"It is probably not the verbal instruction from the guru that is the most important gift from him-rather it is his own life and shining example."
At this time last year, I was preparing for the opening of Pattabhi Jois's new yoga shala in Florida. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience to be in his presence. It was also the last time I saw him in full teaching mode (read all about it here).
Today, there's news from Mysore that Guruji is in intensive care.
*** URGENT NEWS -- TOUR UPDATE ***
May 5, 2009: We are sad to announce that Guruji has been admitted to the ICU. Sharath must return to Mysore immediately to be with his family at this critical time. He has asked certified teacher John Smith to finish the rest of week one in San Francisco in his absence. We invite registered and drop-in students to finish the week of led primary in support of Guruji, Sharath and family. If you prefer a three-day refund, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second week in San Francisco and the Toronto workshop will unfortunately be canceled. Full refunds will be given. For information about San Francisco, please email: email@example.com. For information about Toronto, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. Please do not contact the family directly and check this website for updates on Guruji's health.
I miss Guruji.
But his presence and practice will always be with me.
* * *
Pattabhi Jois always said, says, "Only one guru taking."
Guru is a loaded word, and implies a guru-disciple relationship that can transcend time and space and span lifetimes (NOTE: the Guru does not hand out Self-realization but assists in removing obstacles to enlightenment).
At the moment I prefer to use the word teacher.
Today, I arrived in NYC to take classes with Dharma Mittra and celebrate his 70th birthday. I went straight to his shala from La Guardia. After a short time in his presence, I felt like a brand-new person.
For me, his teachings in many ways pick up where Pattabhi Jois's leave off.
Pattabhi would say, "Think God. Be God."
Some people can do that.
And others, like me, need more details.
Dharma provides them.