It can literally grant you Moksha.

We all have heard of what a Guru’s Grace can do for anyone who has surrendered and submitted himself at his Guru’s feet.

This Datta Jayanti Utsav, I had the opportunity of witnessing from close quarters how mystically a Guru works to grant his beloved Shishya permanent deliverance from the cycle of birth and death, in other words, Moksha.

This is the story of a gentleman from Mumbai, Mr. Sharad Laxuman Berde, better known to Sampradayiks as Berde Kaka. Physically he was huge but he was a most gentle, humble, loving and pious man

Berde Kaka became a Devotee of Shree Manik Prabhu Maharaj in the Seventies. He and his family, comprising of his wife, two sons, their wives and children all were staunch followers of Shree Prabhu.

Berde Kaka, along with some member of his family would attend all the major utsavs of the Samsthan. He was ever there, his quiet presence in the temple or the Darbar was a constant.
In later years he even came to Manik Nagar alone and continued his quiet worship.

His relationship with his Sadguru, Shree Siddharaj Manik Prabhu and later Shree Dnyanraj Manik Prabhu was never openly obvious to everyone but they had a soft corner in their hearts, for him. I can vouch for this from an incident during the Kumbhabhishekham of Shree Manik Prabhu Maharaj’s Temple.

There was a huge Pandal erected from which the Devotees went turn by turn to perform the Kumbhabhishekham. Berde Kaka was there in the Pandal, but was making no move towards the Kalash. I asked him why he was not coming and he said he lacked the confidence to go up there. I said I will hold your hand and take you, but he said he had not done the booking for the same. I said I will take Maharaj’s permission. When I approached Maharaj, he was busy distributing Prasad to devotees, yet when he heard about Berde Kaka, he immediately said “Ja, gheun ja”. Then again, he called me back and said, “If anyone obstructs you, say I have said to allow him”. That is when I got a peep into the soft corner of Maharaj’s heart that was occupied by Berde Kaka.

(Photo: Late Shri Sharad L Berde receiving blessings from Shri Siddharaj Manik Prabhu Maharaj)

In the last couple of years Berde Kaka was unable to come to Manik Nagar due to his failing health and indisposition. This Datta Jayanti Utsav also he couldn’t make it but his elder son, Ashish, with wife and daughter planned to attend the full Utsav, from the Sparshdarshan of Shreeji’s Samadhi till the Darbar. However, as the day of departure neared, Berde Kaka’s health deteriorated and they were in a quandary whether to go or not.

On Wednesday, 8th December, Ashish sent a message to Maharaj about this quandary. On Thursday, Maharaj called them, asked about Berde Kaka’s health and then asked Ashish about his program. Ashish said they had the desire to attend but needed Maharaj’s ashirwad. Maharaj simply replied, “Ashirwad ahet”.

That gave them the confidence to travel and they reached Manik Nagar on the 12th of December. After the Sparshdarshan, when Ashish met Maharaj, he said to him that he should take a call whether to stay or return taking into consideration the circumstances. Ashish chose to return along with the Teertha of Shreeji’s Samadhi and Maharaj’s Prasad for Berde Kaka. Maharaj’s parting words to Ashish were, “Tyana sang Namasmaran chalu theva”.

Ashish returned alone to Mumbai on Monday, the 13th, met Berde Kaka and gave him the Teertha and Prasad.

The next day was Shri Prabhu’s Punyatithi the day of Shri Manik Prabhu’s 156th Aradhana. By evening Ashish’s wife received a message that Berde Kaka was serious and they were in a quandary what to do. They came with me to Shree Prabhu’s Temple and I went in to ask Maharaj what they should do. He signalled that they should leave. When I asked about Prasad for them, he shook his head so I asked them to go to Mumbai. Subsequently I found out that it was around that time that Berde Kaka passed away.

Now, when I look at all the happenings in context, it is clear that Maharaj planned everything for Berde Kaka to depart this world on that holiest of days, Shri Prabhu’s Punyatithi (Mokshada Ekadashi) and he arranged for Ashish to come to Manik Nagar to carry Teerth and Prasad for Berde Kaka’s onward journey. I am grateful to have got such a close glimpse of the mystical ways of our Maharaj and his infinite compassion and love for his beloved Devotee. All that the Guru requires is unconditional love and complete faith and then he looks after all your needs.