Home
The journey just began with Baba  


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


By Rajiv – from Niladri Special Guru Purnima issue, July 2004

I may be one of the ‘newest’ devotees to be blessed by Baba. I had been going to Baba in the Jodhpur Park, Kolkata Ashram occasionally during the past two years, having been introduced by Major and Mrs. Jena.

I would get a lot of inner peace just watching Baba’s radiant face, towering personality and the calm and divine atmosphere around Him. He would be attending a large number of telephone calls, remembering each devotee, at the same time blessing the devotees visiting the Ashram. At times he would go into a trance, into a world of His own, bringing peace and serenity to all present. At times, the atmosphere would be spiritually enlivened by Baul kirtan.

It was on 22 February 2004, after I received Diksha from Baba that He gave me an invitation card for celebrations at Navadwip for the birth anniversaries of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His Holiness Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj (affectionately called Baba by us devotees).

Even before I left Baba’s room at the Jodhpur ashram, I had decided I would go to Navadwip. Later, Col. Senroy, my guru-brother asked me to help him with the security arrangements at Navadwip. I considered myself very fortunate to have gotten an opportunity to serve Baba.

Ten of his security men and I boarded the train to Navadwip on 4th March 2004 from Kolkata. Since that memorable day, certain experiences have had an indelible impact on my mind. I mention only a few of them.

Respect for All

As soon as we reached Navadwip, the assistant security officer (a naval ex-serviceman), and I went to Baba. After His darshan as we waited for a vehicle, the ex-serviceman, Baba’s driver and I went to have tea at a tea stall outside where Baba was staying.

Just then a man with ruffled hair, torn clothes and unkept beard who appeared intoxicated came near the tea stall shouting, “I want to meet Baba! Where is Baba? I want to meet Him!” I said to him, “You’re drunk! Move on. Go away from here!” The lady making tea told me very politely “Don’t say anything to him. He is Baba’s devotee. He lost his son and became mad. Let him be. He is also a human being.” Baba’s driver also politely told him to move on.

After return from Navadwip, when I read the Bhagavat Gita and Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat (both for the first time), I understood what that lady at the tea stall had told me. “He is in the mode of ignorance and you should respect the Supersoul in him, which is there in all of us.” What an egocentric fool I had been and wasn’t I too in the mode of ignorance?

Since that day whether I address a begger, coolie, taxi driver, my juniors or seniors at work, I am always reminded of the Supersoul in them.

About meat eating and vegetarianism

Another interesting and rather mysterious incident took place on 6 March 2004. After the divine birthday celebrations with paad-puja, kirtan and arti, all the devotees lined up in a rather long single line to seek Baba’s blessings individually. I was helping out on the stage in managing the smooth flow of the devotees past Baba. It was almost 2:25 pm when only the last few devotees were left to do pranam to Baba. The next programme was scheduled for 4 pm in the mandir (3km from the present location).

Since I had to oversee the deployment of the security men and coordinate between the various agencies as briefed by Mr. Sarveshwar – also my guru brother – I took leave of Baba who directed me to go to oversee the arrangements.

As soon as I stepped down from the stage where Baba was sitting, a devotee of Baba came up to me and said “Have some mahaprasad, which will be served soon, and go. It is the most special prasad of the 5-days celebrations.” I told him that I had to go to my room, have a bath and change and return to the mandir by 3:30 pm since the next programme was scheduled to start at 4 pm and I moved on.

Very close by I found a dhaba and ordered a half-plate of chicken curry and two rotis. As soon as I sat down to eat, again a man with ruffled hair and unkept appearance came out of nowhere (not the same person I met two days ago at the tea stall) and sat at the same table across me. He said “At least take off the badge with Baba’s picture from your shirt pocket before eating non-veg.” I replied that Baba was in my heart and He didn’t stop anyone from eating non-veg. The man mystically and silently got up and went away.

After returning from Navadwip having read the various aspects of meat eating from books and scriptures, the man’s face would come before my eyes every time I ate non-veg food (been eating 5-6 days a week ever since I can remember). The man telling me to remove Baba’s photo would constantly prick my conscience since I felt Baba within me.

I went to Delhi on 26 March 2004 to my parents’ place where my uncle (double Reiki master from Kolkata and US), and my paternal aunt (also a Reiki master), were visiting on holiday from Kolkata. Seeing me reading and highlighting the Bhagavat Gita praying every morning and evening and listening to Krishna kirtan and dhun, they saw a different nephew than the one they knew.

On 1st of April 2004 (my father’s birthday), they asked me if I wanted to learn Reiki. They told me it would help me in my spiritual pursuit and explained about the different chakras in the body, from sahasra to muladhar, etc. It sounded interesting and I agreed.

The next day when I had finished my prayers and was listening to Krishna dhun my uncle said he felt I was ready to be attuned. I got my first degree Reiki from them all day including my attunement. I don’t know what happened to me after the session, I told them “I am also going to be a vegetarian like you from today onwards.”

Who sent them from Kolkata to be at my parents’ place when I was to be there for a short holiday? Who directed that I receive Reiki attunement to open up my blocked chakras? After all isn’t Reiki God’s love in its purest form? Who made me turn a vegetarian?

From 2nd April 2004 till date I have not touched non-veg till date irrespective of where I have been. But who directed all this? That man with unruly hair and unkept beard at Navadwip? Your guess dear reader and devotee is as good as mine!

I had mentioned earlier than an interesting and mysterious incident took place. What was mysterious about this non-veg incident? That man?  Yes and much, much, much more!

I went to Delhi on 26th March 2004 and returned on 7th April 2004. I had filled one train reservation form for both the onward and return journeys. After I became veg on 2nd April, I wondered whether the rail staff staff would serve veg meals since it said “non-veg” on my ticket.

When I took out my ticket to show to the TT on my return journey what do I see..? I was non-veg for the onward journey but veg for the return journey having checked non-veg only once on the reservation form! Incidentally I met with Baba at the Naba Vrindavan Ashram in Delhi the same morning merely a few hours before the train’s departure! I couldn’t believe my eyes! That man, the Navadwip-vasi whom I met at the dhaba.. surely he did not punch my reservation ticket or DID HE?? Again your guess dear devotee, is as good as mine.

The time of the booking clearly printed was 23 Mar 04 1000 hrs and 23 Mar 04 1001 hrs. In one minute (as per the rail reservation employee) I turned into a vegetarian from 47 years of being non-veg!! Jai Nimai!! Jai Baba!!
Also the date of return journey 07 Apr 04... I returned from Navadvip to Kolkata on 07 Mar 04. Again a coincidence? Jai Navadvip!!

Reading religious matters

One more episode for this article... I could just go on and on with my coincidences and lessons learnt since I received diksha from Baba.
Having read the Bhagavat Gita on return from Navadvip I had been asking my guru brother Col. Senroy for the book he had on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu so that I could read it in Delhi. I finally got two books from him barely half-an-hour before I departure, Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat and the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan.

In the train I was alone in a two-berth 1AC coupe. I decided to read the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan as soon as the train trudged out of Kolkata. I lay on my berth and read the book like a novel, smoking a cigarette intermittently. After finishing the book I had an intense desire to go to Vrindavan having never been there before.

I learnt Baba was in Delhi and I tried contacting Him for three days numerous times on the landlines and mobile but in vain. I also did not know the address of the ashram in Delhi.

I’d planned to go to Vrindavan on 02 Apr, but got postponed to 03 Apr and finally was on my way with my father on 04 April (in hindsight... again a coincidence .. I had travelled to Navadvip on 04 March and now to Vrindavan on 04 April).

On the way I was listening to a cassette “The problems of modern man – spiritual wisdom the only redress”.  This is a compilation of seven discourses based on Bhagavat Gita and Yoga Vashishta. I had the book “The Six Goswamis of Vrindavan” with me in the car. I was thinking of Baba listening to the discourse and planned to go to the Sri Gauranga Ashram at Vrindavan that I had seen on the back of the invitation card for the Navadvip festival.

Half-way between Delhi and Vrindavan I got a call from Kolkata on my mobile from the ex-serviceman who was with me at Navadwip. He told me, “Baba is in Navadwip and I want to go there. Will you come with us?” He said something about blessing, kopal etc... I couldn’t hear him very clearly as I was in a running car. I told him that I was in Delhi and would be returning only after three days.

In Vrindavan I attended the noon arti at ISKCON temple and went about looking for Sri Gauranga Ashram. I went upto 3 km on either side of ISKCON and asked a lot of locals including STD booths but to no avail. I was happy to have got the opportunity to pay my obeisance to the Lord in his birthplace but was disappointed not to have found the ashram.

I returned to Delhi and left for Kolkata on 07 April 2004. Once again I found myself in a twin berth 1AC coupe. Since I had now been to Vrindavan I decided to read the book The Six Goswamis of Vrindavan again. As soon as I settled down and took out the book I saw a flash in front of my eyes and the image of Lord Krishna for less than a second. I was taken aback.

That very morning I had met with Baba at the Delhi ashram and he had enquired from me whether I was travelling by Rajdhani. Again a coincidence or was I imagining things? I lay back, closed my eyes and was recollecting my meeting with him that morning. Alas! Baba had told me he was in Vrindavan on 04 April. Then why did my ex-serviceman friend ring me up from Kolkata to say that Baba was in Navadwip just when I was midway to Vrindavan? Why was I not able to contact Baba for three days before I went to Vrindavan? And was it just a coincidence that I was in Navadwip on 04 March and Vrindavan on 04 April and incidentially I was also in the Bhubaneshwar ashram on 04 May 2004! What was that flash and image I saw? I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night on the train.

I read the Six Goswamis book once again throughout the night. What a fool I had been to have read the same book like a novel on my onward journey! Now reading the book again, I realised that I had gone all the way to Vrindavan.... and neither found Baba’s ashram (learnt later that there was no ‘ashram’ there but a temple being run by Baba’s devotees), nor did I see the Govardhan Hill, nor Radha Kund and about the supernatural pastimes of Sri Raghunath Das Goswami, nor did I get to see his Samadhi, nor did I see the Radharaman temple or even Sri Jiva Goswami’s Samadhi at Radha Damodar temple.... even though I had the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan book with me in the car. How could I have forgotten the book I read barely eight days before I visited Vrindavan! I made a resolution that I would never again read a religious book like a novel without the deepest concentration.

Conclusion

I realised how deeply blocked my chakras were. I have now received second degree Reiki and I plan to become a Reiki Master soon to serve the devotees of Baba who have the purest of intentions of knowing about the Supreme Truth, the Self and the world, but like me, due to habits formed over the years, maybe many births, need cleansing, deep cleansing!! After all God is the source of the cosmic energy Reiki and we are only the channels.

In conclusion, Baba is the awakened God awakening the sleeping God in His devotee. A lit candle can light many many more candles. A matchstick or entire matchbox cannot light a single candle until struck and lit. Guru not only means “remover of darkness”. In Sanskrit Guru also means enormously BIG! He is immeasurable, beyond comprehension. It is said the Divine is impersonal.  Baba is both Divine and Personal.

I only pray the journey just begun with Baba continues forever from this birth to eternity until the time I am one with Him, our Baba.

The end of a hunt........ the beginning of a march.......with Baba’s kripa!!

 


Jai Guru !!

Jai Jai Shri Radhey !!