BhaiGuru was born in a God-loving family on 13 December 1964 in Ludhiana, Punjab, India. His parents named him Ramnish, which in the Sanskrit language means `the one who loves God’. This name stayed with him for 40 years.
In 2004, his second guru gave him the name ‘BhaiGuru Mahesh’ on seeing his love, devotion and surrender to Mahadeva Shiva and Maa Kali. Since then, people lovingly address him as BhaiGuru. With his love and affection for all, he soon becomes a part of their families and patiently guides them in their spiritual journey. and affection for all, he becomes a part of their families very soon and patiently guides them in their spiritual journey.
Early YearsHis grandfather, Durga Das Tangri was a very religious person and a philanthropist. After completing his Engineering from London, he settled in Ludhiana and did ample work for the society. There was a big hall in his mansion where the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism was ceremoniously installed and hymns from this Book were recited daily. Community meals were a regular feature during his lifetime.
His father, Raj Rishi Tangri retired in 1987 from the Indian Air Force. He was a Transport Pilot and participated in the three major wars that India fought−with China in 1962 and with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. He is also a spiritual and socially conscious person. His tenure in the Indian Air Force involved travelling to many cities in India and this exposed his children to various cultures and value systems. He brought up his children in a very liberal atmosphere at home, where all religions were accepted and respected, and staunch religious practices were neither followed, nor encouraged.
First Spiritual ExperienceIn 1977, while staying with his family in the hill town of Udhampur, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India, BhaiGuru became a devotee of Mata Vaishno Devi. He would accompany his family to the shrine of the divine mother regularly. In reverence to the divine mother, he would walk bare feet from the foothills to the temple on the hilltop. BhaiGuru shares his experiences during his umpteen pilgrimages to the shrine as follows:
Whenever I got to know that we would be visiting Mata Vaishno Devi, I would prepare a long list of things I wished to ask of Maa Vaishno. The journey to the shrine was always special and the most interesting part was that the moment I reached inside the cave where the ‘pindis’ of the divine mother were kept and prostrated before her, I did not feel like asking her for any of the things in my list. I would merely say, “Mother! You know everything. Please give me what is best for me.” Eventually, I stopped preparing the list altogether. It seems to me that Maa Vaishno was pleased with me those days. She gave me the best gift of my life and blessed me with ShivKaliBodh.
Shirdi Sai BabaAfter competing his schooling from different Convent and Army schools, BhaiGuru joined IIT (Roorkee) in 1983 and completed his Engineering in 1987. His first job in a firm in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India involved extensive travelling. During these journeys, he read several books on religion and spirituality as these were always of special interest to him. One book which left an indelible mark on him was `Sai Baba of Shirdi, a Unique Saint’ by M.V.Kamant. He shares his experience in reading this book as follows:
When I read this book and got to know Shirdi Sai Baba, I was amazed that such a magnificent soul had lived on this earth just a few decades back. Many times, while reading the book, I was overwhelmed with tears. This book charged me spiritually and awakened in me the pure desire to know more about the Almighty and the divine souls.
His Idol: Guru NanakAfter reading many books on Shirdi Sai Baba, he started reading about Guru Nanak. He was inspired by the life of Nanak as a fakir and family man. Since the life and various travels of Guru Nanak are well recorded, he read volumes on him. About the effect of Guru Nanak on his life, BhaiGuru shares as follows: I was inspired by the devotion and honesty of Guru Nanak. I wished to lead my life like him by spiritually educating all, speaking only the divine truth, fearlessly questioning the superstitions and illogical norms of society and remaining surrendered to the divine all the time. He was truly a divine soul who walked amidst us like an ordinary man. Till date, Guru Nanak remains in my heart and I remain a fakir like him.
Saints and ScripturesThe desire to know the sublime had awakened in him intensely by the time he was 23 years old. During the succeeding years, he read about Adi Shankracharya, Gyaneshwar, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekanand, Kabir, Buddha, and many other ancient and modern saints. He also read the holy books such as the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Guru Granth Sahib, Bible and Bhagavad Gita. His quest to know the divine had begun.
First GuruBhaiGuru left his job in 1988 and started his own profession. This was the time when he immersed himself in his work and lived his life with the desires and expectations of a normal young man. However, the Almighty had written something else in his destiny and this was unfolding gradually.
BhaiGuru used to enjoy indepth spiritual discussions with his friend, Rajesh Kalra. They also shared their spiritual experiences. In February 1993, Rajesh introduced him to Sahaja Yoga founded by Mataji Nirmala Devi and asked him to join this spiritiual system. Those days BhaiGuru did not consider himself to be a serious seeker. So, initially he did not accept the offer. However, on the insistence of Rajesh, he visited the centre of Sahaja Yoga in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India in May 1993 and took his first spiritual initiation.
The devotion for the divine which had awakened in BhaiGuru by the grace of Sai Baba, Guru Nanak and Adi Shankracharya, became intense with the blessings of Mataji Nirmala Devi. Within a week in Sahaja Yoga, the Kundalini of BhaiGuru awakened and he began to feel the divine cool breeze on his palms and on the top of his head. Then the life-changing experience happened when he participated in the annual spiritual camp of Sahaja Yoga in Ganapatipule, Maharastra, India in December 1993. Thereafter, he became a devotee of Mataji Nirmala Devi and started propagating the Sahaja Yoga spiritual system in the remote towns and villages of Northern India.