Sketching My Spiritual Growth Offering seva as the Head of Hughes Road Centre of Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch, Sarvarpit Amee Shah describes how Pujya Gurudevshri drew a blueprint of her spiritual journey and inspired her to identify her ultimate goal and passionately work towards achieving it I met Gurudev when I was a teen and now I am a mother of a teen. This journey from a child, to a study group member, to a wife, to a sevak, to a mother has been a wonderful experience with Him at each step, walking with me and guiding me how to be at my best in all roles and situations. I met Gurudev for the first time when I was 13 years old. Being blessed to be in a family that revered Param Krupalu Dev, we used to perform bhakti once a week. Mom would not eat root vegetables, nor wear silk and like an obedient child I would follow her. However, I had a lot of ‘why’s in mind – why should not one eat root vegetables or wear silk? Why chauvihar tyaag? etc., and so I wrote to Gurudev. He spent 2 entire days with kids my age and explained in detail the vows of a shravak, which we took and renew during Dhuleti every year. He so lovingly told my Dad, “Because of your daughter’s questions, I had to sit with the kids.” This was the official beginning of my spiritual journey in this birth and the group of kids was then formed into the Study Group. Study Group became the foundation of our being. Gurudev taught us how to manage time, moods, relations and lastly the most importantly, how to manage our spiritual life in any given situation. Plan Your Progress in Every Action, Ensure Your Life has a Direction During my college days, Gurudev used to perform His sadhana in an empty apartment in Menaka building, now known as Tahnee Heights at Nepean Sea Road. Along with a few other teenagers, I was also blessed to go there and study. Here, Gurudev taught me how to plan my day. He divided my day into 3 shifts and chalked out a planner which fit all my activities – my B.A. studies, my interior designing submissions as well as my sadhana. Sadhana at that time, involved ajnas of doing kram and vanchan. Through this, He made sure we lived a well-balanced life. Once, a couple of hours before our exams, He began talking to us and in the depth of satsang He made sure we learnt how to overcome our pre-exam anxiety and tension. All the last minute reading and revising had not been possible as we were with Him. But because we were so happy, I can vouch that it was one of the best exams I have given till now. We learnt a big lesson that we can achieve anything by being happy and that anxiety is irrelevant. Even today, in the midst of trying to balance between seva, home, sadhana etc., I remember those days and calm myself. Adding to this, Gurudev recently said, “When you are really stressed and need to make decisions, first leave everything for 10 minutes, meditate and then see the answers will come to you automatically.” Reinforcing this belief in His letter to me, He wrote, “When a swarm of worries invades your mind, refuse to be affected, wait calmly while seeking the remedy.” With every task, Gurudev made sure we had a purpose in mind. He made me think of the purpose of my life too. Once while returning from Abu, everyone was packing and loading their bags and I was helping them. This is when Gurudev looked at me in the eye and said that samyak darshan is possible in this life, but if you are not careful enough then you will be thrown away like a grain of sand. Just as a grain of sand thrown from a mountain can never be found, I too may be thrown away. My God! I was in a state of shock. Leading a happy and satisfied life in Gurudev’s refuge was all I had dreamt of, but He had dreamt something much bigger for me – samyak darshan. Wow! I was truly blessed. And yet by saying – if I’m not careful enough, He bestowed me with so much responsibility. Offer Your Best in Every Relation, Your Family is Merely His Extension Getting married into a family where spiritual growth was everyone’s top priority, sadhana and seva always come first and we actually learn from each other. However, when my mother-in-law was detected with cancer, it was a difficult time for the family to see her suffer in pain. Gurudev would visit her and constantly keep enquiring about her well-being. Almost at the same time, I was bestowed with seva in Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch. With the new seva and her deteriorating condition, it became difficult to do justice to both. That’s when Gurudev said, “Take a break, take this (taking care of Mummyji) as your seva. Serve her so much that there is not even an ounce of regret later that you did not do enough.” While taking care of her I felt so connected with Gurudev. He had given me a new perspective on seva and with such blessing – ‘Give your best, with no regret later that you did not do enough!’ His words are engraved in my heart. Again, Gurudev made sure that I don’t slip into karta bhaav (doership). When my daughter Rhea was just 9 months old, she fractured her leg when she met with an accident. I was scared and devastated seeing her. When we called Gurudev, informing Him about the same and expecting some sympathy, He reprimanded us asking how this could happen and if we don’t know how to take care of His daughter, we should give her back to Him. Gurudev’s ways are mysterious. I became blank, suddenly realising that we were just trustees and we did not take proper care of her. This was again a lifelong lesson learnt – I am a mere instrument, of my Guru. With that feeling each relation became so meaningful. Perform Your Seva with Unmatched Passion, It is an Expression of Your Devotion For me, seva is not something given to me based on my skills. Rather seva is instrumental in building my skills. I would define seva in one word as ‘passion’ and my greatest ideal for passion is Gurudev. His perfection, vision, planning, dedication, sensitivity towards all, His love for Param Krupalu Dev leave me in awe and inspire me. And the root of all this, I would say, is His passion. Whenever I have faltered in seva, it is because I was not passionate enough. And He has made it a point to appreciate whenever I have shown that passion towards seva. During one of the Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch Parents’ Retreats, Gurudev had planned an outing with the kids and I was asked if I could join them. I had been blessed with many responsibilities in the retreat hence felt I could not leave. He asked 2-3 times but I did not feel comfortable leaving. On His return, He sweetly remarked, “Her husband keeps doing the Master Plan seva and she keeps doing Magictouch seva” and blessed me with prasadi. What a fulfilling moment that was! Rajipo from my Gurudev! Like a mother takes care of her child’s needs, Gurudev has taken care of me in each and every phase of my life. He has showered me with gifts in all forms – seva, sadhana, family etc., making sure I get the best. Like a father, He has planned a lot of surprises too. Once when Gurudev was travelling to Israel along with a few others, Shreyance was going with Him too. I really wanted to join them but felt I did not deserve to ask Him. Out of the blue, on Kartik Purnima, 2011, He told me He would take me to Israel. All along He had planned this big surprise for me. He had asked Shreyance to book my tickets, thought of a strategy to make me read a book on Israel. This trip was definitely one of my most memorable trips till now. With every act of His, He has taught me to be a better person, a better student, a better daughter, a better daughter-in-law, a better mother, a better sevak and to be His true disciple. May I continue to be showered in His immense grace and reach the goal He has dreamt for me.