Devotees' Experiences

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!


Mamta Sharma

‘When you are with Baba, … (strange) things just – happen !’ declared one of Baba’s young sevikas dramatically, during the course of a conversation. Rather too dramatically, I thought at the time, a mite cynical by force of habit. And as if to prove just how misplaced such cynicism can be when it comes to anything concerning Baba, strange things did begin to happen. So strange, that evening I, the inveterate cynic, felt defeated for want of an explanation.

It all began harmlessly enough.

Ever on the go (as anybody who lives in, and maneuvers distances in Delhi normally is), I was constantly marking time:

08:08 a.m. - kids off to their school bus, time for a Deer Park job

10:10 a.m. - end of breakfast, off to work

12:12 p.m. - an important call I was waiting for, comes through

02:22 p.m. - kids back from school, call up wanting to tell all about it

05:05 p.m. - heading back home

07:07 p.m. - finish lighting the evening diya

20:20 - the cook announces dinner is served

22:22 - pick up phone for a quick chat in a commercial break on a favourite show …….

You get the drift ? It was never a normal time like, let's say, seven minutes to nine, or twenty eight minutes past four. No. Every time I glanced at a watch – on wrist, in my phone, on the wall or table – eight times out of ten, it would be this perfect, symmetrical number - 08:08 …. 22:22 ….

So what did it all mean ? If at all it meant something ? And if so, then how did it all connect with Baba ? (This last thought being my own, growing conviction).

Or maybe it was all a matter of coincidence. Except that the ‘coincidence’ repeated itself, day after day, month after month ………. It become so that the simple act of checking out the time became like a game of suspense. And not just for me, but for the whole family. To the point that my son, with all the solemn wisdom of an eleven year old, finally declared – “but Mama, you must send this to the Guinness Book of World Records ….” A horde of questions crowded my mind. What was the idea behind this seemingly senseless mind-game ? More importantly, Who was behind it ? Was it someone up there with a sense of humor ? (Baba, as we all know, has a great sense of fun, especially delighting in the incongruous). And the most galling question of them all – will the connection ever be revealed ? Will I ever discover the answers during this lifetime ? Little did I know then that fate (read that as Baba) had decreed to put an end to the suspense. That the answers, the proof of the connection that I was looking for, would come sooner than I’d ever dared hope.

It so happened that Baba, who had not been keeping too well lately, had decided to frame a special Jaggannath Shaligram in a golden cast, and wear it close to his heart, prior to his visit to the U.K. I had the honor of escorting Baba to a good jeweler, a man who I knew would do the job with the due care and respect that it deserved. To get his final gold estimate, the man gently weighed the Shaligram Shila, and scribbled down the figure on a scrap of paper, which I hurriedly tucked away – barely glancing at it. Much later, while rummaging through my bag, I come across the same slop of paper. This time I looked at the figures. And did a double take !

The weight of the Shaligram as noted : 78.78.

Not a microgram less. Nor more !

In one blinding lightening quick second, all my doubts dissipated. All my questions, answered.

How could I ever have thought otherwise ? The ‘number’ game had everything, but everything to do with Him. Call Him Baba – or Krishna. Give what name you will.

And if I’d asked for one sign earlier, it now came by the dozen:

Take for instance, the time I visited Simhalachan Devasthanam near Vizag – a place close to Baba’s heart where He’s spent years doing tapasya. On the morning of the darshan, I open my eyes, roll over to check the beside digital clock. It reads – 07:07 naturally. But my heart jumps with joy…. Baba ! I think, and roll back, secure in the knowledge that He is watching over me.

Then again, I’m travelling late evening, back from a beautiful trip to Sri Saillam – the Mallikarjun Jyotirling near Hyderabad. Baba had asked me to come straight down from the airport to Jaunapur. So I sit in one car, while my family proceeds back home in another. As usual, I check out the time in the car clock. And sure enough, the digital display reads; 10:10 !

Laughing, I immediately call up my son (my official Guinness Record keeper) in the other car. “Guess what ? Check out the time” Came the sleepy answer, “OK, Had to be 22:22 !

Like I said, there’s no scope for confusion. Even given that one of the car clocks was mistiming, they were both still reading perfect, symmetrical numbers.

Finally, the latest incident, which I cite as a case in point that Baba’s grace follows you, no matter how far you may travel to the ends of earth.

Last month, I was vacationing in the U.S with my family. Prior to travelling, I was blessed by Baba with His photograph, which I duly framed, and which had pride of place in my room, wherever we stayed. But despite that everything back home seemed to remote – our house, our little temple, Baba’s Ashram, Baba Himself …….. especially the time we were out at sea on a Liner, the middle of the Atlantic, where land itself seems like a dream ! The first night on the shop, at dinner time, (which incidentally is a pretty formal affair, with designated seating numbers), our seating was mistakenly occupied by another family. Subsequently, we spent an entertaining evening, sharing a table with an American Professor from the University of Maryland and his attractive wife and equally feisty mother – discussing Sonia and the unfolding political drama back home.

The next morning, I received a call from the Dining Hall Maitre de, profusely apologizing about the previous night’s mix-up, who then went on to promise, ‘Ma’m, rest assured that its all been organized now. You’ve been assigned table number 44 (‘here goes…. I thought’) on Deck No. 4, (‘uh .. oh’) …….. and your Head Attendant is – Krishna !

“Krishna will take care, ma’m ……”

Doesn’t He always ?

And need I ever feel far away from Him ……. Or Baba ?


Jai Guru !

Jai Sri Radhey !