Indore-based spiritual guru Bhaiyyu Maharaj's sudden suicide on Tuesday has shocked and stunned Asia's Nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar.
"Yes, I knew him well and had spent a lot of memorable time in his ashram when I had visited Indore some years ago. He seemed so well-adjusted and content. He exuded peace and a harmony with the universe. Someone who gave so much hope to others, how could he lose hope in life like this?" said a baffled Lata.
Recalling the good times with Bhiayyu Maharaj, she says: "It was during a visit to Indore. Our hotel was right in front of his ashram. I spent almost the whole day at his ashram on his invitation. We had a meal together. Then, he too came home to us in Mumbai a couple of times, had dinner with us on both occasions. It was always a pleasure to meet him. He was dignified, and regal in his bearing. He was relatively young and had a face that exuded tranquility. He always wore a tilak on his forehead with pride and grace."
Lata had a special name for Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. "everybody called him Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. I called him 'Bhiayyu Dada'. Dada being a brother. He took me aside and said: 'How can you call me Dada? That is elder brother. You are like my elder sister. From now on, I will call you 'Akka Saab' (elder sister). Uss din se lekar ant tak, main unka Akka Saab tha (from then till the end I was his elder sister)."
She recalls Bhaiyyuji Maharaaj's last visit to Mumbai. "He rang me up and I invited him home. But he never showed up. Later I came to know he had a very nasty car accident that could have taken his life. He escaped unhurt, only to end his life like this. Why did he do this? He seemed to have it all. A beautiful home, a lovely ashram, a supportive caring family, a spotless reputation and millions of devotees. Unhe kaun si taqleef andar se khaye jaa rahi thi (What was eating him up from inside?). I only hope he is happy wherever he is now."
(With IANS inputs)