Matarani (my guru Om Swamiji’s mother) was a very spirtual woman. One day, during her lunch hour, she went to meet a sage that was in town. It was said that he never slept and did not even blink. He stayed only one night in a place and never returned to the same town again.
As soon as the sage saw Matarani, he uttered the following prophecy.
In the month of Margashirsha, when the moon is waxing, you will give birth to a special soul. One of us is coming is coming after a very long wait—a saint.
When Matarani’s heart sank, he read her mind and said, “He will renounce. Please remember me when he is born, and touch some tulsi leaves to his lips as an offering from me.”
On 30th November 1979, my Guru Om Swami graced this world on the twelfth night of the waxing moon. Matarani kept the saint’s prediction to herself and touched her son’s lips with three Tulsi leaves as requested by him.
When he was eight years old, he saw Matarani reading Rudrashtakam from Ramcharitmanas. Since Hindi and Sanskrit share a similar script, Swamiji tried reading it and something melted within him. That night he heard the story of Krishna and Sudama from Matrani and went to sleep, convinced about God’s existence.
A fair complexioned Shiva with a slightly bluish throat appeared in his dream. In his book If Truth Be Told, Swamiji gives such a beautiful description that you can visualize the divine scenery yourself. “I have come to see You,” Lord Shiva told Swamiji.
My Guru – then a little child – requested him to stay back and meet his mother, but Lord Shiva stroked his head tenderly and said, “I have only come to meet you,” and disappeared. He woke up and cried bitterly that his mother had been excluded from this experience and could not go back to sleep because he was in a state of deep tranquility.
This incident triggered my Guru’s search for God. He was eleven when he started learning Vedic Chanting and astrology and doing Havans at home. While he appeared normal outside, he always had this deep desire to see God again.
He meditated in isolated places, did many yagnas, chanted various mantras, performed sadhanas of various divine entities, and even did a tantric Sadhana of Lord Shiva. Still, the results did not manifest for him. No one could explain to him why he was going wrong. Gradually, he realized that he was alone on this path of self-realization and there we no guarantees of success.
He found his first teacher in his mother’s elder brother, who has a Shiva Upasaka. He continued his path of meditation and Sadhana while balancing it with his studies and a few other activities. A chance meeting with another person made him interested in stock trading, and he started investing in IPOs. Many people thought he was obsessed with making money, but that was far from the truth. He deeply desired to renounce the world and meditate in the Himalayas but knew it would cause his mother immense pain. Such worldy activities kept a lid on his inner calling.
He was mastering skills such as chanting, chess, and astrology so seamlessly that he looked at computer coding as his next challenge. He wanted to build a computer application to monitor his investments. He also started writing articles on financial investments for the Business Times newspaper. Since his college education was not challenging, he wanted to study abroad, but affordability became an issue. He started chanting a mantra that was supposed to help in such cases, and at eighteen, he was on his way to Australia to study in college. Chanting the mantra had manifested his desire, but it was his responsibility to face the consequences and pay for his education.
He took up multiple free internships in the software industry in favor of paid jobs from other sectors. His first project was on Visual Basic, while he knew only C++. He spent a portion of his precious money buying a book on Visual Basic. He completed the project assigned to him in four days. In three weeks, he went from a free internship to being paid $15 an hour for twenty hours per week per his Visa conditions. He requested his bosses to let him work extra hours for no money so that he did not violate his visa conditions and yet learned everything he could about software development.
He became so skilled that he received an offer of a $40000 package. He completed his two-year diploma in one year. Also, he completed the major work expected from him in his new organization. He continued to grow phenomenally and ended up being the CTO at IWN. He went on to create a million-dollar IT consulting business.
In 2007, he felt he was now fully ready to renounce this world and immerse himself formally in search of the divine. How did he give up everything so easily? The money was easy because he was never attached to it. He told his mother about his plans and asked for her permission because he wanted to give his all to see a sustained vision of God. He did not want to settle for anything less than that. She gave him her blessings, and one day, just like that, he walked away from home in search of his Guru in Varanasi.
Nature guided him to his Guru (Babaji), and he spent the next few months in the single-minded service of his Guru. His favorite words were “Ji Babaji” for any request from his Guru. However, the multi-millionaire from Sydney, who had experienced all the world’s luxuries, now had barely enough to eat. After experiencing starvation and lack of nutrition, he went to function with his Guru, where they served fresh food and mangoes. As he ate the food, he remembered the beggars of Varanasi and how while he fancied himself as a monk, he was not different from the beggars who craved the next meal. Many such experiences completely shattered his identity and kept cracking the shell of ego we have around us.
Finally, he walked away from his Guru and went to the Himalayas for intense meditation. His single-minded focus on finding the truth about the existence of God, learning the Vedas, and doing Sadhanas culminated in him having divine visions and both Devi and Lord Vishnu.
He returned to the plains, slowly set up the Sri Bhadrika Ashram, and now guides other seekers on the spiritual path.
My Guru had only one purpose since he saw Lord Shiva in his dream. He wanted to replicate that experience. He lived in the world and practiced until he felt ready to give it up and find his truth. His single-minded pursuit of experiencing the divine was finally rewarded; that is the only lesson we need to remember about achieving success.
Applying Wisdom At Work
What does my guru’s single-minded pursuit of his purpose have to do with Chat GPT?
Have you ever wondered how you discover your purpose in life? Most of us depend on the education system. The projects, reports, assignments, and art classes are their tools to dig the buried talents from within themselves. The effort that goes into these tasks and the rush of dopamine we get for creating new outcomes fuels human progress. Our parents or teachers never framed it that way, but that’s how it’s meant to work.
Consider an example where children have to research about Africa and submit a comprehensive report. They use this process to expand their consciousness to include completely foreign ideas. The slow discovery of the game reserves, the tribal art, and the migration on the Serengeti planes will help them see the beauty and diversity in this world. Africa permeates into her consciousness when they work on this project for several days and try to frame the arguments for preserving them. They determine if they enjoy writing, research, music, art, or a mix of these skills. Suppose they can generate a report and create images by clicking buttons. In that case, we are shortcutting the process and stunting human development.
Since the launch of Chat GPT, everyone has been talking about how you can use it to generate everything from children’s homework to Ph.D. research articles. We have entirely forgotten a simple truth in this race to create outputs using Chat GPT. We create something within ourselves and then find a way of expressing it to the rest of the world. The creation process helps us discover and deliver on our purpose.
Think about why an artist creates art. Something is bubbling deep within them that needs to find expression. They see the world uniquely, and their work is an expression of the inner voice. Your growth as an artist depends on listening to this voice and refining your skills so you can express it in the best way possible. Human progress depends on this clumsy yet iterative process of refinement.
The process of discovering your purpose is, and the fulfillment of that purpose only comes through creative action. It could be writing code, creating a balanced legal argument, modern art, poetry, designing furniture, or directing cinema.
Here is a beautiful video by Sir Ken Robinson that illustrates this point.
Talent is often buried. You have to go looking for it.
I have no problems with introducing technology into the world. However, we should always think about leveraging it to advance the human race versus stunting its progress. Take time to educate children, parents, and adults about the impact and then set guidelines. Humanity without purpose is creating an army of billions, riding high on their hormones, ready to unleash more havoc on this planet.
Spiritual Lessons from This Story
Since this article is about my guru, I will rely on his words to help you understand the true meaning of self-realization. I am a beginner in this journey, and these lines can shape your life if you allow them to seep within you. You can read his original post here.
Self-realization is no serendipity. It is not an aha moment. Intellectual comprehension of such realization may well be an epiphany, the actual realization is far from it. Self-realization can be achieved by anyone who is willing to put in the effort. The dawning of such realization will leave you with only answers. You will no longer have any questions. Intellectually, you may understand the underlying philosophy or doctrinal principles but such an understanding may only make you more rigid. You will end up merely subscribing to a theory with no confirmation about its validity.
If you believe that the Divine has a form, you can see his form in this very lifetime. If you believe that the Divine is formless, you can experience deep absorption (samadhi) in the foreseeable future. That is what I experienced multiple times. Your world is made up of your thoughts. If your world has a God in it and all your thoughts, all the time, are about Him, His very form will manifest before you.