I met Mr. Iyengar only once and it had a profound effect on me. It was during his visit to Colorado in 2005 just after publication of his book, Light on Life. I was there to help my teacher, Leslie Bradley, run a booth on Ayurveda. It was last minute so I hadn’t registered for any classes and when I arrived there were several free passes to classes. When another volunteer learned that I had never met Mr. Iyengar she said without hesitation: “You should go to the class – I’ve been to India!” My heart was filled with gratitude and off I went to Patricia Walden’s class where Guruji would surely be present. Indeed, he was in the room and teaching alongside Patricia. It was a great class, of course.
That evening he was being interviewed in the big hall by Annette Benning. A powerful presence on stage, when he spoke it was as if he was talking directly to me. I felt that he was looking at me and talking to me, so much so that I began to shift in my seat worrying that he might call on me to answer a question or do a pose as he had begun to engage the audience and had even summoned Manouso Manos up to perform on stage. He was magnetic.
When the event ended I quickly exited to a hallway, turned and saw people dropping to their knees and through the mass of prostrating bodies he walked toward me where I stood hands pressed and he looked at me, smiled, pressed his hands on mine and left. I wandered out to a boulder, sat staring at the mountains for a long time trying to understand what I had just experienced. Talk about Rocky Mountain High!
I write this from India where I just arrived for the first time. Guruji is no longer with us and the power of his presence is everywhere. Last night there was a Shradhanjali meeting where Patricia Walden recounted this very same event from her perspective. She said that after the interview they quickly passed through the crowded hallway and were whisked into the car where she said, “You just gave darshana to 1200 people!” and he replied, That was then. This is now.”