650 km to Omsk was tiring. It was a clear day with a drizzle or two. At Novosibirsk I had put on my thermals and windcheaters. So, a bit of cool weather now felt nice. I stopped a few times to fuel and feed. Nothing remarkable. I wanted to get to Omsk. As I entered Omsk, I saw on the opposite side of the road was a parked car, facing me and was blinking all lights. It was my friend and Guru-brother: Pavel Merlis, with a spiritual name Puran Singh.
Puran led me through the city to the villa of his parents, where I parked my motorcycle in their garage. Immediately, I was led to their Banya and I soaked myself in hot vapours and felt fresh. Thereafter, the family sat down to a full Russian meal. Almost everything was off the garden behind. Bidding adieu, we left my bike here and took the luggage and Puran drove me to his extremely neat two BHK apartment in the city. I was tired, so I slept as I unpacked. The next day, I slept late and woke up to a whopping King-Size omelette, with mushrooms and everything Russia has. Delicious to the last bite, we left immediately to attend the 80th birthday celebrations of his mother at a banquet hall.
Attended by family and childhood friends, it was a delightful time and my first Russian celebrative event. An extremely pretty lady, Puran’s mother moved about as if she was sixty. The afternoon started at a well laid out banquet that had different preparations of meat, salads, cheese, different types of breads, wine, brandy and of course vodka, instead of water. Apricots, cherries, strawberries provided the fruit content. Three types of fish adorned the table. They also serve a berry drink, reddish in color, that is served everywhere in homes and restaurants. Maybe a digestive. When I commented to Puran that it’s a fine meal, he said, it isn’t. It’s just the starters. I couldn’t care less and I ate with all four hands.
Custom demanded that every invitee family make a small speech about the birthday lady and share experiences. Then they would toast her and give a gift. There were about twenty families and they went to it with love and affection. I was asked to toast and I did with the berry juice, much to the amusement of all. I had carried from India, small pouches of saffron as gifts for such occasions and I wished her happiness until the end of saffron. My short speech was appreciated and I sat down to resume starters.
After the twenty-family salute, there was a short video film of the family album and here I saw Russia growing up. It was a treat to see the black and white pictures of Russian culture. After the film session, there was a lull, and people filled up their glasses and their plates and chatted a bit. At a hidden signal, the DJ put on some lively 50’s Russian numbers and all came to dance. The friends were at least 70 years old and they were all dancing. We were now two hours into this festival.
Banquet waiters were busy cleaning up plates and putting fresh ones, so people could start anew. It was a crazy time.
At about 7pm, we started lunch. It was a simple affair. Plov, also known as Pilaf and new meat dishes and so many other dishes. I was now getting dizzy. I realised that if I ate more, I wouldn’t get to see 80.
Things quietened down. But that DJ, she started again and at one highly synchronised stroke, all got up to dance. Someone grabbed my arm and there I was; on a Russian dance floor!
The waiters served dessert. Three types of cakes, some tarts and biscuits and of course, fresh fruits again, followed by tea, coffee and some liqueur.
I must say, the birthday girl was the most energetic personality at this function and all with a smile on her face.
I crawled out of the banquet after thanking all and asked Puran what do we do now. He said we go home and have some dinner and sleep.
Of course, he was joking, there was no dinner as we had filled our stomachs for many birthdays and I slept as my stomach went into a five-speed-digestion mode.
We left the next day for Okenuvo.
This was a 240-km drive in a Chinese Hover SUV. Fantastic shock absorbers. We picked up two ladies, who were devotees and reached the ashram in four hours, in the evening. After unloading we went for darshan.
In 1982, some time, my Guru: Bhole Baba of Haidakhan, told a Russian devotee that go find Hanuman in Siberia. The devotee, a Russian lady-Rasma, went all over and searched. Babaji, took Samadhi and there was no one to guide her anymore. Through dreams and mystical methods, she found Omsk and then was led to this village by the River-Tara. She got her friends, who were archaeologists and historians and they found that they were on a prophetic ground. The villagers told them about strange lights and sounds and stories about the river, its hidden energy, etc. Rasma the lady devotee felt this is it and started a drive to get property and start a simple ashram. This was in the mid-eighties. Over the next 35 years, many faiths set up their ashrams and holy offices here. All expecting something to happen. Many Russian millionaires and Indians started to visit and purchase property.
The population of this village, today is about 500 people. The village begins at the beginning of the mainstreet and ends with it.
Farmland surrounds the mainstreet and is ringed by the River Tara. A divine lake called Shaitan lies at a 7.50km trek over farmland and jungle. A dip here is considered holy.
The villagers consider this place as the centre of the Earth. If such a place would be in India, it all could be easily explained. But in Russia! To see Sanatan Dharma exist here was lovely.
The Ashram is a simple affair. A temple, a dhuni, some resident blocks and vegetable gardens fill up the space that Rasma discovered.
After arti and darshan we went to Puran’s house and slept.
The next day we went for a trek to the Lake Shaitan, now known as Ozero Devi. It was a tiresomely beautiful walk. We ate strawberries off the fields. The lake was serviced by a couple, who offered tea for a fee and took care of the jetty, from where you could splash in, one family at a time. It was cold and thoroughly refreshing. We came back late and retired.
The following day, we were to return to Omsk and I had decided to talk to the devotees and tell them about my times and experiences with Babaji. So, we all gathered in the temple hall at 4pm. A lot of the devotees, not more that 15, were residents of the village and around and were eager to meet me and hear something. None have seen Babaji. A very few have met his next-in-command-Munirajji, who has also died. So mostly none have any first-hand experience of Babaji.
There was silence in the temple hall and all looked at me for some deliverance. Divine coincidence sent a Banaras/Indian man to this village to open a shop and he met me and I asked him to translate. This was so eery.
I began by telling them a bit of my background and how I met Babaji and how he converted me and made me his devotee. The divine moments, etc. After-all, I had got married in Babaji’s ashram in his presence and to a girl of his choice. And this was predicted eight years before I got married, by him to me! I decided that its time they and everyone know, what he told me and was most relevant now. One day, when I was 18 years and in his ashram, I had asked him when will he come back. Today, when I think about it, I wonder why didn’t he slap me. I mean who asks an elder, when will you die or return. This was an amazing moment and happened with me at such a young age. But, Babaji just looked straight at me and told me that he will come back in 50 years and this was when he had just completed about four years of his appearance. I immediately totalled it to 2019, because he had appeared in 1969. He had told me many more personal revelations and these are very precious to me and I live by these memories. Just imagine, he had told this to me and the story of my entire life, when I was only 18 years old and in his Ashram in Haidakhan, sitting with him under a Banyan Tree, by the River Gautami Ganga. During the same time, Babaji would often refer to His Holiness: The Dalai Lama and that I should meet him. Of- course I didn’t as I didn’t even understand what that meant. A few years ago, I took my wife on a bike ride to Dharmshala and met His Holiness. At this meeting I recounted what all Babaji had told me and fell at the Dalai Lama’s feet and started crying, asking him where is my Guru? It was a most awkward moment and the people around were totally shocked. He picked me up and comforted me and hugged my wife and me and made me give the details to his secretary. A few days later I got email saying that my Guru is a young boy of ten, in the place of his last incarnation! This was now four years ago. I told the devotees all this. I mean why would anyone lie to me. I am no one and nothing.
I told them not to worry, as Babaji always said that the sun and moon may change their course but the word of the Guru cannot fail.
So, I believe and so you may believe. It was an awesome moment of a completely awesome declaration to be made by a Biker-Devotee in a Village called Okenuvo, of 500 population. Yes, I told them, he will come here for sure, this is his house.
We left in the evening and silently drove back to Omsk.
The next day, at Puran’s office, I met some more devotees who could not come to the ashram and we had a rehash of Satsangh. It was lovely meeting. A Russian lady made Jalebi’s for me and someone brought musk-melon and someone else tea, etc. A Holy Picnic!
By the way, Puran took me to a hot 36 centigrade spring in an Orthodox Christian church complex near Omsk and I had a delightful dip. I had another dip in a 4 centigrade spring, on the way to Okenevo. Well, I now know what 4 degree centigrade feels like, without any clothes!
I am in Omsk now and I write this on Saturday-15th July, 2017. I am in Puran’s house and about to go to his parents to dine.
Tomorrow I will ride towards Ekaterinaburgh.