My first meeting with Narendra Modi

As the new millennium approached, the buzz about the end of the world and impending catastrophe raised great panic in the West. People had gone paranoid selling their homes and hoarding groceries and I was travelling from coast to coast assuring them that no such thing would happen. Thankfully the World did not disappear and it was business as usual!

In August, 2000, I was in New York City to address the UN Millennium World Peace Summit, which opened with an address by the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan. A huge contingent from the Indian subcontinent was present. Perhaps for the first time a large number of saffron clad swamis had come to a UN summit.

The speeches had been live translated in many languages, but not Hindi. Many of the swamis and acharyas could hardly understand the proceedings. There was palpable frustration and disappointment in the group. At that moment, I felt that we had far better organizational skills and the potential to do much bigger events.

The speakers were given five minutes each. I finished my speech within the stipulated time. Satyanarayan Goenkaji was to speak after me. He went on speaking beyond the stipulated time. The warning bell rang – once, twice, thrice, yet he continued. Eventually, he had to be stopped and taken away from the podium, causing an embarrassment to the Indian contingent.

After the summit, we were sitting in the lobby. A man in a blue Safari suit was sitting right across me. Goenkaji was seated next to him, complaining that he flew all the way for 18 hours, and was not even given half an hour to speak.  After a while, Dr B K Modi, the Coordinator for the Indian subcontinent for the Millennium World Peace Summit, introduced the man in blue safari as Sri Narendra Modi, an RSS pracharak. Narendra Modi greeted me and said, “Your speech was short and to the point and everyone appreciated it.” I was not sure if he was complimenting me or giving a subtle message about what had happened earlier in the day. I smiled and moved away.  This was my first encounter with Narendra Modi.

In December, 2001, a few months after Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I received a phone call from Mehul, one of our coordinators in Ahmedabad. He told me that a reliable source had informed him of a riot being planned to create trouble for the new Modi government. The riots broke out in February, 2002 and numbed the nation into grief, sorrow and distrust. Nobody could and should condone the scale of violence that took place following the burning of karsevaks in a train.

Soon after the riots, the Art of Living volunteers started trauma care activities in relief camps. I visited many camps in Ahmedabad including the Shah Alam Camp. I listened to the plight of the victims from both the communities. It was a horror story laced with overflowing emotions and victim-hood. I came back to Bangalore without meeting the Chief Minister and we continued our relief efforts for many months.

I met prominent people on both sides to keep the interfaith dialogue going. A few people alleged that Sangh Pariwar had set their own people on fire in the train to create an excuse to attack the minorities. I disagreed.

It was in these sombre settings that I met Narendra Modi for the second time. I visited Gujarat again in 2004. By then, the battle lines were clearly drawn. Modi had become a pariah. Bashing him had become a fashion. People who differed even slightly with this trend were branded communal or belonging to RSS and VHP.

I decided to confront him directly. As soon as we settled down for our meeting, I looked into his eyes and asked him, “Did you do all that was in your capacity to stop these riots?” The directness of my question surprised him. After regaining his composure, he replied with moist eyes, “Guruji, do you also believe in this propaganda?”

Nothing much was spoken after that. I knew he could not have played a role in the riots. Why would a chief minister paint his face black and destroy his own reputation? It didn’t make any sense. We sat in silence for few minutes. I assured him that the truth was on his side and one day the whole nation would recognize him.

In the years that followed, whenever I would visit Gujarat, he would come and sit with me in meditation for a few minutes. Often he shared what work he had done in villages, knowing that rural development is dear to me. Sometimes, he would also participate in our satsangs. He is a staunch devotee of Ma Durga and has a very strong spiritual side that is not widely known.

I first met him in the US, where he has not been welcomed for several years. The last time he went there was in 2000 as a devout social worker. Much water has flown under the bridge in the last 14 years. His next visit might be as the head of the world’s largest democracy.

Comments

comments

More Comments

  1. Shashank

    the fact is u r too divine to b understood at first when u told him that he will be recognized everywhere in the nation . love u forever sri sri ji . just like he is a devotee of ma durga we r ur dasis like meera and radha .

    Reply
  2. geeta bhasin

    Guru ji,
    If you knew all this then why didn’t you openly said to vote for modi. Secondly, I have a fear he may not become arrogant. WHAT DO YOU SAY ON THAT

    Reply
  3. Sribant Panda

    Nice blog , Time for all of us to give hour one hour everyday to our country. Lookingforward to do as much as I can under the leadership of NAMO ji 🙂

    Reply
  4. selvanathan s

    dear gurudev ,
    the timing of this message will really redefine the attitude of a common man who is confused & left only with speculation by the ruthless and non democratic acts of the opposition parties and paid media . You are one such person “who walks the talk”. There was actually no need to do this but only you could have done this Gurudev to bring the hidden truth to reality/

    Pranams

    Reply
  5. A.Venkatesh

    Thanks Guruji for sharing your thought about Narendra Modi which I am reading after participating in the satsang commemorating your birthday
    yesterday in Bangalore Ashram. I lived in Gujarat for over four decades
    and have always held the view that Namo was a victim of witch hunting for more than a decade by his political detractors for cheap vote bank politics.
    Guruji’s endorsement of Modi has strengthened my belief.
    My personal experience about Gujarat after Staying there for such a long period is , most Gujaratis least believe in cast and communalism.
    Every body is a Bhai or Ben to every one. Namo can not be different.

    D

    Reply
  6. Sumit

    Namskar Guruji .You Express your view in Blog whatever you feel.

    I have some questions in my mind

    Every one is human which is killed in riots its an karsewak or any community people is it Right approach to express anger,if any thing happen wrong?.Some people Say its an reaction after Godhra .Same thing happens after “Babri masjid” demolition.so no one is responsible in this incident ?

    Muslims & British attack on our country which is Hindu country every one know so what is the solution?Again we attack on this peoples? and target to achive hindu country again.

    If Power of same ideology people increases then powerfull group dominate the powerless people its an fact .

    Reply
  7. pole

    in every era truth requires sacrifice and tests thoroughly but in the end truth shines .. luv u guruji

    Reply
  8. Name*

    first time i met u SRI.GURURJI yesterday which happened to you birthday. i rejoiced it.shaking hands with u gave excellent and ecstatic feelings.

    Reply
  9. Gaurav M Rau

    High Courts & Supreme Court Judgements on one side, and Guruji’s
    Blessings on the other. We rely on your inferences for sure. Many happy Returns Of the DAY.

    Reply
  10. Sharan

    Dear guruji,

    There are many virtues we can garner from your experiences. I urge you to stay out of politic heads. Although your intentions are clear. Politicians by nature require distortion to succeed in their pursuit.

    How can one tell real from fake? In this context, I see your concern and make no judgment. But that is irrelevant to families of victims in the riots. The point is, what steps is NaMo going to take to safeguard communities of different faiths? Who will be deployed, will it be an ambassador like yourself to instill faith?

    Yours in faith,
    Sharan

    Reply
  11. Ravisha Kathuria

    A must read for everyone! I am sure, Gurudev knew Narendra Modi ji’s answer and the truth even before He questioned him!

    Reply
  12. Mehul Dave

    Pu. Guruji,
    My pranaams on your birthday and pray that you live many years to guide people to live spiritual and just lives as well as work to revive the greatness of Vedic religion. Let Bharatvarsha regain its magnanimity and show beacon of peace and progress to the world.
    I am touched by your services to our revive our religion in the modern Indian youth.

    Reply
  13. Lawrence

    A Very Happy Birthday beloved. You continue to share my love and deepest respects.

    Great reading your experience with someone who will head the world largest democracy. Politicians are known for their posturing and blatant lies. I have serious doubts if his responses quoted in your blog were true. If yes, all power to him. As a leader I would have expected some statesmanship – which was lacking. Irrespective of whether he was involved or not, the fact remains it happened under his rule, and as a ruler the least he could have is taken responsibility. This would have strengthened his leadership and enhanced his image among the masses. By denying, he has instilled doubts in his ability to lead. This is something you can advise him lest he repeats his mistakes upon taking over the crown because as the saying goes “absolute power corrupts”.

    Happy Birthday again!

    Reply
    1. Mohan Dhingra

      Propaganda of congress men has polluted the thinking of so many. The fact that be-imaan Congress people hate him itself is a proof of him being good.
      I suggest you do some searching yourself. Go to the blog of Narendra Modi and see what kind of a man he is.

      I have heard so many the stories of the efficiency and dedication of him in running the administration. These are people who have themselves had the first hand experience of him.

      Even unglimal was given a chance by Buddha. We have no way to check the role of Modi in the riots. Me and you cannot do more enquiry than what Supreme court did in this regard. For now Modi’s seva to the state is enough for me to touch his feet. Support who he is and not hate what he (perhaps) was.

      Reply
  14. Sreekumar Nair

    Lots of Love to you Gurudev. Happy Birthday to you and to this creation. The whole creation rejoices on this day. The last line of Your article is the icing on the cake 🙂

    Reply
  15. Arjun

    Very Happy B’day Gurudev !
    Being an ordinary individual people like me may get attracted to the slanders of some new/old politicians. But I m sure u may not be influenced by anyone. And if u r saying anything it must be undoubtedly true.
    Please bless us 2 go wid right pple…
    Jai Gurudev

    Reply
  16. Amit Deshpande

    Many Many Happy Returns Of The Day Guruji. Happy Birthday Guruji.
    sagar me ek lahar uthi tere naam ki
    sabko mubarak khushiya atmagyan ki

    Reply
  17. prathibha uchil

    With you blessing Gurudev ……our nation will prosper under the leadership of a strong leader.

    Ever so grateful for your love and blessings.

    Reply
  18. Amit Singh

    Dear Guruji,
    What can i wish for you…..you wishes for us…….just want to thank you for all the goodness you spread in the world and in my life……u have changed my life……just keep helping me in making me strong to take on all the problems of my life..and strong enough to help all people around me…….as u say – make the life a celebration!!
    happy b’day guruji……luv u!
    jai guru dev

    Reply
  19. Gagan

    Happy birthday Guruji.
    There have been so many doubt’s about Modi during these elections, especially concerning Gujarat riots. You should have written this earlier. Why do you chose to respond now when the elections are over? Your support for Modi during elections was already being viewed by the world with suspicion, suspicion to the extend that devotees were loosing faith. All that was needed was valid proof, or clear statements of why, AK is definitely a liar… You know everything why don’t you bring it out in the open? Can you write one blog on that also please. We are so many in number here who are wondering why you said no to AK and yes to Modi. Please …with due respect .

    Reply
  20. Gaurav

    Guruji,

    Happy birthday to you and hopefully immediately after your birthday, in 3 days we can say Happy new birthday to our nation, as you subtly hinted in your blog!!!

    As swami Vivekananda said, ” India must rule the world”

    We need to make our motherland proud and you both have done a phenomenal work in this regard, keep guiding us to the right path.

    Love you!
    jai guru dev

    Reply
  21. Gaurav

    Itni mohabbat karte ho humse,
    Aur jatate bhi nahi ho…

    Sab kuch khud hi sambhal lete ho,
    Aur batate bhi nahi ho..

    Bedapar karne ka bida le lia..
    Aur apni hukumat chalate bhi nahi ho…

    Kismat humari chutki mei badal dete ho..
    Aur Hume batate bhi nahi ho..

    Taarik bhi bata deti hai ki kiske hai aap…
    Yeh baat toh aap bhi chupate nahi ho!!! 

    Reply
  22. Dr. Akash Prasad

    Thanks for sharing this and enlightening us with the facts. May god empower NaMo to develop India.

    Reply
  23. rahul

    Mukul Sinha, a fearless crusader for Human Rights and against Communalism and Bigotry, who passed away in Ahmedabad yesterday, due to Cancer. Mukul Sinha, a scientist turned lawyer was a brave and untiring advocate for human rights of the underprivilegedand victims of communal hate and bigotry. He fought the cases on behalf of the victims of the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat and was responsible for bringing into the public domain, the records of phone calls made during the violence (which the Gujarat government had sought to destroy), which eventually succeeded in nailing Mayaben Kodnani and others in the targeted violence against Muslims. Sinha also played a significant role in bringing to book the former Home Minister and the police officers of Gujarat who were responsible for a series of fake encounters in Gujarat.
    In the passing away of Mukul Sinha, this country has lost one of its finest role models and human rights defenders.

    Reply
    1. Mohan Dhingra

      Propaganda of congress men has polluted the thinking of so many. The fact that be-imaan Congress people hate him itself is a proof of him being good.
      I suggest you do some searching yourself. Go to the blog of Narendra Modi and see what kind of a man he is.

      I have heard so many the stories of the efficiency and dedication of him in running the administration. These are people who have themselves had the first hand experience of him.

      Even unglimal was given a chance by Buddha. We have no way to check the role of Modi in the riots. Me and you cannot do more enquiry than what Supreme court did in this regard. For now Modi’s seva to the state is enough for me to touch his feet. We should support who he is and not hate what he (perhaps) was.

      Reply
    2. Arpit Bhatted

      –The Officer who handled Operation Blue star and was later sent to control the situation in 2002 Gujarat riots, also wrote in his book that it was not the fault of Narendra Modi. I hope Mr. Mukul Sinha must have done the same for the riots before 2002 in gujarat (check the history of riots in gujarat).
      — I hope u know that Congress Govt closed the case of the Godhra train burning. It was said that the train burnt automatically.
      It was an sleeper coach and nobody could come out of it, aren’t that is strange.
      — Encounter’s (which u consider fake), in gujarat in the last decade 14 encounter took place. In Total in India More that 1000+ encounter have taken palce. In UP, its d maximum 200 +. So what made Congress Govt to investigate just gujarat and in that they ended up embrassing its own govt by making IB and CBI fight against each other.

      Only Gujarat Riots was investigated properly n I m happy all guilty got punishment n Narendra Modi was grilled like anything by Supreme Court.

      (For u) Read the history of 1984 riots where only ONE COMMUNITY people died n investigation is in its nascent stage (Till Now)

      I know u cant counter one riots from other, but my intention is to prove that Congress has played bad games.

      Reply
  24. Shreyash

    NaMo is such a good actor and you actually believed him!!! putting aside all the facts and the benefits that he has been reaping since the riots… I would have believed you had he not given hate speeches post riots. I would have believed you if he would have stepped down from his chair to enable bias free investigation. Guruji you are full of compassion and you would go to the extent of forgiving Ajmal Kasab for what he has done. but the difference is Ajmal Kasab is now dead and the other killer is aspiring to be the next Prime Minister of India!!!

    Reply
    1. Mohan Dhingra

      Propaganda of congress men has polluted the thinking of so many. The fact that be-imaan Congress people hate him itself is a proof of him being good.

      I suggest you do some searching yourself. Go to the blog of Narendra Modi and see what kind of a man he is.

      I have heard so many the stories of the efficiency and dedication of him in running the administration. These are people who have themselves had the experience of him.

      Even unglimal was given a chance by Buddha. We have no way to check the role of Modi. Me and you cannot do more than what Supreme court did in this regard. Modi’s seva to the state is enough for me to touch his feet. Support who he is and not hate what he (perhaps) was.

      Reply
    2. Praveen

      Dear Shreyash,
      Since you have addressed as Guruji, I believe you know Him to certain extent. For someone with an elevated state of consciousness, when someone speaks(or even before) they know whether it is Truth or not. Consciousness is more intelligent than our expressions, words and the small mind. Have faith!
      Also, looking at another angle, Modi meeting Guruji for meditation every time he is in Gujarat shows also his sincerity in his spiritual side.

      -Praveen

      Reply
  25. Srinivasa

    Beloved Guruji Thank you for sharing this experience. Without you we can’t see these stars. Truly grateful and thankful to you for all the blessings you have bestowed for the mankind. Happy birthday Guruji. Many many happy returns of the day

    Reply
  26. Ashutosh Abhishek

    Guruji are standing at his side, this itself proves that he will be sworn in as the leader largest democracy in few days.. Country is excited to see that moment. JGD

    Reply
  27. Prema Seshadri

    Beautiful…Many many happy returns of this beautiful day…With love and gratitude….Prema

    Reply
      1. Right winger

        Content or Comment? Idiot. If this was a third party website, one could have believed you. Accumulating fake comments on one’s own blog doesn’t serve any purpose, unless you are targeting Google.

        Reply
      2. p hemanth

        we must unite to defeat Muslim terrorism. see whats happening in Nigeria. Musleem terrorists have killed thousands of innocent people and kidnapped 300 teen aged girls and whole muslim world is silent.. if we do not want this to happen to our children then we must defeat so-called pseudo secularists and the resent election result is the first step towards it.

        Reply
        1. sameer

          my dear frend Terrosim dont have any religion so please stop saying muslim Terrorism, Islam is peacefull religion, because of some people dont take the name of religion which hurts common and innocent people like me
          thank you

          Reply
          1. Aravind

            Sameer bhai,

            I totally agree to you when you said terrorism has no religion. It has no boundaries. I am a Hindu, and some of the best friends I have are Muslims. I totally pity people who try to make friends looking at the other’s religion. Having said that, its this love that has to be propagated, not the hatred; and this has to come from all of us. A very small minority is trying to create turbulence for their own selfish motives. Lets join hands and destroy those devilish motives. Lets impart knowledge to all so that they can think for themselves, and take the right decision, rather than the so called religious leaders controlling them.

  28. kishore

    Happy Birthday Guruji !
    May God give power to all good people who are willing to make India stronger in the years to come.

    Reply
  29. Tushar

    Reading this gives goose bumps to me Guruji. Thanks for sharing his. Let this truth reach every corner of India and every heart of Modi haters.

    Reply
  30. rahul

    suresh has headed many teams for various investigations including gujarat riots . “””” Suresh said that on that visit the
    former state home minister Haren
    Pandya had told him and Sawant
    that Chief Minister Narendra Modi
    had told the police not to restrain
    the rioting Hindus. Pandya was
    murdered in March 2003. [8] When
    he provided the information,
    which was recorded on audio tape,
    Pandya had asked the two judges
    not to reveal his name. “””” these are his words. Justice hosbet suresh said that modi was a key conspirator in 2002 Gujarat riots.

    Reply
  31. Raghav

    Shri Krishna stood with the truth in Mahabharata and today you have given hope to the entire world by standing with the truth once again.

    Reply
  32. Akash Popat

    Thank you so much guruji for being an inspiration of Truth, Compassion & Love. Happy Birthday !!

    Reply
  33. Vivek Barun

    Guruji knows when what is needed as past present and future is crystal clear in his eyes..
    Without your grace, where will this country be and also the world.
    Happy Birthday guruji
    Jai Gurudev

    Reply
    1. Sohil Mahendru

      Many many happy returns of the day to you my beloved guruji. I wish this election also renders a new birth to our nation.
      Jai gurudev
      Sohil Mahendru

      Reply
  34. Pooja

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this with the world. I too believe that the Gujarat riots were a set up to bring Narendra Modis govt down. I wish the whole world reads this article.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>