This incident happened many years ago, in 1995 or 1996. It was the time of Navratri Celebrations at Bangalore Ashram and I was leading a bhajan in the satsang. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was sitting on the stage and was absorbed in deep meditation. All of a sudden, something happened to my voice and I was not able to sing further. As I was struggling with my voice, Gurudev suddenly opened his eyes and started singing. To my relief, the satsang continued and all attention was diverted away from me.
I was feeling so elated and grateful that Gurudev saved me from an embarrassing situation. With a glow in my heart I went to my room and slept happily. Next morning I got an idea that I should meet Gurudev and tell him about my experience.
I did “proper” sadhana (yoga, sudarshan kriya and meditation) and put on my best set of Kurta payjamas (sajna hai mujhe sajna ke liye). Fully prepared to meet him, I started walking towards his Kutir. On the way, as if to prepare for the meeting with him, these words continuously kept chanting in my mind, “Something happened to my voice yesterday, Gurudev you saved me.”
Luckily, I got immediate entry into Shakti Kuteer. My mind continued to chant the same sentence repeatedly. As I entered Shakti Kuteer I saw Gurudev having a word with some teachers. The moment he saw me coming in, he said “Jigish sings so well, his pitch is so high. I don’t know what happened to my voice yesterday, it was Jigish who saved me!” I was shocked to hear him say these words, my blood froze! I was wondering, “He said to me what I wanted to say to Him!”
I felt so awkward when some teachers looked at me with amazement and disbelief, “You saved Gurudev??!!!??” I felt so shy that I moved out quietly under the pretext of a seva that was given by Gurudev.
On the way out I thought since Gurudev seemed to be in playful mood, and not busy in meetings or meditation, let me talk to him. The Administration block which housed all the offices at ashram was right next to where I was. I entered the building and dialed the Shakti Kutir number. When Gurudev came online I said, “Gurudev I came to tell you that my voice had problem and you saved me last night but you told just the opposite.”
He laughed and replied, “WO TERI HO YA MERI WO AWAZ TO EK HAI”(whether it is yours or mine that voice is ONE) and we ended the conversation with a laugh.
These words from the Master and His praise were like a blessing that changed my life. I discovered that my voice had become so sweet like never before and had grown to an unlimited vocal range. From that day I have been singing in many satsangs in cities and villages, considerably more in the latter and without any hi-fi equipment. It has been a super blast everywhere and still continues to be so.
Jigishji Barot is a multi-talented, very creative, vibrant and super-