I received my initiation on the 1st October in 1982. I have already decided that I will only practice yoga, I will do nothing else. When I was 22 years old, on the 11-th of July 1979, I sat down to meditate for the first time in my life. It was a very good experience and I decided then and there that I will do nothing else but just follow the yogi way of life. As I had already read many books I began to look for a guru. I saw hundreds of sadhu, so many so called yogis, learned a lot from them. But whenever it came to talk about Samadhi they were silent – they could not teach me that.
I left home with only 5-10 rupies in my pocket and went to Pooree, to Vrindavan searching for kriya gurus. I lived there for more than one year and I found the grace of my Guru in Jagannat Pooree. Then I came back home, I wrote him a letter. He answered and then I visited him. I saw him for the first time reaching his house at the 30th of September 1982. It was a very queer experience because there were only old people sitting in his veranda, and a very old person was reading from Bhagavat. My Guru was the youngest: he was 77 and the oldest person was 98. Only old men were sitting there and I was feeling like a fool – I was 25 only! They were also looking at me. I could not recognize my Guru among them because he was a very easy man and very simply dressed. I just sat down when some more old men came and offered him pranam. Then I recognized that it was him. Then after that thing was over I also offered my pranam. He recognized me: “Ok, you are Shailendra from Gwalior. I was waiting for you. Come tomorrow after having a bath in the Ganges at about 7 – 7.30. Bring a copy and a pen and five garlands to put on Shiva and Lahiri Mahasaya”.
So, I could not sleep with excitement. I got up very early, took a bath at the Ganges and went to him, reaching his house at 6 o’clock. He came down at 7.
When he initiated me that was the moment which changed my life. Also I would say it was the first level the same which I give to everybody. Because when he made me Guru he made me promise that I would teach exactly as I had been taught, with no change of any kind. So I’m doing that.
When he was teaching me kriya after I had made five promises it seemed instinctively I knew what he said. Another extraordinary thing happened during yoni mudra: that day I was able to hold my breath up to two hundred counts when I was initiated. That made him a very happy person. Then he told me: “Bring your luggage here, stay with me”. Then he saw my practice again, in the evening, he told me that I could leave the next day and come when I had done khechary. He also told me: “I am an old man, I do not know when I will die, so work hard”.
That made me work very, very hard. I thought that after searching all over India I found him. And if he died – what would happen, who would teach me? That made me work harder and harder. And on my third visit on 28 of April 1984 he declared me the next Guru. I haven’t received complete kriya even then as he declared me.
Then he called me 2-3 times a year and made me initiate other persons.
If somebody asked a question he asked me to answer that question and listened silently whatever I was trying to answer. And if there was a possibility of improving the answer, he said: “You could also have answered this way”.
He taught me like that.
Everything changed after he had declared me the successor. The ability to give instant answers came from that day – before I had been very shy and not talking with anyone, mostly silent. But from that day it came: whenever somebody was going to discuss or ask me something – I would answer.
I became physically strong – and he became physically very weak. Within seven days’ time he became so weak that we had to carry him on our back to climb the stairs – he wasn’t able to climb them because of becoming suddenly too weak. Maybe some power transferred or something happened – it’s very difficult to say.