Thank you, Gurudev!

My sole merit in aspiring for Godhead is the assurance from godly men that a human birth is a necessary condition for God-realization. Otherwise, there is nothing that I have accomplished by way of endeavor to make good on the gift of human birth. All my reading of the scriptures has been merely an attempt at intellectual posturing. Over time, all that reading has only compounded my confusion and frustration. My fate should warn all those caught in the hellhole of bookish knowledge. It was becoming clear to me that it is impossible for this undeserving self to have even a fleeting touch of the divine in this lifetime, for a vacillating mind can never hope to realize the antaryamin. Add to it a weakness of character and my hopelessness becomes evident. The ‘andham tamah’ of Isa Upanishad is indeed the fate of an ‘atma hantah’ like me. Each day was weighing heavily upon me. One morning, as I was getting ready for work and surfing through channels, I heard a roaring declaration on Sanskar channel:

“Ramji avatar nahi, avatari hai”

For the first time, my ista devata was talked about in such glowing terms on the strength of scriptural authority. The affirmation was very reassuring amidst the debilitating talk of Him being an ordinary mortal whose divinity is manufactured by the poets of the old; an ansh (partial) avatar whose divinity is subsumed by a purna avatar of Dwapara yuga; a deserter of His wife; and, such unsavoury words that played havoc in my mind and hurt my devotion. The speaker’s words carried conviction into my heart and cleared all the cobwebs in my mind. Each day the speaker would disseminate the nectar of Ram bhakti that slowly revived my spirits. The picture of the Lord that adorns my pooja pedestal became a living presence, and I began performing my daily pooja with renewed fervour. Later, when I read about Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharyaji on Wikipedia, my admiration knew no bounds. To this day, I wonder whether he is a person or a phenomenon. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that he lives amidst us and breathes the same air that we breathe. He wears his handicap like a jewel. The elusive vision of the Lord that, we are told, yogis grapple with seems to be ever present before his inner eye. My god, look at the joy he exudes when he lovingly calls out the Lord as

‘Raghav’, ‘Raghav bhayya’. ‘Sitaram’

sounds so sweet when it issues from his lips. He is indeed Lord’s vibhuti descended to light up the fire of devotion in the hearts of neophytes. It is only because of spiritual stalwarts like gurudev that Ram Naam is proliferating in the world and that Naam sustains its potency. To me, gurudev is faith personified. I am indebted to gurudev for fostering Ram bhakti in my heart and giving me the opportunity, like unto many others, to cherish Ramji’s auspicious qualities through his books!

– Bhakt Amit Durgapal, Pune Published by: Apurv Agarwal