“My life is filled with many mystical experiences that people may not necessarily believe but the burden of love is such that even though we don’t want to be known, we cannot serve without sharing — so let me start at the beginning. I was born in a small village in Himachal Pradesh, into an army family. My grandfather served in World War II and my father was an army man as well, so since the beginning my deepest desire was to become an army officer. Ofcourse, we would pray and chant, but nothing related to Krishna. However, since the time I was a young boy I would have a recurrent vision in my mind of wearing saffron coloured clothes and leaving home to become a sadhu— but I didn’t pay any attention to it.
I attended an army school in Jharkhand, and when I reached the 12th standard I prepared for my entrance exam to the NDA. In my entire schooling life I had been a topper and for these exams in particular I had over prepared. My father’s seniors in the army had interviewed me, I had undergone intense training in Chandigarh and was confident that I would clear.
Before the exam even started I knew one thing— the army officials didn’t tolerate lies. It was okay if didn’t know something, but if you lied about it — they wouldn’t trust you and therefore not select you. My exam began and we had a number of tests… extempore, command tasks, group exam, psychological tests and a lot more — I excelled in all except the command task. I then had a formal interview where the army official interviewing me already had all my test results. He asked me the question, ‘did you face any difficulties?’. I had undergone training, I knew I had to be honest but I replied saying ‘no, I didn’t face any difficulties’ even though I had performed miserably in the command task. He asked me again, ‘are you sure?’ and I said ‘yes, I’m sure’.
I stepped out of that interview and all of a sudden it hit me…what had I done? It was as if I was in a trance and some unknown force was controlling me in that interview — and I only came back to my senses once I was out — I was devastated.
After 2 days, there was a second round of interviews with 15-20 army officials from different boards and here comes the shocking part — the same man who had interviewed me earlier was present and again he asked me the same question — ‘did you face any difficulties?’ and involuntarily my answer was the same ‘no’. Again, I had no control over this and I was rejected from the NDA.
Back then, I had no explaination for this…I just wept for days to come because my biggest dream was taken away from me. Looking back now, I can connect the dots that this was all part of a much larger plan.”
“After being rejected, I didn’t even come out of my room for a few days. At that age it’s easier to find solace, so when one of the teachers at that army school told me that both Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan had been rejected from the same academy — I began to think that maybe there was something else in store for me.
I enrolled myself in a BSC course near Himachal, where I developed a new ‘pass time’ as you may call it. Every time I would see a book stall I would run to find books on mystic perfections — the tantra, mantra of it all fascinated me.
After this I applied to study Engineering, but somehow I only got a placement at a college in Baramati near Pune. It was kind of a village so I really wasn’t that happy, but if I cleared all 10 of my subjects in the first year, I would be able to transfer out. I cleared 5 subjects in the first sem and again, I was fully prepared for everything in my second sem. For the Mathematics 2 paper, I had solved all the questions at least three times. Infact, the day before the exam I ended up teaching my roommate, because he was panicking about the paper. The next day, when I saw the question paper in front of me, I recognised each and every question but my mind drew a complete blank. In those three hours, I could only attempt 27 marks! Imagine my roommate passed the exam, but I didn’t and that’s why I couldn’t transfer — at that point I didn’t have any idea what was going on.
But like I said, looking back I understand how everything was orchestrated. In my next semester, on my way to college I saw a blue coloured bus with the words ISKCON on it. I ran to it, to look for books of my interest but didn’t find any. Disappointed, I went back to my college. The next day, an announcement was made that a seminar would take place ‘The Secret to Happiness’ and college would end early. All of us were thrilled — we decided to skip the seminar and play cricket instead! On the way out I saw 2 Sadhus walking in — one in saffron and the other in white and it was as if something was drawing me to them. Never before, had I dropped cricket for anything but that day I told my friend — ‘let’s go listen to them, they speak good English!’ and I didn’t even know how those words came to me — I had never spoken to them before! That’s how it all began.”
“We ended up having Geeta classes at our cottage every week and with every passing session I felt more connected. I had strange experiences — like one day after our class I was on my way to dinner and singing the Keerthana, entirely absorbed in the clear, starry sky when all of a sudden I felt a force move me from my path and place me across the bridge. I had no explaination but I was too happy to question it — It was only once I got to dinner that my friend told me the usual path we took to dinner was obstructed, and he had fallen down on those stones and injured himself. That’s when I felt that the force was Krishna…I had deliberately been moved.
It’s written in the Holy book that Krishna will fulfil all your material desires so things even started happening in that direction. First, of all places they could find, 2 army officers came to my college in Baramati to randomly interview and select 2 students for training and of course I was selected. When I reached Allahabad, I realised that I was in a different world; that I couldn’t relate to anyone there — my biggest desire of becoming an army officer left me without warning…even though it was within my reach.
I also had another attachment which came back into my life during this time. Somehow, through my prayer even that desire gradually left me. I realised then that I was given access to all my desires, but I myself didn’t feel the need to reach for them.
It was also during my college days that I had the most out of body, spiritual experience. One of the devotees sent me a box of books to read, and as I started to go through them it hit me that I had been to all those places before. I knew them, I recognised them and that was the moment it was all over for me. For the next 4 days, whenever I started chanting, the tears would just flow. I’m still waiting to relive those days.
I officially became an engineer in 2006 and as a prerequisite to start our training here at the temple, we have to work outside so that we know what the other world’s like and never feel like we’ve missed out. I finished getting my work experience and in 2007, I left the other world and came here to become a monk.”
“It isn’t easy being a monk in Bombay. From desiring to be an army officer to becoming an engineer — to finally end up becoming a monk! Ofcourse when I undertook training, it was difficult to convince my father that this is what I had decided to dedicate my life to. I knew I had a responsibility towards them, but I had blind faith that ‘to the degree you surrender to God to that level he’ll take care of your near and dear ones.’ That’s exactly what happened — both my brothers found their passion and their lives changed for the better; my father found his calling and my mother was happy.
Through spreading this message, I feel that my family has grown to lacs of people. I share their pain, I share their happiness. I’ve visited so many homes in Bombay and the one thing common is that no one likes to share! Every person thinks that the other person is happy so let me not share why I’m unhappy but let me tell you this world is a 25Paise circus!
The story goes, that in a village in India an announcement was made – 25paise only to the see the best circus; only catch being that people could only enter one by one. The morning of the circus came and the man who stood in line for many hours to make sure he was first entered the circus. When he entered he saw it was empty and there was only one big tall man present. When he asked this man, ‘where is the circus?’ he said – ‘Ill show you!’ and he beat the person up black and blue! When this man left the circus from the back side he thought to himself – ‘let me not share this humiliation with anyone’ — so he dusted himself and went to the other villagers waiting in line and said ‘wow, what a great circus all of you must go and enjoy!’ One by one all the villagers went into the tent and received the same treatment, but not one of them warned the others. At night when they all gathered at the village square, some spoke of clowns, others of elephants but no one said what actually happened. Every person felt bad that night because they all thought ‘everyone else saw such great things, it was only I who suffered!’
The point I’m trying to make is, we’re all in this world together. Everyone goes through struggles and trials, why must we pretend? Why can’t we accept that it’s okay, and it’s okay to share what we learnt with others so that we save them from the same pain we went through?” The reason I’m sharing my experience is because I want to spread the message that you may be a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer — but if your calling is something else, you should accept that. It’s actually our soul telling us where we need to be, what we’re here for and why we need to learn to trust that inner voice.”