He embodied power of the most selfless kind.
To us, he was a friend, father and mentor.
In all the roles the mahaguru played,
he reminded us of our own supernature.
Having read the biography thus far, you are most likely wondering why this spiritual superman designed for himself the destiny of a commoner. The question many of you are probably eager to get answered is, ‘Why indeed did the mahaguru prefer to lead the life of ordinary circumstances when he was anything but ordinary?”
Perhaps the explanation is nested within the pages of the Brighu Samhita. The clairvoyant sage, Brighu, describes Gurudev as divya aatma and Shiv-swaroop, further personifying him by stating, “He is like Shiv while in meditation and like Vishnu in his speech. In seva and protection, he is like Brahma, and in relieving people of their pain, he is like Jagdamba. His aura is like the sun, warm on the outside, soft inside, and filled with hidden knowledge. People will not be able to know the real entity behind this human form.”
In 1974, during the week of Mahashivratri, the mahaguru reluctantly allowed Shambhu ji to see him in a five-headed form. This event came to pass when Shambhu ji inquired and insisted on knowing if it is possible for a human being to have five heads. The question arose because he observed that the painting in the sthan, which the great guru referred to as the Mahamritunjay form of Shiv, depicted Shankar with not one but five heads.
In the initial phase of the querying process, Gurudev indicated that five heads were possible depending on the energies or powers possessed by a person. Not satisfied by this response, Shambhu ji asked his guru to show him his true form, citing a reference from the Mahabharat when Krishna had revealed his viraat roop (divine form) upon Arjuna’s insistence. At this juncture, the mahaguru responded, “Neither am I Krishna nor are you Arjuna, so the question of showing you my form does not arise.”
Not one to give up as easily as that, Shambhu ji persisted while two other devotees, Ramnath ji and Raj Kapoor ji, chimed in. Gurudev tried hard to dissuade him, saying, “I have extended your life by five years. But if you see my form, you will lose those years”. Shambhu ji was insistent and ready to forego his life extension for a vision of Gurudev’s supernatural form.
While his conversation with Gurudev was underway, Shambhu ji suddenly fainted. He regained his composure only when Gurudev sprinkled jal on him and said, “I showed you a small part of who I am, and you could not handle it. If you want to see my true form, you must first develop the inner strength to withstand it.”
Shambhu ji later told the other two people in the room that just before fainting, he saw his guru in a five-headed form with his body bathed in dazzling golden light. He was the only one among the three who saw Gurudev in this avatar. Raj Kapoor ji recounted the incident, “The mahaguru was very generous. He showed his form to Shambhu ji but did not take away the extra years he had earlier endowed him with.”
Gurudev shows Shambhu ji his five-headed form
There have been several instances of Gurudev changing forms, and some of his disciples have caught those glimpses. Kwatra ji saw the great guru’s form turn into pure light as he prostrated at his feet. Rajpal ji noticed his guru with his head double in size. Gupta ji of Parwanoo saw a dwarfed form of the mahaguru. Shambhu ji’s son, Pappu ji, was baffled when he saw the mahaguru’s long-bearded form within a few minutes of being in the presence of his clean-shaven avatar!
When Uddhav ji attempted to use his nunchaku on two black triangles with yellow eyes that entered his room through the window, his hand froze, and he passed out. When he awoke the next morning, he decided to inform the mahaguru.”First you invite me to visit you, and then when I do, you try to attack me”, his guru commented. The mahaguru implied that he was one of the triangles and went on to tell Uddhav ji that he had to negotiate with the accompanying triangular form for his devotee’s life since the nunchaku aggression had not been well received!
Indeed, it isn’t easy to give a singular form or identity to the omnipotent energy the mahaguru represented. He allowed a few sneak peeks into his reality but never the complete picture.
Lyrical words of the poet, Daagh Delhvi, spring to mind as I look for words to express our limitations in perceiving the mahaguru.
Khoob parda hai ke chilaman se lage baithe hain.
Saaf chupte bhi nahi, saamne aate bhi nahin.
(There is a lot concealed when you are veiled in drapes.
Neither are you completely hidden nor are you clearly visible.)
At best, we saw him as a human being with an advanced spirit rather than an advanced spiritual being in human form. He would often claim that we would never know who he really is. And that’s as true as everything else he ever said!
Many of Gurudev’s powers manifested as symbols on his body, indicating that his aura was fortified with the abilities represented by these symbols. Their presence also implied that he was qualified to use them.
To begin with, he had the entire Shiv-parivaar on his hands. He had the symbols of OM, Nandi, gileri, and shivling with a snake twined around it on his right hand. On his left hand, he had the symbols of OM with a trishul passing through it, Ganpati and the jyot. These symbols were seen by many. Some disciples noticed three pindis on his right hand and believed he acquired them from the Vaishno Devi shrine. Santlal ji reported seeing trishuls on the mahaguru’s fingernails, and Mataji saw a Sudarshan Chakra on one of his hands.
The symbols on Gurudev’s palms.
The OM is a certification standard of divinity that positions you in the league of the divine. It denotes a certain level of consciousness, representing enhanced connectivity with all living forms. It also implies association with and influence over the three loka groups: the Netherworlds, the Earth, and the higher worlds. Gurudev had the OM on his hands, chest, back and forehead. Occasionally, a few have seen the OM radiate so much light on his hand that it seemed encased in a silver ring.
The trishul is a weapon of self-protection and preservation of self and others. It represents an increase in Shakti (creative energies) and the ability to use it for healing. Before attaining the trishul, Gurudev and his disciples would internalise negativity while healing others. When he acquired the trishul, he distributed it to his disciples, telling them, “You don’t need to absorb the disease because you now have the Shakti to deal with it.”
The shivling with the gileri represents the masculine and feminine energy principles. Their graphic, on the hand, denotes triumph over duality at not only the conscious and subconscious but also unconscious levels. In lay terms, it signifies the attainment of the Ardhanarishvara form/roop. The snake twined around the shivling, complements the ability to use Shakti to help, protect and defend.
Ganpati is the astral force activated when the masculine and feminine energy principles merge. Ganpati rules over the Mooladhara chakra, which is home to Bhu-loka, or the earth we live on. Its benevolence helps to overcome the obstacles that keep the kundalini from rising to higher chakras. As a result, it reduces ignorance at both the microcosmic and macrocosmic levels. This would have been impossible to believe if many had not seen a quarter-inch Ganpati graphic superimposed like a sculpture on Gurudev’s and some of our hands. Ganpati’s power is especially strong on Bhu-loka.
Nandi, the bull, is considered Shiv’s vahaan or vehicle. Shiv can manifest in anyone or anything and does not require transportation, but the Nandi symbol signifies Shiv’s ascent because of the following characteristics.
- It represents the power to protect or destroy. It also denotes constant awareness and alertness and serves as a sentinel to Shiv’s power
Nandi is normally seated facing the Shivling in most temples. In that position, it exemplifies patience, inaction, and unwavering devotion
- Furthermore, Nandi is an animal form of great gunas due to its strength, loyalty, and surrender. The spirit within Nandi can humanise itself at any time after becoming the object of worship.
The jyot connotes light of the manifested and unmanifested fires. Like the sun, the manifested or gross fire is visible light, while the subtle fires are mostly invisible. The jivaatma is also a light that naked eyes cannot see, although sometimes its radiation can be seen or felt.
The jyot appears as a transparent but permanent skin blister on the left hand. It is believed that Gurudev attained this power from Jwalaji, a temple of dynamic fires with no known source. The mahaguru’s s disciple, VP Sharma ji, received the jyot while on seva at the sthan in Khar. A visible flame (jyot) entered the sthan through one of its windows, travelled across to where Sharma ji was seated and lodged itself in his left hand in full public view.
Many others received the jyot or, for that matter, other symbols so unknowingly that they remained unaware of the bestowal until their guru hinted or casually mentioned it. All these symbols qualify the recipient but not at a conscious level. And unlike Gurudev, many of us didn’t know how to assess our attainments at a conscious level. Gurudev transferred the power symbols in several ways, including placing his hand on people’s heads or giving them his sipped water to drink. The mahaguru did not ascribe to any standard procedure and could transfer powers even when he was thousands of miles away from the recipient. On most occasions, he just willed it.
Gurudev’s connectivity to the elements endowed him with the dexterity to influence them. I recall that at his Khandsa farm, he located the exact spot which would yield soft drinking water. We had initially drilled a borewell on the west side of the farm but found undrinkable hard water. He picked a spot on the farm’s east and suggested moving the drilling to that location. The new tract yielded sweet and potable water. At Renuka, he converted a patch of arid land into lush greenery by digging a path for water to flow through.
Not only was he a water diviner, but he was also divine for the water. What I witnessed at Mumbai’s Juhu Beach reinforced this view. As Gurudev and some of us stood gazing at the horizon, I saw a wave become larger and lunge forward from at least thirty feet away to caress Gurudev’s feet. Having done so, it lost itself to the shallow waters. Many of us stood in the same line as the mahaguru, but the wave seemed to have a selective preference for him alone! On another occasion, Giri ji saw a wave from the Bay of the Bengal sashay around the mahaguru’s feet as he stood on the Mahabalipuram beach.
It rained on the day the mahaguru was born, and he had a strange connection with rain. He could command it to pour when he wanted or will it to stop when he chose. There are several examples of the mahaguru’s control over rain. On one Guru Purnima, a disciple informed him that people awaiting their turn to meet him were tired due to the scorching heat of the July sun. Hearing this, Gurudev willed rain. And almost instantaneously it started raining, but it rained only till where the queues extended.
Gurudev once told me that the siddhi of the Mahagayatri mantra confers the ability to contain fire. Most Mahashivratri nights till his death, the mahaguru would dip his hands in boiling lemon tea for a few seconds to bless it. An instant dip without a flinch, wince, or blisters!
Not only did the mahaguru exercise control over nature, but so did his disciples. The young Pappu ji from Jawalamukhi was saved from death when fireballs directed towards him by jealous tantriks missed their mark. He saw his deceased father, Shambhu ji, stop the fireballs before they could hit him.
Space is the keeper of many of Gurudev’s secret journeys into other realms. There are at least three recorded incidents of the mahaguru’s bilocation abilities. He visited Sunil ji at his shop in London almost around the time he was sitting with Bakshi ji at the Gurgaon sthan. Another time, he was seen conversing with people at his office and the farm at about the same time! In Nagpur, the mahaguru was found attending to a phone call in a tightly padlocked room even though he was seated with his disciples elsewhere only a few minutes before that.
He could be physically present and absent at the same time. If this sounds like a conundrum, then let me explain it. My experience, as well as that of others, has shown that if he did not want to be photographed, no matter how cleverly we tried, the shutter-release button would freeze or the reel would be blank when developed! Two days before Mahashivratri, when a professional German photographer wanted to capture him in his lens, the mahaguru told him, “Click my photo two days from now. Today, I am not present here”. The German, bullish about his photography skills, discovered after repeated attempts that only those pictures he took on Mahashivratri turned out while the remaining reels were blank.
Becoming invisible was a yogic kriya the mahaguru had mastered. He could walk through crowds and not be recognised if he did not will it. Once while in Srinagar, Rajpal ji and Gurudev went spare part hunting for their jeep, which had broken down. They entered a shop only to notice the shop owner lighting a dhoop to the mahaguru’s photograph, paying his respects. Seeing this, Rajpal ji whispered to his guru that it could be difficult to buy from the shop since it belonged to a follower. The owner would refuse to accept a fee for the products, and the guru would not take anything for free. Gurudev looked at Rajpal ji and said, “He will only refuse to accept payment if he recognises us”. Sure enough, the great guru purchased the products without being recognised by the very man who worshipped him. It was an unhurried, no-fuss transaction!
Uddhav ji would constantly urge the mahaguru to show him more of his supernature. The mahaguru would advise him not to be enticed by superpowers because if not managed well, these powers could become limitations to spiritual transformation rather than attainments in the course of the param-aatmic journey. In recent years, more seasoned by time than spiced by self-indulgence, Uddhav ji says, “You cannot contain a scenery in a photograph or lock the ocean in a bottle. The mahaguru was too vast and very difficult to understand. None of his disciples seemed to have got more than just a whiff of his reality.”
BODY, MIND & BEYOND
Nested in the mahaguru’s biography are several references to his control over senses, emotions, and thoughts. So I will not elaborate on them in this section.
His body-mind coordination was highly evolved. He could live without food for days, as evidenced during Mahashivratri. The queues of visitors seeking his blessings lasted for a couple of days and he would not eat until he had met them all.
He could withstand extreme temperatures, and even when we were shivering in layers of wool, he could get by in a light cardigan.
He could manipulate his sleep in a way that when the right side of his body slept, his left side would be awake and take over the entire functioning of the body and vice versa. Pehalwan ji mentions, “Occasionally while riding pillion on his scooter, I noticed him riding with his eyes closed. He used to be on paath at that time.”
His tongue wasn’t always sweet, but it wasn’t harsh either. He was a man of few words and had the uncanny ability to communicate a lot more than he spoke. His wild sense of humour was like a spiritual sharpener. We could hardly tell the difference between his using it to teach us or wielding it to whack us. He did have the ability to make his words come true, and I can attest to that in toto. An add-on to his power of speech was his capacity never to say ‘NO’. Ashok Bhalla ji remembers his guru telling him, “The word NO does not exist in my dictionary”. Perhaps, for this reason, the mahaguru was unfazed by problems, no matter how complex they were.
Gurudev lived in constant awareness with full knowledge of the past, present and future. As he mentioned to Das Saheb, a sevadaar from Chandigarh, “When people come to meet me, their past, present and future flashes on a screen in my mind. I can also tell if they have come with faith or just for fun”. He exhibited an unexplainable grip on destiny and time and could exhaust people’s karmas, change their samskars, snatch a few years from their future life to add to this life’s bank balance, etc.
He rose to the status of a mahaguru when he renounced his siddhis in the Ganges and became the manifestation of the powers he represented.
The mahaguru’s knowledge of the spiritual domain was unparalleled. Being an adept spiritualist from one of the highest lokas or beyond, he had mastery over the world of spirits and could help them in several ways. He had the power to get them unstuck from lower realms and propel them into higher ones. He could also, if he chose, grant them birth on earth so that they could use their human form to mature spiritually. Most notably, he helped spirits gravitate closer to their true param-aatmic nature in their human forms.
He could travel out of the body at will. He would travel astrally four to five days a week for periods ranging from two to seven hours at a time. He took us on some of his astral voyages. From among several such experiences, I distinctly remember him taking me to a bridge in Paris and, another time, making me sail on a raft alongside him and someone he respected.
He could travel great distances to different planets. That is why some of his out of body experiences took hours. One night before going for paath, he told me, “Let me take you on a journey of Brahmaand”. Brahmaand didn’t mean going to the moon and back. It was the whole milky way. He offered, but I messed up. That night while I slept, Puran ji came to tell me that Gurudev was calling me. Instead of realising that it was the astral form of Puran ji talking to me and that I was meant to go with him astrally, I woke up physically and went to Gurudev’s room, only to realise that his body was lying there, but he had left. Puran ji, in his physical form, was seated by the guru’s bedside, pressing his legs. Be that as it may, Surinder Kaushal ji does remember going on an astral expedition in which the mahaguru made him touch all the planets, one by one.
Santlal ji recounts how he, Amichand ji and Bakshi ji were taught navigation of the astral realms. Gurudev took them on a journey and told them to go to their respective homes but not talk to their families and return to their bodies before dawn. While Santlal ji and Bakshi ji returned, Amichand ji lost his way and had to be fetched by the mahaguru.
If an emergency demanded Gurudev’s physical intervention while on his astral travels, only Mataji could bring him back to his physical form. He had taught her how to place both his toes together and pull his legs, saying, “Depending on where I have travelled to, it may take me some time to return.”
The mahaguru could and did deploy his astral form in service. Besides out of body experiences, it was in visions and dreams that he gave us messages, healed us and made us heal others, showed us our future, revealed our past and took us on sacred pilgrimages and saintly meetings. He could also make adverse events destined to happen to us physically transpire in the dream state, thereby eliminating their possibility of ever occurring physically. In short, he could exhaust people’s karmas in their dream state rather than in their physical state.
Gurudev allied with advanced and powerful entities to jointly serve life forms. The Brighu Samhita alludes to his alliance with the Ashvin Kumaras. His spiritual associates, to name a few, are Shirdi Sai, Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Vashisht, Parshuram ji, Lord Krishna, Dattatreya, Ganpati and Hanuman ji, some Muslim saints, several manifestations of Shiv and Devis such as Mahakali, Laxmi, Saraswati and Renuka. As the mahaguru’s mentor, Buddhe Baba’s contribution remains incalculable.
Gurudev had developed several nirman kayas or subtle energy bodies to simultaneously attend to many people’s problems. Many of his disciples also have nirman kayas. I do not have any conscious awareness of mine, but it has appeared in people’s dreams, healed them, given them answers to their problems and sometimes even given them mantras I have never heard of before.
Before he bid adieu to this world, the mahaguru started the construction of his samadhi at Najafgarh. He has been sighted there in the decades since his death, though not as frequently as some devotees would like.
The mahaguru believed in keeping his superhuman abilities under wrap. He embraced a human fate of simplicity and humility and picked an unpretentious script to play out his destiny.
Playing to his tunes, I have chosen to underplay his mind-blowing miracles so that you don’t get distracted from the core theme of his life – the activation and enablement of your spiritual transformation. He used every power he had in that service but depending on the angle of view, you either saw the ordinary man or the extraordinary mahaguru.
At the age of fifty-three, while most men enter their dividend years to reap the benefits of their sowings, Gurudev chose to take a flight back to his ethereal abode. By then, the mahaguru had gathered his disciples of the last 500 years, bestowed the iconic powers of the Shiv-parivaar and elevated them to siddh gurus. Their spiritual conjunction was his pre-designed plan, almost as if he had signed up for destiny’s train-the-trainers programme!
The mahaguru’s supernature was not limited by his destiny, but he chose to limit his destiny to express his supernature. His limitlessness is still felt at his sthans across the world and at his samadhi in Najafgarh.
The invisible man is still a visible force!