My good friend Ramesh had been passing through a very bad phase in his life .His wife Nalani walked out on him taking their two kids .This was a shattering blow to him and upset him no end .It had a serious impact on his career and he choose to pull out of direct sales in HCL and opted for a stint in HR .Ramesh was introduced to the Soka Gakkai and I could see that it was having a very good impact on him .He was fully engaged in all the societies activites and placed it at the number one priority in his life .I would watch him and wonder why he wouldnt speak to me about the practice and Buddhism .Then one day he invited me for dinner to his house and hesitatingly introduced me to some other members, Ashok Chawla and family , who spoke at some length about the Buddhist practices they where following, and the benefits to practioners. Ramesh subsequently gave me a few books to read .I lapped them up and wanted more .I liked what I read and the philosophy fitted in very well with my up bringing and spiritual inclination.
The Soka Gakkai or more particularly the Bharat Soka Gakkai ( BSG ) in those days took a long time to introduce members and one had to go through a carefull screening process and get introduced to the practice of chanting "nam myoho renge kyo" before we were formally introduced as members and allowed to take part in meetings.Major Anil Amar was the leader who came home to meet Deepa & me , spoke further about BSG and the practice and for the first time chanted along with us .Deepa joined me in the initial sessions but then backed out .I kept at it , and as I was thirsting for a spiritual plank made up my mind to get deeper into the practice .
Eventually I was taken by Ramesh for the first Zadankai meeting at Neelam Prakash’s house in Lajpat Nagar .I was terribly impressed by the way the meeting was conducted , the orderliness by which guests were received and made to sit down. Also the way the byakuren ensured that every one was comfortable and had water to drink .Shoes and foot ware of all guests were neatly placed and every one was cheerfull and friendly .I felt at home immediately and was very happy with the first meeting .I would go on to be a very regular member ,prepare well for all meetings and read very thoroughly all the material that used to be distributed to us .I was a very avid and eager learner and the leaders where very friendly and supportive . A couple of years after I started thepractice I received the Gohonzon at a very solemn function in the kaikan, at South Extn. It was an emotional and a great event in my life .The Gohonzon is now an integral part of our home.
I would go on to get very deeply immersed in the practice , first increasingly taking on organisation responsibiliites such as being a member of the library committee , then the men’s division study group ,,called the Pillar Group and also gradually taking on the responsibility of looking after new members .I would go on to becoming a Group Chief .then a Block Chief and eventually a District Chief. I stumbled along on the path of increasing leadership responsibilities , but managed with a lot of support from the leaders .
A high point was to go to Japan on a training course along with a team of around 45 members lead by Naveena Reddy .Also amember of that group was Anil Amar .My journey in faith and practice is best told through experiences and short bursts of commentary .All these will be cover in the sections to follow .