With the immortal one, a bond was forged
To help and serve mankind.
To date they collaborate
To alleviate the suffering of body and mind.
Renuka, a tiny town in the Simaur District of Himachal Pradesh, is believed to be a part of the spiritual domain of Parshuram ji, the immortal son of deity Renuka and her husband, Saptrishi Jamdagni.
It was here, in 1980, that Gurudev set up camp on a plot owned by Shri Chandramani Vashisht, a local politician.
After settling in, Gurdev instructed Bittu ji who had accompanied him on the tour, to clean and repaint an old temple at the campsite which housed a shivling. After a week or two, Vashisht ji who had stopped by to pray at the temple insisted on meeting Gurudev. Since Gurudev was in Delhi at the time, he asked Bittu ji if Gurudev wore spectacles. On being told he did not, Vashisht ji left with a confused expression on his face.
After Gurudev returned to Renuka a few days later, Vashisht ji posed the same question to him. Gurudev laughed and said, “I am a young man. I don’t need glasses yet.”
After serving Vashisht ji a cup of tea, Gurudev showed him the Om on his palm. On seeing the luminous symbol, Vashisht ji prostrated at Gurudev’s feet. He admitted that during meditation, he would see the images of many deities flash one after another. This meditative slideshow would always conclude with the image of a bespectacled man dressed in pants and a shirt who looked exactly like Gurudev. Hearing this, Gurudev smiled and said, “Son, I was meant to come here in 1970 but have come here in 1980. You have been waiting for me for 10 years!”
Soon after, Gurudev decided to begin seva at Renuka. He instructed a few disciples to join him. He appended the verbal instruction with another one–they had to keep his identity a secret and be the face of the seva.
As Renuka was sparsely populated at the time, the disciples did not expect many people to turn up. However, as the hours passed, countless people descended upon the remote spot from nearby areas.
When seva ended that day, Gurudev instructed the disciples present and a few others to return to Renuka on the following Thursday. He informed them that his voice had traveled far beyond the mountains and he expected many people to turn up. He also advised the disciples to arrive a night before the designated day of seva.
The team of ten or eleven disciples reached the campsite on Wednesday night to find a queue around 2 km long awaiting their arrival. Gurudev instructed them to attend to people immediately. The seva that started at night continued through the next day. A disciple who was present at Renuka recalled that after 17 hours of continuous seva, he was unable to lift his arm to heal people. Sensing the physical discomfort the disciple was in, Gurudev gave him a glass of jal to drink, rejuvenating him instantly.
During the three days of seva, people came to Renuka from far and wide. Some walked to the site, while others arrived in private vehicles. Buses from the states of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan, offloaded people near the campsite after every few hours. Haryana and Punjab Roadways diverted a few buses to Renuka to meet the unexpected demand.
One of many people who came to Renuka during those three days of seva was a young girl unable to stand on her feet. Her parents who lived in a remote village in Himachal made the arduous trek to Renuka carrying their invalid daughter on their backs. As they reached Gurudev’s disciple, Sita Ram Takhi ji, who was treating the queue in which they stood, they begged him to cure their child.
Sita Ram Takhi ji sought Gurudev’s guidance on what needed to be done. Gurudev asked him to stand on the girl’s toes and instructed another disciple, R.P. Sharma ji, to hold the girl’s hands and lift her forcefully. As they followed through with Gurudev’s instruction, the girl stood up and began to walk gingerly for the first time in her life, leaving everyone speechless. Her parents sobbed with gratitude and thanked Sita Ram Takhi ji and R.P. Sharma ji with the words, “Aap ka bhala ho! (May destiny smile on you!)”
As word of the miracles at Renuka spread, the Himachal Government sent a few of its officers to investigate the goings-on. They took a sample of the jal to a laboratory nearby, only to find it to be of immaculate purity. Editors of newspapers like The Tribune, deputed their journalists to cover the happenings in a town many had possibly not even heard of until then.
The camp at Renuka was not only a demonstration of Gurudev’s unimaginable spiritual powers but also a reminder that seva requires sacrifice. The disciples present at the site served people with no regard for their comfort or well-being.
Nisvarth seva was, is, and will remain,
the cornerstone of Gurudev’s spiritual philosophy.
It is said that before Gurudev started seva at Renuka, he had spiritual meetings with Parshuram ji. They formed an alliance that led to the setting up of a sthan in 1980, the reins of which were handed over to Shri Chandramani Vashisht, who was also an ardent devotee of Parshuram ji. Before his death, Vashisht ji appointed a disciple named Dinesh ji to carry the baton of seva forward.
It is believed that to this day, Parshuram ji visits the sthan to keep an eye on the proceedings. Many people claim to have seen a form that resembles an Om on the shivlings at the temple, while some others have seen a graphic of a sage in a meditative pose.
Gurudev set up camp in many places like Renuka and Kathog where he forged alliances with the deities who held dominion there. Besides Parshuram ji, Devi Renuka ji, and the female deities of Himachal, Gurudev forged spiritual alliances with many other saints to render seva. These include Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, Shree Markandeshwar, Baba Balak Nath, Ganpati, the Sikh Gurus–Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Angad Dev, Hanuman, The Ashvins (the physicians of the Gods), Dattatreya, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Indra, and possibly many others.
Take a minute to introspect – A spiritual superstar like Parshuram ji found it worth his while to collaborate in the establishment of a sthan for seva, and indulge in its sustenance. If seva can serve as an incentive for an immortal, spiritual heavyweight like him, then maybe it is wise for everyone to pay more heed to the philosophy and practice of selfless service.