The Second Teacher?

Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat lnayat Khan came to Oslo and met a seeking soul who had travelled all over India and many other countries in search of a teacher. When the bond and trust were established it seemed a matter of course to this pupil that there was only one teacher in the whole wide world–for him at least. Joining or even listening seriously to anyone else seemed impossible, ridiculous, devastating. He moved from Oslo to Los Angeles, heard of Yogananda, remembered that Yoga was his first love and study, but felt no desire whatever to even listen to Yogananda now. After Yogananda’s passing he studied his papers to understand the many Yogananda disciples–with the blessing of his teacher, he felt.

However, this pupil had a weakness, or at least a trend of thought: wherever he travelled in the world he looked over the landscape–would there be a cave or spot where he could retreat in complete silence–meditation, maybe for the rest of his life? He knew, not by word of mouth but by feel, that Hazrat Inayat Khan would hardly approve of that, but, well, he just looked.

It was in 1923 he first met Hazrat Inayat Khan in Oslo. ln 1959 he was in India, followed the pilgrim trail toward Badrinath. At the last station, Joshimath, he rushed up a mountain trail, along a foaming stream. Its water became more and more refreshing the higher he mounted. At last he felt he was flying. Perfect! … and there, before his eyes, was the kind of cave in which hermits are pictured, right into a steep wall of rock. How could one get in? Was this for him? Sit there for the rest of his life, just meditating? Perhaps, not eating — not needing to?

Then–LO! There was an upper entrance, a shaft down into the cave. Eagerly he lowered himself down through the “chimney.” At the bottom he felt around. It was dark. Dld he feel some furry thing?

BRRROOOM! Soft. What was that? He felt the fur again. This time–BRRROOOM!–thunderous! “I better get out of here,” he thought, and clambered back out. Back to Sufi meetings, universal worship, engineering work on energy, insured full employment, the tasks life had given him.

So, a Himalayan bear was his second teacher. Second? It hadn’t eaten him, not even sunk its claws into his flesh. Why so gentle? Maybe the Himalayan bear wasn’t really a–second–teacher. Could its inspiration and behavior have come from the first and only?

by Shamcher (in The Message, December 1977)

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