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).

Oct 19 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Sri Datta Yogi Raj, USA

108-Devotee Experiences ~ Sri Datta Yogi Raj, USA

Sri Datta Yogi Raj, USA

“From now on you will be known as Datta Yogi Raja, go and spread the message of meditation and music therapy like you have been doing.” That was the moment our association for many, many births got re-connected

I met Sri Swamiji for the first time in 1993. At birth I was given the name Raju Ramanathan, I was born in Kanya Kumari, a town in South India. While growing up I used to wander near the waterfalls; the place where legend has it that Sage Agastya lives. One day, at the age of seven, I sat chanting the Yoga Menakshi Strota, a prayer dedicated to the goddess Menakshi that was composed by Sage Agastya. A sage came to me and said, “You are chanting so well for a little boy.”

Later, I began chanting the Soundarya Lahari, a poem written by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. When I completed it, the sage took a Rudraksha bead from His mala, squeezed water out of it and told me to drink it. He said, “You will grow a lot spiritually.” I asked, “How can I grow without a Guru?” He then said, “Guru Sachchidananda Himself will come.” He walked away and I went home and told my grandmother what had happened. From that young age, I knew that my Guru would come to me one day.

As a young man, I consulted the Nadi Grantas, a great book of subtle knowledge of peoples lives written by the Saptha Rishis. I got a reading from the Agastya Nadi by giving my thumbprint. I was told everything about my life including that I would have two Gurus in my life, one will have the name of the sun and the other will be named Sachchidananda. Even though I could have chanted mantras, and I knew that my life was destined for the spiritual path, I was drawn to the path of the material world. I studied engineering, then I went for my masters, and then for my doctorate. These engineering studies brought me to America at the age of twenty-seven.

I was working in my profession but I was still searching for that being whose mere sight can bring about spiritual changes in me. In 1981, Rishi Prabhakar, a friend from Bangalore, and his mother, Ramadevi, came to visit me. This pious lady was a devotee of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. Prabhakar is another word for sun. She told me that she and her son have the same Guru. I began working with Rishi Prabhakar conducting meditation camps and teaching Yoga in India, America and Canada.

I wanted to see his Guru but the time was not right. Once he brought me a music cassette from Sri Swamiji and I kept it in my bag. I was teaching a class to a tough group of prisoners, working with their emotions, but I could not keep them under control. I remembered the cassette in my bag and I pulled it out and played it. When they heard the music, the entire class settled down and became calm. After the class, they said that the music did something to them. I was amazed myself; I thought here was something mightier than Einstein’s theory of relativity. I wish I could meet the one who made this music. I dismissed that thought soon after and kept going in my scientific world. The time was not right yet.

In 1993, I was in Canada and Rishi Prabhakar came to visit me. He said, “Do you know that He is here? Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.” Without hesitation I asked, “Where is He?” He said, “He is at the house of a devotee named Jairajh and they are forming an organization today, let us go there.” We both went to that house and when we got there we saw Sri Swamiji talking to the devotees. He had inaugurated the start of the Datta Yoga Center of Canada. This was the last of a three-day program and people were beginning to leave.

I just sat there looking at Sri Swamiji. Then an announcement was made that tomorrow there will be a mantra initiation program. I left that place excited to attend that program. Early next morning I went to the house, there were five of us waiting to see Sri Swamiji. I went in and saw Him; He gave me Mantra Deeksha in a spiritual way. I felt His energy within me as I left that place. I did not want to lose that energy so I began practicing the mantra He gave me. I chanted the mantra more than a million times.

In the late nineties, I was always invited to attend one of Sri Swamiji’s temple inauguration ceremonies. In 1997, my sister living in Little Rock Arkansas called me in Canada and said that Sri Swamiji was coming to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to inaugurate a temple and she wants me to come and take her there. I went and sat in a corner and witnessed the entire function. He did not speak to me. The same thing happened in St. Louis, I was present for the inauguration ceremony and Sri Swamiji did not talk to me. I kept a low profile and observed everything.

In 2002, when Sri Swamiji visited Chicago, I was invited there since I had done meditation camps in nearly all the hospitals in Illinois. I was at a devotee, Kris Raman’s, house and I got a call that Sri Swamiji has just came in and wants to see me, I met Him at the airport and after talking for a while I told Him, “Swamiji I am working on this temple construction in the Chicago region and I want you to come and bless it.” He replied, “Raju, my programs are totally filled here, I do not know if I will have time.” I left and the next day, early in the morning I got a call from Prasadi, saying, “Raju at around midnight Sri Swamiji got up and told me that He is feeling bad because He told you no, but He said He will use His meditation time around 5.00 am, to go to the temple with you.” I was astonished and happy.

We both went to the temple site at 5.00 am in the morning and He told me, “The Temple will happen here and you will be a part of it, a new community will happen here.” I was happy for this news but even happier that He had sacrificed His meditation time for me. What love and compassion He embodies!  On this same visit in Chicago, I was sitting in a corner of the temple and Sri Swamiji called me and said, “I want you to come to India.” I said, “Yes, Swamiji.”

I started to think if I could make it for I had some work to do with two doctors. The next day Sri Swamiji called me again and said, “You are coming to Mysore for Datta Jayanti, aren’t you?” Before I could answer, He pointed to the two doctors next to Him and said, “You bring him to India on December 19th.”  Sri Swamiji knew that I had an obligation to these doctors, which would have prevented me from coming for Datta Jayanti, so He worked it out so that I can be in Mysore for Datta Jayanti.

On December 19th 2002, I was in the Mysore Ashrama. I went to the temple to witness the Thaila Abhishekam of Lord Dattatreya. I was instructed to sit up front. Suddenly Sri Swamiji called me up, put a garland on me and said, “From now on you will be known as Datta Yogi Raja, go and spread the message of meditation and music therapy like you have been doing.” That was the moment our association for many, many births got re-connected.

Around 2000 I had an accident and developed a back injury, which made my back weaker and weaker as time went by. On His visit to the DRC in Pittsburg in 2005, someone told Sri Swamiji about my back. He told me to practice Kriya Yoga and it will help the injury. I learnt the Kriya Yoga as taught by Sri Swamiji and began practicing it. It definitely helped my injury. I then took a teachers training course and now I teach this practice to many devotees and associates.

In 2009 when Sri Swamiji visited Dallas for Guru Purnima Celebrations He called me on the stage and told me to teach Kriya Yoga. I have been doing that and the name has been changed to Datta Kriya Yoga. I met Rishi Prabhakar in 1981, and he brought Sri Swamiji in my life as predicted by the Agastya Nadi. Today is July 15th 2011, exactly thirty years since I am physically connection with my Guru Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.

Jaya Guru Datta.


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Oct 16 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Ian Lindsey Douglas, Clinton LA

107-Devotee Experiences ~ Ian Lindsey Douglas, Clinton LA

Ian Lindsey Douglas, Clinton LA

My great blessing was to serve the karma-body of my Guru by fanning Him. It was my great fortune to fan Sri Swamiji for almost three hours. I was intoxicated with bliss. After fanning Him for about an hour, I felt something very subtle move within me.

I met Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji for the first time in 1988 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I grew up in the Protestant religion and was drafted into the US Army in January, 1966. I was stationed in Vietnam for the first time in March, 1967. I had the good fortune of becoming an officer and a helicopter pilot. I loved being a soldier and served my country well. Soldiers are called upon in time of war to protect their country.  In performing my duty, I killed a lot of people. Does it generate bad karma? I do not know.

            Most Vietnamese were either Roman Catholic or Buddhist. While in Vietnam, I was exposed to the religion of Buddhism and when I returned to the United States after the war, I began studying Buddhism zealously. After law school, I began my career as an attorney at the Louisianan Attorney General’s Office. I continued my readings on Buddhism, which eventually led me to start meditating. I also began reading books such as ‘Be Here Now’ and ‘The Only Dance There Is’ by Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert, who used to be a professor of psychology at Harvard University and a contemporary of the infamous Timothy Leary. When he and Alpert left the university, Alpert went to India, where he eventually met his Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, who named him Ram Dass. After a period of study, he returned to the United States to write and lecture. His books reflected the core teachings of his Guru, especially the goal of “being here now”.

             In my bookcase of law books at the attorney general’s office, I had a small section of spiritual books, including those by Ram Dass. One day, an Asian Indian engineer from down the hall, Narendra Dave, came into my office looking for notarial services. On the spine of one of Ram Dass’ books was the traditional symbol for “Om,” the most basic mantra, the symbol that resembles the numeral “3″. He saw the book on the shelf and asked about it. We began talking about eastern religion and he invited me to meet his Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamij, who was soon due to arrive in Baton Rouge from India.

            Narendra Dave and his wife, Nalini, were devotees of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji and were instrumental in His visit to Baton Rouge. They had just recently met Sri Swamiji for the first time in London while visiting Narendra’s father.  Upon their return to Baton Rouge, Nalini wrote a letter inviting Him to come to Baton Rouge. He wrote back, accepting her invitation, and said thar He would be teaching beginners “Kriya Yoga” class.  I attended the week-long Kriya Yoga class that was held in a small building across from the LSU campus. Swami Manasa Datta, then known as Radhakrishna, conducted the classes and Sri Swamiji would often visit at the end of each day. He would sit in a big chair in the front of the room; legs crossed in the traditional lotus posture, and observe the class.

            Once, I saw Him materialize something for someone in the class.  It appeared to be some sort of a miracle, but my typical western-trained scientific mind stopped me, saying it was just some cheap “sleight of the hand” trick.    Upon completion of the course, all the students had the opportunity to go up to Him and receive His blessing. One by one, they went and bowed down before Him. I went up, but instead of bowing down completely, I knelt on one knee like Sir Lancelot kneeling before King Arthur. I looked into His eyes and it was my moment of awakening. My years of study and meditation had come to fruition. Thus began my relationship with Sri Swamiji.

Sri Swamiji returned to Baton Rouge in 1990. Another Kriya Yoga class was conducted, this time with about thirty people in attendance, including myself. As I sat in the room looking at Him, it dawned on me not only how special and divine He was, but how fortunate we all were to be in such a close intimate setting with Him; literally just a few feet away and close enough to touch Him. All around the world, He has many devotees who rarely see Him in person, and in India, thousands flock around Him just to get a brief, distant glimpse of His divine presence. And yet here He was, in the very same room with us.

            I had noticed that before His visit, my mind was unsettled, with feelings of self-loathing and unworthiness. I was bewildered, trying to rationalize within my mind that Sri Swamiji was indeed the truly Divine being that I now knew Him to be. Though futile, my mind was still looking for scientific proof. Then when I sat before Him, my mind became quiet and I felt something new. Yes! He truly was Divine in spite of my inability to comprehend or explain.  So, I finally gave up trying to figure it out. This miracle; this man, Sri Swamiji, required no explanation.

            Later, we attended a function at Narendra’s house. The house could not accommodate all the people so a tent was set up in the yard. When I went there Sri Swamiji had just completed a pooja and was sitting cross-legged on a big chair. I did not take part in the pooja for I did not have much money to offer. I had only one five-dollar bill in my wallet. I sat looking at the devotees going up before Sri Swamiji making offerings of all kinds and receiving His blessings.

            I noticed Sri Swamiji calling Narendra and whispered something into his ear. Then Narendra made an announcement: “If there is anyone here who has not yet come to Sri Swamiji, please come now.”  Some part of me wanted to go but I felt embarrassed and shy. I sat there nursing my agitated mind. Then Narendra made the same announcement again. This time I was torn between going up and shrinking away into myself. Narendra made the announcement about six times. I could fight no more. With all the courage I could muster, I stood up, opened my wallet and took out that last five-dollar bill. I felt embarrassed and self-conscious, my heart pounding.  I moved the few steps toward Sri Swamiji’s chair, placing the five dollars on the small tray beside Him. While looking at His face, He looked at me directly and said, “I knew”.  My heart swelled and I returned to my seat, crying.

            On Sri Swamiji’s next trip to Baton Rouge, in 1993, the crowd became larger with devotees coming in from other states. On the final day of the program, after the crowds had left, I ended up back at Narendra’s house with about twelve other devotees. We sat in a room with Sri Swamijji as He performed Sri Chakra Pooja. What a rare moment ; so few of us, so close to Him, close enough for me to reach out and touch His robe.  At the end of the pooja, the devotees went up one at a time and received His gift of a small medallion placed into our outstretched hand by the hand of Sri Swamiji, Himself.

I sat crossed legged on the floor desperately wanting to speak to Him. I wanted to tell Him how much He really meant to me and how much I would miss Him. When my turn came to go forward, I got up, my heart once again pounding in my chest and rehearsed my line: “I am going to miss you” over and over. When it was my turn to go forward, I knelt down on one knee, stretching my right hand out with open palm to receive this precious token. He put His gift in my hand. Our eyes met and He said to me, “I am going to miss you. “ My very own words and my rehearsed line were said to me by Sri Swamiji. I clasped my token, returned to my seat and, once again with tears streaming down my cheeks in gushes.

            Sri Swamiji visited Baton Rouge again in 1995, this time for Guru Purnima. A few months before His visit, I had a painful, uncomfortable sinus operation. While recovering, I had to sleep with my head up. I rented a reclining chair and sat and slept in it all day. My neighbor cooked food and brought it to me. I had my telephone next to the chair so I would not have to get up to answer it. One day, the phone rang; it was Nalini calling to tell me that Sri Swamiji was coming to town and she would like me to wear my  military uniform and stand next to Him (as his military Aide dé Camp, as it were).  Of course, I immediately said, “yes!” with tears again streaming down my cheeks.

            I was very proud of my service in the army, I felt honored to wear the uniform and I wore it proudly.  To wear my uniform for Sri Swamiji was a special honor. I got my uniform cleaned for the first time in years, polished my brass, carefully assembled my uniform and patiently waited for the day to wear it. The Guru Purnima function was held at the American Legion Hall. Before going to the program, I went to a lake near LSU where I had seen lotus flowers blooming. I put on my wading boots, plucked one for my Guru and left for the Legion Hall.  When I arrived, everyone was already performing the Guru Pooja by offering rice and flowers in plates. Sri Swamiji was sitting in a beautiful chair on the well-decorated stage.

            Nanlini came to me and said that it was time. I put on my uniform, placed my lotus flower in my left hand and entered the side door next to the stage. I peeped out, saw the audience and almost panicked. Sri Swamiji was talking and I did not want to interrupt Him. Prasadi was facing Sri Swamiji with his back turned to me.  I tried whispering to him, to no avail. I was on my own.  I did not know what to do. I stood there for a few seconds and convinced myself that “I am going to do this” and I immediately strode out on the stage. Sri Swamiji stopped His discourse momentarily and faced me. I presented Him with the Lotus flower, saluted Him, took a step back and assumed the military position called “Parade Rest”.

            At this point, Prasadi got up, walked over to me and handed me a slender object about eighteen inches long. I had no idea what it was. I thought to myself, “What am I to do with this?”  When I touched it with my fingers, I realized that is was a fan. Now I knew.  My great blessing was to serve the karma-body of my Guru by fanning Him. It was my great fortune to fan Sri Swamiji for almost three hours. I was intoxicated with bliss. After fanning Him for about an hour, I felt something very subtle move within me.  Several months later, a clairvoyant had told me that Sri Swamiji had taken away my Vietnam karma. Of course! How perfect!  I was standing in the American Legion Hall, next to my Guru, resplendent in my Vietnam uniform, performing Seva to my beloved Guru on the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, while He quietly and barely without notice took my Vietnam karma away.

            In 1997, Sri Swamiji visited Baton Rouge for the consecration of the Datta Temple and Hall of Trinity. By this time, my faith in Him had grown deep and though still inexplicable to me, I had begun to see more and more of His miracles. Many times, for instance, I had seen Him call for his “TV tray,” the silver platter and a flower from which He would manifest vhibuti, the sacred ash, or the intensely crimson kumkum. On this visit, I was sitting in the audience very close to the front and He was on the stage sitting in His chair. He called for His tray and His platter. He picked up a white chrysanthemum and as I had seen Him done countless times before, He took the flower between His hands and slowly began massaging it until either vhibuti or kumkum came out.  This time it was kumkum; crimson red.

            He set the chrysanthemum back on the tray and held His hands in front of Him, palms forward facing the audience; crimson red. His entire palms were covered in crimson, as were each of His fingers. He handed the tray to the attendant, who began to distribute the powder to the audience, but I could not take my eyes off the tray and the white chrysanthemum. When the program was over and Sri Swamiji left the hall, I walked slowly over to the tray with the chrysanthemum still on it.

            Spotlessly white!  The chrysanthemum was spotlessly white and had not the first speck of crimson anywhere on it. Yet I had seen with my own eyes the kumkum come pouring out, had seen with my own eyes the crimson covered hands which had caressed the flower to coax it forth.

In 2009, when Sri Swamiji came again to Baton Rouge, I went for His darshan. I had thought about it many times, but except for the brief personal encounters mentioned previously and a few others, I had never requested a formal interview with Him. Though I had thought about it, I had dismissed it from my mind. I considered myself too unworthy, too unsure of what to ask, what to say; too scared, too this, too that, too, too, too…. too anything and too everything to allow me to approach.

 On this particular day, there was no program. A few people were gathered on the sidewalk outside the interview room, waiting their turn to go inside. Then I thought, “This has gone on long enough”. It had been over twenty years. I wanted to talk to Him.  I saw my friend, Mukunda, and a few other American devotees talking quietly near the door to the interview room.  I slowly walked over and joined them. “Are ya’ll waitin to go inside?” I asked. “Yes”, someone replied. We began babbling like children on a playground.  Who would go first? How many would go in together? And in what order we should go?

We waited nervously, babbled excitedly. Someone handed out a single rose bud to each of us. The door opened. Two devotees exited quickly, walking away quietly. Mukunda, the “palace centurion”, or “guardian of the gate”, held the door and motioned us in.  We formed a group of five and went in single file, me in the middle.  Sri Swamiji was sitting in a beautiful wing-back chair with His legs folded beneath Him. The carpet under His chair was strewn with flowers and next to His chair was a small table containing a vase of roses and a small silver tray filled with token gifts; medallions, beads and such. He looked so majestic, so calm and so peaceful.

            We formed a semi-circle facing Him and sat on our knees. One at a time, we leaned or crawled forward, placing our roses on the carpet with the other flowers.  When we resumed our position in the semi-circle, Sri Swamiji greeted each of us with a “Hello”, and “How are you?” We each answered in our own fashion. When He turned to me I said something like: how beautiful the room was; how beautiful He was; how aglow the room was. I had no question for there was no question to ask.  Then He went on to the next person and then the next. Now the time had come to go forward and receive His blessing and token of affection, given us as a reward for our devotion.

            I watched with amazement at what happened next. Acting on pure instinct, like Sir Lancelot kneeling in 1988, like the military, Aide dé Camp saluting in 1995, on hustling knees, I moved close to Him, reached out with my left hand, caressed His hair and held His head in the palm of my hand.  With my right hand and His together we clasped hands by our fingertips.  And then, He reached out with His hand, patted me gently on the top of my head and caressed my hair. We held each other such for some few moments; who can say how long? The moment was over, I returned to my place, my water-filled eyes overflowing, sending rivers of tears streaming down my face once again.

I sat trembling, trying to compose myself. I heard His voice in the background, but took little notice of it; I was too shaken at first to listen. Then I realized He was talking to me. He said, “You have a beautiful heart. I want you to join my mission”.             And so I did. I joined Sri Swamiji’s mission. Some time after that, a devotee asked me, “What do you think your mission is?” I replied, “I don’t know.  I don’t have any idea.” Some people have said that I have a beatific smile.  I, too, have seen its effect on others from time to time. I think it is my smile. I think maybe my smile is my mission.            Jaya Guru Datta.


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Oct 12 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Raja Srinivasa Sarma and Parvathi Ganduri, Florida

106Devotee Experiences ~ Raja Srinivasa Sarma and Parvathi Ganduri, Florida

Raja Srinivasa Sarma and Parvathi Ganduri, Florida 

Parvathi: Everything that Sri Swamiji does is for our benefit.  He asks us to do Seva and when we serve,  we are not serving Him but we are serving ourselves.


I grew up in Machilipatnam India and moved to USA upon marriage to my husband Raja Srinivasa Sarma. I am from a family of seven children, four girls and three boys.  My father was a communist and did not believe that God could take the form of a human being. He believed in the traditional forms of God like Rama and Krishna. This did not hinder my mother in her spiritual practices, she believed in the concept of God and Guru, and my father never controlled or stopped her religious pursuits.

In 1984, when I was around the age of seven, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji inaugurated a Temple in Machilipatnam with Sri Narasimha Saraswati Padukas. My mother was involved with the Temple work even before its inauguration. My brothers, sisters, and I used to accompany her whenever she went to the temple. We used to do work in a playful manner. After the temple’s inauguration, we attended all the functions. Our world began revolving around Sri Swamiji.

In 1987, Sri Swamiji visited our house and my mother was so happy. We lived in a rented three-room apartment and wanted to make it beautiful for Sri Swamiji. My siblings and I drew pictures of Datta and Swamiji and decorated the walls with them. When Sri Swamiji walked into the house, He looked at us, all seven children standing in a line, looking like a ladder. He looked at the walls and said, “Oh! I love this place, Datta-Datta everywhere.” We welcomed Him and enjoyed His Company.

The youngest child, my brother, was three years old. My mother told Him about her concerns for us; her daughters and our marriage etc. and He told her, “Everything will be all right; Sri Swamiji is there and will take care.” He did take care of us. Each one of us got married and has good lives. My father did not have to search for any alliance, and he did not have big dowries to give, yet alliances from very reputable families came to him.

Once my mother and I had to attend a function in our town and my father took my siblings to Mysore to celebrate the Shivaratri Festival. On their way back home, the compartment in the train they were travelling in got derailed. It ran on the track by itself for a few miles and stopped. It remained there for some time until some people came. Luckily, no other train was coming at that time and by Sri Swamiji’s grace, none of them got hurt.

 In 1986, the movie, Datta Darshanam was released and Sri Swamiji encouraged us to go to the movie theatre and watch it. We saw the movie many times. A group of us; children, used to walk barefooted going around the town shouting, “Watch the movie, Datta Darshanam!”  We would sing Datta Bhajans and encourage everyone to know about Lord Dattatreya. Sometimes we were on the road for five hours and would collect ten to one hundred rupees. We would put the money in the Hundi in the temple feeling that we have accomplished such a great task for Sri Swamiji. We were not aware that He gave us the sacred opportunity to beg alms, a practice which removes the ego.

We were always at the temple ready to help. For the Laksha Patri Puja, offering of one Hundred thousand leaves with the name of God written on them, the children used to go and pick the leaves from the trees. It was fun for us to climb the trees and compete among ourselves to see who would collect the most leaves. After collecting, we sorted the leaves in bundles, and then we wrote ‘Jaya Guru Datta’ on each leaf. Anxiously we waited for the start of the sacred ritual of chanting God’s name while offering the leaves. The entire process would take about a week, but we were not aware that He gave us the sacred opportunity to perform Datta Deeksha.

For the Shivaratri Festivals we would stay awake mainly to re-dress the Gods every three hours for the poojas. We enjoyed doing this and then we would chant the prayers for the poojas. The night of vigil devotion would come and go and we were not even aware that He gave us the sacred opportunity to perform Tapas.

When we became young adults, we used to attend Sri Swamiji Yoga Camps in the Temple. Daily we would wake up, take our bath and be ready for Him at 5.00 Am. in the Temple for our Yoga Class. Around this time, I began doing parayana by reading His autobiography, I read it many times and each time I would experience it differently. I was not aware that He was teaching me discipline.

Whenever Sri Swamiji visited the Machilipatnam Ashrama, He would casually sit and talk with us. We used to ask Him questions like, why did Lord Rama send Sita Devi into the forest.  He would give us the answer in a simple way that our young minds would understand. Once I asked Him, what is Maya? He explained it telling the analogy of the snake and the rope. He said, “In the dark if you see a rope on the ground it would seem like a snake, but if you put light over it, you will see it is a rope. In the same way if you have the light of knowledge, Maya will not affect you.” Sometimes He taught us Bhajans and Prayers. Other times He helped us with little skits. We had little training in dance and music but we danced and sang like professionals. We were not aware that He gave us the sacred tools of devotion.

I got married in 1998 with His approval and blessings. He gave me a wonderful husband, two daughters and a son. We are presently living in USA. I do think of the wonderful times I spent with Sri Swamiji in Machilipatnam, India and it gives me strength to live my life. I realized that He did everything in my life for me, because He loves me.  Everything that Sri Swamiji does is for our benefit.  He asks us to do Seva and when we serve, we are not serving Him but we are serving ourselves.  We build Temples and other institutions saying it is for Him, but we are the ones who use it. When He asks us for money, does He take the money for Himself? No, He uses the money for the many Humanitarian Projects that He has initiated. In the end, Sri Swamiji does not lose nor gain anything from us.  He is our Kalpavriksha.                                        Jaya Guru Datta


Raja: He found me, He set the stage for me, He gave me a role to play, He taught me my lines, He opened the curtains and the play began, I am performing. The name of the play is, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji

I am originally from Machilipatnam India and presently residing in Florida USA. I met Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji for the first time in 1982 when He visited my home town. He came and stayed at a devotee’s house and conducted a public program in a Kalayana Mantapa in the town. I was twelve years old and in High School. I grew up in a family which participated in daily rituals and poojas, so it became a part of my life. I understood what was expected of me and I followed in the tradition.

Once, our landlord told us that his Guru was coming to conduct a program; we were open to the concept of Gurus and spiritualism so we attended the program.  When I saw Sri Swamiji at the landlord’s house, I took a liking to Him and so did my family. I felt that there was something different about this Guru. We began attending His temple in Vijayawada for big festivals and in our town we began having Satsangha once per week at various devotees’ homes.

The following year a devotee donated some lands to Sri Swamiji and He gave His devotees in the town permission to construct a temple. I helped in whatever way I could, cut bushes to clear the land etc. In 1984 He came and inaugurated the temple with the installation of Sri Narasimha Saraswati Padukas. I began attending the temple frequently, learning the bhajans and prayers. The temple activities were fun to do. I performed tasks with children of the same age and we imbibed spiritual concepts through play.

On one occasion the children and I were collecting leaves to perform, Laksha Patri Puja. (An offering of one hundred thousand leaves with the name of God written on them.) I had to climb up a very high wall to reach the branches of the tree and I slipped and fell on the side of the wall facing the road, and I fell unto the roadway. I lay there for about a minute, then got up and walked away with only a sprain in my foot. By Sri Swamiji’s grace the busy roadway was clear of traffic and I was not hurt.

After the Temple was inaugurated Sri Swamiji made many visits to Machilipatnam. I used to spend all my time in the temple. He used to sit and talk to us about spiritual concepts through stories and taught us how to sing Bhajans and recite mantras. He made this a fun experience for us. On one of His visits, He went upstairs in His room to rest and the contractor was finishing some work around the Sri Narasimha Saraswati Padukas. He was pounding close to the Padukas and it seemed that he would accidentally hit the padukas. Sri Swamiji told someone upstairs, “Go and see what is happening, someone is hitting my Padukas.”  The man came downstairs and saw that it was the contractor. We were surprised that Sri Swamiji felt the blows from all the way upstairs.

My parents became very devoted to Sri Swamiji and His blessings fell on my entire family. We were five children, and Sri Swamiji told my parents that He will take care of us. This He did throughout our lives till now. Once my younger brother was doing some electric work in Nuzividu Ashrama with the electricity turned off. Someone came and accidentally turned on the breaker. My brother received an electric shock over his entire body; by Sri Swamiji’s grace he had no permanent injury.

Later on my brother developed a skin allergy on his foot.. He visited the doctor and was prescribed medication to ease the itching. Six months passed and the allergy was still there, itching and looking bad on his skin. My family visited Mysore Ashrama for Shivaratri Festival and he went to help with the washing of the dishes for the three days festival. At the end of the three days his skin rash disappeared completely. Sri Swamiji, like a loving parent took care of him without him even asking for help.

My father was a heart patient and would suffer frequent attacks. The attacks would come at any time so my mother would sit at his bedside during the night to watch him. One night she fell asleep and my father went to the bathroom, he got an attack and fell unconscious and woke up after two hours. When he visited the doctors they were puzzled as to how he survived that attack.  Sri Swamiji told my mother that He had extended my father’s life.

My sister fell off her bicycle one day and injured her toe. She neglected to take care of it and after three weeks, it became infected and began to pain. We took her to the doctor who said that surgery had to be performed to remove the toe for it would infect the other toes.  My sister did not want this, for missing a toe. She asked my brother to take her to Sri Swamiji in Mysore. When they arrived there Sri Swamiji was not in the ashram. They spent three days doing prayers in the temple and she did Pradakshinam to GuruNilayam several times and returned home. My sister’s toe healed slowly and she did not require surgery. Sri Swamiji heard her prayers even though He was not there physically.

In 1992, the week before Navarathri I got this strong desire to study the Mother Goddess. I read and studied the meaning of the Lalitha Sahasranama, and then I went to Mysore Ashrama for the Navarathri Festival and took part in the poojas. One day, during the program, Sri Swamiji gave me upadesam for the Mother Goddess. When I received the mantra from Him, I already knew the meaning of it. He knew that my upadesam would have taken place at this time so He prepared me for it without me being aware of why I was doing it. Like this, He orchestrates everything in my life.

I went to Sri Swamiji and asked Him for His guidance before I did my bachelors degree, masters degree and job placement. Whatever He told me to do, I did it, I did not question the advice He gave, even for a second. Friends used to say to me, “What does a Swami know about engineering stuff?” I used to tell them He is my engineer.

My family used to always talk about Sri Swamiji in our house. When we met Him later He would tell us exactly what we were saying. In this way He revealed His omnipresence to us. My family and I would always accompany Him on His Andra Pradesh tours and enjoy His lectures, bhajans and poojas.

Sri Swamiji blessed my marriage to Parvathi, who is also from my place, growing up together with Him in our lives. After marriage we moved to USA. We have two daughters and a son. In December of 2009 a devotee accompanied us on a road trip from Florida to the DRC in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. We were taking our nine month old son to Sri Balaji for his hair cutting ceremony. On the way back to Florida in my mini van, I was driving with the lady devotee in the front passenger seat. My wife was holding my son in the second row and my daughters were in the third row. Suddenly our van skidded and went on the opposite lane and collided with an oncoming vehicle.

The impact deplored all the air bags in the van. I came out of the vehicle; I was fine and so was everyone in the van. The passengers in the other vehicle were injured and taken by ambulance to the hospital. Both vehicles were totaled. The owner of the other vehicle pursued a legal battle for financial settlement in the maximum amount of four hundred thousand dollars. We spent some sleepless nights over this but knew deep in our hearts that Sri Swamiji knows all about this and He knows what is best for us.

This gave us an opportunity to reinvent our spiritual relationship with Him. We prayed for His strength to face our Karmas. My wife and I did a forty day Audumbara Deeksha and on the forty-first day we got news from the lawyers that we are relieved from all financial obligations to the other party. We suffered very little financial loses with this incident but gained a lot of spiritual strength. Sri Swamiji saved us from a deadly accident even though we did not call on Him.  He was with us at that moment.

In 1982 when I first saw Sri Swamiji in our landlord’s house, I had done nothing to make that happen. He made that landlord his excuse to find me. He found me, He set the stage for me, He gave me a role to play, He taught me my lines, He opened the curtains and the play began, I am performing. The name of the play is, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.

 Jaya Guru Datta

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Oct 09 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Manu Peter Seglias, Florida, USA

Devotee Experiences ~ Manu Peter Seglias, Florida, USA

Manu Peter Seglias, Florida, USA

This gave me firm conviction that He is my Guru, He was in my past lives, He is now and He will always be. He is there even when I do not know. He is more than a Guru; He is a part of me.

I am originally from Switzerland and now reside in Florida USA. My first physical meeting with Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji was in the spring of 1983. I was born into a Christian home and began asking my parents about things like reincarnation and God. They used to refer me to the priest in the church. I never got an answer that made sense to me. The main message I got from the church is that seventy five percent of the world is doomed to hell because they are not Christians. This made no sense to me.  I saw only dogmas and rules in the church and this turned me off. I became an atheist. I began living my life on the edge, taking chances and enjoying life.

I loved snow skiing and would ski on some extreme dangerous terrains, where one fall could kill you. I became tired of this thrill and a friend introduced me to Meditation. I calmed down a lot when I started meditating. Once in my meditation I heard a voice in my head saying, “You come to Ashrama!” I had no idea what this was and dismissed it. Then came spring of 1983 and my friend told me that a Guru named Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, was coming from India to conduct a Kriya Yoga Course and I should do this course for it will help with my meditation.

The course was to be held in Langenbruck, Switzerland. I went there as a nervous, doubtful and sarcastic individual but I when I finished the weeklong course I left as a different person. At the end of the course, the Guru called the participants up for a private interview. When I went to Him all He said to me was, “You come to Ashrama!” I was blown away. This was the big bang of my spiritual life; I remembered those words I heard in my meditation. I knew I had a connection with this Guru and strange enough I felt like I had found true love. I returned to Lucerne and while walking on the street to my house, people were looking at me, I had nothing strange about me for them to look at, but they were attracted to the energy I had within me, the energy of my Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.

Sri Swamiji was continuing His tour in Switzerland, Germany and France. I became so excited about Him I did the tour with Him. On one occasion, I asked Him if I could come to the Ashrama in fall. He said yes, you could come. Things began to work themselves out for me to leave Switzerland. My sister’s boyfriend came from New Zealand and he was in the same field of work as I was, so he replaced me at my job and he took over the payments on my apartment. I left Switzerland for a six-month trip with Sri Swamiji in the Ashrama.

When I got to the Mysore in late 1983, the Ashrama was not very crowded then. There was only one foreigner, a German lady who became my guide and friend. I had some good quiet times to reflect on my life and changes that were taking place within me on a subtle level, which I cannot rationally express. I took part in the Shivaratri Function in early 1984; at that time I met an American girl, Susheela, who later became my wife. I accompanied Swamiji when He toured within India. At times, I had no money and miraculously everything was provided. In the Ashrama, Gayatri taught me how to sing bhajans and I translated some bhajans into English and when I went back to Switzerland, another devotee helped me to print the Bhajana Mala books one and two. While at the ashram He gave me the name Manu. I left the Ashrama after my six-month stay and as I sat on the train for Delhi, I felt like I was coming out of a bubble of loving energy into a chaotic atmosphere. I dreaded going back to my life in Switzerland.

When I got back to Switzerland, I got a job in Zurich selling private lessons for a school. This was good for me for the school was closed four weeks for summer and two weeks for winter. This gave me the opportunity to visit Sri Swamiji during these times. I used to go to Him wherever He was. I ended up in India, USA, UK and Trinidad. In those days there were not many devotees around Him as there is today, so that was a bonus on my spiritual journey with Him. Just being in His presence taught me lessons. I had the honor to arrange His visit to Yellowstone National Park, and be His chauffeur.

With Sri Swamiji on a trip in Trinidad and had the good fortune of riding in His car. I was sitting in the back seat and He was in the front seat admonishing the driver on his driving. I asked Sri Swamiji, “Do you intervene in your devotee’s life when they are driving?” He replied, “Yes, I remember that accident you had in California.” I was blown away for I did have an accident in California about ten years back, I was driving on a mountain road, fell asleep and the car veered to the left and hit a tree, if it had veered to the right it would have fallen down a two hundred feet cliff. I did not even know Him then. This gave me firm conviction that He is my Guru, He was in my past lives, He is now and He will always be. He is there even when I do not know. He is more than a Guru; He is a part of me.

In the mid eighties Sri Swamiji visited Mr. Kesarinath in Bay City, Texas. I accompanied Him on a visit to an amusement park. On the way back I was riding in a station wagon with Gautam, Kesarinath young son. We were following Sri Swamiji’s car. While driving the station wagon overheated and the radiator blew. We stopped to get it repaired. The radiator shop was out of the part needed to repair it. Sri Swamiji told us to search for the part, and He would visit a nearby animal park. We could not find the part. Sri Swamiji returned and told me to drive the car. I got in a little scared, of course, but I drove for one hundred miles to Bay City and the car never overheated. When we reached, Sri Swamiji told us to take the car to a repair shop the next day. The following morning I took the car to a nearby shop and when I got there, the car overheated. My mind was trying to find a logical answer to what had happened yesterday and today. I could not find one.

In August 1986, Sri Swamiji was in Pennsylvania conducting a Kriya Yoga Course. I attended, along with my girl friend Susheela. On a Thursday Sri Swamiji called both of us and in an impromptu ceremony, He married us. The people who attended were the devotees sitting there for the Kriya Yoga Course. Swami Manasa Datta performed our wedding song; then he was known as Uncle Radha. I still have our wedding song on tape to this day. It was a fantastic wedding. We did another ceremony in India in 1987 for Shivaratri. Moreover, to make it legal, we got married a third time in the USA. I am happy to say that by His grace we are still married and living in the USA.

My last trip to Mysore Ashrama was for Datta Jayanti in 2005. He showered His grace on me in an unseen and unspeakable way. This was the trip where the cord of wanting always to be in His physical presence, was cut. I cannot explain what happened but I have not been back to India since for I feel Him present in my heart and do not have to need to travel to India to see Him. I do,, however, get His darshan when He visits the USA.

The day I met Sri Swamiji my atheistic attitude began to change. During my trips spent with Him, I got the answers to my questions by listening and observing Him and the people around Him. I embraced the concept of Reincarnation because nothing else made sense. Because of Sri Swamiji, I have made that reconnection to Jesus Christ and I appreciate His teachings much more. I can walk into any church and experience God.

Our lives are a learning path from birth to death. I was put on the path by Sri Swamiji and given the tools of His teachings to walk the path successfully. I use the tool of discrimination to make the better choice and not the seemingly good choice in life. If Sri Swamiji did not wake me up from the ignorant sleep of my life, I would have destroyed myself. He has blessed me with a peaceful disposition within and the secret weapon to protect it.  I use the secret weapon to ward of fear, adverse situations and obstacles. That secret weapon is the Datta Mantra.                                               Jaya Guru Datta


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Oct 05 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Madhuri Tiwarie, Vadodara

104.Devotee Experiences ~ Madhuri Tiwarie, Vadodara

Madhuri Tiwarie, Vadodara

Then He looked at me and smiled; at that moment I felt a jolt of current rushing through my body and I couldn’t understand what was going on

In 1990 I used to work, as a teacher, in the basic school with Ms. Rama Devi, an ardent devotee of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. During the recess period she would tell me about her Guru, from Mysore. Her conversations were such that I would sit and listen to her without questioning. Amazed at what she used to relate to me I started telling her, that these discussion are so beneficial for everybody so we should invite all our colleagues, at her place or my place, and tell them about Him.

Before this I had never seen nor heard of Sri Swamiji, but His life seemed so different to others. I wanted to learn more and so I wanted other to do the same. Rama Devi was enthused by my request and she invited a few people to her house. However, only about six persons came and she started telling us about the power and compassion of Sri Swamiji. She showed us some music cassettes and said that He heals people through His music. She informed us that if we intently sit and listen to His music any disease that is present in your body will be healed.

After hearing these things I took interest in Him, and we met frequently to discuss about Him. Every Sunday, it became a habit for us to gather to do yoga and hold informal discussion with Rama Devi. During and after these meetings we were all experiencing relief from our ailments. At that time my legs were almost paralyzed so I couldn’t walk. I would go there and sit on a chair for the whole program. Rama Devi gave a cassette on Inner Healing and I used to take my medication and listen to the tape. Slowly I was able to lift my legs and then I started to walk. I attributed this to the blessings of Sri Swamiji, although I had not seen Him by then.

We were told that Sri Swamiji wanted to come to Vadodara to perform in a musical concert. During those days, there were just a few of us and we had little money. The concert was going to cost a lot so we thought that we should beg for donations. Because He had given me back the use of my legs, I thought that I should do something in return for Him. Every day after school I would go from house to house asking for money for the project. At many places people were giving different amounts and at the end I collected more that seventeen thousand rupees. Some homes that I went to, the people were chasing me away, insulting me and sometimes even spitting at me, but in my mind, I had to do this. I wanted to see Him so much.

When the time came and He arrived in our city, I went to see Him. Lots of devotees were crowding around Him so I stayed far back in a corner. Then He looked at me and smiled; at that moment I felt a jolt of current rushing through my body and I couldn’t understand what was going on. I observed Him moving His lips but I couldn’t hear what He was saying, but I could identify that He was calling Madhuri, Madhuri. Then Rama Devi came and held my hands and took me to Sri Swamiji. When I came in front of Him, I realized that he was blessing me and I became numb.

Rama Devi said that Sri Swamiji wanted to give me something, but I was unable to stretch my hand forward. Then she lifted my hand and He placed a Rudraksha mala in it. My body was shaking and I was crying uncontrollably. I thought that I heard Him saying that all through the time that I was collecting, He was with me. I never said a word nor was I able to touch His Holy Feet, I was just stunned. I never saw a mala in His hand but He gave one to me, as if by magic. That mala is still in my puja room. Then He said to everyone, “See this lady here, she is the one who brought me here.” Since then I daily write, without fail, ‘Sri Datta’ in a notebook.

Then one day Rama Devi asks me to accompany her to Mysore to have the darsan of Sri Swamiji there. I told her I will go if my health permits, but my daughter, Swathi, said that she will take me there. At Mysore I sat in the public area but He saw me and called me by my name. Later I came to realize that there was a bond between us for many generations that cannot be broken or shattered. I am His and He is me.

Once my grandson met with an accident in Chandigarh, and till today no-one knows what happened then. Swathi got a call that her son had met with an accident and she needs to come and take him away. When she got there and saw the condition of the boy, she thought that it was impossible for her to take him back to Vadodara. Somehow he had fallen from a rooftop terrace and no-one saw anything. Anyway, after three years he was doing well and every chance that he has he will go to Sri Swamiji. Such is the grace of this benevolent Guru.

I have been to Mysore only one time and I don’t have the need to go there. If I follow His words and do His work, that’s all He needs. Why should I go and bother Him. I do my poojas, write my japa and think of Him only. There is no need for me to go to Him. He met me and He knows me, I have full faith in Him only. If I have or do not have problems I still pray to Him. There is no need to run and try to touch His Feet; He is everywhere, even sitting with me now.                                                        Jaya Guru Datta


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