Gururaj Ananda Yogi was born on 3rd March 1932 as Purushottam Narsinhram Valodia in the province of Gujrat in India, to a well-to-do business and farming family. As a child he displayed a remarkably advanced spiritual consciousness. Already by the age of 3, his questions were consistently about the meaning and purpose of life, and the possibility of truly knowing or experiencing the Godhead.
At the tender age of 5 he ran away from home to seek a personal experience of communion with the Divine. He wandered from village to village for 4 and a half months, visiting many temples and holy men. His frantic parents finally found him ragged and barefoot wandering through a village street. When questioned, he explained that he went to as many temples as possible, but that "the gods were lifeless and would not speak to me".
His life between the ages of 5 and 15 was in most respects quite normal for a child in his Indian culture. The one exception to this was his continuing overwhelming, intense desire to directly experience a "Reality" far greater than his limited consciousness. This led him to the reading of many religious scriptures and books on philosophy and psychology.
As he matured, his reading and his highly developed intuition made him more and more aware that what he sought actually lay within himself, and within all human beings. He came across many names for this greater “Reality” within. Some spoke of the "Kingdom of Heaven Within", or the "Divine Spark Within"; others spoke of the "Universal Mind", or the "Real Self". The Western psychologist Carl Jung spoke of the "Collective Unconscious" and various Western philosophers spoke of the "Superconscious Mind".
Each new book that the boy read seemed to offer some new name or descriptive term. Yet, all who claimed to have directly experienced that inner "Reality" maintained that the words used to describe it were of little significance; only the experience itself was truly important. And how intensely the growing boy yearned for that experience!
He knew that this area of "Superconscious Awareness" lay deeply buried beneath layers of conditioning in the subconscious mind. If he could somehow penetrate these muddy strata of subconscious conditioning, the deeper "Superconscious Self" would shine through into his conscious awareness. Contained within that experience would be the answers to all the anguished questionings of his conscious mind.
His reading of the scriptures and philosophy, and encounters with various gurus told him that one of the classical methods for penetrating to this greater "Reality" was through meditation. But what kind of meditation? Practised in what way and for how long? He could not answer these questions himself and he knew therefore that he required a teacher.
This raised yet another question: Which teacher? There were many teachers professing to impart spiritual knowledge and practices in his native Indian culture. He knew that the teacher must be right for him, must truly possess the knowledge and the spiritual force to be able to lead him step by step on his inward journey towards the conscious experience of the Superconscious Self.
Having resolved his mind upon the ultimate importance of the right teacher, he once again ran away from home at the age of 15. This time he travelled for a year, visiting ashrams (centres for spiritual teaching) and gurus (spiritual teachers) throughout India. Whilst searching intensively for his teacher, he took instruction in dozens of meditation techniques and spiritual practices.
His quest was finally fulfilled. In a monastery near Almora in the Himalayas he found the guru he had long sought - Swami Pavitrananda. Gururaj was led by him step by step through the illusory veils of the conditioned conscious and subconscious mind towards the Superconscious Self.
After a period of intensive and careful preparation under the direction of Pavitrananda, Gururaj reached the critical point in his development where he was ready for the breakthrough into full illumination. Gururaj stated that "for some time my meditations had been very deep and I knew that I was ready for the experience of Nivrikalpa Samadhi".
(Nivrikalpa Samadhi: The state of consciousness in which there is a permanent, fully opened channel between the conscious and superconscious mind). Then on a hot Thursday afternoon the long-awaited experience arrived. In Gururaj's own words: "Pavitrananda casually summoned me to meditate with him. In Pavitrananda's presence I slipped almost immediately into a profound meditation. I merged into a state of blissful consciousness far beyond the realms of space and time". It was a state of "joyful, eternal freedom, of immense peacefulness and yet vast power, transcending all the limitations and conditionings of my mind". He knew with certainty beyond the possibility of description that "what I was experiencing was in fact my Real Self". It was totally clear that "my mind, my body, my personality were only reflections and expressions of this real and true Nature".
He said that "when I surfaced from meditation two hours had gone by - but it could have been two minutes, so far had I been from ordinary time. When I opened my eyes, everything around me was covered in gold". He could perceive with total, immediate certainty, not as a mental concept but as a living experience, that "everything around me - myself included - as simply dancing, vibrating patterns of energy. I just knew that I was the very same joyous, unbounded energy as everything and everyone around me - indeed of all of creation". It was as if "my consciousness was their consciousness and their consciousness was mine". At the same time it was "as if we were all part of a vast, infinitely larger consciousness". And yet he knew that "no words could even begin to describe the full reality of that experience - one must just have the experience to know".
Yet, it is inevitably a part of the human creative urge to try to give some form of outward expression to inward realisations. Thus some who, like Gururaj, have fully attained this state, and many who have only glimpsed it have written extensively about their experiences They have chosen what seemed appropriate words or names to describe it, but usually the terms selected are to some extent dictated by their cultural heritage - particularly their religious or philosophical background.
Therefore, this state of illumined consciousness has been called by many names. A Christian or Jew might speak of "God-realisation", of reunion with their "Divine Source". A Burmese Buddhist might speak of "Nirvana", a Japanese Zen Buddhist of "Satori" or "Enlightenment". The Western philosopher might speak of "Unity Consciousness", an Indian philosopher of "Brahman Consciousness". A Western psychologist might speak of "Transpersonal Awareness". Perhaps the most neutral term used is "Self-Realisation", since it does not imply any special religious or philosophical commitments.
Having once fully and permanently entered the self-realised state, Gururaj could perceive with perfect clarity and simplicity a truth which he had often encountered in his philosophical reading. In his own words: "It was so very obvious to me that having realised this state, it made little difference how one arrived there - provided the path a person chose was right for that individual. One could be a Christian or a Jew, a Hindu or a Moslem, a Buddhist or a Taoist, a student of Eastern or Western philosophy".
Indeed, according to Gururaj, a person might follow a path without any of the usual religious or spiritual connotations. Perhaps they might be involved in a system of Western transpersonal psychology, such as that of Carl Jung's. Or one might be a practical person, immersed in the responsibilities of daily life, with very little time or concern for religious, philosophical or psychological theories. For this, according to Gururaj, "was a matter of direct personal experience - not of beliefs, philosophies or life styles".
According to Gururaj, what was of crucial importance was a "sincere striving to reach beyond the limits of the petty ego, the small conditioned mind, to a larger Reality". Whatever the path, one must follow it with real commitment and sincerity. If the sincerity and depth of commitment were there, then it was obvious to Gururaj from his own experience with Pavitrananda that a programme of proper meditation and self-help could also be of immense use, even invaluable.
Many such understandings and realisations emerged as the immediate aftermath of the youth's enlightenment experience. But most important to him was the constant, deeply joyful fulfilment of a fully realised consciousness; he felt that there was absolutely nothing the world could offer him that would bring greater happiness or satisfaction than he already possessed. As a result, he began to entertain the idea of living a peaceful, reclusive life as a monk in some secluded Himalayan cave. However, it was not to be so.
Pavitrananda insisted that Gururaj immerse himself in the world. He was to become a householder and to thrust himself into the complex, dynamic, vital civilisation of the Western world. He was to know directly - by personal experience - the pleasures and pains, the joys and sorrows, the problems and solutions, the creativity and the fulfilment to be found in a full, active participation in the world. Having gained this practical experience, he could be far more useful to active Western people when one day he began his work as a Spiritual Teacher. For it was his destiny to provide instruction and guidance - through meditation and self-help programmes - to many people in the modern Western world.
Thus it was necessary that he should marry, raise a family, and live and work in the West. In order to prepare himself for these responsibilities, he studied English and the practical subjects of commerce and accountancy. In his early 20's, having completed his studies, he sensed that the time was right for him to move to the West.
He emigrated from India to South Africa. The choice of South Africa was largely dictated by the ease of immigration as Gururaj and his father had lived in South Africa for three years when he was a child, thereby establishing rights of residency.
In South Africa he entered a business career. To pursue a career in business successfully in the highly competitive modern business community inevitably requires much dedication, energy and creativity. In view of this, it must be understood that the Superconscious Mind is a virtually unlimited resource of energy and creative intuition. Having attained the self-realised state, Gururaj had constant and far reaching access to this immense inner resource.
Consequently, he possessed a phenomenal energy level and a highly developed intuitive mind. This intuition - a kind of creative "sixth sense" - would guide him with an almost unerring accuracy in making the immense number of practical, daily decisions that modern business demands. His energy was such that he required only 2 or 3 hours of sleep per night. This enabled him to work 14-16 hours per day, and as we shall see later, still fulfil his many other responsibilities and interests.
With such inner resources of creativity and energy, it was inevitable that he was very successful in his business career. Within a remarkably short-time he became the director of a number of companies providing several types of goods and services, including films, finance, accountancy, advertising and publishing.
Even whilst living immersed in the world of business, it was always clear to Gururaj that the accumulation of wealth should never be the ultimate purpose of one's business activities. In his own words: "Wealth is not an end in itself. Money is simply a resource, such as any other man-made resource. The test of any resource is how well we use it. The real question is: Do we use our collective or personal wealth in such a way as to uplift ourselves, or friends, families, or our communities? Is our wealth put to positive and creative use? Or, is it used only for personal comfort, pleasure, prestige, power etc. - in others words to strengthen the small, limited ego?".
In accordance with this principle, Gururaj always used a sizeable portion of his business earnings - and much of his personal time - to further various spiritual or community projects. He was a major contributor in terms of time, energy and money to the founding of an Indian cultural society in Cape Town, South Africa - a major accomplishment for the Indian community there.
Business and community projects did not occupy all of his time or seemingly endless fund of energy for he married and raised a family. To anyone who came to know Gururaj well, it was very evident that he had a deep and sincere devotion to his family. In spite of an extremely full schedule of activities and responsibilities, he always gave much time and love to the care and upbringing of his children. He had warmth and an intuitive way with children that was quite magical to witness.
Gururaj's ability to relate to children indicates a certain highly sensitive aspect of his personality. The outward, creative expression of this sensitivity (combined with the full access to the Superconscious) is found in yet another dimension of this multidimensional man - for Gururaj was a musician and a remarkably gifted poet.
Starting in his adolescence, he wrote a number of musical compositions in the various Indian forms. Some of these compositions are deeply moving. As one meditator who knew him for many years states: "I listened to one composition which he wrote at about the age of 15. It is difficult to even begin to find just the right words to describe it, but it is almost as if it fully embodies the anguished yearning of a finite consciousness to find infinity. It was so powerful that I was moved to the depths; the tears welled up and I think I must have momentarily experienced the inner consciousness of the 15 year old boy. I could just feel the passionate longing for the infinite love of the deeper Self that drove him to run away to seek his enlightenment". But even more than music, Gururaj used poetry as an expressive medium for his inner realisations. He began writing poetry in his early adolescence, and had already received several awards in India by the age of 20. In fact, critics have favourably compared his work with Tagore's.
A volume of his collected poems has been published entitled “Glimmer of Love,” together with “The Master Reflects” - a collection of Gururaj’s sayings, and “From Darkness to Light” - a compilaton of his Satsangs or lectures. In order to provide the reader with an example of his poetic gifts, one of his beautiful poems, STILLNESS OF ETERNITY, is included here. This poem - as with all of his poetry - was written quickly and spontaneously, seemingly flowing directly from the Superconscious Self to his pen, entirely bypassing the analytical intelligence of the conscious mind.
Winged birds of time fly on.
Flying to the rising sun and turning back at dusk:
A long journey it seems to reach back at starting point -
Winged birds, time's creatures, fly on.
I, that am, forever still, know -
Of no journey's start, nor end, nor flight.
Your out spanning wings, measuring the sky,
Swift and slow, slow and swift,
Smiling at the wingless snail treasuring earth:
Both, in smog or dirt, in motion bound.
I, that am, forever still, know -
Of no measure, nor motion, neither doing's undoing .....
Bewildered you in your wingedness, the wingless too -
Chained by grooves of motion's air and earth
Tossed and twirled and set afire, seemingly so new:
To fly on, to plod on, through many a life and birth.
I, that am, forever still, know -
Of no air, nor earth, nor life nor birth, still ever new
By ordinary standards, to be a poet, a musician, a successful businessman, a community leader and a devoted family man would constitute a full life; it was certainly the fulfilment of Pavitrananda's injunctions to "immerse himself in the world". But it must be remembered that Pavitrananda's instructions to him were for a purpose. His active life in the Western world was to prepare him well for a time when he, as a Spiritual Teacher, would help guide other active, Western people toward self-realisation.
For this, in Gururaj's own words, "had been in the back of my mind all of those years, ever since my meeting with Pavitrananda". Over the years, Gururaj became increasingly impressed with the central importance of meditation as a means of gradually acquiring access to the Superconscious Self. It also became clear that each person is a unique individual. Therefore in order to be fully effective, the meditation practice given to each person must be right for him as an individual. It must fit into one's individual life style as a whole, enhancing every area of life, work, marriage, personal relationships, etc. - in the path one has chosen.
Thus throughout the years, Gururaj continued to read widely on spiritual, philosophical, and psychological subjects, and to study and practise many forms of meditation. More importantly, he continued to exercise the power of his inner intuitive perception. Using these tools of knowledge, experience and intuition, he gradually began to teach meditation, always stressing the importance of matching the right techniques to the right individual. In this way he evolved a method of selecting meditation practices that would meet the unique mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each person.
Over the years, Gururaj had personally selected individual meditational practices for thousands of individuals from many racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds - including Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, as well as many non-religious people. In watching their greatly accelerated progress, he became increasingly impressed with the effectiveness of these practices as a tool for aiding people in fulfilling the purposes of their own individual quest for self-realisation.
In 1975 Gururaj completed the business phase of his life. He continued to live in Capetown with his family, and took the vow of full-time service to humanity. Thus the remainder of his life was devoted to helping people throughout the world in their spiritual quests for self-realisation.
To this end, Gururaj, together with other like-minded people in several countries, founded the International Foundation for Spiritual Unfoldment in the autumn of 1975. Within just one year, individuals in nine different countries started national branches of the International Foundation for Spiritual Unfoldment (IFSU) to help make such meditation practices easily available to all individuals who might desire them.
There is an important point regarding Gururaj and his life and work which must be made very clear. According to Gururaj, "the purpose of the external guru is to help awaken the internal guru within each person. Therefore my work is to guide people in learning how to experience their own inner guide, to awaken them to an awareness of their own greater self. When this is accomplished, my guidance is no longer required, for each person becomes a guru unto himself".
Thus Gururaj wanted all to know that he was just an ordinary human being, different from most individuals only in the fact that he had walked the spiritual path to the goal which the great majority of people are still striving to reach - thus enabling him to be useful as a guide. He repeatedly said that what he has attained in his spiritual quest, all other human beings can also attain.
In accordance with this understanding, he insisted that he be treated as an ordinary human being with no more fuss or reverence than the dignity required by any person, and that IFSU in no way become a "cult of the guru". Gururaj's prime concern was to see IFSU become a worldwide fellowship of individuals on the path to fulfilment and self-realisation.
This came to fruition with societies forming in various countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Israel and South Africa.
Gururaj began spending as much as 9 months a year away from his home giving public Satsangs (lectures), interviews, consultations and residential courses for his meditators to deepen their experience of meditation.
He was a crucial speaker at the following public symposiums and conferences:
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
Washington University, St. Louis
Loyola University, Chicago
Theosophical Society: Boston, London,
Copenhagen, Cape Town (South Africa)
Vedanta Society: South Africa, England
Lorton Men's Prison, Virginia
Pastoral Counselling Centre of Greater
University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
University of British Columbia, B.C., Canada
Max Mueller Institute, New Delhi, India
Benares University, Benares, India
Lions Club, Barcelona, Spain
Rotary Club, South Africa
World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1984
The Wrekin Trust Symposium, "Mystics and Scientists," special guest of Sir George
Trevelyn, King Alfred's College, England, 1979
Holistic Health Symposium University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 1978
International Neuropsychiatry Symposia, South Africa, 1982
Annual Meeting of Association for Humanistic Psychology, Washington, D.C. 1982
International Business Leaders Peace Conference, Boston, Mass 1982
Sociedad Española de Meditación
Dansk Meditation Samfond
British Meditation Society
American Meditation Society
Canadian Meditation Society
Irish Meditation Society
Sunday Telegraph, London, 10th April 1983
Yoga Today, United Kingdom, 1984
Television Series, Civilizations with Enrique Quesad, Madrid, Spain
Page 5 TV 5, Las Vegas, Nevada
Today in Chicago, CBS TV, Chicago
Focal Point, KTIV TV, Sioux City, IA
Party Line, NBC TV, Sioux Falls, S.D
Midday Am, NBC TV, St Louis
At Your Service, KMOX, CBS Radio, St Louis
Mac & Friends, KWIT Radio, Sioux City, IA
Here are a few of the diverse topics on which he spoke about:
The Nature of Fear and Anger; How to Handle Negative Thinking
Toward a New Perspective of Living: Inner Tranquillity
Stress and Cardiovascular Disease
The Psychology of Growth of Consciousness
Fear of Death, Mechanics of Physical Death ...What is it that survives Physical Death?
Meditation and Psychotherapy: A Combined Approach
Barriers That Block Us from the Experience of Love
Relaxation Techniques and Stress Management
What is Inner Growth and Why is the Path Not Smooth?
The Mechanics of Healing: A Non-pharmacologic Therapy
Meditation: A Journey beyond the Mind
Why is Nature So Apparently Cruel? Humility & Suffering
Prayer and Positive Positioning Self
Meditation: Physiological Basis, Clinical and Preventative Usage
Illness: Mental, Physical, and Spiritual. How should this be Accepted?
Though Gururaj's health began to deteriorate and his diabetes worsened, his incredible energy and determination to serve his chelas (students) never ceased.
During this period his family in Cape Town made the great sacrifice of seeing him for shorter and shorter periods. The demand for his teachings and physical presence grew greater and greater by the day. His teachings became firmly established in various countries, and though no definite figures exist it is thought that around 100,000 people worldwide received personally prescribed practices from Gururaj.
The late seventies saw the immense growth of the organisation worldwide. Gururaj continued to pour his love and energy into his students, but in 1980 a strange set of events occurred. These events would change the face of the organisation and signify a different delivery of the teachings.
Gurus are very unusual people. Their Divine simplicity can be a complex issue for the average meditator or person. This is because they function at an entirely different level - from a foundation that is well beyond most people's comprehension.
The great force that is the essence of a Spiritual Master acts as a mirror and reflects how we are back to ourselves.
The process of personal Spiritual growth requires introspection and is, to a degree is confrontational. We do not always appreciate how purifying this process can be, and if we are not sincerely established on the Spiritual Path then the growth process becomes more difficult.
At this time, meditators who found this process difficult decided to leave en mass. These were key people in various countries around the world. There dawned another stage or era in the formulation of the teachings.
The teachings delivered in the early years by Gururaj are a complete resource of information on thousands of subjects and extol a deep spirituality of pure consciousness.
The following years saw the teachings change radically, not in essence but in delivery and presentation.
Gururaj had never been a pedestal Guru and was always approachable, but in the following years he became closer to his chelas on a personal level. Despite his failing health, he continued to travel month after month.
The outpouring of love was immense, powerful and heart stirring. This, combined with one's personal practices of meditation, and the knowledge and wisdom imparted through the teachings, broke though any heart barrier and one felt the flood as this ignited the soul.
This era of Gururaj's teachings brought many people in close proximity with their teacher. These incidents acted as a catalyst. Some predicted that Gururaj would either rise to be the great Avatar or disappear into insignificance.
Even for meditators, many separated the man from his teaching, but of course this is more a reflection on a person's level of unfoldment and understanding. For those that had found unity within themselves this question never arose.
Gururaj continued to travel extensively. The numbers attending courses were not so great now. There were no longer were there 500 people on residential courses - rather between 30-120, but in a totally different manner.
A true Master is not concerned with the comings and goings of people. He gives what he gives with totality and expects nothing in return. People take what they need and have the free will to stay or go as they please. This said, it is reflective of a person's ability to fully understand the workings of a Spiritual Master - the ability of so few!
The great change in the teachings was focused upon interacting with Gururaj when he was around. Being in close proximity to your Guru is often a challenging experience. As mentioned previously, the teacher acts as a mirror and reflects you back to yourself.
This same process is an integral part of personally prescribed meditation - something Gururaj was famous for. However, this process is intensified by the Guru, who increases the intensity by several hundred percent. This is the greatest gift from the Guru. Who else in the world would give you a complete and honest report on yourself in graphic detail!
This process intensified for all the chelas, but it was this that pushed them forward at an accelerated pace. The process continued on over a period of years, with the various branches of IFSU expanding slowly and constructively.
Gururaj's health and ability to continue long overseas trips became an enduring challenge not only for him but for those involved in his care. We never knew when he would stop his travels! Many times one felt torn seeing him in constant pain, discomfort and intense tiredness. Should he continue to travel? He knew that South Africa was far away from the majority of his meditators, both in distance and affordability.
For the love and devotion of his chelas he would continue travelling. He used to call his chelas his children and he cared for them in like fashion. Would a father not sacrifice his health to be with his children? In Gururaj's case this question never arose. Parents feel responsible for their children, but the relationship between Guru and chela is more akin to a love affair on a pure level - beyond the physical. In this relationship, beyond the physical, hearts merge away in total unity.
For the chela this experience gave a feeling beyond description - bliss; to feel totally loved would be a privilege that many may never experience, even in the most intimate relationship.
For the devoted chela this was the experience of "Divine Love", beyond text books, beyond assumptions, and beyond mental analysis. This experience lifted you beyond any earthly experience, physical or mental. It is hard to put this in writing as adjectives do not fully capture or translate these feelings in totality.
Those chelas in close proximity of the Guru were truly blessed with this opportunity. The realisation dawned for many that the Avatar was here in our physical presence. We rejoiced! How blessed were we to have this experience. We felt like the Disciples of Christ in modern day times.
Gururaj's teachings have the ability to change the world. When compared with the ancient scriptures, the Bible, Bhagavad-Gita, and Koran, these teachings continue to a further stage not accomplished by the others. These great past works would take an aspirant to the level of Sattva or Light, but that's where they end. Gururaj's teachings go beyond this, giving definite instructions on how to transcend to the core of oneself and beyond into infinity.
Gururaj, having brought his teaching to the world, now prepared for his departure. He often reiterated that apart from bringing his teachings to the world he must find someone who could continue his work in total purity and realisation.
Like a complete solar system, Gururaj acted as the sun or the source of energy, and his close chelas like the revolving planets, some closer to the source and others at an appropriate distance. We said before that the relationship between Guru and chela is like a love affair. This relationship blossoms in the heart and is intensified by the expansion of the heart and mind through one's own personal Spiritual Unfoldment.
When you can love in entirety, those expressions cannot segregate or divide themselves in unequal measures. This expression therefore emanates equally to each person or object. Likewise, each chela of the Guru receives love in equal measure. Love is Love and true love finds its expression equally. If love were to focus greater extent on one than the other then it would not be pure Spiritual love.
On the evening of the 31st August 1986, Gururaj made a telephone call from Cape Town in South Africa where he lived to Rajesh, one of his English teachers, and told him that he would be his "Spiritual Heir". Rajesh was not totally surprised by this as he had suspected such an occurrence, but he was overjoyed nevertheless to hear this confirmation from the lips of his Guru.
Gururaj told Rajesh and Jasmini that he needed to prepare them and put them through various experiences and practices in preparation for this succession, but at this stage he did not want anyone knowing about this and Rajesh was to tell no one. Gururaj was to visit the UK some months later in October to hold residential courses in England and America and would discuss matters with him then.
These months passed and Gururaj arrived back in England. He reiterated what he had said some months previous. He said that his time was now limited and that he had to prepare both Rajesh and Jasmini to continue his work.
Gururaj suggested that he take both of them and put them through various experiences, but outside of their home in the UK. The island of Cyprus was suggested as a possible destination for the following March, prior to the usual spring residential courses.
Rajesh worked as a travel agent so began making the preparations. In the ensuing months, news of the trip to Cyprus reached other shores and others began to be invited, but its original motive was only known by one other woman meditator in the US.
Rajesh and Jasmini were not perturbed by the invitations as they knew Gururaj would do what he wanted, regardless of those present or absent.
The March 1987 trip to Cyprus ended up being twenty something people, mostly the national leaders of Gururaj's societies from various countries. This trip would fulfil many new experiences for Rajesh and Jasmini and for all those present.
The months passed and soon March arrived. All the arrangements were made and the group flew from London to Larnaca in Cyprus en route for Limasoll, a southern holiday town frequented by foreign tourists. Here the group was accommodated in spacious apartments on the seafront.
Gururaj was not to say goodbye to his chelas that day. This was no doubt symbolic as he would always be with them in spirit, and whenever they were to think of him or call his name he would be with them. On the return journey home from the venue in the car, Rajesh asked Gururaj why he had asked him
to do the Satsang. He replied "I wanted to get you started - it's time".
Gururaj spent the weekend in London prior to travelling to Canada. Over this period he discussed the future of his teachings with Rajesh and Jasmini. They sat up the whole night and they recorded these important moments on tape.
Gururaj gave Rajesh a suffix to his spiritual name Rajesh - "Ananda". He reiterated, as before in August 1986, that he would carry on his work and asked him to look after his children.
Gururaj was due back from Canada for an overnight stay before returning to his home in Cape Town. When he arrived back in London the conversation that weekend was a little strained; there was an air of finality as if everything had been accomplished and there was nothing more to say. In reality that was true.
The news of Gururaj's physical passing on Monday, 17th May 1988 passed quickly around the world. However prepared you are for death, the news of the departure of a loved one is always a wrench when a physical link is broken. Gururaj had had a massive heart attack in the dining room of his home. His devoted wife, Lata, was there by his side. In accordance with local culture, Gururaj was cremated the same evening in his home town of Cape Town, South Africa.
Regretfully, none of his meditators from abroad were present.
A meeting was called between the leaders of the societies to discuss the future of the organisation. Rajesh confided in one of the leaders about the tape, and let him hear it. Despite the bad quality of the tape Rajesh considered this conclusive evidence, but when played to the leaders, all denied its authenticity. Rajesh believed in all innocence that these people would accept Gururaj's clearly stated wishes - he was wrong! Many assumed that they would individually take over the role of Guru. The challenge was to either be a first class chela or a second rate Guru. The majority choose the second option!
The possibility of being a Guru is a valid option when you have served a Spiritual Master, lived in close proximity, and served at his feet - it's easy to assume more responsibility than one is capable of handling. Nevertheless, though tinged with egoism, the intentions were somewhat honourable and they had learned a sufficient amount to be of benefit to others, albeit not in the same stance as a Spiritual Master.
Their intolerance of Rajesh hurt him deeply and they saw Jasmini as another thorn in their side. Her maturity and forthrightness was then at that stage of greater maturity than Rajesh's. Their attempts to manipulate him would have been achievable if it was not for Jasmini's strength.
After much soul searching, Rajesh and Jasmini decided to go it alone. For Rajesh this was a particularly hard decision as he had remembered Gururaj saying to him "look after my children" - a statement he thought meant Gururaj's chelas, as he always referred to his chelas as his children. In fact, Rajesh misinterpreted this as it had a far deeper meaning.
Rajesh and Jasmini were prepared, empowered and initiated by Gururaj to carry on his duties; therefore they could not compromise Spirituality for the sake of harmony with the rest of the group.
With the power struggle that followed, Rajesh and Jasmini after much soul searching decided to go it alone in order to "fulfil his message and to keep his teachings alive".
Rajesh and Jasmini then formed a new organisation called FISU - Foundation for International Spiritual Unfoldment. This was a slight variation on the original name of IFSU - International Foundation for Spiritual Unfoldment. Gururaj had brought his teachings to the world and he had laid the foundation. As living examples of what he taught being achieved in this lifetime, FISU was formed.
Gururaj Ananda Yogi, renowned as one of the greatest Spiritual Teachers to have lived in the 20th century, brought his teachings of truth, love and hope to the world, enabling the householder to live a better and more fulfilling life. Now these teachings live on under the spiritual guidance of Rajesh Ananda and Jasmini Ananda.