- Dattatray Shelar, Titwala
I am an Auto Rickshaw driver by profession. In the year 2002, as my friends were getting ready to go to Param Poojya Bapu’s discourse, they invited me to come along, but I refused. From thereon, every Thursday, they would insist that I go with them. However, I never felt like attending the discourse. I later began to tell them, "whenever Bapu thinks it is an opportune time for me, he would invite me.” Soon enough, an opportunity like that came knocking at my door.
My son was then studying in the sixth grade. In his mid-term examination, he had failed in five subjects. I was extremely perplexed and worried. As the final exam drew closer, I began to experience palpitations. Around the same time, one of my friends gave me a picture of Bapu and asked me to tell my son to carry it with him to the examination hall. That was our first step forward towards the Bapu family. With Bapu’s blessings, my son had passed all the papers in the final examination. Since the human mind does not surrender to anyone unless it experiences miracles, I too desired to go to Bapu’s discourse soon after my son's experience.
Finally, in the year 2003, I went for Bapu’s discourse and became an integral part of the Bapu Family. We experienced Bapu’s blessings and grace on several occasions. He took us under his wings and protected us from many things as he would protect every devotee. At times, he gives his devotees a hint through his discourse and at other times, through other means to pacify the devotee that he is just a call away. What it means is that no sooner does one call him, he would eagerly come running to offer help.
Since then, many years have passed. Till 2009, I used to live in a hutment at Kurla (east) near Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. Now, I have my own home. When I used to live at Kurla, around the year 2009, I had a dream at night. In my dream, I saw that I parked my rickshaw in the queue outside Kurla (west) station. My rickshaw stood first in the line. I was standing there and talking to other rickshaw drivers. In the nick of time, someone sat in the rickshaw, and I stepped forward.
To my surprise, my Sadguru Bapu was sitting in my rickshaw. I was delighted, and I greeted him with a 'Hari Om'. All the other rickshaw drivers were looking at me. I asked them, "What are you looking at? Do you know who is sitting in my rickshaw?'and said, 'It is none other than Aniruddha Bapu! A glimpse of Bapu can make you feel as if your entire life is fulfilled.”
After listening to what I had said, all the rickshaw drivers came forward to take a glimpse of Bapu. I was sitting near Bapu while all of this took place. A man walked right in front of me with his two children. One of the children was in a wheelchair. That man bowed before Bapu and said something to his son. After that, the child began to talk to Bapu. Only Bapu could hear him and no one else. I asked,"What is he saying, Bapu?” but Bapu did not reply. Instead, Bapu held that boy's hand, and he made him stand up. The disabled boy then stood by himself and the person who had brought the boy along was happy. And even I was quite delighted to witness that incident.My eyes had welled up to have seen this.
Soon after,it was time for Bapu to leave, but I could not control myself and asked Him to wait for a little while. However, Bapu said, "I have no time. I am leaving.” At that very instance, I woke up and it was at the break of dawn. Later, I informed everyone about the dream.
After performing my morning Pooja, I started from home in my rickshaw. I switched on the ignition and looked at Bapu’s picture in the rickshaw. Subsequently, I took on 2-3 passengers and dropped them at their desired destinations. Suddenly my rickshaw began to pick up speed and refused to slow down no matter what I tried. I constantly switched the auto on and off but couldn't understand the reason behind the sudden change. In utter desperation, I stopped the rickshaw at Tilak Nagar near the Sai Mandir. I began to inspect the rickshaw for the malfunction, and in the midst of it, I refused a known passenger as well.
I then decided to go home and check the vehicle. As I thought about my course of action, I switched on the ignition and began to drive towards Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The rickshaw soon picked up speed. I needed to turn right, and therefore, I tried to put on the brakes, but they were malfunctioning. I was perplexed. I looked to the right and noticed taxis coming on that side while there were some rickshaws on the other side. I tried to avoid the other speeding rickshaws and put my rickshaw in a small ditch to slow it down. The rickshaw thus halted abruptly, hit the gate of Hotel Amrapali Very hard, moved back and stopped.
I was stunned by the sequence of events that had taken place so far. In spite of that, I looked at Bapu’s picture in the rickshaw with a sigh of relief. A person was standing right in front of my rickshaw, and he was observing everything. After taking Bapu’s darshan, I got down from the rickshaw to check the extent of the damage. Due to Bapu’s grace, there was no damage to the rickshaw. The person who was observing everything with compassion asked me about my well-being and enquired about the reason for the accident. Hence, I told him about the failure of the brakes.
Quite a crowd had gathered around the rickshaw by then. I looked around and looked towards the direction of the person again, but he was not there anymore. People were responding compassionately and were asking me to thank my stars and fate because of my rickshaw had hit the taxi, it would have been smashed completely. On hearing this, I was reminded of the dream I had the previous night. I thought about the disabled boy in the wheelchair. Had I met with an accident involving the taxi, I would have been like the boy I had seen in my dream. However, Bapu made the boy stand up on his own feet.Thus, he had saved me from such an untoward incident.
After the entire incident, it is my firm belief that the person who had compassionately asked me about my well-being was none other than my beloved Bapu. In spite of having met with such a severe accident, I not only escaped without any injuries but also without any damages that would require significant repair work for the rickshaw. My Bapu is ever-ready to save his devotee!
I bow to the lotus feet of Bapu and wish that Bapu bless all the devotees.
Jai Jai Aniruddha Hari!