Category Archive: Devotee Experiences (Bhakta Mala) ~ A Collection
Lifetime experiences of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji's devotees, collected and published by Avadhoota Datta Peetham
(two 'devotee experiences' added per week).
C S Venkatesh, Bangalore
“Wherever you work, as a clerk or an engineer, be honest and sincere and pray to God and your Guru. You will come out good in life”.
I met Sri Swamiji for the first time in October 1966. My parents, Mr. C N Srinivasa Rao and Smt. Lakshmi Narasamma, had three sons and two daughters. I’m the youngest among the sons. In January 1955, when I was just fifteen years old and appearing for the tenth Class exams in Bangalore, my father passed away. He had inherited a lot of property from his father, Mr. Nanjunda Rao. With all the court cases and upon the death of my father, my mother inherited it. She became a millionaire, one whose wealth was valued over ten million rupees. Fate played a different game for us when my father’s younger brother, sister and brothers-in-law took up a battle with my mother in the courts.
For thirty-two years she fought in the court and travelled every now and then, alone to Coimbatore to face the courts. As time pass, she got tired of feeding the flames of greed and destruction and stepped back from the court mater. Once, she observed two farmers, both brothers, who occupied either side of the property fought with sickles and machete. On seeing this situation, she withdrew from all court cases and surrendered the crores of rupees of property. She knew that her Guru, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, will take care of her children. This being the situation, I was forced to become the breadwinner for my family. I had to struggle a lot for the education of my brothers and sisters. Without any basic facilities, I struggled and became a science graduate in April 1960, from Central College, Bangalore. My mother’s maternal uncle Mr. H.S. Hirannaih, who was the Chief Secretary to the Govt. of Karnataka, told me, “Wherever you work, as a clerk or an engineer, be honest and sincere and pray to God and your Guru. You will come out good in life”. I uphold that principle even to this day.
We were associated with many institutions in Bangalore; one of them was the Ragigudda Prasanna Anjaneya Swamy temple in Jayanagar. In1966, my cousin, C.S. Narasimah, who lived in Mysore, invited my mother and me to have darshan of Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji. By then I was about twenty-six years old. When we got there we found that the Ashrama had only a small hut. We went and prostrated before Sri Swamiji, He asked me about my personal particulars and I explained it to Him. Sri Swamiji asked, “Can you go out of ashram right now?” I asked Him, “What prevents me from going out? Is there any obstacle?” He simply looked at me and said, “You can try”. Somehow, some force was keeping me in the ashram. Then He asked me, “Do you have interest in God?” I replied, “By looking at you, Swamiji, I feel like I’m having darsham of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Maheshwara through you.” He then said, “In that case, prostrate before me and participate in nine or twenty-one Shivaratris that takes place at the ashram every year”. I promised Him that I would and returned with my mother to Bangalore.
Since that day, we have visted the Mysore ashram at least once every four months. We attended all the major functions and up to 2012 I have participated in forty-seven Maha Shivaratis. It was possible only by the Divine grace of Sri Swamiji.
In 1986, I became a trustee of the Bangalore ashram branch and am continuing to do so.
In 1968, I took my mother to Mysore to attend the Shivaratri program. Sri Swamiji took about seventy devotees, including myself and my dear mother, to Chamundi Hills situated opposite to our Ashram at Mysore. We climbed the hill and at the mid point area, He stopped and began looking at something. There was an opening in between two rocks in the middle of the mountains and to our amazement; water began to trickle out of it. He collected some and sprinked it on each one of us. He then took a danda in His hand and stood on a rock. At that point, I saw the form of Lord Subramanya in Him and offered my pranams.
He took an empty steel vessel and collected some water, closed His eyes and uttered something silently and performed aarti to that hole in the rock. Immediately, I heard a sound coming from the rocks and wondered what it was. This was my second year of participating in Maha Shivaratri and could not understand what was happening. All of a sudden He pulled out from the steel vessel, a beautiful silver platform with idols of Lord Ganesh, Sri Subramanya, Sri Parvathi and Sri Ishwara, with a seven headed cobra. They were covered with beautiful ornaments in red color at the edges. He showed it to all of us and began praying “Lord Shiva, you have blessed us with your darshan and now bless us something to eat.”
While saying this He rubbed His stomach and then took His hands to the hole in the rocks and pulled out a beautiful sugar candy of Lord Ganesh; three inches in width, six inches in height and one inch thick. He gave it to me and asked me to share it with the rest of the devotees. It was the best sweet I ever had. We then wet ourselves with the water from the rock and collected twenty-one pots of water to perform abhisheka to Shiva, in the evening.
In 1969, Sri Swamiji told me that I should marry a girl from a poor family who is cultured and well behaved. I told Him that whomever He chooses would be my partner, but Sri Swamiji must be present to bless us on the wedding day or the day when my wife is brought home. Sri Swamiji told a devotee sitting next to Him, “See how he is talking. This is the kind of firmness of mind that my devotees should have. I like it. He came to my marriage. When I asked Him His blessings, He said that I was going to see a miracle soon.
The marriage took place on May 7th , 1969 in Bangalore. When I went upstairs in the marriage hall, and prostrated before Sri Swamiji’s photo, I saw three packets at the Feet of His photo; one with Kumkum, one with Turmeric and one with Vibhuti. After prostration, when I got up, I saw that the kumkum has become turmeric, turmeric has become kumkum and the Vibhuti became red. I brought this to the attention of my wife and mother. We all agreed it was Sri Swamiji’s blessings.
My wife, Girija, was brought up with a lot of love from her family, especially her uncle, Mr. K S Suryanarayana and his wife Mrs. Nagalakshmi. They did not have any children and asked me to take them to Sri Swamiji for blessings to have a child so we went to Mysore for His darshan. Sri Swamiji said, “Give me three months time; I have to talk with God”. After six months, when we went back to Him again, He said, “You are not going to have children due to the curse of your ancestors, since the annual ceremonies were not performed.” Sri Swamiji then called me said that I would get a child in two years. He then called my wife and said that she would bear a beautiful child who is Saraswati, the Goddess of learning. However, she should hand her over to Him after her birth. Sri Swamiji asked us to agree to this and place tulasi leaves at His feet and we prostrated before Him. In March 1979, a daughter was born to us. We named her Ashwini after her birth start. We kept the child with us for eight months and then as advised by Sri Swamiji, the baby was handed over to Mrs and Mr. Suryanarayana.
During one of Sri Swamiji’s visits to Bangalore, in 1986, Sri Swamiji wanted some land to be purchased for Bangalore ashram. With the help of Mr. Krishna Bhat, K R Krishna Murthy and Mr. T Naganna, I landed in Girinagar along with Mrs. Usha Narasimha. Sri Swamiji selected the present ashram place and said that in due course of time; it will become a very big ashram and a busy place. Sri Swamiji told me to use this place for Bhajans and for performing Puja.
In 2003, I was hospitalized for a blocked artery. By Sri Swamiji’s grace, I underwent a surgery successfully. Since then, I’m in good health and have been serving my Lord. What else can I ask of Him? Jaya Guru Datta
Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/?p=14748
Jogi Siddhaiah, Mysore
“This is Datta’s house, why don’t you people let your heart be Datta’s house”.
After working in the government service for over thirty-five years, of which one decade was spent in Nuzividu, I retired and since 1997 I have been living at Mysore. My elder son, Dr Vamsy Krishna Ganapathy is a Vedic Scholar in Mysore Ashram. My second son, Chandra, lives in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. He is married and as of now, he has one son.
In 1970, Dr. N.V. Raja Rao, a homeopathy doctor, told us of a yogi who was visiting Vijayawada. I went there with my father and two others. When we got there we saw the yogi sitting in a semi-dark room performing a Homa. Later we learnt that He was called Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. In those days there was no ashrama in Vijayawada so Sri Swamiji was accommodated at a devotee’s house. Later on I visited Him in the same area for His bhajan sessions.
Then for a period of ten years I had no contact with Him. After this, He was camping in a mango garden of a devotee near Nuzuvedu. I went to see Him and He was doing a Homa there. After the Homa I had an interview with Him and I asked Him, “Why do you just visit this garden, which is outside the city. What about those people who live in the city.” He said, “Don’t worry about that, it would happen soon.” I tried to persuade Him but He was very passive and did not heed to my request.
For forty days I visited Him in the evenings at Vijayawada, after my work was completed in my Nuzivedu office. My wife and I are used to perform hundreds of Anagha Vrata poojas with the residents of Nuzividu with a wish that we should get Guru Kataksha, the grace of Sadguru. Then in 1987 Sri Swamiji came to Nuzividu and the people there were impressed by Him. During this visit in January, an agriculturist, Akula Durvasa Rao came to Sri Swamiji with a mentally disabled son. Sri Swamiji said He does not cure anybody with magic, and so He did not help the boy, but Durvasarao develop a strong devotion to Sri Swamiji and he donated a site for the construction of the Nuzividu Ashram to His Holiness.
Later that year, in September, Sri Swamiji visited Nuzividu again. While taking the site Sri Swamiji told Durvasarao that he must make the offering without any wish in his mind. With humility this bhakta presented all the documentation necessary for the smooth transition of the property to Sri Swamiji. Slowly the Ashram developed and the Deva Deva Avatara Datta temple was constructed and inaugurated in November, 1989. Eventually the boy died but the parents were not hurt. They were mentally developed and believed whatever has happened was for their good.
In 1993, during one of His visits, Sri Swamiji informed the ashrama trustees that He wanted some work to be done by this fellow, me, and it is completed; now he wants to move from this place. Not long after that, without even applying, I was transferred to some other place. I realized then that it is only Sri Swamiji who should be interested for us to get His work done. In His wisdom He gave the knowledge and strength for me to make my contribution to Nuzividu Ashram.
In 1985, during the Shivaratri period we took our first born son, Vamsy Krishna and offered him to Sri Swamiji for His service. Sri Swamiji instructed us that we should bring and offer him at the Mysore Ashram and we followed His advice. Slowly we started attending the programs at the Mysore Ashram. Sri Swamiji used to joke with us and ask if the purpose of the visit was to see our boy or His Holiness. He is now one of the ashramites. Sri Swamiji discreetly enabled us to develop detachment. His teachings are most important. Now that boy is staying at the Ashrama and he is helping others to understand the wisdom of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.
My second son, Chandrashekar, is also an ardent devotee of Sri Swamiji. Once he went to Sri Swamiji and expressed his wish to stay in Mysore and serve Sadguru, but Sri Swamiji sent him back to finish his studies. Eventually he was sent to USA, but Sri Swamiji told him, “You have to come back whenever I tell you”. Now he is settled nicely in USA and Sri Swamiji found a nice alliance for him and they are blessed with their baby boy. My mother died in 1983. My father who slowly became a devotee of Sri Swamiji passed away in 1996. Generations together we are devotees of His holiness. My parents, me, my children and now my grandson, we are all his devotees. There are hundreds of such devoted families of Sri Swamiji.
Many devotees I have known have given up their bad habits and accepted the pathway of spirituality. Spiritual evaluation is possible and is decided only because of Sri Swamiji. It is not something that we can count. When we leave our bad habits and follow Him sincerely, only then can He give that awakening to us. The amount donated to Peetham serves two purposes. Not only the sins get washed up but also we get prone to do good things. Slowly we will be less sinful and develop devotion to His Holiness and good things can be done for the society. Like that I find many people becoming good individuals.
Several devotees and families have been blessed by Sri Swamiji’s music and we are one such family. His music is wonderful. During my second visit to Vijayawada, I heard Sri Swamiji sing “Vittala Vittala”. His voice resonated and was very intense; I saw the passion for God. I had heard so many musicians, but they did not have that yogic power in their voice. Sri Swamiji is not only a musician, but He blended yoga into His music, in this way He is able to penetrate an individual soul. He is Nada Brahma. In 1985 my wife and I attended Kriya Yoga class taught by Sri Swamiji. He spent many hours teaching us the procedure. It is a wonderful procedure to cleanse both body and mind.
Sri Swamiji says that it is ‘not only in the ashram or serving His Holiness physically,’ we can render our service, but staying outside we can do it too. Some people may feel jealous of ashramites, but we need to balance our mind, that distance doesn’t matter. Mentally we need to render our service Him in every possible way. Spiritual growth is quite possible thereby.
I feel one’s life itself is a miracle. To be born on earth, being a contemporary to Sri Swamiji, knowing Him and to be able to have His darshan is indeed a miracle itself. We are able to see Him, the lord Himself with these eyes. Isn’t that a wonder? When I used to render any service to Sri Swamiji I used to feel that it was He who makes me do. I used to translate His speeches for the foreign devoteesfor sometime.
During one occasion Sri Swamiji pointing out to Datta’s temple said, “This is Datta’s house, why don’t you people let your heart be Datta’s house”. Jaya Guru Datta.
Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/?p=14719
Doolchan Ramdath, Princes Town, Trinidad
“Please Appaji, wherever I am born, let me meet you…..once again.”
In 1981 my friend, Mr. Peter Hinkles from San Fernando, invited my wife, Chanwatee and myself to meet a Swami who was visiting from India. Mr. Hinkles said that this was not the usual Swami and he cannot guarantee that He will give her an interview. My wife, Chanwatee, accepted the invitation and since she could not drive I took her to see the Swami. When we arrived there I saw a lot of people and I knew that she would not get a chance to meet Him.
I found out that His name was Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji and He was from Mysore India. I was at the back of the crowd and I saw Chanwatee and her son Mohan going into a room with Sri Swamiji. When they came out, she told me that Sri Swamiji had invited her to come to India and visit His Ashrama. I did not think that she would go to India since she did not have a passport; she does not travel anywhere by herself and she had never been on an airplane.
In 1982 everything fell in place for her and she went to India to visit Sri Swamiji; Ganesh (Mohan) and Vishnu accompanied her. When she arrived at the Mysore Ashrama, Sri Swamiji had finished the day’s program and retired for the night. She asked to see Him and the ashramites told her that once Sri Swamiji retires for the night, He will not come out. She told them that He had invited her and she came all the way from Trinidad, and she must see Him. The ashramites went to Sri Swamiji and some time later Sri Swamiji came out and met with her. She was very happy. When she returned home all she spoke about was Him.
In 1983 Sri Swamiji visited England, and Chanwattie, Mohan and Vishnu went to meet Him. She came back very excited and said that Sri Swamiji told her that on His next visit to Trinidad He will visit our home in Princes Town. I was happy that she had found her Guru.
During Sri Swamiji’s next visit to Trinidad was in 1984. My family and I were invited by Krishna Kishore Persad, a devotee from Arima, to come and meet Sri Swamiji at his home. We all went and witnessed Him perform the Homa. After the Homa, He started climbing the stairs to go to His room; I was standing at the bottom of the stairs. He climbed two steps; then He stopped and looked back at me. He rested His hands on my shoulders and said, “Ramdath.” Then He went up the stairs. I stood there staring at Him go up the stairs thinking how did He know me as I never met Him before. Little did I know; He knew me more than I can ever dream of.
Something shifted within me that day and I felt myself getting closer to Him. A few days later He made a visit to our home; #12 Hindustan Road in Princes Town. We had a small wooden house; it was constructed on wooden posts about six feet high. We lived upstairs and the downstairs was an open area. Sri Swamiji came upstairs and sat with us for a long while. He left, saying that He will be back in a few days to perform a Homa there. I was not comfortable with this idea for my house was too small to accommodate the crowd.
Upstairs, the area was too small to conduct the Homa and downstairs, the wooden floor of the house would be right above the fire and that was not good. When Sri Swamiji came He suggested that we do the Homa right under the house in an enclosed spaceand put galvanize sheets below the wooden floor, to protect it from the heat. He did the Homa and everything went well. A huge crowd came and somehow our small house accommodated everyone. At then end of the program Sri Swamiji said to all present, “I have found the root!” I did not know what He meant then, but came to realize later that He was saying that He had found the root of the Datta Yoga Center in Trinidad.
After this visit, my relationship with Sri Swamiji got stronger and we began to live our lives according to His teachings. In 1986 Sri Swamiji came to Trinidad and He once again our home in Princes Town. He told me that He wanted a piece of land to build a temple. I explained to Him that the land in the area close to our house was undulated and subjected to landslips. He left Trinidad and I put the thought in the back of my mind. In 1989 Sri Swamiji invited Dr. Ralph Sieupersad and I to visit Him in India.
We went to the Mysore Ashrama and He was so happy to see us, He made us feel at home and showered His love on us. We swam in His pool and He took us to visit His birth place, Mekadatu. He said to me then, “Now that you have come to my home, I will come to your home when I come to Trinidad for more than seven days.” He has kept to His word to this day.
Time passed by and I began to think of when Sri Swamiji had asked me to find land to build a temple. I thought I should get a temple that whenever He visits Trinidad He would have a place to come to. There was some land across the street from my house, it was an undulating slope. I graded the land with a leveled area to build a temple. On His next visit to Princes Town I told Him, “Swamiji, we want to build a temple.” He held me by my ears and said, “I told you this a long time ago, go ahead!”
He called a few of the devotees and told them to assist in building the temple. After He left we began building the temple. I wanted a high ceiling structure to facilitate Homas and also a solid foundation since the land was prone to sliding. In order to build this I had to get a steel structure. I did not have any idea how to do this. By the grace of Sri Swamiji, Edward Yogi Bharath, a fellow devotee and an engineer, came and assisted with the steel construction and overall completion of the temple. The temple is still standing there to this day, with no problems of the land sliding. Later, we built a Guru Nilayam behind the temple.
On 18 August 1997, Sri Swamiji inaugurated the building as a Datta Temple. When He came to the temple, He told Chanwattie, “I told Ramdath to build this temple a long time ago, and what did he say? Swamiji, there is no land, no land. Look now, Datta Temple has been built, same Ramdath and same land.” I asked Him what spiritual sadhana I should perform and He told me to take care of the temple. He was very happy and so were we. Four months later, on Datta Jayanti day in December, Chanwattie passed away. Sri Swamiji told me that she is with Him. She would not have wanted it any other way.
In 1992, Sri Swamiji performed the wedding of my son Vishnu and Asha. He took the role of a loving mother and father at the wedding ceremony. In Trinidad, it is not our custom at wedding ceremonies for the bridegroom to offer a mangala sutra to the bride, so I had no idea I had to get one for the ceremony. However, Sri Swamiji gave a mangala sutra and sari to Asha. He did not ask me anything; He took it on himself and acted as a parent. When I saw this I realized how much He loves us, the Ramdath family.
At the Datta Temple we began performing morning and evening poojas, Guru Pada Poojas, Bhajans and celebrate all the festivals like; Sri Swamiji’s birthday and Datta Jayanti. Sri Swamiji visits the temple whenever He visits Trinidad and conducts various programs Himself. When I met Sri Swamiji I was neither a heathen nor a Godly person, neither a rascal nor a saint; I was floating along in the middle of the river. Sri Swamiji plucked me out and pulled me on His side. He built the temple and told me to take care of it. I began doing Poojas to Lord Dattatreya daily and the temple became His instrument to enhance my spirituality. He has always treated me kindly like a parent would a child and for this I want to thank Him. I know in my heart that He is looking over me and I have one request to make to Him, “Please Appaji, wherever I am born, let me meet you…..once again.” Jaya Guru Datta
Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/?p=14692
Hira Duvuri, Baton Rouge, USA
‘There is neither bad nor good, none of this exists, this whole creation is a fabrication of your own mind, it is not real.
I met Sri Swamiji for the first time in 1998 at the Baton Rouge Temple. I love children and as a young girl growing up I thought that I would have many. My main reason for getting married was to have children. Nine years went by and we did not have any children. The doctor advised us to adopt. We adopted a baby girl and I was very happy. When she turned three, we decided to adopt a baby boy and to our surprise I found out that I was pregnant. I gave birth to a baby boy. I got very attached to my children because I had waited so long to have them. I fulfilled my dreams through them by having them receive training in music, dance, and for our son, even training in chanting from the Vedas. The children excelled in everything that they were taught.
They did a dance performance in Houston of which people still talk about. When I saw them perform, I felt very happy. I spent every waking moment thinking about them and doing things for them. While still in college, my daughter met someone she liked, got married and moved away to California. I missed her a lot. Our son moved away also to go to college. I missed him and I began to feel a void in my life. I had focused all my energy on the children and in the process forgot about me. Now I was left with me, a stranger to myself. I became vulnerable to stress and depression.
I had all the material comforts in life, but I felt very lonely. Unpleasant incidents occurred with people close to me and it hurt me a lot. I was not able to cope with the pain and my depression grew. My condition grew worse daily and I got to a point where I would not talk to anyone, even on the telephone. I did not want to live. Thinking about how unjustly I had been treated, I would seethe with rage, burn with anger, and found it very difficult to forgive. I convinced myself that I would never see their faces again.
One day a man, who is a devotee of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, called my husband, talked at length, and told him to take me to his house. My husband convinced me to go and I went. This man was a psychiatrist and wanted to talk to me about my condition. He said that I needed treatment or else I would harm myself, perhaps even commit suicide. He convinced me to go to his office the next day. I went there and after an examination he put me on an anti-depressant medication.
In course of time the dosage reached the maximum that he could prescribe. He told me not to miss taking the pills for even one day, for it would be detrimental to my health. He said that I had to take the medicine for the rest of my life. I could not drive because of the severe side effects of the pills. I begged the doctor many times to put me in an institution, but he refused saying that once I go in, I will never get out. I had to live my life like this, depending on the pills to protect me from myself. I felt this void within me, like my life was missing something. I did not know what it was.
Then that blessed day came when I received a flyer in the mail advertising Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji’s visit to Baton Rouge for the Guru Purnima Celebrations. I went to the program and when I looked into His eyes I knew instinctively that He was my Guru. I felt that we had a connection from the past and that He knew everything about me. I did not feel the need to tell Him anything. There was no need for words. Then my mind jumped in and demanded some logical reasons for trusting him with my life. In the months that followed, He made it easy for me to surrender to Him and accept Him as my Guru by giving me verification and proof of who He is.
Within a couple of months, the connection that I had felt with Him drew me to His ashram in Mysore, India. He did not talk to me there, but just by His presence, He gently blew away the dark clouds of my depression and I felt relieved. The heaviness left me. I began to laugh again, something that I had not done in years. In silence He removed the afflictions of my mind and heart. I was mesmerized by this silent power. I threw all my medicines in the garbage; I did not need them again. I owe my life to Sri Swamiji. He saved my soul.
I returned to India two months later. I performed Pada Puja to Him and He said, “Tell me about you.” I told Him, “I am happy, I have a daughter who has a wonderful husband and my son is in college.” That was all that I spoke. On this trip I attended the Kriya Yoga course in Mekedatu. It really helped me spiritually. My husband also met Sri Swamiji and he also grew to love Him. For us to be together with Sri Swamiji is a great blessing indeed.
My husband and I became involved with the Baton Rouge Temple and began participating in the events. Our son, when he came home from college began to notice that our lives were now centered on Sri Swamiji, and I in particular had shifted my focus from him to my Guru. He did not know how to deal with this situation. He became rebellious. He verbally abused Sri Swamiji in front of us. We could not handle his tantrums. He felt that Sri Swamiji had taken his place in my life.
One day we had a big argument about Sri Swamiji and he left. I prayed to Sri Swamiji in my heart, “Swamiji, I don’t want this obstacle between you and me, it is making life hard for me. Please remove this barrier.” Sri Swamiji heard my prayers, for He removed my son from my life and put him on another path. I was happy for my son to follow his own path but emotionally I had problems letting go of him. Sri Swamiji helped me through this very difficult process. He told me, “Let him go. I am your son.”
After some time I realized that this was Sri Swamiji’s training for me in detachment. I never questioned His wisdom in this situation for I knew that He gave me what was best for me and He gave our son what was best for him. Our relationship with our children became strained for a while, in order for us all to grow spiritually. Now, we as parents have learned to let go of the emotional leashes on our children and they have in turn learnt to grow as independent individuals. We now have mutual respect for each other, all by His grace.
My husband and I came to the USA many years ago with two suitcases each. Since then we had increased our possessions with houses, cars, money and other material things. Now, after meeting Sri Swamiji, we have lightened our burden of all those things and Sri Swamiji is all we have. Our relatives and friends think that we are mad to have done this, but we tell them that when we have Sri Swamiji, we have everything.
Sri Swamiji has revealed to me that this world is just an illusion. There was a residue of guilt left in me because of my past mistakes. In one of my meditations He said to me, “There is neither bad nor good, none of this exists, this whole creation is a fabrication of your own mind, it is not real.” I replied, “I accept that this is not real, but what about this ‘I’ that is talking to you right now?” He replied, “Even that is an illusion, it is not there.” At that moment I experienced the ‘I’ evaporating and all that remained was Bliss. After this experience, how can I ask for anything, when He has shown me that there is nothing?
I began translating Sri Swamiji’s speeches into English because of an experience I had. One day I sat down to listen to Sri Swamiji’s live program being broadcast on the web. I grab every opportunity to hear His nectarine words. I sat and listened, but could not understand a word of what Sri Swamiji was saying. The audio quality of the webcast was so bad that day. I became frustrated and suddenly realized that this is how the devotees must feel when they cannot understand the language that He is speaking. Since that day I try my best to do this service. In reality, I am just the hollow flute and He is the melody.
Sri Swamiji found me and lifted me up; He gave me a new life, filled with meaning and purpose. I thank Him for all those people who gave me pain, for it was that pain that propelled me to reach His lotus feet. I live each day as directed by Him and everything flows according to His divine plan. Jaya Guru Datta
Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/?p=14658
Krishan Kumar, Mysore
Then He took me to His room and showed me a map of India, showing certain places saying that He wanted to go there. “Will you take me? Will you take me?”
I was born in Pakistan in 1934 and along with my parents and other members of the family; I migrated to India in 1947 during the partitioning of the country. My early education was at a Muslim school. Being brought up in Pakistan and having seen the tribulations of life, the partitioning, the open massacre of people; Hindus and Muslims killing each other, this left a very deep scar on my soul. Anyway, my early childhood was all spent around troublesome years of ‘Second World War,’ then the Partition, leaving on my mind very adverse impressions of life.
As I grew up, I didn’t have any notions of religion or spirituality, and I became materialistic, so my mission in life was to be successful materially. I came to Delhi in 1948 and went to college and university and graduated with high success. I was highly ambitious and was obsessed with the idea of becoming someone great. I got a teaching job in the university and completed my Masters with first class honors, and by which time I was married. Even my life was successful and we had had three children; Nandini, Deepa and Roopa.
In 1969, all of a sudden, Deepa fell ill and we thought it was something normal, but it was much more serious, as she was found to be suffering from acute leukemia, or blood cancer. We consulted with top children blood specialists, doctors in top hospitals in Delhi and they would tell me, “Mr. Kumar, we are sorry; your child will live for only about six months. We cannot pronounce the date of death, but you have to live with this reality.” I was totally crest-fallen, dumbfounded as she was a beautiful child and I was immensely attached to her. I would cry, drink, and wonder if there was any power that would give life to her.
It was all gloom for me; life became very miserable; it was all-round depression. The child did not know what was happening to her, but the family and parents knew that she could die at any time. Words cannot explain how parents feel at such agonizing moments. In those moments of crisis I would run here and there. If someone would say ‘there is a healer in that church,’ I would go there, and if I heard about some guru, I would run there. In my childhood I had heard that miracles do happen to some people in their times of crisis, and I also began to wonder if a miracle could happen to me also.
That’s how I spent the following months of October and November, wondering about this. Then a friend told me about a saint, Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji from Mysore, whom I should meet, informing me the maybe He could help me. In December I wrote to Him telling Him about my dilemma and in about ten days, a reply came back advising me to bring her to the Ashram for Shivaratri that was on February 1970.
I was a lecturer at the University, and I did not have too much money; my daughter had ninety-six percent lymphoblast cancer cells in her blood count. I thought I would take a loan and fly to Mysore with her. Then I received another letter saying, “Don not worry, Sri Swamiji has made arrangements for your coming.” I could not understand what this meant. However, after a few days, my director informed me that, “There is a conference in Bangalore and we are deputizing you to represent us there, and we have made arrangements for you to fly to Bangalore.” So I had no problem with finances for my trip, and later I realized, ‘This is what Swamiji meant.”
In 1970 when I came to the ashram there were a couple thousand people flocking around Swamiji and He was a young lad jumping here and there. I could not make out anything. I had some negative thoughts since I did not like people superstiously following Him and I was thinking, “How could this Swamiji be a spiritual person?” I waited about two days, and then I had a chance to meet Him. As I was holding my daughter, He stretched out His hand, indicating that I should give her to Him, and at that moment, I broke down in tears.
I wept and asked Him, “Can you save her? She is going to die in a few months.” I don’t think I have ever wept so much in my life as that day when I wept in front of Sri Swamiji. I still recall vividly how compassionately He smiled at me, and told me, “I’ll try. You worship once a week,” and He gave me a small, metallic image of Ganapathi. Why did He tell me to worship once a week, why not every day or every morning? In my opinion, because the idea of worship was so strange in my life, I had no thought of going to the temple, or doing any prayers nor did I have any notion of religious or spiritual life. My life was totally; eat, drink and be merry, totally materialistic, totally mundane temporal existence. So to start me on the path of worship, He told me, “Worship once a week.”
After this we went back to Delhi and I began doing worship once a week. Every Thursday I would do abhishekam, even though I did not know its significance, but I felt like giving water to Ganapathi. I would pour some water, sit for some time, chant Sri Swamiji’s name, and pray to Him. One month passed and within that time when I took my child for medical blood count exam, she did not show even one percent of cancer cells in her blood. That gave me tremendous courage and thrill.
One month later I rushed to Mysore, and started jumping ecstatically telling Sri Swamiji, “A miracle has happened.” Till that time I had never seen Swamiji materializing anything though we had heard of it. I had a great desire to see. I gave Him a flower and from that flower a murti of Ganapathi emerged. I again started jumping with excitement and joy.
As I was staying in the ashram, one afternoon He called me and started uttering a few sentences, looking very deeply at me. He was actually telling me, who I was and my relationship with Him, also what I will be in the future and He revealed other certain things to me. Those revelations were very shocking at that point in my life. Also, the mood in which He was saying those things; it was in an obsessed mood, not human, as though some power were talking to Him and telling things about me.
Then He took me to His room and showed me a map of India, showing certain places saying that He wanted to go there. “Will you take me? Will you take me?” It was a heaven-sent opportunity for me, and so this is how I entered into this missionary life and started to serve Him. I forgot about my child and wanted to serve Him, put my mind to do whatever He wanted. It was a wondrous time, going with Him to the Himalayas and North India; to the holy shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath, Allahabad, Benaras, Kashmir and Jammu.
All this time I did not think about a religious or secular life, I was simply drawn into an unqualified love for Him. This bond of love became so strong that it became the primary purpose or goal in my life. I would not pay much attention to family, job or my surroundings; I was totally obsessed with Him. This bond of love became so strong that it became unbearable for me to live without Him. I even thought of leaving Delhi and going to serve Him, since money was no longer the goal of my life. I thought that since such a divine personality like this has come into my life I should serve Him, nevertheless. I used to tell Him how I felt, but He would never agree, He would tell me, “Wait for some time, nothing doing.”
After about two years, while sitting together with Sri Swamiji and about fifteen other devotees, I was given the opportunity to serve Him as a secretary in North India. I would help by interpreting His speeches, and did whatsoever He wanted. On one such meeting when we were together, He whispered to me, “Now danger, be prepared.” I could make out the purport of His statement that my child was not going to live any longer, and I should be prepared.
Four years had passed since I met Him and I was a different person; my life was now His, and as it happened, within one month of His statement, the child Deepa, whose life He prolonged for four years, passed away. It was in 1974, and the most beautiful thing was that the last thing on her lips was the name of Sachchidananda. At about the age of six she used to write poems for Sri Swamiji and sing them to Him. So through Deepa, He made me come in contact with Him, consolidated the flame of love between us and created a deep commitment in me to serve Him. This was my ‘childhood’ with Sri Swamiji.
From 1970 to 1974 when Deepa passed away, it was a wholesome love relationship with Him and from then I began to feel a pang of separation from Him. I could not live in Delhi, for more than two months, without seeing Him, so every so often I would come to the Ashram and spend a few days with Him. The Ashram was like a jungle and a few people were with Him then. I had beautiful association with Him, no questions, no inquiries, simply seeing Him, loving His Company, laughing, joking, and travelling with Him, but never having any serious discussion, it was not required at all.
Increasing association with Him drove me to try and understand who this Person was more and more, and what was so special about Him. A sense of inquiry started coming to me. Till then I had not read any spiritual books, so I started to read books about great Gurus like Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Tukaram, and other saints. These readings inspired me and created a sharp drive, a longing for God. Up until then I never treated Sri Swamiji like God.
Is He God? This question never bothered me. But now the idea of God, a super Power controlling the universe, and the love for Him began to shift to a longing for the Divine. What is that Power? I could never dare ask Him these questions because when we are in front of Him all our questions vanish. He would never ask anyone to do a particular thing, so people are the same as they are. Anyway, my longing increased day by day.
I was no longer satisfied with the temporal existence and the same question of becoming somebody great in my life, in my youth, shifted to a notion that I must excel in divinity. I now realize that this was a gross mistake, because we are not to become anything in divinity. Thus I began searching for something which was unusual in Him; I tried to evaluate Him, trying to see how His actions and moods were different from normal people.
Then in the 80’s something epic happened which further strengthened my bond with Him. I was born in 1934, and Swamiji in 1942, so physical gap was about eight years. When I was about four years my mother went to see a mahatma and when he saw me he asked, “Whose child is that?” My mother immediately raised her hand. The mahatma said, “How come he is born? He had no birth, he had done immense penance in the last life, and he is not going to live for long. If you want him to live long, get a water pond dug in his name.”
My mother was baffled, and she came home and told my father what the Mahatma said. My father did not believe in all this, and never got it done. This happened about when Sri Swamiji was not yet born. Then in about 1982, while I was sitting next to Sri Swamiji, all of a sudden He whispers in my ear, “Your water pond was not complete, at least you have to build a water tank, get it done, and finish the job.” I immediately recalled the incident with that mahatma, and realized that Sri Swamiji knew all about my past; everything about me.
I was shaken, face to face with Swamiji who knew everything about my past, and was making me complete what my parents had not done. I immediately sent some money and had that work completed. This left a lasting impression on my mind. This proved the sloka true: the mantra recited in honour of Sri Swamiji, “The One who is aware of all the three kala; the present, the past and the future.” This was the first face to face revelation made by Him to me, and that further cemented my relationship with Him. It brought an even stronger commitment to serve Him, and to be with Him; the goal of my life. Everything else became less important.
All through this period, apart from the physical profile of Sri Swamiji, His ecstatic moods, His childlike nature, what used to lift me from one plane of existence to another ecstatic plane, was His bhajans. I would record His bhajans whenever He sang them, and I also started singing and composing some bhajans. My whole worship was confined to listening and singing His bhajans. Just as I had a divine love for Him, I loved His bhajans in the same proportion. Listening to Him would cause a clear shift in my psychic level. I began to soar higher and higher as if I was intoxicated. Whenever I got the chance I would start singing His bhajans.
My materialistic ambitions vanished after meeting Sri Swamiji. However, in 1976, I applied to read for my PhD at a university in the U.S. where I would secure a position as a visiting professor, after which I would become quite brilliant and ambitious. Before going I came to Him and He asked me for how long I would be there. Then He said, “Two years will be like two months.” I did not understand what He meant and thought He meant that the time would fly. So I left my family behind and went to the U.S.
After one month, all kinds of questions came into my mind ‘why exactly was I doing this PhD? Was I happy in India?” I was missing Him and this type of life, which I could not find in the U.S. Exactly one day before the two months expiration, I was back home and I came to Him and asked, “Why did you let me go? Why didn’t you stop me from going when you knew I could not settle down there?” He told me, “You had a very strong desire to go. I wanted to kill that desire. Do you still want to go?” I replied, “Nothing doing. I will never go back there.”
He said, “You will again go but for a different mission. Wait for some time.” Then in 1993 He took me along with Him on Nada Prasara tour to America and West Indies and other countries. So this particular event galvanized my faith and I realized I was not cut out for a materialistic life. My life has to be with Him, only Him. By His Grace I began to excel in my job and in my studies and gained a great deal of respect. I enjoyed my teaching and would leave a unique impression on my students. They themselves would tell me that my teaching was very special and spiritual.
By that time, my longing to be with Swamiji physically also got reduced, without any volition on my part, somehow it got reduced. I began worshipping Him more and more as Guru and God. Then strong desires took hold of my mind and imbibe a knowledge that was that I must leave my job and let this mundane life be over. I wanted to live in the Ashram to be with Him and devote myself to His work.
After 1995, when I retired, Sri Swamiji permitted me to come to the Ashram. It was difficult to be with Him physically. I used to wonder how it was that I was so close yet so far from Him. He distanced Himself from me and I had to bear a lot of pain. I began to experience a different relationship with Him. It was not the love relationship that was there before. I saw Swamiji as a huge tower and I was very small before Him. How can I bear this? It was very difficult for me when I thought about my initial years in the Ashram. But in one sense, it proved to be a great blessing. I had plenty of time to examine the questions which were bothering me and began concentrating more on reading the works of Ramana Mahashi in particular.
I began understanding a little of the spiritual life, and then came Sri Swamiji’s sixtieth birthday. During Swamiji‘s tour in 1993, he had asked me to write a book and as I had maintained a diary I was able to compile the book, “Nada Prasara, glimpses of the world tour.” It was very beautiful, with lots of photographs and lots of astounding events. I had seen Him materializing many objects, and the most astounding was seeing Him materializing a diamond from His elbow and before He did so, He was telling us about it.
When He visited the US my job was to take photographs. In the office of a diamond merchant, He said, “Show me your business.” The devotee brought His caskets full of diamonds and showed Him one diamond after another, and Sri Swamiji was like a little child, looking at each one. He told Sri Swamiji, “You can take any one of them.” Sri Swamiji replied, “Only one! What can you give me? My body is full of diamonds. I will give you.” He rubbed His shoulder and materialized a diamond and gave it to the devotee. When I returned to India I began to understand a little.
For sixtieth birthday I was assigned to write a souvenir containing all the important events since 1966 when the Ashram was started here. It was difficult because I had to write a full-fledged article on Him, not a narration of His life, but the spirituality of Sri Swamiji. This is what I wanted to write. It led me to more and more readings. And then a God-sent blessing was seeing a book on the philosophy and teachings of Gorakshanath. On any page I would see the reflection of Sri Swamiji there. Gorakshanath was one of the greatest Avadhoota whose Guru was Matsyendranath, whose Guru was Dattatreya.
Then when I read about Gorakshanath the yogic stature of Swamiji came to light for me. As a Natha I began to understand who is a Natha, what is special about a Natha, how Natha is different from the common man, different from a saint, because all this unusual, strange, unpredictable, contradictory nature I had seen in Sri Swamiji and now I could finally place it properly. Theoretically, we were told that Swamiji was in the Natha lineage, that‘s how He was building the nine Natha temples. The first one was Dam Datta Natha in Delhi, and then I began to realize that Swamiji Himself was a Natha. The spiritual implication I had not known, but started to realize the truth of His personality, the truth of His behavior.
It took me about five months to write about twenty pages on Sri Swamiji, an article which got translated into other languages. I don’t think I can write better than that article brought out for His sixtieth birthday, and from then onwards as I finished the souvenir called “Gurudeva”, another important step on my journey took place, that was the spiritual understanding of Sri Swamiji. Thereafter I would not long to see Him physically. There were no desires. I began to understand what the purpose of the initial close relationship was and which was no longer required.
I began to perceive Him as an embodiment of the Holy Spirit. All of us are embodiments but we do not conduct ourselves in a holy manner. We still remain in that level of existence where most of the time we are enmeshed in the worldly affairs, and Guru or God is a pastime for most of us. With all humility I can say that Sri Swamiji caused this transcendence in me where I would be more drawn to the spiritual realm or orbit in which He dwells, and aspire to remain in touch with that spiritual orbit.
During all these years, just as a child grows up slowly and carefully, and the mother caresses and pampers the child, Sri Swamiji has showered me with emotional love; we were more like friends. With Him different forms of Bhakti exist; Sakhya Bhakti, or friendly love, Dasya Bhakti, serving with love, and Prem Bhakti where there is only love. With me the entire relationship has been love, friendliness and love.
Only after 1999 knowledge crept in, not giving so much importance to love, but to understanding what is spiritual life, what is Guru what is Sri Swamiji. My whole worship shifted from a specific God or specific Swamiji, to a Cosmic Power, of which He is the embodiment as He is the embodiment of that Divine Energy, and sometimes I would have glimpses of these divine flashes, and I would be unable to control my body because I would be so intoxicated with that.
So the major portion of my life, of my physical life have been spent with Him; physically, emotionally, psychically and I have walked like a small child with Him. He has made me walk, and I cannot say that I have grown up, that is for Him to say. I can only say that my love or passion for the Supreme, represented by Him, has grown. I love to be immersed in that Supreme bliss whether it comes through Him physically on in the cosmic. I worship every aspect of Nature, as God is there in the Divine, so He is in the trees, the water and the fire. God is in the earth and in the air. Through Swamiji’s Grace I have begun to see how God is there in all existence!
How truly it is said that parents gives you just a physical birth, but the Guru gives you a spiritual birth! Jaya Guru Datta.
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