God bless, Gaud Uncle
Shivi Verma fondly remembers her first spiritual teacher and expresses her heartfelt gratitude to him for providing her with a spiritual springboard
I often wonder what I would have done with my life, had God not sent me the right people to awaken me and put me on the right path at the right time.
A dreamer and romantic at heart, I used to get crushed by realists around me who confidently propounded that there was nothing magical or wonderful about life. Even though the plight of the world convinced me that God did not exist, a small corner of my heart wanted to believe that positivity, hope, and goodness existed somewhere in this world.
Sadly, none of the people who surrounded me had anything to feed my heart and soul with, even though they were well-meaning and good in their own right. Even the best of people I knew had a bleak worldview, as though the good ones were somehow getting by in a world which was inherently tilted in the favour of wrongdoers.
Thankfully, in my 19th year, I met a person, for whom I shall be ever grateful to God for sending him to me.
He was my neighbour, Mr Rakesh Gaud, who lived one floor below me in Gorakhpur, my hometown. The father of a friend, he used to pore over spiritual literature, philosophy, and science fiction, and talk endlessly about mystical happenings and phenomenon, considered impossible or implausible by the human mind. He talked about spaceships and space voyages, the concept of maya, life in other dimensions, the stretchability of time, and the holy rivers not being only water bodies but goddesses in their real form, blessing this world.
Every evening, he would hold court, and eager listeners would surround him, listening in rapt attention. His conviction in his otherworldly beliefs was so fascinating that it opened up a world of thrilling possibilities for me, and my spirit began to slake its centuries of thirst in his company.
Yet, since he was far ahead of his contemporaries in knowledge and ideas, oftentimes he would become the butt of jokes by the same people who surrounded him. I remember cracking my sides laughing when he began to assert that everything which had a physical appearance was an illusion. He was cornered as it is difficult to prove this point through logic. It was only years later, when my own spiritual quest deepened, that I realised what he was trying to convey.
Yet his faith in miracles, as well as in a Divine who listens and responds was infectious. He regaled us with stories of innocent lovers of God for whom He broke all physical laws to appear physically or to turn around a difficult situation.
He was the first person from whom I heard about Mahavatar Babaji, and, to date, do not doubt his claim of him having met the great saint personally at the Kumbh Mela many moons ago.
He was also the first person who taught me how to meditate, and I can never thank him enough for this precious gift. He had also mystically monitored my progress and told me that I had left the practice at a time when I was about to have an out-of-body experience.
He had his quirks too, which made him all the more endearing, like spending his entire bonus on buying books, much to his family’s dismay. But in a world full of materialistic people, I have been lucky to have come across some real jewels who left an indelible impact on my mind, helping me find myself. Thank you, Gaud Uncle.
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