‘Devotee Diaries’ Series- 21st July 2021
‘Devotee Diaries’ Series—Devotees from India and around the world reminisce about Yatras, Kathas and magical milestone moments in their life journey with Pujya Bhaishri. Would you like to share how an experience has impacted you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanjaybhai Suchak from Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, shares—
2005— Melting in the Flood of Grace
It was during one of those days when I used to tour my various clients in the regions of Tanzania that I went to Arusha. There, during a casual talk over dinner with Arunbhai Lodhia, he mentioned to me that he was having Pujya Bhaishri over for a Katha in Arusha.
I didn’t know much about Bhaishri at that time, but I used to hear a lot about him from my mother, who had great trust in, and respect for, him. She would say he is a great saint, and had been trying to meet Bhaishri when he came for a Katha to Dar-Es-Salaam in the early 1990s. Unfortunately she was unable to meet him, although she attended all seven days of the Katha.
My family and I joined Arunbhai for the Katha in Arusha—especially to make my mother happy. Honestly speaking, at that time, whilst I did believe in “God”, I wasn’t who one would call “spiritual.”
So when the time came around, Arunbhai called, asking me if I wanted to join him to pick Bhaishri up in a charter flight, to which I said yes. I still remember when we reached the apartment where Bhaishri was staying—his eyes met mine and I don’t know what happened; a stream of tears started flowing from my eyes. I was wondering what was happening to me. I went and did pranaam to Bhaishri and on our way back from Kisumu to Arusha, Bhaishri—who I now proudly and fondly call Gurudev—and I started talking.
I started to listen to Bhaishri’s Katha during the seven-day Saptah in Arusha and something started happening. I still remember the first bhajan Bhaishri sang—‘Juvo Mangal Ghant Sunaye.’ And again, my tears just wouldn’t stop. They went on and on and on. I didn’t know what was happening to me; I felt that strong connection.
That’s when I realised and told myself that this is the man I need to follow. It started with casual talks, but the more I conversed with him, the more these casual talks turned into silence. My words were replaced with a deep respect for him. Surely for me, now, Pujya Gurudev is no longer an ordinary person.
Welcoming Grace in the Home of our Hearts
We then invited Bhaishri to come to our place in Dar-Es-Salaam. He stayed for two days and gave a pravachan—this was after almost fourteen years.
2006—Visiting and Understanding the Site of Love
In the following year, I, along with my entire extended maternal and paternal family, went to Porbandar for the ShriHari Mandir Mahotsav in 2006. During the Shrimad Bhagavat Katha, my daughter, Shivani, participated as Shri Krishna for the Rukmini Vivah that took place.
2007—Surrendering to the Fire of Devotion
The year after, we organised a Saptah with Pujya Gurudev. Thereafter, going to Sandipani for the ShriHari Mandir Patotsav and Guru Poornima, became a yearly routine for us.
It was during this Saptah that I recall one of my most cherished experiences.
I was listening to Katha when someone came to tell me that our office had caught fire. I didn’t move, saying, whatever happens, happens. I continued listening to the Katha and on our way home, Dharamdasbhai informed Bhaishri about the situation, and Bhaishri said we should go and see the site.
When we arrived, there was so much fire on site that it was impossible for our office to be saved. Fortunately, my team had cleared the office of all the computers and vital documents. When we came back home and Bhaishri asked what happened—
Dharamdasbhai said, “There is no way this office can be saved. It’s gone now.”
Bhaishri said, ‘Okay, as He wishes; but, there is such a thing as miracles, Dharamdasbhai.”
I still remember that. What happened next was that suddenly, the wind started blowing in the opposite direction, and the fire that was supposed to catch our office, changed course, and disappeared. It didn’t even touch my office. These are the things that make one’s faith in Him grow more and more.
For me, Bhaishri is my God on this earth. I can’t see God; I can’t talk to God; but I know that in His place, is my Gurudev—my God.
Whenever I’m facing any problems, I talk to him freely; lay my problems out to him. Although he never tells me what the outcome will be, my heart feels at peace when I cry to him, and before I know it, I am replenished with fresh ideas and energy.
2017—Bliss by His Lotus Feet
My best experience with Bhaishri was during the Amarkantak Katha, because there was no crowd around him. It was only myself, Bhaishankarbhai and Bharatbhai. We would go every morning to the Katha mandap, come back, Bhaishri would eat, and we would serve him. And then the rest of us would eat.
This was a huge Katha where we had saints coming in everyday, and I don’t know where they would disappear to, after the Katha. There would be no sight of them in the food mela or mahaprasad hall. It’s really amazing.
I had a really nice time staying with Bhaishri for those three-four days; I wish I could have stayed till the end of the Katha but circumstances were such that I had to return to Tanzania. But that was my best, best, best experience.
If somebody really wants to enjoy Bhaishri’s Katha, and stay with Bhaishri, my humble advice would be to follow him in places that are not urban-centric, but rather, rural and away from the fast-paced life.
Improving Conduct—A Daily Promise of Gratitude
For me, Sandipani is my mother. I have gotten everything from Sandipani, and I still continue receiving blessings from Sandipani. My experience with Gurudev, started from nothing to, now, everything. Gurudev is my everything.
I just wish that I could spend more and more time with Gurudev, and learn how to live.
As Bhaishri tells us, the Shrimad Bhagavat teaches us how to live with another human being.
There are so many wise words and advice I have heard from him that I implement in my life to become a better human being. And I think the growing flame of positivity has brought about several changes: in my life, my approach to my family and business—everything has evolved and is evolving, ever since I first came in touch with Pujya Gurudev.
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