When I met God
It was 1990 when we (me, my husband and my daughter) migrated from Kashmir to the Kullu Valley due to frequent terrorism and terrorist attacks. I still remember the day when I received the orders that I have been posted to J & K Bank branch office Kullu - I, Shivani (my daughter) and Sumanji (my husband) boarded he bus to Himachal unaware of where we have to go.. In the bus we met a middle aged couple, gradually we began talking and told them that we need to go to Kullu. They showed us the way to our destiny.. Without knowing what our actual destiny was, we were happy because we reached where we wanted to reach - Akhara Bazar Kullu. Reaching there gave us a relief however a the same time we were tensed that how we will make the arrangements for food and shelter when we are having a 4 year old kid with us.. Suddenly a person came to us - asked where we had to go; I knew from his eyes that he had identified us as strangers in the valley - but then we did not have any option.. He asked us to come with him - have bath and breakfast - looking and each other we went along with him. He took us to Arya samaj ashram - there we got a room bathed and had breakfast. Then he took us to the Branch manager's house. We went and I joined my duties from the same day a 9:45am. The branch manager was very helpful and helped us find a rented accomodation - we were there for the next days. Then again we boarded the bus and we went to Jammu to collect our clothings and other items like utensils etc. We hired a matador from Jammu to Kullu and my brother Preduman with his wife Thana and daughter Shallo accompanied us. Gradually we purchased the items that we needed; admitted Shivani to Trinity school and started living a new life. Then all others (except me and Shivani) left for Jammu and we started living a life - life full of tensions. Sumanji told me not to worry as he will soon come along with his parents to Kullu.. But then till he had to come I was having sleepless nights.
It had been a couple of weeks since we had been here and since then I did not get a chance to visit the temple. So I asked a colleague of mine about the same - he said walk straight and after a couple of kilometere we will see a temple situated in the banks of Beas. It was a Sunday morning when I and Shivani and all others started our journey - we walked and walked and walked and then we saw a building - and thinking that this might be the temple we went upstairs. We went in the cave and what a beauty - Maa was inside the cave - I never saw an idol there I saw Maa sitting. Offering prayers we went through whole temple area - went to Shiv Gufa and all.. I was amazed with the positive energies of the temple they were as if embracing me, we offered prayers and went home.
Then Sumanji and all left for Jammu, and they started packing the bags to come to Kullu. Unfortunately Mandal commission was announced and all the routes even the schools were seized. Life was seized. So I had to take Shivani with me to Bank. She was missing her father a lot - her toys - her study area etc a lot. Due to this she got frequent headaches and vomiting and was confirmed as the migraine patient by the doctors. I was tensed and alone. Then one day I heard a voice - voice of my mother; she was asking me to come to her. I asked Shivani - Mandir chalein and to my surprise she agreed (because of being alone she was always crying and not talking to anyone so I was thinking whether she will agree to accompany me - but she did). We again went to the temple and offered prayers. The lady was there sitting in front of the cave We saw a lady on the stairs near the Prasad area cleaning peas. Thinking her as one of the devotee we went ahead and offered prayers. there were lots of positive energies around me and these energies were embracing me and attracting me towards the lady sitting on the stairs. She too was looking at us and somehow don't know what happened and I told her my whole story - I felt as if my mother herself came from the heaven to hear her daughters grievances and help her to get out of those. She asked me about my daughters name and she started talking to Shivani. She asked Shivani why she was so upset and she said that she felt alone and she was missing daddy and rest of the family members. Then she asked why what happened and I suddenly said “Matajee actually….. (and narrated the whole story)” I was not knowing anything about here but I called her Mataji. It was the power of attraction that made me do so. Then Shivani said she is not having a nani – and Mataji said I am your Nani Maa. She told me that I should talk to friends and I said that I don’t have any to which she said I am your friend – you can come to me whenever you want – I am your mother your friend whatever you want me to take. Since that day I went to her whenever I felt and whenever I had time. Shivani too enjoyed a lot. Gradually I came to know that she is Maa of the temple and about swamiji and Sangha activities and I too participated in them. I was astonished to know that she is the saint of the temple – for me she was a mother a friend – an ordinary human like you and me who worked in the temple. Till now I had never seen any saint who followed Nishkaam Seva Bhav – i.e. she served people selflessly. I never saw her sitting giving lectures – her actions spoke everything – she never preached any thing except Selfless service. For her work was worship. Then we every Sunday used to go there and spend a full day. Shivani too was waiting and counting week days on her fingers that when will Sunday come and we will go there. Shivani’s job was to serve Prasada to the visitors / devotees and show them the directions. And I used to cook food. Sometimes I and Shivani also went on Saturday night and came back the Sunday evening. I am highly thankful to diety that Shivani has a great influence of Matajee from her childhood – this helped me shape her future. Actually temple has given her all – her intelligence, respect of culture, respect for elders and obeying what we say. Mataji shared with me her Journey of Adhyatam. I was very much influenced from her simple living and highly motivating thoughts. She taught me how to fight in the critical situations and how to be bold to face all what time shows to us. Shivani treated Mataji as her Nani and Kamal Bhaiyaji & Vivek Bhaiya ji as her Mamus. She used to play and used to be very happy here and I too was. Kamal Bhaiyaji used to play with her. And this is how we were associated with the Mahadevi tirth. For me it is always my home.
My family, in-laws and my husband always cooperated with me and never stopped me from visiting Mataji. I am lucky to have a family who supported me in this journey.
Since then whenever I come to the temple the first thing I do is search and meet Mataji. For me she is the Goddess. I feel she is the one who is sitting inside the cave and she is one roaming outside. As the Goddess in the cave had a lion, Mataji had Bhalu (a dog – German shepherd). He used to go with Mataji wherever she was going – he also offered prayers to go when Arti was on. It was the day of Guru Poornima when I and Rita (another devotee) together made Maaji our Guru. And from that day my journey of salvation began.
I remember the days when Mataji used to sit on a chowki in the kitchen and used to serve food to me, Shivani, Kamal Bhaiyaji and Vivek Bhaiyaji. Those days are really cherished by me. She served the food with a motherly affection. When we (I and Shivani) used to go for a night stay, Mataji used to tell me about Swamiji and his miracles. She told me that Swamiji before taking Samadhi in 1987 said that this will be the biggest temple and the famous temple in the world - and now we see that his words are true.. The devotees of the temple are from world wide.
People visiting the temple are so much pleased with the positivities of the temple that they not only take prasad from Bhandara and live in Dharamshala but also become life time member of the Sangha. There is a huge parking area near the temple thus the buses and the cars are secure when the people are busy admiring the beauty and serene.
One day I Rita and Matajee decided that on every first Sunday of the month we will have Satsangh in the temple hall. It was a kid o miracle - we were preparing prasad and ladies came and wished to be the member as well. Our strenghth grew and we were 108 members of the Sharada Maa Seva Sangha. I too took an initiative and by the blessings of Mataji was able to open a branch in my home at Jammu.
I remember the day when I Rita MOna Kamal Bhaiyaji and Vivek Bhaiyaji decided to celebrate Mataji's Birthday in the year 1992. I bought cake (self made), Rita bought Gulabjamun and all the others were ready in the Mataji's room with the candles in the Thali, we decorated cake and sweets and the candles and then called Mataji in. As soon as Mataji cut the cake - all the flames of all the candles became joint and suddenly there was a big a very big flame and we saw a Virath swaroop in the flames. I am sure that the flames that grew bigger and bigger were giving us the hint that the temple too will grow like this. Since then that day is celebrated as Gyan Divas.. However since this year on the same day we celebrate Matru divas as well.
There are many things that I want to say - however I am falling short of expressions.
Just want Mataji to always be with me forever and ever.