Death in the Family
I’m not sure where to start with this. Sometimes we forget just how powerful we are–the potency of our being . Our words, deeds, and even our thoughts resonate throughout the lives of those we interact with everyday. Indeed, no man is an island. Every life is a ripple upon the great ocean of existence.
One of my Hindu Mentors, Prof. Bharat Gajjar, was fully aware of this. His teachings for Hinduism still buzz in my mind, even beyond our short January together. I had plans to meet him one day soon, to sit at his feet and hear his voice–like those spiritual seekers who learned from the rishis of the Upanishads–as he spoke and anointed me with the sweet teachings and philosophy of Yoga, Meditation, and Dharma.
Of course, I never met him, and I only knew of him for these last two months. So why am I so grieved? Why is it that when I found out about his death upon waking at 5:28 this morning that my heart collapsed and I nearly fell to my knees? Because he gave himself–his teachings–to me. He and his daughter, Mentor Meeta, offered themselves to me as my Mentors freely and without any thought of reward. My betterment–my learning–was the reward.
I look at this image and I am nearly brought to tears. I am tempted with anger, with thoughts of how unfair it is that I just missed the chance to meet him. But his teachings won’t let me go there. Mentor Bharat would remind me of the importance of detachment from the material world so that we might fully realize our union with the divine ocean of the Self via the teachings of our guru. I am trying, Mentor, I am trying so hard…
So just when I thought Project Conversion couldn’t throw another curve ball, here it is. This is real. This is what I’m facing. One of my Mentors has passed away and I had the chance to learn from him only by the slimmest of margins. I now have another opportunity to give thanks, to give thanks for the life Mentor Bharat lived. I give thanks for his Mentorship and for raising his wonderfully talented, wise, and nobel daughter, Mentor Meeta Gajjar Parker, whom I am sure will carry the flame of her father’s wisdom and love.
Though I sorely wish I could attend the funeral services tomorrow, I am separated by an insurmountable gulf of distance and resources. So to honor Mentor Bharat, I will observe a fast over this weekend until sunset tomorrow, February 27th, the day of his funeral. If you feel so compelled, the Gajjar family, their friends, and I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers regarding his passing. My only hope is that I have honored him by showing others what he has shown me.
Namaste, Mentor Bharat, Namaste.
Om…shanti, shanti, shanti