Home Wisdom Articles Seeker's Corner Tales of Transformation My Journey from Science to Spirituality

My Journey from Science to Spirituality

Sarvarpit Dr Alok Shah shares his tale of transformation from a worldly scientist to a spiritual explorer under the loving guidance of Pujya Gurudevshri. A PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the United States, Alok has been a leading scientist in the field of Stem Cells and Cancer. He is currently offering seva in the Science College – Shrimad Rajchandra Vidyapeeth and Mission’s Public Relations Department

For someone apparently ‘so smart’ it was amazing how ignorant I had been. As a scientist, I was immensely successful and completely full of myself. I lived the typical American life – working hard, partying harder, making money, science, research, fun, friends, experiences, all topped with an insatiable desire for attention.

I had left India at age 18 to pursue my dream. I had a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a post-doctorate degree. I was the founder of a biotech company, and by the age of 28, I had published a scientific study that was voted ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ by the leading journal Science Signaling. Having worked with the foremost scientists and universities, I was invited to talk at the top institutions, offered jobs by the best companies, and was interviewed by international radio. I was so mired in the 4 S of survival, stability, success and significance, that I did not focus on the 5th S – spirituality. I was this misdirected rocket, lost in the space of blissful ignorance until the grace of my beloved guide jolted me out of deep slumber. I was saved by the introduction, intervention, and inspiration of my Sadguru, my Bapaji. When He enters your life, the work that would have taken infinite lives to happen, if at all, happens in a matter of minutes. In science we call that a catalyst, defined as a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent change. That is the perfect definition of the Unmoved Mover, who had once told me, a Sadguru is like a staircase, He takes you higher while still being Himself.

Charting my Spiritual Change

In retrospect, everything about my life’s journey was His engineering. From Komal randomly entering my life, to our insightful conversations and me becoming curious about how a smart, independent girl like her could have a Guru, to me landing up at the Paryushan Parva Shibir in New Jersey.

When I attended my first pravachan, the language went over my head, but the emotion stayed, He stayed. Something inside me just cracked open. The magic had begun. My eyes swelled with tears and my mind boggled with questions. I felt like everything I had ever known or believed in was being challenged. I thought you could either be religious or scientific. How could you be both? This very rational scientist was suddenly finding it hard to justify the stirrings in his heart.

But these were still just stirrings. I had not been jolted awake yet. That was soon to follow. Right after Komal and I got married and returned to the United States, Bapaji came to New Jersey. There was a pratishtha at our aunt’s house. We got to sing for Him, dance for Him, and wash His Lotus Feet. He lovingly inquired about my past, my education, and minute details about my life. Bapaji asked me what my long term goal was, and I said in the future, my goal would be to come back home. What was I saying? I was so happy in the United States, why did I just utter those words?

There are many things that science can explain, but the magic, the transformation, the vibrations of that day, cannot be explained. They can only be lived. I was not the person I had been for 32 years. I had decided that Bapaji was not just Komal’s Guru, but mine too.

Modifying my Mental DNA

At a pratishtha at my cousin’s house, Bapaji told me to listen carefully. He gestured the bhakti team to sing ‘Aa ab laut chale.’ My beloved was calling me home. Was this for real? The decision was signed, sealed, and delivered. I went around the house telling all who would listen that we would be moving back to India.

When I visited the Ashram at Dharampur, Bapaji called us for lunch. He told us that we should return to India and how at the end of the day, we were not answerable to anyone in the world, but only to God. Bapaji also showed us the difference between a seeker and a worldly person and said that a seeker does not have two options. There is only one option.

In the following Sadguru Udghosh, Bapaji guided that I should return to India and lovingly said that India also needs scientists. At every step, Bapaji was repeatedly ratifying my goal while simultaneously breaking my attachments with the United States.

Then came the tests. I suddenly started getting job interviews and offers from some of the top biotech and consulting companies. But accepting any of these offers meant that I would have to continue staying in the United States. So I flatly turned them all down. I had a better offer. The best offer that had come from my Sadguru.

Bapaji was now so infused in my thoughts that I would listen to pravachans all day long, even while doing work. The internal transformation was being reflected outside in many ways. I had been the mascot of possessiveness. I used to own over 700 gramophone records, over 500 books, and more clothes than one person should have. I could not resist a deal. I had now decided to keep track of all the non-essential purchases and limit myself to just one per month. Owing to this minor change, my belief of joy being in possessions changed drastically. I realised that I did not require material goods to be happy. So why spend a lifetime chasing them? Today, I have one small cupboard in Mumbai that contains almost all my belongings.

The next month flew by. We gave our notices at work, and everyone was shocked. But who in that world would understand our lunacy, for Him! When there’s no fear of falling, why would there be a fear of leaping? We opened our house and our hearts and sold or gave away almost all our possessions. We returned to India in September 2015 with few bags but with great satisfaction. After all Bapaji had told me that if anyone asked, I could tell them that after 14 years, I was returning to Ayodhya.

Growing in my Guru’s Refuge

When Bapaji entered my life, I saw the illusory nature of everything worldly. Was it going to bring me true happiness? Bapaji once said, “You would have done very well had you stayed in the United States. But at the end of the day you would’ve asked yourself, what about Guru seva? What about Guru bhakti? What did I waste my life chasing after?” My life in India is headed towards only sadhana, seva, and most of all, dedicated towards winning His rajipo and letting His plan for me unfold.

There are only 3 things I wish for: To have the bhakti that I see in Bapaji; to be worthy enough to always receive Guru ajna; and to have the strength to always follow His ajna. Bapaji has given me a new life, now I will ensure it is a life worth living. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that I will not put on the line or offer Bapaji. With all my heart and soul, this existence is for Bapaji.

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