Guru Kripa

Dr. Chandrakant S. Pandav, May 2011 हिंदी
"Let no man in the world live in delusion:
Without a Guru none can cross over to the other shore." - Guru Nanak Dev Ji

It was on a Wednesday morning of October 2005, that I got a call from my colleague Dr G C Khilnani, Professor of Medicine at AIIMS, New Delhi. "Dr Pandav, we are having a satsang today evening at my home. Guruji is coming. Please do come at 5.30 pm and also bring Mrs Pandav with you."

"Are you celebrating your promotion as a professor? Who is Guruji? What is his name? Where is he from?" I shot a volley of questions at Dr Khilnani. His name is Guruji, he replied. "You will see him in the evening and you will discover for yourself. Have patience."

I shared the conversation with my wife Smita. She is skeptical about gurus and sadhus, but her response was slightly different this time. "Maybe this is a different call," she said. "Let us see." And she readily agreed to come with me in the evening.

Later in the morning, I called my friends Rashmi and Pankaj Singh. I have known Rashmi-ji since the last 35 years and after their marriage, Pankaj-ji. I had called since I was keen to know how Pankaj's father, the distinguished parliamentarian and former Prime Minister of India, Shri Chandra Shekhar, whom I refer to as Pitaji, was doing.

They said, "We are right here at AIIMS in private ward 501. Pitaji has been admitted for a medical check-up." I immediately left home to be with them. During my visit to Pitaji in the hospital, Rashmi-ji and Pankaj-ji shared their experiences about their first meeting with Guruji. They told of how they have been going regularly to Chota Mandir, a resident in the Empire Estate complex on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, and how Guruji's grace had changed their life. They spoke of the critical roles of Guruji's blessings in Pitaji's improved health - truly a miracle!

"Do you know Dr Khilnani?" Rashmi-ji asked me. I wondered aloud why she was asking me this question today, since his name had never cropped up in any of our conversations. Rashmi-ji said, "Oh! We are going to his house in the evening for a satsang. We have to take Guruji to his house." I impatiently asked her, "Who is this Guruji? What is his name?" She said, "Have patience. You will discover for yourself in the evening."

I am narrating this conversation in detail to point out that there is a time for your call. One can get Guruji's darshan as and only when He wills. So that was why, on the same day, from two friends we got Guruji's message: this is your time to have Guruji's darshan and be blessed. And I would like to remind the sangat collectively and individually that we all are truly blessed to have Guruji's darshan, His grace and His blessings. Let us acknowledge it and be grateful for this life-time opportunity.

I told Smita of my hospital visit and her eagerness for the evening satsang grew. We could not keep ourselves tethered to the house for long and reached Dr Khilnani's house by 5 pm. We were one of the first ones to come to his house. After a while, we saw Rashmi-ji and Pankaj-ji escorting a handsome young man wearing colourful clothes down the stairs to Dr Khilnani's house. He walked in quickly and was ushered to the large ornamental chair in the hall.

We had guessed that He was Guruji. As we approached to take His blessings, Rashmi-ji introduced Smita and me to Him. Guruji looked at me and said immediately, "Doctor, tusi bahar jao (Doctor, please go out)." I took His words literally and whispered to Smita, "Let us go out of the hall. I think Guruji does not want us to be here." We started leaving the hall. Rashmi-ji immediately called us back and interpreted Guruji's words: He wanted us to stay abroad and not in India. We had a bright future and career abroad, she said. We were very relieved and came back and sat at Guruji's feet.

There were at least 250 to 300 satsangis at the venue - most of them were first-timers and many were my medical colleagues from AIIMS. At Guruji's behest, the old disciples of Guruji were sharing their experiences. They ranged from children's scholastic performance, marriages to series of miraculous cures for infertility, asthma, heart diseases, nervous system disorders and incurable diseases like cancer. Normally, one would be rather skeptical. But these were personal experiences of patients and their families. All of them had records of their improved health. Once in a while, Guruji would say, "Doctor, look at the practical aspects - how suffering is being alleviated."

From that day onwards, our journey with Guruji started. Every day since then has been a day of discovery - a day of self-realization and self-actualization. We have been going regularly to Chota Mandir every Thursday and Sunday as and when we are in Delhi. As part of my work, I do have to travel quite a bit. But whenever we are in Delhi, something magnetically draws us to Guruji's place. There is an inner urge and before we realize it we are on our way to Chota Mandir to have Guruji's darshan.

The doctor is healed

Towards the end of April 2006, I noticed something unusual about the winter that had just got over. I told Smita that I had not taken any medicines, including my inhaler that I had to snort from at least twice a day. I have a strong family history of asthma and at the beginning of every winter, for the last 15 years, I was required to take inhalers. There would be at least one or two instances of a chest infection. I would have to take antibiotics for ten days. But in the winter of 2005, I did not have any chest infection nor did I take any inhalers.

I shared this experience with Guruji, who said, "You have been blessed. There is no need for any medicines for your asthma." I had not talked of my illness to Guruji nor did I pray to Him silently to cure it. I was surprised - to say the least. The only change that happened to our routine were regular visits on Thursdays and Sundays to Guruji's at Empire Estate, where we received His blessings.

And His blessings continued to shower on us. Our daughter Rijuta was studying in the US. She was completing her graduation in Cognitive Neurosciences and Cognitive Psychology from Rice University, Houston. Even though she had got admission to her PhD at Rice University, she was not keen on continuing her studies there. She wanted to explore research prospects at best places in the US such as MIT and Stanford University. We, as parents, thought her desire was impractical not only because of her visa status but also because she had little time to find a placement as a researcher and that too at prestigious institutions. Smita, her mother, was naturally worried.

Once when Guruji enquired about Rijuta, I mentioned Smita's concern to Him. Guruji immediately said, "Why are you worried about her? Everything will be fine." He then asked me when I was going to the US. I was in fact planning my trip so as to be present in Houston for her graduation in May 2006. It was at that time when I visited Rijuta. Both of us were witness to the series of events that happened as a result of Guruji's blessings. Now, Rijuta is pursing her research at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT in Boston.

After having been to Guruji, we are trying to understand the various events and experiences of devotees that we have heard about as well as those we ourselves have experienced. What is that we experience with Guruji? The healing power of prayers which the sangat listens to, the power of connectivity, the prasad in the form of langar we have everyday, the personal blessings of Guruji to everybody... All experience rejuvenated physical health: no matter how one is tired when we come for a satsang, everyone is refreshed enough to start a new day even at late in the evening. Most importantly, there is no discrimination. Every one is equal in Guruji's durbar - rich or poor, Prime Minister or a peon, man or woman, villager or city-dweller, Indian or foreigner. There are no rituals or restrictions to be followed. And nothing is expected in return from the Satsangis; only total surrender. Have faith in Guruji - and faith is nothing else but belief without reason!

Guruji is guiding all of us to be better persons and evolve as better human beings. To give one instance, many of us have experienced that our ego has started dissolving after coming to Guruji. Our attitudes are changing. We look at the same events from different perspectives and in the process gain peace of mind - thus differentiating between our need and our greed. Guruji has reinstituted our faith in doing good deeds. We are fortunate to be Guruji's disciples. We have also realized that, "The values we live by are worth more when we pass them on." In our own humble way, we are sharing our experiences with our friends and colleagues. Our journey is continuing. We owe all this to Guru Kripa - Guruji's blessings.

Dr. Chandrakant S. Pandav, Professor and Head of the Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi

May 2011