For a shipping man, He charts course across ocean of life

Ravi Rai, July 2007 हिंदी
In 1995, Mr Rai, now a captain with the Merchant Navy, was at his home in Jalandhar, when his left eye vision became blurred. Doctors found that there was a nerve problem behind the left retina. As luck would have it, at around this time, his mother and wife went to Guruji's temple in Defence Colony to deliver someone's message. Subsequently, Rai's mother wanted her son to go to Guruji. He refused initially, but agreed to drop his mother till Guruji's place and pick her up. Once he reached there, he was curious and went inside as well.

Like all mothers, Rai's mother too was anxious that her son should get well. She told Guruji of his problem. Guruji sent Rai to another room and told him to sit there. Rai was restless and mentally asked Guruji what he was doing there. No sooner had he made the query that Guruji came into the room and asked him: "What should I do for you?"

He then asked Rai to get a bunch of betel leaves. He blessed these and asked him to put them over his eyes with the help of a light bandage for about an hour, and then dispose of the leaves in flowing water. The remedy was followed and after an hour Rai found that his eye was perfect.

Rai began going regularly to Guruji's. He had a vision on his third or fourth visit. He was woken up during his sleep and found that there was a blue light on his bedroom wall. He could clearly see Shivji and further ahead, in a yellow dress, was Guruji. In place of Guruji's head, there was a shivalinga. He woke up his wife, Anu, and the projection on the wall vanished. Till that time, Rai had no idea of Shivji: he thought He must have been a mythological God, represented only in books.

Guruji's play with His devotee had begun. And His grace had begun to flow towards the Rai family.

Anu was suffering from a slipped disc in her lower back. She used to wear a heavy belt, and according to doctors, the only way out was an operation. This was fairly risky as even a slight surgical misjudgment could lead to paralysis.

When Guruji came to know of the problem, He took a spoon and 'scanned' Anu's back through it. The condition simply disappeared, and she has had no problem since. Soon after, when the couple travelled to Hemkunt Sahib, they had to climb 22 km on foot. And Anu was miles ahead of the others.

Rai had a month or so left to get back to his ship. He decided to get his youngest maternal aunt or mausi - who had had her heart valve changed - to Jalandhar so that she could benefit from Guruji's presence. Guruji, meanwhile, would regularly ask him on what date he was going to his ship and Rai's unchanging reply was a month. He would also make Rai listen to a shabad, one of whose lines said that the new devotee was still at the first step, but had already begun calling everybody to the path of faith. However, Rai went as planned to Pune and came back with his mother's sister. When they went for darshan, they found access was not easy. Devotees would tell them that Guruji was in paath (meditation) or the gate would be closed. Apparently, something was up.

Rai and his mausi were able to go in one day. Guruji blessed her, but asked her to go back to Pune.

The message went unheeded. Mausi went to Him again and was told to go back. When the Rais asked Him if she might stay, Guruji kept silent. Clearly, He wanted her to return to Pune.

Soon Rai was about to leave Jalandhar to get back on his ship when his mausi complained of a heart problem and was admitted to the Military Hospital in Jalandhar. By the time he had reached his ship, her condition had worsened.

However, thanks to Guruji, her last days were pleasant and happy. Her family members were able to meet her and she told them that it was due to Guruji that they could see and talk to her. She breathed her last peacefully.

But, the message was borne home. Had Rai listened to Guruji, the end might not have come at the time it did.

Following Guru's orders and getting promoted

Rai was once planning to shift from his shipping company to another one since his promotion to Captain of the ship had been due for the last four years. But, it was not happening despite his work and his profile being okay for the jump in rank.

He was in Chandigarh and it was his wife's birthday when he received a call from Mumbai from another shipping company. They asked him to come to Mumbai, promising to take him on as captain. Rai went to Delhi to take Guruji's permission and Guruji gave it, merely saying: "Ghum aa."

In Mumbai, Rai had his medical check-ups and then met company officials. He found during the meeting that they had changed their tune. They were now asking him to join ship for two months before promoting him to captain. Rai refused the offer.

He came back to find that the old firm wanted him back. Guruji advised him to join them. Accordingly, Rai left for Scotland, where the ship was due to arrive in port. The ship was two-three days late and he hung around. On the day the ship was going to come, Rai had a dream. He saw Guruji giving him a date: 14 July. He woke up, wondering what the date meant.

When the ship came, he was not asked to relieve the Chief Officer. Instead the ship's captain had instructions to take Rai on a parallel tour till the Caribbean, where he was to be relieved and Rai given charge of the ship. Rai was not informed of this, however. And the date on which Rai was appointed Captain? July 14.

The dream had come true, because the disciple had followed the Guru's words. Indeed, the blessings remained with Rai through the nine months he was on the ship. He says that during these months, so blessed was he that anything that he would think would happen. He grew afraid of wishing for the wrong thing!

What can't Guruji do? In 1997, Rai had gone to Mumbai to get a new passport on an urgent basis. While he tried to get a new one issued, he found to his consternation that the old one that had a valid US visa had been lost. He was at his wit's end. Imagine his surprise when one of those gang members involved in the stealing of passports told him not to worry. They took the details of his old passport, found it and gave it back to him!

The Pune Miracles

Rai's son was also similarly a recipient of Guruji's blessings. Though he had taken up Maths and Science, Guruji told him to do a law course from Pune, where Rai's maternal uncle resided.

Father and son reached Pune to find that all the seats had been taken up. Since he hadn't sat for the exam, there was no question of him getting a seat. Then the Pune University decided to open a new section. He sat for the exam and was admitted. Guruji remarked on his admission, saying that just to get him admitted He had to get 60 more students in as well!

Then, Guruji had to make sure that he passed the examinations as well. That the divine will was working closely to bring about his success was clear when Guruji mentioned that though his friends were failing, he was passing every year.

Rai's maternal uncle in Pune was benefited as well.

Once Guruji gave Rai a photograph to take for his uncle in Pune. This was surprising because Rai had never talked about his maternal uncle to Guruji. When the photograph was given in Pune, Rai's uncle was surprised as well and cryptically exclaimed, "How does Guruji know?" Rai was intrigued and wanted his uncle to declare what he was referring to.

Now, it was a sad fact that after 30 years of marriage the couple was childless. However, they were trying to get a baby through a surrogate mother - but without success. Soon after Guruji's photograph arrived, Rai's uncle was blessed with a son. Incidentally, till that time he had never had Guruji's darshan. He began coming from Pune after the son was born.

3.30 pm, Tokyo: In closed cabin, Rai gets Guruji's wake-up call...

Captain Rai, his mother and wife were devoted to Guruji. Their father, however, was not keen on going. His principle was that one should be a good man and have a direct relationship with God. He wasn't forced to come for the sangat as well and nobody minded it.

One day the Rais went to Guruji's, telling their father that they were going to the city. Hardly had they come before Guruji that He told them to go back to the city. Nonplussed before such omniscience, the Rais decided to return home and tell their father about Guruji.

Guruji's protection extended to Rai's father as well. The Rais were shifting base to Chandigarh from Jalandhar on Guruji's orders. The family went first with Rai's father bringing the baggage - that had a big photograph of Guruji's next. The very day Rai's father arrived in Chandigarh to the new house, he had a heart attack. He was taken to the Military Hospital. Guruji was in Delhi and Rai was with his ship in Tokyo.

Rai was sleeping in his cabin, which was bolted from the inside, when he felt someone shake his leg and wake him up. He looked at the clock and it was 3.30 pm. Just then there was a call from home. It was his wife, saying that his father was serious. Rai said that Guruji had just woken him up and would take care of his father, too.

Meanwhile, it was found that his father's arteries were blocked, but he returned from hospital. Ten days later he fainted again. This time the problem was put before Guruji. He called the couple and advised a remedy. Soon, Rai's father was better. However, he still had to undergo a test. The day before, Guruji asked Rai to give his father a shot of whisky. When the test report came, the doctor at first said nothing. He went around with the reports to other doctors. When finally, he did return to his patient, the puzzled doctor said that the heart was okay.

If his father was cured, Rai's mother too was blessed. Once while she was taking a bath in her Jalandhar home, she had a vision. She saw the pages of the Guru Granth Sahib opening and Guruji's face on them. His mother reported that at this time the divine will had led her to do paath automatically.

Ravi Rai, Stena Marine Management

July 2007