My Bapu, My Savior!
- Abhishekhsinh Shah, Vile-Parle
Even if humans have made significant progress scientifically, when nature shows us its power and fury, all efforts, human intelligence seems subliminal. Man feels relatively insignificant. And then he realizes that he is helpless without the support of that “One” - the Sadguru. Those who have unwavering faith in one’s Sadguru, facing a calamity, is an acknowledgement of his existence in one’s life. They get out of such disasters, no matter where they are, be it in any remote corner of the world. This experience is a testimony to that.
In the year 2011, all of our family members were planning a visit to Kashmir. However, we felt slightly hesitant, considering the tense situation in the region. So, as is the practice that we all follow when we need an advice, we went to Dr Suchitdada’s clinic to seek Bapu’s permission. On entering his clinic, my mother, Pratikshaveera, sought Dada’s permission for our Kashmir Trip.
As usual, with his ever-smiling face, Dada said, “Please go ahead fearlessly.” He also added that if we went there, the extremists would also run away from us. Since all of us know about his light-hearted nature, we giggled. However, then, we did not realize the deep meaning behind his words. We obtained his permission and stepped out.
My parents, my wife and I reached Srinagar on May 24, 2011. Since we were travelling with a large group of tourists, the arrangements for lunch, etc., were centrally organized. Therefore, we were transported in a Shikara to a large houseboat in Dal Lake. We were to then go to a designated place for lunch. Once again, we got into a Shikara and within 15 minutes reached the venue for lunch. I had worn my favourite t-shirt with Bapu’s picture printed on it. After getting off the Shikara, a person hurriedly passed by me and greeted me with a ‘Hari Om’ as we made our way to the location. I greeted him back with a ‘Hari Om’ too. I almost felt that meeting someone, who knew “Hari Om” in an alien land, was a sign of Bapu’s existence there. I never saw that person there again.
We were to go to Sonmarg the next day for sightseeing. All group members were to go by bus, but our family decided to travel there in a taxi. On visiting Sonmarg, since we had the car with us, we returned pretty early. We were shocked to see the sight in front of us on our return. The day had begun with a bright sun. However, there was a heavy downpour followed by a thunderstorm only a few hours before our return. It had turned the place upside down. No one, including the residents, had ever seen anything like that in May.
We sat in our car for almost 45 minutes and waited for it to subside so that we could get inside our houseboat. We were continuously chanting Bapu’s name. After travelling nearly 200 km by car, we had become quite sore and were desperate to reach our houseboats. Even though the storm subsided, the wind was blowing with severe intensity. As a result, the shikaras were not in operation as they could have easily flipped. Besides, the locals had removed the head cover of the shikaras to prevent them from flipping. After all, man does tend to feel helpless before nature’s fury. We had no choice but to sit there and wait for it to subside.
We kept on invoking Bapu. In the end, Bapu made everything possible. My father, Bharatsinh Shah, finally got one boat keeper to agree to transport us to our Shikara. We had begun to feel chilly by then. Since it was warmer in the morning, we had not carried any sweaters or jackets with us. Due to the headcover’s absence, we could feel the brunt of the extreme weather on the shikara.
Just then, we got the message that we were needed to go to the place where they served food and then expected to go to our respective Shikaras. Most of the lights were non-functional due to the heavy storm. Only a few of them were operational, and those too were on the generator. We chanted Bapu’s name and got into the Shikara. There were two more people with us for navigating the boat. One person is sufficient to guide a shikara. However, since the storm had just subsided, two people were assigned for our Shikara.
Now, the Shikara had begun to wobble. We had enjoyed our ride in the Shikara the previous day. We had sailed for almost 2 hours the previous day. But now? The journey of merely 15 minutes seemed frightening, tedious and long.
Since the storm had hit Srinagar without any warning, several Shikaras had flipped in the afternoon. When we heard that, we felt all the more tensed. Of course, there was no fatality, and everyone was rescued, but most of them had lost their mobile phones, valuables and handbags. We were continuously chanting Bapu’s name. I was playing the Gurukshetram Mantra on my mobile. Our only hope to evade nature’s fury was Bapu’s Gurukshetram Mantra.
After a while, we reached the place for dinner. We had food and then began our journey towards our houseboat. On our way, we started chanting Bapu’s name again. Once in a while, as our Shikara would tilt with the force of the wind, we would chant Bapu’s name with even more intensity. However, we soon realized that, despite the weather conditions, the Shikara somehow maintained its balance.
Finally, on reaching our houseboat, we felt relieved. We managed to get there safely only due to Bapu’s blessings as there was no knowing what could happen next.
On reaching our houseboat, we freshened up and sat together to chat. The topic was the incident that we had just experienced. All of a sudden, I was reminded of Suchitdada’s words. ‘If you went there, the extremists would run away as well.” I then began to realize the reference to the context of his words. If one looked up the dictionary meaning of the word ‘Extreme,” it would say “not ordinary, very severe, and serious.” It meant that the situation we had just faced due to the storm was extreme. One does not experience such weather during that particular season.
That is when we realized that Dada had forewarned us about this incident through his humour when we had approached him to seek permission. Moreover, Bapu had also taken care of us extremely well (the storm had hit Dal Lake during the time we left for Sonmarg until we came back to Dal Lake.)
This is how caring and loving our dear Bapu, our Sadguru is. We must learn to reciprocate that love unconditionally; only then one’s life would be Aniruddha (Unstoppable) beautiful!