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MEETING WITH PRABHUJEE AND MY FIRST PILGRIMAGE

MOTHER MARIE-HELENE REQUIN

 

Looking back through the movie of my life, I love to stop at special events, too many to share in a few lines. But, maybe some could interest you.

I am not surprised to know the very important dates are all linked to Kriya Yoga.

 

Through the blessings of Kriya Yoga my life became something so different that I actually believe the reality of the words Baba says during the ceremony of initiation, “Initiation is your second birth”. It’s not just nice words: it’s what happens.

I was practicing Hatha Yoga prior to my Kriya initiation. I was a student of Swami Satyananda Saraswati of Munger, famous disciple of the great guru Swami Shivananada Saraswati to become a Hatha Yoga teachear. After having five years of Hatha Yoga training I got my diploma and became a teacher. I used to have my own yoga centre in Toulon. Quite a number of yoga students were practicing in my Hatha Yoga centre. I was one of the prominent teachers in my region among the lady yoga teachers and wanted by many students and sometimes I had to refuse students due to lack of space. I myself and my husband were very proud of my teachings and spiritual progress.

 

But every night when I went to bed I asked myself what I am doing, is it real spirituality or I am doing just spiritual drama?

I was always in a big dilemma and never satisfied, questions and questions all the time. Once surprisingly I learnt that the Kriya masters were coming to the South of France. Then I got the address, I was very interested because before that I read many spiritual books including “Autobiography of a Yogi”. It was in the year 1980. In evening there was a conference in the town hall at Toulon and for some reason I was really drawn to attend the conference. The moment I entered into the hall I saw a great master and a young brahmachari by his side. To me both looked identical, same face, same skin, one like a copy of other, only difference was the black beard of the young master. The first impression was like a lion sitting with his cub. They were Swami Hariharananda Giri and Brahmachari Shankarananda.

 

By that time the introduction was being given in French by one lady from Paris. Her name was Clatel –de-Bornhouser (Karuna Maa). In first impression my decision was no matter what it might be I would definitely take initiation. Among all the speeches, the first speech was by Brahmachari Shankarananda and then at that moment I had decided. First he was explaining cosmic astrology inside our spine in a very scientific way but the last part of the speech touched my heart. He said, “I am very young before you all and very much afraid to speak any words before my master, but anything I myself is up to was from my young age, any existence which I learn from my masters, all exactly the same words I have quoted. This is rare opportunity for French people to avail this without any fail or delay which may not return again.” Yet I well remember that next day was Saturday, I took initiation and slowly the more I meditate the more I realize what is real Hatha Yoga.

 

The Kriya Yoga meditation has really opened my eyes and then I was fortunate immediately as after a year I became coordinator and organizer of Kriya Yoga. This reminds me of one of the very big events in my life when in his next visit to South of France, Baba (by that time Swami Shankarananda Giri) was alone and that was his third visit to South of France. He selected me and told, “You are the one who shall lead the Kriyabans from South of France”. It was not surprising to me because I knew something like this would happen. Then I requested him, “Baba, could you come to my home”. Immediately he agreed. The moment he entered into my home he said, “Oh! This is like an ashram. So this house is not a house but an ashram.” And he read at the entrance the name of the house was Brethmond. He said immediately, “Not Brethmond, but Bramhanda. The name of this house is Bramhanda. So the name of this house is Bramhaloka like Lahiri Baba’s house which is Satyaloka.” I was quiet, he was speaking, and then at the end I politely answered, “Baba, this house is not mine, this is rented one. The land lady is very rich, has a big family and a bad woman. She does not want to sell the house and time to time telling us to vacate the house.” Then in answer he said, “I know nothing, but my feeling is that this house is yours and in this house there will be many Kriya activities which I see the future.” I was very happy. What would be the Kriya activities as because I was newly initiated I could not understand. But it made me happy because a monk said this, so we would be free from all these housing problems. Of course nobody knows the future but exactly after one year I got the letter from land lady offering us to buy the house. I was surprised and immediately I decided to purchase this but all persons around me were thinking as it was very big amount to purchase. All it happened in reality. The day I became the owner of the house immediately I named it as Bramhaloka. The Kriya activities are going on in the house since then.

 

Another very special time was my first pilgrimage with Baba for one and a half months down to the very south end of India to Rameswaram where Rama is said to have begun his journey to rescue his wife with the help of Hanuman who is the symbol of the breath and to the small island where Swami Vivekananda spent some time meditating. You see, as usual, Baba was taking every opportunity to transmit that meditation and breath are the only reality beyond the appearances.

This pilgrimage took place in June and July 1985, a few months before Prabhujee’s mahasamadhi. At this time Prabhujee had left his ashram, Sri Yukteswar Ashram at Bhisindjur, West Bengal to stay in Karar ashram at Puri, because he wanted to leave his body as close as possible to his beloved master Sri Yukteswarjee’s shrine. I was very anxious to meet Prabhujee, the Kriya Master who served his Guru Sri Yukteswarjee for the longest period in his life. So from Bhubaneswar we went to Puri to meet Prabhujee for his blessings for our long journey. On our way we stayed at Balighai Ashram. Baba had developed this ashram in a very natural environment. Kalikananda Baba was taking care of the ashram. Balighai was looking like a mini Holland to me with its mango grooves and coconut trees. I enjoyed my stay at Balighai. Then we reached Karar Ashram, Puri. We met Prabhujee. Emotionally I liked him very much though he was not speaking English, but we communicated. He asked:”How are you feeling here in India?” He was very thin but not at all weak like old men can be, walking easily with a very straight back like all Kriya masters although he was close to the end of his life. We had some photos with him.

We Europeans after reading “Autobiography of  a Yogi” were very fond of the great master Sri Yukteswarjee. We asked Prabhujee to tell us something about his time with his Guru. He laughed and said, “What should I say? Each moment and each day was a religious festival for me during that period. And now each moment is also a festival because I have memory of serving my Guru. Though I am old I remain in that mental status of serving my Guru. Now it is time to return to my Guru. Shankarananda Baba is taking you on a pilgrimage. He is very caring. I bless you and pray to my Guru that your pilgrimage should become a safe journey. We will meet in the next life. “ In this short period I felt we had relation from our previous births with a link through our masters, though we are not used to know our past and future.

 

Many years after, I was at one Mela (festival) on an island in the mouth of the sacred river Ganges and Baba told us how in the same place Prabhujee found his master. (…)

The practice of Kriya Yoga allowed me to lower my intellect and to keep my mind, my doubts under control most of the time; I am happy to think I enjoy life again like a child.

Prabhujee was not the first Kriya master I had met. When I took initiation from Baba as mentioned above, Swami Hariharananda was there, at the time Baba was travelling in Europe with Swami Hariharananda. Up to now, Baba keeps this teaching alive, being careful to maintain Kriya Yoga in its original form.

 

I remember one day when Baba was blessing me and teaching me higher techniques, he told me: “What I teach you is what I was taught by my masters, ancient techniques. And If I got any result, it is through them.  Considering what Baba is and what he realizes could we ask to obtain more? Concerning myself, little by little, peace has filled my life up and I can laugh at me and my problems… Could I dare sharing with you a funny thing? Have you noticed when we look at each other that the other people change and are so much better; but in reality who changes?

 

My wish is that everyone will test the change in himself through his own practice of Kriya Yoga. We run after darshan of many masters, when we find one, it is a great blessing to follow him. Thanks to Swami Shankarananda for his work, his patience and his love. I bow in front of God and Gurus and thank them for having offered me the blessing from these great masters, Prabhujee, Paramahansa Hariharananda and our Baba, Swami Shankarananda Giri.

In my Kriya experience of twenty –seven years, I did attend many Yoga Sadhana Camps, but Kriya Yoga teaches me self management and gives a proper understanding of one’s own religion. We were a strict Christian family but the day I came to know about Kriya Yoga, the way Kriya masters explain and compare knowledge of Veda, Upanishad and Bhagavad Gita with Biblical knowledge, stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata with Biblical stories what I felt is that these are all about the methaphorical meaning of life. We all are here to bring down our inner God from our inner divine kingdom to our practical daily life, to the surface of our body, characters, qualities and nature. That is the real state of Savikalpa Samadhi, balance of God and matter in everything.      (Year 2006)