The Importance of Following Guru's Word (The spiritual experience of Janani Nirmala Jnana Tapaswini)
Although my parents belong to Kannur (Kerala) I was born and brought up in Bombay. Both of them were employed and we led a busy city life. However, my mother found time for reading and she was particularly fond of spiritual literature. From her I heard stories of saints and great souls in various traditions.
Once Aunt Shyamala, my mother's cousin came over to Bombay to spend a few days with her two brothers. She stayed with us also. She had a book authored by Guru and my mother read it. She thought it presented a different view of life and she wanted to see Guru. Shyamala's family, she learnt, had been devotees of Guru for quite some time.
When we went to Kannur on a vacation my mother managed to get hold of Aunt Prema, one of her sisters-in-law, to accompany her to Guru's Ashram in Thiruvananthapuram. She took the two of us - my younger brother Manish (3) and myself (9) - with her. Aunt Shyamala's younger brother, uncle Mohanan also joined our group. My father stayed back in Thalassery as he was totally disinterested in going to see any Guru or Sanyasi. Father had no belief in spiritual matters. Nor did he visit any temple. As a result we also did not visit temples. However because of my mother's story telling I had become very fond of Lord Sree Krishna.
The first spiritual experience I had was related to Santhigiri. During one of my vacations I happened to visit Aunt Shyamala's brother uncle Raman. They were devotees of Guru and were regular in their morning and evening prayers. As I was staying with them I joined their prayer once. I did not know the words but kept listening. Suddenly I received a vision of a figure enveloped in Bright Light. I did not think I should mention this to anybody. This happened when I was seven.
When we visited Santhigiri, two years later, I felt very happy in the peaceful atmosphere. On seeing Guru I felt intense devotion towards Him. In the prayer hall I received a vision. Even this I did not think of telling anyone. But Guru called me later and asked me if I had 'seen' anything. I told Him about the vision received in the prayer hall. Then Guru asked me if I had seen anything earlier. It was then that I recollected my earlier vision. Only then did it occur to me that the figure in the vision I saw was that of Guru. Guru told me that this is what is called darshanam and that everyone can't receive them.
After this unforgettable meeting, I started receiving many more visions. In one of them, I saw Sree Krishna, whom I used to worship, himself offering prayers to Guru and falling at Guru's feet. In that vision He was directing me to do the same. Another vision was that of countless deities (deva, devi, angels and so on), prophets and sages offering worship to Guru along with their paramparas. These visions gave me the knowledge that Guru is the MASTER of all Masters.
My devotion to Guru was increasing day by day. Even my mother's surrender was total. Aunt Prema who accompanied us on the first visit also had become a staunch devotee. Although my father's responses continued to be cold, circumstances had forced him to accompany Aunt Prema to the Ashram on a couple of occasions. By Guru's Grace the situation was beginning to change slowly. A series of experiences we had, proved to us the Truth of Guru's Word. I would like to share a couple of incidents that vividly illustrate this. Guru's Word, if followed without mixing our likes and dislikes, can save us from all perils.
The First event took place when I was studying in my pre-degree course. My exams were going on and Guru sent word through some one that my mother and I should reach the Ashram at the earliest, as soon as my exams were over. So the day after the exams (it was a Saturday) we started out to Thiruvananthapuram. Father sent Manish to my uncle's place as the Diwali holidays had started. Moreover Manish could not be left alone in the house as Father left at 8 am and returned at 8 pm daily.
We reached Ashram on Monday. Guru was relaxed and we were wondering why we had to be summoned to the Ashram so urgently. There was no clue. But later, in the evening, we received a call from Father to say that our flat had been robbed. They had robbed whatever they could lay their hands on - jewelry, money, electronic gadgets, etc. Also they had broken the cupboards, etc. When my mother passed this information on to Guru, He laughed and said: 'That's good!'
Guru called mother later and told her that something worse was to happen, which had been averted. I am sure Guru saved Manish and myself from a great disaster. When we returned to Bombay, we found Father to be a changed person. Relief and gratitude to Guru were writ large on His face. Thereafter he approached Guru in faith, devotion and surrender.
The second incident took place in 2003. By this time I had finished my graduation and joined the Ashram. Guru had merged in Adisamkalpam and I had received the deeksha of Sanyasam (on the occasion of Navaoli Samkalpa Pooja). One day Sishyapoojitha Janani Amritha Jnana Tapaswini, Guru's foremost disciple, and the present spiritual head of the Ashram and the parampara, asked me to call my brother Manish - post haste from Bombay. The message was conveyed and Manish was put on the air plane to Thiruvananthapuram on the earliest available ticket. Even after he reached the Ashram we had no idea as to what was happening. Two weeks passed. And then Manish received a phone call from mother one night. Two fellows who lived in Malad in the building next to ours had been arrested. They were playmates of Manish from childhood. Even I had seen them as little children. Two other boys from Malad itself (from other areas) were also arrested along with them. Manish had met these guys through the other two. All four were arrested for a murder. The whole of Bombay had come to know about this, as IC colony murder, from the newspapers. The news came as a terrible shock to us, especially Manish. Even a chance meeting any of these boys on that fateful day would have aroused the suspicion of the police, had Manish been in Bombay.
Manish stayed in the Ashram for seven months and he lost an academic year. Friends and relatives criticized but we did not pay much attention to what they said. According to the directions given by Sishyapoojitha, Manish went back and cleared his 12th examinations next year, after which he returned to the Ashram in 2005. Now he is studying for his B. Com privately and has joined the Ashram accounts division as a member of its staff.
Last year the judgment in the murder case came out. Two boys who were above 18 were sentenced to death by hanging. Their two associates were below 18 at the time of the crime. Even though they escaped death sentence they are to go through severe punishment. Those who criticized earlier started saying: Manish lost only one year...
Many children belonging to affluent families are going astray these days. By the Will of the Almighty, Guru's Grace showered upon us as children. He taught us the value of life and our responsibility towards ourselves and the society. We consider ourselves blessed. It is my prayer that the youth of the world may turn to GURU and His guidance to bring about a New World Order.