It was year 2009 when the US-based multinational firm I worked with began restructuring their business in India. I had been with this company for the past nine of their fifteen years in India and they had gone very smoothly. At home, I had a good and caring wife and a loving son. I had thoughts of retiring from the firm, but here I was losing my job. It was the first but not the last of the setbacks that were to come. At that time my wife said that whatever happens is for the best-a comment I still recall. Soon I got a call from an Australian-based company to work as a consultant for their project in India. They offered me three times my earlier salary. I was really happy.
We were devotees of Shree Shirdi Sai Baba and lost no time in thanking him. Our belief in him strengthened. A year into the job, I was promoted to country manager. My family, including my father and both my in-laws were very proud of me. I was heading the Indian operations of a multinational company at the age of 39! I felt on top of the world. We had a very good time, we went vacationing abroad and purchased new property.
Our series of nightmares started from June 2013. The first occurred when our car's brakes failed while we were coming back from Manali during the summer. I was driving with my wife in front and my son at the rear seat. I lost control and the car toppled after hitting another car in the front. Yet we got away with only minor injuries. A month later, the body blow landed. Our company was acquired by another US-based company and all employees were laid off.
We were in a fix and wondering what had caused these events. Our faith was still in one piece. It was really hard to believe that a few months ago I was working as a country manager for a multinational firm and now was jobless.
We went to Shirdi, where we have been making annual pilgrimages since 2004, as well. We thought that with time things would sort themselves out. But the outlook was not rosy. From July to October 2013, we went to Vaishno devi and the dargah of Pir Moinnuddin Chisti at Ajmer even as we continued visiting local temples.
In September, I got a small job as a consultant. But that was not enough to sustain our expenses or keep me busy.
Just before Diwali in October 2013, I went with my wife to Old Delhi for buying dry fruits and gifts. We came across a shopkeeper who greeted us by saying "Jai Guruji". Out of curiosity I asked him which Guruji he was talking about. He told us about the Bade Mandir and asked us to go there and have langar
. We entertained the thought as we were going through a very tough time. I had faced such hard times only once before when my mother had passed away in 1987. But we soon forgot the shopkeeper's words and got busy in our routines. In fact, my wife's childhood friend was a devotee of Guruji and had been telling us to go to Him since 2006. Yet we had not paid heed since we believed Shirdi Sai Baba was our Guru.
A fortnight later, while we were shopping in Gurgaon, we came across a shop which had a number of Guruji's photographs. That shopkeeper too talked to us about Guruji and asked us to go to Bade Mandir. We met another devotee, Shri Thakur, who gave us a CD of Guruji's shabads
. We thought it was high time to go to the Bade Mandir without delay.
We went to Bade Mandir that very week of October 2013 along with my wife's childhood friend. We heard shabads, had chai prasad
and langar and returned. My wife and I shared our first experience and both admitted that we were in tears while listening to the shabads. We felt much peace after visiting Bade Mandir. That night I had a sound sleep after many months. We thought of going to Bade Mandir on a regular basis at least once a month.
The next visit fell on November and, by God's grace, we went there on Guru Purab. We heard shabads and were again reduced to tears. (I really don't know why but I could not help myself). Again, I felt so light-as if all my sufferings were gone in a jiffy and Guruji has taken all my pains on Himself. That night, I had a dream in which I saw Shirdi Sai Baba covered with vibhuti
. His head came out of the sacred ash and he had a third eye on His forehead. I was shocked and scared, not understanding why Sai Baba had a third eye. It was Shivji who was supposed to have one. Only now have I understood that Shri Sai Baba was telling me about Shivji or Guruji.
A few days after our November visit, I had a dream at 4 or 5 am. Guruji was dressed in a blue chola
and pronounced: "Tera kalyan hoga
." I did not know that this was a big blessing. I told my wife about it. She gave me a hug and believed in my dream darshan
. Within that week, I got a purchase order which was good enough to sustain our expenses for another four to five months. I thought of going regularly every Monday to Bade Mandir.
During my first Monday morning visit to Bade Mandir, I was once again in tears--this time without hearing any shabads. I alone had come to the Mandir as it was a working day for my wife. I came out of the Mandir and saw a devotee, Shri Praveen, distributing Guruji's photographs. Soon I was in the long queue and came out with a big photograph. On the way back home, I had to drop a few lady devotees at Metro Station. The photograph, the chance to do sewa made me feel really blessed and strengthened my belief.
The next Monday, I got a photo of Guruji's Lotus Feet. I couldn't believe my luck. While coming back from Bade Mandir, I recited Guruji's mantra jaap
. On my third visit, I wondered what else Guruji would give me. I already had His photograph and His charan
. I was having this thought while coming out of Bade Mandir and I again saw Shri Praveen-this time distributing Guruji's locket. I knew this was not by chance; there was something that Guruji wanted to tell me. I got the message loud and clear: I didn't have to worry anymore in life as I was the in safe hands of my satguru
, my Guruji.
I put Guruji's photograph and His charan on a side chair kept in my bedroom and began worshipping them like they were the whole world for me. I used to bow in front of them three times a day and sometimes even before going to sleep. I spoke with Guruji before His photograph during the daytime when I was alone at home. Once while bowing before His charan, I got a very strong fragrance of roses. At that time, I was not aware that this was one way of Guruji showing His presence. I told my wife and mother-in-law about it. I saw some satsangs
about Guruji on YouTube. The experiences of Shri Jethra and General Kapoor really impressed me. Hats off to both of them for awakening so many other devotees.
The days kept on passing and soon it was May, a year since I had been jobless. I was sitting at home with two orders in my pocket and finances at a low. My in-laws were upset and anxious, wondering why God was being so cruel with us. My wife, worried about their health, decided that on 15th
May we would tell me that I had got a job no matter what.
May, I was making my eleventh visit to the Bade Mandir and praying to Guruji to help me out so that we didn't have to lie to our parents. The next evening, my wife and I were watching TV when I took out my mobile and looked at Guruji's wallpaper. I noticed an Aum on Guruji's forehead; my wife too saw it. My son, who was really very curious to see the same, however, was unable to see the divine signature.
Two days later, on May 15th
, I received a call in the afternoon from an old friend asking me to come for an interview. I was not able to control my tears. After speaking to him I rushed to Guruji's photo and thanked Him for all what He had given and would be giving. Soon I was hired by an MNC for half a year and am now working as a national-level consultant for an IT database project. I am sure Guruji will streamline things and bless me with a good permanent job.
I always used to ask Guruji why out of all people on earth, my family and I had to suffer so much. But now I think that had the suffering not come, we would not have gone to Guruji at all. I am so thankful to Guruji that He has given my family and me His sharan
. I want to end with one line from the divine shabads: "Mehra waleya saiyan rakhi apne charna de kol
" (O graceful lord, keep me within the safe harbour of your lotus feet.) I love you, Guruji.
Sanjeev Bhargava, a devotee