It was August 2006. As instructed by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, I was living in a relief camp on the outskirts of a small village in the Bastar region of Chattisgarh state of India. I was engaged in trauma relief work in naxal-hit areas. The nearest telephone was 20 kms away. One day I received a message that I was to accompany Sri Sri in Mongolia on a three-day visit. Within hours I boarded a bus going to state capital Raipur and then another to the nearest well-connected city Nagpur. After two nights of traveling in three buses, one truck and an autorickshaw I was on a flight to Delhi to ensure that my passport is delivered in time for my visa application.
Why was Gurudev taking me with him? Was I to take Art of Living courses in Mongolia? My mind was racing with many questions. Soon I realized that I was part of his entourage. He was being awarded Mongolia’s Highest National Award “The Pole Star”. WOW.. On the flight to Mongolia, Sri Sri called me to sit beside Him. I was to take notes and attend to the mail; there was this huge heap of files to be taken care of. As a child I used to read how when the Prime Minister travels, his files travel with him so he can deal with them in the flight. Here I was seeing up close how our World Leader manages his huge movement, without wasting a single minute.
When we landed at Changis Khan Airport in Ulaanbaatar, it was 1 AM local time. The temperature outside was 6-7 degree and even at this odd hour thousands were waiting to welcome their Sri Sri in biting cold.
The crowds were so excited that it almost took Gurudev an hour to reach his car. Ultimately the police escorts provided by the Mongolian Government had to intervene so that Sri Sri could get into the car. I had always assumed that the devotion we Indians have towards Gurudev can never be matched. But this was proved wrong during my travel with Sri Sri in Mongolia.
DAY 1 at Mongolia
There was more to come, more than 500 people on the Advanced Mediation Course were waiting for Sri Sri. I had heard that when he went to Ludhiana in 2002, the ladies of the town wouldn’t let Masters’ feet touch the ground. They had put their head scarf (chunnis) on the ground in his Honour. I actually saw this happen in in Delhi in Markanda Hall in 2005. I thought things like this could happen only in India. I was proved wrong. In Mongolia, it felt as if they wanted every particle of their being to be touched by His Grace. At every step that the Master took, they had put their scarfs for him to bless by the touch of his feet.
Later, Gurudev had a meeting with the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, where important discussions took place, between Gurudev and the Mayor. The Mayor sought Gurudev’s help for the Mongolian youth with the problem of drug addiction. Sri Sri offered all help and even proposed the setting up of a drug rehabilitation center. In the evening the Indian Ambassador hosted Gurudev at his residence where Gurudev interacted with the local Indian community.
This was followed by a grand satsang in a stadium, which was packed to capacity. Due to the overwhelming response to the satsang program, another satsang was announced on the spot for the next evening as well. By the end of the day the media team that was accompanying us from India was totally exhausted and was wondering how we keep pace with Gurudev. I told them that we are with Him only for a couple of days, imagine how he manages the same pace for 365 days, year after year.
DAY 2 at Mongolia
It began with a meeting with Dalai Lama who was also visiting Mongolia. In this meeting the Dalai Lama expressed concern how people were being converted to other religions. Gurudev shared his concern. After this meeting our cavalcade of cars was speeding to the biggest Stadium of Mongolia where over 20,000 people had gathered to experience live Sudarshan Kriya with Sri Sri.
The President of Mongolia had also wanted to attend but for some reasons of protocol he could not attend and sent his advisors instead. The eyes of the Indian media literally popped out, so many people… and this is not India. This is Mongolia with a population of 2.5 million and almost half of them have done the course. Most of the members of Parliament have also done the course. This was followed by a state lunch hosted by the health minister of Mongolia and after lunch our cavalcade drove to the Mongolian Parliament for the award ceremony.
People were waiting restlessly outside while the President of Mongolia bestowed the highest civilian Honour of Mongolia, “The Pole Star” award to Sri Sri. As Gurudev stepped out of the parliament building many were overwhelmed with tears and Gurudev was covered with flowers all over him. From here the cavalcade sped to a meeting with the business leaders of Mongolia. Later the media asked Guruji that Changis Khan created a huge empire with the Sword and shed a lot of blood and you have come with a message of peace and love, so what do you have to say to it.
This is what Sri Sri said (not verbatim): “What was created with a sword did not last, it has shrunk, what is being created with LOVE will LAST”
In the evening, we were keen to be on the satsang, which had been announced at the last moment due to the overwhelming response of the previous days satsang. Here the crowds were so many, that though Gurudev wanted to meet everyone personally, he had to bless four people, who went into the crowd and blessed everyone. Though many felt cured and healed that night, two miracles were recorded, where two ladies who could not walk started walking after being blessed by Gurudev.
DAY 3 at Mongolia
Sri Sri met all the local teachers and organizers. Everybody was crashing in for this last chance to be with Gurudev before he left for India. This included the entire Hotel staff where we were staying and the police escort! In fact the hotel authorities had to close the hotel gates to keep the crowds in check. On the way to the airport Sri Sri had a meeting with the former President of Mongolia and soon, before we knew we were on the flight to India.
The warmth and sense of belonging of the people of Mongolia stirred me deeply. I felt as if this was my country and I was happy that Gurudev came here. Guess what my media friends later said about Sri Sri …“If your Gurudev had not gone into spirituality, He would have made an excellent diplomat”… I thought these guys don’t know he is excellent at whatever he does….