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Intensive Divine Care

Dhaval Ghelani, leader of the Sydney Satsang Centre, awarded the ‘Best Progressing Centre, 2014,’ and an Intensive Care specialist by profession, shares the journey of his spiritual recuperation under Pujya Gurudevshri’s impeccable guidance

Being born in a family with devoutly religious parents, the seeds of religion were sown in early childhood. Visits to our residence by Pujyashri Atmanandji and annual pilgrimages to Deolali for Param Krupalu Dev’s birth anniversary celebrations with daily rituals led to knowing ajnabhakti by the age of seven. However, the religious feelings started fading over time. Adolescent pomposity and the feeling of being important took over my humble beginning. Years of education in the medical stream made me look at everything through the prism of science and evidence. I had turned to believe that if science and logic could not explain or prove existence of soul, it does not exist. I started questioning the existence of the soul and of God.

I was a functioning perfectionist competing with myself and did not care or consider the impact of my attitude and behaviour on my near and dear ones. I believed I was a good kid, a model student and an over-achieving careerist. To me, there were only two ways of doing things: one was my way and the other, the wrong way.

Meeting the Master

I had heard of Gurudev through my family, but had never listened to any of His pravachans, thinking He is yet another of many scholars. One of our family friends invited me to help organise Gurudev’s first ever dharmayatra to Sydney. I reluctantly agreed. On December 21, 2012, He invited us to the Mission’s centre at Hughes Road, Mumbai, to work out the logistics of His dharmayatra. Throughout the hour-long conversation, He repeatedly looked straight into my eyes, as if trying to gauge my soul. In my first ever discussion, I noticed His spiritual energy, highly perceptive intelligence and extraordinary grasping power that I had never experienced before. Being a pompous man, I boasted about my big home for His accommodation in Sydney. He queried, “Does a big home really make anyone happy? For true happiness, you need a bigger heart.” My ego had its first encounter, as if He wanted to challenge my attitude and shape my life.

Knowing the Divine Master

In June 2013, Gurudev graced Sydney with three life-changing pravachans. He spoke about the importance of religion in life. Religion does not mean suffering, but it is a greater source of happiness. Suffering comes from making the wrong choices, and making a right choice leads to the right sense of happiness. I used to get upset and angry at friends arriving even a minute later than the mutually agreed time or at my wife if the food was not cooked or presented to my taste. I used to demand the highest possible standards in all my relationships. I started losing friends and grew distant from my family. In pravachans, Gurudev cited examples of such narcissistic behaviour. I began to understand that He was actually speaking to me, making me realise the pain and suffering caused to my dear ones by my attitude towards them. Personally, it was a jump-start, revitalisation and revamping of my outlook towards life. I told myself, ‘He is not just good, He is brilliant.’

During that blissful week; I had the opportunity to drive Gurudev for long distances. We had numerous conversations regarding all walks of life. All our discussions were like peer chatting to each other. I had found a friend I could talk to, argue with and laugh with. One thing struck me – Gurudev knew a lot more than religion. His general knowledge was par excellence; and I was really awed. He did not preach anything, but in subtle terms made me realise the importance of the relationship with my family, vis-à-vis my perfectionist behaviour. Once, Gurudev asked my wife Bijal, “I really get scared of perfectionist people, what about you?” Without waiting for her answer, He knowingly nodded. Before departing from home, He would turn up ready five minutes before me and on my arrival, would give me a quizzing look with a wry smile, as if beating me at my own game.

One incident during this time is unforgettable. Wanting to reach a destination, I was following directions of the navigation device, also called GPS. It had come off its stand and I was having difficulty placing it back. I was holding the GPS with one hand and the steering wheel with the other. Having realised that it was inconvenient and was making my driving clumsy; Gurudev took the GPS from my hand, saying, “I am here to navigate your life, not the GPS.”

My life took a sharp turn during this dharmayatra. He told me to lead the Sydney Satsang Centre and bestowed the seva of spreading the rich philosophy of Bhagwan Mahavir and Param Krupalu Dev in Australia. He blessed my family with an extremely elevating pratishtha at home. This pratishtha not only infused life into the chitrapats but also into the heart of a callous man. My family had tears in their eyes and I was crying within. That changed our domestic life forever. Despite living under the influence of the western society, both my children started following numerous Jain traditions and Gurudev became an integral part of our lives. Those eight days were the most memorable days of my life. Whether it was putting His hands on my shoulders in Blue Mountains or not starting any meal without me, each gesture was an expression of His pure unconditional love. Gurudev had changed me without my realising it. Whilst departing from Sydney, at the airport, Gurudev hugged me and murmured sweet words into my ears, “Look after yourself and the family”; and this stubborn man with a canny habit of making others cry shed a tear on his way back home.

The Divine Perfectionist in Action

A year passed and my urge to meet Gurudev was ever increasing. I would avail every opportunity to meet Him during my trips to India. My relationship with my Gurudev became the highest expression of friendship, based on unconditional divine love and wisdom. In one visit to India, He invited our entire family to Dharampur and also invited us for lunch with Him. Gurudev’s humble hospitality was heart-warming and a source of inspiration to all of us. He also agreed to hold the Sydney Meditation Retreat in November, 2014 with no hesitation.

Organising an Indian religious event in Australia was not an easy task. I had not anticipated such an overwhelming response for the retreat and found myself short of rooms. The meditation hall selected also seemed small compared to the response received. I was quite concerned with all the arrangements. During one telephone call, Gurudev said, “Do not worry. Everything will be fine.” In a day, all roads opened, and the hotel manager obliged with all my requests. Everything fell in place one after another, as if some celestial energy was powering and orchestrating the event. Months of anxiety gave way to a serene calmness.

During the retreat, Gurudev showed us our inner treasure trove. Lots of Sydney-siders responded to His divine call. Seeing the progress, our all compassionate Gurudev awarded the Sydney Centre with the ‘Best Progressing Centre’ award in December, 2014, encouraging mumukshus to further progress on their spiritual journey.

The Metamorphis

I also changed. Gurudev slowly peeled off layers of materialistic ambition, egoism, self-centredness, arrogance and most importantly, the perfectionist behaviour; and showed me the path to the soul by re-arranging priorities in life. The routine of early morning reading of newspapers is now replaced by meditation and bhakti. Social Media is now just another medium to connect with near ones and not the centre of my life. Making phone calls in the car is now replaced by listening to pravachans. With Gurudev’s able guidance, my worldly activities have been given a spiritual dimension. At the Sydney Centre, in the form of mumukshus, I have met friends who have become my family members, and all of us now share a common goal: liberation.

Reflecting back, my life has now changed for good as I have found a Guru, my friend and guiding light.

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