Days after revealing recollections from his earliest memories, from even before he turned 10-years-old, as part one of a five-part 'The Modi Story' for the Humans of Bombay, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now recounted the extraordinary story of what happened almost a decade later as he left his humble home and ventured very far -- all the way to the Himalayas.
Narrating the story, PM Modi volunteers that his desire to serve the country came pretty early, though at the start he only knew of one way of doing it:
"While growing up, I had a lot of curiosity but very little clarity. I would see army men in their uniforms and think that this was the the only way to serve the country."
However, conversations with the travellers -- specially saints and sadhus -- at the railway station where he ran his father's tea stall served as an eye-opener:
"But as my conversations with the saints and sadhus at the railway station grew deeper, I realised that this too was a world worth discovering", he continues.
Having resolved that the world of saints and sadhus was worth exploring, a teenaged Narendra Modi wondered how he would go about this, and then took a quite extraordinary step:
He narrates: "I was undecided, unguided and unclear -- I didn’t know where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. But all I knew, was that I wanted to do something. So I surrendered myself to God and left for the Himalayas at the age of 17."
Doing this must have been hard. He had to leave his home. His mother gave him a sweet dish as he left, he says:
"I bid goodbye to my parents as my mother gave me a sweet dish before I left and put a tilak on my forehead to bless my journey."
Having left his home, the later-to-be Prime Minister of India let God be his guide:
"I went wherever God wanted to take me -- it was an undecided period of my life but still, gave me so many answers. I sought to understand the world, to understand myself."
The next part of his journey saw Narendra Modi really sinking into his rhythm of an explorer trying to discover his cause and finding purpose:
"I travelled far and wide, spent time at the Ramkrishna Mission, met sadhus and saints, stayed with them and began a discovery, inwards. I moved from place to place -- I had no roof above my head, but still never felt more at home."
His daily ablutions also became more in tune with the accounts you'd expect to hear of godly men, and soon, he too was pondering the cosmos:
"I would wake up during Brahma Mahurat, between 3 and 3:45 am, and take a bath in the freezing waters of the Himalayas, but still feel the warmth. I learnt that peace, oneness and Dhyan can be found, even in the simple sound of a waterfall. The sadhus I lived with taught me to align myself with the rhythm of the Universe. "
The thrilling narration, which one can almost envision, continues to help him today, PM Modi says, talking about how the clarity changed him:
"So that’s what I did -- I aligned and experienced revelations that help me till today. I realised that we’re all tied down by our thoughts and limitations. When you surrender and stand in front of the vastness -- you know that you’re a small part of a large universe. When you understand that, any trace of arrogance you have in you melts and then life truly begins.
That’s when it all changed. After two years, I returned home with clarity and a guiding force to lead the way.”