“In My Flesh Shall I See God”
- Jagannath Chatterjee, Bhubaneswar
My search for God had begun in early childhood. My mother had narrated to me the story of a boy who was afraid of crossing a forest on the way to school. He was advised to call upon Narayana to accompany him. The innocent boy used to call out the name of Narayana upon entering the forest and indeed the Lord used to emerge from the trees and lead him safely through the woods. This story had a huge impact on me and it also convinced me that God was a living presence. Later I read literature that narrated the tale of the Kalki Avatar. I also read the works of a 15th century Vaishnav Saint called Achyutananda, a close companion of Sri Chaitanya at Puri, who predicted that the Lord would take birth in Odisha.
My life has never been easy. I have always felt detached from the world and found it extremely difficult to adjust with the materialistic civilization that was growing all around me that I recognized to be the signs of the Kali Yuga. I did not have much interest in the education I received in schools and colleges as I lacked the ambition to build a career. I used to read books on my own and found great solace in spiritual literature. I took initiation in the Ramakrishna Math of Bhubaneswar in the year 1990 and devoted myself to the Mantra I received from my Guruji. However my search for God in the flesh continued as I visited the places hinted at by Swami Achyutananda and also visited other holy places, temples and ashrams searching for the face that would stand out.
Due to my health crisis which occurred due to medical negligence I was in so much pain that I often thought about taking my life. At such times whenever I opened any spiritual text there would be clear instructions that I had to continue despite my miserable condition. I mentally agreed to tolerate my unbearable suffering under the condition that I would have a glimpse of the Lord when he blessed the earth with His presence. I would imagine the scene of the Lord travelling with His devotees with me offering my pranam from a distance. That was all that I longed for. During this time I consulted an astrologer to know when my suffering would end. He told me that I would continue to suffer all my life. However he asked me to be patient as my horoscope showed that I would have the darshan of Lord Shiva who would graciously guide me on my path. I used to ponder that if this was true why was I suffering so much and why were there so many imperfections and limitations within me?
I carry out a campaign against the powerful empire of modern medicine which attracted the attention of Biranchi Patel. One day I received a call from him that I should seek both blessings and protection from the Lord Himself who had taken birth at Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. With great anxiety I visited his house at night while returning from my office. Biranchi bhai gave me a glass of milk and ripe bananas and asked me to wait as he loaded a CD into my laptop. He wanted to show me a video prior to showing a video of the Lord. I would have nothing of it and wanted to see the Lord immediately. When my eyes fell upon His gracious form I instantly realized that my search was over.
There came upon me an intense desire to have His darshan. I heard all about him from Biranchi bhai and Gobinda bhai and my restlessness increased further. I started calling up Chittesh bhai and Revered Arunji to know when I could have His darshan. They asked me to be patient and said I could meet him only ‘when the time came’. I clearly did not have that patience. Unexpectedly one day I received a call from Chittesh bhai that Bhagawan would be visiting Bhubaneswar for His passport. I was overjoyed. This was June 2012.
When the day came I visited Biranchi bhai’s house early in the morning. Chittesh bhai, his brother Chinmay and his aunt were also present. They treated me as if I was a part of their family. Chittesh bhai went to receive Bhagawan at the Airport and then checked Him into the hotel where He was to stay. Then he returned to the house to pack His lunch that was being cooked by his aunt. He and Biranchi bhai carried the lunch in the taxi while I followed with my scooty. I was so restless to meet the Lord that I travelled at a breakneck speed risking my life and limbs. I reached the hotel and waited in the lobby. After about an hour Chittesh bhai came down the stairs and said that Bhagawan was having His lunch. He seemed a little worried and told me that he was not very sure that Bhagawan would consent to a new person visiting Him. I was not worried because I had made my resolve to gatecrash into His room come what may. Very soon despite Chittesh bhai’s anxiety I entered Bhagawan’s room along with Biranchi bhai.
Bhagawan did not notice me but I was overwhelmed by His presence. Here was my Lord sitting before me! I just dropped into a chair and stared intently at Him. For sometime Bhagawan talked to Biranchi bhai then His gaze fell on me. He turned inquiringly to Chittesh bhai who introduced me. I fell on my knees to pay Him my respect. Bhagawan asked me not to kneel on the floor and sit in the chair. He listened intently as I told a few facts about myself. Even as I was speaking He relaxed and I realized He had accepted me. His eyes became merciful and I felt as if I have been sitting before Him all my life.
Very soon Bhagawan became our ‘friend’. Sitting cross legged on the bed He started chatting with us. I told him that I did not particularly enjoy being in the world, that I had no ambitions, seemed to have no purpose in life and that I always wondered why I was here. He nodded and told me that this was because I was a very old soul and have been wondering through innumerable lives. When I informed him about the internal workings of the medical industry and how all scientific rules were being ignored putting the lives of patients at risk he seemed troubled. He then started talking about Sanatan Dharma and how India was the land of the spiritual seekers. The time had come for the earnest to unite and reclaim the country, he said.
He started talking about the Mahabharata war which was waged to restore Dharma. As he became immersed in the discussion his whole appearance seemed to change. It became very clear to us that he was speaking from the perspective of Lord Krishna. With blazing eyes and a stern face he narrated how the mighty Arjuna had cried while performing the very difficult task of killing his own relatives. “The lad was crying even as he was fighting”, said Bhagawan as if he was revisiting the scene again. Bhagawan was often slipping into the first person directly identifying Himself with Lord Krishna.
The zeal with which he spoke at length amazed us. I somehow got the impression that probably we were not alone in the hotel room. There were other ethereal beings for whose sake the Lord was speaking. When He ultimately stopped speaking He noticed us and became His usual friendly self again. I told him about my initiation in the Ramakrishna Math and how much I adored Sri Ramakrishna and Ma Sarada. I faintly remember He said something which indicated why I had to do so. I told him that I had to concentrate somewhere but He did not seem satisfied with the answer. I then requested Him not to forget us as many stalwarts would come to him and the public too would recognize Him as the Supreme. He smiled a little and said, “How can I forget you all?” I told him about my difficulties with meditation and how I was not able to enter within and see God. He smiled and said it was fine. I realized that I had been foolish in saying so as the Supreme was sitting right before me.
He then spoke about how He had been to the Ramakrishna Math at Belur and had met Swami Gahanandaji who was the President at that time. Swamiji had wished Him all the best, He said. I immediately asked Him whether Gahanandaji, whom I knew personally, had recognized Him. Bhagawan looked at me with surprise written all over His face and then suddenly He smiled. That sweet and strange smile was really divine and I will never forget it all my life.
Biranchi bhai, Chittesh bhai and Chinmay struggled really hard for Bhagawan’s passport but there were many obstacles. Bhagawan had to extend His stay at Bhubaneswar. The next day I had to attend my office and missed out on many important things that He discussed on that day. In the evening Biranchi bhai requested me to go to the passport office the next day and talk with the person in-charge. I found that the entire office was busy granting passports for the Haj pilgrims and they were not in any mood to listen to us. However I convinced the officer that our case was very urgent. He asked us to come again after one day with Bhagawan. That evening Bhagawan wanted to visit a park and we all went to the Indira Gandhi Park. Bhagawan was very happy and roamed there. I noticed with great surprise that though people were looking at us, no one was looking at Bhagawan. I observed this during the entire trip and also when Bhagawan visited us again in April 2014. It was as if He was keeping Himself hidden.
After visiting the Park Bhagawan wanted to visit another place. We suggested Udaygiri-Khandagiri caves at the outskirts of the town and He agreed. He was travelling in a car with Chittesh bhai. When He saw that I was ready to follow the car with my scooty he asked Chittesh bhai to instruct me to park the scooty in the stand and travel in the same car. He was looking at the town as we travelled. When we reached the caves I told him how the atmosphere had changed over the years. Earlier many monks used to live here. I used to be a very frequent visitor as I had read that the Lord would visit the place before visiting Puri. Bhagawan looked at me and said nothing. He informed us that He had come there earlier also with His parents.
When we went inside the compound I told him about rumours that a very big cave existed within the hill where BrahmaGyani’s meditated. Bhagawan immediately became interested and asked me if it was true. I said that there existed tunnels to the interior cave which were still present. He urgently wanted to see them. Chittesh bhai wanted to know if the meditating monks would know about His presence. Bhagawan said BhramaGyani’s knew everything. Bhagawan was really pleased to see the tunnels and inspected them closely. One of them was closed as children often tried to enter them. Bhagawan then went to the top of the hill where there was a Yagyan Kund. I told him about an experience when I had seen a monk drying his loin cloth there. When I looked away and looked back again he was gone. Bhagawan said there were probably several tunnels and the monk would have disappeared into one.
We came to a small temple originally built by a Saint at the bottom of the hill. It was getting to be dark at that time. We went inside but Bhagawan stayed outside immersed in His own thoughts. In that ashram we met a person who also informed us that the Lord was destined to visit the place before He went to Puri. Bhagawan listened to him. During His first visit also Bhagawan had, along with His parents, first visited the caves before proceeding to Puri. This time also He went to Puri the next day. I felt myself extremely fortunate and marvelled at the thought that I was with Bhagawan the day the predicted event happened. On the way back Bhagawan bid me goodbye when I got down to collect my scooty. However I told Him that I was also going back to the hotel to be with him. Bhagawan agreed.
The next day I visited the passport office again. The officer told me he was too busy and asked me to come again the next day. I was in no mood to listen to him. I told him I would camp there till the passport was issued. I actually did that. I waited in front of his room. After an hour or two he called me in and said the passport was ready but Bhagawan Himself had to collect it. I immediately called Chittesh bhai and informed him. Soon Bhagawan arrived and the passport was issued. Bhagawan was extremely happy and His eyes showered blessings upon us.
That evening too he wanted to go out again. We decided to go to Dhauligiri, the spot where the Kalinga War was fought and the hill upon which Ashoka stood to witness the massacre. The sight of innumerable bodies piled up and the flowing river of blood brought repentance and he embraced Buddhism. On the way I informed Bhagawan that the road to Puri, on which we were travelling, was being broadened to a four way highway. I told him about the prediction that soon after the road was completed the sea would enter Puri and immerse the Jagannath Temple. I asked him if this would happen. He turned towards me from the front seat of the car and said, “Everything that is predicted will happen”.
On reaching the Dhauligiri hills Bhagawan was reluctant to take off His shoes while visiting the Shanti Stupa. So He entered the temple with His shoes. There were some photographers with Polaroid cameras and I requested Bhagawan for a group photograph. He smiled and agreed. This photograph is all that I have of that visit because my mobile phone was subsequently stolen and I lost videos and photos of the Lord. The Shanti Stupa had murals depicting the Kalinga War and Bhagawan was keenly observing them. When He came to the one depicting the dead soldiers He suddenly became grim and moved to the boundary wall where He stood for a long time in a meditative mood. I wanted Him to visit the Shiva temple adjacent to the Shanti Stupa but Bhagawan again did not want to take off His shoes. The next day Bhagawan left Bhubaneswar. During the visit my mother and wife were blessed to visit Him and they also cooked for Him and He relished their dishes. One night our tiffin had reached late and Bhagawan had already finished His dinner. I was sitting dejected in the lobby. Suddenly Bhagawan inquired from Chittesh bhai if any food had come for him. When the tiffin was taken to Him He took a little from that though He was not hungry. When I came home my wife informed me that she was earnestly praying to Bhagawan to take her humble offering.
One day He was sitting in the lobby when I went to the hotel. He asked me to sit down and I sat in the adjacent sofa after some hesitation. “There is a need for brave souls to do what is to be done,” He said. “All who come to me think that their lives will be spared. Is that possible? Many will also have to sacrifice their lives for the goal.” I understood but felt helpless as I reflected on the state of my health.
“Everything in this world is recorded,” he said one night. “All the files are neatly arranged. One can just dip into them and know both the past and the future.“ I have a great fondness for reading and I have read a great many books in my lifetime. One day he indirectly told me that book reading has no value. One has to try and open the third eye. On another day he told me that Gyani’s are always scared as they know that all actions have a reaction. Therefore they cannot participate fully in this world.
Due to my health conditions I could not travel to Pune for the January 30th function. I was very sad but I cheered up when Chittesh bhai said Bhagawan had inquired about me. Very soon I faced an internal turmoil as when I tried to chant Bhagawan’s name my earlier sanskar prevented me and I ended up chanting my usual mantra. I also felt extremely guilty that I was ending my association with the Ramakrishna Math with which I was associated since I was 5 years old. However despite all these difficulties my devotion towards Bhagawan never faltered. One night I saw a dream that I was in front of Lord Vishnu with His four hands holding the Sankha, Chakra, Gada and Padma. I immediately fell at His feet. Another night I had a dream of Bhagawan in a gathering where Chittesh bhai was also present. Bhagawan was watching Chittesh bhai who was trying to make an idol of Lord Ganesha out of clay. Bhagawan was dressed in a peacock feather coloured chudidar and a tight white payjama. Once I also saw Him disappear into infinity. I do not know the significance of these dreams.
I visited Mayurbhanj on February 11 2014 to attend Bhagawan’s birthday celebrations which was on February 12. I was very happy to have Bhagawan’s darshan again. My eyes never left Him. Once when He was going out of the house He turned back to look at me. I felt embarrassed. I was very anxious about how my health would fare during the visit but the days passed without discomfort. I was delighted to meet Arunji, Yudhisthir Dada and Bhim Dada along with other stalwarts. They were extremely kind towards me. Arunji somehow recognized me before I could know who he was. I was drawn towards Ramoo Dada who took a fancy upon me and was happy to know that I would stay with him. Ramoo Dada said he had something to discuss with me.
The entire event was mind boggling. The devotional songs and performances were superb. Bhagawan graced the occasion on all days and took great pains to put all His devotees at ease. Who can forget the huge singing and dancing in the last day? It was like Gopi’s dancing in the presence of Lord Krishna. I felt too weak to dance physically but I was dancing mentally. In the first night Ramoo Dada inquired about me. I told him how my past sanskar was troubling me. He said it was normal and formally initiated me that night. He said that when He had informed Bhagawan about my presence He had said “Oh, so he has come!” Ramoo Dada told me that Bhagawan loved me very dearly. He wanted to know whether I had requested Bhagawan to know who I was. I told him I was not very interested to know. Ramoo Dada seemed pleased with the answer. He told me to just enjoy the grace of Bhagawan without troubling Him with my petty needs and desires. I have followed his instructions very strictly. We had to return without a personal darshan of Bhagawan but somehow I felt internally full and I was not much affected. I was also very happy to have darshan of Anjana Ma, Bishnupriya and Siddhartha.
In 2014 I visited Mayurbhanj again to attend the birthday of Bishnupriya. I was very happy that He granted me strength for the journey. Bhagawan treated us like His children. We enjoyed the afternoon gatherings below the Mango tree in the courtyard. I don’t remember what He talked about as I was always overawed by His presence. I had come to realize that He was the Supreme under whose instructions Avatars descended upon earth. He was Mahakal. It was His immense grace that inconsequential people like me have been blessed by His grace and companionship. I remember that during a discussion I informed Him that the general people of Bhubaneswar were not very responsive to our message. They were already devotees of various sects and seemed satisfied with that. People wanted a God who would protect their lives, health, wealth and family members and did not seem interested for the Supreme. Bhagawan nodded and told me that the general population would behave like that. They would need material benefits that would be provided to them at a later date.
In April 2014 I suddenly received the news that Bhagawan would visit Bhubaneswar with Anjana Ma, Bishnupriya and Siddharth and stay for four days. Others would also come in a group from Sundargarh. I was very worried because I was alone in Bhubaneswar as Biranchi bhai had been transferred to Phulbani. Anyway I started preparing for the visit. During the visit I distinctly felt that mental suggestions were coming to me for making all the arrangements and I just acted accordingly.
The days were highly significant as Bhagawan was in a mood to share a lot with us. I will only write about a few important things. One night as we gathered around Him in His room He informed us that we were all His close companions. We were not aware of our real backgrounds and about our tremendous efforts in our past lives. He said He had thrown a ring of protection around us. He said for us there was no mukti or salvation. We would always transmigrate and would be with Him when He descended on earth. Inwardly I was a little taken aback as faced with tremendous mental and physical problems and pain I was very anxious to escape the cycle of birth and death. I also felt myself unnecessary and purposeless in this world.
“I do not identify with anything or anybody. I am totally independent. I have no friends and no relatives. I am beyond dualities. Nothing affects me. I do not allow anyone to catch me,” He declared. A little shocked I told him that He had allowed us to recognize Him. “I have not got caught by anybody,” He replied, “If you can progress by catching me it depends on you. I am not there to catch anyone’s hand and lead him.” I knew that these were the characteristics of the Supreme but even then I felt dejected.
When a gentleman commented that it was his long tapasya over many lives that he could have a darshan of Bhagawan, the Lord became angry. He said, “Nobody can reach me through tapasya. How dare someone think like that! I select those who are my own. Everything is my grace, not anyone’s personal effort.” When a mother wanted Him to bless her family Bhagawan smiled and said He was ready to bless everyone but His blessings worked in mysterious ways and may not seem beneficial on the surface. To another gentleman He said, “You are happy with your financial income, wife and son. So why should I disturb your peace with my blessings?” To a young man He said that so long as he would be in the company of his parents and later of his own family Bhagawan would not be with him. He asked him if he was ready to leave everything.
He was very angry with a gentleman because he had heard of Bhagawan for a long time but had delayed in visiting Him. It seemed to us that this gentleman was a very close and favourite devotee of Bhagawan but he was not able to lift the veil of Maya and come close to Him or accept Him wholeheartedly. Even after the visit the gentleman did not appear serious but was worried about his family affairs. I prayed to Bhagawan mentally that such a thing should never happen to me. I have always feared the immense power of Maya and of the tricks she can play to delude the best of men, God’s and King’s.
At Puri we witnessed a divine incident. Bhagawan had purchased new slippers and He stood at a little distance from the sea so that the slippers would not get wet. For a photograph he had to move a little closer and His feet got wet. He went back again but the waves reached Him there for a second time. It was the third time that something very strange happened. We were all standing together but a conical formation from the sea touched His feet alone without making anyone else wet. Bhagawan started laughing and then went and stood near the sea. After some time I informed Bhagawan that the coastal region of Odisha was witnessing a very violent and advancing sea. Bhagawan said, “More than the sea the land will show its true colours.” He dragged his feet from the water to the land as He said this.
At Udaygiri-Khandagiri Bhagawan revealed that he was from the Highest Realm – the 9th Chakra - where He alone resided. Nobody else could enter that realm. At Konark we were amused when a salesman pestered Him to try and sell Him a Chakra!
When Bhagawan left Bhubaneswar at the end of four days I was thoroughly depressed. When He left His hotel room I completely surrendered to Him and earnestly requested Him to come again. I became very emotional and when Bhagawan wanted to know something at the Airport I did not find the voice to speak and could only nod. After a few hours the other devotees from Sundargarh also left and I felt totally lonely in the world. Bhagawan was happy during the stay but the food was often not to His liking. I begged His forgiveness and Bhagawan consoled me saying that these things were inevitable and that He was not disturbed. During this visit my father also had the opportunity to have His darshan.
In November 2014 I visited Mayurbhanj again to attend Siddharth’s birthday. Bhagawan clearly stated to us that we should accept Him as Chakradhar and there was no use seeing Him as either Lord Shiva or Lord Krishna. During the celebrations spirits warned that we should worship Bhagawan alone and not anyone else. During Bhagawan’s visit to Bhubaneswar I had inquired whether the spiritual door would open for those who wanted. At Mayurbhanj Bhagawan told me indirectly that “Spiritual progress was accompanied by great physical and mental suffering. The world would heap abuses. Waves of suffering would come incessantly. If spiritual powers came the body often cannot tolerate them and would burst. Spiritual progress was very difficult for the human body and mind to tolerate.” At Bhubaneswar He had also told us that, “After a lot of tests the souls become ready to handle difficult responsibilities as spirituality provides them the ability to perform objectively and without bias.” I have reached a stage where I find it extremely difficult to tolerate any more suffering. I wondered what more was in store for me.
“I am not here to solve anyone’s personal problems,” he told a devotee. “The entire system functions just like a government department. I am the President. Your applications for help reach my office. My office sends them to the concerned department. The department sends them to offices near you and then someone is deputed to solve your problems. Nobody is alone in this world. Everyone has an invisible attendant. Without this arrangement no one would survive. The God’s do exist and are like concrete pillars who keep the entire structure intact. The world is programmed. Everyone gets exactly what is due. Nobody can pass through the filters that have been set up in various places unless all criteria are fulfilled.”
“Yes an age of peace will come,” he said to an inquiring devotee, “but are you ready for the immense war and destruction that will precede it? Things will become so difficult that you all will fall at my feet to stop it but nothing can be done.”
I have received more from Bhagawan than I have dared to imagine. I had just prayed for His darshan but He has given me His guidance, love, friendship and also promised eternal companionship. Even thinking of His grace brings tears to my eyes. Whenever He sees me He smiles a friendly smile as if He has known me since ages. What more can a mere mortal like me ask for? All my desires have been fulfilled at His feet. It is true that I have undergone great suffering in this life but I can also say proudly, “In my flesh I have seen the Supreme.”