The “Gaj-Kesri Yog” which made Chandraswami famous

Author Bhavdeep Kang
The ashram in Delhi’s Qutub Institutional Area, where broke bread with prime ministers and hosted Delhi’s power elite, is now sparse of company. The godman spends his days ensconced in a Lazy Boy on the third floor of the edifice, meeting the odd visitor or sallying forth to public functions, generally hosted by members of the Jain community to which he belongs and where his presence as chief guest is still solicited.

The building, like its owner, has clearly seen better days. The elaborately carved stone facades are desperately in need of a brush and detergent and the dining hall is frankly grubby. The furniture is grimy, the furnishings frayed. The rooms are crammed with massive, heavily embellished furniture that hasn’t seen a touch of polish for a while. Every available surface is hidden under felicitatory mementos, testimony to his fan following in towns like Baghpat, Meerut or Alwar in UP and Rajasthan, respectively.

The big-bellied godman himself looked weary, a far cry from the burly, imposing swami with the laser drill gaze who held the movers and shakers of the world in thrall. One eyelid drooped, giving him a permanent wink. He spoke slowly with a palpable effort. Stripped of power, he appeared leached of vitality.

He doesn’t care what is said and written about him, he told me categorically. He stands vindicated by courts of law which have given the lie to all the conspiracies against him. Nor does he care for the
trappings of power. He is a and it is all the same for him. Luxury or austerity, company or the lack of it, jail or ashram.

Detachment from all things material is the mark of true sadhu, but it’s not a trait I’d associate with Chandraswami, who spent a lifetime cosying up to the rich and powerful. His evolution from a “Baal sant” (child saint) to “Rajguru” (royal preceptor), was astonishingly rapid. His family was originally from Gujarat, but he was born in Behror, Rajasthan (now better known for a resort called “Midway” on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway), his great grandfather having migrated to the neighboring state several years before his birth.

His father, Dharma Chand Gandhi Jain, was money lender and moved to Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) when Nemi Chand was a boy. He was the youngest of five sons and the fifth of nine siblings and thus has a large brood of nieces and nephews. In an interview to her son’s biographer, Hira Lal Chaubey in the book titled, “Chandra Swami : Bhartiya Sanskriti ke ananya upasak evum mahaan Tantrik”, Chandraswami’s mother said that his horoscope had indicated a “Gaj-Kesri Yog” which implied he would either become a great king or a great saint.

“I have no formal schooling. I lived for a few years in Hyderabad before wandering the forests in Bihar and meditating,’ Chaubey quotes the swami saying.

The Jain family was deeply religious and from a very early age Nemi Chand began displaying an interest in tantric practices. His first spiritual mentor was Mahaupadhyay Amar Muni, a who later directed the twenty three year old Nemi to of Benaras. However, on several occasions, Chandraswami also acknowledged and as his gurus.

[ Excerpted with permission from “Gurus : Stories of India's Leading Babas” by Bhavdeep Kang, Westland Books, June 2016. Views expressed are writer’s personal ]
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