While I was studying at the University of Roorkee (now an IIT) from 1966 to 1970, our dean of students was a professor named Jagdish Narain. He was from the civil engineering department and was known in his field, academically. He was a reserved kind of person and had little interaction with the students. As a result, he was not very popular as the dean of the University. During his period, there was some agitation by the students, which he did not handle firmly and the situation turned ugly. At that time as well as in retrospect, I felt that had he reprimanded us at the right point of time, the situation would not have become ugly.
With this background, I left the University in the year 1970. Though I kept in touch with the University, there were no personal contacts with Prof. Jagdish Narain. After a few years, he retired from there and I never heard of him after that. It was only in the year 2006 when a meet of distinguished IITians was organised in Delhi, that I saw him again. We both were attending the meet and when I introduced myself to him, I learnt that he was living in Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthy as his devotee. This was very surprising to me and I became keen to know about his journey to spirituality. Going by his ways at the University, it was difficult for me to believe that he could turn so spiritual, though I myself had become so. Anyway, there was no occasion to talk on this issue during the meet and the matter ended there.
Few months later, in December 2006, I had gone to Bangalore for two days and on one of these days, I planned a visit to Puttaparthy along with a friend of mine. I had been wishing to visit this place for long and this time, it worked out smoothly. A friend of mine from Hyderabad made the necessary arrangements for the Baba’s darshan at Puttaparthy and I took my seat at a prominent place quite before Baba was to arrive for the darshan. While waiting there, I was remembering Prof. Jagdish Narain and silently expecting him to also arrive there. And to my pleasant surprise, I immediately noticed him coming there slowly and taking his seat just adjacent to mine. Since he had met me only a few months back, he recognised me at once and I was also very happy at this divine coincidence.
Incidentally, Baba’s arrival got delayed and so I got some time to talk to him. This time I could ask him about his journey to spirituality and he narrated it very affectionately. He told me that a few years after his retirement he had come to the ashram in connection with technical advice on some building matter. As soon as he met Baba here, a mutual bond was established and thereafter he became a devotee of Baba. Not only that, he also shifted to the ashram and started living here. He himself was surprised by this sudden change in him but he had no doubt that now he was on the right path. This interaction of mine with Prof. Jagdish Narain gave me great joy and I remember it fondly.
This is what life is. Our ultimate aim is to know our spiritual nature and to realise it. Nobody knows when and how it will happen but there is no doubt that one day it has to happen. Fortunate are those who get an early opportunity. Let us all strive for it.