by S. N. Goenka
(An autobiographical narrative)
This is the second and concluding part of this article. The first part was published in the Vipassana newsletter dated August 1997.
What could be done? The anti-Dhamma forces had erected barriers to prevent the spread of Dhamma throughout the world - the Myanmar government was not able to give endorsements in my passport due to their strict policies, and the Indian government was not giving me citizenship. My application was stuck in Delhi. There seemed to be no hope. The only confidence I had was from the Dhamma adhiṭṭhāna that I had taken with the base of sacca kiriyā. I had great confidence that the forces of Dhamma would ultimately help.
The 1st of July - the day the first course was due to start in France - came nearer and nearer. Days passed. Just one week to go. There seemed to be no light at the end of this dark tunnel.
There was no possibility of getting Indian citizenship in time, and even if I did, it would be impossible to get a passport in time. There are many lengthy formalities to get a passport. It seemed I would have to cancel that first course in France, though I knew that it would be a great disappointment to my students, and they would also have to bear great financial losses. The worst part was that they would lose confidence in me. I had been telling them, "Believe me, the course will be held on schedule." But now, what could be done? In this situation, time was melting away.
My Dhamma adhiṭṭhāna had been: "When I finish ten years of Dhamma service in India, may I get the opportunity to teach Dhamma beyond India." On the 22nd June, 1979, these ten years were completed.
The 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th also passed away. A feeling of helplessness increased. Perhaps the Dhamma did not want to use me as a medium for the spread of the work around the world. "Well, leave it to Dhamma. Let it happen as Dhamma desires. If Dhamma wants me to limit my service to India, may it be so."
In this frame of mind, on the next day, the 27th of June, I got a call. It was a happy shock. A government official phoned to say that the citizenship papers for my wife, Mrs. Ilaichi Goenka, and myself, were ready. We were asked to go to the Metropolitan Magistrate in the Esplanade Court of Bombay, and receive our citizenship certificates. The next day we both went there and easily received our certificates.
A great hurdle for the spread of Dhamma around the world was now crossed. But there was still the problem of getting our passports, and in such a short time of just two days this was an impossibility. We could not reach France in time for the first course.
Until now, we could not even apply for a passport. Now even if everything went rapidly, the passport would still take three to four weeks to be ready. But my mind was still not prepared to cancel the courses in France. I had left everything to Dhamma. "Let us see what Dhamma desires, and how Dhamma plans it to happen."
As we came out of the Magistrate's Office with our citizenship certificates we saw our travel agent standing there. He had passport application forms in his hands, and he asked us to fill them out, which we did then and there. We were of course happy to have our citizenship, but there was still a doubt whether the courses in France could be given. With this uncertainty we returned home to another pleasant shock. The travel agent phoned and said that because of instructions from above, the passports would be issued the very next day.
The 28th of June. The passports were in our hands. Now hope of conducting both the French courses increased. But yet, we needed a visa. By the time we received our passports, the French embassy was closed.
The 29th of June. Only one day left now. Even if we could get the French visa, we still needed visas for U.K. and Canada. And then there are so many other formalities to go through for an Indian citizen before leaving the country. All in one day? But look how Dhamma works. All the closed doors were miraculously opened.
Before the 29th of June was over, we had our French visas and had completed all the formalities required to leave the country. And our travel agent said that we may not need visas for the U.K. and Canada, as we were now citizens of a commonwealth country. Even if they were required they could be obtained from the respective embassies in Paris.
It was thus we could leave Bombay by a flight on the night of the 29th of June. On the 30th, we reached Paris. From there, we went by car to Guyon and the course started on the 1st of July, just as scheduled.
After that, one after the other all the courses were conducted very successfully. With a feeling of great satisfaction and gratitude to Dhamma we returned home.
My confidence in Dhamma was strengthened by these wonderful events, and also my belief that I am only a medium - it is only Dhamma that is working. Dhamma has to choose some medium to get the work done.
The mystery of receiving our clearance to travel in time became clear as we learned that my son Murari and his wife Vatsala had discussed my difficult situation with Mr. Radhe Shyam Murarka, who is the maternal uncle of Mr. Hari Prasad, Vatsala's father.
Mr. Murarka promised Murari and Vatsala that he would try to help me. I knew that Mr. Murarka was an important person in the Congress Party. He had been a member of parliament for a number of years and was always chosen to lead the Public Accounts Committee because of his expertise on the subject. He was a close friend of Shri Morarji Desai who was then the Prime Minister of India.
But in spite of all this, knowing fully well how slow the government machinery works, I was not confident that he could do much to help us in this matter. However, he took all the details of our case and went immediately to Delhi and met the Prime Minister, Shri Morarji Desai.
Shri Morarji Bhai called for our file from the Home Ministry, and saw that the Central Intelligence Department note on it, that they wanted to make further enquiries before granting me citizenship. Morarji Bhai said that under such circumstances, he was helpless.
Hearing this Mr. Murarka told him, "What further information will your Intelligence Department gain about this person? Do you think that we gave our daughter to his family without making any enquiries?" Hearing this the Prime Minister was dumbfounded. He immediately decided in favour of my application, and also gave instructions that all the formalities for my foreign travel should be completed in time.
It is so wonderful how Dhamma works, how Dhamma uses different people as mediums for different purposes.
Dhamma arose in the minds of my daughter-in-law, Vatsala, and my son Murari, and they went and met Murarkaji. Murarkaji got some Dhamma inspiration and went to meet the Prime Minister Morarji Bhai. Some Dhamma wisdom arose in Morarji Bhai and thus my Dhamma adhiṭṭhāna could be fulfilled.
These three Muraris, together, completed this Dhamma work which has proved so beneficial to people around the world. The Ganges of the pure Dhamma started flowing throughout the world as Vipassana.
So many thousands began experiencing the benefit of Dhamma. My son, Murari, and my daughter-in-law Vatsala had already learnt Vipassana, but I very much wanted Mr. Murarka and Shri Morarji Bhai to also take this Dhamma dāna for their liberation from the cycle of birth and death. But now both of them are no more.
The best that I can do is to send my deep mettā to them. May they both share all the merits that I acquire by spreading Dhamma in the world. May they both be happy, may they both be peaceful, may they both be liberated.