As anti- and pro-CAA riots rocked the national Capital, polarizing people and claiming dozens of lives, one began to wonder why netas were blatantly using religious beliefs to turn people against each other. This and similar questions popped up in the head as one approached Baba Ram Singh, mahant of the Nirmal Ashram, Rishikesh, at a satsang in Gurugram.“Satnam tera naam…Satnam tera naam….” kirtan was in progress. Devotees with heads covered, sat on white gaddas, mattresses, singing Nanak bhajans, eyes closed and palms joined together in faith.Guru Maharaj who runs schools and charitable health care facilities in Rishikesh had been invited by a devotee and her family for a satsang at her new residence. His organisation follows the path of seva and simran, service and God-remembrance — working for the welfare of society, keeping the divine name in mind, always.Babaji smiles away our concerns and asks us to participate in the satsang, which literally means keeping the company of truthful souls. “You will automatically get all your answers in the satsang,” says the 70-yearold spiritual master in orange robes and flowing white beard.“That is always the case. Have faith in Parmeshwara.”Meanwhile, our host hurriedly introduces an old friend of hers to Babaji and requests him to bless her “as she has been through many ordeals in life.”“Aum Satnam, may God bless you. Your friendship is old because love is always new,” he says. We look puzzled. Babaji continues, “True love never gets old, because it is beyond space and time. Only those things which are bound by space and time get destroyed. Whatever is born at one point, will die at some point.It will change its form. A table, for instance, once was a tree. It was cut and made into a log of wood, which then changed form and was made into a table. Thus, changing form over a period of time, it will disintegrate one day. But true love is something else. It is eternal. It always was, is and will be the same, always new, never getting old.”But what does one need to do, to access true love — something that we all need so desperately? The answer lies in connecting with the soul, instead of being engaged with the outside world, all the time. “Make a sincere effort to turn within and listen to what your soul has to say and navigate through the world accordingly. You will never go wrong and this will only bring you closer to Parmeshwara, because He speaks to you through your soul,” says Babaji. But where does the love part come in? “The soul,” he says, “is the khazana, a treasure trove, of true love. Soul is eternal, love, too, is eternal. Just take that first step towards knowing the soul. That’s enough.”Soon, it is time for satsang. The small congregation has been waiting patiently, singing verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, keeping up the faith tempo. Babaji steps out of his chamber and addresses the devotees gathered there. This time, he chooses to recite a passage from the Sahaj Katha, a compilation of commentaries of his gurus on the teachings of Guru Nanak.On one of his travels, Guru Nanak was asked by someone, “Who is your Ishta?” He replied, “Ek.” “And what is this ‘Ek?’Guru Sahib replied, Ekam ek onkar nirala, amar, ajoonee jaat na jana, agam agochar roop na vekhya, sabb kuchh aeh hai — ‘There is only One, formless, unique, immortal One, who has no caste, is invisible and infinite; He is everything.’ But I have seen Him in everyone’s heart. My Ishta Deva is Ek Onkar, the One.’Mona Mehta
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