February 11, 1993: The Power of Havan

Maharaj has begun to speak about holding a huge havan at Shiv Sadan for the sake of world peace and harmony. For this purpose, he has called an eminent Hindu pandit from the Himalayas who is now associated with the big Chhatarpur Mandir complex in New Delhi, Acharya Sri Rama Shastri. As they sit on the small lawn outside Maharaj’s simple house, Maharaj tells Acharya Ji about the power he has witnessed from the continual practice of havan (sacred fire) at Gobind Sadan since 1968:

Maharaj speaks with Acharya Sri Rama Shastri and others about plans for big havan

I concluded that where havan is done, great Powers begin blessing. We have seen dangerous diseases and big troubles being healed here. Whosoever bows their head here, sweeps the place, and sits here for two, four, or ten minutes finds that their problems are solved, whether they are rich or poor. This place has become so powerful that many things have happened here which we cannot even share. If somebody asks me, “What does havan do?” I will say, “It brings a dead person to life.” This is my feeling, for I have seen these things in my life. It may be because havan is blessed with boons from great rishis (sages, ascetics). Even devtas (demi-gods, deities) like the fragrance of havan. Devtas are created by God, and even God likes the fragrance of havan.

As we have seen, people who sit at havan get a lot of feelings. Some who have made sects out of religion say, “This is my religion; there is no proof of that, no truth in that.” One person who sat in meditation at the havan said, “Lord Krishna met me in the havan, but I have nothing to do with him. I am Sikh, and it is so strange.” According to him, something negative had happened; it might be a bad omen. People may say such things out of innocence, but I look at the other aspect of it: Havan is such a holy place that he has seen Lord Krishna, even though he does not have faith in him.

When we came here and started havan, many people used to say, “I was sitting here and I saw a lion and Goddess standing here today.” They used to think, “We do not even meditate on Her.” What does this mean? Where havan is done, where aahutis (offerings) are put in the fire, where path (scripture) is read, where havan is done 24 hours a day, it will surely happen. At a place like this, these Powers will come. Who else will come? And where these Powers come, what is impossible?. But according to my feeling, when havan is done only for some ritual or occasion, it is not like this continuous havan. I think that at this place we have already put lacs of tins of ghee in the fire. For many months, we put 4 or 5 tins [16 kgs.each] of ghee in the havan daily. We used to say, “Bring 100 tins of ghee and put it in the havan.” Where you innocently offer samagri (mixture of many herbs, grains, and dried fruits) and ghee continuously, God will definitely bless you.

I have seen that some people are very fundamentalist, and they do not want to worship at havan. They do not even want to bow their heads at havan. But they see others bowing their head, and they also bow. Then they say, “We have heard that all wishes come true here.” They also wish for something here. When their wish is fulfilled, they say, “Even if we do not meet Babaji, if we bow at havan we will be blessed.” But they do not believe from inside.

That is why I have concluded that where havan is done, scriptures are read, meditation is done, power starts working automatically there. If a devil comes, bows his head, and asks for something, the Powers give it to him. When devtas come and ask for something, They give them more than that, because the devtas ask with love and faith. Real blessings start working.

Guru Granth Sahib Ji is also there. Sometimes when somebody is in big trouble, when doctors have said there is nothing they can do, when business is almost finished, He says, “There is nothing to worry about. Bow your head before Guru Granth Sahib, do Chaur Sahib (wave the whisk over Guru Granth Sahib), and sweep the place and you will be blessed.” A person definitely gets blessings. A person may say, “I was in big trouble, I was caught in a court case, I did not have a child, disease was troubling me, but now my life has changed for good.”

That is why I feel that when aahutis, ghee, and samagri are put in havan and you sit and meditate, it becomes very powerful. But now what has happened? There are very few people who do havan. Arya Samajis (a sect of Hindus who do not worship idols) used to have havan in each and every house. Today havan is not done in their houses either. Many people come and say, “Maharaj Ji, you have made us restart the havan at our places.” I say, “It’s good. Thank God.”

Another thing: Havan purifies the air and good vibrations enter the air. The Power that comes by doing havan is a great thing. It blesses every human being. Many times I have seen that even when crops get diseases or are affected by insects, immediately the hukam comes to put bibhuti (havan ash) on the crop, and the insects will die. One day a man who had leprosy came here. He said, “Babaji, I am in big trouble. I cannot tie my turban, I cannot wear a shirt, I cannot do anything.” I said, “Eat bibhuti and rub it also on your hands.” After some time he was healed. Doctors asked him, “How was your disease cured? There is no treatment for this.” He said, “I rubbed bibhuti on my skin.” Doctors brought the ash to the laboratory. They studied the ash in the laboratory and reported, “This ash is such a strong medicine that it has the capacity to kill germs.” But it was blessings.

Therefore I have thought of doing a big havan where we will offer 400-500 quintals of samagri and lots of ghee. We will do it on a big scale so that a flood of blessings will come for 6-7 days. We want those special pandits who perform havan. When a pandit told Lord Rama’s father, “The sun is in a good house (astrologically speaking), so it will give you whatever you wish for.” He asked for a child. The pandit said, “A sage is sitting at such and such a place. He knows the mantras of havan. If he agrees to do havan, then God will definitely bless you with a child.” That pandit could only see one such sage. They are very few.

Maharaj asked Acharya Ji’s help in finding a number of pandits who know the havan mantras and have meditated on them, to help do the havan on a very large scale according to traditional procedures. He asked him to help choose the most auspicious day for the havan, and to help make arrangements according to the shastras (ancient Indian scriptures). Maharaj recommended that the big havan be done at Shiv Sadan because our community there is on the holy river Ganga. The pandits could take their purifying baths in the Ganga, he pointed out.

Acharya Ji was very interested in this possibility, for he had great regard for the purity of the Ganges. He referred to the traditional story that Lord Shiva’s tapasya made it possible for the powerful Ganga to be sufficiently tamed to flow from the Himalayas.

Maharaj told him that the intention of holding this great havan would be to invoke God’s blessings for peace in the world. Then he returned to the subject of the power of havan:

Twenty-four hours a day somebody should be regularly sitting in tapasya at a havan. The place should never be vacant. Otherwise it does not remain sacred. There is astrology and every kind of education, but tapasya (disciplined meditation and spiritual practice) is required for every kind of learning. Astrology is very powerful. Whether somebody believes in it or not, it is so powerful that it knocks you down.  When Guru Nanak Sahib was born, the birth charts were made, just as they are made now. His father was a wise man. He had Guru Nanak’s horoscope prepared, in which all things about his life were written. When he was born, a certain star was sitting in that house, and another star was over another house. Guru Nanak was born at 12:24 minutes. One star was passing by at 12 o’clock. If Guru Nanak had taken birth at that time, he would have been a wealthy man. The star changed after 12 o’clock. The birth chart stated that now he would be spiritually high. The pandit wrote each and every thing: The sea will give him passage, snake will provide him shade, and as he grows up he will be worshipped. He will also have great spiritual powers. It was also written that he would have two children and one sister. His children’s nature was also written. It is such a great thing: Guru Nanak was only 4 to 5 days old, but his children’s nature was also written. His wife’s nature was also written, even though he was yet to get married. It is very strange that stars are so powerful. But only if someone knows this science can he write the horoscope.

Guru Amardas was very old (before he became the Guru). He used to visit the River Ganges for holy bath. He was resting, lying down near Ganga. A pandit came and looked at the lines on the soles of his feet. The pandit told Guru Amardas, “You will become a great Guru.” Guru Amardas asked, “Why?” The pandit replied, “Your line is very powerful.  it is going to cross a mark at some time and you will become Guru.” Guru Ji asked him, “Pandit Ji, what do you want?” The pandit replied, “Maharaj Ji, I want one thing: When you sit on the Guru’s Gaddi (seat of the Guru), I will come, and whatever I ask for, please give me.” And the time came when Amardas became Guru.

Now there is the science of palmistry, the science of jyotish (predictions according to planets), and the science of stars. The science of palmistry is so powerful that you will be amazed: How does the palm-reader know this? This was the experience of my childhood: He knows because he has seen the lines on your palms. Another big thing is this: How do these lines change? And how do the stars become happy? When you worship and offer samagri in havan. Human beings always doubt. Since my childhood, I used to doubt everything. When your doubt is cleared and you start believing in that thing, nobody can change your belief because you had witnessed it yourself.

One lady from Bathinda had such a good knowledge of palmistry that she used to surprise everybody. Whoever came before her, she read like a parrot. When someone laughed, she used to study their laugh, their teeth. She had such strong knowledge. She used to predict that you will have this much income, whether you work at a job or do business, for your lines are telling this.

I was a child at that time. I was lying on a cot. She came and said, “Get up, Babaji. Whatever I wanted to find, I have found it.” I thought they were looking for a groom for marriage, and they had found one.

Remembering this scene, Maharaj laughed and laughed.

I asked her, “Beeba (lady), what did you say?”

She replied, “Babaji, I would like to talk to you. You did not get Nam from a human being.”

I asked her, “How do you know?”

She said, “Your lines are saying this.”

I asked, “How and what do you know about lines?”

“A lot of things are written in these lines. You got Nam through vision.”

“It is true. I did not take Nam from anybody; I got it through vision.”

You have spoken with vision.

“Yes.” Then I realized that I could ask her: “Can the lines be changed?”

“Babaji, that is not my subject. I see only lines. What I understand that if a line is drawn, it cannot be changed. There are a lot of lines, but some of them become permanent.”

I had a child’s nature at that time. I said, “I will do Ardas in front of Maharaj Ji” (meaning Guru Gobind Singh or God).  There was a woman who had water in her lungs and didn’t know it. She would have a short life. She used to do a lot of seva there. I asked the palmist, “Beeba, what will this lady do? Her kids are small. What will the kids do?”

The palmist replied, “I am not God. I do not know what her kids will do. Ask God, but she does not have a long life.”

I said, “Okay, I will pray before Maharaj Ji. Beeba, look at her lines carefully and then again have a look at them in the morning.” I had so much faith that they would change.” Who has drawn these lines? God has drawn them. And we will request to Him with love to change the lines. What is the matter? Her kids are small and they will cry after she dies.” I had the habits and thinking of a child then.

I prayed a little after this. The palmist said, “Now she has a long life.”

I had done one thing before the prayer. I had asked the palmist, “How much is the age of her husband?” The palmist had replied that he has a long life. I said, “I will ask Maharj Ji to give her 10 years of age from her husband’s age. If he has a long life, what will he do with it?” I spoke as a child. “She has kids and she has water in her lungs.”

When we were talking, everybody came to know. The whole family came forward and said, “Maharaj Ji, take our age, as you wish, but save her.”

In the morning, the palmist said, “She has a long age and won’t die early.”

I asked her, “What happened to you?”

She replied, “Now I have come to know that age can be changed.”

When can age be changed? When you love God, and God agrees to that, then he can increase your age. It does not happen normally. Very few people have the knowledge of palmistry, astrology and jyotish. But those who have, we can put our seal on what they say.  One who knows astrology fully can predict that wheat will be cheap this year, cotton will be cheap, pulses will be cheap. Why? Because some star is sitting in some house. Then that astrologist may say that wheat will become expensive, ghee will become expensive, because some star is sitting in some house. But very few people know this.

Fire worship is not theoretical. Agni Devta (Fire God) appeared to those who worshipped at fire with mantras.   Agni Devta spoke to those people. It is not a normal thing, or a theory, to light a fire and sit before it. It is a big thing. Where did Draupadi (heroine of the Mahabharata, wife of the five Pandavs) come from? When a rishi recited the mantras for kheer (a sweet dish made of rice, milk, and sugar) and gave it to her mother, he said, “Take it—you will get four children, while you were asking for one.”

This is not theory. We want to know about havan, God, and enlightenment through our rational knowledge, but we can know about them through tapasya.

What is havan? What is the mantra? What is the procedure? It is the same that the rishis told us. The rishis have told us the mantras, which side we should face, which side the havan should face, how many times the mantras should be recited, how many times ghee should be offered, how many times samagri should be offered. Why? Because God was sitting on the tongue of the rishi. It is not a normal thing that God asked us to do havan.

One day King Janak said, “I want to know the importance of havan.” He asked all the pandits and rishis to gather. Everyone started talking about the procedures. King Janak asked, “What if we do not have ghee, samagri, barley, rice, or sugar? If we do not have anything to offer, what shall we do?” One rishi answered, “If we do not have anything, we can light the fire and sit there.” It is a great thing. King Janak gave him hundreds of horses as a gift, and said, “You have told me the correct procedure.”

Fire is very sacred. Sitting in front of it and doing meditation there will make God happy. But there are specific procedures.

A number of people are sitting listening intently to what Maharaj is saying. One of them asks Maharaj about the matter of changing the lines in one’s palm. Maharaj answers, “You do not do it. It does not change by everyone’s prayer. It happened only once, and not by everybody’s prayer. Otherwise everybody will try to change the lines. I have told you that if you have love for God and innocence inside you, God listens to innocence.

Many people worship by means of murtis (statues of deities).  Bhagat Nam Dev (a saint whose hymns are included in the Guru Granth Sahib) also worshipped a murti (When he was a boy), his father told Namdev to offer milk to God every day (while he was away). Nam Dev agreed. He did not know whether God drinks milk or not. He milked the cow and then offered milk to the murti and started talking innocently. He started saying, “My Lord, please take the offering.” But the murti did not drink the milk. Then Nam Dev said, “If You will not drink the milk, my father will become angry with me. He will ask me why I didn’t offer the milk to You.” As he was speaking innocently, God appeared from the murti and started laughing loudly. God said, “You are so innocent. I never drank milk from your father.” Nam Dev said, “I don’t know whether you drink or not, but my father ordered me to offer you milk. So I had to make you drink it.” Now see: The statue drank the milk. This is written in the Guru Granth Sahib: “Bhog lao mere gobind rai”–My Lord, please take the offering.” It refers to Nam Dev’s offering the milk to the murti. Nam Dev said, “I have brought milk of kapli cow (a cow who has black and white patches). Its milk is very sacred. My father has this cow.” God started laughing loudly, seeing Nam Dev’s innocence.

Similarly, Bhagat Dhanna (who like Nam Dev was also of lower caste) said, “Pandit Ji, you do prayers early in the morning. I also want to do so. Tell me the method.” The pandit said, “God does all the work.” Dhanna said, “If God does all the work, then why don’t you give Him to me.” The pandit said, “I will speak to you tomorrow about this.” Dhanna again said, “Tell me the method also.” The pandit said, “Give me your best cow. We will drink milk in the ashram and God will become very happy.” The pandit gave him an ordinary stone and said it was Thakur (the Lord). Dhanna was a simple man. He wrapped Thakur in a sheet and brought Him home. He cooked food for Thakur, lit dried cow dung as incense, and sat in front of Him. Dhanna said, “Thakur, please have food. I do not know how to clean the utensils the way that pandit cleans. Pandit Ji knows all the procedures, and I don’t know much.” But Thakur did not come. After waiting a long time, Dhanna said, “I have decided I will kill myself because of You.” God started laughing. He reached out His hands from the stone. Dhanna said, “No—the pandit said that you sit with folded legs and then eat.” What happened? God came and sat with folded legs and started eating. This reference comes in Guru Granth Sahib also: “Dhanne seviya baal budh, mile partakh gosaiya dhanna vad bhaga” It means that Dhanna served God with child’s innocence. God came and stood before him. God asked, “What do you want?” Dhanna lived in a village. He thought, “I should have enough milk, good crop, good clothes, and a horse so that I can visit my farms.” He asked for everything. Dhanna said, “I am not greedy. I have asked only for those things which I need daily. I recite your Nam. Since You were not giving me, I asked for those things.” Now you see: God gave everything.

Faith is a great thing. It can shake mountains. But human beings are so thankless that they always take and forget. Whatever God has given us, have we ever thanked Him? He has given us breath, given us life, body, house, clothes, bed. A human being is hooked on these things. He does not know that “Nothing belongs to me. I will go away one day.” Guru Granth Sahib says, “Amal jo kite duni sio age aavan kam.” Whatever work you do in this world to help others will help you in the next world.

God cannot be reached by intelligence, maturity, and planning. God can be reached by innocence. Our history, Guru Granth Sahib, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Holy Qur’an, and other scriptures tell us that God can be reached quickly by innocence. The rishis who chanted mantras and did things according to traditional procedures were doing so according to the hukam. God used to give hukam to do havan by this method, to read this mantra or that mantra. They were not doing so according to their own brains. It is a great thing that no rishis wrote their names in the Vedas. They spoke and wrote about whatever vision they had. Therefore follow those things that are told by rishis. If you will look for your own way, there is no solution.

Shaikh Farid (a great Sufi pir whose writings are included in Guru Granth Sahib) asked, “How much will you get? Three and a half hand-lengths of land (for your grave). If you get more than that, it could be three and a quarter hand-lengths. So what are you doing? Why are you collecting things?” We do not know where we have to stay next. Therefore, whatever we will give to help others, whatever we will do to help others, whatever we will do to serve others, whatever we will do with love—we will receive a lot of blessings There. He is sitting with handfuls of blessings for us.

Thus we should always think that we are travelers. We are travelling. One day our travelling will come to an end. Books would then be written, but books are not written about human beings. Our relatives do our last rites, will burn us in the fire. “Amal jie kite duni sio age aavan kam”—Whatever work you do in this world to help others will help you in the next world. Therefore do good deeds only. By good deeds, we will be happy. God will be happy and our society will be happy.

By this time, darkness has fallen and Jaap Sahib recitation in the havan on the other side of the wall has ended. More people have come into the garden to sit quietly on the damp grass. As Maharaj finishes speaking with Acharya Ji about arrangements for the havan and then blesses everyone, the traditional Sikh cry “Bole so nihal? Sat sri Akal!” comes from the havan—“Who is always happy? The one who knows that God is Eternal.”