Satish Garg, Delhi
While waiting for the results someone brought me a raksha from Sri Swamiji. An old woman came and offered me North Indian food. I took the food and ate. The woman stayed with me all the time.
My neighbor, Professor Krissan Kumar, used to tell me about his Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji who lives in Mysore. I was fascinated with his talks and told him to inform me when his Guru visits Delhi. After graduating from the Institute of Hotel Management in Delhi, I started my own catering business. I followed in the tradition of my father who had started his restaurant business in 1962. I got a contract to cater some VIP functions, became anxious about it, and spent many sleepless nights planning.
In one of these functions, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, was scheduled to perform the inauguration ceremony for a medical conference. Then just twenty days before the function, on December 30th 1975, Professor Krissan Kumar came and told me that Sri Swamiji was in Delhi at Bala Sriram’s house. I thought I would take a break from my job to go and see Him.
When I first saw Him I was very nervous; when I looked at Him, He looked very peaceful. But, I still had my job on my mind. During an interview, I casually asked Him, “Will my restaurant business be successful?” He looked at me and said, “Yes it will be a success.” He gave me some vibhuti and I left. Following this, I gained more confidence in my business and received great reviews from my functions. My business became a financial success.
I got married in 1978 and told Professor Kumar I wanted to visit Mysore to seek the blessings of Sri Swamiji for my marriage. He was very happy, saying that it was good that I do not want to go on a honeymoon, but I wanted to seek the blessings of God. He asked me to meet him in Mysore. My wife and I went and had the darshan of Sri Swamiji; He looked at us and said, “Very nice, after marriage you have come for the blessings of Sadguru, very nice.” He then told Professor Kumar to take us around the ashram.
He took us on the tour, and we saw the printing press where the Bhakti Mala was printed, we saw the cowsheds, small canteen, the office, and Rama Shankara Kuteera, the cottage that accommodated the devotees. The Datta Temple was under construction. Later when we were going around the temple Sri Swamiji was standing with the priest, Thimmapa and Professor Kumar. They were all looking at us and Sri Swamiji said to them, “This couple will be blessed with a son.” We requested a photo with Sri Swamiji and He obliged. We stayed two more days then returned to Delhi.
We returned home feeling the shadow of our Guru, Sri Swamiji, on us. As He predicted, My wife became pregnant and delivered a baby boy. He was the apple of our eyes. I was a drunkard and had some other bad habits. Slowly, over the years and by His grace, I became a better person. There were good and bad times in our lives, but when any problem came that I could not find a solution, I used to seek His guidance. I visited Mysore Ashrama at least twice per year and received His guidance and blessings.
He had given me the opportunity to cook and serve food in the Delhi Ashrama. I cooked Prasadam for about one hundred young children every Sunday. On one occasion, Mr. Deslal, the manager of the Haridwar Ashrama came to our Delhi Temple and taught me how to cook certain things for the Ashrama. I learnt cooking and received my degree in the Taj Mahal Hotel and now I really learned to cook in the Delhi Ashrama. I received the degree of Sri Swamiji’s grace.
On November 18th 1999, my wife complained to Sri Swamiji that I was still drinking alcohol. He told her not to worry about it. Eleven days later I stopped drinking. This was a miracle, I used to drink everyday and stopping it became so easy for me. It was only because of Sri Swamiji’s blessings.
In 2002, Sri Swamiji conducted Shivaratri festival in Haridwar Ashrama. I attended the functions there and when I returned to Delhi, I stopped consuming non-vegetarian foods. Also in my catering business, I began doing vegetarian food only. The only explanation I can give for this sudden change is because of my association with Him. I am a heart patient and few years back I suffered a massive heart attack.. I did an angiogram and the doctor said that it does not look very good for me. I kept on doing my daily duties trying not to provoke another heart attack.
Sometime in 2008, one evening at around 9.00 pm Vamshi Krishna Ganapathy, a close associate of Sri Swamiji, called and said that Sri Swamiji wanted to talk to me. I became very nervous and my hands were trembling, I was wondering why did He call me? Sri Swamiji came on the phone and said to me, “Tomorrow morning take the first flight and come to Mysore.” I said, “OK Swamiji.” I wondered how I was going to get a ticket for the early morning flight. The ticket would cost about twelve to fifteen hundred rupees.
I remembered sometime back, I got a flyer from Indian Airlines stating that you can call six hours before the flight time to get a cheaper priced ticket. The first flight was at 6.30am. I told my wife to pack my bags and I will call the airline at 12.20am and whether or not I get a cheap or expensive ticket, I was going. When I called the airline and they said that one seat was available and it would cost four thousand, two hundred rupees. I booked it and the next morning I went to Mysore. Upon arrival in the Ashrama Sri Swamiji told me that He was glad I came and He instructed me to do a pooja the following day. I did the pooja and then He told me to go back to Delhi.
About three to four days later, He called me to Mysore again. On the way, I met Him in Bangalore and He told me to go back to Delhi. One week passed and He called me to Mysore again. I went there and early the next morning, I was sitting with Professor Kumar when I had a massive heart attack. I was in the Ashrama hospital and the doctors conducted some tests. While waiting for the results someone brought me a raksha from Sri Swamiji. An old woman came and offered me North Indian food. I took the food and ate. The woman stayed with me all the time. I took a nap and after two hours, the doctors came with the results of the tests. The test read positive that there was nothing wrong with my heart. Sri Swamiji had brought me under His shadow and protected me from death.
I had asked Sri Swamiji to help my children and He told me not to worry about them. He has indeed taken care of them. They went to the best schools and received a good education. In July of 2000, my son went to the UK to complete his studies. He became home sick and used to call me on the phone and cry. Three weeks later, Sri Swamiji visited the town where my son lived. Sri Swamiji met my son and hugged him as a father would; my son never felt home sick again. In fact, he stayed and completed his studies and even extended his time there.
My daughter gave birth to a baby boy in 2010. After twenty-one days the baby began suffering from jaundice, we did not worry about it much for it was a common thing. The sickness persisted and my daughter took the baby to the doctor. They did some tests and found out that the baby may develop thyroid problems that will affect his growth and mental functions. We became worried, consulted various doctors, and did many tests. None of these proved differently. I went to Sri Swamiji and informed Him about my grandson. He told me not to worry everything will be all right. Fifteen days later, I took the baby to the Delhi Ashrama and laid him at Sri Swamiji’s padukas. I returned home and my son-in-law looked at the baby’s medical file and was shocked to see that the reports were different. The results were changed. We took the reports to the doctors and they said that according to the reports nothing is wrong with my grandson. Sri Swamiji changed the medical records and so saved my grandson.
Since 2005, Sri Swamiji appointed me as a trustee in the Delhi Ashrama. I am serving Him to the best of my ability. What else can I give Him? Everything is His. In fact serving Him is a blessing from Him. On one occasion, Sri Swamiji conducted a volunteer camp of about six hundred devotees in Andhra Pradesh. He invited devotees from all the states to attend. I was invited also. He honored all of us who were serving at various ashrams and made us sit on the dais with Him. Seeing the faces of all the volunteers and their enthusiasm, I realized that I should not only serve in His organizations, but also render service to everyone; for we are all his children. Jaya Guru Datta