Testimonial for Guruji Gopal Vyas
by Sheetal Makhan from Belgium
If, even three years ago, someone told me that YouTube would change my life, I wouldn’t have believed them. But the truth is, it did. More specifically, the channel of Guruji Gopal Vyas.
My name is Sheetal Makhan, born and bred in East London, South Africa. I have lived away from my beloved hometown for more than half my life. In 2019, I got married and moved to Belgium. Moving to a new country is a challenge in itself, but many don’t know the actual changes one has to make. I had to adapt to a new climate, learn a new language and cultural norms.
Six months after arriving in my new home, the global pandemic was declared, and the world went into a hard lockdown. Like many others, I lost my sense of routine and found myself feeling anxious about the future – like not being able to travel to my family in South Africa.
The lockdown affected us all – financially, physically, mentally and spiritually. I picked up new hobbies and continued taking my language classes online. Yet, I still felt like something was missing.
When Guruji started his live broadcasts, I was instantly taken back to when I was a little girl, going to mandir with my parents on Sunday mornings.
In the midst of the world’s chaos, heartache and loss, I found calm and consistency.
Attending virtual mandir every weekend became non-negotiable. Guruji’s efforts to keep our spirits positive were definitely not unnoticed, and he managed to reach the East London community far and wide.
Living in a foreign country, it’s easy to feel lost. Almost no one knows you or your background. Logging on to Guruji’s channel made me feel like I belonged – even with over 13,000 km between us.
My father passed away in February 2021. I hadn’t seen him for a year before his passing and was unable to travel to his funeral – still because of travel restrictions. It felt wrong and unfair. “Why now, like this?” I asked myself.
Thanks to Guruji, I was able to grieve and heal with a deeper understanding of our Hindu beliefs. From the Bhagavd Gita talks to Hanuman Chalisa recitals to Bhajan and Kirtan, I felt grounded. Even for just that hour, I was able to forget and connect.
Guruji must be commended for his sterling efforts in keeping our religion, culture and faith alive. For encouraging the youth to be active in the community and proud of their roots. All of this, even during an international crisis. In his own humble manner, he showed his strength as a true leader.
In February 2022, I was able to travel to South Africa after two years. My first priority was to spend time with my Mother. Secondly, I wanted to attend mandir. Seeing Guruji in person lead the community through an hour of devotion left me feeling energized with a full heart.
As per his blog, “Guruji’s only objective in life is to spread humanity”.
I feel so privileged that we, as proud devotees, have experienced this first-hand.
My Mandir. My Faith. My Loyalty.