Written by Suman Gupta (Jammu, India)
गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः ।
गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ॥१॥
The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, and the Gurudeva is Maheswara (Shiva)
The Guru is verily the Para Brahman (Supreme Brahman); Salutation to that Guru
Some time ago during Guru Dev Mohanji’s visit to Jammu, I had requested Him to give us an appointment to enable us to take his feet impression. The basic idea behind this was to take the feet impression, make a mould and then do a mass production in terracotta, cement or in metal to distribute among Mohanji’s devotees across the world. Who would not have loved to keep a pair of this creation at their altar?
One day Guruji sent a message through Sumit Partap that since he was in Jammu, he would like to give some time to the process in the afternoon. I requested the assistance of one of my sculptor friend Vikas Khajuria who had done his MFA from Baroda University, one of the premier art institutions in the country. He very happily agreed to join us since he had met Guruji a few times and had become his ardent devotee. Vikas reached my home an hour before Guruji and started the process of preparing the clay plates on which the feet impression was to be taken. My wife Jyoti who herself is a fine ceramist was also assisting Vikas for the preparation of clay.
Guruji reached our home in the afternoon and very soon told us to start the process. We brought the two clay plates that had been prepared to take the impression of both hands and feet down into the room where Guruji was sitting. As soon as we started the process there was something mysterious and beautiful that happened. Suddenly Guruji’s body became so light that the soft clay plate surface seemed difficult to take the impression. We started with his hands but had to press them with our own since whenever he tried on his own the impression came out very light. The same thing happened when we started to take the feet impression. We thought perhaps the clay had hardened but it wasn’t so. In fact as soon as he put his feet on the clay the whole of his body had become so light that we literally had to put lot of pressure on his legs so that we could get the proper deep impression on the clay. Finally, we were able to finish the process with his Grace and put both the plates required for the mould in the studio till the next morning.
Next day there was lot of exhilaration to start the process of taking the mould and continue with the next step of production. We decided to take the first mould with the white cement since it is more solid and permanent than the plaster of Paris (POP) and can be reused many times. On a bright sunny winter day, Vikas reached our place in the morning along with one of his sculptor friends Naresh. We started the process very soon and put a thick layer of white cement mixed with water on the clay surface on which both the impressions were taken previous evening. The mould was to be dried for at least three to four days after which they were to be opened.
Opening the Mould
After a few days, we began the process of opening the mould. Everyone was very excited and emotions were on a high. The real impression could now be seen on the white cement mould. My wife Jyoti and I very carefully separated the clay from the cement mould plates and washed them smoothly with the soft hair brush so that it wouldn’t damage the real surface.
First we cleaned the hand impression mould which came out beautifully but was a bit light in impression.
However, when we opened the foot impression mould there was something very interesting which appeared just below Guruji’s the left foot fingers which we were not able to identify.
At that time, Guruji along with a group of devotees was in Vrindavan for a retreat. The next day morning, I received a call on my mobile from Shashank who was also in the retreat. He mentioned that Guruji had been inquiring about the foot prints. I told him that it had come out so beautiful that even the lines on the skin of each foot could be seen. However, we had not been able to identify the symbol which had appeared on his left foot. Then I sent an email to Shashank containing all the images of the feet and hand prints for Guruji’s approval. On seeing the images, Guruji revealed a phenomenal news that the shell like figure which appeared just below the left foot fingers was the “Shankh” (Divine Conch) related to the symbol of “Maha Vishnu”.
The excitement was at its pinnacle on hearing this news and we got ready for the final process which was to make a latex mould for mass production.
I went to Delhi to acquire the required material since it was not available in Jammu and after a few days started making the latex mould. Once again, this process too came out as per our requirement. We were all very thrilled that everything was moving smoothly and according to the plan. We even joked that at this rate we would be able to complete the entire production in no time.
However, the Gods had other plans. As soon as we stared the process of production the whole story changed immediately. Vikas and Naresh made a POP plate as a support for the latex mould since it is very flexible and cannot hold the weight on its own. This was done according to the requirement of the mould. The first mix of POP was put on the mould and we waited for about an hour for it to dry. The moment we opened the plate there appeared so many cracks that we had to destroy it. We thought there wasprobably some technical flaw and decided to redo it with everything intact.
We again prepared another plate and waited to let it dry. As it was late the evening and getting dark we decided to open it the next morning. The next day as soon as we opened it, the POP mould got so stuck up with the latex mould that we had to break the plate once again to keep the real latex mould free. Now, this was something very strange and peculiar happening with so many professional artists working on a process which was so simple. Yet it seemed so difficult as if some strong force was preventing it. We again started the same process and once again to our shock, the result was the same. The whole plate got broken the third time. We felt very disheartened and ashamed so I sent a message to Guruji and wrote about the whole episode. The reply I received from him made me so humble and cleared my mind that there are forces which are more powerful than human eyes and mind can ever assume and they work according to their own plans. Guruji told me that this particular hand and feet impressions were only meant for my very own temple since his intentions and purpose at the time of taking these impressions were for me only. Hence, it could never be reproduced for anyone else. Had my intentions been different at the time of this process there never would have been any problems at all.
Jyoti and I along with the other artists bowed before the lotus feet and hand impressions of Gurudev on the white cement mould and very humbly put them near the altar of my temple. Since that very day it has taken a special place in our temple and increased the energy level inside the altar. Just recently when a vegetable doctor from Coimbatore visited our home and went near the altar to see the Plates, he said he could very clearly see the symbol of Maha Vishnu on the left foot.