A driver gets on the road to faith

Chotu, March 2008
In 1983, when Guruji was in Jalandhar, 11-year-old Chotu - as Guruji called him - had his Guru's darshan for the first time. Chotu was then serving as a domestic help to one of His devotees Mrs Sudha Ahuja. In Jalandhar, he saw Guruji fashion many miracles be it giving His disciples amrit (holy nectar) or diagnosing and curing diseases using a mere tea spoon. But as Chotu himself experienced nothing directly, he never understood or accepted Guruji. Later, the Ahujas shifted to Delhi and got the opportunity to be back in Guruji's presence when Guruji came to Delhi in 1995.

How Chotu got his keys

Chotu, who worked as a driver, hardly knew the routes in Delhi and would always falter. Chotu was once asked to drive Ms Sudha to Guruji's mandir. He was, as usual, unsure about the route and could reach Guruji's only with the help of her directions. Just when they reached the mandir, Guruji asked Sudha to get her driver to bring something from her home. Though Sudha told Guruji Chotu was unsure of the way, He insisted. Chotu was sent off and to everyone's amazement, including Chotu's himself, he was back in a quick 40 minutes.

Sudha assumed that Chotu had got the hang of at least one route. But that night Chotu again took a wrong turn while going home. On subsequent days as well, he was not able to reach Guruji's mandir and return. Sudha was angry and wondering why he was unable to reach home though he could do so when instructed by Guruji. But the question itself held the answer. Chotu was not on his own; he was guided by Guruji.

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In year 1996, Guruji went to Punjab, and Chotu fell ill. He was suffering from very high fever, and was not able to move out of his bed for two days. He decided to come down from his second-floor room and go to the doctor on his scooter. The moment he reached downstairs, he fainted. He stumbled twice again while trying to reach the entrance to the house. Still, he decided to ride his scooter. As soon as he hit the road, with Guruji's grace, he felt as fresh as ever and reached the doctor's clinic safely. He was advised to get some tests done, including a blood test. He went ahead with the tests, but was afraid of the results since he was a habitual smoker. The results were amazing. Thanks to Guruji, the reports gave him the all clear.

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Guruji came back to Delhi in 1997. By then Chotu had given up driving, as he found it too hard in Delhi. Guruji was at that time honouring Empire Estate with His presence and had to visit somebody. Sudha's regular driver was on leave that day, so Chotu perforce, and by Guruji's permission, had to drive. Chotu was tentative as he had not driven consistently for a couple of years, but Guruji appreciated his driving skills. Guruji then instructed Chotu to begin driving again and put him firmly on the course of being a very efficient driver.

Astoundingly, Chotu didn't have a driving license for three years, but he wasn't penalized even once. Finally, Guruji Himself got his license made in a matter of few hours.

Since Chotu was in daily contact with Guruji, he saw any number of outstanding events. The immortal Guru would personally serve any quantity of langar to the sangat and the sangat would always have their fill. Devotees who could normally eat but two chapattis at home would end up eating four to five without any ill-effects. Sometimes, Guruji would Himself prepare tea for the sangat, pouring containers of tea leaves and sugar at random. In the end, the tea would always be perfect, having neither excess sugar nor tea.

Yet, Chotu never bowed before Guruji.

Guruji saves Chotu's mother

One day Chotu's brother reached the mandir with bad news: their mother was critically ill. Chotu was upset. That evening Guruji, who was going out, took Chotu along with Him and found out why he was upset. Guruji then instructed Chotu to turn back as He felt that under such circumstances Chotu should be willing to visit his mother. As they reached back home, Chotu did his packing, took chai prasad and left immediately. He had merely reached the colony gate, when he saw another beloved devotee, Sudam, rushing towards him. Guruji wanted Chotu back. The Master gave him a box of prasad and said, "Toon bhi ki yaad karenga, jaa laija aaha parsad. Char dinan wich mud aayein. (Take this prasad with you, you will remember this. Come back within four days)." Chotu left, wondering if he would even be able to leave Delhi that night leave alone return in four days.

There was no possibility of catching even the last bus of the day. However, to his amazement, there was a bus waiting for him. Only 15-20 passengers were seated in it and as soon as Chotu boarded and settled down, the bus was on a roll...and there he was, at his village early next morning. He met his mother, who was seriously ill. In fact, she had not eaten anything for the last 10-12 days. Chotu immediately made arrangements for her to be taken to the doctor. She had a check-up and was prescribed some tablets. Chotu remembered that he had Guruji's prasad with him and asked his sister to give some to his mother. The box of prasad contained panjiri (an Indian sweet made of pure ghee), which is difficult to digest even for a healthy person. It was unimaginable that his mother could digest it. But, they had her taste it a bit. A few minutes later, Chotu asked for a cup of tea and was surprisingly joined in this by his mother, who too desired a cup. That evening, as they settled down for dinner, she asked for half a chapatti and ate it.

The next morning, with her condition continuing to improve dramatically, she was able to have a full breakfast. Lunch hour had everyone stumped. While Chotu had hardly taken a few spoons, his mother was through with a full plate of rice. The villagers congratulated Chotu and gave him credit for the tremendous improvement in his mother's health. Chotu knew whose handiwork it was, but remained silent as he knew the villagers would not see Guruji's hand behind his mother's recovery.

Chotu got up the next day, only to find his mother missing from the room. He looked around frantically. His sister informed him that there was nothing to worry about. The wheat had to be taken for grinding to a shop about two kilometers uphill, and she had decided to get it done. She was off to the shop with a loaded gunny bag of wheat. Chotu was angry at his sister, as he was surprised that she had let their mother carry that much weight and that too for such a long distance. He rushed to the shop.

His mother was sitting there. She insisted that she was hale and hearty and there was no reason whatsoever to bother about her condition. As they both returned home, Chotu had his breakfast and tea and lied down to rest for a while. Half asleep, Chotu had Guruji's darshan and He said, "Hoon taan maanda hain naa saanu (At least now you believe in me)." Chotu was stunned of how Guruji had reached him though he was hundreds of kilometers away. He was reminded of Guruji's instruction to be back in four days. He got up, packed his bag, told everybody that he had just remembered an urgent job that called for his return to Delhi and left immediately. Back in Delhi the next morning, as he opened the kitchen door, Guruji peeped into the kitchen. Seeing Chotu enter, Guruji said, "Hoon taan maanda hain naa saanu." The exact words Chotu had heard hundreds of kilometers away. For the first time, he bowed to Guruji!

Guruji's grace on Chotu's mother has continued unabated since that day, as any illness brought to Guruji's notice was immediately taken care of.

After Guruji's mahasamadhi on 31 May 2007, the first intimation of his mother's falling health sent a shock through Chotu. He found himself alone and helpless; he did not know whom to approach for help. But, as always, immediate relief was at hand in his home. The very next day his mother improved remarkably, proving that Guruji's protection and grace continued unabated. Indeed, Chotu now finds that as soon as he hears of any illness, Guruji takes immediate control of the situation and normalcy is regained.

Tragedies lose their sting

Once in the afternoon hours as Chotu was resting in the main hall, just outside Guruji's room, Guruji woke him up and asked him to bring a glass of water. As Chotu poured water into the glass, it broke - an indication of ill luck. What happened the very next afternoon had him thinking. Half asleep, he saw Guruji coming to him and saying, "Ghar nahin jaana kanjara? Jaa ghar ho aa (Don't you wish to go to your home? Go and visit your home)." Chotu, however, stayed put and learnt a few days later that the roof of their village house had collapsed. When Guruji came to know of the instance, He said: "Changa hoya, kalyan hogaya tera (Whatever has happened is good; you have been blessed)." Chotu, who saw the roof collapse as a definite expense, took Guruji's words as an expression of unconcern. It was later that he realized what 'Kalyan' was Guruji referring to. The roof had collapsed at 6 or 6.30 am - 15 minutes after Chotu's mother and daughter had gone out on the two-year-old's insistence that she be taken to the toilet. Chotu came to know of the details through the call he made home. When he returned from the booth, Guruji got him to relate the sequence of events. The Master then pointed out that had his daughter and mother not moved out the damage would have been irreparable; thanks to His grace, it had been minimized. Further, when Chotu went to his home after some 10-15 days, he was able to arrange for the purchase of another house, which was to his mother's liking. In fact, he was able to shift his family and get them settled in. All this was impossible without Guruji's divine blessings.

Yet another incident occurred that opened Chotu's eyes to the God-like stature of His Guru. When Chotu and his wife were in Delhi, his wife conceived. For proper care, Chotu sent his wife back home. He wished to join her when the time of the birth neared, but Guruji denied him leave. The couple was blessed with a baby girl; however, she was born unfit and was suffering from multiple problems. Chotu again wanted to leave, but Guruji told him that there was no need for him to go home. After about two months, Chotu came to know that his daughter had departed. He was grief stricken. He confided in Guruji only to be told: "Chal changa hoya; kalesh mukkya (Whatever has happened is good; your troubles have ended)." Guruji's remark infuriated Chotu; he decided not to talk to Guruji. But, Guruji further asked Chotu to call up his family immediately. As Chotu spoke to his mother, she also reiterated what Guruji had said sitting hundreds of miles away. She told Chotu how his daughter had been suffering due to bad health and tremendous weakness since her birth. His mother said it was better for the little girl to leave her body than to bear the pain she was exposed to. When Chotu got the complete picture, he regretted his uncalled-for anger. Guruji then told Chotu that He had denied Chotu leave to go home because He did not want him to get too emotionally attached to His child.

These incidents show that whatever Guruji plans for us is always for our betterment and in our favor only, even though in the shorter run it might not appear to be that way. Thus, it is best to completely surrender to Guruji to get His full support.

Blessed with a son

On one of his visits to the village, Chotu took permission from Guruji and got his wife to Delhi. As the couple met Guruji, Guruji saw Chotu's wife and said, "Aa gayi kalian karaun; suit paaya kar je munda laina hai taan (You have come to get my blessings; wear suits if you want to be blessed with a son)." Chotu's wife had never worn a suit and wore only saris, in keeping with the custom in Chotu's village. Many people had tried to get her to wear suits, but in vain.

Next day, as Chotu entered his room, he saw an unknown lady with his back towards him sitting inside. He moved out and asked people around about his wife; they told him she was inside his room. He walked in again to find that the woman sitting in was his wife. He could not recognize her because she was wearing a suit. And, of course, she conceived.

On a usual outing one day, Guruji took Chotu to a market place at 11:00 in the morning. Suddenly at around 2 pm, Guruji told Chotu to return home as Chotu's wife was alone. Chotu did as asked not knowing why. Chotu returned home, had lunch and a cup of tea and left back to pick up Guruji. Suddenly, after covering just about half a kilometer, he thought of at least seeing his wife as Guruji had specially sent him back to be with his wife. He went back to find that she was in terrible pain. She was having labour pains and was rushed to the nearest hospital.

Chotu had barely parked the car when a nurse broke the good news that he had been blessed with a son. Chotu realized how accurately Guruji had guided him and sent him back. Thereafter, Guruji guided the couple at each point, instructing them to take discharge from the hospital when advised by the doctors and not to rush into things. Also, for the first forty days, both the mother and son were instructed to limit themselves to the second-floor room and not even come to the ground floor. It was in fact on the 41st day that Guruji christened the boy Varun as the couple and the new born sought blessings at His feet.

Getting a few driving lessons

Guruji had instructed Chotu to go from Delhi to Dugri (Guruji's birthplace) with a few others. On the night before their return, Guruji called up and instructed them to leave early in the morning such that they reached Guruji's place by 10:00 am the next day. They slept on time and got up at 03:00 the next morning. But, they decided to go to nearby Malerkotla and move on to Delhi from there. They were unable to resist breakfast at Malerkotla and, in the bargain, were running late. Chotu, with one more person, was finally able to leave for Delhi as late as 08:00 am. As they were cruising towards Delhi on National Highway 1, at around 10 am out of nowhere, a trolley came right into the middle of the road as it crossed over from the service lane on the left to the other side of the road. The driver tried his best to stop the vehicle (Hyundai Accent) in which they were traveling, but it was of no use and they banged into the trolley. Such was the intensity of the impact that the trolley overturned. But both Chotu and his companion were safe. The car had hit the middle of the trolley's tyre; it could just as easily have gone under the trolley's body leading to fatalities. However, with Guruji's grace they were both safe and sound. Police came to the spot and arrangements were made to tow the car back to Delhi as it was in no condition to be driven.

When Guruji came to know of the incident, He was also fairly upset. When Chotu finally reached Guruji at around 11:30-12:00 pm that night, Guruji reprimanded him for not understanding the importance of His instructions.

The Guru's word is the word of God; it is God's command. We ignore the Guru's word at our own peril. Chotu learnt this the hard way, but it is noteworthy that the Guru's grace still saved them from a real disaster.

But Chotu again committed a similar mistake. Guruji had come out to go for a drive with Chotu. As Guruji had told Chotu early, he was ready with Guruji's car at the gate. It was cleaned to perfection, since Guruji was very particular about cleanliness. Standing at the gate, Guruji looked around to identify the other car that was standing at some distance for the drive that day. But unfortunately that car had not been cleaned. Chotu thought that it would take at least twenty minutes to get that car cleaned. Considering that, Chotu asked Guruji if Guruji would like going in the car that was ready and at the gate. Guruji agreed and sat in the car.

Chotu was quick to realize his fault in not obeying Guruji's instructions and wanted to make amends. He asked Guruji if Guruji wanted to go in the other car. Guruji told him it was no use of having second thoughts, as He was already seated in the car which was ready. What followed was simply amazing. Chotu was able to take the car to Guruji's destination, but on the way back, some 10 kilometres off Chote Mandir, it kept stalling.

As soon as he returned, Chotu called up the workshop from where the car had come and blasted the service people. The next evening an expert from the service centre was sent to investigate the cause of the problem. As that engineer took a test drive, Guruji's car ran very smoothly without any problem. Chotu was a bit surprised, so he took the wheel with the expert alongside. The car ran well; Chotu was embarrassed. As he came back and reported the same to Guruji, Guruji said, "Mahapurushaan de vachan nahin moudi de (Never go against a saint's words)." With folded hands, he regretted his mistakes.

Ever merciful and always loving as He is, Guruji has always kept Chotu under His protective umbrella. Chotu and the sangat request Guruji to keep them under His protection always.

Chotu, a devotee

March 2008