has continued through the ages because it has produced men and women of great spiritual power and realization, thus keeping the torch of our culture and philosophy lighted. In the 20th century, icons like SwamiVivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Sri Ramana Maharshi kept the torch burning and now through this book, the author, who was a disciple of Sri Sitaramdas Onkarnath, talks about his guru and his spirituality with reference to quantum physics, Einstein'stheory of relativity, the stages of yoga in Kashi Shavism, the five-fold descent of Shiva from the un-manifest to the manifest and the several mystical experiences he underwent and communicated to him.
In 1892, Malyabati gave birth to a baby boy in Keota village near the Bandal Church and at his annaprasan (first cereal eating ceremony) the baby was named Probodh. At the age of six, he became a guru. One day, Probodh was sleeping by his father'sside in his paternal home at Dumurdaha when Lord Shiva appeared. Probodh woke up and awakened his father to announce, ?Father, there is Lord Shiva standing. Have a look??
Father asked him how Shiva looked. Probodh replied, ?He is half-clad with a tiger skin. He is fair in complexion. He has a trisul (trident) in one hand and a drum in the other hand. He is barefooted. There is a snake coiled around his neck?.
Probodh was later sent to Chinsura in the district of Hooghly to appear in a Sanskrit examination at school. He stayed in a mess with other boys. One night, while the others slept, Probodh sat in a posture of badhva padmasam for meditation. Shiva appeared with a dambaru in one hand and trisul in the other. He was three-eyed. Probodh asked him who he was and Shiva replied, ?I am your guru. I came before, when you were six-years old. But you could not recognise me. I have come for the second time.?
In the subsequent chapters, the author explains the words ?I am your guru?. Probodh, in reply to the disclosure of Shiva'sidentity, with his fingers crossed, suggests first that Shiva was alone. When Shakti is not associated with Shiva, he turns into saba (dead), becomes powerless. The second is that if Shiva is really his guru, he would not be powerless and must possess swatantraya shakti (power of freedom) by which Shakti which is inseparable from Shiva, is kept veiled. Therefore, to show the guru, Shakti has to be unveiled and only then Shiva is able to show Probodh'sistha.
The line uttered by Probodh, ?If you are my guru, show me my istha? suggests according to the author, that Probodh is asking where Parvati is, because Probodh knows that to show his istha, Shiva without Shakti can do nothing.
Probodh digs a cave inside his Rama ashram at Dumurdaha on the bank of the River Ganges and leads a life that becomes what the line from nasadia sukta of the Rig Veda says, ?tapostal makina ajayta ekam.?
The author concludes his book by saying that the title of the book So Far So Near is a translation of the sloka ?tad dure tadvantike? which is an interpretation of what Sri Aurobindo hinted at when he said, ?Life'ssecret senses are written within above? The thought that gives the senses, lives far beyond.?
(Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kulapati Munshi Marg, Mumbai-400 001.)