In early 1995, I came in contact with an interesting person. He introduced himself as Dr. Rattan Kumar and lived somewhere at South extension. He joined my 2nd batch of 14 sessions Tuff Trak Leadership Course (now UXL). He hardly made any impact as a devout participant or a great speaker during the course. However, looking back, I almost perfectly know now why he came. I won’t ever forget a couple of things about this unassuming doctor.
He would come early in all my sessions; wear a smile and a stylish suit. He would carry a flower bouquet in his hand in every class and ignore my instruction that students were not allowed to bring anything for the instructor in the class. He would silently place the bouquet on my head table and take his seat. On the day of graduation, the 18th February 1995, Rattan Kumar carried a book in his hand and presented to me. It was a saintly book which I often saw in the wheelers at the railway station. You cannot miss the face of the saint on the cover. It is kind of an anchor. Rattan told me, “Asit now the course is over so let me gift this book to you. Promise me, you will read it. The book is for you and it will change your life.” Though these were not his exact words but I retrieve the gist of what Rattan had said from my own memory. Rattan Kumar painted my name spreading through the front inside cover and the corresponding blank right page. (The exact scan is displayed here). Rattan’s written and spoken words however remained vivid in my mind:
As an extension of my training business, I sold books to our students and therefore maintained a cabinet full of books. I shifted places and in that process lost hundreds of books. Later, the book business had to be closed. Through the next 12 years, I shifted my work-base from Delhi to Chandigarh and then back to Delhi again. I also changed my residences a couple of times in both the places. I ran my business amidst ups and downs but finally faced serious financial and emotional setbacks. I decided to stop my work and shift to a serene place to introspect, study and meditate. I shifted to Santiniketan with my mother, the place of Rabindranath Tagore in 2008.
I read many spiritual literatures, wrote my experiences sitting under the trees of our rented garden house, listened to songs, heard the chirping of birds, and cycled through the leafy lanes and tribal villages. I cherished the feeling that some of the greatest minds of the last century came to this serene beautiful town to meet Tagore and learn from his school and University. I had my best time spent there.
One of those days in Santiniketan, in late 2008, I got a call from one of my old clients to conduct a seminar in Delhi. I boarded the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express from Durgapur and found my seat across one Mr. Tiwari a leading book seller from Kolkata. Tiwari was young but there was a glowing aura in his bearded face. He asked, “Do you read?” Knowing my interest in books, Tiwari told me that a book changed his life and pointing out to the book in his hand covered in brown paper he added that he was reading it for the second time. As he handed me the book I found it to be the same title which Rattan gave me almost 14 years ago. Strangely, some intuition from deep within was constantly telling me, even before I opened the book, it was going to be Rattan’s book only. Rattan Kumar’s smiling face also flashed from my heart. All the coincidences struck me with wonder. It seemed so inevitable. I was literally stunned. I must mention that the reference of that book came up in various occasions when some of my very enlightened friends like Abahy Mishra also mentioned about the book. Every time then, I recalled Rattan Kumar’s appeal to me and I felt guilty for not reading the book. Tiwari was emotional. He shared that he was travelling to Varanasi only to meet the great grandson of Lahiri Mahashay (my master’s master). Tiwari added that his wife will fly to join him in Varanasi after 2 days as their son’s last examination paper was due. Turning over a few pages of Tiwari’s book I reached the chapter 29 titled, “Rabindranath Tagore & I…” Gurudev Tagore has been my ideal. Geetanjali and Tagore-songs happen to be my main inspiration. I came to Santiniketan to experience Tagore’s divine spirit ever existing in that serene environment. How I knew in a few days everything would become crystal clear?
But where is that book? Is it there, or will I have to get a new one? I wanted to keep my words given to Rattan Kumar – I must read the book. I instantly called Chaitali Nandy, my colleague who stayed back at Santiniketan to take care of my mother in my absence. I requested her to go all out and search the book out from my vast book cabinet which we had painstakingly transported from Delhi. Chaitali called me back in two hours to say: the book is traced. Here is the image of the very book Rattan gave me:
The first task of mine after returning to Santiniketan was to start reading AOY. These days, I am reading the book my 4th time. Neither Rattan nor Tiwari was wrong. My life was changed. In 2009, I became a member of SRF/YSS. I participated in many retreats and stayed many times in our Ranchi Ashram, where Paramhansaji spent his days in spiritual ecstasy and bliss. I sat for long hours below the Lichi tree, where our Guru meditated. I passed the test to become a Kriyaban on 5 January 2011. Before joining SRF/YSS, I had done many satsangs with saints of many missions and ashrams but I found in my Guru my ultimate inspiration for spirituality. All my confusions were removed and I realized the purpose of my life. I returned to Delhi to continue my work which I left unfinished. I felt my Guru wants me to complete this karmic cycle. A staunch non-veg and a mad fish-lover, I turned myself into a full vegetarian (Gurudev permits us to have eggs). Amidst numerous struggles and ups and downs I always felt my Guru’s divine blessings. I am filled with his omnipresence. He sees me, guides me and checks me up at every step. He said, he took my responsibility as his disciple and so he does. I witness his miracles through every episode of my life as I go through my pains, ordeals, sufferings, joys and achievements.
Let me share two of his most recent miracles here:
After my mother passed away on 29 May, I have vacated the room in the Senior Citizen’s Home in Rohini, which I shared with her. Now I eat, sleep and work in my office. As I had a fresh setback in my business, like every time, I rose to take charge with greater vigor. I am about to launch a new international project. This demanded herculean toils and I read, research and study for about 80 hours-a-week (mind you, I neither recommend nor mean to continue this mode for the rest of my life for I shall soon settle down to just 4-6 hours a week). Incidentally, I have disturbed my routine significantly over the last couple of months and decidedly stalled my energy exercises and yoga on account of a host of unforeseen financial and emotional crises. I however know I shall return to order.
My friend and partner Kapil Abrol (also an alumnus) has been quite upset since he saw my constantly swollen feet. Kapil knows well that I refrain from taking any medicine until I face the extreme. He is also aware of my reservation to consult doctors. So he discreetly asked his elder brother, who is a physician, to check me up. Dr Sandeep Abrol came and sat with me for an hour discussing matters of common spiritual interest (he staunchly follows the Baha’i faith and loves talking about it) before revealing the real purpose of his coming. I lie down as he checks my BP. He finds my BP index to be 165: 115. The alarm bell rang. Soon comes his prescription: medicines must, travel banned and only rest. Kapil was polite in his request in the beginning but his strictures in mobile messages started hitting. I was in a corner. I wrote to him firmly that I would rather prefer to die with faith than to live with medicines all my life. I tried to assure him saying, I would be healed only by following my Guru’s ways. I further pleaded that I have restarted my regular morning walks, exercises and yoga and so I shall soon be alright. But, Kapil won’t give up but ensure at any cost that I start the course of medicines for at least a week.
I was quite disturbed. I helplessly looked at the smiling picture of my Guru in my mind. The following day, Kapil gets a new BP machine door-delivered from Amazon. He requests the office staff to make sure that my BP is checked at regular intervals. In the meanwhile I had almost prepared my mind to give up my resolve of not taking the medicines. I wrote to Kapil, ‘Affection weakens the spirit: it seems you are determined to make my ‘biology of belief’ surrender to the lordship of those tablets’.
This time Dayashankar, our colleague, asked me to lie down to checks BP. In past, he had his stint in paramedical. Guess what? My BP smiled at 120:60. I closed my eyes to look at my Gurudev’s picture, he was smiling as usual. All the staff members then checked their BPs primarily to know if it was another faulty machine. Theirs BPs were right up to their own normal orders. The next day Dayashankar brought another machine from his wife’s hospital (she is a staff nurse) and made me lie again for a check-up. It was again 120:60. He rechecked on the newly purchased machine. The result was steady: 120:60 Needless to say, I am practicing my Kriya yoga, enjoying my long walks in the morning and evening and working 10 hours a day and, of course, am without medicines.
The next episode also happened almost simultaneously. For the last few months I have been trying to locate a joint-venture partner who would be technically sound to help me launch my online training business. I have invested enough funds in the JV groups and other premium agencies to kick start my online project. I know I am on the right track but so far none of the proposals made sense. I was becoming restless. A technically sound resource, preferably an individual, who is ideally a dynamic technopreneur whose prime goal was not to be a trainer or public speaker, would best suit my need. A week before I received a message from a British tech, who happened to visit my site and being impressed by my work offered to set-up a possible alliance to work together. I too was deeply impressed going through all the links the gentleman had forwarded. It seemed that the man had all the acumen and attitudes to fit my bill. Both of us felt a positive vibration throughout our first chat via Facebook messenger.
It was only during the conclusive part of our chat when my new friend wrote the following exact words in his message to me: “I am very open and transparent as I live by spiritual principles (SRF/YSS). You can trust me.” It was so pleasant to know both of us belong to the same spiritual legacy and disciples of the same Guru.
A current of joy instantly flowed through my body and mind. I invariably felt that it is my beloved and divine Guru who has been guiding me through all my ups and downs of life and was soaked with gratitude. Both Gabriel & I didn’t take much time to accurately feel deep in our hearts that we were destined to meet to begin a new journey together.
If you have faith in our faith, God offers His testimony.