Have faith: Guruji is at the wheel on your journey of life

Amanjot Narang, September 2012
We had the privilege of coming to Guruji's sharan for the first time on His birthday, 7th July 2001. It was one of those magical moments which dreams are made of. Sounds completely out of a fairytale, but it was love at first sight. The Master welcomed my parents and me with open arms and, before we realised, we were sitting amongst the sangat in a mesmerizing environment under the benevolent eyes of the mahapurusha. His aura can't be described or explained; its power can't be defined and His love for His devotees can't be put into words.

I was 18 years old, not an atheist but often questioning the existence of God. I had been reluctant to go to Guruji. My father had already visited Guruji a few times, and upon hearing of his experiences and thanks to his persistence, my mother and I accompanied him to Bade Mandir. Normally, temples have idols of deities and a presiding saintly figure attired in saffron, reciting mantras or giving a lecture on morals. But this Mandir was way different! Its décor was better than that for a royal Indian wedding. Thousands of people flocked to its gates and all had faces lit up with joy and excitement. It seemed we were in for a big surprise. Our lives were going to change dramatically in the next few moments!

As we climbed up the steps to the Mandir and stood in a queue to have Guruji's darshan, we saw a smart young man dressed in an elegant outfit and sitting on a throne, with a radiant glow on His face. People were bowing before him. Had my father not apprised me of Guruji's physical appearance, it may have been difficult for me to accept that He was a guru. And honestly, come that day and come today, I can say one thing with firm conviction and great pride: I have seen God and experienced His immense blessings ever since I have come to His doorstep. This is no ordinary Guru. He is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. Whether you call Him Lord Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva, or give Him the title of any other deity you may worship, Guruji is the supreme power that is God. With His unconditional love for the sangat, not only has healed them of misery, suffering, and incurable ailments for which medical science has no answer, literally giving people a new lease of life, He has also assumed the form of deities dear to His devotees—Sai Baba, Shivji, Guru Nanak Devji—and given their divine darshan to His followers. He demonstrated that there is only one God and if we have faith in Him, we don't need to run helter-skelter to seek His blessings.

I initially came to the Mandir with inhibitions and questions in my mind. But by the time I had visited Guruji a couple of times, I was in awe of His aura that surrounded the place. I also observed how different Guruji's way was.

First, Guruji never preached. Neither did He talk about do's and don'ts or give any religious discourses. He did not ask His disciples to abstain from non-vegetarianism or alcohol. All He said was that if one came with complete faith and was in a position to surrender himself or herself to the Almighty, the devotee's life would get sorted out. That's all He asked for.

Second, there was no place for the charity box (the Golak). I found that significant, as it meant my money was not required and validated that all that Guruji wanted from us was complete surrender. We needed to entrust our lives into His hands. Unfortunately these days, India is filled with false prophets who are commercializing spirituality. I thought the absence of the Golak in the Mandir was a logical proposition: We were coming to Guruji to seek the Almighty's blessings, and as His children, we were in no position to offer him anything apart from our devotion.

Third, the sangat at the Mandir was highly educated. It is easy to bring an uneducated person to the same place time and again, as he might go with the herd mentality. But an educated person will only frequent such a place if he sees some rationale in doing so. Ranging from senior politicians to top bureaucrats, corporate honchos to the common man, not only was everyone treated equally at the sangat, with the same amount of dignity and respect, they also shared langar from the same plate. This inculcated humility. I found it appealing that many educated people were willing to shed their egos, sit under one roof, and share food from the same plate in reverence to Guruji. I intuited that there was something miraculous about Guruji's place. Today, I feel I was naïve and immature as I was still judging my Guru, not realising that I had already been blessed to be a part of His sangat.

Guruji often asked His sangat to narrate their experiences. This is satsang, the true narration of the incident being shared with the listeners. ('Sat' is derived from the word Satya, or Truth, and 'Sang' refers to the company; hence, the word means 'in the company of truth' or 'noble company'.) We initially thought Guruji was showing off His powers by asking people to narrate instances where He had blessed them. Only later did we realise that Guruji meant for us to listen to experiences from the horse's mouth itself so that we could realise the intensity of the peril the devotee faced and the tremendous blessings the devotee had received. Satsangs, thus, helped build up our faith. And faith is all Guruji asks of us!

We all receive a new lease of life

As a family we have had a number of mind-boggling experiences of Guruji's grace. Shortly after we started coming to Guruji, He sent me abroad for my education. A couple of months there and I caught bronchitis. I came back to India for my winter break and tests showed a patch on the lungs. I went back in January 2002 with a complete medical kit, but as luck would have it, the severe winter with the sultry weather did not help. I suffered a severe asthma attack one night soon after I had returned abroad.

I was gasping for breath for at least an hour and a half or two. I tried every possible medication including the inhaler, but to no avail. Sitting alone in my room in the university, I was left with no other choice but to call the ambulance, when I suddenly remembered Guruji. As I did so, I recalled that He had given me one of His personal belongings before I left the country, which was lying in my cupboard. I went and took out this article of His blessing from my wardrobe and touched it to my chest, praying hard to Him. Honestly, it was sheer desperation and a touch of faith that led me to call out to Guruji. The response was immediate. In under two minutes, I was able to breathe normally.

Today, having gone to Guruji for so many years and through so many experiences, the first thought that comes to my mind in any awkward situation is Guruji. But at that point in time, we had been with Guruji for only about six months and our faith had not yet got the time it needed to develop. The day of the asthma attack I did not immediately remember Him—but it has been a decade since, and with Guruji's blessings, I have never needed to use an inhaler. The divine alleviation of the asthma attack was a dual blessing. It not only returned me to health, but it instilled tremendous faith in Guruji within our family.

A couple of months later, Guruji averted a certain accident. I was out on foot and intending to cross a road. Rather than do it at the distant pedestrian crossing, I ran out to the road after ensuring that no vehicle was approaching. Mid-way, I looked to my right to see a car coming at me. By the time I could slow down, and the speeding car brake, its front wheel had run over my foot. I fell back on the ground, my eyes shut, and I instantly saw Guruji's image in my mind's eye. I knew then that it was Guruji who had made me look to the right.

I lay on the road for a good minute or two before I was lifted up by the driver and taken curbside, as I was unable to walk on my own. When the cops and the ambulance arrived and questioned us, they were shocked to believe that during this entire episode, which lasted a good two minutes or so, no other vehicle had passed by. Yet this road was a busy one, running across the city and connecting two highways. In fact, the length of the road where I chose to cross it was approached by an acute turn, which had blindsided me to the car. It seemed unbelievable that no other vehicle had passed by on this typically busy road. Any vehicle coming around that blind curve would have meant certain death for me. Guruji had saved me again!

In December 2010, when we were on a family holiday in Kerala, Guruji did the same for my father. We were at the Tata Tea Estate in Munnar, a remote hill station four hours away from Kochi. My father suddenly had an angina attack. He was sweating profusely and his arm felt heavy—classic symptoms of an impending heart attack. My mom and I immediately asked for medical aid, only to be told that we were in a very remote area, and the closest doctor or ambulance would be at least 15 to 20 minutes away. We requested the people around us to organize whatever aid was best possible and prayed hard to Guruji to come to our rescue. Within minutes, a doctor and a nurse appeared from nowhere. The doctor was carrying a blood-thinner tablet and a Sorbitrate pill (one of the most common medicines used in this scenario). The doctor decided to take my parents in his car, a self-driven Tata Indigo, to the closest hospital, which was still pretty far away. I followed them in our cab, a Toyota Innova. The Innova, by far the more powerful car that was being steered by a professional driver, at around 80-90 km/h, could not keep pace with the doctor's smaller vehicle. I realised that there was no way the doctor's car was being driven by human agency on these curving hill roads. Guruji was at the wheel. In fact, we still do not know how the doctor and nurse landed up at Munnar: No one had actually called for them!

We reached the hospital shortly, and Dad was taken in to the emergency. It was still a small set-up and we were advised to move to Kochi for better medical facilities. Not aware of the area, we took recommendations from passers-by and landed up at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, only later getting to know that this was one of the best hospitals in South India. The eponymous hospital is run in the name of Mata Amritanandmayi (or as she is widely known, the Hugging Mother, or 'Amma'), a spiritual figure of wide renown. Dad was taken into the cardiac unit where all possible tests were carried out; however, no diagnosis was arrived at. The doctor attending on my father left the next morning for his regular monthly visit to Amma's ashram, a four-hour drive away, saying he would return a day later.

But the doctor returned by early evening. He told my dad that something unusual had happened. He was on his way to the Ashram when he got Amma's message 'in his head' that he should return to Kochi and attend to his patient. In the past 17 years since he had been a devotee of Amma, this had never happened to him. By the time he returned to the hospital, my father's problem had been diagnosed and an angioplasty was carried out the same evening.

The next day the doctor went to visit Amma's ashram and was shocked to hear Her enquire about 'the patient from Delhi' (my father). The doctor narrated this upon his return, and the fact that Amma normally never enquired about any patient. He asked us whether we had got any word put in to seek Her blessings, which we had not done at all. Further, after the doctor told Her about my father's health and the line of treatment given, she exclaimed, "Shiv, Shiv!" The doctor had never heard her use that name for the Lord, for Amma is a recipient of Lord Krishna's grace. This was no one else, but my very own Guruji at work!

In another incident, my 'Mama' (maternal uncle) was driving up from Chandigarh to Kasauli. He was thinking about Guruji and felt like listening to His shabads. However, since he did not have any shabad CDs in the car, he listened to one of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's renditions, 'Tere bin dil nahi lagda soniya.' He began visualizing Guruji. He was driving up and moved to overtake a truck, when he saw another truck approaching from the opposite direction. He was in a Catch-22 situation: If he swerved, the car would plunge down the valley. If he didn't, the car and truck would inevitably collide. He screamed, "Guruji" and his eyes just shut for a moment. The next thing he saw was that he had already overtaken the truck, the accident being averted. In shock, he went a little ahead and stopped the car to gather his breath and thank Guruji.

When he reached Kasauli, passengers from a car behind his, enquired how he had managed the remarkable feat of steering between the two trucks. They told my mama that they saw the car tilt by almost 30 degrees while overtaking the truck. The right tyres of the car had risen up by a good 12 to 18 inches, thus allowing it to go through the narrow gap between the trucks. It was impossible, and yet again Guruji's divine doing, giving my uncle a new lease of life.

Guruji is a way of life

Guruji is simply a way of life. Rather than getting into ritualistic behaviour, if we are able to accept Him as the ultimate supreme power, and remember Him in our day to day activities, our lives would be sorted. Guruji often said, "There are no co-incidences, everything is planned." He alone knows what is best for us, and we should reconcile ourselves to this and accept it if we have completely surrendered our lives to him. It may be easier said than done, but we need to adopt the attitude of 'Teri raza vich raazi' (Your desire is my command). Guruji always said: "Mango nahi... Manno," which means that we should not petition Him for things as our vision is narrow and our mental horizon limited. What we should do is believe in Him because He knows what is best for us in the long run. It is only He who can not only see the past, present and future, but also has the ability to alter the future-something completely out of the hands of human beings—and one which only God Almighty can do.

I feel fully blessed to be a part of Guruji's sangat—I have no words to express my good fortune Life has completely changed for the good after coming to Him. His magnanimity and love for His devotees is unparalleled. He takes care of the smallest of issues and smoothens out this otherwise rough journey of life. Not only does He forgive our wrong karmas by negating the repercussions or minimizing them completely, He blesses us at every step and takes care of us through every stage in life.

Devotees, therefore, come to be in a position to narrate the satsangs they have experienced. However, we have no idea about the many instances where Guruji has not let mishaps occur in the first place. I have no words to thank Guruji for calling us to his sharan, His divine sanctuary, accepting us as His devotees and taking complete charge of our lives. Jai Guruji!

Amanjot Narang, a devotee

September 2012