he poured water over the fire and put it off. He pulled down the hut and began to walk towards the town.
While he passed a house he heard a melodious song and the sound of dance steps. The singer, a girl, was repeatedly singing a line. She was a prostitute. "The oil in the lamp of life is decreasing. Night still remains. Enjoy all that you have to in life" - the line carried this meaning. Swami Rama was surprised, as he felt that these words were meant for him. He turned back and ran to the graveyard. He continued his sãdhana for the remaining two days and completed it. On the forty-first day he underwent the experience that his Guru had predicted. Leaving the graveyard he went directly to the prostitute's house. Seeing him, the prostitute said to him, "Swami! You have come to the wrong place. Go away from here!" and closed the door. The watchman at the gates chased Swami Rama away. But, Swami Rama said to him, "To me she is like my mother. She has rendered me a great help. I have come only to thank her." The girl came out and he explained all that had happened to him.
That girl had also heard about Swami Rama's Guru. At once, she said to Swami Rama, "From this very moment I am going to change my way of life," and began to do japa of Rama Nãma incessantly. She went to Vãrãnasi (Kasi/Benares). She stayed on a boat house on the Ganga. At dusk she would come to the banks of the Ganga and perform kirtan of the Maha Mantra. Thousands of people began to join her in her kirtan. On her boat house she had written the words, "I am not a Sãdhu: I had been a prostitute. Do not bow down to me."
For all questions she would offer the only reply, 'Ram, Ram'. One evening, addressing the people who had gathered there, she said, "Tomorrow at dawn I shall attain to the Divine Feet of the Lord. Throw my body into the Ganga as food to the fish. Just as predicted, the next morning she attained to the Divine Feet of the Lord.
The Lord's Name ('Bhagavan Nãma') purifies us however sinful a life we might have led.