I first met him in 1962 at my brother in law’s place. He did not impress too much. Just another middle class Indian dressed in loin cloth and jhabba (shirt), a typical rustic from Karamsad, a small town in the Indian state of Gujarat.
However, this initial acquaintance gradually developed into friendship. The guy’s knowledge was amazing .He could talk on any subject under the sun – and with authority. He could regale you with his own political version of the Indian epic “Mahabharata” and its main characters. But it was his profound knowledge of the occult sciences that drew people to him. He could read horoscopes, palms, was also a numerologist, but above all it was “cardomancy” – as he called it – where he was the master . “Cardomancy” is the art of reading of ones future with the help of cards – not tarot cards, but the usual pack of 52 cards.
He used to visit Bombay often and would always stay for four to five weeks at a time. In the early years he used to stay with his close friend, who was the manger of a prominent cinema theatre and only come to my place to spend a couple of days. But after his friend’s passing away he started staying with me. Because of his high reputation, it was very difficult to catch him because he literally had to hide himself from people wanting to consult him.
It was during these early years, that I too developed some interest in this science and he started teaching me the basics giving me a handwritten manuscript in those years. I was in my mid thirties, an arrogant but successful young man, considering myself many a rung above him on the social ladder. To me, he was just my friend and a teacher at best, but no way my master. I had actually developed some sort of superiority complex. I often ridiculed him but he tolerated everything.
He often stumped me with his amazing predictions concerning me and my family. Gradually, I also started reading cards under his guidance. While he was most welcome to stay with us, it was his very dirty personal hygiene habits that used to put us off, especially the children.
We were always in touch, either through mail correspondence or via telephone; then somehow there was no news from him for a very long time. My wife asked me to phone him and enquire I was aware that he normally left house by 8’clock in the morning so I phoned accordingly. The voice at the other end was unfamiliar and he passed on the phone to someone else .I was shocked to hear from his daughter that Manibhai had expired the night before and the preparations for the funeral were going on. She further told me that he had a premonition of his death because he had told the doctor treating him that if he survived a particular date he would have many more years to live. Well, survive he didn’t.
That was nearly 25 years ago. In the meantime, I continued reading cards just for fun. A surprising number of people kept coming. By the way, I never charged any fee nor did I ever refuse an appointment. Then, one evening a young girl – maybe about 20 or 22 – came for a consultation. She had come often earlier too. From her demeanour, her I could tell that she was in deep trouble and needed help but when I placed the cards I was totally benumbed – they were in such bad positions that I just could not say anything. However much I wanted to help her, I just could not utter a word of comfort. The poor girl went away crying. I was cursing myself as I walked up to the balcony and gazed outside. Then it happened – I think I saw a vision I saw Manibhai scolding me for the first time ever, saying is that what I taught you? A particular card in a particular position normally depicts death, destruction, everything evil. He told me, you fool, have you not heard of that bird – the phoenix – which rises from its ashes? Can this not be the beginning of a new life, a new sunrise? God! There lay the answer! And in that split second, my ego melted. I surrendered and acknowledge him as my master.
I started looking for that girl but she had just vanished. I did not have any means to contact her. I desperately wanted to thank her because it was due to her that I had found my master. Many years passed and then suddenly, about three years ago, I received a call from Hong Kong. Yes, it was her! Somehow she had heard from a common acquaintance that I was looking for her. She was thrilled to hear my story. And I am happy to say that she has risen like the phoenix and is well settled in life once again.
People still do come to me for consultations or guidance and all I can say that all this is just because of my guru, Manibhai.
I am sure he has forgiven me for the disrespect I showed him and is showering his blessings upon me and guiding me in life.
Thank you, Mani bhai!