The small village of Kandalgaon had just woken to a new day. The heat was slowly gathering in strength, and a few columns of smoke were the signs that another working day was on its way. “Maruti! Maruti!” Parvati Bai was once again calling her son. She was always worried about her six children, especially the last one, so unsettled, always running around. They came here to cultivate the land after having lived in Bombay, where Maruti was born in 1897. Shivrampant Kambli and his wife were deeply religious parents, and had named their last son Maruti after the god Hanuman, whose festival was taking place when he came into the world. Maruti loved the many works in the farm, tending the cattle, helping in the fields. He had a good mind, intent, curious, and loved to listen to his father’s Brahmin friend Vishnu Haribhau Gore, when he came home. He found him to be such a wise man, and so kind!
In the land, life was running its course, year after year. When Maruti reached the age of eighteen, his father died. He had to follow his elder brother to Bombay, to support the family, accepting various little jobs. Eventually, he ended up running a little shop of beedis, these small hand-rolled country cigarettes. While raising his small enterprise to stability, he got married with Sumatibai. Once again, life had settled for Maruti. His business was working well — he had now eight little shops, he had a family with four children, and he seemed to be destined to a quiet shopkeeper life in this corner of the busy, tentacular Bombay. So be it!… But life had more in stock for the little Bombay beedi seller. One day, when he was 36, he was invited by his friend Yashwantrao Bagkar to go and visit the guru Siddharameshwar Maharaj. From this moment on, everything changed. The words of this guru were a blessing for Maruti’s simple, eager, one-pointed mind. As he later recalled: “I abided in one thing only: the words of my Guru…”
“I simply followed his instruction, which was to focus the mind on pure being, ‘I am’, and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the ‘I am’ in my mind and soon the peace and joy and deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared — myself, my guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained, and unfathomable silence.”
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