Krishan Kumar, Mysore
Then He took me to His room and showed me a map of India, showing certain places saying that He wanted to go there. “Will you take me? Will you take me?”
I was born in Pakistan in 1934 and along with my parents and other members of the family; I migrated to India in 1947 during the partitioning of the country. My early education was at a Muslim school. Being brought up in Pakistan and having seen the tribulations of life, the partitioning, the open massacre of people; Hindus and Muslims killing each other, this left a very deep scar on my soul. Anyway, my early childhood was all spent around troublesome years of ‘Second World War,’ then the Partition, leaving on my mind very adverse impressions of life.
As I grew up, I didn’t have any notions of religion or spirituality, and I became materialistic, so my mission in life was to be successful materially. I came to Delhi in 1948 and went to college and university and graduated with high success. I was highly ambitious and was obsessed with the idea of becoming someone great. I got a teaching job in the university and completed my Masters with first class honors, and by which time I was married. Even my life was successful and we had had three children; Nandini, Deepa and Roopa.
In 1969, all of a sudden, Deepa fell ill and we thought it was something normal, but it was much more serious, as she was found to be suffering from acute leukemia, or blood cancer. We consulted with top children blood specialists, doctors in top hospitals in Delhi and they would tell me, “Mr. Kumar, we are sorry; your child will live for only about six months. We cannot pronounce the date of death, but you have to live with this reality.” I was totally crest-fallen, dumbfounded as she was a beautiful child and I was immensely attached to her. I would cry, drink, and wonder if there was any power that would give life to her.
It was all gloom for me; life became very miserable; it was all-round depression. The child did not know what was happening to her, but the family and parents knew that she could die at any time. Words cannot explain how parents feel at such agonizing moments. In those moments of crisis I would run here and there. If someone would say ‘there is a healer in that church,’ I would go there, and if I heard about some guru, I would run there. In my childhood I had heard that miracles do happen to some people in their times of crisis, and I also began to wonder if a miracle could happen to me also.
That’s how I spent the following months of October and November, wondering about this. Then a friend told me about a saint, Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji from Mysore, whom I should meet, informing me the maybe He could help me. In December I wrote to Him telling Him about my dilemma and in about ten days, a reply came back advising me to bring her to the Ashram for Shivaratri that was on February 1970.
I was a lecturer at the University, and I did not have too much money; my daughter had ninety-six percent lymphoblast cancer cells in her blood count. I thought I would take a loan and fly to Mysore with her. Then I received another letter saying, “Don not worry, Sri Swamiji has made arrangements for your coming.” I could not understand what this meant. However, after a few days, my director informed me that, “There is a conference in Bangalore and we are deputizing you to represent us there, and we have made arrangements for you to fly to Bangalore.” So I had no problem with finances for my trip, and later I realized, ‘This is what Swamiji meant.”
In 1970 when I came to the ashram there were a couple thousand people flocking around Swamiji and He was a young lad jumping here and there. I could not make out anything. I had some negative thoughts since I did not like people superstiously following Him and I was thinking, “How could this Swamiji be a spiritual person?” I waited about two days, and then I had a chance to meet Him. As I was holding my daughter, He stretched out His hand, indicating that I should give her to Him, and at that moment, I broke down in tears.
I wept and asked Him, “Can you save her? She is going to die in a few months.” I don’t think I have ever wept so much in my life as that day when I wept in front of Sri Swamiji. I still recall vividly how compassionately He smiled at me, and told me, “I’ll try. You worship once a week,” and He gave me a small, metallic image of Ganapathi. Why did He tell me to worship once a week, why not every day or every morning? In my opinion, because the idea of worship was so strange in my life, I had no thought of going to the temple, or doing any prayers nor did I have any notion of religious or spiritual life. My life was totally; eat, drink and be merry, totally materialistic, totally mundane temporal existence. So to start me on the path of worship, He told me, “Worship once a week.”
After this we went back to Delhi and I began doing worship once a week. Every Thursday I would do abhishekam, even though I did not know its significance, but I felt like giving water to Ganapathi. I would pour some water, sit for some time, chant Sri Swamiji’s name, and pray to Him. One month passed and within that time when I took my child for medical blood count exam, she did not show even one percent of cancer cells in her blood. That gave me tremendous courage and thrill.
One month later I rushed to Mysore, and started jumping ecstatically telling Sri Swamiji, “A miracle has happened.” Till that time I had never seen Swamiji materializing anything though we had heard of it. I had a great desire to see. I gave Him a flower and from that flower a murti of Ganapathi emerged. I again started jumping with excitement and joy.
As I was staying in the ashram, one afternoon He called me and started uttering a few sentences, looking very deeply at me. He was actually telling me, who I was and my relationship with Him, also what I will be in the future and He revealed other certain things to me. Those revelations were very shocking at that point in my life. Also, the mood in which He was saying those things; it was in an obsessed mood, not human, as though some power were talking to Him and telling things about me.
Then He took me to His room and showed me a map of India, showing certain places saying that He wanted to go there. “Will you take me? Will you take me?” It was a heaven-sent opportunity for me, and so this is how I entered into this missionary life and started to serve Him. I forgot about my child and wanted to serve Him, put my mind to do whatever He wanted. It was a wondrous time, going with Him to the Himalayas and North India; to the holy shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath, Allahabad, Benaras, Kashmir and Jammu.
All this time I did not think about a religious or secular life, I was simply drawn into an unqualified love for Him. This bond of love became so strong that it became the primary purpose or goal in my life. I would not pay much attention to family, job or my surroundings; I was totally obsessed with Him. This bond of love became so strong that it became unbearable for me to live without Him. I even thought of leaving Delhi and going to serve Him, since money was no longer the goal of my life. I thought that since such a divine personality like this has come into my life I should serve Him, nevertheless. I used to tell Him how I felt, but He would never agree, He would tell me, “Wait for some time, nothing doing.”
After about two years, while sitting together with Sri Swamiji and about fifteen other devotees, I was given the opportunity to serve Him as a secretary in North India. I would help by interpreting His speeches, and did whatsoever He wanted. On one such meeting when we were together, He whispered to me, “Now danger, be prepared.” I could make out the purport of His statement that my child was not going to live any longer, and I should be prepared.
Four years had passed since I met Him and I was a different person; my life was now His, and as it happened, within one month of His statement, the child Deepa, whose life He prolonged for four years, passed away. It was in 1974, and the most beautiful thing was that the last thing on her lips was the name of Sachchidananda. At about the age of six she used to write poems for Sri Swamiji and sing them to Him. So through Deepa, He made me come in contact with Him, consolidated the flame of love between us and created a deep commitment in me to serve Him. This was my ‘childhood’ with Sri Swamiji.
From 1970 to 1974 when Deepa passed away, it was a wholesome love relationship with Him and from then I began to feel a pang of separation from Him. I could not live in Delhi, for more than two months, without seeing Him, so every so often I would come to the Ashram and spend a few days with Him. The Ashram was like a jungle and a few people were with Him then. I had beautiful association with Him, no questions, no inquiries, simply seeing Him, loving His Company, laughing, joking, and travelling with Him, but never having any serious discussion, it was not required at all.
Increasing association with Him drove me to try and understand who this Person was more and more, and what was so special about Him. A sense of inquiry started coming to me. Till then I had not read any spiritual books, so I started to read books about great Gurus like Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Tukaram, and other saints. These readings inspired me and created a sharp drive, a longing for God. Up until then I never treated Sri Swamiji like God.
Is He God? This question never bothered me. But now the idea of God, a super Power controlling the universe, and the love for Him began to shift to a longing for the Divine. What is that Power? I could never dare ask Him these questions because when we are in front of Him all our questions vanish. He would never ask anyone to do a particular thing, so people are the same as they are. Anyway, my longing increased day by day.
I was no longer satisfied with the temporal existence and the same question of becoming somebody great in my life, in my youth, shifted to a notion that I must excel in divinity. I now realize that this was a gross mistake, because we are not to become anything in divinity. Thus I began searching for something which was unusual in Him; I tried to evaluate Him, trying to see how His actions and moods were different from normal people.
Then in the 80’s something epic happened which further strengthened my bond with Him. I was born in 1934, and Swamiji in 1942, so physical gap was about eight years. When I was about four years my mother went to see a mahatma and when he saw me he asked, “Whose child is that?” My mother immediately raised her hand. The mahatma said, “How come he is born? He had no birth, he had done immense penance in the last life, and he is not going to live for long. If you want him to live long, get a water pond dug in his name.”
My mother was baffled, and she came home and told my father what the Mahatma said. My father did not believe in all this, and never got it done. This happened about when Sri Swamiji was not yet born. Then in about 1982, while I was sitting next to Sri Swamiji, all of a sudden He whispers in my ear, “Your water pond was not complete, at least you have to build a water tank, get it done, and finish the job.” I immediately recalled the incident with that mahatma, and realized that Sri Swamiji knew all about my past; everything about me.
I was shaken, face to face with Swamiji who knew everything about my past, and was making me complete what my parents had not done. I immediately sent some money and had that work completed. This left a lasting impression on my mind. This proved the sloka true: the mantra recited in honour of Sri Swamiji, “The One who is aware of all the three kala; the present, the past and the future.” This was the first face to face revelation made by Him to me, and that further cemented my relationship with Him. It brought an even stronger commitment to serve Him, and to be with Him; the goal of my life. Everything else became less important.
All through this period, apart from the physical profile of Sri Swamiji, His ecstatic moods, His childlike nature, what used to lift me from one plane of existence to another ecstatic plane, was His bhajans. I would record His bhajans whenever He sang them, and I also started singing and composing some bhajans. My whole worship was confined to listening and singing His bhajans. Just as I had a divine love for Him, I loved His bhajans in the same proportion. Listening to Him would cause a clear shift in my psychic level. I began to soar higher and higher as if I was intoxicated. Whenever I got the chance I would start singing His bhajans.
My materialistic ambitions vanished after meeting Sri Swamiji. However, in 1976, I applied to read for my PhD at a university in the U.S. where I would secure a position as a visiting professor, after which I would become quite brilliant and ambitious. Before going I came to Him and He asked me for how long I would be there. Then He said, “Two years will be like two months.” I did not understand what He meant and thought He meant that the time would fly. So I left my family behind and went to the U.S.
After one month, all kinds of questions came into my mind ‘why exactly was I doing this PhD? Was I happy in India?” I was missing Him and this type of life, which I could not find in the U.S. Exactly one day before the two months expiration, I was back home and I came to Him and asked, “Why did you let me go? Why didn’t you stop me from going when you knew I could not settle down there?” He told me, “You had a very strong desire to go. I wanted to kill that desire. Do you still want to go?” I replied, “Nothing doing. I will never go back there.”
He said, “You will again go but for a different mission. Wait for some time.” Then in 1993 He took me along with Him on Nada Prasara tour to America and West Indies and other countries. So this particular event galvanized my faith and I realized I was not cut out for a materialistic life. My life has to be with Him, only Him. By His Grace I began to excel in my job and in my studies and gained a great deal of respect. I enjoyed my teaching and would leave a unique impression on my students. They themselves would tell me that my teaching was very special and spiritual.
By that time, my longing to be with Swamiji physically also got reduced, without any volition on my part, somehow it got reduced. I began worshipping Him more and more as Guru and God. Then strong desires took hold of my mind and imbibe a knowledge that was that I must leave my job and let this mundane life be over. I wanted to live in the Ashram to be with Him and devote myself to His work.
After 1995, when I retired, Sri Swamiji permitted me to come to the Ashram. It was difficult to be with Him physically. I used to wonder how it was that I was so close yet so far from Him. He distanced Himself from me and I had to bear a lot of pain. I began to experience a different relationship with Him. It was not the love relationship that was there before. I saw Swamiji as a huge tower and I was very small before Him. How can I bear this? It was very difficult for me when I thought about my initial years in the Ashram. But in one sense, it proved to be a great blessing. I had plenty of time to examine the questions which were bothering me and began concentrating more on reading the works of Ramana Mahashi in particular.
I began understanding a little of the spiritual life, and then came Sri Swamiji’s sixtieth birthday. During Swamiji‘s tour in 1993, he had asked me to write a book and as I had maintained a diary I was able to compile the book, “Nada Prasara, glimpses of the world tour.” It was very beautiful, with lots of photographs and lots of astounding events. I had seen Him materializing many objects, and the most astounding was seeing Him materializing a diamond from His elbow and before He did so, He was telling us about it.
When He visited the US my job was to take photographs. In the office of a diamond merchant, He said, “Show me your business.” The devotee brought His caskets full of diamonds and showed Him one diamond after another, and Sri Swamiji was like a little child, looking at each one. He told Sri Swamiji, “You can take any one of them.” Sri Swamiji replied, “Only one! What can you give me? My body is full of diamonds. I will give you.” He rubbed His shoulder and materialized a diamond and gave it to the devotee. When I returned to India I began to understand a little.
For sixtieth birthday I was assigned to write a souvenir containing all the important events since 1966 when the Ashram was started here. It was difficult because I had to write a full-fledged article on Him, not a narration of His life, but the spirituality of Sri Swamiji. This is what I wanted to write. It led me to more and more readings. And then a God-sent blessing was seeing a book on the philosophy and teachings of Gorakshanath. On any page I would see the reflection of Sri Swamiji there. Gorakshanath was one of the greatest Avadhoota whose Guru was Matsyendranath, whose Guru was Dattatreya.
Then when I read about Gorakshanath the yogic stature of Swamiji came to light for me. As a Natha I began to understand who is a Natha, what is special about a Natha, how Natha is different from the common man, different from a saint, because all this unusual, strange, unpredictable, contradictory nature I had seen in Sri Swamiji and now I could finally place it properly. Theoretically, we were told that Swamiji was in the Natha lineage, that‘s how He was building the nine Natha temples. The first one was Dam Datta Natha in Delhi, and then I began to realize that Swamiji Himself was a Natha. The spiritual implication I had not known, but started to realize the truth of His personality, the truth of His behavior.
It took me about five months to write about twenty pages on Sri Swamiji, an article which got translated into other languages. I don’t think I can write better than that article brought out for His sixtieth birthday, and from then onwards as I finished the souvenir called “Gurudeva”, another important step on my journey took place, that was the spiritual understanding of Sri Swamiji. Thereafter I would not long to see Him physically. There were no desires. I began to understand what the purpose of the initial close relationship was and which was no longer required.
I began to perceive Him as an embodiment of the Holy Spirit. All of us are embodiments but we do not conduct ourselves in a holy manner. We still remain in that level of existence where most of the time we are enmeshed in the worldly affairs, and Guru or God is a pastime for most of us. With all humility I can say that Sri Swamiji caused this transcendence in me where I would be more drawn to the spiritual realm or orbit in which He dwells, and aspire to remain in touch with that spiritual orbit.
During all these years, just as a child grows up slowly and carefully, and the mother caresses and pampers the child, Sri Swamiji has showered me with emotional love; we were more like friends. With Him different forms of Bhakti exist; Sakhya Bhakti, or friendly love, Dasya Bhakti, serving with love, and Prem Bhakti where there is only love. With me the entire relationship has been love, friendliness and love.
Only after 1999 knowledge crept in, not giving so much importance to love, but to understanding what is spiritual life, what is Guru what is Sri Swamiji. My whole worship shifted from a specific God or specific Swamiji, to a Cosmic Power, of which He is the embodiment as He is the embodiment of that Divine Energy, and sometimes I would have glimpses of these divine flashes, and I would be unable to control my body because I would be so intoxicated with that.
So the major portion of my life, of my physical life have been spent with Him; physically, emotionally, psychically and I have walked like a small child with Him. He has made me walk, and I cannot say that I have grown up, that is for Him to say. I can only say that my love or passion for the Supreme, represented by Him, has grown. I love to be immersed in that Supreme bliss whether it comes through Him physically on in the cosmic. I worship every aspect of Nature, as God is there in the Divine, so He is in the trees, the water and the fire. God is in the earth and in the air. Through Swamiji’s Grace I have begun to see how God is there in all existence!
How truly it is said that parents gives you just a physical birth, but the Guru gives you a spiritual birth! Jaya Guru Datta.