I hope you have read the fine print in other sections of the biography before hopping to this one. If you have, then you’ll know that this spiritual superman designed for himself the destiny of a commoner. The question that many of you are probably keen on getting answered is, ‘Why indeed did the mahaguru prefer to lead the life of ordinary circumstances when he was anything but ordinary?’
Perhaps the answer lay hidden in the folds 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. He has an aura like the sun, warm on the outside, soft on the inside and filled with hidden knowledge. People will not be able to know the real entity behind this human form.”
During the week of Mahashivratri in 1974, the mahaguru reluctantly allowed Shambhu ji to see him in a five-headed form. This event came to pass when Shambhu ji not only inquired but insisted on knowing how possible it is for a human being to have five heads. The question arose because he had observed that the painting in the sthan, which the great guru referred to as the ‘Mahamritunjay form of Shiv’, was a depiction of Shankar with not one but five heads.
In the initial phase of the querying process, Gurudev indicated, 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 real 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 by saying, “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 quickly as that, Shambhu ji persisted while two other devotees, Ramnath ji and Raj Kapoor ji, chimed in. Gurudev tried hard to dissuade Shambhu ji, telling him, “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 five-headed 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 real form, you need to develop the inner capability to withstand that form.”
Shambhu ji later told the other two people in the room that he saw his guru with five heads and his body bathed in dazzling golden light, just before fainting. Among the three, he was the only one to see the five-headed form of Gurudev. Raj Kapoor ji, who recounted this incident mentioned, “The mahaguru was very generous. He showed his form to Shambhu ji but did not take away the extra years he had blessed him with.”
Gurudev shows Shambhu ji his five-headed form
There are several instances of Gurudev changing form, and some of his disciples have caught those glimpses. Kwatra ji saw the great guru’s form turn into pure light when he prostrated at his feet. Rajpal ji saw the mahaguru 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 having spent a few hours in the presence of his clean-shaven guru!
When Uddhav ji tried to use his nunchaku on the two black triangles with yellow eyes which came into his room via the window, his hand froze, and he fell unconscious. When he awoke the next morning, he decided to share this episode with the mahaguru. His guru said, “First you invite me to visit you, and when I do, you try to attack me”. The mahaguru also went on to tell the brash Uddhav ji that he had to negotiate with the power of the accompanying triangular form to spare Uddhav’s life since the nunchaku aggression had not been received amicably by it.
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 identity but never the full picture.
Lyrical words of the poet, Daagh Delhvi, spring to mind as I look for words to express the limitations in our perception of him. 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!
Khoob parda hai ke chilaman se lage baithe hain
Saaf chupte bhi nahi saamane aate bhi nahin
(There is a lot concealed when you are veiled in drapes
Neither are you completely hidden nor are you clearly visible)
Many of Gurudev’s powers manifested as symbols on his body, indicating his aura was fortified with the capabilities these symbols signified. Their presence also implied he was qualified to use those powers.
To begin with, he had the entire shiv-parivaar on his hands. He had the symbols of OM, Nandi, gileri, and a 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, the trishul by itself, Ganpati and the jyot. These symbols were seen by many. Some disciples saw three pindis on his right hand and believe that he acquired them from the Vaishno Devi shrine. Santal ji reported seeing trishuls on each of the mahaguru’s fingernails, while Mataji noticed a Sudarshan Chakra on one of his palms.
The symbols on Gurudev’s palms.
The OM is a certification standard of divinity. It indicates you have reached a certain level of consciousness and puts you in the league of the divine. It symbolises an enhanced level of connectivity with all forms of consciousness. Gurudev had the OM on his hands, chest, back and forehead. Some have seen the OM on his hand radiate so much light that it appeared to be encased in a ring of silver.
The trishul is a weapon of protection for the self and others. It signifies shakti or creative energies. Before the attainment of the trishul, Gurudev and his disciples would internalise the negativity while healing others. When he attained the trishul, he also distributed it to other disciples, telling them, “You don’t need to internalise the disease since you now have the shakti to deal with it”.
The shivling with the gileri represents the male and female energy principles indicating your status as a representative of the ultimate consciousness. The snake twined on the shivling, complements the ability to use shakti to help, protect and defend. It also represents power over the lower Lokas or the Talas.
The graphic of Ganpati bestows control over the third principle that gets created when the two aspects – the body’s left side or shakti and its right side or Shiv meet at its centre. The compelling astral force thereby created is Ganpati; a collective and collaborative by-product of the shiv-shakti amalgam.
Nandi is symbolised as two horns and signifies a bull’s energy. The bull is a powerful animal, rarely overpowered even by a lion. Nandi is the expression of enormous spiritual strength and personifies loyalty, sincere service and a giving nature always ready to support. Overall, it is an attribute of a mind dedicated to Shiv.
The jyot represents the combination of visible and invisible fires that can be traced from the gross to the subtle. Subtle fire implies invisible light, not part of the visible spectrum of light or VIBGYOR. Therefore, the symbol of jyot signifies the attainment of the light that comprises the gross and subtle lights. (The jivaatma is also a light that naked eyes cannot see, although sometimes its radiation can be seen or felt).
On the left hand, the jyot appears as a transparent but permanent skin blister. It is believed that Gurudev attained this power from Jwalaji, which is a temple of dynamic fires that have no proven source. The mahaguru’s s disciple, Sharma ji, received the jyot while on seva at the sthan in Khar. A visible flame (jyot) entered the sthan from one of its windows, travelled across to where Sharma ji was seated and, in public view, lodged itself in his left hand. 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.
Gurudev was able to transfer 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. He shared power in multiple ways at multiple times. On most occasions, he just willed it.
Gurudev’s connectivity to the elements endowed him 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 we move 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 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 on 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 gives 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 on 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 two recorded incidents of the mahaguru’s bilocation abilities. One time he sat across Sunil ji at his shop in London almost around the time he was meeting with Bakshi ji at the Gurgaon sthan. Another time, he was conversing with people both 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 sitting with his disciples elsewhere only a few minutes before that. Walking through walls seemed to be a capability that extended beyond his ethereal body.
He could be physically present and absent at the same time. If this sounds like a conundrum, then let me explain it. My own experience, along with those of several others, will vouch that if he did not want to be photographed, no matter how slyly we tried, 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 parts 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 since the shop seemed to belong to a follower, it could get difficult to buy from him. The owner would refuse to accept a fee for the products, and the guru would not accept 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 up 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 on senses, emotions and thoughts, so I will not elaborate them in this section.
His body-mind coordination was highly evolved. He could live without food for days, as demonstrated during Mahashivratri when the queues of visitors seeking his blessings lasted for three or four days. Until he had met all of them, he would not break his fast.
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 his right body slept, his left body would be awake to take over the full functioning of the body and vice versa. Pehalwanji mentions, “Sometimes when I rode 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, it was because of this intent that the mahaguru was unfazed by problems no matter how complex they were.
Gurudev lived in constant awareness with full knowledge of people’s past, present and future. As he mentioned to Das saheb, a sevadaar from Chandigarh, “When people come to meet me, I see a screen in my mind where their past, present and future flash. 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 our karmas, change our samskars, snatch a few years from our future lifetime for adding to this life’s bank balance, etc.
He rose to the status of a mahaguru when he renounced his siddhis in the Ganges, proving that he did not need any external support to discharge his duties as a guru to multitudes. He had become 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 of the world of spirits and could also help them in several ways. He had the power to get them unstuck from lower realms and propel them into higher lokas. He could also, if he chose, grant them birth on Earth so that they could use their human form to mature spiritually. Most importantly, he helped the spirits in their human forms to gravitate towards their true param-aatmic nature.
He could travel out of the body at will and took us on some of his out of body 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 along with 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, Surender Kaushal ji does remember going on an astral expedition in which his guru made him touch all the planets one by one.
Santal 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, returning to their bodies before dawn. While Santlal ji and Bakshi ji returned, Amichand ji lost his way and had to be fetched by Gurudev. If an emergency demanded the guru’s physical intervention while he was 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. He had told her, “Depending on where I have travelled to, it may take me up to three minutes to return.”
The mahaguru could and did deploy his astral form in service. Besides OBEs, it was in visions and dreams that he gave us messages, healed us, 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.
Gurudev allied with advanced and powerful entities so that they could jointly serve life forms. The Brighu Samhita alludes to his alliance with the Ashwin Kumara twins, doctors of the deities. Some of his other spiritual associates include Shirdi Sai, Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, Parshuram ji, several manifestations of Shiv, a few Muslim saints, Lord Krishna, Guru Vashisht, Dattatray, Mahakali, Laxmi, Saraswati, Renuka Devi, Ganpati and Hanuman. As the mahaguru’s mentor, Buddhe Baba’s contribution remains incalculable.
Gurudev had developed several nirman kayas or subtle energy bodies to attend to many people’s problems simultaneously. 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 which I have never heard of before.
Before he bid adieu to this world, the mahaguru started the construction of his samadhi at Najafgarh. Over the last thirty years since his demise, he has been sighted there, although not as frequently as some of his devotees would want.
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 upon them 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-trainer 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 country and at his samadhi in Najafgarh. The invisible man is a visible force.