Seeding the Spiritual Tree

He sowed the seeds
That would one day grow
Into a forest filled with trees.
The saplings he nurtured
In the future became
Inheritors of his spiritual legacy.

Fate facilitated Gurudev’s mission by ensuring that a few pieces of the mammoth jigsaw of his spiritual story–his early disciples–were born around the same time as him. Malhotra ji, FC Sharma ji, Dr. Shankarnarayan ji, R.P. Sharma ji, Jain Saheb, R.K. Sharma ji, and Suraj Sharma ji joined the department where Gurudev worked, allowing him to meet them conveniently. It was at the workplace that Gurudev kick-started the process of seeding his spiritual family–Get, Set, and still going strong!

When casual conversations with colleagues lead to admissions of the suffering in their lives, Gurudev would offer help. Soon the word of his healing and prophetic powers spread and many people at the office started approaching him for a resolution to their problems.

One of them was Mrs. Sushila Chaudhary.

Sushila ji, a mother of a four-year-old girl, was informed by her doctors that she could never conceive again. Heartbroken, she approached Gurudev who assured her that she was destined to be the mother of four children and would give birth to three sons in the future.

A year after this conversation, Sushila ji gave birth to a son. She had another boy, three years later.

When Sushila ji met Gurudev a few months after the birth of her second son (third child), he told her the time for her to bear her third son was near. She respectfully refused, thanking him for blessing her with three healthy children. When Gurudev reiterated that a third son was part of her destiny, she requested him to give the child to someone else as she did not want any more children.

Some years later, when Sushila ji approached Gurudev with a request that he resolves some problems her family was facing, he said, “The evolved spirit I wanted you to birth was that of your late father. However, due to your continued reluctance to bear another child, I had to give the spirit birth in another family. Had you agreed to offer your womb, the spirit would have solved all your problems.” Sushila ji realized she had erred by not listening to her Guru.

Interestingly, Sushila ji’s intense desire for a son became an excuse that led to her husband’s spiritual evolution. Not only did Gurudev bless her with two healthy sons, but he also brought her family under his spiritual fold when he gave Mr. Chaudhary seva of a sthan at Patel Nagar, New Delhi, which functions to this day.

Another person whose life changed dramatically upon meeting Gurudev was a senior colleague named Dr. Shankarnarayan.

Before Dr. Shankarnarayan met Gurudev, his family was plagued with multiple problems. The gravest cause of concern was the health of his young daughter, Vaishali, who suffered from occasional fits and continuous fever. When Shankarnarayan ji informed Gurudev of her frail condition, the latter smiled but said nothing.

Over a short time, Shankarnarayan ji’s belief in Gurudev’s spiritual powers deepened. This implicit faith in the man he saw as no ordinary healer made Shankarnarayan ji throw his daughter’s medicines in the trash, certain that with Gurudev’s blessings she didn’t need them anymore. Vaishali’s condition began improving steadily thereafter, till she was cured completely.

Dr. Shankarnayanan was the first person to reverentially call the man who healed his daughter ‘Guruji’. Gurudev initiated him into disciple hood soon after.

At work, Gurudev would interact with a few of his disciples at a tea and juice stall owned by Haribabu Gupta. This stall was located in front of Gurudev’s office at Curzon Road at Connaught Place in New Delhi. When Gupta ji first saw men touch Gurudev’s feet, he assumed Gurudev was a man of influence who probably held an important position at work. It was sometime later that it dawned on him that the respect Gurudev commanded was not because of his rank but because of his spiritual greatness. Eventually, Gupta ji became a devotee whose stall became a hub for Gurudev’s meetings with those who sought his help.

Gurudev at Gupta ji's tea and juice stall

Gurudev with his followers at Guptaji’s juice and tea stall

While Gurudev attended to visitors at Gupta ji’s stall, he would also offer tea to his colleagues who happened to be around. Many took advantage of his kindness and drank freebies at his expense. When questioned on why he allowed himself to be so easily manipulated, Gurudev said, Hum kal bhi peelate the, Ye kal bhi peete the. Hum aaj bhi peelate hai, Ye aaj bhi peete hai. His words implied that he was destined to serve.

Anand Prakash Parashar, a co-worker, recalled, “He never differentiated between anyone. We have never seen him doing so. Mostly during the lunch hour, he would meet people as they used to wait for him outside the office. Since he had got all these powers from nature, he would never deny anyone help.  He would always cooperate from his end.”

Not only did Gurudev serve people at the office, but he also spent many lunch-breaks performing seva at his sister’s house situated close by.

Though Gurudev was always accessible to those who needed his help, the sudden attention he received at his workplace made him uncomfortable as he sought neither fame nor glory. Despite Gurudev’s best efforts to remain low-key, stories of his unique abilities spread far beyond the walls of his office. Gupta ji remembered people milling around all eight office entrances in the hope of catching a glimpse of or having a short conversation with Gurudev during his ingress and egress from the office. There were times when Gurudev would pull a Houdini by escaping the crowd sitting as a pillion, face covered with a helmet, with Gupta ji driving his scooter.

Despite an ever-growing following of disciples and devotees, Gurudev’s humility remained intact. He accorded his office seniors the respect due to them, always referring to them as ‘Sir’, and never entered their offices without seeking their permission first.

Pratap Singh ji, Gurudev’s former boss, described him as a happy-go-lucky man who was kind to a fault. He lauded Gurudev for never letting his seva impede the discharge of his professional duties. In his words, “His disciples and others who wanted help would always be hanging around at our office. I adjusted to this because I noticed that he made every effort to help people and relieve their suffering. How could I not support a person who was doing so much for public welfare? While I don’t think I was lenient all the time, I can assure you that he never took undue advantage of my behaviour towards him. When I visited his camps for inspection, he would cook for me. He was very respectful of me.”

Gurudev worked harder than most, longer than many, signing off on official reports only after he had personally surveyed the land and examined its soil. He was ever willing to trek to isolated sites for work, no matter how arduous or uncomfortable the journey. He once told Bittu ji, “I draw my salary from the Government of India. I am duty-bound to fulfill my professional obligations with sincerity and utmost honesty. I can never compromise on that.”

Gurudev’s dedication to his profession, while walking the spiritual path, served as a template for his disciples, devotees, and followers.