The Story of a Man
“The more you imbibe this and come home, even without effort or intervention, others will somehow benefit from you existence…in ways that maybe you are not aware of…” -Mooji
On December 11th, 2016 at 11pm Swami Atmaswarupananda passed away. At the Shivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India.
He was a Canadian man, who left the life he knew 42 years prior to his passing. Dedicating. himself to a life of sincere spirituality. Following the teachings of his guru, Swami Chidananda.
Thirsty to get to know this man, I found myself at his doorstep on November 24th, 2016.
Most others who find themselves there are on the path of spiritual understanding. My intention, however, was unmistakably unique. It was my first trip to India, my first visit to an Ashram, and my first time having the pleasure of being introduced to Swami Atmaswarupananda, my grandfather.
Yes, this man was my Grandfather.
The complete story of his journey, and the journey of my Auntie, Swami Amritrupananda, has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have always been told that he is declared an inspiration to many searching for spiritual release. Though I have just simply been mesmerized and intrigued about this man who has been nothing more then a figment of my imagination.
There really wasn’t much advice I could find on how to introduce yourself to your Swami Grandfather.
Although, all of that uncertainty seemed to wash away as soon as our eyes met. I wasn’t even given a second to think before I found myself embraced by his arms.
I have to say, for a man who has been described as a serious and dedicated spiritual seeker, he was a lot more grandfather-like then I could have imagined. He was stern but charming. Grumpy but sweet.
However, a few days after I arrived, he became ill. He was 91 years of age, so it was not much of a shock.
It being India, resources were expectedly limited. So myself, my Aunt, and others close to him came together to help in all the ways we could.
The night before last I was sitting alone with him at his bedside. He was needing 24-hour care at the time, and it was my turn with the night shift. It was around 1o’clock in the morning. He was having trouble sleeping. However, I was struggling to stay awake.
While still laying down in bed, he grabbed my arm and pulled me down. Gently laying my head on his chest.
“I would send you off to bed, but I don’t think it’s the right thing to do”, he said to me.
After some time I raised myself up. There was silence for a few moments before he gestured for me to help him sit up. He had a spark of energy.
At the end of his bed was a cabinet, with a collage of family photographs sent to him over the years. One by one, I brought them over to him. I asked him of his journey. Of his life back in Canada. About my grandmother, who had passed away herself about 20 years prior.
“Do you miss her?, I asked.
“Oh, yeah!” He responded
It was around 2:30am when when someone had come down to his room to watch over him for a while. Later that morning, after getting a few hours of rest, I returned.
I held his hand. He smiled back with unmistakable contentment and peace.
It was later that night when he had finally passed. Nearly two weeks after he had first fallen ill. His restless spirt was finally released.
Out of all the places that I had seen, all of the faces thatI had met, all of the experiences that I had journeyed through; nothing could have prepared me for such a remarkably beautiful happening.
I do not feel mournful by his passing. Rather an overwhelming sense of gratefulness and joy of our coming together.
As divine intervention would have it, everything happens for a reason. I’m not certain if I have completely grasped the reason as to why I ended up there for these moments. Maybe there is still more I have yet to uncover behind it all. All I can say is that I would not have had it any other way.
I finally felt ready to go home after two and a half years of travels and adventures.
Cheers Grandpa Swami.