The Master-disciple relationship is a transforming one, says Praktisha Apurv. Published in Speaking Tree, India, on March 12, 2016

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For centuries, visitors to India have been mesmerised by a unique tradition of Charan Sparsh – touching people’s feet in reverence.

Without a word being exchanged, this silent act personifies transferring of love, peace and blissfulness from one to the other, from the heart. Charan sparsh is a great tradition which has been passed on to us from generation to generation, as an inseparable value, deeply rooted in our lives. It is also a known fact that enormous positive energy flows when you touch someone’s feet in deep humility and, in turn, he touches your head with his hand to bless you. The energy that actually flows from the hand to the head makes this seemingly ordinary act exceptional and uplifting.

Divine Grace
Divine Grace, 38×46″, 2015, Oil on Canvas

Accepted Norm
Although external influences and extensive western import of ideas and values have galvanised Indian ‘traditional’ lifestyle in the last several years, the practice of charan sparsh still remains an accepted norm – an act of love and humility.

Osho says that western history is not more than 2,000 years old. But if you compare it with the east’s, which is at least 10,000 years old, you will find that western civilisation still remains ignorant about higher consciousness, values and spirituality. While comparing the two cultures, he observed that in the west, most of the great painters and artists have committed suicide, because they could not prevent themselves from repeatedly falling back into madness and chaos. It seemed that only death could become their deliverance. But, in the east, in the whole of its history, not a single artist has ever committed suicide, and artists have created far greater art, far deeper music, far more magical dance pieces which the west cannot compare. I have tried to describe this beautiful bonding, or transference of grace of tremendous value through my painting titled Divine Grace.

Besides family and friends, nothing can showcase the practice of charan sparsh more beautifully than the gurushishya relationship. If we look at Sant Kabir’s life, the entire journey of this sage started at the feet of Sant Ramanand. According to ancient scriptures, Kabir was pursuing Sant Ramanand to accept him as his disciple. He devised a plan. One day, when Sant Ramanand went for his bath to the river early morning, Kabir followed him and lay down on the stairs in the dark, waiting for Ramanand to finish his morning rituals. When Sant Ramanand was returning from his bath, he accidentally stepped on Kabir’s chest and uttered the words – Ram Ram. Kabir then touched his feet considering him as his Guru and went back with the mantra of Ram Ram.

Kabir later described the incident in his dohas, thus: ‘Guru Gobind Dou khade, kaake lagoon paye, Balihaari Guru aapne, Gobind diyo dikhaaye – Master and God both are standing in front of me, whose feet should one touch first; Master you are great, for you are the one who introduced me to God.’

Here, I would like to share a divine moment, which I witnessed as a child in the Pune Ashram, where I was living with my grandparents and my uncle – Osho. As a norm, every day before Darshan, he used to touch the feet of his parents, my Dada and Dadi.

Early morning on October 19,1975, my grandmother and I woke up to some strange sounds and realised that Dadaji was speaking loudly, albeit incoherently. He was feeling very uneasy. We quickly called Osho who was sleeping in the adjacent room. He came immediately and found Dada sitting on the bed, with eyes closed but trying to say something. As usual, Osho touched his feet and assured us not to worry.“ Inko sanyaas ghat raha hai — he is taking a quantum leap into the unknown.

Then, Osho asked for a mala, a garland, and put it around his father’s neck and touched his feet again in reverence. What followed was unprecedented. Soon after Osho touched his father’s feet, Dadaji asked Osho to stand on his bed. When Osho got on the bed, the father in deep humility bowed to the son and touched his feet. It was an unusual sight – a father touching the feet of his son. Neither the father nor the son was there in that moment. It was a disciple touching the feet of his Guru. The transference had happened. Dadaji also asked Osho never to touch his feet again as he used to every day, but instead he would touch the feet of Osho, who was now his Master, his Guru.

Becoming One
In the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna,‘Tad Viddhi Pranipatena Pariprasnena Sevaya, Upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah – Arjuna, when you want to seek the wisdom from an enlightened Master, you will have to surrender yourself at his feet and need to abandon your ego and serve him with complete devotion.’ Kabir too in one of his dohas on search for a Master says, ‘Touch His feet, who is one and indivisible and peaceful.’ The Master-disciple relationship is a deep, miraculous, and transforming one, wherein the disciple loses his small individual self-consciousness and merges into the Master’s cosmic consciousness, thereby, becoming one.

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Pratiksha ApurvPratiksha Apurv – www.pratikshaart.com

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