Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
One day Dada Vaswani told me. “Sadhu Vaswani was truly great, He was, in His simplicity, sublime. At one time, He lived in the Hari Mandir, a big hall in which a mattress was spread on one side. Sadhu Vaswani slept on the mattress at night, and during the day, sat on it and did His work. There was a small desk on which He did His writing, as He sat on the floor. And there were many books spread all over. One day, a Frenchman visited him. He had learnt of Sadhu Vaswani through the writings of Paul Richard, who had said about Sadhu Vaswani, ‘I have been blessed, for amidst the deserts of Sind, I have found a true Prophet, a messenger of the new Spirit, a saint, a sage, and a seer, a Rishi of new India, a leader to the great Future…Sadhu Vaswani.’
“The Frenchman had expected to see Sadhu Vaswani living in a beautifully furnished house. He was astonished to see that Sadhu Vaswani’s dwelling was a simple hall with a mattress, a desk and books. He asked Him, ‘Where is your furniture?’ Sadhu Vaswani asked him, ‘Where is yours?’ The Frenchman said, ‘I have no furniture. My furniture is in my home in France.
I am only travelling through here.’ Softly, Sadhu Vaswani answered, ‘So am I, my friend.’
“Then after He had that fall, was He in a lot of pain?” I inquired.
“Oh yes,” Dada grimaced as though reliving that pain, “He was in terrible pain. He used to lie on this cot silently with the pain tearing into His body. The femur bone, the hip bone of His right leg, was broken. And the doctors were of the view that He should get a surgery done. When we used to appeal to Him, His answer repeatedly was, ‘If you get the surgery done, you will lose the bone and you will lose the man.’ So that was ruled out and then He started to get twitches and shooting pain every three to five minutes, and that twitch would pull the leg. He could not control it as it was broken and it caused Him pain. But on His lips there was the word: ‘Shukur! Shukur!’
“Shukur means gratitude or thank you. He believed that suffering had a place in the life of a seeker.”
“He believed that?”
“He believed it. And we used to feel that He takes upon himself the suffering of others.”
“You feel that was the reason why He didn’t get himself operated?”
“I don’t know but this was repeatedly the answer. He would give us the impression that we would lose Him and that tied our hands…because almost every doctor who visited would wonder and speak aloud, ‘Why don’t You get the surgery done?’ and He would refuse saying the surgery would lead to us losing Him. The irony is that He was beyond fear and death was for Him something that would bring Him closer to The One. Thus, it was very frustrating, but we could do nothing but see Him in pain which He bore with such calmness.”
“How would He pass his day for those five years and three months?”
“He used to lie on the cot. There were times when His room doors were closed and then when the door was opened, people would come in. They used to wait for the door to open.”
“Would He sleep alone here?”
“No, all of us used to sleep here but we slept on the ground.”
“So for all those years He went through that suffering?”
“Five years and three months, to be exact. But it was terrible.”
“Which meant for five years and three months He barely slept.”
“He used to sleep for not more than ten minutes at a time because even when He fell asleep, the twitch would come after ten minutes. What these twitches are I don’t know but they would come. I too get these twitches and they come after every three minutes, but inmy case it wasn’t painful. But He used to feel pain. His bone was fractured and left like that for so many years.”
“So He kept waking up through the night which meant even you must have barely slept?”
“Yes, we did not let Him sleep alone ever. We were always there to rub His leg. So someone or the other was massaging His feet through the night. We would take turns. Not having an operation was just an excuse. Because that was not the only time that He suffered. His entire life was like that. We always saw that when someone dear to Him was sick or carried to the hospital, the sickness would be transferred to Sadhu Vaswani. We saw lots of cases of that type. We saw quite a number of such instances all through our lives we spent with Sadhu Vaswani.”
‘Sadhu Vaswani’s last five and a half years and your seven years seem to be very similar, at least where health and physical limitations are concerned?’
“You cannot compare Sadhu Vaswani’s experience of pain to mine. I am not in pain or at least I am not in perpetual pain. I can sleep. I have the luxury of modern medicine. He went through much more. Far more than any man I have known. Also you must understand that a True Master allows and welcomes pain as it is through experiencing and embracing pain that the Master feels agreat kinship with the Lord. Apart from sharing the burden of His flock, He feels a greater intimacy with the Lord as the pain has a power which draws the Master further within Himself.
“Let me tell you something. It is not easy for the disciple to see the pain of the Master but the Guru has realized the blessings of pain. The Guru prays for pain. There was a Guru who prayed to God and said, ‘God the whole week has passed but you have not given me a painful experience, have you forgotten me?’ The Guru knows the value of pain.
“He knows the value of suffering. Therefore, it is not easy to understand or take on the pain of the Guru. The Guru does not want to leave it. Sadhu Vaswani called Rabia, the woman saint of Islam, the Meera of Islam. Once She had an attack of fever. The fever would not leave Her. Then a friend, Sufian by name, said to Her, ‘Rabia, Allah comes to You every day and You speak to Allah, why don’t You ask Him to cure You of this fever?’ And Rabia said to Her friend, ‘Sufian, don’t you know who has sent me this fever? God has sent me this fever. This is a gift of God to me. If a friend gave a gift to a friend and the friend who was to receive the gift refuses to receive the gift, how would the friend who had brought the gift feel? This is a gift which God has given to me. Let Him continue to give it.’
“Thus Sadhu Vaswani made sure that He went through those five and a half years of excruciating suffering. I would like to believe that He did this to lessen the suffering of His flock and also to let the pain bring Him closer to God.”
“What was His last communication with you?” I inquired.
“The last communication was when He went into sleep on the night of 15th January. I was pressing His legs when He held me by the hand and the words that He uttered were, ‘Be by me, my child!’ Those were the last words that He uttered and He then went off to sleep. He rarely slept more than ten minutes at a time but that night He kept on sleeping. And of-course none of us realized it but Shanti told me that this is not natural, something must be the matter. It was at her insistence that we sent for the doctor. I did not want to trouble anybody at night as I did not realize the seriousness. Dr Hathiramani came and he arranged for a group of doctors, including Dr Grant, Dr Wadia, the neurologist and others. And they all said that nothing can be done now. It was a matter of time. This was after two at night. But I think at ten minutes past eight in the morning, the nurse said we should turn Him over as it’s not good that He is made to lie in the same position. As we turned Him over, the breath left the body. Then we kept Sadhu Vaswani’s body for that day in the hall downstairs and the next day we took His body out in this part of the city. And at about 5.20 p.m. or thereabouts, our beloved Guru’s body was cremated. Two days earlier, he had said, ‘Bring all my clothes. I want to give them away to the poor; keep only two pairs for me. They will suffice.’ Not one of us got the hint that He was saying to us that he would be with us for just two more days. During those last days, He repeatedly said, ‘The boat has left and it will soon arrive and take me away. Then you will not be able to see me . . . this drisht (visible) form. Then I will not be visible to you but I will be close to you, I will not be far from you, I will not leave you’.”
“Dada what gave you the strength to go on after he left the body?”
“When He passed away I was deeply moved and grieved. Then I went to my room upstairs, sat in silence and I heard those words again, ‘Be by me, my child!’ That gave me strength. Then I came down, and they say there was a smile on my face.”
“He has kept his word.”
“Yes. He always keeps His word. Because I never had a feeling that the Master was away from me, I have never felt Him leave me. As I have told you, when Sadhu Vaswani passed away, I quietly went to a room on the upper floor. Then I remembered the previous night, when I was pressing His legs, He had held my hand and said, ‘My child be by me! Be by me!’ But after He passed away, as I told you, I could truly hear those words come back to me, as though He was loudly repeating those words, and the words came to me when I went to the upper room, which made me sure, very sure, that He was with me. He may have left the body but He was back with me. From that moment I have always had that feeling that I am not alone. But that is His grace’.”
“Has He ever come in Your dream or anything of that sort?”
“Sometimes, sometimes yes. But this was not a dream.”
“I know Dada that You truly heard Sadhu Vaswani. But when He does come in your dreams, what is it for? Is it to give You a message or is it just to make You comfortable? Or give You a tight hug?”
“Some of the dreams are common, ordinary dreams and some of the dreams do have a message. For instance, I had a strange dream a long time ago in which Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani was taking me to a sprawling mansion. I was wonderstruck at the grandeur of the mansion. ‘Do you know how many rooms are there in this mansion?’ Sadhu Vaswani asked me. ‘There are 365 rooms in it.’ Then the two of us stepped inside this mansion. As we approached a huge hall, the portals opened of their own accord. In the hall there were hundreds of pictures. Pointing to them, Sadhu Vaswani said, ‘My child, these beautiful pictures that you see are to be hung and displayed in each individual room. Jashan, pick a picture that you like and hang it on the wall.’ I looked at them and was enthralled by the one in which Sri Krishna was handing over a torch to Sadhu Vaswani as if to say, ‘Go and light the flame of My name in each heart.’ So I lovingly picked up that picture and hung it on one of the walls. And you will not believe it, but the painting spread itself and filled the entire room. A mystical experience indeed!
“But now that so many years have passed by, these dreams too have decreased. But that feeling is there, that consciousness is there. You know when we had begun the interview and I was coming to you, at that moment I had the feeling and I said to him, ‘Master, now it is for You to answer Ruzbeh’s questions, for I won’t be able to do it.”
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha