The Brother

Tangled in temptation, they gave him a listen
and did what he asked them to do.
In return for a pinni, he asked for a tickle,
a sibling bartering a miracle or two.

Gurudev had six siblings. The eldest was his sister Bimla, while his brother Satish, and sisters, Sudesh, Ramesh, Premlata, and Indira, were younger than him.

Satish ji, whom we fondly called Chacha, hero-worshiped his elder brother. When they were kids, their mother would punish Gurudev for mischief-making and not give him food to eat. Chacha would save some jaggery and bread from his own meal to ensure that his elder brother, whom he reverentially addressed as Papaji, did not go hungry.

Chacha grew into a tall and handsome man with a naughty glint in his eyes. Gurudev bestowed his spiritual powers on him and instructed him to perform seva at Hariana and manage the farm at Khandsa.

Even though Chacha was a very powerful spiritualist, he is best described as a casualist. His casual approach to spiritualism helped and healed countless people. He was the keeper of many secret curative recipes, including one that could have put hair colour companies out of business. Fortunately for these companies, the formula to turn grey hair to black transcended to higher realms with him.

Chacha’s spiritual nonchalance led to people underestimating his abilities. His neighbour in Hariana was a tantrik who had attained a siddhi by which he could capture spirits. Since he used these spirits to earn his livelihood, he saw Chacha, who helped and healed people at no cost, as a threat. Out of spite, the tantrik deputed a few spirits to hurt Chacha and his family. However, they couldn’t create as much as a dent in Chacha’s world.

Two of the bottles in which the tantrik held the spirts captive broke a few days later. As soon as this happened, the tantrik’s young children playing on the roof of their house fell off and died. He was certain that the escaped spirits had killed his offspring as a form of retribution, and he expected to meet the same fate. So he fled to Chacha in search of forgiveness and protection from the monsters he had created. Chacha not only forgave and protected him but also turned his life around. The tantrik stopped using his siddhi to earn money and focused instead on sattvic pursuits.



Another tantrik mistook Chacha’s laid-back attitude as a sign of spiritual weakness, only to be taught a lesson he would never forget. This tantrik cast a spell on the water pump that irrigated the Khandsa farm, causing it to malfunction. When he smirked and challenged Chacha to use his spiritual powers to repair the malfunctioning equipment, the latter casually sprinkled jal on it. As he did, the water pump roared to life. The tantrik who was sitting on the wall of a well, watching what was going on, fell into it! He begged Chacha for mercy as he crawled out after being spiritually decimated. The casualist, casually forgave him.

Even though Chacha was Gurudev’s brother, he never used their relationship to his advantage. His humility and nonchalance only enhanced his affability. Nothing fazed him other than his elder brother’s ire.

Chacha was hospitalised at PGI in Chandigarh during his final days. Gurudev stayed by his side, tending to his every need. He left Chandigarh on the twelfth day since he had to be present at Gurgaon for Guru Purnima. As Gurudev bid adieu to his beloved brother, he softly said, “Do not die before Guru Purnima”. Two days later, on 2nd August 1988, Chacha succumbed to his illness, thereby ensuring his elder brother’s seva was not disrupted. He is survived by his wife, Snehlata, and two sons.

Gurudev’s sisters have their own tales to tell.

They recall that when he was a small child, he had an unusual relationship with a Ganpati idol in their home. At times, he would politely ask for the idol’s help and at other times threaten it with annihilation if his work was not done. Initially, his family dismissed his words as the ramblings of an overly imaginative child, but over time, it became clear to them that there was more to the relationship than met the eye. Following a sibling spat, Gurudev asked the Ganpati idol to ensure his elder sister, Bimla, failed an upcoming exam. He also declared that he would distribute sweets if his wish found fruition. Bimla ji, who had burnt the midnight oil in preparation, complained to their father, who in turn reprimanded his son for his unkind words. However, when the result was declared, Bimla ji had failed. She sobbed and blamed her brother for her failure. Their father, of course, put wood to skin!

A few years later, Ganpati came to Gurudev’s aid in another matter. Gurudev’s parents, frustrated with their son’s lack of interest in his studies, asked a cousin’s husband to assist them in steering their son in a more academic direction. That man was known to be a hard taskmaster who wasn’t afraid to crack the whip. He made a concerted effort to straighten Gurudev out. However, he quickly discovered that his new student was unwilling to change his ways.
Angry at Gurudev for his obstinacy and frustrated by his failure, he waged that Gurudev’s success in the upcoming exam was impossible. So sure was he of this outcome that he went on to add that if Gurudev did pass, Punjab University would shut forever! Hearing these words, Gurudev rushed to the Ganpati idol and threatened to smash it to smithereens if he failed the exam. The threat worked. He passed the exam with average marks, and a matriculate was born.

His younger sisters remembered him as an indulgent older brother who treated them with affection and levity. His powers, which had yet to find a mature spiritual expression, did not impress them in the least. In their eyes, his bewildering antics were merely a means to an ostensibly sweet end.

Pinni, a popular north Indian sweet, adds an inch to your waist while subtracting a year off your life. Gurudev’s little sisters, like most Punjabis, loved to binge on these delectable treats. He used their sensory weakness as a bargaining chip to get them to do his bidding. He would promise them pinnis in exchange for scratching his back. Ah! And the sisters would gladly comply.

Aware of her brood’s unhealthy appetite for all things saccharine, Gurudev’s mother would lock the homemade pinnis in a cupboard and never let the key out of her sight. Surprisingly, Gurudev would materialise these without putting key to lock! Whenever their mother unlocked the cupboard, her daughters would discover that the same number of pinnis they had consumed were missing from the batch stored there! Nonetheless, they dismissed their brother’s eye-popping method of extracting pinnis from locked cupboards as just another item on a long list of things he was capable of.

As a young boy, Gurudev had yet to recognise the divinity in his being. Still there were glimpses of some of the abilities that would one day be used, not to satiate his sisters’ appetites but to lead countless people on the road to spiritual transformation.

As a man who chose to keep his supernature a secret, he did not reveal his own spiritual transformation to his family. Years later, his sisters learned by chance that their brother had become a guru.
Gurudev’s job required him to go on official tours that lasted months, so he would send them a postcard informing them of his whereabouts. They received a letter from him in the summer of 1976, notifying them that he was stationed at Kathog in Himachal Pradesh. They had never heard of Kathog, so one of them sought information from Dilbag, a classmate who was a native of Jwalaji. Dilbag apprised her that Kathog had recently gained fame due to a man known as ‘OM wale baba’ (the saint with an OM) performing incredible healing miracles. When Gurudev stopped at Hariana on his way to Gurgaon, his sister asked if he had met ‘OM wale baba’. Only then did he admit to being the man in question.

Gurudev was the pivot in his siblings’ lives. He was someone who nurtured, indulged, and protected them. They witnessed the incredible journey of the little miracle-maker into a mahaguru with unimaginable powers