An Incredible Experience:
Almost 50 years ago, it was around five in the evening, and I was returning home from school. I was not far from home and was thinking about the events of the day and looking forward to a happy evening with my family.
As I walked along, I saw an incredibly huge herd of goats (and sheep too), all marked red, green et al, being taken away on their last journey. I was shaken up, my heart sank, and I cried out aloud, ‘What’s their mistake?’ ‘How can man be so cruel?’ ‘Do I want to be a party to this horrendous insensitivity?’ I made a decision right away!
On reaching home, I conveyed to my dearest, my mother, that from my birthday onwards, which was just 5 days away, I would not be cruel to these innocent creatures. She was happy with my decision and when my father returned from work and was told, he too was equally happy. This beautiful attitude of the parents of a Parsi non-vegetarian family, was indeed a blessing!
This leap forward on my spiritual journey was the result of listening to the discourses of my revered Gurudev Chitrabhanuji and reading his books from a very tender age. It just needed a trigger to create that spark.
Since then, I have never again seen a herd even half as large as the one I saw that evening. Was it really there? I wonder!
The Turning Point:
The most amazing and enlightening day was February 22, 2010, when for the first time my mother, sister, and I met our spiritual Guru personally. We went at the appointed hour to his simple abode and were delighted beyond words to be in his presence and also with his spiritual partner, respected Pramodaji. It was the first of many wonderful meetings that we, and especially I, were extremely fortunate to have over the next 110 months.
At our first meeting, we carried with us a carved wooden frame of Bhagwan Mahavir and a packet of homemade ‘Badam Pak’. Gurudev and Pramodaji very graciously told us that they would not be in a position to accept that sweet, since it contained ‘ghee’, a dairy product. He explained to us very patiently and gently, the pitiable treatment of the cows and their calves. That was enough to inspire another transformation in me.
On reaching home, I told my family that I had decided to turn “vegan.” This time around, they were a little taken aback, but again, I was fully supported. As we had guests at home at the time and also because certain clarifications were needed from respected Pramodaji, my 100% vegan lifestyle started on March 28, 2010—Mahavir Jayanti! What a day!
When I made this decision, no thought passed through my mind about what I would not be able to have in the future or what I would miss out on. It was a decision made purely on ethical and selfless grounds, and therefore, it became very easy to practice. ‘Why should I do something that I know to be wrong?’ A vow (Pachhakhan) was taken later.
This incredible experience – a beautiful, guiltless journey continues…thanks to the blessings and teachings of my dear, great Gurudev Chitrabhanuji and on account of infinite Divine grace!