He could command the clouds and stop the rain.
He could touch the injured and ease their pain
He could make us fly to dimensions unknown.
He was a man of great power but humble to the bone.
Someone once said, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Through the display and use of his powers, Gurudev created a world in which faith and miracles danced an elegant waltz. He could postpone dates with death, heal people of diseases for which there was no medical cure, and help his disciples and devotees experience the unbelievable and receive the impossible.
Santlal ji, a disciple, recalled a mystifying event that took place in the remote mountain area off Manikaran, near Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. As Gurudev and Santlal ji ascended the rocky terrain, the former led Santlal ji through a narrow, concealed passageway situated in the space between a waterfall and the rocks behind it. This passageway led to what appeared to be a dead-end made up of a massive rock. Santlal ji saw Gurudev concentrating on the stone and to his complete shock, it slid to reveal the mouth of a deep cave. An old sage with withered skin and overgrown brows was waiting there to welcome Gurudev. After entering the cave, Gurudev and the saint engaged in conversation while Santlal ji stood out of earshot.
Five minutes later, the old sage and Gurudev walked back to the mouth of the cave. Gurudev muttered a mantra under his breath and the stone slid open. As they made their way back towards Manikaran, Gurudev informed Santlalji that the sage they had met became his disciple close to five centuries ago. As this disciple had mastered the science of Hatha Yoga, he had existed in the same body for close to 500 years. Since he couldn’t leave the cave, Gurudev had to travel to meet him every five years!
According to practitioners of Hatha Yoga, there exists on one’s head a subtle centre that contains amrit – a life-giving energy force. As this amrit slowly drips into the jatharagni or bio-energy present in the stomach and duodenum, it is gradually consumed. When it is exhausted, there is no fuel left to sustain life, leading to death.
Yogis attempt to preserve this life force through various techniques, one of which is Jalandhara Bandha. This yogic chin lock posture regulates the flow of amrit thereby extending life. The benefits of Hatha Yoga are superior body strength and freedom from disease. The practice aligns the spine and the chakras while cleansing many important nadis (subtle channels). It is believed that many advanced yogis have attained immortality and the eight siddhis through the practice of this form of Yoga.
Another bewildering incident occurred at a sthan managed by Kulbeer Sethi ji, Gurudev’s erstwhile seniormost disciple in Mumbai. One of the people who was given seva at the sthan was a gentleman named Captain Sharma. During seva one Thursday, the patients waiting at the sthan witnessed a jyot flying in from the window and merging into Captain Sharma’s left hand. It was an unbelievable sight witnessed by all!
I was witness to infinite incidents where Gurudev’s words found fruition in the most unexpected ways. When a devotee complained of a lingering throat problem, Gurudev did not give her blessed elaichi (cardamom) or laung (clove) as was the norm but asked her to eat gol-guppas instead. The devotee followed Gurudev’s instructions and the gol-guppas did what the prescribed medicines could not. The woman was healed in a day or two! Her ability to believe, and his to exercise his will, made this happen.
As an enthusiastic spiritualist in the early years, I turned into a bookworm to gather spiritual knowledge. In time, I became a veritable data bank of information. I even kept a diary where I would note down the Ayurvedic (a system of medicine) cures that were prescribed to patients by my guru bhais. One day, when a patient complained of an ailment, I ran to my car to fetch the diary so that I could give her a suitable Ayurvedic recipe that would help her heal. When Gurudev found out, he called me to his room and said, “Tu doctor kyon ban raha hai. Maine tujhe Guru banaya hai. Tu kaagaz bhi maathe se chukar usko deta, to woh theek ho jati. (I have made you a Guru, not a doctor. Even if you touched a piece of paper to your forehead and gave it to her, it would have served as a cure.)”
Gurudev’s words made me realize that it was the power of the Guru’s intent that manifested as healing. Everything else was incidental.
The intense power of Gurudev’s intent fueled phenomenal miracles and extraordinary experiences. Some of these are difficult to comprehend and even harder to explain. Yet, they remain powerful testaments to the Mahaguru’s expansive powers.
As mentioned in a previous section, Gurudev could control elements of nature. Many disciples, including yours truly, witnessed this power.
The rain god was in a feisty mood on the day of seva at Parvanoo, an industrial town in Solan, Himachal Pradesh. As the downpour intensified hampering seva, Gurudev looked up at the sky and within a second or two the downpour reduced to a trickle and then stopped completely. Thereafter, seva continued uninterrupted. It is believed that since that day, it has never rained in the area around the sthan on a day designated for seva.
Sometime in 1985, Gurudev invited me to his camp at Mungaoli, Madhya Pradesh. These camps that Gurudev held in different parts of India served as informal training grounds where the disciples learned from the master at work. I was sitting with Gurudev one morning in his tent at the campsite when it started drizzling. Gurudev walked out purposefully and glared at the sky. When he returned to take his seat, the rain intensified. I noticed an agitated look on his face and even though he was engaged in conversation with me, I knew his mind was elsewhere. After a few minutes, he rose from his seat, threw open the flap of the tent, and uttered some harsh words looking skyward. Instantly, the rain dissipated and the dark clouds began to lift.
Another strange natural phenomenon took place when I visited Juhu Beach in Gurudev’s company. As Gurudev stood several feet from the sea, a single wave came towards him as if by design, touched his feet, and receded into the ocean. I was stunned but made no mention of it to anyone.
It was decades later that Giri ji corroborated that what I had witnessed many years earlier was not a freak incident. He too had witnessed something similar when he accompanied Gurudev to a beach at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
A Wave Touches Gurudev’s Feet at Juhu Beach
Besides exercising control over nature, Gurudev was an adept astral traveller. He could travel out-of-body at will and some of his disciples were witness to and companions on his astral voyages. However, not every disciple had a smooth introduction to the astral traveller in Gurudev.
Sometime in the 1970s, Sita Ram Takhi ji accompanied Gurudev to Haridwar, Uttarkhand. One night, Gurudev asked him to press his feet. He then instructed Sita Ram Takhi ji that when he left his body, the latter was to hold on to him and accompany him on an astral trip around the planets.
A few minutes later, Gurudev covered himself with a sheet and began his paath. What happened next put the fear of God in Sita Ram Takhi ji. He saw Gurudev wrapped in a sheet emerge from his body while an identical physical form also wrapped in a sheet remained seated on the reclining chair. Sita Ram Takhi ji was so spooked by what he saw, he wet his pants! After a long time spent paralyzed with fear, he saw Gurudev’s astral-form, encased in a sheet, return to the room, and merge with the body seated on the chair.
Some years later, Sita Ram Takhi ji witnessed another interesting out-of-body experience at Gurudev’s house at Hariana. One night as Gurudev and a few of his disciples, including Sita Ram Takhi ji, ate sarson ka saag and makki di roti (cornbread) with desi ghee, Gurudev’s head fell backward with a sudden jerk. On feeling no pulse and sensing no breath, the disciples assumed their guru had passed away. Panic-stricken, they emptied the jar of desi ghee to massage Gurudev’s lifeless body in the hope of generating enough heat to revive him but his body showed no sign of life. Just as the disciples were about to head out of the room to inform Gurudev’s family of what had occurred, Sita Ram Takhi ji remembered Gurudev once telling him that he would leave for astral meetings with Buddhe Baba in the early hours of the morning but always return by 3.30 am. So, he requested his guru bhais to wait till then.
A few tense minutes past 3.30 am, Gurudev’s body stirred and the disciples heaved a collective sigh of relief. Gurudev stood up as if nothing had happened, wore his slippers, and went to the bathroom. When he returned a minute later, he remarked, “What have you people done to me? I am slipping all over the place as I have desi ghee all over my body!” The disciples sheepishly explained what had transpired. The recounting of the ‘slippery’ attempt to revive him made the Mahaguru roar with laughter, and of course, he let loose a volley of his favourite Punjabi words–some short, some sweet, some colourful.