M Sakuntala, Guntur
“Sri Swamiji didn’t let me sleep the whole night, He explained various rituals to me and gave me an upadesa. It was certainly not a dream. Sri Swamiji was sitting right in front of me and told me to chant the mantra.
Sometime in 1986 my neighbors were performing Anaghastami Vratam, a pooja that was being propagated, in this age, by Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. We didn’t know about Sri Swamiji then or even about Lord Dattatreya. We saw the Datta Darshanam movie and so we wanted to perform this Anagha Vratam with them.
In 1987, for the first time I saw Sri Swamiji in “Anna Srinivasa Kalyana Mantapam”. During that time I had severe migraine headaches, but after I first saw Sri Swamiji those migraines mysteriously disappeared. It was a custom in our family to visit Sri Sai Baba of Shiridi, but after we came in contact with Sri Swamiji we started visiting His Ashramas.
My son, Seetaram, who presently assists Sri Swamiji and sometimes tour with Him, has gotten very much attracted to Him. He would not have his meals unless it was offered first to Sri Swamiji. One day while he was offering coffee to Sri Swamiji’s photo a lizard fell on his hand and severely bit him. He started bleeding and everyone suggested that he should get medicated since it seemed to be poisonous, but my son refused saying, “Sri Swamiji will take care of me”. With this faith nothing happened to him. After wards it became normal for us to perform Anaghastami Vratam in our house continuously for forty, sixty or ninety days.
We had one of Sri Swamiji’s photos hanging on main electric switchboard. One day my son, Seetaram, referring to ‘Bhajanayogam– part 1’ said, “I didn’t like Sri Swamiji auctioning it” and tapped on the switchboard. In a split second there was a surge of electricity through his body and the fuse plug broke and fell apart. Because of the broken switch, the electric connection was lost and the boy was thrown from the main board. Miraculously, when we looked at him, thinking for the worst, all he suffered was some minor burns.
With this incident my son’s faith in Sri Swamiji became strong and he kept telling us that he needed to see Sri Swamiji and would like to stay with him. He kept chanting ‘Datta Stavam’ praying that he should get a chance to meet and talk with Him. Later we went to Vijayawada Ashram to have darshan of Sri Swamiji and requested for an interview. We were asked to sit and chant ‘Datta Stavam’ and we did so many times. We were fasting on that day so the family stepped out to get some bananas. Meanwhile Sri Swamiji gave darshan to other devotees in the ashram. We felt bad that we missed such golden opportunity craving for food and threw away all the food we bought. We made many requests to let us in but we were told that nobody is now allowed to meet Him.
Finally we were allowed to meet and talk with Sri Swamiji. We told Him that our younger son, Seetaram, was ill and is unable to take any food. Sri Swamiji advised us to stay in the Mysore Ashram for week during the summer. In the evening during the public discourse He mentioned, “A family kept chanting ‘Datta Stavam’ seeking an interview but Swamiji tested them a lot. They stepped out to get food and Swamiji deliberately called in other devotees. They felt bad and threw all the food away. I pitied them and called in”. We were awed by His omni presence and told everyone around that Sri Swamiji was mentioning about us.
With His ordain we visited Mysore Ashram during summer. My son Seetaram got this wonderful dream in which Sri Swamiji gave him handful of tablets. And from then my son is able to take his food properly. One day he asked Sri Swamiji if he could stay back in Mysore in His divine service. Sri Swamiji said, “Everyone here will test you. Even the lifeless pillars of the ashram will fight with you and will you be able to bear all that?” My son agreed. Sri Swamiji suggested having his Vadugu (thread ceremony) done. We followed His word and had the ritual done and left the boy in His service. As Sri Swamiji said, my son faced many hurdles and when ever he thought of coming back home; he would see a smile on Sri Swamiji’s face as though He was reading his mind.
Before the meeting of our Sadgurudeva, occasionally, a dumb person would visit our home and predict future happenings in our life and tell us in sign language. Once we asked him why did he stop coming to our house. Then he showed us in signs that “a man with long beard is coming to your house, he is your guru and he is not letting me in”. We realized then that we had to stick to one guru and from then stopped going to all other Gurus. We even stopped going to Shirdi, for in Mysore Ashrama, everything exist. Sri Swamiji is everything to us now. I was an addict to movies. But I started seeing Sri Swamiji on the screen and I stopped watching movies.
Once, Seetaram was having a rough time. Sri Swamiji came in a vision of our family priest and said “Seetaram is having a bad period, so I am giving you a mantra, as upadesa, for the sake of Seetaram, chant this mantra and follow these rituals”. Saying this Sri Swamiji explained the meaning of the mantras to the priest. This priest never believed in Sri Swamiji and this was the first time ever he had a vision like this. The next day he came to our house and said, “Sri Swamiji didn’t let me sleep the whole night, He explained various rituals to me and gave me an upadesa. It was certainly not a dream. Sri Swamiji was sitting right in front of me and told me to chant the mantra. When I researched this mantra in ‘Mantra – Tantra’ book, I realized it was the very powerful ‘Raja Matangi mantra’. Sri Swamiji explained to me in detail and I can never forget it.” The priest followed ordains of Sri Swamiji and became His devotee. And this way Sri Swamiji also helped us going though the bad periods.
Every night we would perform ‘Kakada aarthi’ to Sri Swamiji. Once we forgot to do the ritual and Sri Swamiji came in the vision of my elder son, who would normally work the night shift, saying we didn’t perform the ritual. Instantly he came home and performed ‘Kakada aarthi’. When we asked him how he knew it, he replied that Sri Swamiji who came in his vision told about it. He used to carry a small picture of Sri Swamiji in his pocket. Every day he used to pray to it before he started his work.
One day he felt as if Sri Swamiji saying, “I am leaving your house today”. He came home asking me what could be the meaning. We all realized that it was the last day of our forty day ‘Anaghastami Vratam’ and we had performed udvasana (uninstallation ceremony) to the kalashas. So His words meant that He was here in our home all the last forty days accepting our pooja. We cried that He said He left the house. And from then we continuously have the Kalashas and do regularly Anagha vratam for forty, sixty or ninety days wishing that Sri Swamiji will stay in our house. We used to perform Anagha Vratam going to houses in our neighborhood.
Sri Swamiji suggested the alliance for both our daughters. Our sons in law got better job with His grace. We offer what ever we eat, first to Sri Swamiji and then eat. He is like an elder in the family. He is our Guru and everything. Our experiences are endless. Jaya Guru Datta