by Monika and Nityaananda
“Maybe we could ask (Jesus) to sing about Paradise through us? Why don’t you ask the Man of Love for help? Ask him to bring you closer to the goal, to Paradise, with each bhajan you sing. And ask him for the gift to be able to sing like he would have sung.” Gustav Vighneshwara
Dear Divine Friends,
On Christmas Day, our dear friend and soul brother, Gustav Vighneshwara, left his body after a long illness. He was surrounded by love and joy as he took his final journey and was liberated from his body. We are happy that his soul is free to fly high now but we will miss him dearly.
We were long-time friends with Gustav and his family and shared so much during our sixteen years of friendship. In the early days of Swami’s mission, probably 1999, Gustav arrived at the ashram with guitar in hand. Swami began calling him ‘Guitar Man’ and soon asked him to sing. Swami really loved music and especially loved Gustav’s music. No doubt it brought Swami great joy. It certainly melted our hearts. After a time, Swami began having Gustav sing before he gave a talk either in the ashram or on his travels abroad to America or Europe. Eventually bhajans became an important part of Swami’s healing mission.
Gustav made an impression in the ashram from the very beginning. On one of his first trips there, he went to noon Aarti before leaving the ashram. There were only a few dozen visitors there then. After Aarti, Swami sat in his swing as all the visitors were getting ready to leave. The cars, which at the time could drive right up to the Mandir, were all lined up ready to go. As the people filed out of the Mandir saying their goodbyes and loading their belongings into the cars, Nityaananda was called to come to the Mandir urgently for a medical emergency. That was the first time he met Gustav.
Gustav had had a supernatural experience during the Aarti which continued until he finally passed out and fell over to the side. He had a spontaneous nose bleed but it was not due to an injury to his nose. He easily came to and was coherent and began talking about his experience. He said he had experienced the Jesus energy filling up the Mandir and him and had the revelation that Swami and Jesus were the same. Jesus and Swami were one and the same. He was overjoyed and in the bliss of Jesus’ love and his love for Swami. We helped him outside the Mandir where he quickly gained his equilibrium. But before getting into his car, he walked over to Swami in his swing and asked him directly, “Are you Jesus?” Swami smiled enigmatically but with huge love and affection and said, “He’s my good friend. He’s my big brother.”
We have many beautiful memories from those beginning days with. Each night from midnight to 2 am he sat at the dhuni singing to Swami under the stars in the open sky. Gustav’s voice, and the strumming of his guitar, was carried throughout the ashram by the wind. Not only Swami’s ears, but ours too, were filled the bliss of Gustav singing. It was heavenly. They were magical nights, meditating and listening to truly divine music, not wanting the night to end. There are no words to describe the happiness his music created in the soul. Our beloved ‘Guitar Man’ sang for Swami by the dhuni every night for years. This was a part of his training. Knowing Swami’s love of music and Gustav’s heartfulness, it undoubtedly brought great joy to Swami. Not only then, but throughout Swami’s life. We also got to witness the master’s unique way of opening and developing Gustav’s channel for music.
Gustav had a gift which Swami nurtured and developed. He became Swami’s instrument to create a unique form of healing music. Under Swami’s tutelage, Gustav gave form to the style of music that Swami heard in his head. Soon, singing bhajans became a daily part of the ashram schedule are forever linked to Swami. Whenever you hear one sung, Swami’s presence is there.
Later, Swami asked Gustav to teach others to sing. Gustav was masterful in helping liberate the divine voice hidden within everyone. He was able to get us to express our true selves. It was a gift he shared freely and joyfully. He believed that everyone could sing and he helped make it so. So many beautiful voices were unleashed through his masterful guidance. Perhaps this is why Swami finally gave him the title Sangita Acharya, preceptor of divine music. He will live on through those many voices and a new kind healing music that Swami developed through him.
It is very poignant that Gustav left his body on Christmas Day. What an auspicious time. Jesus called him home at the most holy of times. In light of Gustav’s taking off on Christmas Day, it is even more touching to read the messages in his Christmas newsletter. He wrote:
“For sure, Jesus sang beautifully. So wonderfully that time would stand still, pure without any ego. Maybe he would also sing in a loud challenging way, or be funny and unharmonious – he didn’t care how to get his message across. But he always sang about the truth, about the Paradise we already live in and about the path of the heart, the path of unconditional love. Maybe we could ask him to sing about Paradise through us? Why don’t you ask the Man of Love for help? Ask him to bring you closer to the goal, to Paradise, with each bhajan you sing. And ask him for the gift to be able to sing like he would have sung.”
No doubt the Man of Love sang through Gustav. And no doubt our beloved ‘Guitar Man’ is in Paradise asking the Man of Love’s help on our behalf. I am sure in the days ahead when we sing bhajans we will experience it. Jesus’ voice will sing through us. We’ll know Gustav had something to do with it.
God Bless you Sangitaacharya. Thank you for demonstrating through your life that the secret to making beautiful music is a pure heart. With love and gratitude for the gift of your life to us and to the world. Your soul lives on in the music.
Until we meet again dear soul brother,
Monika and Nityaananda
“Bhajans are so healing because they operate outside of our normal mind setting. They have nothing to do with the ups and downs of daily life; they are always purely about Divinity. They lift us out of all our worries. We cannot sing and worry at the same time. Bhajans are always fresh, new and in the moment. They wash away everything that is a burden to us and separating us from our true nature.” Gustav Vighneshwara