An Article from the book ‘Thank You Guruji’ by Manoj J Lekhi.
Launching Katarkadak Project
It was in 2007 that Guruji conducted a BST 3 at Dehri Ashram and inspired all of us to get out of Bombay and live in rural India far away from the city.
It 2008, Guruji called me one day and asked me to go and visit Katarkhadak. He said, ‘We have this land so go and see how beautiful it is and start a project there.’
As per Guruji’s instruction we visited this place and I saw the land. We were about 8 of us. We went up the hill by car, then tractor, then walking and stayed where there was simply nothing .There was no hall, not even a shed. In fact it was just a piece of barren land. We slept under the stars and Nina and myself looked at each other silently thinking, ‘Definitely, this is not the place for me and you to live!’
In June 2009, once again Guruji called and said, “You come right now to Katarkhadak and before that visit me at Magarpatta Township in Pune. I said “Ok, Guruji” and the next day Manoj Mehta and myself, went to visit Guruji at Magarpatta township in Pune.
He asked me ‘What do you think?’ I said ‘If we want to do it the Magarpatta way Guruji, it is possible! I think I will be able to get lots of meditators who would invest here if they can buy their own houses. Let me go and explore this possibility’.
I did not commit as I had not yet enrolled Nina to this idea. So I went back home and once again brought Nina and a few others the next week to see this land.
Once again Medhu (a meditator) and me, we climbed the hills and we walked off for 45 minutes. It was drizzling. Guruji was sitting alone with a 80 year old lady helper from the village. He looked at us. It was the most amazing moment. He looked at us and asked us ‘What would we eat?’ We said ‘nothing’ he said ‘No, you must eat’ and he made 4 chapatis – 2 chapatis each for us. With gud , ghee, and sugar. He said, “This is my favorite food!” and he gave two to each of us.
We had it most lovingly and it was then that I told Guruji, ‘I am ready Guruji to take up this project’. He then took his hand and hit my hand as in a tali and said how things will change for him, me and RSVK- ‘You have taken it up now every thing will change!’ I could take that jump, all because Nina had agreed to jump too. She fell in love with the weather, the lake, and the ‘possibility’. I was in total gratitude towards her.
It was June 2009. From that time onwards I & Bhaavin started to visit every week and every Friday I would get a group of people to see the place and it was in August that we had our first nature camp when we built our first Tree House, Tukaram Tree House.
In November, we had our second nature camp and I was doing my riyaz at the Kabir Kite House when suddenly tears started rolling down my cheeks. I came back and told Nina, ‘Let’s start the school in May 2010. If we don’t do it now, it will never get started’ She has been my greatest support all throughout my life. She has simply gone along with whatever I have said. I am in tremendous gratitude to Nina for being with me, following me and trusting me in whatever I decided to do.
I had totally surrendered to Guruji and he has guided me but without Nina’s support it would not have been so easy. She too has totally gone along on the path Guruji has guided us on. We took the step forward and on May 21, 2010 we started the Gurukul .
Guruji always wanted me to shift to Katarkadak right from day one when there wasn’t even a shed. I was busy making blue prints – costing, legal things, team – building etc… I was wanting to be secure and then jump. He wanted me to jump without any safety net. It took me two years to understand his approach. His whole point was ‘just start from wherever you are’. This defies all the wisdom taught in management schools. In management schools, they teach ‘plan & then begin’. My master taught me ‘Begin & then things fall in place’.
This is how I`ve always worked on while developing all new programs & projects. I just begin. All planning happens on the the way ‘once I begin’.
All the people who I was interacting with, told me ‘Don’t take up this project – it is very difficult, don’t put in your money or that of others as we don’t know the status of the land’.
Guruji would always tell me not to listen to the detractors! ‘Simply do what I say. Every thing will work out when your intention is right. Every thing works out even against all odds’.
Just following Guruji I went ahead and started the Katarkhadak project. Initially we got a quotation of 3 Lacs to build a few huts. I wasn’t perturbed by investing a few Lacs rupees. I said to myself – so what? However by the time we started the school we had invested 30 lacs. That three lacs inflated to thirty lacs and that is how this project started.
This project has taken tremendous shape and in years to come it has the potential to become one of the international centers. This is all because of Guruji’s tremendous foresight and living in ‘Anything is possible!’. Even in my dreams I would have never taken up such project if it was not for Guruji. It was his and trust in me that I can manage this today. Whatever I am or has happened through me, is all due to Gurujis tremendous leadership qualities – seeing the leader in every one… including me.
Thank you Guruji!