Bhaskaram Thimmappaiah Deexit, Bangalore
They showed the Sadhu the boy lying there, and He said to them, “The sheep had life, but your friend has already died. How can I bring him back to life? He is already dead, he has no life.”
I am the son of Bhaskaram Venkata Krishna Deexit from Chitradurga, who settled in Mysore, about one hundred and twenty years ago. I have six brothers and two sisters. “I was thirty-two years old when I met Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. Sri Swamiji arrived in Mysore in 1962 and was staying with Sri Srikantaiah, one of His early devotees, who was working with the Electricity Board. Once, I went to see the old man and I came to know that there was a young Swamiji, who was called Kesare Swami, there also. He was a Ganapati Bhakta, and many people have flooded the area to have His darsan.
There was a small committee of about five persons who arranged Sri Swamiji’s activities in Kesare. They were; Varna Shamburg, Narayan Swami, Nagobashetty, Doodha Urs Chikarsu, and Krishnamurthy. The latter was serving in the government service as a Tasildar, and Sri Swamiji put him to serve on the Committee. Then there was Rajagopal, the Hindi teacher, and Sivaram Shastry. Lots of other devotees were doing seva; every Saturday they would set up a pandal and on Sundays Ganapathi Homa will be performed.
How did I come to Sri Swamiji? I came to see Swamiji out of curiosity, as somebody told He was there. Out of inspiration from inside I came. He provoked me from inside. I am a devotee of Ganapathi, and so were my parents. Also, in those days, He was called Ganapathi Satyananda Swamiji. Satyanarayana was His original name, Satyananda was His adopted name, and at present He is Sachchidananda.
Narayan Swami said we needed some items for the homa; samitha, darbha etc, and so I contacted Sri Swamiji. He said that He wanted me to bring these things. So the next day I offered them to Him and He asked me to come regularly and bring the ingredients to perform the Homa. I used to be the milk collector for two Rama Mandirs in those days, and I used to go there on week days until about 1964, when for some apparent reason I stopped. In 1966, He shifted His Ashram to the present location on Nanjangud Road.
There was a gap of a little over four years between the Ashram and me. However, in December 1969 my father told me, “Kesare Swami has shifted to Nanjangud Rd., and you should go there and have His Darshan.” By then He used to get into the homa pit for Agni Homa every Sunday. On Tuesday, December 16th, 1969, I had a holiday from work, and during the abhijit muhurtam, I went there by bicycle. Until then, Sri Swamiji was in the underground room, where Arka Ganapathi is now. That was His Japa place; His tapasya place for about three weeks, during which time He not visible to the public. On that day, when I arrived I washed my hands and feet and stood outside His door. Almost immediately, He opened the door and came out. “Who are you?” He asked, “I am Timappa, son of Venkata Krishna Deexit”, I replied.
He started going around the Ashram and I also went with Him. He told me to start coming here for the programs, but now I should go for lunch. Nagaratna, a lady devotee was there, and He told her to ask me to come for bhajans. He composed the bhajan, ‘Mukunda Murali dhara’ then. That Thursday and I went for bhajans, and like that I continued. Within ten days it was the Datta Jayanti celebrations, but there was Dattatreya Murti, only Ganapathi, Amba, and Shiva. I expected that a Datta murthi should be there and took some flowers and fruits to offer, but there was no Dattatreya, so I made offerings to Shiva instead. I chanted “Audumbara Astika” and came back. Like that I continued.
After the Datta Jayanti program, Sri Swamiji took a trip to Vijayawada and stayed for about twenty days. Other senior members went, but I was advised to do homas in the Ashram. I did Abhishekam to Shiva, pooja to Ganapathi, and distributed the prasadam. When Sri Swamiji came back, I requested Him to come to my house for pada pooja. It was a Thursday, and He said that He normally did not leave the Ashram on Thursdays, especially for pada pooja. I asked again, “Still, You please do come to my house.” He agreed, and when He came He told my father, “That in my opinion, the pooja could take place in the Ashram without me, I am fully satisfied that your son could do the job in my absence.”
During September, 1970, I visited Madras with Him and we stayed at the home of K. P. Chandra Rao’s for about twelve days. Many pada poojas were done in those days also. On a Friday, Sri Swamiji was having an oil bath and with copina (loincloth) only, when I came to His chambers. He had a danda and He was sitting on the chair in a very distinct mood loudly saying, “I am Ganapathi, see Subrahmanya here.” He shook His legs and we had darshan of Subrahmanya, in the form of a snake.
During His stay, Vidwam Veer Ramachandran, a vocalist, and Sri Chandrasekhar, a professional violin player accompanied Him in His performance. At the end of the program, Sri Chandrasekhar, who was blind, expressed to Sri Swamiji, “I am blind, I cannot see you.” But Sri Swamiji told him, “You can see Me in your inner heart.”
In KP Chandra’s house, Tulabharam was performed, where He sat on one side of the scale, and devotees offered a bag of jaggery on a silver plate, and then a golden plate was placed on top of that with nine precious stones, and we were allowed to performed pada pooja. Then He said, “I will resend these items to where they have come from in the ocean. They should go back to nature as they came from nature.” There were two beaches nearby; Adyar Beach and Marina Beach. Marina Beach is too busy so Sri Appaji offered all these precious stones, plates, and jaggery, at Adyar Beach. He wanted to give these things as a gift to the goddess of ocean.
Sri Swamiji, Chandra, Balikaparsha, my brother, and I went and He took a bath in the waters there. He then went to my brother’s house, and later gave a discourse at a Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in the locality. He gave a discourse saying that nobody should test the Guru. In His discourse He said, “A shepherd’s sheep was dying and he was weeping. His sheep looked dead. A Sadhu came by and gave life to the sheep by chanting a mantra, and the shepherd was happy again. There were some boys there who said, “Oh, you have got so many powers, you made a dead sheep alive again, our friend is going to die now, please save him.” They told another friend to just lie there and pretend to be dead, “We’ll test the Sadhu.” They showed the Sadhu the boy lying there, and He said to them, “The sheep had life, but your friend has already died. How can I bring him back to life? He is already dead, he has no life.” He had so much power!
In September 1970, I was coming from Vijayawada with Sri Swamiji. A monkey had died; he was accidentally hit by one of the vehicles travelling on the road. The group would normally scatter when cars approaches. When I looked back, I saw the other monkeys going sadly towards the dead monkey on the road. I requested Sri Swamiji to do some Samskara. I felt that we should not leave the dead monkey like that. He agreed, came back, and advised us to remove the monkey to the side, dig a pit and take some petrol and cremate the animal. We stayed for about half an hour. By then it was almost burnt completely. Then we gave money to some farmer there to immerse the ashes in the river.
About six months later my father died. I realized that it was auspicious to do the last rites for the monkey before doing the last rites for my father on March 23rd 1971. On 22nd March, the day before, Sri Swamiji gave Darshan to my father. He visited my father’s house, my house, and my Uncle Bhagwat’s house that were on the same street; He knew that my father would be passing the next day.
Previously on the January, 7th He was in Vijayawada and He performed Sahasraha Ganapathi Homa in Patamata Venkateshwara Temple. We then moved to Bommeparthi where Badracharam Ramdas who has written many songs on Rama, stayed. At the Temple, He was welcomed with great honors and for the first time He tied a small lemon cloth, Shikhavastra, on His head. He started then to use Shikhavastra for some occasions. From here He went to Anantapur, to Kanyateertha, where He had spent a lot of time in His younger days. In Bommeparthi He wanted a Samadhi for Jayalakshmimata, who was cremated there. I participated in all these projects and tours, and now, that place is called Jayalakshmipuran.
On the way to Anantapur they had to visit some distant relative, and a devotee, Ashwottama. Nearing Anantapur, He told the driver to go fast, as a child was admitted to the hospital, and on the way, the car touched a goat and but the goat did not die. In the meantime, the family was chanting Vishnu Bhagwatam, and as per the story; Vishnu was about to appear, and at the same time, Sri Swamiji appeared in the house and told the family not to worry that He had blessed the child to recover! What a happy moment for them–Guru Krupa!
In 1974, I went to Bommeparthi for the Kumbha Abhishekam of the Ganapathi, Shiva, and Lakshmi Narayana Temples and stayed there with a group of other priests for eight days. After the Shiva consecration, Swamiji stood behind the Lingam and gave Darshan and we experienced Him as Markandeya. After Mata Jayalakshmimata passed away, Sri Appaji said, I am doing for my father, who will do for my mother? So in April, 1972, on Chaitra Purnami, He performed Aradhana for Jayalakshmimata.
He was doing bhajans, and I thought, “Vishnu padas are there, but they are already cleaned for next day’s pooja.” I had my father’s pindas in one hand, and my mother’s pindas in another and I asked Him to show His Feet. I took the pindas to Him and asked Him to come to one side. I offered them to His Feet and He did not refuse, and afterwards I put them under the Audumbara Tree so that any bird could eat.
In Prayaag, in 1972, when Sri Swamiji arrived there for a visit, a boatman, similar to Guha of the Ramayana, thought, “Sri Rama has come,” and lifted Sri Swamiji and danced in ecstasy. Along with us there were two boys, Srinivas and Vasu. They always carried empty ‘Coca-Cola’ bottles with them, and when the boys were bathing His Feet and the water was flowing from them, He told the boys, “Collect this water, this is Rama Teertham.”
In Kedarnath, Swamiji contracted severe fever. About thirty people had accompanied Him, and several of them had fever, and He did not want them to suffer, so He took that fever on Himself. I was carrying a lot of Saligrama, and so I prayed to them with mantras, and offered ice to them, as part of the pooja, and the next morning, Sri Swamiji was alright. Though it was a new place, while going in the car, He suddenly said, “I want to walk a little,” and after awhile He entered a cave. Afterwards He related to us what was in there. He said there was a huge rock, a huge tree, and the moon, giving enlightenment. “Om Asato Ma Sadgamaya, Tamaso ma Jyothirgamaya,” from darkness to light. He must have perceived something.
In 1980, my daughter was married and Swamiji blessed her marriage. Since 1970, I have not missed any Shivaratri. In 1970 Sri Swamiji performed Shivaratri elsewhere and I had to perform Shiva pooja on His advice, in Mysore, later during His absence, I was given that seva. On several occasions, during the last ten years, I made a mixture of kesari, saffron and special camphor with sandal paste, and brought it to Him and He will immediately puts His hands and paste them with it. In Bangalore I had the opportunity to paste it on His Feet, and then He comes out even when He is busy, and He does not get angry. The new boys may get angry but not Him.
Daily I perform puja to Spatika Surya. Sri Swamiji gave me this stone to wear, when I came back from the Nepal tour, and I don’t remove it. For Shivaratri 1992, He gave me this Lingam and a lot of other items over the years. Some people are blessed with vibhuti, some with lingams, and others with Rudrakashas or other items. Once He said, “Don’t feel that you are not blessed if you don’t receive anything, it means that you are safe. These people have problems and I have to protect them.”
In April 1972, Sri Swamiji went to Delhi and Nepal. In Nepal there is a rare combination of saligrama, at the rivers, Kali and Gandaki. He asked me to do His usual daily pooja and Abhishekam to all deities in River Gandaki. There was a temple on a small hill nearby, and the priest was over one hundred and thirty-eight years old. We told him that Sri Swamiji has come from Mysore and He wants some saligrama. Then Sri Swamiji asked him to get some saligrama. He went in to the temple and brought a basketful, and he offered it to Sri Swamiji.
On the way down the hill, Sri Swamiji started to put the saligrama, one by one in the river Gandaki. I said to Him, “They are holy. You should not do like this. You should take to Ashram in Mysore and give to devotees there.” He stopped immediately and had them brought back to Mysore and gave to devotees. Such opportunities I had in my life!
He stayed in Katmandu, with Kishendraj Sharma, the secretary of the King of Nepal of those days. He was more than eighty years old with a huge family, including his mother who was still alive. They all were staying with him also. More than fifty members of the family were there. They were worshipping saligrama for generations. They kept a Sudarshan saligrama on Swamiji’s forehead and requested Him to keep this saligrama and do milk abhishekam and pooja Himself, for the protection of their family. Then He said, “Sri Guru Paduka Murtini- the holy water from the Guru’s Feet is the teertham….Future generations should consider Guru as the final end. Adopt His teachings; think of Guru always, and take the water from His Holy Feet as teertham. All present problems will be solved, and finally moksha will be attained, no rebirth.”
In the 1980’s, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha, Sri Vishalakshi, Sri Ganapathi and Sri Visweshwara murtis were brought to the Mysore Ashrama. These shrines have remained as they were originally. The priest who brought Lakshmi Narasimha Swami from Vaksatalli, and installed it here was called Lakshmi Narasimha Shastry. He was advised that there should be no obstruction, nor objection from any side. Sri Swamiji wanted the murti to be installed the very next morning. To install or remove a murti is not simple. There are certain rituals which must be performed. So in that short time it would have been very difficult. Then He poured water from a silver pot, and said, “Go ahead, it’s over.” He meant all those rituals were now finished, so He started digging out those murtis, and brought it to Mysore on time.
Sometime between 1969 and 1970, the Sachchidanandeshwara Lingam was brought from Ratnapuri. Sri Swamiji’s maternal grandmother, Savitramma, had a dream that a Shiva lingam was there and Sri Swamiji also had a dream that Shiva wanted to come to the Mysore Ashram. So a team went to Ratnapuri and tried to excavate to find the Shiva Lingam. Sri Swamiji Himself had to lift it out.
In our house we normally performed consecration ceremonies for Aditis. I was in the pooja room, when Sri Swamiji came and sat near the door. I wanted to offer aarthi to Him but there was only one stick of matches. I was extremely happy for this function as I had performed these same rituals in my father’s house many times. But I could not express my happiness by doing aarthi to Him. I started to laugh and Sri Swamiji asked, “Why are you laughing?” I was thinking that this was a rich household, a huge house, but only one matchstick. If I misuse it, the camphor won’t burn, so this is like life.
The stick is brief like life. You must light and use it before the flame burns out. It means that there must be a turning point in life, just like a matchstick. If the match lights the camphor, fine, but if it does not, it becomes useless. Silently I understood from Him; that you must be useful to the world. If you are not useful, you are useless. The Audumbara tree is useful, but the fruit is not, because there is no life in the fruit. Some people are born and they die without being useful to anybody. So Swamiji was teaching Vedanta through the matchstick.
During the consecration ceremonies in Bommeparthi, there were floods. Where it is usually so dry, there was heavy rain. Our car was swerving to one side, so a boatman took the four passengers across, but some people could not cross the road, so they were forced to go back to Bangalore and their normal duties. Life is a river, one side is birth, one side is death, and you should be able to cross it with Guru’s Grace, or the deity’s Grace. Cross safely, and have faith, be sincere and be conscious of your soul; your True Self! Jaya Guru Datta!