My name is Wayne Hunt. A few miles North, into the suburbs of Calcutta, on one side of the Ganges River stands the Vivekananda Center where the great Indian Saint, who in the late 1900s was the first swami to make mediation known to the West, lived and is buried. On the other side of the wide, muddy Ganges River is the Dakshineswar Temple home of one of India’s greatest Saints and Vivekananda’s Guru, Sri Ramakrishna, who took mahasamadhi (died) in 1885. I visited both temples and paid my respects to the short, black statue of Mother Kali at the Dakshineswar Temple. I had queued in the rear of a long line of Indians to pay my respects to the statue. Someone in the line asked me if I knew who the statue was, and I had replied for all to hear, “Why, yes, Mother Kali.”
I had read the famous biography of Sri Ramakrishna and felt I knew the temple very well. Very pleased, and almost to the one, they motioned me ahead of them to the front of the line. I was strangely very much at home in this peaceful place. Years later back in America, I would see a past incarnation’s life in Calcutta as an Indian servant to a wealthy foreign family. They were either German or English, probably English. They were Christians. He was a dutiful butler and was well respected for his manners and portent. He was part of the foreigners’ family, as servants were at that time. He ran the household and also took care of his own daughter and mother. His life was a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna.
My utterly sublime meeting with my true Guru came to me during a stressful period after being laid off of my Middle School teaching position at age sixty-two. I was lying on my bed, dejected, one Saturday morning when I saw a vision of some disciples dressed in white sitting, standing and kneeling around a small, skinny, old man who was having trouble standing. He was bare chested and wore only a white dothi. He seemed to be in an exalted state. Some of his disciples helped him to remain standing. This was not a past life scenario, but a vision. An Indian man in his late 40s who had a funny looking face stood by my side and said, “Come, he wants to speak with you.”
As I approached, I could feel power coming off of this old, skinny man’s body. He wore a beard. His face was the kindest, full-of-love face I have ever seen in my life. There is no way to describe it other than beatific. He stood there wobbling. He reached out and patted my chest, then patted his chest. He had tears in his eyes, as the tears made their way down his cheeks, he said without speaking, “You and I are the same”. As I looked into his eyes, I could see that he was doing two things at the same time. First, he was introducing himself to the Personality, Wayne LeRoy Hunt, but behind Wayne LeRoy Hunt he was looking at the Personality of the Butler who had been one of his devotees. It was like he was seeing an old friend. Then I noticed I had a large medallion about the size of my palm hanging around my neck. He slowly picked it up and showed me that one side had a picture of his face on it. He turned it over and there was a picture of my face on the other side. “You and I are the same,” he repeated. The man with the funny face escorted me away and all a buzz he told me, “This does not happen all the time. You are very special to master. Master is very proud of you, of what you have accomplished in this life.”
Master was Sri Paramanhamsa Ramakrishna. I have no idea about the medallion. Was it symbolic? Did it mean anything other than we are the same? I don’t know. I do know I spent the remainder of the day in a quiet, calm mood of joy. I could feel, standing there next to him, that he was something very special to humanity. He was so refined; his emotions were so sublime and pure. I wasn’t afraid of him. But I was so very full of awe. He was totally devoid of any emotional, mental, and spiritual dross. Pure is the only word I can think to describe him. I felt like I could somehow dissolve or fall into him. He seemed empty.