For two years I wrote passionately on another blog. It began quite tearfully on a night in October in Seattle, Washington- where I used to live before my adheenam life. I remember that day I escaped college and went home to my parents house. They asked me what’s wrong. I didn’t tell them.
I was hurt, to say the least. Carrying a load from the past into the future is always a painful decision. I will summarize for the sake of people who don’t know me. At first, I considered starting this blog without even mentioning my past. But I wanted to at least say it once so that people can understand this transformation. In the perspective of those around us, we are, after all, the stories of our lives.
My guru is Paramahamsa Nithyananda, an incarnation of Sadashiva himself. ‘Spiritual guru’ or ‘master’ are terms I would use if I lived anywhere else. If I hadn’t given my life for him and his mission then, yes, I would call him my spiritual guide. But as of January this year it’s quite official. It is not enough to use the English definition of the word guru to describe this relationship. Paramahamsa Nithyananda is my life- mother, father, family, everything. I get call him Swamiji endearingly.
I’ve known Swamiji since I was maybe 7 or 8 years old- I don’t remember exactly. That means I’ve been lucky to know him for more than half my life. The first moment I saw him- and by ‘saw him’ I mean the first moment that he registered in my head as a powerful being- was in Seattle also. He had come for a visit. My biological family had all gone to see this new guru. Throughout my whole life, growing up in a modern day Hindu life, this was still customary. There were at least 3 or 4 who we followed in my past. But once we met Swamiji, we were committed. Quickly, our ties with previous gurus and their communities disintegrated. Unless they associated themselves with Nithyananda, we didn’t find much in common with them. Anyway, so in this first moment, it was my family’s turn in line for darshan with him. My father, as was tradition, made Raajananda, my brother, do the thopakaranam. He was crossing his hands, holding the lobes of his ears and bending down reciting the names of our brahmin ancestry. I was at first just seeing my brother, watching him pay his respects and thinking that our -including Swamiji’s attention would be on him at that moment. But when I looked up, Swamiji was staring directly at me. I can still feel the way my entire being shook. That moment jolted me.
I didn’t know until much later that the moment was anything significant. Fast forward about three years, a temple was inaugurated with a 13 foot tall Nataraja. I can write about this Nataraja later. All I’ll say for now is that I know for sure that Swamiji put that Nataraja there just for me.
I’ll introduce another character from my past now. There is a man named Vinay Bharadwaj. He was a devotee of Paramahamsa Nithyananda since, maybe 2005 or 2006. He wore kavi- or saffron cloth and took the vows of brahmacharya. He was a respected senior in the Seattle temple but in 2010, he conspired with two other people to bring down Swamiji and his entire sangha. In 2012, he was imprisoned for third degree child sexual abuse. That’s his story.
I met Vinay Bharadwaj in 2006 when my family officially joined the sangha in Seattle. He was kind of creepy man though he was charming and a people person. Perhaps, he seems creepy to me only now. He started picking me out of the rest of the kids from the beginning. I remember the first time he paid special attention to me.
It seems like nothing, really. And maybe, if things hadn’t gone the way they did, that incident would really be nothing. We were in Mercer Island City Center, having satsang in a rented room. Swamiji, in a white turban and white kurta was projected onto a screen, delivering a recorded discourse. I was sitting in the back, a notebook in my lap and a pen in my hands. I sat scrouched, my knees in the air and feet on the ground, leaning against the wall. Vinay showed up late and walked to the back. He sat in the chair next to me. He looked at me and smiled. After a second, he reached over and scuffled my hair.
In my head, the memory slows down here. To be honest, for a few seconds after that, I enjoyed the attention. He was a big name in the sangha and he was paying attention to me.That is all for that first memory.
After that, you can imagine how a rapist would groom the child victim. Maybe change a few details here and there but the story remains the same. In 2009, when the incidents had reached their maximum severity, I told my parents the truth. My parents had relayed it to higher authority in the temple. Immediately, Vinay was kicked out of the temple.
From 2010 to 2012, my family and I went to meeting after meeting with lawyers, persecutors and police officers until finally the trial happened in August 2012. The result was of course successful.
I was 16 then. Now, I am 21. For two years after the trial, whatever pain that was inside me was subdued by the victory but by the time I was 18, I began suffering more and more. There wasn’t a night I didn’t cry. Depression played all of its tricks on me.
That was when I started my blog, “keeper of shanti”. I wrote about the suffering as a way to maintain it. The response from my college community I got was immensely supportive. Though that was there and it was helpful, my inner space was getting worse. It was becoming more and more damaged by recurring memories from my past.
Finally in June 2016, I booked a one way ticket to India to return to the person who was always there for me- Swamiji. Throughout everything, my connection to Swamiji was probably the sole reason why I moved forward. I had deep relationship with Swamiji. He was the one I would think of before going to sleep, whom I would talk to about how things were going. No matter that he was so far away in India and going through a trial of his own, to me, he was with me all the time.
So when he called me on stage in Varanasi last year and embraced me, I felt like I was finally home. My time here over the last six moths made me realize this is what is meant to be. That moment I first saw Swamiji was jolting because it was a reminder to my being of why I came down to planet Earth this time.
I deleted my old blog because I wanted to disconnect completely from my past. I decided to stop bringing my past into the future, to stop mulling over something that is irrelevant to me now. Deleting my blog, to me, was completely breaking my past from who I am.
Even my name has changed. Sadashiva Priya means the lover of Sadashiva. My purpose to express my love in the various art forms of Hindu tradition. I want to explore the breadth dimension of the universe using this blog and bring it to the world as a way to attain enlightenment. With Swamiji, I will see the revival of Hinduism and the restoration of the possibility of a completely blissful life in the individual. And it will begin with my life.