When great beings leave their physical body, it is considered their final liberation, as they are now free of the physical body’s limitations. This is called Mahasamadhi, and is considered very auspicious.
When we think of our departed loved ones, sadness can arise because we miss interacting with their physical form. This is natural, since emotions are experiences that come with having a body. Once we awaken from the illusion of separation and realise the Oneness beyond form, we no longer identify with our emotions or seek to control them : just like waves in the sea, we can observe them coming and going endlessly.
Thirty-eight years ago today, Swami Muktananda (affectionately called "Baba" by his devotees) took Mahasamadhi on the full moon night of October 2, 1982 — in remembrance of him I would like to share a memory retold by Swami Prakashananda, who met Muktananda in 1969 :
One year on the anniversary of Bhagawan Nityananda’s Mahasamadhi, Baba was giving an Intensive that day on Prem (Love). It was also the 100th intensive of his second World Tour. After we chanted the introductory mantras Baba began his talk by saying that it was a good day, being that it was the 100th Intensive.
“But for me,” he continued, “it is also a bad day.” He explained this by saying, “My knowledge, my philosophy, whatever I teach, whatever I have learned, is within everyone in the form of Truth.” Then pointing to a photo of his Guru, Baba said that he (Nityananda) had taught him that Truth dwells within everyone.
Baba continued by saying, “Fifteen years ago today, in the morning, was a very bad moment for me.” As he said this, a wave of emotion suddenly came over Baba, and his voice began to break, and tears welled up in his eyes. He said, “That morning I lost a great Guru. It will be very difficult to find his company again in any life.”
With great difficulty Baba continued. “This Intensive is on Prem (Love), but instead only sadness arises. He was my great Guru. He was really very great. He was the greatest. Such beings are very rare. You find such beings very rarely. With only one word, or one touch from such beings, one’s life is completely transformed. Although he did not go anywhere, still, he disappeared from these physical eyes.
Nevertheless, even though he left his physical body, he is still with me in his subtle body. Yes, the topic of this Intensive is love, but it appears that my feelings have reversed. Instead of laughing, I am crying.”
Muktananda did not try to hide his emotions; they are part of the life experience. The important thing is to understand that we are neither our emotions nor our thoughts — they are just passing by : you can choose to get caught up in them, or to let them be.
I grew up with Baba, and was seven and a half years old when he took Mahasamadhi. Even though his physical form is no longer here, he has never ceased being with me and continuing to guide me along the way. Thinking of him last week inspired me to write an article about guru-tattva, the Guru principle : you can read it