Ayodhya Nath Sinha
My Guru, Mystic Teacher, Beloved Grandfather, Everyone's Friend
When A True Guru Speaks The Soul Listens
I am fortunate to have studied with a modern- day sage, my guru, my grandfather and teacher, Baba Ayodhya Nath, whom I simply refer to as Baba. It is a generic name, spoken affectionately, in the same way that in the West we might call someone Grandpa. Baba is also the title used all over India to address holy people. Perhaps these mystics, sages, and seers are known as baba because they are collectively regarded as India’s spiritual elders.
Baba was born in 1900 in northern India, into the family of a renowned Hindu saint and yogi, Paramatman Shanti Prakash, with an uninterrupted lineage going back untold years. Baba overcame early childhood disease and went on to live ninety 90 remarkably healthy years, impacting his community with his spiritual radiance, charismatic leadership, profound Vedic knowledge, and social service.
In my formative years, I lived with my Baba and our extended family in our large ancestral home, built by Baba’s great-grandfather in the holy city of Ayodhya in northern India.
Over the years, Baba bestowed on me the spiritual wisdom of the Vedas and began my initiation into the transformative wisdom of the related sciences of Ayurveda, Yoga and texts expounding a rare, universal spiritual philosophy (known as Vedanta) teaching self-actualization as well as Self-realization, which is the same as God realization.
His teachings of Ayurveda were truly classical, based on core texts, hands-on, practical yet poetic, and sublime at the same time. Baba’s fierce, unflinching belief in the living body’s inherent intelligence to heal itself (with the help of Mother Nature) became my core belief system too. To this day, I may look at a dying person, and instead of feeling dismayed, I connect with what is vital and amazing in that being, even in that terminal stage. And often enough, the so- called “medical miracles” begin to transpire too. Baba told me, “Never lose hope, as hopelessness is the disease that precedes all symptoms.” Likewise, his out-of-the-box personality, calm presence, continuous state of god consciousness, and profound teachings impacted my soul in deeper ways than I could have been aware of at that young age.
I believe the direct teacher-student relationship is special and potentially superior to any academic, test- and degree-based system for spiritualized sciences, like Ayurveda, yoga, and Vedanta is personalized process of training creates the meticulous transfer of knowledge, experience, and expertise—the central matters on which wisdom is founded—that cannot be imparted except through a kind of apprenticeship, face-to-face, knee-to-knee, as has been impressed on my soul by decades of learning from my Guru, Baba.
Celebrating an awakened sky
One beautiful morning when I was about six, Baba said to me, “Come, little Shunya, let us resolve every day to be awake for the breaking dawn, and let us rejoice in all its breathtaking, electric magnificence.” Baba would often talk to me on our way back home from the river, and on that day, he explained how the early morning sun distributes blessings, including the gifts of health, wisdom, and peace for all of Earth’s creatures, big and small. I liked this idea of gifts; it reminded me of receiving presents on my birthday and on Diwali (the Hindu festival
of spiritual lights). My grandfather must have known this because he added, “But these gifts are different. These gifts are invisible, and you open them for the rest of your life.”
That was enough for me.
Over the years, I would try my best to internalize Baba’s words because he never repeated himself. Even when I was too young to understand his words, his eyes would share an invitation to be happy by simply rising before dawn. Four decades later, as I write these words about the benefits of waking up early, I remember Baba’s eyes being lit by the first rays of the sun.
Every morning (except when it was raining), I would walk to River Sarayu holding Baba’s hand firmly. Five warmhearted street dogs named Bhura, Kalu, Lali, Munna, and Chottu would always accompany us as we walked in total silence. We must have looked like a formal procession.
I remember being intently focused on each step, treading swiftly yet softly. is was because Baba told me that all the grass on our path was actually a colony of people like us, just in different bodysuits. I would focus on being extra gentle so as not to disturb the “grass people.”