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).

Aug 31 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Shaddarshanam Vijaya Lakshmi, Produttur

94-Devotee Experiences ~ Shaddarshanam Vijaya Lakshmi, Produttur

Shaddarshanam Vijaya Lakshmi, Produttur


Somasundara Sharma should have passed away a long time ago, but I kept him alive for a while longer, however, his time had come and he had to go.”

As a boy, in the early 1950s, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji lived amongst and with us in Produttur. My family had known the boy, Satyam, when He used to stay with His paternal aunt, Venkamma at the Shiva Temple. He attended the Anne Besant Municipal High School where my father, Shaddarshanam Somasundara Sharma, worked as a teacher and had a close relationship with Him. When He was young, Satyam was like an ordinary boy and nobody suspected that He would attain the pinnacle of spirituality. During those years my brother was privileged to be one of His classmates.

For a period while staying in Produttur, Satyam, a shorten form of Satyanarayana, His original name, did “Madhukara Vrata.” He went to five different houses, one each day, to receive Bhiksha as per His aunt’s instructions. He visited our house on Mondays as His aunt, Venkamma, instructed Him to visit our house for Bhiksha first, and then He was allowed to go to the other four houses that she selected. My mother was very fond of the boy and with excitement she used to offer Bhiksha to Him in those early days, in 1955.

I was not yet three years old, but when He came to our house I used to play with Him. As was customary, my mother would tell Satyam that He should take care of the baby while she prepared His Bhiksha. I don’t recall a whole lot of about those days, but I knew that the way He played and took care of me was no different that my mother.

After Satyam became Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, and was being worshipped by several devotees, He came to Produttur many times. Each time He came He would want to see my father, but my father never went to have His darshan, as he did not believe in Swamijis or living God in those days. He used to just strictly follow his spiritual practices and daily austerities at home.

In 1973 when He came to Produttur, Sri Swamiji sent a message asking my father to come and meet with Him. Instead, he asked me, a young woman, to go and meet Him, but he adamantly refused to come along. I went to see Sri Swamiji and that was my first darshan of Him as a Sadguru. He talked with me very lovingly and affectionately. He inquired about the welfare of all family members and especially my mother who prepare His Bhiksha in those early days. Unfortunately, she passed away in my childhood.

My father was a very peculiar and stubborn man. If he wanted to do something he will do it with the grace and time that was required. Once, when the boy, Satyam was in his school, the school bully was very abusive. Identification of class status was through the earrings worn by the individual. Satyam wore copper earrings only and so He was taunted by this bully.

One day this bully got hold of Satyam’s earring and tore it from His ear which caused it to bleed. With anxiety, the other boys ran to my father to complain on the situation. Very carefully and cautiously, he attended to the boy and stopped the bleeding. He then scolded the bully and reprimanded him for his behavior. Satyam, who had loved my father very much, was pleased with the attention and told him, “This incident you must remember.” Many years later, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji came to Produttur and wanted to see my father, but he refused the many invitations.

In 1974 Sri Swamiji sent a money order to my father asking him to come to Mysore. My father then went to Mysore for the first time. He went there feeling more like it was an obligation but returned home very happily and sincerely said that he had seen divinity in Sri Swamiji and recognized that He is none other than that immutable Lord Dattatreya Himself.

He was reminded about the earlier incident and couldn’t believe that Sri Swamiji was the same boy, Satyam, whom he had loved so dearly. Since then we have been coming to Mysore ashrama very regularly. My father had written several books on Sri Swamiji and Vedas/Puranas/Upanishads etc. He had written the famous “Sri Guru Samitha” in Telugu language.

My father told all his children, that Sri Swamiji is Lord Dattatreya and our Sadguru. We should believe in Him as He is the imperishable Lord. His words were very strong and all the children listened to him and followed his direction. Now everyone in the family is an ardent devotee of His Holiness. The way he spoke and the manner he used when he was referring to Sri Swamiji made devotees of many who didn’t believe in Him. His manner in life changed and in his final years nothing was closer to him that the thoughts of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.

In 1975, I came to the ashrama, with my father, for Sri Swamiji’s thirty-third birthday celebrations. The ashrama was not yet very developed. Sri Swamiji was sitting behind a small table with a bowl full of small chocolates. He asked all the youngsters there to form a line, to come and take one chocolate each. He asked us to close our eyes for a few minutes and then open the chocolates. There were about twenty of us that took the chocolates and about six got a ‘Rudraksha’ inside the wrapper. I was one of the fortunate ones that received a Rudraksha. I still have that in my puja room after all these years. That was the first miracle that I have witnessed.

Every Shivaratri I used to come to Mysore ashrama. One year I could not come but I watching the program live on Gemini TV. Sometime during the telecast, I started falling asleep and suddenly I felt a slap on my back and heard a voice saying, “Why are you sleeping.” I looked around to see who could have said that, but I realize that it was just my husband and I in the house, and he was asleep in another room. I believe that was Sri Swamiji Himself and confirming my thought, and I felt the strong sweet smell of sacred vibhuti.

Another time, I had a desire to go to Kashi (Varanasi) but at that time, that did not materialize. However within one week, Sri Swamiji announced that He was going to Kashi, and I was so excited. I told my husband that we should seek His permission to accompany Him. Miraculously, we were given permission to go at the time while He was in there. I feel very blessed.

Once, when I went to Mysore, Sri Swamiji asked if I would still want my father to live. I did not understand why Swamiji was asking like that, as my father was still alive, but I said, “Yes Swamiji! I would like very much for my father to live longer, but He just smiled. I returned to Proddutur wondering what was there behind the question. Later on, after two years, my father passed away. He had gone to Bommeparthi and got a sun-stroke and when he came back home to Proddutur, he passed away. I started crying before Sri Swamiji’s photo saying, “Why did you take my father away that early.” To comfort us Sri Swamiji personally telephoned my sister-in-law and told her, “Somasundara Sharma should have passed away a long time ago, but I kept him alive for a while longer, however, his time had come and he had to go.”

The first time I saw Sri Swamiji, after His Poorva Ashrama, I saw ‘Devi Goddess’ in Him. He exudes such austere luminance that I felt that He was so close to me. Since then I kept chanting His name at all times. I don’t have children but to me He is; my son, my father and my mother. Whatever problems come along in life I just think of Him and we will definitely find some resolution.

Spiritually, since coming into Swamiji’s fold I have gained more concentration. I feel my life is so much happier and peaceful because of Him as He takes care of everything, as long as you have complete faith. I definitely see a positive change in myself, and I am certainly growing spiritually.       Jaya Guru Datta




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Aug 28 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Pingala Manfred Herden, Germany

93-Devotee Experiences ~ Pingala Manfred Herden, Germany

Pingala Manfred Herden, Germany

The heart to heart connection between Sri Swamiji and me was becoming stronger day by day.


I am originally from Germany, now living in the Mysore Ashrama. While growing up, for seven years; from the age of eighteen, I attended many Hatha Yoga courses and practiced it, read many spiritual books and met a few German Yoga Masters. Later I lived enjoying the pleasures of life with no desire for the spiritual one.

In 1991, while I roaming in a park close to my city, I looked up into the sky and the thoughts of being a spiritual seeker started coming to me, ‘I had money, a girlfriend, a job and all the physical comforts in life. I can pursue this lifestyle, but do I want this? And then an answer came from within that I should go deeper within myself and find out about the Self?’ For this I wanted to do traveling for a long period, preferably in India.

Later, I went to an astrologer to have my horoscope read and among other things, he told me that if I would travel to India I could visit a small ashram in Mysore India, and I could meet a saint at His birthday festival. I had been to Mysore previously. So I thought I would go back there when being on a longer trip. At end of 1991, I began preparing for a trip to India. I called the boss of my job and asked if I could get some time off. My boss asked for how long I wanted to have time off from job.  I was surprised at this for they usually don’t offer the choice to select a period by you. I took a nine-month leave. I spent three months in Thailand and then went to the Himalayas in North India.

As I landed in India I felt like the earth was vibrating with spiritual vibrations and I felt like being guided. I visited a Buddhist Spiritual Center, which was close to the Dalai Lama place in the Dhauladar Mountain range, Himalayas. I attended classes in Self Inquiry and did Yoga and Meditation and began feeling an energy rising within me from the lower part of the body up towards my head. This experience was not familiar to me, and I became scared and tried to get out of it. It was a totally strange experience. I felt physically and energetically irritated after that, almost as being sick. I went to a doctor later in Delhi. He examined me and declared that everything was okay with my condition. He gave me some medicine for my stomach. After this one month of lonely spiritual practice I left for South India towards Mysore.

When I got into Bangalore, I took a bus to Mysore. The bus was old and the trip was rough. In spite of this, I felt comfortable as being rocked in a cradle rushing towards my later home and Master. When I reached the Mysore Ashrama, thinking of what the astrologer said, I expected to see an old saint, who would probably be visiting this small ashram, from the mountains. But as I entered, I was impressed at the large number of people gathering there. It was the last day of Sri Swamiji’s fiftieth. Birthday Celebrations, the Golden Jubilee, and still more than one thousand people were there.

I went to the Ashram office where the German astrologer, Janardana, who had given the hint of the Ashram festival, was called. He introduced me to Swami Manasa Datta who sat there as the Ashram representative. I saw a picture of a Sri Swami on the wall and thought that He was so young and not whom I expected. Swami Manasa Datta said that I could stay for four days only. I went and put my stuff away, went into the Prayer Hall, sat down and began meditating. After five minutes I saw a spiritual personality entering the Prayer Hall with a pink glow around Him. I recognized that He could be the Swamiji. I stood up and bowed before Him, and He went by, very close to me, and sat on the dais.

There were only four persons in the hall when He came in. As He sat, the hall became filled with people. The Swami seemed to have only a serious face, and He was scanning the audience, giving every person there a powerful glimpse within a split of a second: His eyes fell on me a couple of times. I saw a few Masters in Germany who taught Yoga but I thought this Master was obviously much more powerful.

That night I had a dream where I was a leader and guide for angels with wings flying high in the sky. I was teaching them how to fly and watched them unfolding this art. I saw a female angel flying too high in the sky, and then she began to fall. I caught her and took care of her. After waking up I thought that as it was a spiritual dream, it might mean something special and was amazed at it.

One day when I went up to the Swamiji for Darshan I asked, “Can I talk to you?” He turned His head away from me and said to me very sternly, “Later!” I felt a little bit like being turned away. The fourth day came, and I had to leave. I got permission to come and spend the day time in the ashram, but had to find a place to sleep outside. I did this for a few days and got tired of it. I thought that maybe I do not belong here; there is nothing here except people running and bowing before this man. I thought they should do Yoga and meditate and do not make all this fuss around the Swami.

I left the ashram and spent a few more days in Mysore City, then headed further South to Kerala. I spent some time on the beach and enjoyed the places. I kept practicing meditation and would often get spiritual dreams. I met many interesting persons and slowly I began to change my way of seeing the world.

One day on the beach, I felt this overwhelming sensation in my heart opening it up and with the feeling that an orchestra was playing within me. I kept feeling like this for days, months, and years and even up to this day. With this experience and feeling of intensive joy inside I immediately thought that I would have to go back to Mysore to see the Swami who I felt was the cause for this tremendous new inner feeling, and that He is my Master.

After travelling for twenty-four hours, I reached Mysore Ashrama. I went to the Ashram office where Swami Manasa Datta was again the one whom I met there. He told me that Sri Swamiji had changed his plans and was now in Europe, and I could not stay in the Ashram. I was not frustrated by that and accepted just what was offered as a possibility to me. I left the office to sit for a while in the Prayer Hall.

When I went to the foreigners’ bathroom I met Parvati there and on the way she started talking to me; I observed a white bright glow around her, and the whole atmosphere suddenly had changed and caused a intensive feeling in me. She talked to me very politely. When I told her a little bit about my new inner changes and the urge to meet Sri Swamiji now as His real devotee, she said beside other things that I would be one of the last devotees to come to Sri Swamiji.

Much later when being asked about our meeting at the bathroom place she strangely could not remember to have met me there. She offered the Angel Hall, the foreign devotees’ quarters, for me to take a shower and then we sat along with Shabari for breakfast upstairs.

There Parvati gave the hint to visit Vijayawada in one month’s time when Sri Swamiji will be there. I thought I would do that. I left the ashram and instead of visiting Rajasthan as intended before I went to some places in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu waiting for one month to pass. I had this feeling deep within myself that Sri Swamiji was my Master and I must meet Him.

I went to Vijayawada for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival and saw Sri Swamiji there. I attended all the functions and enjoyed everything. I dropped all the negative feelings I had about the devotees around Him and found myself being one of them. My meditation became very intense and I could feel the energy in me all the way up in my head, I felt like as if my skull bone was not there any more and the energy could pass easily above my head.

When I told Sri Swamiji’s assistants about my wish to meet Him, they later told me that Swamiji would give me an interview. I waited for the whole day, but He did not call me for this interview. This was okay for me. I was happy just to be with Him. On the main day of Ganesh Chaturthi, I sat in the huge crowd and He looked at me with the most compassionate look which I had not seen before on His face. It melted my heart.

I got permission to come to Mysore Ashram with the Ashram staff. I stayed at the ashram for five weeks, so that I can be there for the Navaratri Festival. I kept practicing my meditation. He gave me the name, Pingala, during this visit. When the day came I had to leave and return to Germany I had a heavy but also a joyous heart to leave my Master in physical form.

In Germany I got back to my life as a social worker, I meditatedly started and later learnt and practiced Homa rituals. I felt my inner being opening up to subtle realms of spirituality. Some Nadis and Chakras in the body opened up. Sometimes I would get the taste of Amrita in my mouth that seemed to be ten times sweeter than sugar. I attended the Satsangha in Germany regularly and would have dreams with Sri Swamiji every other night. Through these dreams, I received His Darshan, blessings and guidance. The heart to heart connection between Sri Swamiji and me was becoming stronger day by day. In 1993, I went with Sri Swamiji on His Nada Prasara Tour in Germany, Holland and Switzerland. I prepared the Homas and Pooja places for Sri Swamiji and helped in whatever way I could. In the following years 1994 to 1998, I visited Mysore once in a year.

In 1999 while being in Mysore Ashram for half a year, Sri Swamiji, after having completed the Sri Chakra Puja and passing by the sitting crowd, came suddenly close to me and sat down very near to talk to me for half an hour. He mostly scolded me for things I had not really done. But it was obviously a teaching also for all other devotees around us. Finally He assigned me to take care of the accommodation arrangements for the foreign devotees for the inauguration of the Datta Venkateswara Temple.

There were about three hundred and fifty devotees coming from abroad. This was my first official assigned duty in the Ashrama, and I was honored to serve. Before coming to the Ashrama in 1999, I had to find someone to take over my flat for the time of absence which turned out to be a little bit difficult. One day I got a call from Berlin, the young woman on the phone said that her actual name was “Blessing” (which has a different meaning in German than in English), and she would like to take over the flat, even if she had not seen it before. I felt that this was only the outcome of Sri Swamiji’s blessing.

That year, I accompanied Sri Swamiji everywhere as the only Western devotee on His tour in Andra Pradesh staying always with the staff members. It was challenging, but spiritually very beneficial. At the end of this trip, Sri Swamiji told me to come back to Mysore Ashram soon and stay here for more than one year. I had planned differently to concentrate on my new profession as a non-medical doctor in Germany. But with this special offer I changed my directions immediately and felt happy to get this golden chance.

On September 13th 2000, I came to Mysore with the intention of leaving after one year but I never left. I stayed with regular small breaks in between until this day in 2011, rendering as much Seva as possible to Sri Swamiji and the Ashrama. When I first came to India, I did not come with the intention of finding a Guru. I wanted to learn more about Yoga and Meditation. I did do that, and it led me to Sri Swamiji who became the object of my meditation. He has seated Himself in my heart and became my inner motivator and guide. He has stationed Himself within me where I do not need to see His physical form. I do not know what the future will bring He knows what and when to give and where it will finally lead to. For me He is Spirituality personified.                               Jaya Guru Datta93-Appaji




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Aug 24 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Kiran Harilal and Mala Bodiwala, Surat

92-KiranHarilal and MalaBodiwala

Kiran Harilal and Mala Bodiwala, Surat

You won’t believe this, but he is alive today and free of cancer. All the doctors, his family Guru and even the astrologers who predicted that he will die were awestruck.


Many men live their lives without meeting their Guru, a Guru. Many men exist on this earth without even a sip of the efficacy of seeing the Guru. I was that person before 1992. Since I was a child of about eight years old, I was searching for a Guru; whenever I meet people kept telling me that either this person or that person is not your Guru. So I was in search of a Guru until I met Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji and now I have found my Guru.

Before that time, I used to visit the temple of Tejanandbaba in Dindoli village near Kharvasa. Once I was coming back from that temple, a man stopped me and told me that he did not mind me going to this temple, but my real place was the Datta Temple in Surat. He requested that I should visit the Datta Temple, sing Bhajans and play a musical instrument called “Santoor’. So the next Sunday I went there and spoke with Mr. Balloo and since then I have been coming to this Datta Temple.

The next year, in 1993, I first met Swamiji when he came directly from Mysore at Magdalla Airport and He stayed here for two days. I just saw Him and did not even speak with Him. We only had some eye contacts. While giving His discourse He gave the name of an herb, turmeric, which He said was very effective for one’s health and it can even treat cancer. He spoke about the healing properties of the plant and afterwards He gave some to us as prasadam. Our minds couldn’t understand the potency of this herb so we placed it in our puja room.

Later, in 1994, my cousin was diagnosed with cancer and was admitted to Jaslok Hospital in Bombay. The doctors there told the family that this was a non-treatable type of cancer and that he may not live for long. They advised them that they should not waste money, and they should take the patient back home in Surat. With saddened hearts, they took him to the Mahavir Hospital in Surat, where another team of doctors said the same thing.

At this time, the cancer was in its last stage. I told my mother to try the herb, which Sri Swamiji had given us. I felt that there was nothing harmful in trying it since there is very little chance of his survival. I insisted that we should try the herb. My mother took that herb, mixed it in water and gave it to my cousin. You won’t believe this, but he is alive today and free of cancer. All the doctors, his family Guru and even the astrologers who predicted that he will die were awestruck. That is the miracle. After his recovery: his business prospered, his daughter got married, he became wealthy and he is living very well. He is still alive and he is one hundred percent cured.

People think that Sri Swamiji is only visiting wealthy people and is after money, but  for me it is not so. He is looking for people with true feelings and honesty. At the Surat Ashrama, all the trustees are somewhat wealthy, but I am a very ordinary man. I benefited a lot in my life by the blessings of Sri Swamiji. It is not to say that I am living a very happy and comfortable life, but He has given me enough so that I can effectively and efficiently do His work.

In 1995, when Sri Swamiji was visiting Surat, we were planning to build the hall at the Ashrama. He asked me to collect donations for the construction. In 1997, when He came back to Surat, He called and asked me to attend a meeting. At that meeting I was appointed as one of the Trustees. At that time I was very ordinary man. This event uplifted my spirits. The news of my appointment gave me a big boost in our circle and I gained lot of respect in society. My business prospered, my income grew and I am now living a very comfortable life.

In 1995-1996 I was going through very rough time. When I went to Ashram in 1997, Swamiji told me that from now on your fortune will change and you will Good times. He comes in my dreams and guides me and gives me directions. He knows all my family members by name, which is very big thing for us. He has so many devotees and yet He remembers our names, which amazes me and I feel very fortunate about that close relationship.

I visited Ashram for the first time in 1999, with Mr. Niranjankaka. I talked to Sri Swamiji at that time and told Him that I started the factory eleven years ago, but there is no progress. He told me, when you return home the progress will start. My business grew and in 2000 I installed four more looms. In 2001, Sri Swamiji came to Surat. I mentioned to Him that I have an empty plot behind my current factory and I want to expand. He blessed me and told me to go ahead with the plans. I had less than two lakh rupees and contractor estimated cost at four lakh rupees, but the actual cost was eight lakh rupees. Even today I do not know, where and how the funds came for expansion. It is all because of Swamiji’s blessings. I just believed in Swamiji with all my heart. My dream was fulfilled.

In 2001 my wifer suffered from paralysis. Afterwards when I went to Mysore, Sri Swamiji told me that He was aware of my wife’s illness and that He will take care. Today no one remembers that he had paralysis; he is completely cured. In 2002, Sri Swamiji was being weighed in gold and in order to do Paduka-Pooja they were asking one lakh rupees. I had taken some gifts to offer and when I was making the offerings I wanted to touch His Holy Lotus Feet. He permitted that even though there were thousands of people around and nobody was allowed to touch Him. My wife Mala and I were fortunate enough to touch His feet. We felt very blessed.

Sri Swamiji is our guide. He is the one who shows us the road to our progress. He is with us twenty-four hours a day. Whatever we do daily, we seek His blessings. We remember Him every time we wake up, eat, drink water, go to work, come home and go to bed. We take His name every step of the way. He is with us all the time. I was not that religious before I met Swamiji. He showed us what “Dharma” is. He gave us the knowledge of true “Dharma”. It is like when your vision changes when you wear correct eyeglass. He makes us do activities for the benefit of needy people and teaches us to help the less fortunate.

We had our own social circle before we met Him, but after meeting our family and friends has become “Datta Pariwara (family)”. I came to know lots of important people locally and nationally. I now know lots of people from Surat, Bombay, Mysore, and South India who are in “Datta Pariwara (Family)”. We have become one Family.                                                                                                Jai Guru Datta! Sri Guru Datta!

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Aug 21 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Satish Garg, Delhi

91-Satish Garg

Satish Garg, Delhi

While waiting for the results someone brought me a raksha from Sri Swamiji. An old woman came and offered me North Indian food. I took the food and ate. The woman stayed with me all the time.


My neighbor, Professor Krissan Kumar, used to tell me about his Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji who lives in Mysore. I was fascinated with his talks and told him to inform me when his Guru visits Delhi. After graduating from the Institute of Hotel Management in Delhi, I started my own catering business.  I followed in the tradition of my father who had started his restaurant business in 1962.  I got a contract to cater some VIP functions, became anxious about it, and spent many sleepless nights planning.

In one of these functions, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, was scheduled to perform the inauguration ceremony for a medical conference. Then just twenty days before the function, on December 30th 1975, Professor Krissan Kumar came and told me that Sri Swamiji was in Delhi at Bala Sriram’s house. I thought I would take a break from my job to go and see Him.

When I first saw Him I was very nervous; when I looked at Him, He looked very peaceful. But, I still had my job on my mind. During an interview, I casually asked Him, “Will my restaurant business be successful?” He looked at me and said, “Yes it will be a success.” He gave me some vibhuti and I left. Following this, I gained more confidence in my business and received great reviews from my functions. My business became a financial success.

I got married in 1978 and told Professor Kumar I wanted to visit Mysore to seek the blessings of Sri Swamiji for my marriage. He was very happy, saying that it was good that I do not want to go on a honeymoon, but I wanted to seek the blessings of God. He asked me to meet him in Mysore. My wife and I went and had the darshan of Sri Swamiji; He looked at us and said, “Very nice, after marriage you have come for the blessings of Sadguru, very nice.” He then told Professor Kumar to take us around the ashram.

He took us on the tour, and we saw the printing press where the Bhakti Mala was printed, we saw the cowsheds, small canteen, the office, and Rama Shankara Kuteera, the cottage that accommodated the devotees.  The Datta Temple was under construction. Later when we were going around the temple Sri Swamiji was standing with the priest, Thimmapa and Professor Kumar. They were all looking at us and Sri Swamiji said to them, “This couple will be blessed with a son.” We requested a photo with Sri Swamiji and He obliged. We stayed two more days then returned to Delhi.

We returned home feeling the shadow of our Guru, Sri Swamiji, on us. As He predicted, My wife became pregnant and delivered a baby boy. He was the apple of our eyes. I was a drunkard and had some other bad habits. Slowly, over the years and by His grace, I became a better person. There were good and bad times in our lives, but when any problem came that I could not find a solution, I used to seek His guidance. I visited Mysore Ashrama at least twice per year and received His guidance and blessings.

He had given me the opportunity to cook and serve food in the Delhi Ashrama. I cooked Prasadam for about one hundred young children every Sunday. On one occasion, Mr. Deslal, the manager of the Haridwar Ashrama came to our Delhi Temple and taught me how to cook certain things for the Ashrama. I learnt cooking and received my degree in the Taj Mahal Hotel and now I really learned to cook in the Delhi Ashrama. I received the degree of Sri Swamiji’s grace.

On November 18th 1999, my wife complained to Sri Swamiji that I was still drinking alcohol. He told her not to worry about it. Eleven days later I stopped drinking. This was a miracle, I used to drink everyday and stopping it became so easy for me. It was only because of Sri Swamiji’s blessings.

In 2002, Sri Swamiji conducted Shivaratri festival in Haridwar Ashrama. I attended the functions there and when I returned to Delhi, I stopped consuming non-vegetarian foods. Also in my catering business, I began doing vegetarian food only. The only explanation I can give for this sudden change is because of my association with Him. I am a heart patient and few years back I suffered a massive heart attack.. I did an angiogram and the doctor said that it does not look very good for me. I kept on doing my daily duties trying not to provoke another heart attack.

Sometime in 2008, one evening at around 9.00 pm Vamshi Krishna Ganapathy, a close associate of Sri Swamiji, called and said that Sri Swamiji wanted to talk to me. I became very nervous and my hands were trembling, I was wondering why did He call me?  Sri Swamiji came on the phone and said to me, “Tomorrow morning take the first flight and come to Mysore.” I said, “OK Swamiji.”  I wondered how I was going to get a ticket for the early morning flight. The ticket would cost about twelve to fifteen hundred rupees.

I remembered sometime back, I got a flyer from Indian Airlines stating that you can call six hours before the flight time to get a cheaper priced ticket. The first flight was at 6.30am. I told my wife to pack my bags and I will call the airline at 12.20am and whether or not I get a cheap or expensive ticket, I was going. When I called the airline and they said that one seat was available and it would cost four thousand, two hundred rupees. I booked it and the next morning I went to Mysore. Upon arrival in the Ashrama Sri Swamiji told me that He was glad I came and He instructed me to do a pooja the following day. I did the pooja and then He told me to go back to Delhi.

About three to four days later, He called me to Mysore again. On the way, I met Him in Bangalore and He told me to go back to Delhi. One week passed and He called me to Mysore again. I went there and early the next morning, I was sitting with Professor Kumar when I had a massive heart attack. I was in the Ashrama hospital and the doctors conducted some tests. While waiting for the results someone brought me a raksha from Sri Swamiji. An old woman came and offered me North Indian food. I took the food and ate. The woman stayed with me all the time. I took a nap and after two hours, the doctors came with the results of the tests. The test read positive that there was nothing wrong with my heart. Sri Swamiji had brought me under His shadow and protected me from death.

I had asked Sri Swamiji to help my children and He told me not to worry about them. He has indeed taken care of them. They went to the best schools and received a good education. In July of 2000, my son went to the UK to complete his studies. He became home sick and used to call me on the phone and cry. Three weeks later, Sri Swamiji visited the town where my son lived. Sri Swamiji met my son and hugged him as a father would; my son never felt home sick again. In fact, he stayed and completed his studies and even extended his time there.

My daughter gave birth to a baby boy in 2010. After twenty-one days the baby began suffering from jaundice, we did not worry about it much for it was a common thing. The sickness persisted and my daughter took the baby to the doctor. They did some tests and found out that the baby may develop thyroid problems that will affect his growth and mental functions. We became worried, consulted various doctors, and did many tests. None of these proved differently. I went to Sri Swamiji and informed Him about my grandson. He told me not to worry everything will be all right. Fifteen days later, I took the baby to the Delhi Ashrama and laid him at Sri Swamiji’s padukas. I returned home and my son-in-law looked at the baby’s medical file and was shocked to see that the reports were different. The results were changed. We took the reports to the doctors and they said that according to the reports nothing is wrong with my grandson. Sri Swamiji changed the medical records and so saved my grandson.

Since 2005, Sri Swamiji appointed me as a trustee in the Delhi Ashrama. I am serving Him to the best of my ability. What else can I give Him? Everything is His. In fact serving Him is a blessing from Him. On one occasion, Sri Swamiji conducted a volunteer camp of about six hundred devotees in Andhra Pradesh. He invited devotees from all the states to attend. I was invited also. He honored all of us who were serving at various ashrams and made us sit on the dais with Him. Seeing the faces of all the volunteers and their enthusiasm, I realized that I should not only serve in His organizations, but also render service to everyone; for we are all his children.                                       Jaya Guru Datta


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Aug 17 2014

Devotee Experiences ~ Ratna Verna, Kashmir

90-Ratna Verna

Ratna Verna, Kashmir

Not realizing what was happening, we found Sri Swamiji slowly emerging out of water with a Shankha (conch) in His hands, studded with jewels. From this Shankha, milk was flowing and He appeared to be in trance


All that the devotee needs to do is to have complete faith and devotion to the Sadguru; then there is no need to plan. All actions will be guided by Him and Him alone. All you need to do is to be guided by your heart; it is only the heart and not the mind which makes it possible to get the glimpse of unity of spirit. Sadguru manifests Himself in your heart when it is purified by love and devotion. Spiritual understanding is an outcome of harmony between mind and heart. Heart, when purified with the blessing of Guru makes it possible for God to manifests in you as your own self. He alone can reveal to you that there is no difference between you and Him. Hari Om Tat Sat.

I originally belong to a Kashmiri family; my father Sri P N Wanchoo was an engineer by profession. I shifted to Delhi after I got married.  It was in 1969 that I came to know about Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji through one of my colleague and friend, Sri Prof. Krishan Kumar. He had an opportunity of having Sri Swamijis darshan at Mysore, seeking His divine blessings. He was very impressed by the miracles he had witnessed at the ashram and thereby developed full faith in Sri Swamiji’s divine powers to heal his ailing daughter, Deepa. Later, it was on his insistence that I, along with my son and a few other friends, decided to visit the Mysore Ashram for Sri Swamiji’s darshan. The ashram, at that time was very small; it had a room with a basement where Sri Swamiji used to meditate. Besides that, there was a big dining hall which was used for sleeping by the devotees at night. The rest of the space was open land, fill of trees and wild grass.

During that first visit, though I was fascinated by the soul starring bhajans sung in a simple style by Sri Swamiji and also a few miracles that happened during our short stay at ashram, it did not attract my being as much as it did later on, after we left the ashram. One such event that I need to mention here is about the narrow escape we had for not taking Sri Swamiji’s words seriously. We had combined a sight-seeing tour of Mysore city before we left for our next destination, with this trip to the ashram and we told Sri Swamiji about this. He, however, instructed us not to leave the ashram campus until He permits us to do so. Since we had nothing to do, during the day, we decided to go to the city. As soon as we stepped out of the main gate and were looking for transport, a truck suddenly appeared from somewhere and somehow we escaped an almost fatal accident.

Remembering His warning, we returned immediately to ashram and informed Him about the matter. Ever since then, whenever I go to see Sri Swamiji, I do not break my journey in between and do social calls only after having His darshan. My son, who lives in Bangalore, at times gets angry with me because of this habit and affectionately complains that my primary purpose to visit South India is to see Sri Swamiji only.

My first interaction with my Sadguru, Sri Swamiji, did not have as much effect on me as the experiences that followed later, after we left the Ashram for our next destination, Hyderabad. These experiences continued even after I returned to Delhi. Since I did not have any concept of the importance of Guru in one’s spiritual life and with very little personal interaction with a Guru, I began having a series of divine experiences, which served as a turning point in my life; I suddenly became contemplative and meditative. I found myself being very secure and confident about facing the challenges of life.

I would travel to my work place, which was almost twenty-five kilometers away from my residence, in a local bus without showing any reaction and resentments.  I began taking life as it was. This not only improved my life-coping skills, but also made me a peaceful and pleasant person. I also began having spiritual and philosophical dialogues with myself and began to find answers to my queries within myself. These experiences made me feel wonderful and I gradually started attributing all this to Sri Swamiji; this helped me to develop faith in my Sadguru.

Later, as time permitted, we began sharing our experiences invariably and we enjoyed those satsangs, bhajan singing and listening sessions immensely. It was through these experiences we became aware of the invisible influence of Gurudeva on us. Inspired by the changes experienced within us and the sense of this new bonding that were taking place, five of us who have had the good fortune of meeting Sri Swamiji earlier, decided to invite Him to Delhi in 1970. We contributed a meager sum of Rs. 500/- each to meet the travelling expenses and raised additional funds to meet other costs. Pujya Swamiji came and stayed with our friend, Srimati Bala Sriram. She belonged to Chennai and her family had known Sri Swamiji for quite some time. Since she belonged to South India, we thought that Sri Swamiji will feel more comfortable in her house.

My husband and other family members were apprehensive of my new spiritual interest and tried to dissuade me from getting involved with religious activities, which they thought will result in my disinterest in worldly affairs. However, in spite of these difficulties, my association with the activities surrounding Sri Swamiji continued. We started organizing regular bhajan sessions and satsangs and tried to explore the possibilities of having an ashram in Delhi; since Sri Swamiji’s visits to Delhi was becoming more frequent and the numbers of devotees were also increasing. It was during one of these visits that the first official forum of Mysore Ashram entitled ‘Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Gyana Bodha Sabha’ was started.

Because of my domestic and official responsibilities I was not able to visit the Ashram often, but I was fully associated with the activities of the Delhi Sabha. During one of the visits of Pujya Sri Swamiji, we had an opportunity of organizing a visit to Haridwara. During this visit, while taking a Holy Dip in the River Ganga, Pujya Sri Swamiji suddenly went into some deep waters and a few of Ashramites who were accompanying  Him rushed toward Him. Not realizing what was happening, we found Sri Swamiji slowly emerging out of water with a Shankha (conch) in His hands, studded with jewels. From this Shankha, milk was flowing and He appeared to be in trance while Sri Bhagwat and others were trying to support Him. Later, while sprinkling water on all of us, we had an opportunity to see the jewels studded conch. We were also made to listen to the sound of ‘OM’ pulsating through the Shankha. We were all spellbound by this experience. This experience not only strengthen my faith in my Sadguru, but also helped in creating more opportunities for me to come in closer contact with Him and serve Him

After returning from Haridwara, I narrated the incidence to my family and this inspired my parents to attend the Pada Puja, which was arranged in my house, where they met Him for the first time and a loving relationship with my parental family developed. As soon as my father, Papa Wanchoo, met Sri Swamiji at my residence, he immediately requested Sri Swamiji to visit his house in Delhi. Sri Swamiji graciously accepted the invitation and this marked the beginning of lasting relationship between Prabhu Sri Swamiji (That is how Papa Wanchoo addressed Sri Swamiji) and my father.

Later, I was told that long before they met, Sri Swamiji, while pointing to the map of India, He put His finger on Kashmir and mentioned that He wishes to, one day, visit Kashmir. At that time little did I know that I will be instrumental in making this possible. The whole episode served two different purposes: Firstly, my father came into contact with Sri Swamiji and played a major role in establishing the Kashmir ashram and looking after it until he breathed his last. Secondly, it provided me an opportunity to serve assist Him in organizing various programmers during Sri Swamiji’s visits to the valley.

It was during these visits that I had the good fortune of looking after His welfare. These rear opportunities were like Gurukul to me, where I began to understand the meaning of true and selfless love and service. Being a social worker by profession, such exposure changed the meaning of social service. My practice of helping got a new dimension and I began to enjoy teaching and practicing. It is difficult to describe in words as to how blissful I felt. Consciously or unconsciously I began experiencing love and harmony which entirely changed me as a person.

During my years of association with Sri Swamiji, I realized that it is not essential that the Guru should be physically present to give verbal guidance and instruction. During all these years, I did not have many opportunities to speak with my Sadguru personally, as by my temperament, I am an introvert; a quiet and non-communicative person. However, I have the firm belief that Sri Swamiji knows what is best for me and makes me perform whenever and whatever is needed and expected of me. So why should I worry? Leave everything to Him. Once He accepts you as a devotee, He will guide and take care of all your requirements and will protect you. To illustrate this, I wish to share the following experience.

During one of the visits of Swami Manasa Datta to Delhi, I inquired about the significance of “Nava Avahana Puja” performed by Sri Swamiji during the Navaratri Festival as this festival was going to take place in the same month. Instead of directly replying to my query, he simply stated that “Only through Sri Swamiji’s grace, can this be explained to you; so just wait.” I was not satisfied with this reply and felt he was not in a mood to reply my question.

On the first day of the Navaratri festival, while going for my morning walk, I found myself asking the same question to myself.  To my surprise I entered into a dialogue within myself as if I was in a classroom and I was being taught the characteristics of the different Swaroopa of Devi. This appeared to me akin to a teaching given to a disciple by a Guru. This happened during my regular morning walk for all nine days of Navaratri. Though I do not remember the lesson now, I still vividly remember the experience. Such is the grace of Sadguru. Such are the ways of Sri Swamiji to make you understand that He is always with you.                                                                                                                                           Jaya Guru Datta.

Sri Swamiji Says:

 “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness towards happy; mercy and compassion towards the unhappy; delight towards the virtuous and indifference towards the wicked.”

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