S Venkat Reddy, Bommeparthi
In this building Satyanarayana would play with blades and sharp knives. He would stick the knives into His legs and no wound or blood will be visible; He would hit the blades on His skin without being hurt, and so He will always entertain us. He took the boredom of childhood away.
Jaya Guru Datta, I am S. Venkat Reddy, aged seventy four, and a lifelong resident of Bommeparthi. I am fortunate to have been the school mate of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji during His early years. The hallowed surroundings of the Hanuman Temple in Bommeparthi, which still exists, was where we would sit and hold classes. In those days classes were held in the open and there was no distinction in age groups. We all sat and learn from a single teacher.
Bommeparthi was a little hamlet about ten kilometers from Anantapur. We lived in a very tight knitted society of farmers. Our housed were mud shacks with thatched roofs, but it was a self sufficient village, and everybody knew everybody. Our village priest, Narasimha Shastry, was an erudite scholar and people from the surrounding villages would seek his services. He lived in the village, with his wife, Jayalakshmi, and three children; Satyanarayana, Varalakshmi, and Saraswati.
As a priest, Narasimha Shastry Garu, would stay away from home, for extended periods. However, on his return, all the villagers would receive some money from what he received from his work. Shastry Garu showed no preference to any particular household, but he was loved by all. His son, Satyanarayana, in particular was the cherished one; everyone in the village loved Him. He was always calm, helpful and concern.
I want to share few incidents that happened in my childhood which are still fresh in my heart. Although I was a few years His senior, I enjoyed His company, as did all the other children, very much. As a matted of fact, we used to tease Him by calling Him ‘Tikka Swami”. He was hardly seven years old, at that time, and He used to perform some extraordinary feats that were associated with swamis and holy men.
Across the road from the Hanuman Temple, was a little building where all the children would assemble to get away from the tough summer heat. In this building Satyanarayana would play with blades and sharp knives. He would stick the knives into His legs and no wound or blood will be visible; He would hit the blades on His skin without being hurt, and so He will always entertain us. He took the boredom of childhood away.
At other times He will pick up sand and small rocks and turn them to sugar or candies, which He gave to us. He would tell us about stories from the holy books and pretend to be the characters. Even the village animals were His friends. We were unaware that this boy who was performing these miracles to His friends will one day be revealed as a great incarnation of the Lord. To us He was just Satyanarayana, the village priest son.
Many years later when I met Sri Swamiji, I reminded Him of our childhood days. He smiled at me, tapped on the floor and materializes a ‘Ganapati’ idol which He gave to me. I realized that this small boy, from the village, was none other than benevolent Lord, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. I accepted this with my heart and I immediately recognize Him as my Sadguru. From childhood itself, He was showing us the essence of godliness, and the way to reach Him.
Afterwards when I went to see Him, I never asked for anything, because I know He will give me everything. I just needed to have His darshan and touch of His Holy Lotus Feet, which means everything in the world to me. Although I am 74 years old, at this age I need to see His motherly smile; I still need the comfort of His gaze. My day starts only after bowing to Him early the morning, and taking my first sip of water. He has taken care of me; socially, financially, and has kept me healthy.
The whole Bommeparthi is blessed because of Him. Everyone here would seek His blessings at every step of their life; from naming a new born, course of study, alliance for marriage or for a person who needs good health, its only Sri Swamiji whom we trust on. This nameless town got its shine from Him. We got nice roads, a post office and wonderful development in this village. This village shines as a beacon for those who think that when there is nothing else to hold on to, He will definitely come.
Jaya Guru Datta