A Spiritual Power House

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.

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible”, someone once said. 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 that had no medical cure, and assist his disciples and devotees in experiencing the unbelievable and receiving the impossible.

Santlal ji recalled a mysterious event in the remote mountains off Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh. As Gurudev and he climbed the rocky terrain, the mahaguru led him through a narrow, hidden passageway between a waterfall and its rocks. This passageway led to a dead-end made of a massive stone. As Santlal ji watched Gurudev concentrating on the stone, it slid to reveal the mouth of a deep cave. Much to his surprise, an old sage with withered skin and overgrown brows was waiting to welcome them. On entering the cave, the mahaguru and the saint engaged in conversation while Santlal ji stood out of earshot.

The old sage and Gurudev returned to the cave’s mouth five minutes later. The stone slid open as Gurudev muttered a mantra under his breath. Leaving the sage behind, as they made their way back to Manikaran, Gurudev informed Santlal ji that the sage they had met had become his disciple nearly five centuries before. This disciple had lived in the same body for almost 500 years because he had mastered the science of Hatha Yog. Gurudev had to travel to meet him every five years because he couldn’t leave the cave.

According to practitioners of Hatha Yog, 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 (a yogic chin lock posture). The practice aligns the spine and the chakras while cleansing many important nadis. It is believed that many advanced yogis have attained the eight siddhis through the practice of this form of yoga.

Another strange occurrence came to pass at a sthan managed by Gurudev’s disciple, Kulbir Sethi ji. Captain Sharma was among those who performed seva at this sthan. Visitors to the sthan saw a jyot fly in through the window and merge into Captain Sharma’s left hand during seva one Thursday. It was an incredible sight!

As an enthusiastic spiritualist in the early days, I became a bookworm to gather spiritual knowledge. In time, I was a veritable databank of information. I even kept a diary to record the ayurvedic cures prescribed by my gurubhais. Once when a visitor to the sthan complained of a particular ailment, I dashed to my car to get the diary so I could give him the apt ayurvedic recipe to help him 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 mathe se laga kar usko de dega, toh woh theek ho jayega” (I have made you a guru, not a doctor. Even if you touched a piece of paper to your forehead and gave it to him, it would have served as a cure).

Gurudev’s words made me realise that it is the guru’s intent that manifests as healing. Everything else is incidental.

As previously stated, Gurudev had control over the elements of nature. This power was evidenced by many disciples, including yours truly. Once on the day of seva at Parwanoo, the rain god was in a feisty mood. As the downpour intensified, disrupting seva, Gurudev looked up at the sky, and within a second or two, the rainfall reduced to a trickle and then stopped. Following that, seva continued uninterrupted. Since that day, it has never rained in the area around the sthan on a day designated for seva.

In 1985, Gurudev invited me to his camp in Mungaoli, Madhya Pradesh. His camps served as informal training grounds where the disciples learned from the master at work. One morning, I was sitting with Gurudev in his tent at the campsite when it began to rain. Gurudev stepped out with purpose, his gaze fixed on the sky. The rain became heavier as he returned to his seat. I noticed an agitated expression on his face, and even though he was talking to me, I knew his mind was elsewhere. After a few moments, he rose from his seat, threw open the tent flap, and uttered some harsh words while looking skyward. The rain stopped instantly, and the dark clouds began to lift.

Gurudev was a skilled astral traveller in addition to wielding power over nature. He could travel out-of-body at will, and some of his disciples witnessed and accompanied him on his cosmic journeys. However, not every disciple had a smooth introduction to the astral form of the mahaguru.

Sometime in the 1970s, Sitaram Taki ji accompanied Gurudev to Haridwar. One night, the mahaguru asked him to press his feet. He then instructed Sitaram ji that when he left his body, the latter should hold on to him and accompany him on an astral trip. Soon after, the mahaguru covered himself with a sheet and began his paath. What happened next put the fear of god in Sitaram 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. Sitaram ji was so spooked by what he saw that he wet his pants! After being paralysed with fear for what seemed like an eternity, he saw Gurudev’s astral form return to the room and merge with the body seated on the chair.

Some years later, Sitaram ji witnessed another unnerving out-of-body experience at Gurudev’s home in Hariana. One night as the mahaguru and a few of his disciples ate sarson ka saag, and makki ki roti with desi ghee, Gurudev’s head fell backwards with a sudden jerk. The disciples assumed their guru had died when they felt no pulse or breath. Panicked, they emptied the jar of desi ghee on his lifeless body in the hope of generating enough heat to revive him, but his body showed no signs of life.

Just as the disciples were about to leave the room to inform Gurudev’s family of what had happened, Sitaram ji remembered his guru telling him that he would go for astral meetings with Buddhe Baba in the early hours of the morning but would always return by 3.30 am. So he asked his gurubhais to hold off until then. Gurudev’s body revived a few minutes after 3.30 am, and the tense disciples heaved a collective sigh of relief. The mahaguru stood up, wore his slippers, and went to the loo as if nothing had happened. “What have you people done to me?”, he asked when he returned a minute later. “I’m stumbling all over the place because I’ve got desi ghee all over my body!”. A disciple sheepishly explained what had transpired. The mahaguru roared with laughter and let loose a volley of his favourite Punjabi words – some short, some sweet and some colourful!