Ja so chanda uge, Suraj chade hajar, Guru bin ghor andhyar

Ms Tiwana, July 2007
Though a hundred moons may rise and a thousand suns,
without the Guru there is unending darkness

Before meeting Guruji, I was a self-willed and stubborn person inclined to go my own way. But, tragedies benumbed my spirit. Someone poisoned my entire life when I ate food on which ashes ground from the bones of a dead person had been mixed. It was powerful black magic and it nearly did me in. It was 1987 and I was bed-ridden since then. I could not walk or sit; I could digest nothing.

I went to everybody for help - to saints, tantriks, fakirs, pundits. They told me that I had been marked for death; they could do nothing to avert it for whosoever would try to help out stood a good chance of landing in the grave himself.

I suffered for a decade.

"Keep coming here"

Then a Canadian I knew, Luna, daughter of the late Harpal Tiwana, actor and director, told me to go to Guruji. She said He can help you if you have faith. She was at her in-laws' place and it was October of 1996 when she told me this. With her parents who had come from Patiala to have Guruji's darshan in Panchkula, I immediately agreed to join in.

As we were parking our cars outside Guruji's place, He came out of the sangat hall and we all touched His lotus feet. Luna tried to introduce me to Guruji. She could only say, "She...", when Guruji identified me by my name. He remarked that many wrongs had been done to me. I immediately felt that He could be omniscient.

Guruji made me sit to the right of His throne. He kept looking at my forehead as if reading my karmas - past, present, and future. And He took no notice of all the big shots staring at me. For I was hideous and my body and face swollen; my eyes were just slits. For almost an hour I sat with Him and could feel a divine vibration around me. For the first time after 10 years, I was at peace with myself.

He then told me to have langar but, unaware of its importance, I tried to sneak out of the gathering that was eating the meal. How could I have free food, I thought. But, Guruji could not be denied. He told me a second time to have langar, so I did. Then He made me sit on His left side and asked me to press and massage His left hand. After half an hour of doing so, He pressed my thumb with His. Around 60 per cent of my ills disappeared instantly. After I had sat at His lotus feet, He gave me a sublime smile and said: "Keep coming here."

That day He gave me hope.

However, for six months Luna's in-laws kept me occupied. I sold them four kanals of land in Zirakpur, near Chandigarh. During the time of registration, they cheated me of Rs 1.5 lakh. And, of course, I was unable to follow Guruji's command.

After six months I went to Panchkula, but was told Guruji had shifted to Chandigarh. I went there that very hour. As soon as He saw me, He said aloud from across the hall that I had been duped of Rs 1.5 lakh. His omniscience was at the front yet again!

Thereafter, Guruji gave me the silent treatment for two years. (Much later, I read in the Shiva Purana an injunction that the Guru should test His disciple for two years.) But, I kept on coming.

Two living eyes on my wall

In a good mood, Guruji would distribute His photographs to devotees, but He would consistently bypass me. I felt very hurt. But, I obeyed Him - even though I was a stubborn person having been the youngest and most pampered among five sisters. I used to reach daily by 7 pm for the sangat. After two years, I was delayed. That day, devotees told me, Guruji asked about me frequently - wondering if I had come or not at least 10 times. I was stunned.

He also happened to be in a great mood. He was prophesying world events and trends and kept talking for hours together. What the devotees heard that day makes for today's newspaper headlines.

I folded my hands and after taking His permission to query Him, I asked: "Guruji, am I that unlucky that you don't give me your snap?" He said: "You don't need a snap; I reside in your heart." The remark struck me: I realized that He was God, for only God resides in our hearts. But, He did give me a small snap, saying it was His ID. I always keep it with me. I would always keep the snap under my pillow while sleeping or pin it on my dress. I felt it protected me from evil spirits.

In the bedroom, I kept Guruji's photograph and did my puja before it. In time, two living eyes emerged from the photograph. They were big and beautiful. I never felt afraid of them. I kept asking them whether they were Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva and they would just flicker a bit. They also began to emit light. These divine eyes were to me living proof that Lord Shiva had incarnated as Guruji.

Before meeting Guruji

Before I had gone to Guruji, I had met Baba Charan Das, the head of the Radha Swamis. I met the Baba through a friend of mine, Farrell Brener of the US. A Radha Swami follower himself, Brener had come to India to do research on parapsychology. He wanted me to meet Baba Charan Das.

I insisted that he first go to Hoshiarpur, where I would ask questions of the Bhrigu Samhita (written by the seer Bhrigu, this book is said to contain the birth charts of all the people born in the world and predictions are made based on it), with me. This was my way of checking him out. A reading from the Samhita, which I utterly believed in, said that this was a lucky day for both of us. The Samhita had earlier told me that I was a goddess whose only purpose in life or in coming to earth, if you will, was to gain moksha or salvation.

Convinced that I was not being taken in, I met Baba Charan Das. He used to give naam to people. At that time my mother was seriously ill with Parkinson's disease. I made it conditional that I would only take the naam if my mother was cured. He agreed and I was initiated. But my mother passed away soon after. I was dismayed.

I have been clairvoyant since childhood and often dream of coming events. Sometimes, I can also hear a divine voice, the akashvani. I turned to God, asking Him whether the Baba was God. The divine voice told me that He was on the way. We all are on the way, I remember thinking, and I was His follower no more.

A tree that touched the sky

After I had met Guruji, I again turned to the divine voice. I asked it who He is. The answer was: He is God Himself. After this revelation, I worshipped Guruji without doubt.

Guruji continued showing me miracles. Using His small snap, I would enter into meditation. The snap's eyes would start blinking and the forehead start emitting light.

Again I turned inward and prayed to God to find out who He is and what my ultimate aim in life was. When I came to the sangat after that Guruji was enthroned on His seat. I saw light come forth from His lotus feet, go around the green carpet laid out on the floor, touch me and go back to Him again. I felt my question had been answered. He was the beginning, the middle and the end of all that is, and of my quest. We begin from Him and end in Him. It is said that in the Kal Yuga, God comes in a human form to salvage the good souls. He has come.

I now think that I had lost faith in God and was directed to Guruji for the restoration of my faith and the fulfilment of my ultimate purpose. And the Satguru had mercy on me. I had nearly touched the shores of death; He brought me back. Guruji has made me realize my purpose after I lost my path.

It is only on earth that one can get moksha; in swarga or heaven one only reaps the benefits of good deeds. Moksha comes through the blessings of the Guru (as the Sanskrit mantra has it: mokshamulam gururkripa, i.e., the root of liberation is the Guru's grace). As the Guru Granth Sahib says in the Jap Sahib: Ja so chanda uge, Suraj chade hajar, ete charan hunday, guru bin ghor andhyaar (Though a hundred moons may rise and a thousand suns, without the Guru there is unending darkness.)

I have come to know of many jaaps (sacred words used for devotional recitation), particularly one amara sanjivni mantra that can breathe life into a corpse. It invokes Shiva, saying: O God! O Siva! Your name is like the wish-fulfilling tree. After I had done this mantra, I literally saw it. At 3.30 am in my house, Guruji gave me His darshan and showed me a high tree touching the sky; a serpent of light was coiled around the base of this wish-fulfilling tree. As always, Guruji had given a practical demonstration of a theoretical concept.

Under His protection, everything turns fair

Ever since black magic had been performed on me, my skin had turned black. After I had spent nearly two years with Guruji, one day Luna's father called me towards Him and then sat me facing Him. Guruji immediately remarked on my complexion. If God has made me ugly, I countered, what can I do? He said that if God had made me black, He would make me fair. He then asked me to have chai prasad. Slowly as I continued to be the recipient of His blessings, my complexion became fairer.

One day He made me sit near Him. I had just gone to England and brought expensive creams to gain a fair complexion. Guruji asked me to bring them to Him. It was 12.30 at night and I told Him that my neighbours would trouble me. He told me that He was with me and I needn't worry. I brought the creams to Him and rubbed them on His lotus feet as He had told me to do. As I was doing so, He exclaimed before another lady devotee: "What a big heart she has! She has brought all the creams." After I had finished worshipping His lotus feet, I found I had been relieved of a pain in my legs that had dogged me over the years.

As I have said, I used to be lonely and ill at ease in my flat at Chandigarh. Once when I was going back from Guruji's at about 1:30 at night. I reached my place and was climbing up the flight of stairs to my second-floor house when I smelt Guruji's rose-like presence. I was instantly comforted. But I had hardly closed the door behind me, when I heard someone cough. I jumped out of my skin. Who could it be? Had miscreants been able to steal in? I couldn't sleep at all that night.

The next day as I was entering Guruji's durbar, He coughed in the same manner. I understood then that it was Him who had been in the house last night.

Knowing that Guruji was regularly visiting me in the house, especially during the golden hours of early morning, I thought of changing the house curtains. As I was doing so, I fell down. My spine was already injured and now this - that too when I was putting on new drapes for Him. I went to sleep. In a dream, I saw Guruji had come to my house with two of His devotees. He asked them to turn off the AC since I had suffered a fall. When I woke up I found that not only my AC, but my fan had also been turned off. That's how caring Guruji can be! When He takes care, He really does take care!

Yet another day, when I was driving back after participating in the sangat, a cow reared up in front of my vehicle. I just shouted, 'Guruji'. And I was miraculously saved. When I reached home, I found that Guruji had been asking the devotees to keep ringing me up. I spoke to Him over the phone and He asked me how I was!

Once I was coming back from the Shiva temple at Saketri (near Panchkula), and it had turned quite late at night. The right wheel of my car suddenly got stuck in a culvert. Push the accelerator as I might, I couldn't get the wheel out. I must have been stranded for nearly half an hour, when I saw a local bus rushing towards my vehicle. I shouted 'Guruji' and the car was ejected out of the pit, as if a great force had thrown it out. I was safe and on the road again.

Guruji takes care of not only my physical but also my emotional self.

I was teaching at a physical education college in Chandigarh. The teachers, who bore a grouse against the Arts faculty, were quite hostile. One day I couldn't take their constant harassment and sat weeping inside my car.

Immediately, Guruji's essence surrounded me. I was comforted and able to get over my emotional upheaval.

A former bureaucrat Sardar Manmohan Singh had been very helpful to me. But after his retirement, his brain cells started degenerating. He would often be soliloquizing and was kept bound inside his house. Since he had done me a good turn, I wished that he would recover and brought his problem before Guruji. Guruji asked his wife to bring a copper tumbler and blessed it.

I also brought the former bureaucrat to Guruji and Guruji just told him to sleep at night. Surprisingly, he was able to get a good night's sleep after ages.

Shri Guru Granth Sahib's message

One day, Guruji also asked his wife to buy chavar, keep them at her house on Thursday and Friday and then give them to the Sector 44 Nihang Gurdwara. She was supposed to ask for the Guru Granth Sahib's message for that day. (The Holy Sikh scripture is opened and a passage read. This is the Guru's message for the day).

She didn't, but I did. The teenaged boy opened the holy scripture and gave me the Holy Word. It read to mean that God was whole (puran, or complete) in the past, is whole now and would be whole in the future. That the Moon and the Sun follow His command and He is seen by those who are nirmal (kind and humble). I wrote down the message and brought it with me to the sangat. But, I did not have the courage to show it to Guruji, especially when I had not been instructed to do any of this.

At 3.30 that morning, Guruji gave me His darshan. In His hands He had that very page of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib, showing the same words. What does this mean? He is the creator of the holy scripture.

The gift of a garland

Guruji told me to sell my flat in Chandigarh. I sold it but couldn't find a home to settle down in. Guruji then sent me to live with the Kheras, His long-time devotees. Mr Khera had been Guruji's teacher in school and Guruji had cured him of skin cancer. He had also blessed them with a son. The Kheras set me up in a room.

I was so ill that I could not travel, and Guruji had moved to Delhi. Guruji would send prasad, and I would have it. It was medicine for me and took out the effects of the black magic. The prasad He sent was so powerful that I would vomit out blood after eating it. I found that the poison that had been given to me - the ashes - came out while I was vomiting.

But, it was tough to be away from Him. I would weep before Guruji's photograph in that room whenever they would go to Delhi. Once I wept and bitterly told Him: Jab kaliyan mangi, kanto ka har mila (I asked for flowers, but I got thorns in return: the line comes from an old Hindi song.)

When the Kheras arrived next morning, they came with a gift: a garland of flowers that Guruji had sent for me!

Guruji keeps tapping into our souls. He acknowledges our love. He knows our inner feelings.

Finding my house

Later, I decided to shift to the state college hostel since I needed some personal space. My neighbours were getting a nav-grah puja (worship of the nine planets) done. I was intrigued enough to ask a pundit to do it for me. However, I worshipped Guruji at the beginning of the puja, which involved doing a havan. After the pundit had gone, I gave in to my exhaustion and was about to drop off. Suddenly, I saw a figure attired in red, His eyes in front of me. It looked the same as Guruji's photograph. Before I could surmise further, the omniscient Satguru called me up over phone and said: "Were you doing my puja?"

I had no house of my own and was living in a flat in Panchkula. But, it was not the house I ultimately shifted to. Guruji had shown me this house. In 1998, in a dream I had seen a corner house with pink walls. But try as I could I did not find it. The reason was logical: such houses were not built till 2001. In fact, HUDA allotted them as recently as 2003. Which means that Guruji had known of a house way before it was even built!

Master of the Three Worlds

Once I had a dream in which I saw myself sitting by the corner of a heavenly lake. Its colours were so bewitching that they could not be described. But even at His heavenly abode I was holding on to my purse. When I woke up, I was mortified. Was I so greedy?

I immediately took out all the money I had in the banks and brought it before Guruji, thinking of surrendering my wealth before His lotus feet. He told me that He had nothing to do with so much paper and told me to take it back. It was again late at night and I was worried. But, Guruji reassured me and said He was with me. I stopped to have tea at a devotee's house, but Guruji did not even allow that. I espied some people around my car and had to rush out.

One night again found me weeping in front of His photograph. Suddenly, His hand came out of it. On the divine being's hand, I could see people - small, ant-like and mobile. In fact, Guruji often says the sangat appears to Him like insects. Now I knew it was literally true. More importantly, who else but God could hold the beings of this planet on His hand. Guruji is indeed the sovereign king of the Earth.

Then I saw that Guruji could grant darshan of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh anywhere. I dreamt that my innocent seven-year-old self came before me and found a bit of foam in my hair just behind my right ear. The foam transformed into four golden screws. These opened and Lord Shiva's figurine came out along with two more. A divine voice identified these as the trinity. And I knew my Guru was the Overlord of all the Gods. He was HIM.

Once while I was with Guruji in Chandigarh and it was quite late at night, He scolded one of His devotees, Navraj, for falling asleep. Navraj was indeed finding it very difficult to keep his eyes open. So Guruji scolded him quite a few times and kept him from going to sleep.

After I had returned home, I had a clear dream. Guruji was sitting on His throne while sangat members who had passed away, including my mother, were sitting before Him dressed in white. This was Guruji's sangat in the Other World. I also saw Navraj holding pails of milk for the sangat. I took the dream to mean that had Navraj slept that night he would have died.

The purpose of the Satguru's scolding is hidden. Once when I had mustered enough strength to come to Delhi during Shivratri, He scolded me. Very angrily and loudly, He asked me to go away. I neither had langar nor prasad, and went right back. I cried my heart out in front of Guruji's photograph. I told Him that even I was not so strict with my university students. But, Guruji was shouting at what possessed me. And He was trying to erase my ego.

Footnotes on Him

I am a poetess and once wrote some 20 stanzas on Guruji. I gave them to Him and He put them in His pocket, saying you will write more. Right away I found myself writing a hundred stanzas, with new and unique imagery, on Him effortlessly.

Then I wrote Jab Prem Kiyo, a novel, and dedicated it to Him. The title comes from a line of the Gurubani: Ja Prem Kiyo, Je Prab Payo (In love, I found God) In no time the book was included in the MPhil course for students of Punjabi, due to Guruji's grace.

Ms Tiwana, winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award for poetry in 1990

July 2007