I came from nothing, I knew no luxury and hadn’t seen a
‘better’ life, so in my small world ... I was happy.
If the way was ever difficult, I made my own way.
I had a great need to look sharp and groomed.
So, even though we couldn’t afford an iron, I would heat some
coal, use an old ‘lota’, wrap a cloth around it and press my
clothes – the effect was the same, then why complain?
This was the beginning of everything that I am today and I
didn’t even know it at the time.
So if you ask the 8 year old Narendra Modi, running around
serving chai and cleaning his father’s tea stall, whether he
even dared to dream about becoming the Prime Minister of India,
his answer would be 'no'.
It was too far to even think about.
While growing up, I had a lot of curiosity but very little
I would see army men in their uniforms and think that this
was the the only way to serve the country.
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.
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.
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
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.
I travelled far and wide, spent time at the Ramkrishna
Mission, met sadhus and saints, stayed with them and began a
I moved from place to place — I had no roof above my head,
but still never felt more at home.
I would wake up during Brahma Mahurat, between 03 and 03:45
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.
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
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.
After coming back from the Himalayas, I knew that I wanted my
life to be one that is lived in the service of others.
Within a short span of returning, I left for Ahmedabad.
It was my first brush with living in a big city – the pace of
life was very different.
I began my time there by occasionally helping my uncle at his
Eventually, I became a full time Pracharak of the Rashtriya
There, I got the opportunity to interact with people from
different walks of life and do a wide range of work.
We all took turns to clean the RSS office, prepare tea and
food for colleagues and clean utensils.
Life was rigorous and busy.
But amidst all of my duties, I was determined to not let go
of my learnings from the Himalayas.
To ensure that this new phase of life didn’t take over the
sense of peace that I achieved there, I decided to take out some
time every year and introspect.
It was my way of maintaining a balanced life.
Not many people know this, but I would go away for the five
days of Diwali.
Somewhere in a jungle – a place with only clean water and no
I would pack enough food to last for those five days.
There would be no radio’s or newspapers, and during that
time, there was no TV or internet anyway.
I would reflect – and the strength that this alone time gave
me still helps me to handle life and its various experiences.
People often asked me, ‘Who are you going to meet?’ And I
‘‘I am going to meet myself.’’
Which is why, I always urge everyone, especially my young
friends, in the midst of your fast paced life and busy
schedules, take some time off … think and introspect.
It will change your perception – you will understand your
inner self better ...