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Saturday,April29, FEATURE
2000

AdayattheDera
MovingaroundtheDeraatBeaswouldconvince
anyonethatthereisadivinepowerthatguides
everyoneandmoveseverythingattheplace
meticulously,saysJ.L.Gupta

THEDeraatBeasisspreadoveralargearea.Thewhole
placeisstrikinglyneat.Verygreen.Everything,fromasmall
bushtoabigtree,isinplace.Everyoneisdisciplined.All,
richorpoor,arelookedafter.Withintheprecincts,dharma
rules.But,itdoesnotconnotereligion.Itmeansasystem
ofvalues.Ascienceofethics.Thisconceptguideseach
action.Notsurprisingly,theplacehasanaura.Arare
rhythm.Asweetscent.Itemitseternalpeace.

Peace,intodaysworld
tornbystressandstrife?
Difficulttobelieve?Tryit.
ThedoorsoftheDeraare
alwaysopen.To
everyone.Itisthereforanyonetosee.Ihave.

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ItwasSaturday.MyfamilyandIhadreachedtheDeraafter
fourintheafternoon.BabaJitheMasterwasmeeting
peoplefromabroadat5.30pm.TheyhadcometotheDera
fromallovertheworld.Probably,insearchofeternalpeace.
Toknowthewaytoovercomethestressesandstrainsofthe
presentdaylife.Someofthemhadquestionstoask.Asa
specialconcession,grantedattheinstanceofakindelder,
evenIwasallowedtoattendthissession.Iwashappy.Also
inquisitive.
WehadbeentoldtokeepsittingwhentheMasterarrived.
WhileIwasstillthinkingaboutthepossiblereasons,Hehad
reached.Onthedot.Heisyoung.Muchyoungerthanmost
ofthemenandwomenwhowereseatedinfrontofhim.His
pacewasquick.Theposture,erect.Hetookofftheshoes
beforetakinghisseatattheraisedplatform.Lookedaround.
ItfeltasifHegaveeveryoneagoodlook.Possibly,Hisway
tobless.Afewwordsfromoneofthefollowers.Andthen
theMasteransweredquestions.Onebyone.Inall,three
personshadsharedtheirproblems.Theanswerswereclear
andstraightforward.Therewasnoambiguity.Noifsand
buts.

Thiswastheendofthefirstsession.Iwasbacktomyroom
inthehostel.Averycompactandcomfortableplace.All
provisionstomeetthenormalneeds.

Asarule,thedinnerisservedearly.Thus,itwasnot
surprisingthatsoonafterthecongregation,allthe350
personsstayinginthehostelhadmovedtothedininghall.
Therewasplentyofgoodfood.TheEuropeananddesi
varieties.Steaminghot.Therewasadistinctaromainthe
air.Amerelookatthelayouthadtickledthetastebuds.The
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placepeppeduptheappetite.Ihadmyfill.Andthen,alittle
walk.Alittletalk.Iwastoldthattheroomlightswere
expectedtobeoutatnine.Themorningalarmisatthree.
Everyonewasexpectedtobeupintheearlyhoursofthe
morning.InBrahmaMahurat.Itisconsideredtobegoodfor
thebodyandthemind.

Iwasasleep.Probably,wellbeforenine.Evenaknockon
thedoor(ofwhichIwastoldinthemorning)hadnotproved
enoughtowakemeup.AndIhadnotheardthemorning
gongeither.Obviously,Ihadsleptratherwell.Hadgotupat
four.Hearingamelodioustune.Asif,thewordsofa
morningprayer.Therewereothersoundstoo.Atregular
intervals.Abird?Atape?TheMastersmagic?Various
questionshadracedthroughthemind.Iwasnotsure.I
wentoutoftheroom.Intheopen.Couldseenothing.Yet,
thereweresounds.Veryclear.Allaround.Soothingtothe
senses.

Themysteryhadpersisted.Iwascurious.Wentoutagain.
Walkedaround.Plentyofopenarea.Freshandcoolair.Very
refreshing.Peopleweremovingindifferentdirections.
Mostlyvolunteersreportingfortheirjobs.Forthesevaof
loveanddevotion.Totally,selflessservice.Apermanent
featureoftheplace.

Therearealargenumberofbuildings.Moreareunder
construction.Walkingcasually,Ihadreachedtheareafor
thelangar.Huge.Talkedtoaperson.Wastoldthat50,000
peopleareservedfoodin10minutes.AttheBhandara(the
maincongregation),thenumberexceedshalfamillion.And
everyoneeats.Then,thereisthehugehospitalcomplex.

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Builtuponthefoundationofloveandcompassionof
MaharajCharanSingh.Symbolicofthehumilityand
dedicationofthesevadars.TheMaharajSawanSingh
CharitableHospitalisasourceofhelpandhopeforthesick
andneedy.Itisdoingexcellentservicetosociety.

Movingaroundtheplacewouldconvinceanyonethatthere
isadivinepowerthatguideseveryoneandmoves
everythingattheDera.Verymeticulously.Allthetime.Asif,
withaclockworkprecision.

Icamebacktotheroomafteragoodwalk.Itwasnoteven
seven.Yet,Iwashungry.Finally,at7.15,thebreakfastwas
served.Eventhe15minutesofwaitinghadseemedmuch
toolong.Ihadlargehelpingsofporridgeandmilkwith
plentyofbrownsugar.Followedbytoastswithbutter,jam
andmarmaladesogenerouslysuppliedbythekindand
everreadyMrsDesai.Eventhekidswhowouldnormallyget
uplatewereready.Theytoohadbreakfastbeforeeight.A
littleunusual.But,true.Obviously,theplacehadmadea
difference.

TheneveryonehadproceededforthemorningKirtan.The
Masterssundaymorningsermontothecongregation.The
placeseemedlikeamassofmenandwomen.Alargecrowd
ofmorethantwolakhhadalreadygathered.By8.30am.
Under,whatmustbeoneofthelargestareasunderaroof,
inthecountry.Thepeoplewerestillpouringin.Fromall
directions.Inlargenumbers.But,therewascompleteorder.
Totaldiscipline.Nonoise.Evenawhispercouldbeheard.
Andpunctuallyatnine,theMasterhadtakenhisseat.Soon
hewasaddressingthesangat.

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HespokeinPunjabi.Exhortedeveryonetotamethemind.
Controlthefivesenses.Tobeagoodhumanbeing.Indeed
andinaction.Tobalancethekarmicactions.Toyearnfor
onlyspiritualwealth.Thetime(probablytwohours)had
passedtoofast.Nobodyhadmoved,talkedoryawned.
Thosefromabroadweresittingstill.Despitethefactthat
theymaynothavefollowedorunderstoodevenaword.
Obviously,therewasanoverwhelmingdesiretobeinHis
presence.Attheend,therewasasatisfactoryfeelingofa
lessoninspirituality.Notofadiscourseonthecomparative
meritsofasectorreligionoveranyother.

Andthentherewasthemuchawaitedaudiencewiththe
Master.Forthefamily.AtHishouse.AchancetoseeHimin
fleshandblood.TobeinHispresence.Tositjustnextto
Him.

Ahandsomeface.Theflowingbeard.Aradiantlook.A
sereneexpression.Adivinepresence.Andthelittlechildof
lessthanthreewasthefirsttoputhisheadatHisfeet.
Withoutbeingasked.DespiteHisstoppinghim.Outofsheer
reverence.

Hewaspatientandunderstanding.Heborewithusformore
thanhalfanhour.Therewasneveralookofimpatience.
Despitethefactthatmanypeoplewerewaiting.Attheend,
weknewexactlywhytheMasterdesiredeveryonetototally
abhoralcoholandtotakevegetarianfoodonly.

Onthewayback,wenoticedtheplacewherepeopledonate
money.Peopleweredroppinggoodsumsofmoneyintoa
structureofbrickandmortar.Alltotallyvoluntarily.Andat

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theendofeachday,thereisplenty.Foreverythingand
everyone.Aquicklunchandwewerereadytoleave.We
cameaway.But,mostreluctantly.HowIwishedtostayon!
Why?Because,therewasrarediscipline?Atotalpeace?Or
becausetheenvironmentwasblissful?Therewasabitof
everything.Allthatmayleadtoamortalssalvation.

ThedayattheDeraseemedtohavepassedtoofast.But,
itsimpactisstillthere.Howlongwoulditlast?Alifetime?
Onecanonlyhopeandpray.Ido.

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