From sitting on Guruji's La-Z-Boy recliner to walking Guruji's path

Ishita Yadav, June 2012
I heard of Guruji in 2002 from a close friend who had been a devotee for many years. I remember telling him how silly he was to believe in a guru, and that I would never go to one because I believed only in God. I had always been religious, and equally superstitious. In school we were taught to pray to Jesus, at home I would see my parents go to Vaishno Devi several times a year. Sometimes they would even take us. The most consistent family ritual was to go to Chhatarpur Mandir every Sunday.

Even though faith in God was ingrained in me, my prayers were always selfish. I would start fasting every Monday during exam time so that God would make me do well; I would tell God that I would donate a specific amount of money at a temple if He gave me what I asked for. Every prayer was more like a bargain. And that seemed all right, because it's what everyone I knew used to do. After I started coming to Guruji, my entire concept of prayer changed. I have found so much peace and happiness in Guruji's mandir, that now He is the only God I pray to. I have stopped going to all other temples, stopped visiting astrologers, and do not act on superstitions. Guruji's grace is so powerful and strong, and He has given me so much love, that now I feel He is all I need.

It took me a really long time to get to this point, though. In 2002-03, my friend would talk about Guruji to me every now and then, and once he even asked me if I would like to go visit Guruji with him, but I said that I didn't believe in such nonsense. Eventually, because of my caustic and disrespectful remarks, he stopped mentioning Guruji.

I remember once in 2004 when I was having a bad day, my friend made me sit on a La-Z-Boy recliner that Guruji used to sit on, and had given to him. I didn't believe in Guruji then, so my friend didn't tell me that it was Guruji's chair. I sat on it for about 10 minutes and felt all my worries leave me. I felt happy. I only found out later that it was Guruji's chair; now I realise that Guruji obviously knew of me, and despite my disbelief and disrespect, had found a way to bless me.

Even though I never went to meet Guruji because of my cussedness, I remember my friend told me that He had attained mahasamadhi. And we never spoke about Guruji again.

'Good energy' mandir pulls me towards itself

In July 2010, I had a dream in which I was talking to the same friend on the phone, and he said that he was going to meet Guruji because it was His birthday. And I said, "But I thought you said Guruji had passed away?" That is all I remember of the dream. It wasn't the last. I dreamt of Him frequently. Every time I would feel low while, say, in the car, I would see a car with a Guruji sticker pass mine. I felt that it was all connected, but I couldn't understand completely. I tried to talk to my friend, but considering the bad things I had said about Guruji earlier, he never spoke to me about it.

But Guruji found other ways to answer my questions. Suddenly, people I didn't know very well but went to school or college with started talking to me about Guruji. I was surprised that all these people around me knew of Him. They gave answers to most of my questions, and guided me to His groups on Facebook. I had more questions, and I remember sending a long message to a devotee, Rma Aunty in Jalandhar, asking about Guruji. I asked who He was, and why I was feeling pulled towards Him.

After getting so many messages, I decided to visit the mandir. The first few times I was there in the afternoon, I didn't know what was going on. I would leave without having the prasad, because I felt too shy to ask for it. Then someone told me to go for langar, and I did. I remember I was very distracted, texting the whole time the shabads were playing, and very put off by the fact that people were licking the plates with their fingers. I remember texting my friend who was close to Guruji, and apprising him of my disdain as soon as I walked out. I didn't go to the mandir for a while after that.

A few Mondays later, I thought I would go, but was stuck in a huge jam, and could not make it on time. So I drove back home, told my friend that Guruji's miracles were meant for others, not me, and that I was never going to the mandir again because He clearly didn't want me to be there.

For the next few months, I told people about how stupid I had been to get involved in such things, and laughed it off. I forgot about the mandir completely, and vowed never to get influenced in such a manner again.

So, in November of 2010, when I was in New Zealand on my birthday and happened to sight Guruji's photograph, I remained disinclined. I didn't fold my hands or bow my head. I no longer believed in Him, so I just stared at it. I didn't realise that Guruji was giving me His darshan on my birthday, so far away from home. The next day, my friend Katyaini sent me a text saying that she had gone to Guruji's mandir and that it was "awesome". This was odd, because both of us had had a very long conversation just a month ago about how idiotic the concept of gurus is, and how we should believe only in God. I replied to the text saying, "Yes, it's really amazing, isn't it? There's so much good energy there." I don't really know what made me say that when I didn't even believe in Him.

I returned from New Zealand the next week and went to the mandir the next day. It was a Monday, and ever since, I've gone to the mandir every Monday (except a couple, maybe, because I was too unwell to go).

Initially I'd ask Him for small, immaterial things. I don't think I've ever asked Him for anything material. I've never said "Guruji please give me a Chanel classic or a Dior tote." I've asked Him to make my temper disappear, for more love from those I love, for affection, for Him to make me happy. I'm a very dedicated person, and I go all out for the people I care for, and all I wanted from Guruji was to make those people care for me with the same intensity. I'd ask Him to make someone text me, and as soon as I'd walk out from the mandir, there'd be a text message from that person on my phone.

I know that Guruji had started blessing me even before I went to Him. But I always wondered why none of the miracles people spoke about happened to me. When they started though, they didn't stop.

I always felt bad that I had never met Him in His physical form. I wanted to talk to Him, to hear His voice, to just be able to look at Him. But Guruji told me through many satsangs, that the relationship between guru and disciple is a connection of the soul, not a physical construct. I can only imagine how amazing it must have been to be able to see Him and talk to Him when He was physically here, but even now He makes His presence felt through His fragrance, He gives so many darshans in the mandir and in my dreams. He answers all my questions in my dreams or through a satsang, and He does so instantly. I have hardly ever had to wait for an answer from Him. I feel that He knew of me even before I was born.

I had read in many satsangs that we are not allowed to ask for Guruji's photographs, CDs, stickers, etc. That He finds a way to give them to us when the time is right. I presumed that His pictures should not be downloaded from the internet as well. So I removed His wallpaper from my phone, and deleted all His stored photos from it. I apologised to Him and told Him that I would wait for Him to give me His picture.

During the next few days I realised how much I subconsciously depended on His photograph. Every time I'd be feeling stressed, I'd just look at His wallpaper, and feel an instant sense of calm. The fact that He was always looking out for me was extremely reassuring. So when the photographs were removed, I had some withdrawal symptoms: I was a bit moody, I couldn't explain to anyone what I was feeling and why I was feeling this way, most of all, I could not understand why Guruji wasn't giving me His photograph when I needed Him so much. The sangat said that Guruji's photograph was Guruji himself. So I wondered if by not giving me His picture, He was telling me that He didn't want to be with me. I wondered if I wasn't good enough, if I was doing something wrong, but I got no answers from anywhere. So I eventually let it go, and stopped thinking about it.

A few evenings later, I was walking in the Lodhi Gardens with my iPod on. Suddenly, the music stopped playing. I stopped and looked at my iPod. The battery was very low, and that was really odd because I had charged it before leaving home. I didn't think much of it, just thought that it was now time to get a new iPod. Then I realised that the wallpaper on the iPod had Guruji's photograph, the same one that was on it before I had deleted all of them. I kept staring at it and couldn't move. The photograph stayed for about a minute, after which the battery came back to full, and the wallpaper was restored to my niece's picture.

I couldn't believe or understand what had just happened, and I tried to reason it out. I thought maybe while walking I had accidentally tapped on a photograph of Guruji in the photo library. Maybe I hadn't deleted all of them. Maybe it was a technological malfunction (even though it had never happened before, but then, there's always a first time). I tried to think of every logical reason possible. So I sat down on a bench, and scrolled through the photo library, and there wasn't a single picture of His.

Clearly, the appearance of His photograph wasn't an accident. Guruji had made it happen. I thought that He had left my side because I wasn't worthy, but He showed me that He was always there with me. It made me feel extremely happy and special. Also, I didn't realise it then, but in retrospect, this was probably His way of giving me approval to use His photographs as wallpaper.

A birthday plan is sent packing-but Guruji gives me a gift

I had spent the whole of 2011 dreaming of what I would do on my birthday on November 14. The plan was to spend it in Munich, and every day I would spend a considerable amount of time researching on the things to do in the city. By September-end it had become clear that I would be in Delhi on my birthday. The Munich plan was delayed, not cancelled, and I was slightly upset, because this plan had consumed me for a whole year. I soon got over it, and started to make other plans for my birthday. I now wanted to spend it with the people I loved, and just be made to feel happy and special.

One thing that made me very happy was that the birthday was on a Monday, and I could spend a lot of time at Bada Mandir. What could be more special than spending it with Guruji.

The days that led up to the birthday were really good, and I was feeling quite happy, but at 7 in the morning on my birthday, when I wasn't even up, I got a call from one of my closest friends that the work he had trusted me with (which was going swimmingly in the past few days), had become badly messed up that morning. That was enough to ruin the only day I was looking forward to all year. It started with me being shouted at, and I spent all day trying to fix the damage done. I was under so much stress all day, and I complained to Guruji about spoiling the one thing that I wanted this year.

I finally left for Guruji's mandir late in the evening, and was only able to reach it by 7:45. I couldn't spend a lot of time inside, and quickly finished my prasad. I was waiting at the shoe stall to leave when I heard someone say "Happy Birthday". I had had such a horrible day, that by now I had completely forgotten that it was my birthday. Hearing the greeting reminded me of it. I turned around, and it was just someone talking on the phone. I thought, well at least someone's having a good birthday. Just then a devotee handed me Guruji's pendant. All this happened within a few seconds. Obviously this was Guruji giving me His blessings on my birthday. I was so upset all day because very few people called, those who did were upset with me about something or the other, and for the first time I didn't get a single birthday present.

And that's when I understood why all my other birthday plans were not working out. Guruji wanted to call me to the mandir to give me this. Guruji giving me His blessings in the form of His pendant was the best present I could ever wish for. I had been coming to the mandir for a year, but I had never been given His photograph or CD or anything else. He made me wait for a very long time, but at the end of it, it all seemed worth it.

My pendant was in ordinary plastic, and my friend Katyaini had a fancier one. Once I was at the photo shop where Guruji's photographs are printed, and I saw a box full of the fancier pendants. I really wanted to ask for it, but I thought that the pendant that Guruji gave me on my birthday is of more value to me because even though it may not be as fancy as these others, it's His blessing And hence more special. So I decided against asking for anything.

The next day, when I was sitting next to Guruji's aasan during langar time, an uncle gave me Guruji's CD. The entire hall was full of people, and I was the only person to have received it, so I felt really happy. When I came back to my car later, and opened the CD cover to play it on my way back home, I found the same pendant that I had seen at the photo shop the previous day. It was so unexpected, and so amazing, because I had completely taken the thought of that pendant out of my head.

Guruji always gives us everything we wish for, but He tests us first. If I had asked for the pendant in the shop, it would just have been a material thing, not Guruji's blessings. Moreover, if I had put it around my neck, I would have let go of the blessings that Guruji had given me in the simple, plastic pendant.

Langar that heals is your soul diet

Guruji also took care of my health. Last year in 2011, I had excruciating pain in my knees that lasted for months. It was so sharp, that I started to dread doing simple things such as climbing up a flight of stairs. The pain did not abate for months, and I was too scared to go to a doctor. I didn't know what it was, and I didn't know how it was going to go away. I didn't tell my parents about it because they would force me to have it checked up. Though I kept coming to Guruji's mandir regularly, I never prayed to Him to make the pain go away. It didn't ever occur to me. I believe that we shouldn't ask Him for anything; we should just come to see Him, not to ask for things. One day I was climbing up the stairs, and I realised that my knees weren't hurting anymore. I don't know when exactly it disappeared, but I know that it couldn't have just gone away on its own. Guruji had made it happen.

His langar is not dinner, it's medicine, and it cures us completely. Guruji has taught me over time that the prasad should not be consumed and thought of as food. It's His blessings.

Once I went on a diet and stopped coming to the mandir because samosa and laddoo and halwa weren't exactly diet food. And I didn't want to come to the mandir and leave without having the prasad. I didn't come to the mandir for two weeks, and in these two weeks, not only did I not lose any weight, but I put on an extra five kilos! I realised I had disrespected Guruji's prasad. Even now, when I skip lunch on Mondays because I don't want to take in too many calories, Guruji makes sure that I don't get samosa and laddoo prasad. On the days that I skip lunch, I only get chai prasad. Strangely, the people in the prasad line in front and at the back of me get samosa, laddoo and chai prasad. Guruji gives us instant messages. He has told me repeatedly that I cannot treat the prasad as food, and most of the time I don't. But sometimes, when I forget, and skip regular meals to compensate for the prasad, he makes sure that He doesn't give it to me.

What I love most about Guruji is that He never gave up on me. I can be so incorrigible and stubborn, but He's been there for me like a rock. There are some lessons that I learnt instantly. I know that Guruji likes discipline, so I follow all His rules. Whenever I come to the mandir, I leave my phone and bag in the car, I don't socialise at all, I just try and connect to Guruji. But there are some lessons I still haven't learnt well. He's repeatedly told me to control my temper, and even though it's improved, it's not gone away completely. He is always trying to make us better human beings, and He also gives us the inner strength to achieve that.

I also don't feel judged by Him. I'm not perfect, and have several flaws. But He forgives and looks past all of them. He loves and accepts His entire sangat on the whole. And because He does that, all we must do is love Him unconditionally, too.

Discipline, karma, and looking at the long term

Sometimes I complain so much to Guruji but every time I do so, Guruji has shown me that we should not complain about anything to Him, because He knows what we need, and He is constantly working towards fixing our lives.

My mum is a fitness freak, and once, while running, she fell down and badly hurt her knee. The injury was not healing quickly because it was monsoon, and all the moisture in the air slowed down the healing process. She wasn't even allowed to bend her knee, because when she would do that, her knee would start hurting and bleeding again. When we went to the mandir the following Monday, she couldn't kneel down in front of Guruji; she only stood and joined her hands. We couldn't even sit inside. We just had the prasad, and left quickly. While leaving, someone was distributing CDs of Guruji, and I wanted to ask for one, but that uncle had once scolded me before for asking for a photograph, and now I was scared of him, so I didn't ask. But I felt really bad.

As soon as I got into the car, I felt very irritable and complained to my mother about the unfairness of it all, and how I had just wanted Guruji's CD. Once I started, I kept complaining. We reached home. My mum took off her bandage, and saw that her injury had been completely healed. It had been troubling her for many days, and she had mentally told Guruji that she felt bad about not being able to kneel down at the mandir. It made me realise that while we complain about the things we don't get, Guruji is busy fixing ten thousand other things in our lives. Also, just two days later when I had gone to the mandir for langar, I was given the CD while leaving the mandir. Guruji gives us everything we wish for, and more, but He always does it on His own time and according to priority.

Sometimes we complain about not getting this or that, but we are too short-sighted to realise that what we think is good for us right now, will not be so good for us in the future. Guruji prevents things from happening to us if they will have a negative impact in our lives in the future.

Also, Guruji knows about our karma. I have heard Him say in many satsangs that we have to pay for our karma. None of us have a clean slate. And Guruji takes a major amount of our pain away, but He still makes us go through some pain, so that our karma gets cleared.

When we go to Guruji, the first thing He does is to fix our karma. So, maybe, your karma did not allow for a particular event to fruition, and maybe once you have a clean karmic slate, Guruji will give you something much better. And sometimes, Guruji just tests us. He doesn't give us some things to test whether our faith in Him will waiver or not. We only have to surrender to Him and to love Him and believe in Him unconditionally. We shouldn't ever fret. We should just believe that everything Guruji does is for a reason. And obviously Guruji won't do anything for a bad reason. Whatever He does for us, is good for us.

Guruji always knows what's best for us. We are too small to know what is good for us in the long run, but Guruji makes sure that He gives us what will make us the happiest. We shouldn't ask Him for anything. I don't have certain things that I wanted, but I have realised that maybe the things I don't have are not good for me. I know that He's always there. All He wants from us is complete surrender.

Once He gave darshan to me in my dream, and I told Him that I felt pretty lonely. So He told me to take His picture and put it under my pillow when I went to sleep. Doing that gave me a lot of strength, and I know that even when I won't have anyone, He will be with me. He has always been with me.

Guruji saves atheist brother

He has protected even those in my family who don't believe in Him. My younger brother, Ishan, is an atheist. He doesn't pray and doesn't visit temples. It bothers all of us, for his own good, but he is 23 and we can't force him to do something he doesn't want to do.

Last winter (2011), when he came home at night, he couldn't wait for the room to get warm, so he just put the heater on his bed, in front of himself, and fell asleep while he was on the computer. The next morning, he woke up after he felt that his foot was burning. When he opened his eyes, the entire mattress was on fire. He jumped out of his sleep, put the heater off, and then came inside and told us what had happened. His mattress was thrown out, because it was badly burnt and black, but he didn't get a single burn on himself. We are always in our own rooms at home, and if Guruji hadn't protected him, there is no way he could have been safe because there is no way either of us could have known what was happening in his room.

This happened last winter, but last month, he had a flat tyre. After the tyre was changed the next day, he drove back home and declared that something was wrong with his car because the speed wouldn't go beyond 30 kilometer per hour (kmph) on the Noida Expressway. The car was sent to the service station the next day. It turned out that the screws on the tyre had not been tightened. The guy who changed the tyre hadn't tightened them. If a tyre comes off a car, especially on the Noida Expressway, where the minimum speed is 100kmph, a fatal accident is assured. Guruji, however, protected my brother by not letting the speed exceed 30kmph.

My point is, Ishan is someone who has no faith in God, even after these incidents, but Guruji is still looking after him. As long as you are going to Guruji, it's ok. Someday, He will call the rest of your family too, when the time is right.

I feel that we have no will, no power in front of Guruji. He makes us do what we do, when He feels we should do it. My brother asked me for a favour a couple of months ago, and I said I would do it if he went to Guruji's mandir on July 7, His birthday. He said okay. While we were on our way there, he said he wouldn't have the prasad because he had a really bad toothache. The entire time I was at the mandir it bothered me, because I wanted him to get Guruji's blessings. But I realised I couldn't force Ishan to do something, so when our turn came for the langar, I told him to stand on the side and wait for us. He suddenly started feeling very weak, and decided to eat, because he felt like he would faint if he didn't. And he finished the whole prasad! I felt really happy that Guruji blessed him.

He still doesn't believe in God, but Guruji has protected him and made him do things that he doesn't know about. I hope Guruji makes him realise them in the future. There must be hundreds of other ways in which Guruji must have protected him, and we aren't even aware of it.

Surrender: Accept, do not expect

Once when I was feeling very low, I went to Guruji's website and listened to a very powerful satsang by a devotee, Anita aunty. I felt much calmer and happier. I even asked my friend Katyaini to listen to it on a day when she was feeling very low, and she loved it, too. I remember that it answered a lot of questions for both of us.

The second time I listened to it was at a satsang in the NRI complex in GK. I had come in late, so I was sitting outside, where the satsang wasn't audible enough. I recognised the accent and the experiences from the first time I had listened to it, but I couldn't put a face to it. I wondered who 'Anita aunty' was.

When I was on my way to Guruji's a few days ago, I thought, I'm not asking Guruji for things anymore. I think of Him and thank Him so many times during the day, I believe in Him more than I believe in anything or anyone else. I listen to His shabads, I try to connect with Him, I don't socialise at all in the mandir, I now leave my phone and bag in the car, follow all the rules. He even comes in my dreams and gives whiffs of His fragrance every now and then. So why won't He give me what makes me happy? He says "maango mat, maano (Don't ask, obey)." But I wasn't asking for anything. Then I remembered Anita aunty's satsang in GK, in which she said that she'd felt she'd surrendered, but Guruji said that she hadn't. And I thought, "What did Anita aunty say after that? What does it mean to surrender?"

I couldn't remember. When I entered the main hall that day, I saw Guruji's picture and became tearful. I walked out and was looking for my mum. I couldn't find her and thought I'd listen to the satsang that was being recounted. I recognised the accent (it was Anita aunty's) and it made me happy that Guruji made me listen to her satsang when I was looking for an answer from it.

She said: To surrender means to "accept, not expect". All this time, I had stopped asking Guruji for things, but I still expected Him to read my mind and give them to me.

I had had such a sad past few months; this is exactly what I needed to hear. From then onwards, I have made a conscious effort to not expect anything from Guruji, I accept whatever He chooses to give to me, and I thank Him for it. Even if I am having a bad day, I thank Guruji, and I tell Him that I am aware that whatever He is doing is for my own good. It has brought a great sense of calm within me. I feel more peaceful, and less angry.

Interestingly, all these months, my Facebook page was prompting Anita aunty as a person I could befriend. I knew I had seen her at Guruji's, but never put two and two together, and didn't realise that she was Anita aunty. I guess this shows that sometimes Guruji answers our questions instantly, but we're too short-sighted and preoccupied to see them.

It is very easy to say that all we have to do is surrender, but it is the hardest thing to do. And that is all Guruji wants from us. His blessings are endless and beyond one's wildest dreams. I know for a fact that He blessed me with unimaginable things even at a time when I had absolutely no faith in Him. His ways of giving blessings are several. Coming to the mandir, eating His prasad, listening to a satsang, sharing a satsang, they're all His ways of blessing His sangat.

He has so much love to give to all of us. He takes care of us every second of the day. He has done so much for me, and sometimes it's impossible for me to even comprehend the logic behind it. All we have to do is keep coming to the mandir, thank Him for looking out for us, and work on improving our connection with Him.

To build a connection and to surrender does not happen overnight. We have to work on it everyday. Sometimes I feel extremely connected, then there are times when I do slack off. But I start again.

The good and the bad are both part of life. I am blessed in many, many ways, but there are also things I wanted that I don't have. There is sadness and pain in my life, as there is in everyone's life. There are days when I just cannot get out of the bed. But it's our karma. Not just of this life, but also of several of our past lives combined. I have heard the old sangat say that when He was physically here, He used to take the pain of His sangat upon himself. I feel that even now He only gives us 20 percent of the pain that is coming to us, karmi-cally. Guruji has been a buffer against all my sadness and pain. He makes the effect of any pain almost insignificant.

Last night He showed me in my dreams that I was supposed to have a broken spinal cord right now, and that the reason I don't have it is because He prevented it from happening. It is because of Guruji that I will not be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. He is protecting us every instant of the day, and I feel extremely lucky to be chosen and blessed by Him.

Ishita Yadav, a devotee

June 2012