“The road to any great destination in our life is full of odds, thorns and hurdles. However, an intrepid traveler braves the thorns; faces the odds; removes the hurdles; and successfully reaches his destination, one day.
If you are too, like that intrepid traveler, ready to take the same road and march towards a great destination in life, then trust me dear, even that road is waiting to receive you and take you forward” – Yours Lovingly
DISCLAIMER : This is not a true story but a heart touching human story based on a real life incident that I have heard from a great man in a spiritual meeting in Hyderabad.
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That rich looking car,
Carrying one of the richest and also the most prominent personalities of the aristocratic Bombay society had zoomed past the main gate of the Santa Cruz Airport, in the rain hit city of Bombay, on that Thursday – the 4th of April, 1974 – and took a sharp turn towards the newly built Versova Bridge, to proceed towards Ahmedabad.
The distance between the two important Indian cities of Bombay and Ahmedabad is about 530 kilometers and it would take about nine hours for anyone travelling from Bombay to that city by road.
However, if someone is in an urgency like that man and prefers to go non stop by road, then, it is possible for him to reach Ahmedabad in just about 7 hours, again, subject to the condition that the person’s car maintains an average speed of 100 kmph.
Hypothetically speaking, am not telling you about any clear possibilities of a road journey here but only trying to tell you something about a few vague probabilities.. Since all of us are, infrequently though, travelling by car on busy Indian highways to one destination or the other, we all know “how many unguessable factors influence our road journey, today”.
In those days, the number of people owning cars in India was pretty less and the traffic on Indian roads too was less.. If that is so, the frequency of people travelling by road to far off destinations was still lesser.
Therefore, if someone like that courageous man chooses to take the road to reach a distant destination like Ahmedabad, my belief is, even the roads must have waited to receive him with all the love.
Let me, in this context, share with you a lovely Urdu Shayari that I often would hear from my friends, during my Nizam college days, in Hyderabad.. As I was typing the above paragraph, my mind had inadvertently reminded me that amazing Urdu masterpiece by an unknown poet.. Here it goes,
“Jo safar ikthiyaar karte hain, wohi manzilon ko paar karte hain.. Ek baar chalne ka hosla tho rakho, aise musafiron ka raaste bhi intezaar karte hain”.. PERIOD
After crossing the city limits of Bombay,
That man’s car entered the main road to Ahmedabad.. After travelling for about fifty kilometers on that road, that man realized there’s not much rain in and around that area..
“Sthirathaa nahin nahin re maanasa.. Sthirathaa nahin nahin re.. Taapatraya saagara magnanaam.. Darpaaahankaara vilagnaanaam.. Sthirathaa nahin nahin re.. Maanasa.. Sthirathaa nahin nahin re” (Sadasiva Brahmendram)
At that time, that man was looking outside the window of the car with many incoherent thoughts running deep inside his mind.. The passing of the road and the fading away of trees were trying to convey him something.
Something mysterious.. Something inexplicable.. And something divine.. But that man was too deeply engrossed in his thoughts to notice anything that the Mother Nature was trying to convey him, that moment.
After a few minutes, he slowly slided down in his seat; involuntarily closed his eyes; and gradually slipped into a deep sleep.
Finally, after almost four hours of non – stop driving and for about two hundred and fifty kilometers on that road to Ahmedabad, Joginder – the driver of that car – had to suddenly slow down the car, with shock and dismay, looking at the road ahead of him.
There, on that road,
A few policemen, belonging to the Maharashtra state police, were forcibly stopping all the vehicles coming from Bombay and were preventing them from going further towards Ahmedabad.
Unable to understand what was going on there, Joginder hurriedly got down from the car, without disturbing his boss who was in deep sleep that time, and reached the policemen on duty there and anxiously asked one of the inspectors,
“Saaheb, what happened.. Why are you stopping vehicles.. Please allow us to go.. Our saab has an emergency in Ahmedabad”.
Irritated with Joginder’s intrusion into his duty, that inspector asked him in an angry tone,
“Kya re, diktha nahin kya.. Kaha jaayega.. Saamne Koyali ka oil tanker se thel leak hora hain.. Road pura yahan se bees kilometer thak thel se bhara huan hain.. Kaise jaayegaa.. Mar jayegaa kya.. Jao jao.. Teen din thak ye road bandh hain.. Vaapas Bombay jaon”.
(Can’t you see.. Where will you go.. Oil is leaking from that oil tanker coming from Koyali refinery.. Entire road up to twenty kilometers from here is filled with oil.. How will you go.. Wanna die..??.. Go go.. This road is closed for the next three days.. Go back to Bombay”)
A heart almost stopped there, on that road, but not Joginder’s but his boss’s who had silently come there, walking behind Joginder, and listened to everything that the inspector had told him.
That man was shocked..
Stood there in a frozen state for a minute..
After about another minute,
He thoughtlessly turned back, in a jaded state of mind from the place where he was thus far standing, and slowly walked back to his car and dropped himself down inside it like a hapless warrior drops himself down into his chariot after getting wounded in a battle field.
Joginder was still in conversation with that inspector..
That man’s mind had gone completely blank that moment..
Turned completely black..
Was surrounded by darkness..
Couldn’t even think properly..
He just kept looking at the road, ahead of him, with a stoic silence.
After about a minute,
Joginder too had silently returned to the car and quietly sat inside.
For about two minutes,
Both Joginder and that man kept looking at everything – that was happening ahead of them on the road – in the field of their vision, with silence.
After about two minutes of unbearable silence, Joginder slowly turned his head back and asked his boss, “saab, kya karen”.. (Sir, what shall we do).
That man didn’t utter a word..
After quietly observing his boss’s silence – which he could understand was born out of his helplessness – for a few more seconds, Joginder told him in a low tone,
“Saab, I can understand your situation.. Please don’t be so sad.. Everything is not over yet.. I know a narrow road from here that passes through a village.
If we go back straight from here, towards Bombay, for about ten kilometers and take a left turn there and again go for another thirty kilometers or so, inside the jungle, we would be entering a village called, Devgaon.
If we travel straight from Devgaon, for another thirty kilometers, we would be entering this main road to Ahmedabad, again.. Saab, that Devgaon road runs parallel to this road.
That way not only would we be avoiding the entire oil filled twenty kilometers road but also would be covering thirty plus kilometers and still be connecting to this same road to Ahmedabad.
However, saab.. There are two problems here.. One, we have to completely go back for about ten kilometers and two, that road is a village road laid out by villagers with mud, so, not sure how safe it would be for our journey.
However, saab, we need to take a risk.. Since you say it is an emergency in Ahmedabad we have no option.. I feel it is better to take this risk, saab, and make an attempt to go forward instead of returning home with a heavy heart.. Wahe Guru.. Am sure, He will help us and guide us safely.. What do you say saab”.
That man, still in a jaded state, couldn’t utter a word for a few seconds.. Instead he just remained looking at Joginder, with a blank face.. Suddenly, at that point, his inner voice had started telling him,
“Go.. Go.. Gooooo.. To Devgaon.. Go.. Go to Devgaon.. That is the place you must first go.. Not Ahmedabad.. That is the route you must first go.. Not this route.. So gooo.. Don’t stop.. Don’t think.. Don’t hesitate.. Move on.. Just moooove onnnn.. Mooovee.. Go to Devgaonnnn”.
With a terrible jerk in his whole body, that man had suddenly come out of his jaded state and quickly closed his ears.. He couldn’t stand that voice.. He didn’t want to hear that voice at all and also it’s commands.. In fact, he ddn’t want to pay any attention to it.
But, poor fella.. Didn’t know that no one in the history of mankind had ever escaped from the indomitable commands of that inner voice that shape our destiny and our life.. PERIOD
Finally, succumbing to the commands of his inner voice, that man told Joginder, “No time Joginder.. Go.. Move.. Whatever route.. Go.. However, hard, go.. Just go”.
That man suddenly started sweating..
There was a terrible palpitation in his heart..
He suddenly started coughing..
Observing the uneasiness in his boss, Joginder quickly got down from the driver’s seat; opened the water bottle from the ice box and gave it to him, saying,
“Saab.. Relax.. Please don’t be so tensed.. I have never seen you in such a condition in my my life before.. You just relax in the back seat saab and I shall take care of everything and take you safely to Ahmedabad today”..
Saying so, Joginder Singh lifted his head and looking at the skies, recited in a low tone the following couple of verses from Shabad Gurbani from Dhan Dhan Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj.
“Tu prabh daata daan mat poora.. Hum thaare bhikhari jeeo.. Mai kya magau kichh thir na rahaaee.. Har deejai naam pyaari jeeo”.
(Satnam Shri Waheguru.. You are God, You are the Giver of gifts, You are the Lord of perfect understanding; Who am I and what am I, a mere beggar at Your Door.. But what should I beg for..??.. Nothing remains permanent, O Lord, so please bless me with Your Beloved Name).
Later, in a flash, Joginder sat in the driver’s seat; started the engine of the car; and in one by millionth of a second turned the car sharp; took a U turn and raced back towards that road to Devgaon.
Seshadri vaasam.. Sara dindu haasam..
After a couple of minutes, that man, to his utter surprise, had noticed total calmness in his mind.. He also started feeling light in his heart.. He couldn’t know why, but, a gentle smile had come rushing on to his lips and started dancing there.
It was then, while looking through the windows of the Car, that man had noticed something unusual in the passing of the road and the fading away of trees.. Something inexplicable.. And something mysterious..
He just kept looking at them with more attention shutting down all the faculties of his mind..
He, then, realized there’s something inexplicably amazing in the movements of that road and in the passing of those trees.. Something he didn’t experienced before.. He tried to identify what it was.. But he couldn’t.. Then, shaking his head, he rested it on the seat.
Sringaara murthym.. Subhadaana keerthim..
Joginder raced the car and in just about eight minutes of time covered those ten kilometers in reverse direction to Bombay and slowed it down.. Then, carefully looking on both the sides of the road, he cautiously turned the car to his left and entered a narrow road.
While the car was turning to the left, that man sitting in the rear seat of the car, casually looked at a Neem tree, through the window of the car, and noticed a small green colored tin board hooked to it.
He kept looking at that board but not at the letters, ‘DEVGAON’ written on it but at the mage of Lord Venkateswara beautifully painted above those letters.. He didn’t understand what is the connection between Lord’s image and that village.
However, for a few divine seconds, he felt everything around him so serene.
Sree srinivaasam.. Sivadeva sevyam..
As though reading his boss’s thoughts, Joginder suddenly told him,
“Saab, Devgaon means ‘God’s Village’.. People of this village are great devotees of Tirupati Balaji and live in complete submission to Him.. They strongly believe their life belongs to Him and He is shaping their destiny”..
That man would have been less shocked if a thunderbolt had hit him straight.. He quickly turned his head and looked at Joginder.. Looking so, he asked him, “what did you say, Joginder.. Come again”.
“Yes saab.. There’s a strong belief around this place that the people of Devgaon were all Tirupati Balaji’s servants and priests in their last life.
It is further believed that some of them remember their past lives too and also tell clearly what they were in that life and how they served Balaji in Tirupati Temple in that life.. Everyone in this village is a great devotee of Balaji, saab.
They submit all their problems to Him and believe, “it is He Who had given them this life and it is He Who is shaping their destiny”.
Sree venkatesam.. Sirasaa namami..
For a minute that man couldn’t believe what he had just heard.. Then, he thought,
“Why is that everyone I met today are saying only these same words, there’s a Divinity that shapes our life.. I heard it three times today from three completely different people and at three completely different places.. What is the connection between these people and these places.
Why is that they are saying only these words to me.. Is this just a coincidence or is there really something Divine that is shaping our life.. Then why is everything going against me today.. What is that inner voice that is constantly giving me such great commands..
That’s not me.. That’s not my voice.. For sure, that’s not my voice.. Why is that am shivering and panicking every time am listening to that voice.. Why is that am so afraid of that voice.
Why is that am hating to hear that voice.. Why is that there’s so much of command in that voice.. That’s not me..That’s not my voice.. Why would I be afraid of my own voice if that’s mine.. No, no.. That’s not me..
That’s someone else’s.. Someone had taken complete control of my body and speaking through me.. Who is that.. How could he take control of me.. ??.. Me.. ??.. How could he give commands to me.. ??.. To meeee..??
No.. No.. Noo.. That’s not all.. I have noticed something inexplicable in the passing of road and the fading away of trees.. Something is happening here.. Something I do not know.. Something I haven’t seen before in my fifty years of life .. What is this.. Who is doing all this..??.. God..??.. Is He God.. Does God really exist..??”
At this thought, that man’s whole body shivered like a leaf struck in the centre of a whirlpool.. He felt a chilled wave passing through his spine.. He quickly took out the water bottle from the ice box and gulped a little water from it..
While he was so deeply engrossed in those incoherent thoughts, Joginder drove the car for almost three kilometers in that narrow road.
Saptadri devam.. Sura raja sevyam..
It was then,
Both Joginder and that man have at a time noticed..
Something far at a distance..
And far at that distance..
There were some green hills..
Santhaapa naasam.. Suvilaasa kosam..
They were not looking at those green hills..
But were looking above the hills..
At those movements..
That were frightening..
That were dark..
That were coming running towards them..
Sapthaaswa bhaasam.. Sumogna bhoosham..
Looking at those coming running at them..
That man almost screamed..
With great fear gripping his mind..
Quickly stopped the car..
Sree venkatesam.. Sirasaa namami..
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