Ganoba-ji Inspires, Even Through His Passing

Posted by Harshida Mehta on Jul 29, 2014
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While meditating yesterday morning, I felt a strong urge to go meet with Ganoba-ji in the hospital. As many of you may know, he and his wife used to come to Awakin Circles throughout the last decade. After his wife's passing, Ganoba-ji spent more time in the bay-area and would come regularly. In fact, even during those times when he wasn't local, we would get his RSVP every single week -- because he wanted to listen to the audio recordings. He blessed many of us, in beautiful ways.

So, after Dinesh and I finished our meditation, we left a message for both his daughters (Vandana and Sarita) to see if we could visit him. In just a span of couple weeks, Ganoba-ji's went from normal health to not being able to breath with a respirator. We didn't hear from the daughters, but we figured they must be occupied -- and went anyway.

We were there until 12.30PM. He was very aware of our presence and held our hands. There was no fear of unknown. Just fatigue. My first question to him was, “Is the meditation going well?" And he smiled, looked deeply into my eyes and said yes. I had taken a little Medicine Buddha that Rev Hung Sure had given me when we were at CTTB few years ago, and offered it to him. He held it in his hand and near his heart.

After a few moments, he said both to both of us: "Aap to rishi ho." (You are Rishis.) He always had a very loving way to see the highest potential in everyone. He then asked Vandana to take a photo with both of us on his sides. He asked for water and asked me to give him a sip. It was beautiful. We mediated with Dinesh on one side and I on the other holding his hands in ours.

Then he asked for water again. Sarita brought the cup. He asked Dinesh to put his finger in it and then put the finger on his forehead. Dinesh did that. He then said, “Har chijko muhse lena jaruri nahi hain. Kahin sparshse, kahin ankhse, kahin dilse ..." (Everything need not be sensed through our mouth; some things via touch, or sight, or the heart.) Dinesh smilingly added, "Aur kahin 'presence' se" (And sometimes through presence.) He smiled back, in his characteristically joyous way, and agreed with his eyes.  He was very grateful for his deep connection to many ServiceSpace friends -- from California to Mumbai to online -- just as so many of us were grateful to have known him.  (An upcoming Awakin reading will be authored by him.)

Last night, Rajesh (Kadam) was with him.  At 2:45AM, he asked him to call Vandana and his family.  Rajesh held his hand for the next hour, while he was only communicating by hand squeezes.  At 3:45AM, within moments of his family arriving, he passed away fully conscious, aware -- with a gentle ease and unshakable peace.

They say that the last minutes of your life reflect how you have lived your life, and Ganoba-ji was an inspiring example of that.

I was also deeply touched with the love, understanding, affection and Bhakti (spirited devotion) of his daughters who were tending to him in each moment -- and with a profound sense of courage. May every daughter offer that to her parents and may every parent die with such wisdom and deep understanding.      

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Comments (25)

  • Sam wrote ...

    Blessings to dear Ganoba on his journey and condolences to his beloved family and all who had the privilege to know and be inspired by him. I will never forget his kindness and wisdom and the extraordinary clarity and love he personified in his last days.

    So much love and gratitude for the countless miracles of life. Towards the end in his luminous state he said several times that we are all like children before God, like little children. And he would laugh with such warmth and joy that the room would join him grinning and our eyes would share his sparkle. I will try to carry that spirit with me today and throughout my life in his honor.


  • Bradley wrote ...

    After my first AW, I always looked forward to hearing Ganoba-ji’s wisdom and thoughts. When I last visited with him, I imagined him being my grandfather and what it would have been like to grow up with him, learning from him. It’s hard not to cry, not to be sad. But Ganoba-ji was not afraid of this time; he is, was, always at peace. We can now “march on”, remembering Ganoba-ji in our hearts and living in his honor.

    Many, Many Hugs and Much Love to Everyone, Bradley

  • Anuj wrote ...

    Ganoba ji lived beautifully in every moment. His wisdom and love tangible. As he passed into another world may his soul be in peace and joy.

    Visiting him this Sunday Kara and I felt deep love in his eyes. He was exhausted and the pain was very much visible, yet he was ready to give love and share his presence. As we held his hands that he stretched out on two sides for us to hold onto lovingly and sat with him in silence..he looked deeply into our eyes taking turn and his gaze became motionless, we could feel his spirit even more tangibly piercing. A very powerful experience on the crest of physical life and death indeed! We can't thank Ganoba Ji enough for all the love and compassion he has shared. We will do our best to serve in the same spirit.

    Om Shanti shanti shanti

    Love and gratitude, Anuj

  • Afreen wrote ...

    Sending all our love to Vandana and family, and this beautiful community that comes together with such presence. We're grateful to have been touched by Ganoba uncle's love and wisdom.

  • Prasad wrote ...

    I had met Ganobaji several years ago when I used to conduct practical vedanta sessions. He had great wisdom and fierce conviction to defend his wise perspectives. I really enjoyed knowing him and learning from him. Recently when I met him, he said, I have become lighter — with a twinkle in his eyes. I believed that he moved from wisdom to compassion along the way and there was so much heart in his communication. May his soul achieve great heights. Love and gratitude, Prasad

  • Mia wrote ...

    Ganobaji was such a light that it is strange my heart feels so heavy. It will pass I know, and the light will remain. We went to the hospital late Sunday evening to see how he was doing. Sarita and Vandana (who had been all day with their father), Shankar and Beena (who would stay in his room over-night simply to bring comfort just in case Ganobaji would awaken in the night) were there to greet us as Ganobaji was sleeping. I was struck by the love that was there, struck by the feeling of community as we spoke quietly in the hall - the stories of Ganobaji, his way of changing the space he entered. Saturday, for instance, Vandana shared that Ganobaji had few visitors so he offered the nurse a request - come into my room every hour and touch my head, just that simple. And he not only agreed but followed-through. Can you imagine? How can one not be changed by following through on such a loving request - how can one not be filled with more compassion, the heart and mind enlarged. He will never be the same nurse, the same caretaker, the same human. He is changed. And, who knows the ripples that will come from this. Also, it made Ganobaji so very happy, Vandana said. I am grateful for this story, grateful to have had time with Ganobaji. And, also to have met his daughters and some of his dear friends - he is in all of them, they hold his heart.

    I look forward to continuing these relationships as we will continue to share Ganoba LOVE.

  • Bradley wrote ...

    I introduced Ganoba-ji to a student of mine, Apoorva. Ganoba-ji would’ve loved her, as he does all. :) I asked her to send me a piece of her beautiful music that she made, so that it could be played for Ganoba-ji; this is what Apoorva returned:

    "But when I say he will rest in peace, I say it with confidence. I'm so happy he's touched your lives so profoundly, and even though I only knew him tangentially I can imagine his light and kindness. This piece, Syrinx by Debussy, is for flute alone -- it's at once poignant and petulant and mysterious and whimsical and most of all, profound. It's the story of the god Pan waking up from slumber, finding himself in a forest, and falling in love.”

  • Pavi wrote ...

    We are filled with a quiet sense of awe for the mystery of thresholds, and gratitude for Ganoba's deep warmth and the wisdom he shared unto the last. He will continue to live in the countless hearts he touched, in the beautiful stories and colorful memories, and in those ineffable qualities he embodied while he walked with us.

    A Huge hug to Vandana for the grace with which she invited us all to be a part of this time -- Thank you for sharing your extraordinary father with us. You were brought into this world by remarkable parents -- and in your life we will continue to see their many gifts, their vast love, and their deep-rooted insights manifest.

    Even when he was in India, Ganoba would RSVP for the Awakin Circle in Santa Clara each week, and it would always make us smile to see his name unfailingly on the list when we knew he was thousands of miles away. Perhaps it was a way of teaching us that there are more ways to show up than we realize. We know an invisible and irreplaceable spot will be held for him in our circles and in our hearts. We know, even though he is many miles away he will continue to "show up" in the inimitable ways he always has.

    With so much love, Pavi

  • Richard Whittaker wrote ...

    Thank you so much for the beauty of your post and for my own brief time with this amazing man.

  • Anne Veh wrote ...

    Gratitude for the beautiful sharing and stories. I always delighted in his huge smile and heart wisdom at the Awakin circles:) I am holding the family close
    in my heart. What a gift for us all in preparing for our own passing as well as supporting our brothers and sisters. As Mia shared. LOVE.

  • Aryae Coopersmith wrote ...

    Thank you Harshida for this beautiful description of Ganoba-ji's last moments here. I will never forget the way he spoke when it was his turn at the Awakin circle -- with such passion and clarity, as if urging the rest of us to join him in the non-dual consciousness where he lived. And afterwards, wandering around, smiling and laughing, hugging everyone. May his memory be a blessing to us all.

  • Praveen Krishnamurthy wrote ...

    Thanks for your beautiful share Aunty. Much gratitude for all the inspiration - in living and in death.

  • Deven Shah wrote ...

    I had first met Ganobaji at the Awakin Talks gathering in Mumbai earlier this year. We just hugged each other and smiled. No verbal conversation. I felt deeply moved by his presence.

    Recently at an Awakin Circle in Santa Clara a few weeks back, after the meditation and sharing, he rolled his hand on my head, gave me a long hug and then looked deep into my eyes with a joyous smile on his face. I'll never forget those moments! No words were spoken this time too, yet so much was communicated. I felt blessed.

    Thank you Harshida aunty and everyone for sharing your thoughts and beautiful stories. Prayers and Metta.

  • Amit Dungarani wrote ...

    My deepest condolences to the family and all of you. I never had the good fortune of meeting Ganobaji but reading Harshida Aunty's post and all the kind words that are written here, across the ServiceSpace sites/blogs and Facebook posts, I feel both a deep aching in my heart for the loss of a person who seemed to be a "spiritual love giant" and gratitude for someone like this who has obviously touched and inspired the lives of many. May we all live and die as gracefully, peacefully and as lovingly as Ganobaji.

  • Nandini wrote ...

    Thank you aunty, for sharing this writing with such heartfelt presence! I will always remember Ganobaji with the balance he held in his shares on Wednesdays when speaking words with such emphatic passion, while also holding them and everything with such seeming lightness. Much love and peace to his family and community.

  • Sima Sanghvi wrote ...

    Beautiful reflection on Ganobaji's final moments, Harshida Aunty. It's no surprise to hear that he passed in a gentle, peaceful way. The words of wisdom he shared during Awakin gatherings will forever be in my heart. And I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to talk to him about his precious gardening - and how much he loved being connected to the earth. I know his light will be shared in the sacred space of dear family, friends and the ServiceSpace community. Love and serenity to his closest family members and loved ones.

  • Chris Johnnidis wrote ...

    Really beautiful. I'm remembering the last time I saw dear Ganoba earlier this year. I didn't know it would be the last time of course, I guess I'm so young I tend to take for granted that I'll see folks again. Though Ganoba didn't say it out loud, I feel like he *acted* towards me in a way that said, "I'm just beaming to see you, and there's no point holding any of that beaming back, because if this is the last time we see each other, I want to express that love to you as fully as it exists in me." He did this very simply, as apparently he was apt to do: a BIG smile, hand on my cheek, a warm hug and a blessing with a kiss. Feel very grateful for those 9.7 seconds or so, and for all the little moments woven and threaded here and there in this community amidst his unique life.

    Saw this quote and thought it fits here, in a number of ways:

    "The highest art is the art of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner." ~ Tibetan Proverb

  • Bill Miller wrote ...

    Thanks so much for sharing Harshida. It enables those of us who were not able to visit to still participate during such a momentous occasion.

  • Alissa wrote ...

    What a beautiful soul and story. Thank you.

  • Jennifer B wrote ...

    Very beautifully written Harshida! What a special connection to celebrate his transition.

  • Preeta Bansal wrote ...

    Many thanks for the beautiful post and the beautiful spirit. Over the past few months when I had the privilege of joining the Santa Clara circle, I remember fondly the loving hug from Ganoba-ji that I received, and the twinkling eyes and smile with which he delivered it! I'm so grateful for the connection, and for your amazing spirit embodied in this post.

  • Rahul Brown wrote ...

    Though I've appreciated Ganoba-ji's comments on the Awakin feed for a couple of years, I only met Ganoba-ji once when Nimo was singing on a Wednesday in Santa Clara. The first thing that caught my eye was the extent to which this bearded man wearing a rudraksha mala was vigorously enjoying Nimo's value's-based rap music. It was surprising because I would have guessed that he had listened to nothing but bhajans in his life (devotional music)-- and that's when I recognized that Nimo's music is modern day bhajan. Right then, I felt here was a man who had eyes for love, seeing beyond packages in to the true heart of life and experience.

    Just before dinner he came up to me and spoke a few words. I don't remember what he said, but I remembered the heartfelt smile that seemed permanently on his face and an unmistakable inner radiance about him. He stood by to linger and smile for a few minutes, as if to shine his presence on me. I had a feeling of not wanting to leave and just stand there next to him. As I recall that feeling now, my heart is so warmed by it.

    What a blessing to have one such as Ganoba among us. Though my actual contact with him was thin, everything about him felt deep, which means his ripples will continue to bless all he touched even with the shedding of his physical body.

  • Jyoti wrote ...

    Ganoba ji's warmth and radiance touched me in the hugs he freely offered. Pancho's ritual statement at every Awakin circle that reminds us "if this is the last time we meet.." rings true as I recall the last meeting with Ganoba ji on a Wednesday. My prayers and blessings for Vandana, Sarita and his extended servicespace family at this time. Thank you Harshida for sharing this.

  • trupti wrote ...

    Thank u for sharing. .

  • Ravi Chander wrote ...

    What an inspiring person! Total reverence and respect to him. May he Rest in Peace.
    My prayers and thoughts are with his family.