Under Guruji's refuge

Arun K. Agarwal, September 2012
Our souls never die, they only change bodies or He invites them to heaven. I know my soul must have been attached to Him for ages or for many lives. In this life, I was destined to see Him in a human form. He is Parampita, Paramatma, Ek Onkar or Aum who is also Nirakar (without form). He came to earth in a human form as Guruji to bless us devotees and to bless His ever-growing sangat. He left His chola on 31May 2007, but never left our hearts. He is always with us and makes us feel His presence in the form of a sweet fragrance or a cold breeze or many such indications that have a hint of the extraordinary which occur constantly in our lives. For Him everyone is equal and there is no difference of cast, creed, colour, status or age. He only wants our love and devotion. He wants us to be respectful and helpful to the sangat and to continue to do good deeds.

With Guruji's permission I am sharing my satsang on how I got attached to Him. My wife used to keep poor health and frequently experienced severe stomach pains. Doctors conducted a number of tests-the CT scan, barium meal (an X-ray of the upper intestine after barium sulfate has been ingested)-colonoscopy but were unable to detect the cause of the pain.

During one of her visits to the gastroenterologist at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, my wife was diagnosed with super umbilical hernia and I felt that may be causing the pain. Without wasting much time, we met the surgeon and went for a laparoscopic surgery to determine whether there were any adhesions in the intestines.

Till a fortnight after the surgery, my wife appeared to be doing fine, but then her stomach pains returned. We went to the same doctor; he did not have much to offer. Some doctors suspected that the pain could be due to either the mesh inserted during the surgery, which was now hurting the intestine, or in common with such patients, she might have developed adhesions in the intestine. We consulted a renowned authority on laparoscopic surgery in the country and he suggested another surgery. But surgery was not the right step to address this problem, we felt.

The pain was unbearable and my wife was being administered pain killers via injections daily. Nearly all the good doctors in Delhi had been consulted and all possible diagnostics had been made. We were at a loss.

Around this time, my wife suggested that we go to Guruji. Earlier, she had told me about a guru who was reputed to perform miracles and cure all kinds of health problems. Since I come from an Arya Samaji background, I did not have much faith in gurus and was of the opinion that they fleeced money from people. So I did not pay much attention to her request.

Then, in July of 2002, my wife complained to me. I was unwilling to take her to a guru she wanted to visit in a situation where others would quickly accede to a wife's request. I was still not convinced, but agreed to come early from office that day and take her in the evening to visit the guru.

My wife arranged that a devotee, Shri Kanwar Lal, take us to Guruji. Shri Lal was an assistant commissioner in the excise and customs department and a long-time follower of Guruji. We agreed to meet in front of Empire Estate, on M. G. Road running between Delhi and Gurgaon, at 8 pm. We did not have much knowledge about whom we were going to meet, how much money would be required to be paid as dakshina (an offering), and what rituals need to be performed.

That day I reached our Greater Kailash-I home early from my Gurgaon office. We left home at 7.15 pm, thinking we would reach Empire Estate in half an hour, well before the appointed time. But unusually high traffic blocked our way. I was silently cursing my wife all the time: Why was she forcing me to visit these gurus when I had no faith in them? I was tired and frustrated with the slow traffic. I decided to adopt a different route and go via Vasant Kunj. Unfortunately, the other route too was in a jam. I then called up Shri Lal and apologetically informed Him that we would be a little late. He assured us that he could wait. We reached Empire Estate 15 minutes late and found him waiting for us. He coached us before leading us inside the Empire Estate residence. We should not talk to Guruji unless invited to do so, and should remove our shoes and wash our hands before going in. We did as instructed and took a short flight of steps to the entrance of the double-storey villa where Guruji sat.

I could hear the gurbani being played. We followed Shri Lal into an air-conditioned room, where well-dressed people sat on a carpeted floor. As we turned right, we saw a large gold-colored chair on which a very handsome clean-shaven person, dressed in very impressive attire, was seated. People in front of us were bowing in front of Him and then moving back to find a place to sit. I was in front with my wife following me. I had never bowed or put my head on the feet of any person till that time and was unsure of doing so. But I decided to follow protocol and bent down. After that we found a place to sit in the front row.

We imagined that the guru would soon deliver a holy talk, but to my utter surprise the shabads kept playing. We are not Punjabis and it was difficult for us to follow them. I looked around and saw Shrimati Maneka Gandhi sitting close to Guruji and also saw other people from public life. A lady devotee was pressing the guru's hands when suddenly my eyes met His. Oh, what an experience! I suddenly felt energy rush into me; it was so intense that I could not continue looking into His eyes for long. A very pleasant and peaceful feeling flooded my being.

Someone would soon approach us to make a monetary donation, I thought, but a person came and offered us tea from a tray full of glasses. Out of courtesy, I refused, whereupon the person sitting next to me interrupted to tell me that this was prasad and should not be refused. I accepted the tea, but my mind objected: In which religious place is tea served as prasad?

All the while people kept coming in and soon the room was packed. People moved upstairs to make space for the devotees. Guruji was calling out to a few devotees and talking to them. The overall atmosphere was extremely peaceful. Though we could not understand the shabads, they were very soothing to the ears.

After an hour people started getting up. We too got up, but our neighbor told us to remain seated for langar. I had never had langar in any gurudwara. Sevadars brought mats and laid them in rows; the sangat sat on either side; stainless steel plates filled with langar prasad came from the kitchen and four people shared a plate. The langar comprised rotis, daal, subji and a small quantity of chutney. The person with whom I was sharing langar picked up the rotis and gave one to each of us. We thanked God and enjoyed the delicious langar. All this while, Guruji was sitting there and smiling at the sangat. I just had two rotis, while usually I consume up to four. Since my stomach was full after two rotis, I did not have more. The trays were picked up and other devotees took our place.

We came out to wash our hands. I was curious to know what was to be done next and was informed that before leaving, one had to take aagya (permission) from Guruji. We went back inside. As we bowed in front of Him, he asked me in Punjabi, "Kidron aiyon?" (Where have you come from?) I replied that we had come from Greater Kailash. He mentioned names of a few people who lived there and were known to us and we were quite surprised. But then reasoned that Shri Lal must have informed Him about us. Guruji asked my wife what was wrong with her and she told Him. He instructed us to come back after a gap of one day with a copper lota, but then paused for a second and asked us to come the next day itself. He then requested Shrimati Maneka Gandhi to tell us how to use the lota. Then Guruji asked us to sit down and instructed a devotee to narrate his experiences.

That person was Dr. Anil Agarwal, a medical man attached to Tihar Jail. Dr. Agarwal informed us of the many miracles that Guruji had fashioned which were beyond the comprehension of modern science. Guruji then asked a lady from the sangat to share her satsang. The narratives were amazing. However, I felt that these were Guruji's own people and shared a bias towards Him. We finally took Guruji's leave for home.

On the way back, my wife said that her stomach ache had gone. She had been carrying a pain-killing injection which she had planned to administer after returning from Guruji, but never used it. We returned home and had a good, peaceful sleep. The next evening we were back at Guruji's with the lota.

We thought of Guruji as a great personality endowed with healing powers. It was difficult for us to believe that He was God. We had langar and Guruji blessed the lota, asking a devotee to explain how to use and take care of it. He also told us to continue visiting the temple.

We would make at least one visit a week to the temple. From time to time, Guruji would ask people to stand up and narrate their satsangs. The satsangs and the Gurbani (which we gradually started to understand) made the entire atmosphere very peaceful and soothing to the mind. Something attracted me and everyone else to visit the temple again and again. Although people used to say that Guruji was God Himself, it was difficult for me to accept Him as God. I conjectured that He was a spiritual man who had achieved some siddhis (supernatural powers). We learnt that He never used to sleep and that at night, He used to cure His devotees by taking their problems and karmas upon Himself. He endured His devotees' pain.

Though my wife's problem continued, she had stopped taking the injections. Guruji was very nice to everyone and often He would call out my wife's name, saying, "Aao, Mamta Aunty." I realized that this was His way of reminding us that He is with us. Many things began happening which drew me closer to Guruji.

I always wanted to get into a business of my own but found it difficult to leave my job. I was apprehensive of the initial settling-down years, especially since I did not even possess a house of my own. I had invested in an apartment in an employee welfare housing society coming up in Dwarka and was paying monthly installments towards it. Around the middle of 2003, we came to know that our apartments would be allotted by the beginning of 2004.

I still had another two years on the job, but decided to take premature retirement and begin my consultancy. I was confident that we would move to our apartment at Dwarka, but my wife was not ready to leave Delhi. Rather dramatically, she threatened to jump down from our house if I forced her to move out of Delhi! I agreed to look for rented accommodation elsewhere in Delhi. I also left my job and started my own consultancy firm. With Guruji's blessings I soon had a reputed hotel chain based in Bangalore as a client. Work required that I travel to Bangalore each month for two weeks.

Guruji heals my wife

I had already spent three months working on the consultancy assignment and was finding it difficult to cope up with the illness of my wife, who was still experiencing stomach aches and had to look after her own diet and medicines, and the long continuous travelling. But I did not have a choice since I badly needed the money to sustain.

That was the time of the Mahashivratri festival. I wanted to attend it at the Bade Mandir since I had heard it was celebrated in a grand manner. But I knew it would not be possible for me to attend since I would be in Bangalore.

One day prior to Mahashivratri, I was in Bangalore when I got an evening call from my wife: She was very unwell and had gone to Max Hospital for a check-up. An X-ray had revealed blocked intestines and surgery was required. Since my niece Dr. Sarika Chandra was working in Kailash Hospital in Noida, I requested her to organize everything. I also explained my situation to the chairman of the Bangalore firm and he was kind enough to terminate my contract without raising any issues.

The next morning I caught the first flight to Delhi. I reached home and found my wife waiting. Immediately, we drove to the hospital where the doctors put her on a ryle tube (inserted through the nose) and drip. They wanted to first try and open the blockage without surgery. Should that not work, surgery was required. In the evening at the hospital, my wife asked me "Arun, you know today is Mahashivratri and you wanted to go to Bade Mandir, why don't you go?" I did not feel comfortable leaving her and going anywhere else, of course. She assured me, explaining that our daughter, Charu, would be with her during my absence. I went to Bade Mandir from Noida, a distance of around 40 kilometers. Though I was late, I was still happy that I could make it on Mahashivratri. Guruji was sitting on His aasan and as I bowed in front of Him, I telepathically informed Him that my wife was in hospital. As I raised my head and looked at Him, He raised His hand, as if telling me not to worry and assuring me that everything would be okay.

I returned and the following morning, doctors informed me that my wife's condition was improving. If everything went well, she would soon be relieved of the problem. I thanked Guruji, as I knew that He had called me from Bangalore to serve a dual purpose: First, I could be with my wife and, two, to fulfill my wish to be at the Bade Mandir on Mahashivratri. I could see that His blessings were working.

Since my wife was already in the hospital, doctors suggested that they conduct all the tests before discharging her. I obliged and brought her home a day later. And, wonder of wonders, by afternoon of that day, I got an assignment from Delhi, with terms similar to the one in Bangalore.

After two days we visited Guruji and as we bowed in front of Him, He told my wife in Punjabi that He had saved her life and that in future she would not suffer from the stomach problem. We were pleasantly surprised to hear that as we were sure that no one had apprised Him about the crisis and we were wondering how He came to be aware of it. He looked at me and smiled. That was the first time we realized that He was not just a guru but much more divine. My faith in Him grew stronger and stronger and I continued going to Guruji regularly.

We sell and buy a house

We decided to sell our apartment in Dwarka and buy another one in Delhi in an area that suited my wife. Some of the places in Delhi that we looked at were very expensive and beyond our budget. It was also hard to sell our apartment at Dwarka. Prospective buyers wanted to deal in black and white money. Since I had been a working employee, I did not have black money and was not in favour of converting my hard-earned money to black. We saw many houses and finally identified one in Sector 28, Noida, which was not very far from Delhi. We then searched for a property dealer who could help sell our Dwarka apartment to a buyer who could give us all the money in white. In turn, we also informed our Noida broker that we would like to buy the house by paying everything in white to the prospective seller. As most of us will appreciate, it is very difficult to sell and simultaneously buy property on such terms. I was expecting lots of challenges; however, with Guruji's blessings we managed to sell our Dwarka apartment and buy the one in Noida without any problem.

Further, the hotel group I worked with allowed me to stay in the company accommodation till my house was completed in Noida. We finally moved in to our own house after getting it renovated within the next four months. It would not have been possible without Guruji's blessings. We are so grateful to Him for taking such good care of us. Our life now is so well organized.

That is Guruji. He knows about all His sangat. Nobody can come to His durbar without His permission. I realize now that whatever happens in our lives-meeting people, going to places, good and bad experiences-is ordained by Guruji and nothing is by coincidence. Everything happens as per His wish. Guruji had told devotees that we have to go through our sufferings as dictated by our karmas. He can reduce the pain by extending our lives and we need to accept the pain, illnesses and sufferings happily. He only asks us to surrender, leave everything to Him and develop complete faith in Him.

Earlier, I did not know how to surrender. Now I know that we cannot force ourselves to surrender; it is a realization that occurs on its own. I feel highly blessed to be part of Guruji's sangat, I never feel alone, and Guruji is always with us. Each and every sangat member shares a special relationship with each other and is a part of a big family. We experience very pleasant feelings when attending satsangs, in complete contrast to the 'fun' at parties. Where in the world do you have a holy place where there is no priest, no intermediary and no person asking for donations?

Guruji is not a religion; He a way of life. If you accept it, it is everything; else there is nothing. I accept and believe in Him and am not bothered about what others may be thinking of me. I get tremendous peace and happiness in being associated with Guruji, like every other sangat member anywhere in the world. Jai Guruji!

Arun K. Agarwal, a devotee

September 2012