Living with Baba

Living with Baba

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Shambhuji

We had a very difficult time during the Emergency period in India, declared by the Indian government, which lasted from June 1975 to March 1977. When the Emergency ended, Baba was also acquitted of all charges and released from prison honorably.

One day, He asked me about two Margiis. One was Sudhji and the other, Shambhuji. Both were very good Margiis. Baba told me that if they wished to become family acaryas, I should start their training immediately. Sudhji worked in the southern part of India, while Shambhuji was in West Bengal.

Shortly thereafter I met Sudhji and informed him what Baba had told me. He was very happy. He immediately came to Calcutta and filled out the requisite application forms to become a family acarya. He completed the training and became an acarya.

Meanwhile, Shambhuji worked with Baba in Jamalpur. He was a very devoted Margii whose sons studied at our Ananda Marga High School. One of his sons had become a monk of Ananda Marga. When I met him and conveyed to him Baba's desire that he should become a family acarya, he replied that he was and old and sick man. And because of his age and illness, it was not possible for him to take on the heavy responsibilities of an acarya.

He then narrated a story of how much Baba loved him. It happened during the British period. A farewell party was arranged for a British officer who was going on retirement. The committee for that farewell party gave Shambhuji the responsibility of buying a gift for the officer as a parting gesture. Shambhuji bought the gift but had somehow lost the receipt. On the day of the party, the committee saw the gift and felt that he had purchased an old or second-hand item. As he had lost the receipt, he could not prove his honesty. He felt very humiliated in front of everyone.

Baba, who was present at the party, came to his defense. He told the people gathered there in very strong terms that He knew this man and that his honesty was irreproachable. Baba stressed that the present was newly purchased. As many people had faith in Baba, Shambhuji was saved from further humiliation.

After the program, Shambhuji went up to Baba and expressed his deep respect and gratitude to Him. Shambhuji had hitherto only heard about Baba, but had never spoken with Him before. Thereafter, he became very close to Baba.

When Shambhuji's response was conveyed to Baba, He said, "Yes, it is true that he is old and sick. But even without a formal designation, he is doing much more work than an acarya."

Shambhuji's life story is amazing and serves as a role model for other spiritual aspirants. He was previously a staunch supporter of communism and the local communist party. One day, Baba invited him to His residence and revealed many things about his previous lives. Baba also accurately described certain incidents in his present life, which nobody else knew. He was wonder-struck at this revelation and requested for initiation into the spiritual practices of Ananda Marga. He realized that Baba was not an ordinary man.

After some years of sincerely pursuing his spiritual practices, he became a very strong, ideological Margii, well-established on the path of spirituality. He often spent his spare time in social service, going from house to house and shop to shop, collecting funds for the children's homes of Ananda Marga. He was so convinced that Baba was a divine personality, that he forbade any person from entering his house if he did not take Baba's name upon entering.

At that time, Baba and Ananda Marga were being harassed and prosecuted by anti-social elements bent on discrediting Baba in every conceivable way. Their purpose was to create a climate of fear in the minds of the public, so that people would reject Ananda Marga. Many Margiis were affected by these fear tactics. Shambhuji, however, could not be shaken. He openly said that even if the whole world were to denounce Anandamurti, he would alone stand by His side. His faith in his Guru was, indeed, admirable.

The story of Shambhuji is one of inner-transformation - from a hard-core communist to a fine spiritual aspirant. His life is worthy of emulation.