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