A Spiritual Tree Takes Roots

His powers he bestowed on hundred saints.
Their homes, their temples became.
His philosophy took roots in hamlets and towns
Where countless are still served in his name.

As Gurudev’s spiritual family began to grow, he came up with an innovative concept of setting up sthans – centres of help and healing – at the homes of his disciples.

In 1973, Gurudev started seva at the residence of Malhotra ji at Shadipur, Delhi. A year later, seva was shifted to Gurudev’s home at Shivpuri in Gurgaon. The move was preceded by an interesting incident which Mataji shared with me. Sometime during that year, two women from Rohtak, Haryana, arrived at Gurudev’s Shivpuri residence asking for him by name. They informed Gurudev that they had come to meet the man who performed miracles on Thursdays. Gurudev responded that he was the man they wanted to meet but he was no miracle worker. They left only to return a few days later, requesting his help once again. This time, Gurudev asked them to visit the sthan on the first Thursday after forty days had passed.

When they returned after forty days, one of the women told Gurudev that she wanted his help in breaking a curse her guru had put on her. She went on to tell him that she was four months pregnant when her guru visited her family. As her husband attributed the pregnancy to the guru’s grace, he asked his wife to offer their guru a token of gratitude. When she asked the guru what he needed, he informed her that since he had no worldly desires, she could give him the money for the bus fare to his next stop. For some inexplicable reason, she refused to part with the money. Enraged, he cursed her with the words, “You will always remain the way you are!”

She miscarried soon after.

The curse proved to be very effective. Every year, the woman would get pregnant but miscarry in the fourth month. The year she came to Gurudev, she was pregnant again and wanted his protection so that the unborn child survived. As she sat narrating her story, the spirit of this woman’s guru entered the sthan and set a part of it on fire. After Gurudev extinguished the flames, the woman’s guru’s spirit told him not to break the curse. Gurudev informed the woman’s guru that as she had come to the sthan of her own accord, he could not refuse her.

The woman’s guru’s spirit then asked Gurudev to tell the woman to come to his ashram (a hermitage) to seek his forgiveness. Gurudev relayed this message to her but added a few words of caution – the woman could not accept anything from anyone at the ashram when she went there to seek forgiveness for her actions.

When the woman went to her guru’s ashram, she was given a taveez (locket) which she wore, disregarding Gurudev’s instruction. The child in her womb died soon after.

A siddh (accomplished) guru’s word
is worth its weight in gold!

When seva began at the sthan at Shivpuri, people would come on all days of the week to seek relief from their troubles. However, when the crowds grew, Gurudev decided that the first Thursday of every month following the new moon would be dedicated entirely to seva. This day came to be known as Bada Guruvaar. On Bada Guruvaar, seva is carried out simultaneously at many sthans across the world. These sthans have adapted to the needs of those they serve. Seva is also performed at some sthans on Saturday, while at some others, the designated day is Sunday.

It is through the multiplication of sthans that Gurudev’s spiritual enterprise took roots in cities, towns, and hamlets across the country and the globe. It also allowed seva to be performed without incurring any additional infrastructural expenses.

Gurudev believed seva performed without a desire for reward, donations or recognition, was the key to spiritual evolution. Accepting money or offerings from patients is considered taboo at the majority of sthans set up by Gurudev and his disciples.

Gurudev began his still expanding spiritual enterprise by appointing some of his disciples as Gurus and bestowing his powers on them. Many others became the disciples of his disciples. He created a multilevel spiritual structure but never disclosed the exact relationship he intended.

He evolved from a new Guru to a Mahaguru with diligence, practice, guidance from Buddhe Baba, and by finding the next piece (gann) of his spiritual jigsaw. Eventually, a one-man tree became an orchard of many trees, each capable of sustaining itself.