THE EARLY YEARS
In the quest to know what existed 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 skipped school to spend time with the sadhus and mystics who visited the Sheetla Devi temple located a stone’s throw from his home. During this period, Sitaram ji of Dasua became his first spiritual mentor.
Gurudev acquired several siddhis (spiritual attainments) under Sitaram ji of Dasua’s guidance which vested in him the ability to do many things that spiritualists can. These siddhis, while mediocre compared to the powers he attained as a mahaguru, enabled him to engage in spiritualism, eventually leading 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 his village. Heavy rainfall was common in the area, and his village would flood quickly, disrupting daily life. On one Thursday, as his village lay partially submerged, he waded through knee-deep water to light a chirag and shielded it with his body to prevent strong winds from extinguishing it. His spiritual discipline took root at a very young age.
Gurudev walks through knee-deep water to light a chirag at the dargah
In his formative years, he began to exhibit increased empathy for all beings – humans and animals. He would spend the few annas of pocket money his father gave him on food for animals, birds, and fish. Mohan Singh Chira, a Hariana native who later became a devotee, recalled that Gurudev spent the remainder of his pocket money on soft drinks for his friends. He rarely spent on himself. Even as a teenager, his heart was bigger than his chest!
Over the years, the habit of putting others
before himself would greatly amplify to become
a dominant attribute of his personality.
However, his spiritual pursuits came at an academic cost. His parents were inundated with complaints from his teachers due to his indifferent attitude at school. They tried every trick in the parenting manual to steer him towards academics but garnered very little success. When he graduated high school with average marks, his parents felt a strange mix of shock and relief. They decided it was time for him to relocate to a place teeming with career opportunities and devoid of spiritual distractions. The subsequent move to Delhi marked the beginning of Gurudev’s professional life and his ascent to the spiritual exosphere.