“Come in, Sir“… “I heard that you can remember your past lives?”
“Yes“, I uttered before the barrage of questions was fired at me while he guided me to sit in the sofa: “Have you always been a man? A woman? How was it? Ever occupied an animal body? How does it feel to depart from the body at death? How does it feel to take on a new body? How do you know which one to take? By your own volition? What about destiny? Free will?…”
I answered and answered and answered. As fast as I could.
After about an hour of this one-way-interview, I gave the time-out signal with my two hands and said: “You are easily the most interested person I have ever met. You are amazingly interested, which to me is much more interesting than a person being interesting. But I do have a few questions of my own. Can I?”
He smiled gently, paused and said “Go ahead“.
But his interest in me, my experiences and knowledge wouldn’t be short-changed, and in between my questions and his very wise answers, he fired another one right back at me.
I learned that he had been the head surgeon at the biggest hospital in India before he in 1984 decided to devote his life to Hinduism. Not any regular branch of the religion where they worship Gods and Goddesses. The All World Gayatri Pariwar worships what makes Gods and Goddesses – the concepts of Knowledge and Wisdom. With the largest privately owned library in the country and with running a university where you can get a masters degree or even a PhD in Yoga, meditation and spiritualism – they are devoted to the spreading of knowledge. And they do so by setting an excellent example, such as traveling to villages across the country, cleaning the streets, cleaning up conflicts between people, teaching literacy and promoting ethical living, all while ensuring that locals take on the responsibility for each before they leave the village. They participate in many charitable causes, global peace initiatives and more. Dr. Datta himself has been on the panel of various UN initiatives.
Like Dr. Datta, the leaders of the religion are highly trained with backgrounds ranging from clinical psychologists, biologists and nuclear scientists. They do research into the realm of science and religion and the often invisible bridge in between.
Dr. Datta resembled an eager 4-year old with the wisdom of Yoda – youthful in his intense interest, wise in his profound answers. I learned that he is the second-in-command of this religion numbering some 20 million active followers.
I met him in Oslo in 2003 and decided to pay their headquarters a visit in March the following year.
Getting off the train in the holy city of Haridwar, I was greeted by Dr. Datta as well as the finance director of the religion, Dr. Gupta. He would be my guide during my three days stay at their Shantikunj.
I have never experienced such hospitality. Dr. Datta, a man of science, wisdom, interest and compassion ensured my stay was an adventure to be remembered.
I will never forget. And I will return to Haridwar.