At the Feet of an Avadhut:
Life Lessons Learned Serving Sri Kaleshwar
By Terry 'Sundaram' Clark
Chapter Four: The Promise
My commitment to Swami began after our Mother Divine experience. I had spent months in Hampi next to the river, meditating for 12 hours a day of sadhana of japa repetition. When back at the ashram, I had been doing security for Swami outside the Jesus temple. I was in the Baba temple one night and Swami came up and just started talking to me. He told me that I had won his heart. Then he said, “You need to take care of me as long as I am alive.” He asked for my commitment. His commitment was to take care of me as long as I was alive. It wasn’t just one way. He made me promise to take care of him, and he promised to take care of me.
Since the very first time I met Swami he had been talking about taking off, taking mahasamadhi. So I thought, well, he probably won’t be around that long; this commitment probably won’t be too difficult or long since he’ll take off soon. I took it very seriously, but I truly believed it would not be for that long. In that same conversation, he also told me he was going to turn avadhut in the future. He said it like it was a big deal. I had no idea what that meant. I had heard the word, but my understanding of what it meant was very limited. I had a vague image of a saint who could manifest rocks and throw them at people to run them off, as someone with some amusingly anti-social behaviors.
At the time, I had no idea the significance of our conversation. After he told me that I won his heart, he asked me what I wanted. My feeling was, ‘If you are who I believe you are, I don't need to tell you what I want. I want what's best. You know better, I don't know what I am qualified for. I don't know what would be the best thing to ask for.’ These thoughts were going through my head, and that I might ask for something stupid or something that was not in my long-term best interest. Then I basically told him, you know what is best for me. I wanted what he wanted for me.
I believe even then he knew he would have me as his attendant, and that he knew the direction things were going. I was a willing participant. I said yes with no hesitation. At that time Swami was still quite soft and sattvic. Later, he became very avadhut. If I would have seen that first, I might have thought about it more. Years later, it turned out to be quite difficult to be in the avadhut energy. At that time, I really had no idea what taking care of an avadhut meant. The avadhut part especially. But I had already read about Shirdi Baba and I knew that serving the master was the only sadhana Baba did. One of the highest things a master can give a student is to serve him.
One evening, I was on security in the Jesus Temple and was sitting near the office door. Swami came out and went into the bathroom, then he went to Jesus. There is a beautiful statue of Jesus in that he would pray to every morning. He was doing something there with Jesus, it was late at night and the lights were low so I could not see. It was after midnight on the day of my birthday. He was doing something, moving his hand; he might have been manifesting it. Then he dropped it. It was a gold ring with a diamond. He told me, “This is from Jesus. ” He said he was giving it to me because I was a diamond in his life.
Terry 'Sundaram' Clark
is an Associate Minister, Board Member, and Manager of Temple Buildings & Grounds Development at the Divine Lineage Center in Laytonville, CA since Sri Kaleshwar’s mahasamadhi in 2012. In addition, he is our machine whisperer and stealth wildlife photographer of our bear, fox and bobcat. He spent 12 years in Penukonda, India serving as Sri Kaleshwar’s primary personal attendant.