|Sharath signing copies of his book after conference.|
For me, saying goodbye to Sharath at the end of the trip is always, well, weird. The farewell usually starts with a whole lot of emotional build up, as I come to the the lobby with my entire three months yoga process practically bursting from my chest, which somehow devolves into fear of actually breaking down when all I want to say is "thank you very much, see you next year!" Then there's the anticlimactic, awkward almost-smile and general lack of response that comes from a tired Sharath across his desk, which always leaves me feeling like I'm inconveniencing him by being all eager and at the edge of an emotional break down--which is what I usually feel before leaving Mysore (happily, not my emotional state this year!)
This year, Sharath set a nice tone as he himself said his goodbyes, closing the season at the end of the final Sunday Conference on March 24. He was not remotely sentimental, as one would expect. But probably the closest I've ever seen him to it, dispensing loving advice as Guruji was wont to do, "Practice, practice..." but in his own special way.
Sharath ends conference, "Thank you very much. This is the end of the season. Hope to see you again. I don't know when. When time comes, we'll all see... And...keep practicing. You know, as I told you, life is like Lombard Street, not only Lombart Street. It's got different terrains--in life. Sometimes you go off road. Sometimes you're on a nice track...The terrain keeps changing, it's not smooth all the time. So, don't get disturbed by these things. You keep your practice. Keep your steadiness in whatever terrain comes into your life. Keep on practicing yoga. Never leave practicing yoga. That is how we balance ourselves in whatever difficult times or happy times. So I want you to enjoy that, keep that steadiness until I see you again. May God bless you all with lots of happiness--and sorrow, sometimes..." Sharath trails off in light but tender laughter.
"To know happiness you should go through sorrow." Never one to sugar-coat, Sharath shares, "In India, in New Year's, what we do is Bewu Bella. Bewu is the neem leaf. Bella is the sweet, jaggery. So, on that day we mix both and we eat it. Why? Because in the whole year, the whole year won't be smooth, there will be rough times also in life, in that year. In both the times, you should accept it with happiness. With happiness you should accept both the terrains, both the happiness as well as sorrow. For the that your mind should be steady and still..."
"If you believe in yoga, if you practice yoga, it will never let you go."
Thank you, Sharathji. Till next time!