Part 3 – The Grand Finale
“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life,
Love gives us a fairytale.” – Unknown
Life after meeting Mahima, indeed seemed like a fairytale with romantic dinner dates, exotic travels and filmy photoshoots as above. My Facebook and Instagram accounts were on fire with 100’s of likes, comments & DMs. It was as if ‘Salman Khan’ of Adelaide, finally got married! (No Pun Intended).
Many of my family and friends commented that “Shiv ji ne der se diya, lekin durust diya” (Though God blessed you late, nevertheless blessed you abundantly).
As the saying goes “Chat Mungney pat Vivah” (marriage immediately after engagement). After, our engagement in Australia, our Hindu and Catholic Traditional Marriage in India occurred in a wink of an eye on 21st & 23rd February 2019, respectively.
Meeting & marrying Mahima, was probably both, Destiny & Shiva’s (Swamiji’s) lela (play) because:
1…Of the various options and unsuccessful relationships in the past as well as travelling over 16 countries to find ‘Love’, I somehow met, fell in love, and married a girl, living in Adelaide itself at the time (see point 2 below later), who originally was born and bought up in “Varanasi aka Banaras/Kashi – Holy City of Lord Shiva”.
(Note – Not only was I a big fan of lord Shiva since childhood but my Bodybuilding journey also was dedicated to Him (See Part 2 of this blog series). Adoring the ‘Trishul’ (Trident) tattoo on my chest & winning my bodybuilding shows including INBA Mr Universe, with Mahima by my side, indeed felt like Shiva’s blessings and grace in a subtle way.)
2…Mahima had immigrated to Melbourne, Victoria originally & later worked in Darwin, Northern Territory for many years. It was sheer co-incidence/ miracle that she got chosen to come to Adelaide, South Australia to pursue her RACGP Fellowship training at the time. It was here that we met for our first coffee date which lasted for over 8 hours discussing childhood pranks, culture displacement of leaving home at an early age, the Australian baptism of fire etc. It felt our minds were in sync on almost every topic we discussed. Never felt we were meeting for the first time. And the rest as we know is History.
(Note – I had scheduled our coffee date between my gym session in the morning & attending a birthday lunch of my best friend Deepti & her partner Tyson who also is my best friend. I played Cupid between them (another story for another time). Mahima was already 1.5 hours late for our coffee date & I had firmly decided to leave soon within 30 minutes for my bestie’s birthday lunch. Those 30 minutes of our mid-morning coffee catch up went on until dinner that night. You can only imagine the excitement & story I had to narrate to both my besties for missing their birthday lunch, and, who were obviously keen to see ‘Willbur’s Wonder Woman’.)
3…Later after our marriage in India, we were fortunate enough to visit one of my favourite places ‘Pavagadh’ (One of the prominent ‘Shakti Peeths’ in Baroda, Gujarat) where we luckily not only received VVIP darshan & blessings, but soon realised that we were now to become a ‘Team of 3’ that year in 2019.
(Note – Not only as a teenager on my bicycle but also in college, when I received my ‘Wings of Freedom – Splendor Motorbike’, I used to often drive to ‘Pavagadh’ to enjoy the mountainous serenity, trekking and most importantly bribing Maa Shakti to seek Shiva’s blessings for various small requests as a teenager and youth. Somewhat like a child requesting his/her Mother to speak with Dad when they want to get anything done. 🙂 ‘Pavagadh’ became the fulcrum point, coming full circle with destiny, from my childhood to youth and now knowing Mahima & myself are blessed with a child.)
Meeting Swamiji Finally
Coming back to Adelaide, Australia, in the midst of all these surprises, materialistic blessings & unfolding happiness in life, I came across online, about Swamiji’s in-person event to occur on 24th & 25th August 2019 in Towrang, Australia. At once, I contacted the team to enquire about the event, how to arrive there, meeting Swamiji etc.
Call it divine grace of arrangements or miracles, everything from the get-go was so smooth and easy. For example, we travelled business class both ways Adelaide/Canberra, enjoying the hospitality of Virgin Airways, hired a SUV car driving from Canberra to Goulburn, where Mahima slept peacefully on the road trip reclining her car seat, whilst her belly was being caressed by the warm winter Sun (It felt as if Mother Nature was welcoming our little one to this event with such immaculate weather and arrangements).
We stayed in a beautiful 3-bedroom Air BnB house in Goulburn, drove to Towrang the next day arriving at the event ‘Late’ (thanks to Mahima) but got special seating on a chair quite close to Swamiji as Mahima was pregnant. The pregnancy gave Mahima lot of benefits on the day, including getting ahead in the line and seating for lunch. 🙂
Everyone at the event, kept saying that your “yet to be born baby” is so lucky to be here and receive Swamiji’s blessings. At the time we didn’t realise the gravity of that statement until we were in Swamiji’s presence.
Seeing, hearing and being in Swamiji’s presence was indeed like melting butter in front of a blazing fire. Our minds, hearts, and bodies were at so much peace, ease, and comfort. The feeling was surreal.
I somehow kept thinking that inspite of knowing about Om Swami since so many years, why only now (in 2019 with our baby) we got to see Him? May be this little Soul (who is yet to be born), is indeed a gift from Maa Shakti & Shiva (Pavagadh), and it is this little Soul who made all this miraculously possible, who knows?!
What was even more surreal is that we got to meet Swamiji, not once, but twice. Once on Saturday and once on Sunday. I will come to that. However, I was lucky to capture some amazing photos of Swamiji’s up-close, including the famous umbrella shot*.
1st Personal Meeting with Swamiji on Sat 24th Aug 2019 @ 3:30 p.m.
After waiting and standing in a long queue for over an hour, under beautiful shady trees in the natural environment of the BLPFA centre, we finally entered the cottage where Swamiji was seated on his asana like a ‘Lotus of Light’.
He greeted us with his heart-warming smile and compassionate gaze asking Mahima if she was okay and would prefer to sit on a chair?! Mahima said that she was fine and okay to be seated on the ground.
Whilst Mahima and myself, both sat comfortably on the ground mesmerised looking at Swamiji, I totally forgot everything I wanted to ask Him. No questions, no thoughts, no desires! I was frozen in time and just wanted to be in His presence.
Swamiji gently smiled and lovingly said to Mahima (something to the lines of)
“You are glowing. She (your baby) is a gift from Vaikuntha/Sri Hari”.
(I can’t remember the exact sentence word for word as I was too enchanted, ecstatic, and euphoric in Swamiji’s presence, but knew 100% definitely, that Swamiji addressed the gender of the unborn child as a female).
At that moment, we were shocked, stunned, and surprised that how on earth would Swamiji know it is a baby girl? Because we had not revealed it to anybody and only both of us knew it’s a baby girl as we conducted a genetic test at 13 weeks pregnancy to ensure the child’s health was okay etc.
(Note – To a logical mind this may seem to be a probability guess of 50/50. But what happened next and the day after will blow logic out of the water miles away. Be ready!)
Hearing this, we humbly thanked Swamiji and Mahima asked to take a few petals of flowers kept at Swamiji’s feet. Swamiji at once picked the flowers and gave it to Mahima.
(Note – Those petals stayed fresh for over 2 weeks upon returning home. Can logic explain this?).
Later I asked Swamiji a question on the mantra ‘Shreem’ and its correct pronunciation. After receiving my answer, I thanked Swamiji and then offered Swamiji our Rudraksha mala’s for blessing. Swamiji advised me to clean, wash and bath the Rudraksha with Milk, offering it to Sri Hari at the temple tomorrow morning & come back to see Him.
We did as advised and were super excited like kids to see Swamiji again the next day whilst 95% of people at the event, only got 1 meeting with Swamiji due to time constraints.
However, that evening Mahima and me kept wondering about the whole experience and she thanked me for organising the whole trip so beautifully. I knew in my heart it wasn’t me but some divine arrangements that allowed me to simply be part of a bigger lela at play.
A small incident before our 2nd meeting on Sun 25th Aug
On the 2nd day of the event, we arrived early (thanks to me) and were eagerly looking forward to Swamiji’s discourse, meditation and luncheon with all the amazing BLPFA family. The weekend was beautifully spend.
I remember I was busy feeding my lunch left overs to the many scattered ants, who were running around in the pathway between the hall and temple. As my back was faced towards the temple, little did I know that everybody was standing up, paying obeisance to Swamiji who was coming to the hall for his lunch before/after personal meetings.
Swamiji walked across looking at the ants & me, giving me an affectionate smiling nod, and blitz away walking super fast in his unique gait and style.
I had no time to think, act or pay obeisance to Swamiji in that short span of time (plus I was busy feeding those many ants). Mahima soon came to me and said “Swamiji was noticing you from far away as he walked towards you”. And I responded saying “I hope Swamiji does not think I am wasting the lovely food prepared by the BLPFA team”. 🙂
2nd Personal Meeting with Swamiji on Sun 25th Aug 2019 @ 2:00 p.m.
Before this meeting, I made a list of questions on my note pad to ask Swamiji, especially how he knew about the gender of our baby yet to be born.
Once again, as soon as we entered the cottage where Swamiji was seated, He greeted us with his beautiful heart-warming smile and Behold! I totally forgot everything I wanted to ask Him. Same like last time. No questions, no thoughts, no desires! Frozen in time, I just wanted to be in His presence.
Swamiji asked for our Rudraksha Mala’s individually, placing it on his folded knees. He then did a few tantric hand mudras and whispered a chant onto the Rudraksha mala, handing it over to us individually.
After Swamiji’s incantation, both of our Rudraksha malas were “Super-Hot”. It felt as if it was burning with Fire.
I could not wear it on my naked skin. I asked Mahima to touch my Rudraksha and check the heat it was emanating. Mahima being a medical specialist was astounded at this experience and said that she has never ever experienced such a feeling ever and she was very thankful for coming, meeting, and receiving Sri Hari and Swamiji’s blessing.
(Note – My Rudraksha remained warm for many days together. Can logic explain this? Don’t think so.)
Here is a photo of the Rudraksha Mala I wear. It consists of Nepal collector beads of 3, 7, 9, 11 Mukhi on the Left; 4, 6, 8, 10 Mukhi on the Right & Gauri-Shankar Rudraksha in the middle. All strung in a 5 mukhi mala.
(Note – All my non-religious and/or religious fanatic readers, should know that Rudraksha has nothing to do with ‘Religion’. It is a pure science like using a mobile phone. We don’t worship Alexander Grambell, we simply use his invention for our benefit, isn’t it?. Having studied Rudraksha science, I share/ consult people who are interested in knowing which Rudraksha is best suited for them.)
Returning back home to Adelaide (after the above experiences with Swamiji), did shift something in me permanently. There seems to be an unspoken bond of an erupting fountain of love, faith and devotion ignited in my heart towards Swamiji.
This love, faith and devotion is without any attachments, expectations or desires. It is not an intellectual idea but an ingrained belief in my heart.
To explain it in simple words to a logical mind, allow me to cite a personal example. i.e. When I raise my daughter ‘Mairaa’ (Little Soul already born) into the air while playing with her (even though my wife gets scared), my daughter smiles, giggles and asks me to raise her higher because she knows that Pappa (dad) will catch her when she falls. It is not an intellectual idea but an ingrained belief that Mairaa has. That is the subtle difference between believing you have faith, love and devotion versus actually having it.
If you think about it, everything we know, read, or are told is merely information passed down from one generation, one source, one person to another. It is second-hand in nature. It is not knowledge or wisdom, as we may call it. It can’t be. Isn’t it?
However, when we acquire, understand and utilize that information and arrive at a resultant conclusion based on our own first-hand experience, that is knowledge, that is wisdom, that is the starting point of discovering our own truth.
The ‘I believe’ is transformed to ‘I know.’ – Om Swami
It is then that a customary orthodox tradition transforms into a meaningful, genuine expression of your own faith, love and devotion, which is free from any attachments, desires or expectations. And it is in that faith, love, and devotion that I can humbly proclaim.
I know that I have found a true Guru.
I know that I am under His Umbrella.
I know that I have arrived Home.
I hope we have, through these 3 x blog series, met each other with an open mind, an open heart and open arms, embracing the love we all share for Swamiji. For it has been my privilege and honour to share my perspective, my experience, my truth with you.
Thank you for giving me your time, which is more valuable than anything. If you smiled, nodded or felt warm while reading these blogs, I shall consider my effort worthwhile. I shall consider it worth your time.
Once upon a time, as the reverent Rumi said, “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
This has been my myth, my story, my journey. Go embark on yours.
Till we meet again, until next time.
With immense love, respect and gratitude,
Mairaa, Mahima & Willbur.