What would you call a man of very meager means, who with just Rs 5000 in his pocket, sets out to build a temple of Lord Balaji in the city of Mumbai, where every square inch of land is worth its weight in gold and probably more? Throw in the fact that this person before starting on this mission of his was a total atheist, a man who had just returned from a near death mishap, and still carries battered intestines and a missing spleen, and for whom doctors had given the verdict that survival was next to impossible- Mission impossible, won’t you say. Or like his family members did initially, you would urge a call to the psychiatrist!!
We live in an age of super speed achievement- hi tech gizmos, super-fast swanky sedans, super-fast broad band connectivity. And we can go on and on. Bloated with his vanity man arrogates the credit for all achievements to his intelligence and merit, little realizing that he is only the medium and the force behind everything is the DIVINE. In his quest for super-fast internet connectivity, man seems to have lost his connectivity with his inner self and quietude. But from time to time we come across instances and miracles, which remind us that there is a supreme divine force above us, and these incidents help to ground us to the reality.
This is one such amazing and a true talk. Please read and decide for yourself
Gurunath Mandala was a person with a very modest education and a small job with Reliance in Mumbai. Making ends meet was an extremely tough and daunting task, and like every young person he had aspirations that he should do well and live a life of comfort.
Around 10 years back a tragic accident was to make a paradigm change in his life. A Tata Sumo battered him on a road in Goregaon, a suburb of Mumbai. He was left unattended on the road in a precarious condition- his intestines had spilled out on the road; he was badly smashed up. A good Samaritan took him to KEM hospital.
In fact, the trail of miracles starts from here. As he was being taken to KEM hospital he experienced the vision and reassuring message from Lord Balaji that he was under his care and not to worry. He reached the hospital in 20 minutes. KEM is situated in Parel and he was felled down in Goregaon. It was peak hour traffic time. Anyone familiar with Mumbai's topography would know traversing this distance in peak hour would take ages- how he could reach in 20 minutes is any one’s guess.
At the hospital the Doctor verdict was that his was a hopeless case, one beyond repair and chances of survival next to impossible. His life hung precariously by a slender thread, for many days, but he somehow managed to cling on to life but just about. He had to be dependent on a bagful of medicines to be taken daily, and Doctors still said nothing could be said about his survival.
While recouping in the hospital he was visited by a monk-a saintly, serene figure with white flowing hair and a beard. The monk blessed him by putting his hand on his forehead, and told him that with Lord Balajis grace all would be well and that he would recover and he had nothing to fear. He took a promise from Gurunath that when he recovered, he should visit Lord Balaji temple in Tirupathi.
No one knew who the monk was, where he came from and after that he was not to be seen.
Gurunath recovered, although the doctors were still skeptical about his survival. He was on daily dose of a large number of medicines, which were essential for his survival. He had survived, but would he live????
After his return Gurunath started to get messages in his dreams that he should visit Lord Balaji temple at Tirupathi. Eventually he took the trip. At the temple he happened to meet the monk with the white flowing hair who had blessed him in the hospital. The monk asked him 3 wishes which he would like to be granted. Gurunath requested that he should always have enough food to eat, that he should be known and respected by all, and that he should travel all over the world.
The monk told him that his wishes would be granted. He asked him to throw away all the medicines and stop taking them as he would be healed fully by the Lords grace.
The monk than asked him as to what he would give the lord in return.
The monk asked him to build a temple of Lord Balaji in Mumbai.
Gurunath was stunned- his position was such that he could barely make his ends meet, and here he was being asked to build a temple in Mumbai. The monk saw the look of concern on his face and told him not to worry- “every time you have a problem go to the Balaji temple in Mumbai at Phanaswadi near Marine lines, and you will get solutions to your problems". The monk also told him the exact specifications of the land where the temple should be built- what its surroundings should be including proximity of a Hanuman temple, Peepal tree in its vicinity etc etc. Don't worry, search for such a place and the Lord will help you with the temple, he was told.
Gurunath stayed 2 days at Tirupathi. His mind was in turmoil due to the seemingly impossible request for building a mandir in Mumbai. It seemed a preposterous demand on him. He decided to go to the temple again and request the monk that the task given to him was impossible to fulfill and hence he would like to take back his requests. The monk was nowhere to be seen. Enquiries at the temple revealed that no such monk with white flowing hair existed there!!!!!! Despite his best efforts he could not trace the monk.
On his return Gurunath initially decided to just ignore the matter. But the vision of the monk and his request continued to haunt him. An inner force seemed to impel him to start his mission to construct the temple. His family thought he had gone bananas. As per the monk’s advice he had even stopped all medicines. His family was aghast; he was taken to a psychiatrist for treatment.
Gurunath started visiting the Balaji temple at Marine lines to seek divine help in his mission. His inner voice told him he needed to learn a bit of architecture and designing so as to understand the intricacies of building a temple; the problem was that books on this subject were prohibitively costly. Once while praying at the temple he found that a person praying next to him had dropped his wallet. He promptly handed over the same to the owner. They then got talking and the man happened to be the head of Crossword book store. On learning of his desire to study architecture for building a temple, this person offered to help him out by giving him the facility of reading books on the subject, free at his store.
Gurunath started to search for the land for the temple- he needed to find the land which matched the specifications given by the monk. Eventually he found the same- in Charkop in Kandivili west. The dire problem then was of resources. The land owner wanted 35 lacs for a very small plot of land. Here also an interesting miracle took place. Gurunath went to the person's house to seal the deal for the land, and he had been asked by the land owner to get the full amount- but all that he could manage was a cheque for meager Rs 5000. When he showed the cheque, the owner lost his cool and asked him not to waste his time. But suddenly a miraculous change came in him and he asked him to wait outside for some time. He then came out and agreed that as it was for a mandir for Lord Balaji he would agree to the initial down payment amount of Rs 5000. When he asked Gurunath as to how he would repay the huge balance amount Gurunath replied that Lord Balaji would show the way and that as and when he got contribution from people he would repay in small instalments. The owner surprisingly agreed and Gurunath couldn't believe it when he got the land.
This incident spurred Gurunath, to canvass for funds for the temple construction. Somehow his tale of miraculous survival caught on and people started to contribute. In fact money started to pour in. By some miracle influential people would contribute large amounts, Gurunath, even today attributes the collection due to the divine will of Lord Balaji.
There is also an interesting tale about the idol installed in the temple which weighs 1.5 tonne, is 5.5 feet tall and is of one piece black stone-Shila found only in seven hills of Tirupati. When the idol, an exact replica of the Tirupathi one was made, as per procedure and customs it had to be immersed for 41 days in milk and then in flowers for an equal period, to sanctify the idol and energise it. When this process was on Gurunath got a dream that once the process was complete a Turtle would emerge from the sea and come to the temple and that would signify that the idol was ready for installation. It seems after 82 days of the process a turtle emerged at the temple doorstep – it had a “naam" on its head. The turtle has been kept in the temple pond. The temple was finally inaugurated on 22.06.2009. The temple is located at sector 7, Charkop, Kandivili west, Mumbai. Another interesting aspect is that while the ground water in the neighbourhood is brackish, the water in the well in the temple premises is normal. It appears that their total project cost including future expansion is around 5.25 crores, and already 1.25 crores has been collected and spent.
Gurunath plans to acquire additional land surrounding the temple as he plans expansion of its activities. He has resigned from his job long time back and devotes his entire life to collect funds for the temple, He needs a huge amount to make his expansion plans come true. He has a set up a call center which contacts people requesting for donations. Gurunath also travels abroad to collect funds for his project. I am told in many of his trips abroad, his foreign donors and at times even the hotel foot his bill.
I came to know about Gurunath's story from a family friend of ours, whose aged mother does seva in the temple. When I heard the story, I was touched and asked my friend if I could speak with Gurunath, and also if I could share his inspiring story as a blog with my friends in Sulekha. When I spoke to Gurunathji, I was apprehensive, and I didn't know what reception I would get. But he came across as a very humble and sincere person. Initially he was wary, but when I told him my objective was only to share his miracle with others, he was receptive.All the details given by me here are based on what he told me. He said Lord Balaji asked him to construct the mandir in Mumbai so that those who can't travel all the way to Tirupathi can get his blessings here in Mumbai. He said he has now devoted his entire life to expanding the mandir and he has plans to buy more land around the temple so that expansion plans can be put in place. But this requires a lot of finance and he is confident that it will happen. Once a nondescript and unknown person, he now seems to be sought after by all and sundry- donors, Industrialists, politicians, bigwigs. But I sensed tremendous modesty, humility and genuine gratitude to the almighty pouring out from this person- a god's man in every sense of the word!!He said that due to Lord Balaji's grace money just keeps pouring in mysteriously from all sources and he is just dumbstruck as to how it happens!!!!
The miracle of Gurunathji has touched me in more sense than one, and so many questions continue to haunt me-
Who was the monk with the flowing white hair- how did he land up precisely when Gurunathji was tantalizingly close to death in the hospital, how did he appear suddenly in Tirupathi when Gurunathji went there, how come he disappeared after that, how come no one in the temple had ever heard about him, how did he reveal the exact location of the temple land with landmarks, how come Gurunathji survived despite stopping all medicines as per his advice although the doctors had warned it would be disastrous, how did a man with virtually no resources succeed in building a temple in Mumbai??????
Gurunathji, when I spoke to him, said the monk was none other than Lord Balaji himself.
Gurunath's story demonstrates the magic of the divine at work. When man's will and determination gets energized with the magic of Gods divine grace then any goal is surmountable and miracles unfold- even an impoverished and battered man can rise up like a phoenix from the dead, to fulfill Gods dream of having a temple built in the city of Mumbai despite having no resources!!!
That a single human being, with virtually no finances can make the dream of constructing a temple in Mumbai come true- what else can it be called but a miracle!!!
In this age of scientific and rational thinking we seek proof before accepting anything.
If anyone needed proof of the mysteries and the magic of the divine at work, do we need to look further than the triumph of this individual who with virtually nothing in hand, made the impossible become possible?
WHO WAS HE- that will remain an eternal mystery, but what is certain is that a miracle did happen at Charkop, and all we can do is bow in reverence to the divine, omnipresent and all powerful LORD BALAJI.