Category Archive: Devotee Experiences ~ A Collection

Lifetime experiences of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji's devotees, collected and published by Avadhoota Datta Peetham (two 'devotee experiences' added per week).

May 25 2013

Devotee Experiences ~ B N and Sudha Kesarinath, Dallas, Texas

85_B N and Sudha Kesarinath


B N and Sudha Kesarinath, Dallas, Texas

You have committed a mistake by trying to test a Guru, it is not in your best interest to test a Guru, I know you, your past, present and future, I know your soul journey. Everything about you is written here.”


I am B N Kesarinath and my wife is Sudha. We met Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji in 1973 in Srinagar, Kashmir. As a matter of fact, Sudha was the first to meet Him and she was responsible for taking me to Him.

In 1972, we moved to Srinagar. Sudha was reading the Devi Bhagwatam during the Navaratri period. We were offering our daily prayers to Guru Raghavendra Swamiji, our family Guru who lived about four hundred years ago. she prayed to Mother Goddess to send her a living Guru so that she can change her way of life and follow Him on the path of righteousness, guide her at every cross roads.

Within a couple of months, and just three months before meeting Sri Swamiji, she had a dream of Devi Charan; haldi, kumkum, flowers, adorning her holy feet a deepa burning, and a huge Ganapati, almost room size, and she was doing pradakshina to that Ganapati. The land lady who loaned her the book also had a dream. The dream was on a star studded night, Shankar Bhagawan descending into her house with Parvathi Mata.

Later one of our director’s wife, who had a Guru and was very devoted to Him, was traveling from Delhi in the same flight as Sri Swamiji, who was coming to visit Srinagar. That lady advised her that a South Indian Swami from Mysore, my native city, came on the same flight that she was on. She informed her that He had such loving, luminous eyes with compassionate looks in His face, and full of Tejas. She said that she had a Guru and that she knows how it feels.

She told Sudha that she thought that she should go and see Him and even volunteered to take her. However, Sudha’s mind was over-riding her thoughts and she was in turmoil; she was questioning whether she should go to see Him. Anyway, she followed her to Mr. Wanchoo’s house where Sri Swamiji was staying. Mr. Wanchoo was my co-worker in an engineering company from Delhi.

When they got there Sri Swamiji had just completed the Homa and He was singing the bhajan, ‘Mata Pitane Panduranga’, in Kannada, our mother tongue. She was caught by His voice and the way He was singing. Then Mr. Wanchoo said that Sri Swamiji was going to have rest in the afternoon and that they should leave now and return in the evening.

Intuitively, she wanted to stay back and meet Him personally, because she felt a connection with Him, so she stood at the base of the stair-case. Then a person, Sri Chandrashekayya, came down the stairs speaking in Kannada. She spoke to him and he was excited to find a Kannada speaking person in Srinagar. She told him who she was and found out that he had actually worked for her father earlier in Mysore State. Her father used to be the chief revenue commissioner for Mysore State, in the 1950s, during the reign of the Maharajah.

Sri Chandrashekayya decided that he will take her to meet with Sri Swamiji. When she got there she saw Sri Swamiji sitting with some disciples in discussion. He was sitting and smiling with a deep sense of compassion. She looked at Him and said, “Swamiji you sing so well, I really loved your music”, that’s was all she said. Then He said to her, “It is not my voice, it is the Bhakti in my heart which really impresses you, which you like”. Then without thinking, she said, “Swamiji, please come to our house”.

He got up and said, “Okay, take me right now”. Immediately she realized that she did not discuss this with me, so she hesitated for a while. Then Sri Swamiji said, “Where is your Husband, is he not with you?” she said, “No Swamiji, he is not with me, I came alone”. Then He spoke again saying”, “Okay, go and come in the evening with him, I will definitely come”. She left and came home, however by 6.00 o’clock; she was restless because she wanted to go back to see Him.

Actually, Mr. Wanchoo had met Sri Swamiji in Delhi, at the home of his daughter, Ratna Verma, and invited Him to come to Srinagar. When he came to the office he told me that Sri Swamiji was coming

to his house and he invited me to come and have His darshan, but I was not the least bit interested. He even said that He was different from all other Swamijis. When he was telling me about the many miracles that He performs producing objects from the air and other things, I was not inclined to see or meet Him,. Even though Mr. Wanchoo kept trying for me to see Him, I kept declining his invitations.

That evening when Sudha said that she had met Sri Swamiji and that He said that we should come together, I told her that I had known about His coming for over three months but I never discussed it with her, but I agreed to go with her now to meet Sri Swamiji. When I got there and I was in front of Him, it seemed as though as I had known Him for a long time; I felt like that He was my elder brother, although He was younger than me. I felt a strong closeness; a bonding relationship to Him. Till today, I still feel that way. As soon as I saw Him, I started crying without any cause. We did pranams to His Holy Feet; He looked at me and said, “Where have you been all these years, I have been waiting for you?” We sat and talked to Him for a while and He said, “Tomorrow I will come to your house, but now you must go and prepare my evening Bhiksha, and as long as I am in Srinagar you must prepare my Bhiksha everyday”.

Then He said, “From tomorrow you should take two weeks’ vacation and be my official chauffeur,” I had a car and chauffeur from my company and I used this car for His service, being His chauffer. We returned home and Sudha prepared the Bhiksha and we brought it to Sri 10.00 pm.

The next day Sri Swamiji came to our house and we did Pada Puja. He materialized a silver Ganapati coin which He gave to me, since then I have been keeping it in my wallet. Sudha did not see these happenings so, in her mind she was thinking that she would like to see it, at least once. Immediately, Sri Swamiji reading her thoughts called her and materialized a ruby ring and gave it to her, telling her, ”Keep it in the puja room, and wear it only when I tell you to.” He sat down in our Puja room for His Bhiksha. He was very comfortable with the surroundings. Sudha started thinking that, in her childhood she saw saints materializing objects, so maybe, He was just one of those saints.

 After Bhiksha, He started telling us about Sri Adi Shakara Acharya’s behavior with His devotees; how He would drink alcohol and eat meat with them, when the time dictates. At one time, when He went to an iron smith, He even drank the molten steel without any problems. The shishas thought they could do whatever Shankara did, but Sri Shankara drank molten lava, could the Shishas do that? Then they realized that a truly realized divine being only can do anything. She then thought that He was telling us that it took extraordinary souls to do extraordinary things. After that, whensoever she had a doubt in her thought, He would say something to clear it up. In that way, He started teaching her Guru Tattva and advised her that she must read ‘Guru Charitra’.

The Chief Justice of the J & K province, Mr. Jaswant Singh, had known Mr. Wanchoo and had come to Mr. Wanchoo’s house to have the darshan of Sri Swamiji. The family invited Sri Swamiji to visit their house and the next day we went there. On our arrival, there were lots of people gathered and the CJ received Him with full protocol. They had prepared some barfi sweets for the occasion and Mrs. Singh offered them to Him. Sri Swamiji took a piece from the plate and said to her, “You are a worshipper of Sri Rama, isn’t it? That lady was stunned and replied, “Yes Swamiji!” To the surprise of all, Sri Swamiji broke t a piece of the sweet and removed a silver coin with Rama Pariwara embellished on it and gave it to her. Sri Swamiji then blessed the family and we left.

In1974, we moved to Baramula. From 1974-1977, we came to Mysore for the winter months when all projects were closed. During this time we took advantage of visiting the Mysore Ashrama frequently, which was more like a Rishi Ashrama. In those days Sri Swamiji performed ‘Hari Katha’ Himself. He used to tell stories of Avatars, saints and Sages in a musical narration with His soulful heartfelt divine bhajans. He was a Hari Katha narrator par excellence

Once, He gave a discourse on Devi Bhagwatam and I had the privilege to record it. Sudha would listen to it over and over without having food for fifteen days. Sudha became very ill; she became very delirious and disoriented. Her condition was daily becoming worse and she was admitted to the hospital. By Sri Swamiji’s grace, He sent a specialist from Switzerland to that hospital, so that she could take care of Sudha, and within fifteen days she was out from her traumatic period. Then later that year, Sri Swamiji again came to Srinagar. When Sri Swamiji learnt about this, He scolded her and threatened to take all the tapes from her.

Sri Swamiji told us to come to Srinagar so that we can take care of His Bhiksha. He gave strict orders to the priests that they should not eat anywhere, as there was a special Yagna going on so they had to prepare their own meals. Later, He advised them that they can eat from the meals prepared by Sudha. I believe that this process was a blessing for the cleansing for her illness.

I continued with my employment in Kashmir through 1977, and later, we went to Mysore to seek His permission to leave for the USA in May 1977. He blessed us, and we left. Later, when we were on our way to the railway station, Sudha decided that she wanted to go back to have His darshan once more before leaving. When we got there Sri Swamiji was preparing for His bath and He couldn’t see us. However, He called us to a little window in His room and blessed us again, telling us that us that the next time we came we will bring His daughter with us. We had not thought about another child neither was Sudha’s health permitting. Our son, Gautam, was already nine years old. We told Sri Swamiji about this and He said, “When I say that something will happen, it will happen.” Two years later, Aparna, a girl child, was born.

In 1980 for her first birthday, we wanted to take her to Mysore, but Sri Swamiji told us over the phone that He was coming to the United States. He called us and said to tell Aparna that her Thatha, her grandfather, is coming. He was traveling alone from New York. Sri Vishwanath, Prasadi’s father, who had traveled with Him had called us from New York and informed us that we must receive Him with Poorna Kumbha. Being new in the US, we didn’t have all these facilities, but Sri Swamiji told us that we can take a jug and place a coconut on it and He will come. On her first birthday, July 15th, 1980, Sri Swamiji visited our home in Bay City, Texas arriving without any assistants; Instead of giving physical gifts to her He promised to take care of her and watch over her throughout her life.

Two devotees from Trinidad, David Balroop and Denise Hassanali came to help in the setting up of things for Him. We did not know who they were, but they said that Sri Swamiji advised them that they should go there and help, as they had previously prepared for Him in Trinidad. John Ramana Laird, another devotee from Pittsburg was also there and we were happy to have that privileged to host Him. We took Sri Swamiji to the Matagorda beach that was not far from our house.

David asked us to take some kheer in a flask. He and Denise had apparently come to get His permission and blessings to get married. On the beach, Sri Swamiji called them both and said, “I know that you both want to get married, so I will marry you now”. First, He gave them new names; David became Mukunda and Denise became Mala. He then asked them to stand in front of each other and taking some sand in His hand, He produced two Rudraksha malas and two coins which He gave to each of them.

He went on to say that Agni is needed as a witness to the marriage, but as Agni is not here He had to do something else. He then started gulping and a spatika lingam came out from His mouth. He held it in His palm and He said, “This is Atma Linga, He will be the witness to this marriage, now exchange the malas quickly, as Atma Linga cannot stay out for any length of time”. He then preformed abhishekam to the Linga, sprinkled the water on each of us and placed it back into His mouth and gulped it

Everyone present was stunned and electrified. He informed us that within a couple of days some calamity associated with water will occur,. While walking towards the car, He indicated that a particular area was pulling Him; that there was some special energy there. He went to a spot and started digging in the sand; with all His might He was trying to pull something out, and said that it was very heavy. He pulled out a Devi Sri Chakra coin, saying that it has been here for many ages, and gave it to Sudha for her prayer room. He said that people will hear the anklets of Devi Padam in the house. Till today that coin is in our puja room.

While returning home, Mukunda had lost his coin and he became very restless. When we got home, Sri Swamiji sent him to look at a plant, and to his amazement the coin was lying in the pot. Mukunda became happy and retrieved the coin. Within ten days, on August 10th 1980, a hugh hurricane, Hurricane Allen, struck the Gulf, barely missing our city. After leaving Sri Swamiji went to Washington State to collect some ash from the Mt Helen Volcano that had erupted one month earlier.

When Sri Swamiji would visit Bay City, I would normally take Him to Houston and advise my friends of His coming. They in turn would organize the programs and invite people to meet Him. On one such occasion, Sri Swamiji went to program and after the poojas He was sitting on a chair talking to those who came to Him. Two gentlemen came with a tray full of fruits and flowers and offered it to Sri Swamiji. When they made the offerings, Sri Swamiji took an orange from the tray and began rotating it like a globe with two of His fingers.

He then stuck His finger into the orange and pulled out a small copper canister; about a quarter inch in diameter and a little over an inch long. He opened the canister and retrieved a scroll about eighteen inches long and went on to explain to the two gentlemen, “You have committed a mistake by trying to test a Guru, it is not in your best interest to test a Guru, I know you, your past, present and future, I know your soul journey. Everything about you is written here.” I could see the outline, but I couldn’t discern the writing. Then He casually placed the scroll into the canister and put the canister back into the orange. The opening for the hole in the orange disappeared; it was one whole orange again and gave it to those men as prasadam. Those men were mystified, shocked and scared. They bowed down to Sri Swamiji, and begged forgiveness for their mistakes and left in a hurry.

Another time, a Gujarati priest invited Sri Swamiji to his house. This priest welcomed Him with full protocol and brought Him into his house. He had invited many people for the function. When Sri Swamiji was seated, He started to move His hand in a right to left twisting motion from the palm of His hand one side vibuthi and from the other side kumkum started flowing. They were collected as two separate heaps in a plate He told me that He was not in control of this once it starts flowing, and is difficult to stop it. He opened His hand and showed me a distinct line that separated the two substances. He asked for a clean cloth. He then wiped His hand and gave the cloth to the priest telling him to put in his pooja room, as it is very precious. In 1988, He held His first US ‘Meditation music Concert’ in Houston at the Chinmayananda Mission Hall.

In Bay City, I worked for a multinational company building nuclear plants. Sometime during the construction phase, this company quit because of contention with the owners. I interviewed with three different companies and had to make a decision between two. One was paying a lot more money than the other, so I wanted Sri Swamiji’s advice. He advised me to take the lower paying position, because with the higher position, later, I would become like a fish without water. True to His words, that company was bought out be another company and after a while ceased to exist.

In the 1990s I moved to Augusta, Georgia and my company wanted to give me an overseas appointment. Again I sought His advice and He said that it was not the time, at least not yet. Later in 2004, a senior manager came into my office and said that a position in Romania has become open, and he asked, will you consider it? I asked Sri Swamiji and He said that I should take it, so I did. This assignment set the way for His first visit to our house in Romania in 2005.

When we were living in Augusta, one day our son, Gautam, had gone out and was late in coming back home. We were worried that we had not heard from him and wondered if something had gone wrong. We couldn’t sleep, so Sudha was chanting Sri Lalitha Sahasranama and I was repeatedly calling Sri Swamiji’s name. , I had a vision where I saw Sri Swamiji pulling a baby out from a tunnel; from darkness to light

Early in the morning we received a phone call from the police; they said that your son had met with a very bad accident and he is in the Emergency Room; you should come soon. When I got there I saw him on a gurney with multiple bruises. The policeman said, I was on patrol and I saw a car tunneling down a steep slope towards a barricade that was placed to close off a bridge. At the rate of speed and the incline of the slope, that car should have crashed through the barricade and ended up in the river. But some guiding angel was there and the car stopped at the barricade.

On the roadway, there were tire marks for more than five hundred feet, as though someone had applied breaks with great force. In the hospital a neck-brace was placed on him with the doctors fearing the worst. However, all the x-rays showed no major damage at all had happened to him; he was okay. We called the Mysore Ashrama to apprise Sri Swamiji of the situation, and we were told that Sri Swamiji had fallen in His room during the time of the accident. We took solace that Sri Swamiji had protected Gautam during a most vulnerable time of his life.

Soon afterwards Gautam was normal, as though nothing had happened. Even the junk-yard workers were surprised that the driver of the car was alive. We are totally indebted to Sri Swamiji for all that He has done for us. Even Aparna has had her share of calamities and she knows that only with His grace and blessings she is well and that we are surviving.

On May 19th 2011, we had traveled from Delhi to Bangalore and when we got there I wasn’t feeling well. I told this to Sudha and she informed, my sister, who called her son-in-law, a neuro-surgeon. An ambulance and paramedics were sent to take me to the hospital where they found that I was having a multi organ failure. I became unconscious and was unaware of anything. In the meantime, Sri Swamiji was in Malaysia and it was difficult to contact Him. Sudha was desperately trying to reach Sri Swamiji and constantly praying for His grace and help. She knew that He is Datta, Smatrugami Sanovatu. He comes to your aid as soon as you remember Him sincerely with faith.

Early the next morning, I was becoming conscious and I saw her standing there very distressed. All I remembered is that I asked her if she had contacted Sri Swamiji. She said, “Yes! That she was trying. Later we learnt that during the night the heart monitor had gone flat, but the doctors were able to revive my heart. The doctors felt it was a great miracle that I survived without any damage.

After I was released from the hospital I went to see Sri Swamiji and He said, I got the message of your illness through five different sources. Pointing His finger towards the sky He said, “You went up and I brought you down, there is still some seva left for you to do, so I need you here for some more time.” How great is my Master and Guru, Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji? Jaya Guru Datta




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May 22 2013

Prakasarao and Nandini Rao Velagapudi, Frisco, Texas, USA

84_Prakasarao and Nandini Rao Velagapudi

Prakasarao and Nandini Rao Velagapudi, Frisco, Texas, USA

Prakasarao:                when a Guru sees the potential of a Sishya (disciple), He can immediately harness that potential and brings that devotee closer to Him. In that way, the Guru cleanses the Sishya and makes him an instrument in His mission.


Anyone who wants to grow spiritually and have ‘peace of mind’ should have a Sadguru such as Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji. That is our realization after meeting Sri Swamiji in 1990. In 1988, while living in Jackson, Mississippi, we heard about the presence of Sri Swamiji. I was the chairman of ‘The Hindu Temple Society of Mississippi’ when I received a call from a person in Baton Rouge asking if I would like to invite Sri Swamiji to visit the Jackson Temple. The construction of the building in the form of a huge hall was complete, but consecration of the Murtis/idols had not been performed.

Without knowing the importance and background of a Guru, I instantly dismissed the notion of inviting Him. I was not in favor of so-called spiritual men and without even consulting the other board members, I totally rejected the idea. To be honest, at that time, I did not know the significance of Guru, but the main underlying reason for my objection was we had taken some loans for the construction and we were not in a financial position to host anyone.

One month later, I had to travel to India. When I got there everyone was talking about a gentleman, Medasani Mohan, who is known for conducting Ashtavadhanam and Sahasravadhanam, a unique talent in the annals of Telugu literature. He was also a devotee of Sri Swamiji who happened to be Director of Annamacharya Project in Tirupati. My brother wanted me to go to Tirupati and meet with this person, as he knew that as I was involved in the temple project of Lord Venkateswara located in Tirupati.  I went to meet him. We invited him to TANA (Telugu Association of North America), as his unusual talent and memory to perform Ashtavadhanam impressed me.  During his first visit to USA, we hosted him.  He spoke about his experiences with his Sadguru, Sri Swamiji, and advised us that we should meet with this Sakshat (actual) God. He insisted that we must make the time to have His darsan.

Because of his fervor and commitment I told him that I would meet with Him, although I still did not have the urge to meet Him. 1990, we were planning to perform the Prana Pratishta (consecration of idols) for the temple and we thought that it was the most opportune time for us to get the Yantras (geometric design on a metal plate representing the idol), for the Murtis (idols) blessed by Him. I sent my brother, who lives in India, to Mysore to seek an audience with His Holiness, but He was not there. In the meantime, while browsing through a copy of Hinduism Today, a monthly magazine, I saw an advertisement with a schedule for Sri Swami’s visit to the USA.

At that time, Sri Swamiji was in Augusta, Georgia at the home of a devotee. I was amazed that we were trying to meet Him in India and all of a sudden, He is here in the USA. Without knowing or understanding the protocol of reaching a Sadguru, I dialed the number and spoke to an assistant, Sri Radhakrishna, (Swami Manasa Datta). I expressed my wish to speak to Sri Swamiji and he told me that Sri Swamiji would not speak on the phone. Then I asked him if we could request Sri Swamiji to bless the Yantras.  His response was that he cannot promise anything on behalf of Swamiji and have to come and meet His Holiness personally.  He wanted to know where we were located. Swami Manasa Datta then informed me that Sri Swamiji will be visiting Baton Rouge, and if was convenient for us, we should try to meet Him there.  He also mentioned I should not be disappointed if he doesn’t bless them. We decided to go to Baton Rouge, LA, so that we could at least have His Darshan as suggested by Radhakrishna. I was somewhat puzzled because no matter what we asked, we were not receiving favorable answers. We did visit Sri Swamiji and that was beginning of our association with His Holiness.

In 1988, Daulat Sthanki took Sri Swamiji to Disneyworld in Orlando and he asked Him if he could construct Datta Temple in Baton Rouge. Sri Swamiji informed him, “The time is not right, however, when I comeback next time, somebody from Mississippi will come and things will start happening.” I had not met Him, but, Sri Swamiji predicted my entry into His fold.  He knows the past-present-and future of everything and once He makes a Sankalpa, it will definitely happen.

My family; wife, Nandini, and children, Pratap and Laxmi, went to meet Sri Swamiji in Baton Rouge. When we got there Swami Manasa Datta advised us that we should go to the back side of the house as His Holiness was inside. We did as we were told, and to our surprise as we were walking on the driveway, we saw Sri Swamiji coming towards us and I made eye contact. With that contact, I had a very explosive experience; I became numb, my hair was standing on ends, my heart was pumping vigorously, I began to sweat and started crying uncontrollably. I could not control my emotions. From a tough hard-hearted person, I became a child.

After recovering from that condition, I looked up and saw Sri Swamiji looking and smiling at me, saying that, “Sri Datta has brought you here, just follow me”. Thinking literally, we followed Him to a devotee, Ramnik Modha’s house where He did Paduka Puja. At the end of the Puja, Sri Swamiji manifested a Ganapati idol from the garland that was offered and gave it to Ramnik. We have heard of these miracles, but seeing it happened was too much for our eyes. I thought that, maybe, this idol was hidden in the garland. Another doubt occurred in my mind; why do these people do Paduka Puja, if they consider Him a Guru, a God, they should be doing Puja to Him, not His padukas (sandals). Before He left, Sri Swamiji played the piano with Ramnik’s son. Before leaving their house He pinched the boy’s cheek and materialized a coin and gave to him. Again I was surprised.

We followed Sri Swamiji from there and we reached the home of Daulat Sthanki where Sri Swamiji was going to perform Bhajans. Lots of people assembled had there. We went inside and someone came and said that Sri Swamiji wanted to meet with us. We went into the room to see Him and showed the photos of the temple and informed Him that we were in the process of performing the Prana Pratishta (consecration of idols) and requested Him to bless the Yantras (square metal plate with geometric design representing a particular God/Goddess).  Inadvertently, He started a conversation discussing about the number of ashrams He has, how many devotees he has, and His mission, for about thirty minutes. Someone knocked on the door and informed Him that it was getting late, but He was not disturbed; He just continued talking.

Later, He went in the den where devotees had gathered to start the Bhajans session. To my amazement instead of starting the scheduled program, Sri Swamiji called me to bring the Yantras to Him. He took them, placed them on the center table in front of Him and asked Swami Manasa Datta to explain the meaning of those Yantras which he did effortlessly. Then, He took a red rose from the garland and proceeded to materialize Kum Kum (red powder) and place it on each Yantra.

By this time, I was in no position to doubt Him anymore. Internally, I had to admit that there was power within Him. Then He said that He will keep them in His room overnight, implying that we needed to spend the night which we had not intended to. Sri Swamiji proceeded to start the program and He called me to sit next to Him. I sat beside Him on the floor and the He applied kumkum on my forehead

He took out two ‘Bhajana Yogam” books and gave one to me, telling the crowd that: “This person will do a lot of work for His mission, he will do a lot of Seva to Lord Dattatreya.”  We attended the next day’s program and then left for our home. On the way we were reminiscing about the trip and trying to resolve why it had happened like that; He said that we will be doing Seva to His mission. We were so involved in the Jackson temple and doing Seva for Lord Venkateswara we never thought we would ever leave the Temple to do seva to His mission

The Prana Pratishta of Jackson Temple was celebrated from May 28 to June 2, 1990.  Immediately, after the completion of the program, the problems started; differences of opinion with the trustees arose. Within a few months I resigned from the executive position (chairmanship) of the temple.

Afterwards, I started seeing Sri Swamiji’s image wherever I was; it became an obsession. I could not distance myself from His image. It appeared as though He was controlling my life. The common thought was that either; I was going insane, or Sri Swamiji had done some black magic to me.

My pride and ego didn’t allow me to go to a psychiatrist, so I started talking to His devotees. They compounded the situation by alluding to His greatness and power. This led me to read about other gurus and their effects on their devotees. I read many books and found that all the teachings were the same, but I could not discern the experience I had on my first meeting, nor my obsession with His image.

Finally, I came across a book by Richard Alport, who later became Swami Ramdass. In that book he discussed his meeting with his Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, in the Himalayas.  When He was touched on the forehead his experience was exactly the same as I had with Sri Swamiji. He also discussed that when a Guru sees the potential of a Sishya (disciple), He can immediately harness that potential and brings that devotee closer to Him. In that way, the Guru cleanses the Sishya and makes him an instrument in His mission.

            Piecing all this information together, I realize that there was some merit in all these happenings so I became eager to see Him again. As luck would have it, Sri Swamiji was in Trinidad, so, Nandini and I went there to meet Him. In the meantime, I was in contact with Padma Turk in Pittsburg. I offered my help in producing the newsletter that she had attempted. With this project in thought, also, we went to Trinidad. When we got there, we settled in the Ashrama, and attended Sri Chakra Puja in the morning.  Sri Swamiji was going to have a meeting with the Board of Trustees, but, while sitting there, someone came and told us that Sri Swamiji wanted to see us.

We went into the room and as I saw Him, I started crying uncontrollably. After awhile, I composed myself and began talking with Him. I invited Him to visit Jackson for the upcoming Nada Prasara tour the next year. I was told that the protocol to invite Sri Swamiji to a city required one to be a devotee and must go to Mysore Ashrama to give the invitation. However, Sri Swamiji looked at His assistants and said, “He is my devotee and believes in Me.  He has come here, to my Ashrama, to invite me. He has followed the protocol, so arrangements should be made for the visit.”

            In 1993, Sri Swamiji started the Nada Prasara tour, and before coming to Jackson, we went to see Him in Baton Rouge. There was a lot of discussion about the tour, His mission and the Datta Yoga Center in West Sunbury. He wanted to close the Center and move it elsewhere.  He also wanted at least one of the three rocks to be moved and placed at another location with an office. Then a German devotee, Agastya, came and informed us that Sri Swamiji wanted to see us where the meeting was going on. We went into the room where the meeting was taking place and Nandini offered some property in Jackson for the purpose as the discussion was going on to move the Center.

            Sri Swamiji looked at Padma Turk and informed her that she was no longer the President of DYC and that she must go to India for some time. He told in the meeting, “Dr Prakash Rao will be the new president of the organization and he will take care of the mission.”  In 1990, He had predicted that I would serve His mission, and three years later, and after only three meetings I was thrust into the presidency of His organization.  I realized that whatsoever comes from His lips will surely happen.

He then made a startling revelation; He said, “Do you know why you left the Hindu Temple? It was I who did that; if you had stayed there, you would not have come to me. I created that Leela (divine play), and no one has bad opinion of you, so there is nothing to worry about.”  We went back to Jackson and continued with the preparation for Sri Swamiji’s visit.

            The night before the program, the trustees of the Temple called to announce that they would not receive Sri Swamiji with Poorna Kumba (a procedure to welcome holy dignitaries to the temple), but He can have His program as scheduled in the temple. When we told Him about this turn of events, Sri Swamiji said that there are three things of importance: “(a) they will come to realize it, (b) they will experience it and (c) there are no Murthis (idols) there and they are all right here in your house.”

Sri Swamiji wanted to see the property that Nandini had previously offered, so we took Him there and pledged nine acres from a twenty-acre plot, for His Ashrama. She also asked for the privilege to build a home near to the temple, He promised her that the time would come when this will happen. However in 1995, it was decided to have the temple built in Baton Rouge. Later, Nandini got her wish, as she got a home next to the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco, Texas. We can probably write a book on our experiences and our narration here ends due to lack of time.


Nandini:                      He said, “Sai Baba is talking to you through me now, and since you cannot see Sai Baba in the physical form, He is talking to you through me.” 

When I initially met Sri Swamiji in 1990, my feelings were neutral, I neither liked nor disliked Him, but I had the utmost respect for Him, as I have for all saints. Before marriage, my mother’s family worshiped their Guru, Sri Manik Prabhu, belonging to the linage of Lord Dattatreya. At the age of sixteen, I was introduced to Shirdi Sai Baba, considered to be belonging to Datta Parampara.

When Dr. Prakasarao, my husband, my children and I, met Sri Swamiji for the first time, he had unique experiences. I offered my Pranams to show my respect. Several things took place during this visit which I am omitting to be brief.  My husband was eager to meet Sri Swamiji again and having come to know that He was going to visit Trinidad we both decided to visit Sri Swamiji there. On our way to Trinidad, we had a layover in Dallas; I met my cousin who lives there.  I expressed my confusion about meeting Sri Swamiji since I already had Shirdi Sai Baba as my Sadguru.  She advised me that I should not go to Him with a dubious or conflicting mind and I should clarify my doubts by checking with Sri Swamiji Himself, since I had already accepted Shirdi Sai Baba as a Sadguru from my teenage years.  She suggested that I should put that question to Sri Swamiji and He would definitely help me.

Nevertheless, we went to Trinidad. The next morning we attended the Sri Chakra Puja which was new to us. We stood in the darsan line, after the Puja, and when Sri Swamiji saw us He said, “Oh! Datta has brought you here.” Soon after darshan, somebody came running informing us that Sri Swamiji has called us for interview. We were taken by surprise as we had not requested it.  In fact, they were going to have a Board meeting then. We went in and Dr. Rao started sobbing.

I took the opportunity to tell Sri Swamiji, “I don’t want to offend Shirdi Sai Baba, as He had been my Guru since age sixteen, but I hold utmost respect for you”. Sri Swamiji closed His eyes and said exactly what I prayed to Sai Baba every day after performing my daily Puja. He said, “Sai Baba is talking to you through me now, and since you cannot see Sai Baba in the physical form, He is talking to you through me.”  I was taken aback, as I used to pray every day to Sai Baba to visit me physically and needed to communicate with Him.  I had no doubts in my mind about what He said. In fact, I feel that both of them are taking care of me and my family and they are One and the same. When I met Him in Trinidad, I saw my father in Him in His behavior, which I lost when I was nine years old. From then onwards I spoke to Him as I would to my father, very informal, but with respect.

Every Thursday, I am accustomed to performing Aarti to Sai Baba in Marathi as they do in Shirdi. When Sri Swamiji visited us in Jackson, MS for the first time, the next day was a Thursday.  As usual I did my Aarti to Sri Swamiji after Pada Puja. Sri Swamiji looked at me and said, “You should do the Aarthi as you usually do.”  I became very emotional and started crying.  Even to this day I do Aarthi to Sai Baba and to Sri Swamiji’s picture.

He told me, “You will see how much change I am going to bring in you.”  I was somewhat confused and said, “Swamiji, you are in Mysore and I am in Jackson, how can you change me,” being ignorant about Guru Tattva then.  Slowly the process of change took place within me; those who know me have complimented me on these changes. He taught me the essence of Guru Tattva and the way to treat a Guru. Guru is Smatrugami, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Now I no longer see him as a father figure, but I see the cosmic consciousness that is the Guru.

In 2002, I was traveling to India and I was in New York waiting for my Air India flight. There was a snow storm and flights were not allowed to leave, so I returned to Jackson. When I got home I saw that our house was completely smoked out due to a fire accident, but the house was still intact. The Padukas and small Vigrahas (idols) in the puja room were untarnished.  Later in 2005, during the Memphis Temple Kumba Abhishekam, Sri Swamiji called me and told me that He stays in my house as Agni Devata. I asked Him what He meant and He reminded me of that incident.

Each and every day I understand His Leelas (miracles) more and more. My greatest knowledge that I have gained from His association is that even though the Guru may not be present in the physical form, if you surrender to Him, He will take care of you.  He is Omnipresent and is aware of what goes on with us.              Jaya Guru Datta


Sri Swamiji Says:


One must remember Mother Annapoorna with gratitude before taking food. When out of anger a plate of food or a glass of drink is rudely pushed away, that person and that household will suffer from poverty and stomach ailments. It is a sin to abuse and criticize food even if it does not meet your taste.

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May 18 2013

Devotee Experiences ~ P S Venkateshwaram, Produttur

83_P S Venkateshwaram

P S Venkateshwaram, Produttur

Then Swamiji said, “I am Satyanarayana. I am Satyam, I am truth, and I truly came here”.


I am P S Venkateshwaram, a childhood friend of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji whom He calls Vengudu. Sri Swamiji and I were studying at the Produttur Municipal High School when He was in seventh or eight standard. He used to study very well. He used to visit my uncle’s hotel and play with us there, with me and my uncle’s sons. If we were sad or something, He would go into meditation, materialize a banana, a laddu or something nice, and He would give it to us. That would make us very happy; we were just kids, did not know too much. But still we used to play around together happily. When we were with Him, there was no fear, no suffering and we used to be very happy. We were always playing, totally immersed into it. No other thought when we were in His presence. There was nothing else we did. That experience cannot be put in words, it is illimitable.

His name was Satyanarayana, but we used to call Him as Satyam. Each day would He accept food from a different house in the area. On Mondays, He would have meals in one house, on Tuesday in another, on Wednesday in another, and so on and so forth. Also, in that area, there was a temple of Lord Eshwara. Satyam along with His sister, Varalakshmi, and paternal aunt, Venkammattha used to stay there in those days.

Chandru, my uncle’s son was His dearest friend. He had such a good heart that he used to help them a lot. It was merely out of his friendship to Satyam that he was helping them. He was such a nice person that he did not even feel that he was helping. It was a kind of affection he had. Even now when Sri Swamiji sees us, He receives us in the same manner, addresses us the way He used to do when we were young. He calls Chandru by his name, and his elder brother Bala as Mr. Bala.

Satyam was one among our families. He used to move around as part of our families. We used to play different games like glass balls, stick and ball etc. He would also run chores in the house in which He would take Bhiksha (meals), foresee some good things for them, make the household folks happy, only then He would leave. In this manner, He would cheer us all up in many ways. As long as He was in Produttur, it was so beautiful.

After He became Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, He came back to Produttur one night, in the early 1960s at around midnight; He came to my uncle, Subba Mani’s house. And He was calling for Bala, in a loud voice. We all wondered who He was, especially coming at this hour of the night. None of us knew who He was, we were all confused. Then Swamiji said, “I am Satyanarayana. I am Satyam, I am truth, and I truly came here”. He repeated these words to everyone there, and later we realized who He was, He was none other than our childhood friend, Satyanarayana. We were so surprised to know that our Satyanarayana had become a Swamiji.

There were many cows in my uncle’s house. But none of those cows gave any milk at all since that morning. That night, after Swamiji arrived, the cow gave milk. This surprised everybody. We offered that just milked, warm milk to Swamiji and He gladly accepted it. We were all so overwhelmed with joyful surprise. He granted us a blissful experience with that incident.

In this way Sri Swamiji blessed each one of us; Bala, Ramani and myself, whom He calls Vengudu and Hanumantha Reddy, with joyful, divine experiences. At this time we were all together again and started conversing with each another. We all have beautiful experiences with Him and full faith in Sri Swamiji. He alone is our anchor, our companion, and our shelter. For anything Sri Swamiji is there for us. He pampers us so much. He says: “Okay, go, I will take care of it, I will do it”. No matter what the task is, it gets accomplished.

My marriage, my begetting children, and my son’s vidyabhyasam (start of education) ceremony, all these happened with the grace of Sri Swamiji’s blessings only. My son, V. V. Arun, studied well, did MCA, got very good grades and is in a very good position with Cognizant Technologies. When he got married, we prayed to Sri Swamiji, and he got a very good bride, who works for Sathyam Computers. Everybody is doing great. His grace is immeasurable. There are no bounds to it. If we trust Him wholeheartedly, He would show us the way in one form or another, He does well for us, everything is going to be great. We have been experiencing this since childhood, feelings cannot be described, they are beyond words.

We were close to Him when we were children, would address Him as “Satyam”. But after He became Sri Swamiji, even though we would keep ourselves at a distance, He calls us near Him. When He sees us He says: “Vengudu! How are you doing? Take this”. My father would make halwa (a sweet delicacy). Sri Swamiji calls him “halwa Mani”, He is so close to us, He is nearer and dearer to us than our relatives, He is our Soul-Relative. In this way He brought us close to Him.  We all have close ties with each other, happily living together. Now I work in His Vellachery Ashram which is located in Bibi Nagar, Chennai. He blessed me to be here, He Himself instructed me to be here in this ashram. With Swamiji’s grace, I am doing well.

I was re-introduced to Sri Swamiji by Ranga Rao, as a relative of Ananda Rao, proposing to let me stay here in the ashram. Then Swamiji said “He is not Ananda Rao’s relative, He is my relative, My Vengudu. Let him be here, he will look after the ashram”. My father’s name is Mani Iyer. He meditated all the time. He used to walk to Ramana Maharishi Ashram everyday to meditate, located about 2 kilometers away. The Shiva temple where Swamiji, His sister Varalakshmi, aunt Venkammattha were living is one of the oldest temples. His aunt Venkammattha used to be extremely strict. She was an advocate of Hatha Yoga. She would wake up Swamiji very early in the morning to practice Hatha Yoga.

As a child, He was a very good boy. He would give a chocolate or something. We were always playing the game of glass marbles. It is a game where the player hits one marble with another, similar to baseball. Suddenly He would give something to the one playing; a chocolate, a laddu or something else, and the one who is about to hit the marble goes unvigilant. In this way He always won, however, at times He would also let others win.

An early indication of His future was that Sri Swamiji was not too interested in academic studies, but He would recite a poem, whether it was in Sanskrit, Telugu or any other language which He may have just heard once, without any mistakes. He would solve, a just given, mathematical problem in front of the entire class, confusing even the teacher, such a problem that requires some work from someone else. He would give the answers right away.

Every year we keep meeting Him and I am blessed with good fortune and a good life. This is all out of His merciful grace. There is no me, without Him. Even today, He affectionately speaks with me, and whenever He sees me, He inquires, “How are you doing?”                 Jaya Guru Datta


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May 15 2013

Devotee Experiences ~ William Chidananda Bertolette, Baton Rouge USA

82_William Chidananda Bertolette

William Chidananda Bertolette, Baton Rogue USA

I just observed everything. Sri Swamiji certainly possessed the looks and personality of a real Guru, in my estimation, and I felt fortunate to be initiated into Kriya Yoga by a true Master.


Before meeting Sri Swamiji in the summer of 1988, I had been practicing Hatha Yoga and experiencing wonderful results.  If the physical practice did so much for me, I thought; then meditation would bring similar benefits on a spiritual plane.  At that time, Transcendental Meditation was available in Baton Rouge, but it was too expensive. One day I saw a flyer which advertised ‘Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji and the Celestial Music Troupe’ performing at LSU (Louisiana State University).  The flyer also noted the availability of a Kriya Yoga class. The opportunity to learn Kriya Yoga, which I had read about in ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Paramahamsa Yogananda, led me to call Mr. Narendra Dave who confirmed my idea that this would be a very reasonably-priced instruction, by a genuine Guru.

I went to the Dave’s house the evening before the class and felt some relief on seeing a sign on the door which read “Jai Guru Datta, Hearty Welcome.” A small gathering of people sat in the living room and began chanting the Datta Stavam in Sanskrit – all of this was new to me. When Sri Swamiji entered, He received a flower from a devotee and tapped it a few times. It disintegrated before my eyes into holy ash!  He then blew on the flower and filled the room with delightfully fragrant vibuthi. Later I saw the Homa fire in the backyard, but had no clue as to what it meant. I just observed everything. Sri Swamiji certainly possessed the looks and personality of a real Guru, in my estimation, and I felt fortunate to be initiated into Kriya Yoga by a true Master.  After the class and Sri Swamiji’s departure from Baton Rouge, I continued practicing Kriya Yoga.

 A year later I received an invitation from Nalini and Narendra Dave to visit their home and watch a video of Sri Swamji during the Shivaratri Festival at the Mysore Ashram in India.  Sri Swamiji stood in a fire pit and brought forth various objects including, a mercury Shiva Lingam.  This impressed me and sparked a desire to visit the Ashram.

In 1990, Sri Swamiji visited Baton Rouge for the second time and the Daves’ suggested that my jazz band play for Him at the reception.  We played, and seeing Sri Swamiji again after two years I felt a wave of love for Him. At the end of the performance He called me up and presented me with beautifully scented sandalwood Ganapati, which in my eyes seemed to be smiling and beaming rays of energy. I felt honored to receive such a gift from Sri Swamiji. I participated in another Kriya Yoga class and kept practicing.

In 1991-92 I decided to go to India for a three-week stay at the Mysore Ashram, partly out of curiosity, but mainly in hopes of spiritual growth. I made the trip to India, but remained in a state of ignorance about religious customs and rituals. Someone had told me that I must do Pada Pooja to Sri Swamiji when I got there, so during an interview I asked His permission and He said to come the next morning by 9.00 am. The next day I went over to wait outside what was then the Ashram office.  I saw no one, except the Ashram deer, which I began to pet.  Suddenly, Sri Swamiji’s car pulled up and the driver shouted, William, Sri Swamiji is calling you! I joined Him in His car and we drove to the Cauvery River area where He was shooting the film, ‘Yoga Brahma.’ We did not talk much beyond exchanging pleasantries.

I am a very practical person and I tend to learn from my experiences.  I did not try to analyze Sri Swamiji, but observed Him at the film shoot and in many other contexts over the years.  Through His humor and other subtle messages I gradually became more certain of His guidance.  From my several experiences in India, whether pleasant or difficult, I have learned valuable lessons about the importance of following a spiritual path and staying focused on the Guru.

In an interview with Sri Swamiji during the 1990s I asked Him to give me a spiritual name.  I had put this off for fear that I would not like the name, but people kept asking me, so after seven years I finally asked.  He said that He would think about it and I left the interview resigned to the idea that I would not get a spiritual name. I forgot about it. Sometime later, while attending one of the Ashram functions, Sri Swamiji unexpectedly called me up to the altar and announced that my name was ‘Chidananda, to a Temple full of devotees.’  Then He suggested ‘Chidu’ as a nickname.  In my excitement and confusion I really did not hear the name at first.  Later, one of the senior Ashram devotees explained it to mean ‘Knowledge of Bliss.’  Needless to say, I was very happy.  I felt that Sri Swamiji had acknowledged a kind of blissful waking dream I had previously been fortunate to experience through His Grace.  I wrote about that mere taste of a higher reality in the first edition of ‘Wonders of the Holy Master.’

One of the many subtle experiences that convinced me of Sri Swamiji’s extraordinary powers occurred when I attended His programs at a devotee’s house in Baton Rouge.  During announcements after His discourse I noticed a pool of water on top of an outdoor canopy which had been set up over the makeshift dining area.  I thought to myself that if that water comes down it will certainly give someone a good shower. Just then my eyes met with Sri Swamiji’s and I felt He knew what I was thinking.  Sri Swamiji moved His foot slightly and immediately the water on the tarpaulin came pouring out in a neat stream, as if someone had simply reached up and pulled the edge of the tarp down until the entire ‘lake’ had drained.  Another time He manifested a Ganapathy ring from a flower garland and gave it to me.  Witnessing such spontaneous physical miracles often seems less important than the accompanying feeling of love and joy that wells up in the heart.

I have been to India fourteen times since Sri Swamiji came into my life. I have listened to His numerous discourses and concerts, read His biography and other books, had personal interviews, dream darshan and guidance.  I once asked Him how I could help His mission in the US and He gave me the chance to serve on the committee of the DYC in Baton Rouge in the capacity of secretary.  I greatly appreciated that opportunity and have seen DYC grow in America through the efforts of many dedicated devotees.

Western and really all modern society focuses primarily on attaining material happiness in addition to social, political, artistic, intellectual, comedic, or even spiritual goals.  Reconciling the aims of this world with an eternal spiritual reality presents a major challenge.  Statements in Vedic scripture about the need to detach from the senses and ego in order to overcome the “disease” of birth seem to counter all that one learns growing up.  In resolving this dilemma Sri Swamiji provides marvelous guidance and truly fulfills the Guru’s role as one’s ‘closest relative.’  Through Sri Swamiji I have become wiser, more open-minded and desirous of attaining real Chidananda.                                    Jaya Guru Datta


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May 11 2013

Devotee Experiences ~ Lynne Bindu Jordan, Baton Rouge, USA

81_Lynne Bindu Jordan


Lynne Bindu Jordan, Baton Rouge, USA

A clear vision showed Krishna rhythmically moving through nature. Krishna was playing His flute into the air creating a beautiful sound vibration. Behind Krishna walking in the very same momentum and movements was a line of humans, one after the other stretched out to infinity.


My first memory in my  life is that of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, which occurred when I was three years old, on a tricycle asking Him, “Where are you? Why was I hurled down here? When are you going to come back for me?” My memory of Him was that of great love and closeness, wanting to be with Him again, but somehow finding myself in this life with this family. Growing up in a traditional Christian church, deep spiritual truths from any religion were the most intensely compelling interest for me.  Wherever there might be methods, answers and inspiration one could find me exploring those.  At seventeen I began fasting, thinking if Jesus did, then we, too, must benefit.  As well, that same year I met a priest who taught me much about diet and its effect on thoughts. This led me to become a vegetarian much to my mother’s concern. This was even a blessing to her since she later became well-studied in natural health matters.

         While in high school, dreams began coming to me in an unusual language and words. Their memory was strongly imbedded making it easy to research. The language was Sanskrit and the words had deep spiritual meanings. Studying Sanskrit and the Yoga Sutras created within me an overwhelming interest in India. Upon finding out that India was the home of spiritual masters, it became a personal longing to meet one with whom I might study. This prayer was answered; out of the blue it seemed, upon winning three trips to New York in one year. A Swami affiliated with the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Organization in NYC, graciously instructed me in meditation and Jnana Yoga. While feeling very blessed and fortunate, there remained in my heart the unfulfilled determination to meet “the “One”, the Swami of my first memory in life, whom I knew would provide the ultimate guidance for my spiritual quests.

While on retreat in Thousand Island Park, New York, with the Ramakrishna- Vivekananda Order Swami, one morning during meditation we experienced a very loud rhythmic breathing in the center of the room. A most interesting issue with this audible breath just happened to be that there was no one sitting in that spot! Excitedly the handful of us spoke to the Swami about this unusual event. My hair stood on end and I named this very present ethereal form, “The Yogi of Yogis”.  I felt so happy that, “He is close!”  The Swami was surprised when during the evening meditation in which he participated, the loud rhythmic breathing occurred again. This pranayama continued for morning and evening meditation sessions, three days in a row, without any physical form visible. Each occurrence lasted approximately ten minutes with each individual in the room experiencing the same powerful Divine phenomena.

A couple of years later, in 1992, while working as a psychotherapist in the office of an Indian psychiatrist, Dr. Krishna Yallamanchili, he left a booklet on my desk. While reading through the Bhakti Mala, it surprised me to find that the message was consistently pure, loving and yogic. Happily I listened to Dr. Yallamanchili telling me about Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, a Sadguru, in the order of Dattatreya. Six months later, the doctor informed me to get ready to meet this Sadguru in Baton Rouge!  I enrolled in the Kriya Yoga course and the connection became clear; both to the early childhood memory at three years old and to the audible ethereal pranayama experienced by everyone in Thousand Island Park. When I later had the chance to personally ask Sri Swamiji about these two events, before the words came out of my mouth He said simply, “It was Me”.

Having studied mostly Jnana and Raja Yoga, Sri Swamiji’s words to me that He was a Nada Yogi left me curious as to the exact meaning.  Soon after meeting Him some of His longtime devotees readily and joyfully invited me to ride to Atlanta to attend a concert.  My curiosity was incredibly satisfied during that concert. Every note in the compositions was physically felt inside of my body as if they were the adjustments over a lifetime by a chiropractor.  The words of my physicist, my adopted grandfather, became clearer. A brilliant genius himself, the retired Colonel in the US Army used to tell me, “You must always remember this! Matter conforms to the L-field – the electromagnetic field of an organism or molecule – and an L-field is alterable by thought.” Noticeable ongoing changes continued after Sri Swamiji’s concert.  I was the living experiment field observing the reality that, indeed, matter is influenced by vibration and conforms to it. The vibration of Sri Swamiji’s music can affect molecular structure. This was a tiny realization of that Truth He embodies, just as a high note can break glass.

After this first physical contact with Sri Swamiji spiritual guidance from Him immediately began happening through dreams and visions.  Having heard of this before, and being a psychotherapist, dreams were already valued as helpful for therapeutic insights.  The overt qualitative difference in the dreams from Sri Swamiji showed me that visions are unique, crystal clear, making vivid memorable impressions and quite readily available spiritual gifts for our growth. They were very encouraging, inspiring, educational and helpful.  A simple yet very meaningful vision occurred, for example, where Sri Swamiji’s face came before me and it began to change into various faces. As this continued, I began joyfully laughing. Then the faces became scary faces, each scarier than the last. Still, my joy and laughter grew exponentially. There was a fearless peaceful remembering that it was Sri Swamiji’s faces, each like a mask and all an amazing fun play. The message was beautiful and clear that He is Love and He holds everything together on the outside and on the inside, good and bad, ugly and pretty. He is the One and only Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer.  Being a psychotherapist in America, analyzing dreams, wanting to provide the best treatment possible, these visions have consistently been in unison with Christian beliefs and it has been easy to find a biblical verse that presents the very same spiritual Truth.

Through the next few years there were various difficulties associated with raising two daughters after a divorce from their father in 1987.  Nonetheless, the necessary strength to maintain an emotional equilibrium and persevere on the spiritual path was a direct outcome of Sri Swamiji’s spiritual guidance, Kriya Yoga and meditation. During this period my oldest daughter got into a serious automobile accident, in a convertible in which the top was sheared off. The EMS lost her pulse at the scene while cutting her out of the vehicle. A devotee telephoned Sri Swamiji in India and told Him about the situation. His amazing comforting response was that we should not worry; she will be all right. By the time the EMS reached the hospital she had begun breathing again. Later on Sri Swamiji told me that He had given her a second life. He took care of my family with such love and continues doing so daily.  Both of my children who were raised in a normal American lifestyle have been consciously and surprisingly touched by Sri Swamiji experiences.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Yallamanchili, who told me about Sri Swamiji, was going to attend one of His programs in New York, which provided an opportunity for him to take a letter to Sri Swamiji for me.  When the doctor returned he told me that Sri Swamiji had taken the letter and sent me a crystal which He had materialized while they rode in an auto together. I was so excited to get this particular crystal. The doctor told me that he had given it to his wife and she had gone to Houston. Feeling disappointing, I had to wait until his wife returned. My disappointment melted when the crystal was actually brought to me on the eve of my birthday. That night I had a beautiful vision of Sri Swamiji being in Trinidad that awoke me. This then presented the perfect time to open the package as my first birthday gift that day. The crystal was my favorite necklace worn daily over the next several months until one day it vanished. Sri Swamiji having given it to me, I frantically searched everywhere. Sadly discussing this loss, a devotee readily told me these materializations are often given for a purpose and would disappear when fulfilled. Once again, it was amazing that just the right devotee came along at just the right moment!  Later this would be one of many examples of Sri Appaji’s strong words, “Always like this!”  Divine Grace is always occurring, flowing, the True actual Essence of this Creation.

During my first week of physically meeting Sri Swamiji, He spoke the words, “Come to India. Sri Swamiji will let you know when.” One year later Dr. Yallamanchili amazingly was able to get the hospital to pay “educational training” in India and give me two weeks’ salary while gone!  Being a single mother it had seemed unlikely that a trip to India would be happening in the near future. God is Infinitely Creative! Before leaving I wrote out all my checks to pay the bills for the month, but uncharacteristically and accidentally dropped them all in the mail together. Immediately it was a major concern that my account would be lacking enough funds and decided to take out a signature loan. That night during meditation, Sri Swamiji came in my mind’s eye and took my house, car, children and money, threw them into space, saying that they were not mine.  The message to release all worry and rely on the Creator was so clear. The next day as planned, a $1,500.00 loan application was approved. In faith it seemed symbolic for this money to be donated to a charitable organization.  So as instructed, this was a lesson on learning to rely on ‘The One Who Cares for All of His Creatures in His Creation’. Upon returning home there was a donation card from DYCUSA in the mailbox, as well as a box of cereal! Sri Appaji has so shown the caring humor, love and joy that is immersed in the essence of this Creation.

         The money was readily mailed to DYCUSA and the next week flew by.  Daily there was another box of cereal in the mailbox!  By payday the balance in my bank account was still several dollars with no overdraft. What a wonderful feeling knowing that He was saying not to worry for all of this is His. We just simply aren’t in charge of His Creation; but we are in charge of ourselves and our determination to awaken!

Walking into the ashram tears came to my eyes at seeing the beautiful Datta Murti at the entrance.  Approaching the priest who performed the morning puja, he stated he had seen me in a vision during the previous night.  It is still moving to know that God in His infinite omnipresence is capable of reaching out to all simultaneously, human by human, devotee by devotee, every hair on the head counted!  Later that morning while sitting in the temple, someone tapped my shoulder about some saris, which I very much needed. There was a distinguished man sitting just behind me. I had hoped to meet the USA president of the Datta Yoga Center, Dr. Prakash Rao. Beginning to understand how Sri Swamiji shows us the workings of this universe, the idea came that perhaps this could be Dr. Rao amongst all of the thousands of people.

Introducing myself, he informed me he was indeed Dr. Rao!  He stated he knew who I was already because in faith, he agreed to publish the Datta Mala for Appaji without having sufficient funds.  Sri Appaji had told him not to worry; the necessary fifteen hundred dollars would be coming. The next donation that DYCUSA received was that very amount sent by me from the bank loan. These occurrences have been constant and daily which transform my heart with increasing compassion and devotion; Sri Appaji role-models this, moment by moment for Our Human Family. Sri Swamiji seems to be a living example that everything we have and everything we experience is for our benefit imbedded with the capacity, out of love, to teach us. It all belongs to Him/God/The Prince of Peace/The God of Your Understanding: even the money, the cars, the homes, the children and the related accounting duties.  Our responsibility seems to be to not just survive, but learn how to survive well!

          The rest of my stay in India was wonderful. Several other Americans became wonderful friends, such as, Padma from the Jesus Datta Retreat Center in Pittsburgh. It was the beginning of a blessed sisterly relationship for us. On this first trip Sri Swamiji had given me the name Bindu. After receiving my name I went to visit the Chamundi Hills. On the way a little boy shouted to me, “What is your name?” Hesitantly, my response was Lynne, but feelings of remorse began bothering me for not saying the name Sri Swamiji had given just moments earlier.  As I walked further with this on my mind and heart, amazingly another young boy shouted to me the exact same words louder, “What is your name?”.  Of course, I was relieved to be given another opportunity and gladly responded, “Bindu!”  The patience and creativity of Sri Swamiji is infinite and continues to bring such awe!

          Back at the Ashrama I sat down in the walkway to the temple and was meditating. Being unfamiliar with the protocol of things at the Ashram, a loud clapping sound by my ear brought me out of it.  To my surprise Sri Swamiji was standing beside me with a large crowd behind Him.  In one gracious flow He handed me a piece of candy which materialized while clapping His hand.  The lesson that the principle of Guru helps us to find the God within was reinforced in a sweet, infinitely creative way!

The next year, 1995, Sri Swamiji was coming to the USA.  In Baton Rouge we all were busy in preparation for His program. On the day of His arrival we went to the airport in New Orleans around 10:00 p.m. to pick Him up. We stood waiting as the passengers came off the plane. Something seemed strange as there was no Swamiji by the time at least half of the passengers had disembarked.  We began to look around the rest of the corridor, which was empty and dark by this time of night. Several gates down from us, we saw Sri Appaji poking His head out from behind a room divider screen laughing at all of us. What a fun surprise!  Everyone went running down the hall in the dark, so happy to see our Guru once again. During this visit to Baton Rouge, Sri Swamiji asked for a present to give to Smita Patel who helped in the bookstall. She was not in the room, but I happened to be.  Out of several neatly wrapped gift boxes a devotee randomly picked up a gift. Sri Swamiji had a long stem yellow rose in His hand; He lightly tapped the box with the rose and handed it to me stating to give it to Smita.  As He drove away Smita ended up standing right beside me in the crowd.  I gave her the box and told her the story of how it came to her. She opened it to find numerous fresh yellow rose petals everywhere under which was a lovely watch. Such a sweet and tender gesture spoke volumes.

From Baton Rouge, Sri Swamiji was flying to Trinidad.  My ticket had long been booked to go, as well. Unbeknownst to me, several of us were on the same evening flight with Sri Swamiji. Another devotee, Swami Manasa, then ‘Radhakrishna’ and I sat about five rows behind Sri Appaji.  At some point during our lively spiritual discussion, my attention was drawn towards where Sri Appaji sat.  On the abstract designed walls of the bulkhead were images of Hanuman facing each other on each side of the single doorway. There in front of Sri Swamiji Hanuman led the way. Little did I know at the time what this foretold for Trinidad’s future. Many years later Sri Swamiji announced the sankalpa to build the eighty-five foot Hanuman Murti in Trinidad.

This was my first trip to Trinidad and it was such a wonderful trip. After arriving, my tiredness from assisting long hours in the Baton Rouge program caught up with me and I found myself going to bed with a stuffy nose. While sleeping under a mosquito net, a sudden large blast of air going up my nostrils awoke me. There, in front of me, at the foot of my cot, stood Sri Swamiji, although His form was simultaneously transparent. The next morning while sharing that Sri Swamiji had visited us in His ethereal form while we were all fast asleep, another devotee said she also awoke and saw Him.

Later that morning, during darshan while expressing my great appreciation for feeling well again, Sri Appaji smiled and said, “Swamiji made the rounds last night!”  How sweet!  He was looking out for all of His children.  During that trip I saw Sri Appaji giving warm caring personal support to the most humble inconspicuous of devotees, and thereafter, to a crowd of approximately three thousand.  We were invited to poor simple homes where He gave freely of Himself, and to lavish big homes where the blessings remained the same.  It reminded me of the story that the sun’s light doesn’t discriminate upon whom it shines. The love felt at all the homes was the same. It showed me that He loves everyone equally in all their varied circumstances.

To the crowd of thousands Sri Appaji stated, “Close your eyes; Swamiji will give you a vision of Krishna”.  Dutifully my eyes closed yet my mind was saying, “How can this happen, I don’t really know so much about Krishna, but, okay, we’ll see.”  In the next moment that very same mind suddenly was filled to capacity with an understanding of Krishna! A clear vision showed Krishna rhythmically moving through nature.  Krishna was playing His flute into the air creating a beautiful sound vibration. Behind Krishna walking in the very same momentum and movements was a line of humans, one after the other stretched out to infinity.  The waving grass was tall and flowing in exactly the same motion as Krishna.  The leaves of the tree nearby were swaying to Krishna’s rhythm and movement.  A gentle rain was falling onto the scenery of the trees, the grass, all the people and Krishna. The rain came softly down swaying and swirling onto the earth under the spell, the motion, the power, the rhythm of Krishna’s being.  What an incredible, overwhelming beautiful teaching of how this is ever the case, that a blade of grass can’t blow in the wind without grace, and that this grace is eternally happening in each moment.

This particular Trinidad trip came to represent an ongoing kaleidoscope of one experience after another with Sadguru.  While still there, a group of people were talking about a “murderer among us”.  Of course, by this time my inner voice was preparing me for a highly possible encounter.  Once, in the large hall where everyone awaited Sri Swamiji’s arrival, I meditated to the chanting of the priests for the Yagna.  Upon opening my eyes, there sat a man with a warm countenance and with a small child. My inner voice was now telling me, “Told you”!  He began to openly chat with me about accidentally killing someone in the line of duty as a police officer.  He stated while in prison an acquaintance brought him a photo of Sri Appaji. As the man sincerely deeply prayed one day, a brilliant light came out of that photo and into his body.  He said he was completely transformed and became overwhelmed with feelings of compassion and love for all, dedicating his life to God.

Several times through the years I have had ex-prisoners sitting in my office for therapy. This experience reminds me of the miracles that can transform the human heart. It has made me sit with an inner stillness as the individual’s story unfolds. With a quiet surrendered mind, it can help me see the loving awakening we undergo through our struggles.  What love resides within the human consciousness waiting to be revealed!

For a Guru to capture the attention of His Bhakta, guide and utilize the devotee, He, also, does “miracles” on a very physical level.  Such one occasion happened during an evening program at the Datta Temple and Hall of Trinity. A hand seemed to be firmly sitting on top of my head, although Sri Swamiji was sitting on the altar about fifteen feet away from me.  No one else was touching me. Driving home that night singing in my car, the sound that came from my voice was distinctly different. Surprised, and in a funny way, I tried various notes that would have been more difficult for me previously. The next morning when I went to the airport to see Him off, Sri Appaji said, “Bindu, I want you to sing Bhajans at my temple.” Singing Bhajans was an unexpected request from my Sadguru, but the previous night’s experience began to make sense. Now there is a deeply felt pull to sing Datta’s Grace.

There is a beautiful stretch of land between Dallas, TX, and Shreveport, LA which one drives between the Hanuman Temple and Datta Temple. Recently, feeling completely inspired by Sri Appaji’s visit to Dallas, I made a sankalpa to sing on the drive back to Baton Rouge. After the first full hour or more of singing, a powerful momentum took over deep inside of my body that began “singing me”. This same power simultaneously seem to be singing the entirety of nature and the landscapes left and right were also resonating with Sri Appaji’s Bhajans.  A strong determination came for me to drive straight to the Temple, rather than to go home, and go inside to sing.  Several devotees were there and commented on having an uplifted experience when the bhajan began to “sing me”.  If we all could learn we are nothing without Him, what a Divine life we could have.  It is our true self and birthright. He has taught me that if one person can have “It”, “It” (meaning the Indivisible called by various names, in various languages) is available for each and every one of us. It is the Infinite Reality that not only is available, but also is unequivocally the Life-force within every particle of Creation. Jaya Guru Datta




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