THE EARLY YEARS
In the quest to know what exists beyond
The veils of the heard and seen,
He spent hours and days with learned men,
Absorbing all that he could glean.
As Gurudev’s interest in spiritualism took wing, he would skip school to spend time with the sadhus, fakirs, and mystics who visited the Sheetla Mata (an Indian female deity) temple located a stone’s throw from his home. One of the people he met during this time was Sitaram ji of Dasuya who became his initial spiritual mentor.
Gurudev acquired many siddhis (spiritual attainments) under Sitaram ji of Dasuya’s guidance which vested in him the ability to do many things that spiritualists can. However, these attainments, though mediocre in comparison to the powers he attained as a Mahaguru, allowed him to indulge in the spiritual path which led to his destined turn as a spiritual megastar. Incidentally, he renounced all these siddhis before his ascent as a Mahaguru.
As a young spiritualist, Gurudev would light a chirag (oil lamp) at Sadak Shah Wali’s dargah situated on the outskirts of the village every Thursday. Because heavy rainfall was a common occurance in the area, the village would flood quickly disrupting daily life. On one Thursday, as his village lay partially submerged, Gurudev waded through knee-deep water to light the chirag at the dargah. He then shielded it with his body to keep it from being extinguished by the constant rain and strong winds. His spiritual discipline took root at a very young age.
Gurudev walks through knee-deep water to light a chirag at the dargah
During this time, Gurudev began to exhibit heightened empathy for all beings–humans and animals alike. He’d spend the few annas (cents) his father gave him on food for animals, birds, and fish. Mohan Singh Chira, a Hariana native who later became Gurudev’s disciple, recalled Gurudev spending the remainder of his pocket money to buy soft-drinks for his friends. He rarely spent on himself. Even as a teenager, Gurudev’s heart was bigger than his chest! Over the years, this habit of putting others before the self would greatly amplify to become a strong attribute of his personality.
However, Gurudev’s spiritual pursuits came at an academic cost. His parents were inundated with complaints from the teachers of his disinterested attitude at school. They tried every trick in the parenting manual to steer him towards academics but garnered very little success. Gurudev’s mother and father expressed a strange mix of shock and relief when he graduated from school with average marks. They then decided that it was time for Gurudev to shift to a place teeming with professional opportunities and free of spiritual distractions. The move to Delhi that followed marked not only the start of Gurudev’s life as a professional but also the progression of his journey to the spiritual stratosphere.