A major accident averted, all because of my Sadguru Aniruddha Bapu’s grace

 - Kiran Kurne, 

Thursday, 9th August 2007, I was on stage to perform the aarti at Shree Harigurugram. I had been asked to stand in front of idol of Shree Dattatreya. The aarti began and within no time, the flames of the aarti started spreading. This ignited the extra cubes of camphor lying in the platter. Now all the cubes were burning at the same time. It was only the first aarti and we were just about half way through it. My ‘uparna’ too fluttered in the breeze and to protect it from the flames, I stepped back a little and held the aarti tamhan (platter for doing the aarti) further away from my body. By then just about everything in the platter was burning, due to which the platter also started getting very hot. Soon the platter became so hot that I could barely hold it.

For a moment, the thought of setting down the platter came to my mind. But I dismissed it soon as doing thus would distract the bhaktas engrossed in the aarti; besides, I thought that it was only a matter of a few days and my burnt fingers would soon heal. I decided against setting down the platter. More importantly, I was fully aware that this moment of grace, where I was standing on stage next to my Sadguru (my Aniruddha Bapu), was extremely special and such an opportunity was not going to come my way easily again.

I held on to the platter by alternating my fingers, bearing the pain of the burns. My Sadguru-mauli (Aniruddha Bapu who showers his motherly love) watched me closely. Can a loving mother just stand back and watch a child in pain? Noticing the wild flames in the platter, Bapu immediately stepped towards me, gathered the flowers (petals) offered to Shree Dattatreya’s idol in His fist and slammed them onto the fire. That one blow was enough to extinguish the fire. The fire that was burning the flowers, the leaves and the camphor cubes died down instantly. Bapu then instructed me to set the platter down. A few moments later the second aarti too was performed.

I took darshan after the aarti and went to the medical counter behind the stage. There, I asked the doctor present, for a bottle of cold water and then headed for a quiet corner away from everybody’s gaze. I first poured the cold water over my fingers which were still stinging and then rubbed some Udi on them. Thereafter I resumed my routine seva. It was about 11.45 pm when I was ready to leave.

There was only one autorickshaw waiting outside gate no. 4 of Shree Harigurugram. I asked the driver if he was willing to take me to Vile Parle. He agreed but said that he did not know the way and would have to be guided. Just then I noticed my Shraddhavan friend Vishalsinh Bahekar and his wife standing at the same gate. They too decided to come along to Vile Parle station.

On the way home, all that we spoke about was regarding what had happened during the aarti. We were passing Khar on the highway when the auto driver started feeling drowsy but we were so engrossed in chatting that we just did not realize it. By the time we were somewhere between Santacruz and Vile Parle, the driver was, in all probability so uncontrollably sleepy that the autorichshaw was gradually drifting towards the right. It was quite late in the night and trucks, luxury buses and other such huge vehicles zipped past at tremendous speed. Just then we noticed that the truck following us was honking loudly and while overtaking us almost brushed our autorickshaw. As the truck sped by, the cleaner sitting on the seat beside the driver yelled at our autorickshaw driver. That was when we got alert. I too, snapped at the driver telling him to keep to the left.

We were back to talking about Bapu. The autorickshaw left the highway and after taking a turn at Nehru road, headed for Vile Parle station. By now the driver just could not keep his eyes open and in that very state, he suddenly accelerated. He lost control of the vehicle and rammed into a taxi and a tree on the right. The auto had crashed with so much speed that the wind shield was shattered and the entire front was jabbed inwards. The driver could not move at all, he was stuck. People around came forward and pulled him out safe.

More importantly, all three of us were unhurt. Not a single scratch, we were totally safe. The auto driver too had only a slight bruise on the cheek. Bapu had indeed averted a major disaster that could have come my way and in fact, it was right when Bapu put out the fire in the platter, that the thought crossed my mind. Within four hours that followed, I knew what kind of a calamity had been warded off. To alter destiny is a task next to impossible but with our ever loving Sadguru standing steadfast with us, the storm of troubles passes peacefully. I was undoubtedly meant to meet with an accident on that day. But it happened at a spot where there were no vehicles at all and this, thanks to my Sadguru alone. What if the collision were to have taken place on the highway right in the midst of the speeding traffic of trucks and luxury buses?

The Sadgurumauli does protect us at all times. But then it does not stop at that! The following Saturday, I happened to go to the second floor of Happy Home for some work and found myself right before Bapu and Suchitdada and ever so lovingly my God asked, “How are you? The burns were not too bad, were they?”