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 and mystics who visited the Sheetla Devi temple located a stone’s throw from his home. One of the people he met during this time was Sitaram ji of Dasua, who became his initial spiritual mentor.
Gurudev acquired many siddhis (spiritual attainments) under Sitaram ji of Dasua’s guidance which vested in him the ability to do many things that spiritualists can. These attainments, though mediocre in comparison to the powers he attained as a mahaguru, allowed him to indulge in the spiritual path and eventually 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 occurrence 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 prevent heavy rain and 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 early years, Gurudev began to exhibit heightened empathy for all beings – humans and animals alike. He’d 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, this 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 disinterested attitude at school. They tried every trick in the parenting manual to steer him towards academics but garnered very little success. When he graduated from high school with average marks, his parents felt a strange mix of shock and relief. They decided that it was time for him to relocate to a place teeming with professional 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 stratosphere