Category: 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).
Desraj Sapra, Haridwara
Sri Swamiji looked after my children as if they were His own. Whenever He visited Delhi, He would see them, He saw to their education and marriages.
I am from Delhi, but I moved to Haridwara in 2003. In March, 1972 I had my first darshan of His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. In Delhi, I worked as an Administrative/Accounts Officer. One day, while I was on duty in the hospital, a colleague of mine, Mrs. Bala Sriram invited me to come and meet her Guru, Sri Swamiji at her house. I went there and Mrs. Bala introduced me to Him. He patted me on the shoulder and said, “I select this fellow.” I did not know what He meant, but I liked being with Him. My family was vegetarian, but I was not. When I met Sri Swamiji, I became a vegetarian without knowing why.
Sri Swamiji again visited Delhi in May, 1972 and I accompanied Him on His trip to Hrishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath. On the way, He saw a man in the crowd who looked very gloom, He told me to find out what the man wanted. I went to him and he told me his wife was very ill due to heavy bleeding. I told Sri Swamiji this and He gave me some vibuthi and told me to give it to the man and tell him how to apply it. I did that and we continued on the journey.
On the way, back from Kedarnath, Sri Swamiji called me and asked me to go and call two couples for Him. I went and got them and then He told me to ask them what was wrong. When I asked them, one man said that on their journey to Kedarnath they stopped at a place and his wife and sister went to the bathroom and forgot their purses at that place, and they had all their money in the purses. Now they have no money. Sri Swamiji asked them if they needed help. The man said yes, he wanted only two hundred rupees to get back home and they will mail back the money. Sri Swamiji told me to go and ask Professor Krishan Kumar for the money, but do not give them a return address. I asked Professor Kumar and he gave them the money; they asked for his address, he gave it and they left. After this trip, Sri Swamiji called me and said, “You are my Hanuman.”
In August, 1973 Sri Swamiji again visited Delhi. The night before meeting Him, an illness associated with my nose and smelling came on very strong. My wife and I went to Sri Swamiji and related the problem to Him. He gave me something to apply, and I never had that problem again. In the beginning my wife was a little hesitant to go to Sri Swamiji, even for His bhajans, so I used to go by myself. Then one day she said she wants to accompany me and so she did and later she began developing faith in Him.
In 1975, my family and I made our first visit to Mysore Ashrama. In those days the Ashrama was very small, there was a Chopuram where Sri Swamiji would sit for programs, and a hall where half of it was for visitors and half was for dining. At night, we slept wherever we found space. The present Prayer Hall was built in June, 1984 over the old Chopuram. This was the first journey of many more we made in the following years. Every visit there was like visiting heaven.
In October, 1996, Sri Swamiji was scheduled to visit Delhi, but fifteen days before He cancelled the visit and instead He visited Himachal Pradesh. Ten days later my wife got very ill and within twenty-four hours, she passed away. I felt that Sri Swamiji knew about this that is why He cancelled His trip. On His way back from Himachal, He stopped in Delhi Airport. I took my children and went for His darshan. I told Him because my wife passed away I could not attend to functions at the Delhi Ashrama as I had to look after my children. So I stayed away from the ashram for a while dealing with my wife’s death. Many people began speculating that Sri Swamiji did not save my wife from dying so I have left the organization because of this.
The following year, I visited Mysore Ashrama with my children and when He saw me, He said, “So you have come, I am very happy.” I told Him, “Swamiji, I have gone nowhere, don’t listen to what others and telling you.” Sri Swamiji looked after my children as if they were His own. Whenever He visited Delhi, He would see them, He saw to their education and marriages. They are very close to Him.
In 1985, the Hrishikesh Ashrama was handed over to us.. We did some work and prepared the Ashrama for Sri Swamiji. He came to Hrishikesh in September of 1989 and inaugurated the Temple. Similarly Bhadra Kaali Peetham Ashram at Haridwara, owned by Sri Kalayanand Teertha Swamiji was handed over to Sri Swamiji in 1991. Sri Kalayanand Teertha Swamiji passed away in 1998.
In 2001, the Shivaratri Celebrations was celebrated at the Haridwara Ashram. Professor Krishan Kumar and I organized the function. He looked after the accommodations and I made the food arrangements. Mr. Murali from Mysore Ashrama and other devotees came and helped. During this function, Sri Swamiji gave me a chain, which I still wear to this day. Prior to my coming to Haridwara Sri Prem Kissan Kapoor was looking after the Ashram, but he wanted to go to Hyderabad and he made request to Sri Swamiji for the same.
In 2003, I went to Sri Swamiji’s program in Vijayawada. There I made a request to Sri Swamiji that I am ready to go to Haridwara Ashram. He blessed me and I went to manage the Ashrama there. When I informed my children about moving to Haridwara there was no hesitation on their part for they believed in Sri Swamiji’s guidance. I requested Sri Swamiji that if I ever fail in my duties in the Haridwara Ashrama replace me with someone more capable, but do not let me leave Haridwara. He has blessed my wish for I am still here today.
My spiritual journey for me is, serving my Guru, Sri Swamiji. I have full faith in Him. I do not think about anything else. Jaya Guru Datta
Sri Swamiji Says:
Let us recollect the famous saying “God’s ways are mysterious”. Only the Guru – the visible form of God, can reveal His real, noble intention, provided the disciple has patience and receptivity. “No change is sudden”. This would be good for spiritual development also.
Human birth is essentially meant for singing the name of the Lord. Once you realize this truth, the sacred name of the Lord opens the door to the province of Bhakti.
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Kolli Gopala Krishnaiah and Krishna Kumari, Vijayawada
Sri Swamiji smiled and said, “Yes, Mother looked at me; She looked at me thrice.” I knew that when She looked at Him, She was looking at the personification of Lord Dattatreya that is emblemic in Sri Swamiji.
Guru comes to one’s life due to bonding from previous births. Most times a disciple chooses his Guru, but a few fortunate disciples are chosen by the divine grace of a Sadguru. And we are among those fortunate to be chosen by Sadgurudeva Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. In early January 1970, we heard about a Swamiji who was visiting Vijayawada. We came to know that the pontiff hails from Mysore and had a mission of saving Sanatana Dharma. The more we learnt about Him, the more we were enthusiastic to meet Him. Finally we had His darshan in the Venkateswara Swami Temple in Labbipet. We attended a bhajan session and I had a deep desire of talking to Him. Sri Swamiji chose five others along with me and gave permission for us to speak with Him.
During that meeting, I requested Sri Swamiji to visit our house on January 10th, but the visit was scheduled for either January 13th or 14th. We were excited to have Pada pooja done at our house. A little while later, we received a call from the organizers informing us that Sri Swamiji would visit us on January 9th instead, which was the next day itself. We were completely unprepared; my kids were sick running high fevers and my wife had a very important surgery, to be performed that day. All we could do was just pray for strength.
Then, early the next morning, the kids were faring well and my wife easily handles the operation and accompanying transfusion. Within a few hours we got ready and Sri Swamiji graced us for Pada Pooja. He was pleased with our devotion and asked us what we wanted. All we could think of was ‘His blessings and protection’. Many things look minute for us, but indeed it is only the grace of Sadguru. For onlookers; the kids getting well or my wife handling the blood transfusion during surgery may seem normal, but we feel it was only grace of Sri Swamiji.
During Pada pooja we prayed for His blessings. At that time I had kidney stones problems, I used to have severe pain and taking food had also become a problem. If the situation persists, doctors advised me that I should have surgery. When I told Sri Swamiji about that problem, He simply touched me on my abdomen and since then I have never had such complaints anymore. Also at the same time, my mother was in second stage of her cancer. I told to Him about this and He simply nodded. My sister who had ovarian cancer and underwent a surgery, by my wife, was also present at that day. Sri Swamiji blessed her and said, “I will take care of you.” When a Sadguru says ‘He will take care, we never have to worry about it’.
A year later my mother passed away, but she never suffered. Usually, the second stage cancer patients would undergo a lot of pain and suffering, but she breathed her last in a most easy way. As for my sister, she was completely cured and fared well. Later, we remembered Sri Swamiji’s gestures and realized that He never promised anything about my mother, but He said that He would take care of my sister. My sister’s son, Rampradad, lives in Dallas and although his parents don’t follow Sri Swamiji, he has become an ardent devotee. Some time ago, his mother suffered with chest pains while Sri Swamiji was visiting Dallas. The angio showed three blocked valves so he went to meet Him to tell Him about his mother’s condition, but was unable to do so. Later that night Sri Swamiji came into his dream and told him to come back to see Him. Everybody told her that she can’t undergo a surgery as her heart valves were weak, but the next day Sri Swamiji assured Ramprasad that she would be fine only after having the surgery, which came true.
We made it a habit to visit for all the important functions in Mysore Ashrama. In September 1972, near to the time of the Navaratri festivals my kids were traveling, in a car, going to Mysore with my mother-in-law and her son. As they were nearing Tirupati, while negotiating a turn in the roadway, the driver lost control of the car and crashed into an electric pole. The damage was intense and people around though that no-one in the car would be able to survive. However, to everyone’s surprise, amazingly no one was hurt.
In those early days, Sri Swamiji used to do Agni pooja on all important occasion. When we called Mysore to inform Sri Swamiji about the accident we were told that He was already in the Yagna Kunda. It was unusual, because the fire worship usually starts around noon. The accident took place around 11.00 am and we called ashram around 11.30 am. So we knew He must have done it to save my family from such a great danger.
In the early seventies my wife was having a good practice, so usually she had equal number of people who were jealous of her. There were many damaging rumors coming up against her even advertising that she was dead. One day she couldn’t bear all these and she called Mysore to get these things to His notice. Sri Swamiji spoke to her and said, “I will take care of you, don’t worry about the rumors.” When He said so, we knew that He had taken our responsibility on His shoulders. One morning there was news in the media, about a complicated surgery that was successfully handled by my wife. We were surprised as to how they could know, but later we learnt that the news was made public from the medical center. This piece of news helped my wife and her reputation was saved from being tainted by rumors.
Sri Swamiji always had been so adaptable to situations. Sometimes, we would be busy with unplanned or emergency surgeries and Sri Swamiji’s Pada pooja would be scheduled, at our home at the same time. Without any excitement and cancellations He used to make changes to suit our timings. He showered a great love on us.
Once we traveled with Sri Swamiji to Srisailam. Sri Swamiji went in a small boat and all other devotees were waiting for Him on the shore. Sri Swamiji returned in few minutes, when asked why He returned so soon, He replied, “I am reminded of my Sripada Srivallabha Avataram. I left a few of my devotees here and disappeared into the river. Now you people are those same devotees who were with me at that time.” This made our hearts contended, because it shows that we were with Him since many births.
Traveling with Him to these special places always had been memorable. Once, in 1996, we were with Him when He visited the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada. Along with about fifty others we went to temple. Sri Swamiji was inside the sanctum sanctorum and the priest was performing pooja. I could clearly see the Mother Goddess moving Her eyes towards Sri Swamiji; not once but twice. That scene reminded me of how Narada and other celestial beings would look at Lord Visnhu with respect. While returning in the car, I couldn’t resist, but ask Him if what I had seen was real or an illusion. Sri Swamiji smiled and said, “Yes, Mother looked at me; She looked at me thrice.” I knew that when She looked at Him, She was looking at the personification of Lord Dattatreya that is emblemic in Sri Swamiji.
Sri Swamiji would shower love like a mother. Once, I had heart attack and contracted a stroke which was severe. At the same time Sri Swamiji was camping in Vijayawada. I wanted to have His darshan and requested that I would come for His darshan in the ambulance itself. Sri Swamiji rejected the idea and He came to the hospital to see me. Everyone was surprised, as we didn’t expect Him to visit me there. Sri Swamiji blessed me and said, “I need you to serve me more for twenty years.” He spent fifteen minutes with me and when He was leaving I started feeling better and could walk for the first time after the stroke.
There were many instances in which it showed Sri Swamiji taking care of my wife’s hospital in her absence. Once, the night nurse asked the watchman, Narayana, to patrol around the building and secure everything. He acknowledged her, went away and after a while he came back and said that everything was okay and then left again. As she was about to go back to her station, she glanced at the bench in the waiting room and was surprised to see Narayana asleep, storing aloud. Also many patients have felt Sri Swamiji’s presence in the operation theater. Some of them used to admit that they have had the darshan on Sri Swamiji during or after surgery.
My wife always liked to do Pada Pooja whenever we had opportunity. Every time Sri Swamiji would graciously agree to her requests. He used to joke a lot saying she was very much attached to Sri Swamiji. Once we had opportunity to do Pada pooja to Sri Swamiji with 108 gold flowers. After Pada Pooja, when we will be heading home, always we would feel His presence in the car. There will be this fragrance and at times we will find betel leaves and bananas.
In those yesteryears, devotees had wonderful opportunities. Abhishekam was directly performed to Sri Swamiji on special occasions. We didn’t even know how to say normal mantras, but Sri Swamiji gave us many wonderful opportunities. We were the first couple to perform the ‘Pratyaksha Pada Pooja’ to Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji said that no one had such opportunity in the last four hundred years. In that pooja, which was specially performed during His birthday celebrations in 1986, we personally did all the events; from waking up Sri Swamiji, abhishekam, Pada pooja with different flowers and pulling the chariot that Sri Swamiji was sitting in. It was a spectacle and we are really blessed to have such opportunity of doing all these to God Himself.
We realized that when Sri Swamiji makes a promise to someone, come what may, He will fulfill that promise at the the appointed time. Once in 1988 we traveled to Kumbakonam with Sri Swamiji to visit a devotee. He told us that when He was in Kesare, He had made a promise to visit the house of this devotee, who worked with the railroads and have since moved to Kumbakonam. After all these years Sri Swamiji was coming here to visit him. When we entered the house we saw a small black and white photo of Sri Swamiji in short sleeves and shorts. This gentleman had preserved and prayed to this photo ever since.
Once, a group of us stopped at the Mysore Ashrama after completing a trip to Shabarimala. I wanted to stay for some more days in Mysore, but Sri Swamiji asked me to leave soon. I was halfhearted, but left as per His advice. Returning home I found that the owner of the house we were staying in wanted to sell it. After a small argument he decided to sell the house to me. Then I understood this was the reason Sri Swamiji wanted me go back home soon.
In 1980, my mother-in-law was not doing well so my wife did not go for the pushkarashana at the Krishna River. However, later, when her mother felt better, she went and bow to Sri Swamiji’s Feet and said, “Swamiji, to me all the Holy Rivers are in your Holy Feet.” Little did she realize how true those words were at that time.
Sri Swamiji made many surprise visits to our house without notifying us beforehand. Once He called and told us that another Swamiji was coming to visit us and we should take care of Him the same way as they took care of Him. Later Sri Swamiji showed up and laughs hysterically. Like this we enjoyed the lighter side of Him. During one such visit, He casually told us, “Enjoy this close association and darsan now. In a few years you will have to stand in line, just like everyone else, to get a glimpse of Sri Swamiji. You will also have to wear a barge to enter the Ashrama.” Even today, those words that were said in the 1980s are proving true.
The Ganapati temple in Vijayawada is a miracle on its own. Many a times we had darshan of Sri Swamiji there. There used to be a lot of power cuts in the area. In 1984, one evening during the Ganapati pooja, there was no power and there were about fifty devotees in the temple. Everyone noticed the Ganapati murti coming to life and the hand moving as if it was blessing us. Then a lightening flash originated from its head going up towards the sky. After that we saw Sri Swamiji giving darshan on the forehead of Ganapati. Later, during one of His visits to Vijayawada, we noticed Him getting bigger in His physical form growing as tall as the main door.
The Shivaratri festival in the Mysore Ashrama was a spectacle always. Sri Swamiji used to do Agni pooja and later He used to materialize objects out of the ‘Akashya’. During the 1985 Shivaratri, Sri Swamiji materialized a ‘Emerald Sumeru’ and gave it to us. We had doubts if we can keep it at home as it is said that a Sumeru needs a lot of poojas. But Sri Swamiji assured that it was fine and told us to bring it to Mysore whenever we visit. He would always give it back to us when we are leaving.
Around 1987, my wife expressed a desire to do ‘Lalitha Trisathi’ and asked Sri Swamiji to give her permission. Sri Swamiji agreed and blessed her with a budding rose. The rose stayed like that for fifteen years. A few little miracles like this were always wonderful. During the same year we accompanied Sri Swamiji to the Krishna River. He said, “I will give a gift for the person who would find my feet under the water.” Hearing this son, Srinivasa, dived under water and touched Sri Swamiji’s Feet. Sri Swamiji later gave him a Shivalinga.
Later, Srinivasa experienced a miracle. He was helping our house-keeper clean the water tank. The water tank in our house was a little bit high. While doing so he slipped and fell on the floor, but miraculously nothing happened to him. It is nothing but the grace of Sri Swamiji. We had many opportunities to travel with Sri Swamiji in abroad also.
In 2003, during the Kumbha Abishekam of the Marakata Rajarajeshwari Temple, Sri Swamiji sat on the stone where the murti will be installed for forty-five minutes. After the installation, He went to the podium and prayed to the ‘Mother Goddess’ to protect all the devotees.
Spiritually we have grown so much with Sri Swamiji. My wife once had a surgery was taking bed rest. During her meditation she could see ‘Manasa Sarovar’ and Sri Swamiji in her vision. She also saw a blood clot near to Sri Swamiji toe. During a telephonic conversation with Him, she came to know that Sri Swamiji really had a clot because of a rough edge on His paduka.
During 1989, my wife had been suffering with breathlessness and acute pain in her heart; she was having all the symptoms of a heart-attack. In a vision she became aware the Sri Swamiji visited her and she was sitting down in the corner of His kitchen. She felt as though someone was cleaning the valves of the heart with a spoon. Then she felt as if the blockage was being removed. After sometime she got relived of the pain and after that her history of heart problems were gone forever. This happened during the same time that Sri Swamiji was in the Vijayawada Ashrama.
Later she had loss her appetite for a week and was just surviving on coconut water. We doubted that she had contracted cancer, but to take precautions we had all examinations done. At that time, Sri Swamiji was in Surat for the Datta Pratishta. We went to Surat and Sri Swamiji advised us to meet Him in Bangalore. Following His word we went to Bangalore. On the day we were supposed to meet Him my wife had a vision early the morning where she saw Him wearing a very bright crown. Not knowing the meaning of this, we left for His darshan. When we met Him and even before we talked to Him, Sri Swamiji looked at her and said, “You saw the crown. Don’t worry; your illness will be gone.” And she was fine after that.
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Srinivas Shastry and Padma Gandluru, Mysore
“It is very good that you got chicken pox during your pregnancy. It is a rare and a good sign and this child will change your life.”
From my childhood, I have been associated with Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. I am the son of Sri Gandluru Nanjundappa and Lalitamma, the half-brother and sister-in-law of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda poorva ashrama. My wife, Padmavathi is also soulfully associated with Him. She is the daughter of Subramanian and Saraswati, Sri Swamiji’s poorva ashrama younger sister. It is our pleasure to share our great experiences being the devotees of our beloved Sri Appaji.
Once, during my visit to the ashram to have darshan of Sri Swamiji, along with my brother-in-law K S Jayaram [who is no more], when we met Him, He asked me what I was doing. I told Him that I was practicing law! Then in a strange tone Sri Swamiji exclaimed “Practicing law!” After that we spoke about some family matters with Him.While coming out, my brother-in-law told me that I might not be continuing my profession by the way Sri Swamiji spoke to me. After going back to, my town, Anantapur, I could not continue my advocate profession due to some circumstances. In the meantime the proposal for my marriage with Padmavathi happened and Sri Swamiji asked me to move to the Mysore Ashram to do seva. After the birth of my elder daughter, Dhenuka, I was doing seva in Ayurvedic shop taking care of the accounts.
One day, after Sri Swamiji returned from a foreign tour He expressed His wish to Sri Kuppa Krishna Murthy to send me abroad to live as a priest. The next day, in the morning while I was doing pradakshina tothe Avadumbara tree, before going to Sri Chakra Puja, Sri Kuppa Krishna Murthy informed me about Sri Swamiji’s wish and advised me to go and speak withHimand give my opinion. Later,I got an opportunity to see Sri Swamiji;I express my readiness to go anywhere to serve as a priest. Sri Swamiji told me to stop doing seva in Ayurvedic Shop and start training for priestly services and later He sent me as the priest to the Trinidad Ashrama.
During the pregnancy of my wife with our second daughter, Sahaja Sanmathi, she did not want to have another child due to circumstantial problems. She told her parents that she wanted an abortion to end the pregnancy. Her parents discouraged her from doing this; her father even threatened her by telling her that he will not to speak to her again. She really wanted the abortion, so she went to the doctor who prescribed an injection. She went to a few medical stores to get the prescribed injection, but they all told her that it was out of stock. She told the doctor that the prescribed injection couldn’t be found in any medical store, but the doctor told her to try other pharmacies the next day.
Frustrated, she went home and early the next morning she went to have the darshan of Sri Swamiji.To her surprise, when she went before Him, He told her that she should not try to commit such sinful acts and asked her to promise Him that she wouldn’t try to get an abortion again. She begged His forgiveness and left. On her way back, she casually went to same pharmacies to enquire whether the prescribed injection was in stock. All the shop-owners replied that they had the injection in stock. Padma asked them whether they had the injection in stock yesterday also. They all replied that they did have it in stock yesterday also. She said, “When I asked yesterday you said you didn’t have it in stock.” She was told that the shop-owners weren’t even in the shop yesterday. Then she realized that it was none other than Sri Swamiji who had stopped her from getting the injection.
During the sixth month of her pregnancy, Padma developed chicken pox and she could not attend the Sri Chakra puja and so she couldn’t havethe darshan of Sri Swamiji. Because of her absence for days together, Sri Swamiji enquired from my mother-in-law, Saraswathi, about Padmavathi. My mother-in-law informed Him that Padmavathi was suffering from the chicken pox. Then Sri Swamiji insisted that she should come have His darshan. When she went to Sri Swamiji, He told her, “It is very good that you got chicken pox during your pregnancy. It is a rare and a good sign and this child will change your life.” It turned out to be true asher birth brought us good spiritual blessings and her delivery happened in the ashram hospital itself, with the grace of Sri Swamiji.
While our life was going routine, one day Sri Swamiji told Padma to go visit Jayalaxmipuram and have darshan of Sri Jayalakshmi Mata who was the maternal grandmother of Padma. During her stay she wanted to sleep in the temple so the entire family joined her there. During the night she could not sleep so she stayed awake. Around 11:30 pm to midnight she was looking at JayalakshmiMata’s photo and suddenly it seemed to turn black. Almost instantaneously, she heard the sound of anklets and immediately JayalakshmiMata appeared looking the same as she did in the photo. Padmavathi closed her eyes thinking that it was her imagination. Amma stood outside the sleeping area and said, “You wanted to see me, but now you are closing your eyes, how can you see me?” Then Padmavathi begged Mataji for the energy to have the darshan of both her grandparents and then she had darshan of both Mataji and Narahari Teertha Swami.
For us, each and every moment of our life is taken care of by Sri Swamiji. He is everything for us. We beg Sri Sadguru to bless us to do more Guru seva .Jai Guru Datta
Sri Swamiji Says:
“Music is connected with the beginning of the creation, with its continuity and with its end. All forms of Nature, rather, the whole of Nature, pulsates in Music.”
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Manikyamba Chaganti, Mysore
I learnt from this experience that if we have a genuine and sincere desire to offer something to Sri Swamiji, He fulfils that desire no matter how impossible it is.
Before my marriage, I was not in the spiritual line. My husband and in-laws were in the spiritual line and they had an understanding of godliness, guru and karma. Originally, I am from Andra Pradesh, I lived in Machilipatnam, Nuzividu and now in Mysore. I had the first darshan of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji in 1971 when He visited Vijayawada. My husband took me to the temple and we arrived just when the program was finishing; Sri Swamiji was singing the final Bhajan. We received teertham from Him and left. I just thought that He was a great spiritual person, but soon forgot all about Him.
In 1974, He visited Machilipatnam and we attended His program. He gave a lecture on the state of mind we should have when we are doing pooja. He said sometimes while doing pooja, we think about making coffee for our relatives and when we break a coconut, we think of what chutney to make. He said our minds should be the flowers full of the fragrance of good thoughts about God and we must offer that in our poojas. He continued that some of us want to see God; however, we cannot even see our face without a mirror. He continued that to see God we need the mirror of a Guru. I heard these words from Him and I was impressed. I left there and in the following months whenever I looked into a mirror a thought arose in my mind about what He said. Whenever I did my pooja or broke a coconut, I remembered His words and I kept my focus on God. I began to think of Him as a great Guru. I heard so many other lectures and at times I used to forget, but Sri Swamiji would always remind us.
In 1976, Sri Swamiji visited Machilipatnam and conducted Suvasini Pooja at Mr. Raja Rao’s house; he was a great devotee of Sri Swamiji. I went and took part in the pooja even though I did not know what that pooja was. When the pooja was over, I joined the queue to receive kumkum prasadam from Sri Swamiji. I wanted to do Sashtanga namaskara to Him, but the line was going fast and I did not want to break the rules. I collected my Prasadam and walked away.
After half and hour or so someone made an announcement that, Sri Swamiji is calling the person who wanted to do Sashtanga namaskara to Him. I took no notice of this and kept talking to my friend. Then another announcement came, that the person who wanted to do the namaskara is a lady. I thought that it could not be me for I do not know Him that much and why would He call me. Then the announcement came again for the lady who participated in puja to come quickly to Sri Swamiji. Simultaneously I heard a voice in my thought saying, ‘It is you; it is you!’ Fearfully I went to Him and did Sashtanga namaskara. He said, “Okay go” and left.
In 1981, we attended the consecration of the Vijayawada Temple. Then in 1982, Sri Swamiji came to Machilipatnam for five days. My husband helped Sri Raja Rao and Mr. Kuppa Krishnamurthy in organizing and preparing for His visit. I had nothing to do, so I helped them also. Sri Swamiji came and at one of the programs I was distributing water to the devotees, for it was a hot day. I suddenly got a desire to offer a flower garland to Sri Swamiji, but having no money, at that time, to buy the flowers, I dismissed the thought.
A man came to me and said, “Sister can you and help Me.?” I followed him to a table and he gave me some lemons and told me to make a garland. I thought it was probably for a vehicle or house. I made the lemon garland and gave it to the man and asked what it was for, the man said that the garland is for Sri Swamiji. I was surprised and fearful at the same time, thinking that He may not wear the garland. At the Poornahuti ceremony, He wore the lemon garland. I was happy and that voice in me said, “You wanted to give a garland and you did.”
Later on, He was visiting various devotees’ houses to perform Pada Pooja. He was coming to our house at 5.30 am. I had no idea about the rituals for this pooja, so my in-laws and my husband made the arrangements. I wanted to play the Nagaswaran (musical instrument) music when He visits, for it is very auspicious. I know my husband was not interested in this so I hoped that my friend would have it played at her house when Sri Swamiji visits.
By 7.30 am. Sri Swamiji did not come; my friend called me and said that a music band was coming down the street. I rushed out and I saw the band coming. I asked them to perform for only five minutes and if Sri Swamiji does not come, they can leave. They had a previous appointment to attend. They came and began playing a tune I requested on the Nagaswaran. Just then, Sri Swamiji arrived. It was perfect timing. Sri Swamiji was welcomed with this music and when He went inside I paid them and they left. I learnt from this experience that if we have a genuine and sincere desire to offer something to Sri Swamiji, He fulfils that desire no matter how impossible it is.
On the fifth day of Sri Swamiji’s visit, I attended the program and overheard the volunteers saying that Sri Swamiji knows what services we perform. I thought that if He knows of the service we do, I want to know that He knows everything. Just then, He called all the volunteers for a meeting. He spoke to us for one hour and in the end He said, “I know everything that each one of you do.” I got my confirmation from Him. He then gave the ladies, a blouse piece and Datta Kankana (bracelet) and the men received a Vastram.
I was very happy and I thought to myself, I have found my Guru; He is Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. As soon as I thought of this, Sri Swamiji said, “I have postponed my trip, who wants to take me as their Guru?” I was in a dilemma; my husband was sitting in the back of the hall. His Guru is Kanchi Swami and should be my Guru also, since I am his wife, but I do not know anything about Kanchi Swami. I felt in my heart that Sri Swamiji should be my Guru so I stood up along with others.
Sri Swamiji then explained to us step-by-step instructions on how to face the tests for Guru Bhakti and live our lives. I thought I should offer something to Him but I had nothing with me. I do not have money or much strength to perform service, so in my mind I offered Sri Swamiji my ten-year-old son Vamshi Krishna. I thouhght even if he serves teertham in the temple, the purpose of his birth would be fulfilled. On this auspicious day in 1982, I became the Shishya of my Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.
In 1984, my family and I visited Mysore Ashrama for the first time. The inauguration of the Universal Prayer Hall and Sri Swamiji’s forty-second birthday celebrations were taking place. I brought my husband’s niece along with us. She told Sri Swamiji that she had a severe heart condition. He advised her to get an operation done and she followed His instructions and got better, now she and her husband are great devotees of Sri Swamiji, and serving at the Jaya Durga Teertham.
My son, Vamshi, said he liked the Ashrama very much and would like to stay. Sri Swamiji asked me what I wanted; I told Him that I want to come to Mysore Ashrama repeatedly. He really blessed my wishes for I made many trips to the Ashrama in the following years, I used to bring people along with me, and they would become devotees of Sri Swamiji. I was instrumental in doing this. We were not poor, but to make frequent frequent visits to Mysore was difficult.
Later, in December 1984, Sri Swamiji visited Vijayawada. I wanted to go and see Him, but I had my duties at home to perform. I received a telegram from my father telling me that he is visiting Sri Swamiji in Vijayawada and I should meet him there. I got permission from my father-in-law and I went to Vijayawada. Before that he was in the hospital for two months. When I gave him Sri Swamiji’s raksha, he became well. I asked him to visit Sri Swamiji, but he postponed it due to lack of leave. After that the disease relapsed. My father came from Hyderabad by himself; he was ill, he had two tubes hooked on his body for urine and blood. He told me that he has taken a leave of absence from his job and will not go back until he is better. He then told me to take him to Sri Swamiji.
Some time back I told my father about Sri Swamiji, but he has never seen him, so this was his first darshan. The ashram in Vijayawada had no accommodations then, the Kalayana Mantapa was under construction. I did not know where to stay for I had not much money for a hotel, so we stayed in the unfinished Hall. After the first day, my father felt better so he took the tubes away from his body. He kept pushing me to take him to talk to Sri Swamiji. I did not know how to arrange an interview with Sri Swamiji.
The third day came and Sri Swamiji was scheduled to leave Vijayawada. When my father heard this, he began to cry saying that he is a sinner that is why he could not talk to Sri Swamiji. It was after lunch and most of the people left after the morning program. We were waiting until Sri Swamiji leaves. Just then Ganesh, Sri Swamiji’s attendant came out of Sri Swamiji’s quarters and shouted, “Who wants an interview, who wants an interview?” It sounded funny, as if he was selling something in the market. I could not believe my ears; I rushed and put my name down.
There were only seven devotees’ names on the list; as most of the people had left already. Our turn came and my father and I went in to see Sri Swamiji. He asked my father about his health and he told him about his condition, Sri Swamiji gave him some vibhuti. He looked at me and I said, “Swamiji, all my relatives should become your servants.” He gave me a big beautiful smile that said a thousand words to my heart. Now I am happy to say that all my relatives have come to Sri Swamiji and serving Him.
My father went back to Secunderabad and after two days, he was back to work. After some time he retired and kept a little job, the earnings he contributed to Sri Swamiji’s seva projects. Later on, he quit the job and offered his services at the Anantapur, Mekadatu and Vijayawada Ashrams. He passed away while serving at Vijayawada Ashrama.
My husband and I wanted Vamshi to study the Vedas, but we could not find anyone suitable to do this. My husband wanted to send him to Kanchi Swami Ashram, but I did not want Vamshi to go away from the village. I told my husband if sends Vamshi away from the house I will go away also. Later in 1984 Sri Swamiji came to Machilipatnam and I went and asked the temple officials for a meeting with Sri Swamiji for I wanted to offer something to Him. I saw Sri Swamiji and I told him, “Swamiji I am offering my son Vamshi to you and you have to make it possible for giving him to you.” Sri Swamiji nodded His head, which meant that He has heard what I said. I left and returned home.
On January 21st 1985, the day of Vamshi’s thirteenth birthday we took him to Sri Swamiji in Vijayawada and told Him that it was Vamshi’s birthday. Sri Swamiji said, “Why don’t you teach him Veda?” At once, both my husband and I replied, “Take him to Mysore, Swamiji.” He then said, “It is not that easy, you all three have to agree, anyway don’t worry he will come.” My husband and I were happy.
On February 3rd, we took Vamshi to the Mysore Ashrama. Sri Swamiji asked us to give Vamshi along with a coconut. Vamshi was very attached to me and used to cry for me. I had gone to my home and Sri Swamiji told me to come back to Mysore and stay with him. I came and my husband joined me later for the Shivaratri Festival. While I was there, Sri Swamiji did not talk to me. He called us and said to my husband, “Your wife was weeping. I was waiting for you to come; I want to talk to you both.” We went and sat with Him and He said to us, “I am taking your child, what you want me to do for him?” We both said, “We don’t know anything, you do as you please.” Then I added, “Swamiji I would like him to get his education and let him fulfill his duties what a human should do to obtain God.” Sri Swamiji acknowledged what I said, by nodding His head. After spending twenty days, we left the Ashrama. When we were leaving, Vamshi began to cry and Sri Swamiji told us to leave, he will be all right.
When I returned home in Machilipatnam, I missed Vamshi so much. I consoled myself by thinking that I had given Sri Swamiji the best offering I could, nothing else in my life was equal to Vamshi. Later on Sri Swamiji told me that I had given Him myself; (Vamshi) and He will take good care. On a visit to Mysore, and after Vamshi had done a small Homa, Sri Swamiji said to me, “You always say education, education for him, see how much your son has studied, this is the greatest education.” I simply said, “Yes Swamiji!”
My spiritual life continued when Sri Swamiji became my Guru. I faced many challenges and with His grace, I overcame them and grew stronger daily. I had to deal with relatives and people in my town telling me constantly that I had done a wrong thing by sending Vamshi to Sri Swamiji. They said that he was a brilliant boy and could have become a scientist or even a millionaire. I told them that there are a lot of scientists and millionaires who come and bow to Sri Swamiji feet, why do they come to Him? Obviously, they are missing something in their lives. After a while, I learnt to listen and ignore them.
After Vamshi went to Mysore, we moved to Nuzividu because my husband’s job was there. Sri Swamiji introduced Anagha pooja at this time and I began doing it also. Upon the order of Sri Swamiji, I began doing Anagha Poojas at various devotees’ houses, even in other places like, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Eluru, Mekadatu, Delhi, Kulu in Himachal Pradesh and other villages. After performing this pooja, many of the people got their desires fulfilled and so became devotees of Sri Swamiji. I began teaching the little children to sing bhajans, chant Sri Swamiji’s prayers and to perform Anagha pooja. I used to listen to Sri Swamiji’s tapes with His music and chants. Some of them in languages I could not understand, but I used to be in a trance feeling the emotions of the chants.
Later, I asked Sri Swamiji to take my second son also; He said, “He is my son also, but let him be with you.” He is protecting our family, each and every moment and guiding us at every stage. My second son, Chandra Shekar Chaganti, is working in the USA for Union Pacific Railroads. Sri Swamiji has rescued him from three fatal accidents and gave him life, health, education and all the eight types of wealth. He and his family, Lakshmi and Chidatma, love Sri Swamiji dearly. They serve Him sincerely with pure devotion.
When I first met Sri Swamiji in Machilipatnam, I mentioned to Him that I had a bad cough. Over the years the cough persisted, but my mind changed, I thought I should not ask Sri Swamiji to take away my karma (cough) but ask Him only for the strength to bear it. With this mind, I forgot about my cough. I only felt bad about it when I disturbed people around me.
Once I went to Sri Swamiji and He asked, “How is your health?” I said, “Fine, Swamiji.” I began telling Him about an Anagha Pooja I conducted and how happy the people were. He interrupted me, “How is your cough?” I said, “It is there, but I am okay.” Then I started talking about the pooja and He stopped me and said. “It is your karma and you have to bear it, I can distribute some of it, but I cannot take it away.” He gave me some vibhuti and I left. Some days later, my cough became less irritating and some of my relatives started coughing. Now my cough is not so severe.
In my spiritual growth, I felt subtle changes within me by doing simple things like reading the ‘Datta Darshanam’ book. I read it twenty-five times. Moreover, every time I read it I fely some thing shift within me, even though it is the same. Sri Swamiji knows the effects of these things, and the reasons why He encourages us to read and watch the movie of Datta Darshanam. When the movie was released, He told us to go in the theatre and watch it as much as we can. I watched it forty times. I do not know what the secret is but I experienced changes within me on all levels. I did no homas, yagnas nor tirats to find spirituality. My spirituality came to me in the form of my Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. He orchestrated my life from birth and is now playing the instrument and I am enjoying the sweet music. Jaya Guru Datta
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Lalit and Nandini Kumar Duggal, Delhi
Nandini: “My dear daughter Nandi, you are alive, I have brought you back from Yama lokha. I fought for you, I remembered your days in the Ashrama as a young girl and how you served in the Ashrama. I have bought you back so you can continue to serve me.”
I am the eldest of the three daughters of Professor Krishan Kumar. My younger sister, Deepa, was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was almost three years old, and this prompted my father to go the Mysore Ashrama to seek the help of Sri Swamiji. My other sister, Roopa, Deepa and I used to accompany my father to Mysore as children; we grew up with Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji in our lives.
I loved writing and I used to write letters to Him, telling Him of even the littlest and silliest of things happening in my life, and He would sit and read the letters aloud. My father once told me, in the presence of Sri Swamiji, not to bother Him with my letters. However He replied, “It is all right, let her write, it is her nature, not many people write like this.”
From this young age I became very close to Sri Swamiji, He became my best friend, and even to this day I still write letters to Him. He used to take us with Him on many of His trips. We even accompanied Him on His first trip to Badrinath and Kedarnath. With His compassionate nature He used to take good care of us and looked after the smallest of things. When I was about twelve years old I was staying at the Mysore Ashrama and I got bitten by mosquitoes. The next morning when He saw my face, He asked me what had happened, and He called Kusumakka and told her to take care of me and to give me a mosquito net and repellant. He was even protecting me from mosquitoes.
I was very keen to become a doctor and Sri Swamiji told me to do the entry exam, I did it but I did not pass. I cried and felt very bad. He told me not to cry because it had happened this way for the best. He said I could have met with some difficulty if I had secured a place so do not cry over it. He told me to try again. I wrote the exam again and this time I passed. In 1981, when He was leaving for France, he asked me, what He should bring back for me. I told Him nothing. Anyway, He brought back a stethoscope and told me that I should become a good doctor. From then I began seeing Him as my father.
In 1987, I got married. My father had asked Sri Swamiji to promise that He will perform the Kanyadaan ritual for my marriage. We did a marriage ceremony in Delhi and Sri Swamiji called us to Vijayawada and conducted a ceremony in the South Indian tradition. He asked my father if I had a Mangala sutra. My father told Him that it is not our custom in the north to have this but I can get one later. The ceremony started early in the morning and finished around noon.
Sri Swamiji sat and observed the entire program. There were about two hundred and fifty people in the temple. After the poojas, we went before Sri Swamiji and my father-in-law offered Him a garland. He took the garland, pulled out a mangala sutra from it, and gave it to me. I wear it until this day. My father gave me a cassette player and eleven cassettes with Sri Swamiji’s music; he told me he gave me Sri Swamiji’s voice as my dowry. My husband was not a devotee when we got married but as time went by, he became very close to Sri Swamiji.
In 1988, we both visited Mysore Ashrama and he sought Sri Swamiji’s guidance with his career as a doctor. He followed His advice and things worked out for Him at His job. Once he was diagnosed with a severe hip condition, where he might have to get a hip replacement. I became worried and sent a message to Sri Swamiji about his condition. Sri Swamiji sent back word that he will be all right, not to worry. He recovered from that hip problem; it turned out he just had some hip trauma.
My husband was having problems at his job with jealousy from co-workers. One day Sri Swamiji called us to the Mysore Ashrama. He asked us to perform Sarva Dosha Yagna. After performing the Yagna, Sri Swamiji told him that, everything will be all right at his job. When he returned to his job things got better and today he is one of the top doctors in Delhi.
After having a few miscarriages, I finally became pregnant again, so my father became worried for me and he told Sri Swamiji about my condition, but He told me, “Datta Prasad.” I carried the pregnancy for the full term and I gave birth to a baby boy. My other child, a daughter, Devika is very fond of Sri Swamiji; she seeks His advice in her life decisions and follows them through. She studied dental medicine in Mysore under Sri Swamiji’s care and guidance.
In 2002, my father-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor, stage four. My husband and I are both doctors and we did not know what to do. We consulted Sri Swamiji and He told us, since we are doctors, we should think carefully and do the best we can, but we should not do surgery neither should we take him out of India. We followed His instructions and took care of the patient right here in India, and he felt better and lived for four and a half years more. At this time, he became ill again and when we consulted Sri Swamiji He told us not to interfere this time. I guess Sri Swamiji knew the right time for him to be relieved from this world.
In 2008, I became very ill and I was dying. I went for a root canal at the dentist and he gave me an anesthesia. After the procedure, complications developed within me. My liver and kidney stopped functioning and I ended up in the ICU. My husband informed Sri Swamiji and He called me on the phone and said, “My dear daughter Nandi, you are alive, I have brought you back from Yama lokha. I fought for you, I remembered your days in the Ashrama as a young girl and how you served in the Ashrama. I have bought you back so you can continue to serve me.” After staying for eleven days in the hospital, I was discharged and sent home.
I have been under Sri Swamiji’s loving care since the 1970s and I do not know of any other way of life. He practically raised me as a child and now I have children of my own. My husband is now a staunch devotee. We were fortunate indeed, for Sri Swamiji has visited our home and made it His own. We made the second floor only for Him and He likes it very much. We pray to Him always and share our happiness and difficulties and He responds by giving us the courage and strength to overcome them, sometimes He takes charge completely.
Being a doctor, I pray and sometimes plead with Him regarding His health. I ask Him to take rest for His physical body is getting older. I even advise Him not to travel so much. He always say, “Don’t worry about me, I am okay.” I know it is being selfish when I ask Him not to travel so much but I cannot help it for sometimes I cannot help seeing Him as my dear father. Just recently, He saw me and said to me, “How are you my daughter?” I felt like I was ‘on top of the world’. What else do I need in my life? He has given us everything, being with us always. Jaya Guru Datta
Lalit: Then several incidents happened that brought me virtually to His Lotus Feet and a realization dawned that there is something supernatural in Him that science and reasoning cannot explain.
Our family is a perfect blend between an advanced fast moving Air Force type and a religious, spiritual, god fearing one, as typified by my father. When Nandini and I met for the first time in June, 1986, she had concerns about a ‘high fi’ Defense family, and I had misgivings as I was told about their leanings towards a ‘bearded sadhu’, by the doctor who introduced me to Nandini.
We bought our engagement rings for the function that was to be held on September 7th, 1986. However, Nandi’s dad informed us that Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, their family Guru, was to bless us on September 5th and He would perform the ring ceremony. Our family was confused as to how an engagement could occur on two different days and with the same rings. With this reservation and the ring in hand we met Sri Swamiji on September 5th, in Delhi. He inquired about our family and explained to my father about the faith and devotion of Krishan Kumar’s family towards Him. Low and behold, He brought out two rings from nowhere and ordered the engagement to be performed in His presence. We were stunned and did the ritual obediently. Sri Swamiji knew about our doubts and pre-empted any confusion. Our planned engagement on the September 7th went off without any hitch
In December 1988, I was promoted as a consultant in medicine in one of the top private hospitals of Delhi. We were required to develop a field of medicine as a precondition. I had given my choice as Rheumatology and Immunology. In December 1989 along with Nandi and my little daughter, we visited the Mysore ashram. I was overwhelmed by the peace and serenity of the place that was not as sprawling as it is now. I interacted with Agastya, a devotee from Denmark, who’s stories about his cure of advanced colon cancer by Sri Swamiji, seemed like folklore. He however refused to discuss any details with me.
During my first prostration to Sri Swamiji, I was asked by my father-in-law to discuss this new field of Rheumatology with Him. Sri Appaji merely closed His eyes and said ‘Karo’. I hardly gave any importance to this one word answer, but I was able to recognize its meaning almost two decades later. This fledgling field of medicine is one of the most rapidly growing branches and at present I am the chairman of the ‘Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology’ of the hospital, where I work.
From 1989 up until about 2002, Sri Swamiji was like a friend, philosopher and an elder to me, with whom I had many lovable interactions without understanding the meaning of them. My father’s incurable brain tumor in December 2002 was the first instance of coming closer to Him. Then several incidents happened that brought me virtually to His Lotus Feet and a realization dawned that there is something supernatural in Him that science and reasoning cannot explain. You have to experience it, try not to question it or Him, get strength and courage from it and move on.
In 2003, we were grappling with my father’s treatment of a malignant brain tumor when a decision against ‘gamma knife’ treatment was taken. We were confused. Nandi prayed to Sri Appaji from her hospital in Delhi. As she always does, she wrote some lines in her diary. The next day while I was on rounds in my hospital, she called me to say that a miracle had happened; there was kumkum and vibuthi on the page in her diary; Sri Swamiji had blessed our action. This was the beginning of several occasions of kumkum, vibuthi, chandan and objects materializing out of nowhere; on Sri Swamiji pictures, in our temple and everywhere in the house. I have a full record of them and shall discuss some of them in this chapter.
In 2004, when my daughter was in the tenth grade, Nandi asked Sri Swamiji, through Prasadi, as to what professional line she should take. ‘Doctor and a bright future was His prompt reply’. In 2005 we visited Mysore ashram and took a private appointment with Sri Swamiji. Devika, my daughter told Him that as per His directions she was preparing for the medical entrance exams dated for next year. Sri Swamiji merely closed His eyes and materialized a gold ring with SGS engraved on it and put it in her finger. As ordained she became a doctor dentist in 2011 and continues to wear the ring.
For my son, Anish, the message came through SMS in 2008, identifying engineering as his profession. In June, 2010 we were struggling to get a seat when we received another message through Prasad that read—‘blessings from Sri Appaji for Anish’s engineering seat’. In July 2010 my son finally got a seat in one of the most sort after branches in engineering in a prestigious college in Delhi.
Like I mentioned earlier, we are truly blessed and humbled by the more than three hundred occasions when we have received materialized gifts in our house while His Holy self is many thousands miles away. When asked, He simply replies: My siddhis bless you in your house. Just apply kumkum or chandan or vibuthi on your forehead as a prasadam from me.
On New Year day (1/1/09): There was chandan on Dattatreya’s picture given to us by Sri Swamiji; we prayed and remembered Him.
On every karvachauth (since 2008): The fasting day observed by every north Indian wife for longevity of her husband, there is kumkum on His invitation card in our temple in the house.
On Shivaratri (25/2/09): Sri Swamiji was doing abhishekam in Mysore Ashrama on the night of the 24th. On the morning on 25/2/09 we found water in the utensil that we use for our daily puja.
Nandini brought a mini Ganapathy from Mumbai on 23/9/11 and we placed it in our temple. Nandini wanted some chandan to do the abhishekam. While we were thinking, we found wet chandan on Ganapathi’s head in the mandir.
On 16/5/10, a very auspicious day in Hindu calendar where over twenty thousand marriages are solemnized in Delhi alone. We were worried about our son’s future. In the evening at 6.00 pm he finds lots of misri in the temple of his bedroom. Then we saw lots more misri strewn all over on the picture of Sri Swamiji and Dattatreya in our temple, hidden in the misri was a silver coin of Vaishnodevi shrine board (2005).We were all stunned, Nandini’s Daddy tells us that it was the day of the Goddess, so enjoy the gifts!
Sri Swamiji has not only changed our lives in every way, but has defined spirituality beyond books, verses and the realms of reasoning and questioning. He says that in whatsoever capacity we show our love to Him, in the same way He will reciprocate. He has a dual demeanor that many of us can at times appreciate: an ordinary mortal like all of us and suddenly you find that He is in a different world, away from all of us; a sublime Supreme Being.
For our family, He is not only our father; He is an umbrella that provides protection from the vagaries of this materialistic world. Jaya Guru Datta
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