Shanmugam S Nadar and Mangala Atchi, Malaysia
“You are only here to visit your friend, I am here for a purpose only, if you want me to come to your place, you have to come to Mysore and invite me properly.”
We were brought up in a conservative Hindu home; going to temples and doing puja, but knew nothing about Guru/Shishya relationship. That is until Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji came into our lives. Meeting Sri Swamiji was merely by accident. One day, the late uncle I K Moorthy, who was a family friend, told me that a Swami was coming from India and he wants to prepare a big program for this occasion. I began helping not even knowing the person who was coming.
Sri Swamiji came and we met Him at the airport; He was accompanied by Muralianna. This was His second visit to Malaysia; His first visit was in 1980 when He came as fulfillment of a promise made to a couple. During that visit, the couple, Rajan and Menakshi, had invited Uncle Moorthy to meet Sri Swamiji at their home in North Malaysia. Uncle Moorthy invited Sri Swamiji to visit Kuala Lumpur on His way back to Mysore, but He refused saying, “You are only here to visit your friend, I am here for a purpose only, if you want me to come to your place, you have to come to Mysore and invite me properly.” Later, uncle Moorthy went to Mysore, invited Sri Swamiji and He came here in 1981. I got involved with Uncle Moorthy in organizing the program.
During the programs, I kept wondering, why were so many people coming to see Sri Swamiji and inviting Him to visit their homes? They have received His darshan, they got Prasadam and blessings, but why do they still want HimSwamij to come to their individual homes? I did not have the courage to ask anyone; I was asking this question in my mind and was thinking to myself, maybe when He visits their houses it will bring them something special. I was thinking along material lines. Then I started wondering; will Sri Swamiji come to my house? Should I ask Him or should I ask through Uncle Moorthy? I thought that it was not proper for me to ask so I kept it to myself.
About three days later, I was supposed to accompany Uncle Moorthy by taking Sri Swamiji to a temple. I arrived early and I was standing outside waiting; Sri Swamiji came out of His room and I greeted Him. He looked at me, smiled and then turned to Uncle Moorthy and asked, “Where are we going today?” Uncle Moorthy replied that we were going to a temple that is to the west of Kuala Lumpur. Sri Swamiji asked him, “What time are we supposed to return?” Uncle Moorthy replied, “About 7.30 pm Swamiji. Then Sri Swamiji said “Okay, on our way back we will visit Shanmugam’s house. I was taken aback; my wish was being fulfilled without me having to ask Him. That was my first experience with Sri Swamiji.
I was caught in a dilemma, because I did not know how to greet Sri Swamiji when He comes to someone’s house. Purnakumbha and all the protocol were new to me; I was young and spiritually immature. My face went blank, I did not know how I was going to receive Him and a lot of people will be there. Uncle Moorthy saw through me and understood my situation. He said he will take Sri Swamiji to the temple, but before that, he asked his wife to accompany me to my house and show me what has to be done.
I rushed to my house and informed my wife that Sri Swamiji was coming to our home. We had a rented house and we had two hours to clean and prepare the prayer room where He would sit. We invited a few neighbors and everything was done on time. I went to the front door and just then I saw a car driving up to the front of our house. I was not sure how to greet Sri Swamiji; should I offer Him my hand in the western way or not? At that time, my son, Gopi, was a small boy ran out of the house and held on to Sri Swamiji’s hand and said come, come; he had received Sri Swamiji.
He came into the house, went straight to the prayer room and called my wife and me. He wanted to know a little about our background. I told Him that my father had passed away, mother was still alive and I was working with the Ministry of Information. Then my wife spoke about her family. He asked her “What’s your second brother doing?” She told Him that He was based in Scotland, in the oil and gas business, and he was doing very well. Immediately one thinks of material things. After a while Sri Swamiji gave Prasadam and left.
After He left, my wife started to bug me. She was saying, “I have other brothers, why did He choose to ask about my second brother? I thought that He was just asking a casual question, but she insisted that there was more to it. With some anger I told her that I couldn’t answer her question, but she was free to go to and ask Sri Swamiji. However, I advised her that she should not ask directly, but go to Moorthy Amma and she will do it for you.
The next day, I dropped her off at Sri Swamiji’s camp and I went to work. When I returned in the evening I asked her if she had met Him and she said, yes! But when she asked Him about her brother Sri Swamiji told her not to worry He will take care of everything. He also asked her to send her brother’s name, gothra and date of birth to the Ashram along with a bank draft for fifteen hundred rupees; a special Puja has to be done in his name.
I got the bank draft and gave it to Uncle Moorthy and explained Sri Swamiji’s instructions. The prayers were done in Mysore and the Prasadam was sent back to us. This brother was thousands of miles away in Scotland unaware of what was happening in Kuala Lumpur and all that transpired with Sri Swamiji. However, nothing was mentioned to him. Two weeks after all the prayers were completed, there was a big accident in the North Sea where a rig was washed away by a big storm and her brother, Dayan was supposed to be on that rig. Eighty-two lives were lost, but for or some reason Dayan stayed back and two American colleagues went instead; they both died. Dayan did not believe it, but we know that Sri Swamiji had saved him. This has brought us even closer to Sri Swamiji.
A few years later at a small gathering in Pondicherry, in the presence of Sri Swamiji, I was asked to give a small speech. I started by saying, “Sri Swamiji is God” and I meant every word of that statement. The fact that I am alive to tell this story today is only through His grace. I say this, because in 1990, we had just finished the Vinayaka Chaturthi prayers. I was secretary to the Malaysian Gnana Bodha Sabha and the president asked me, “Can we call Sri Swamiji today?” I said, “Sri Swamiji is in Zurich, Switzerland, we cannot call Him now.” He said that he has the phone number and he will call Him. So he called.
Normally, Sri Swamiji does not answer the phone Himself, but this time He took up the phone. We asked “Swamiji how come you answered the phone?” He said “I was expecting your call; I know you were going to call so I asked that the mobile be kept at my side.” He asked about what was happening and we told Him that we had just finished the Chaturthi, Annadanam was served and we were about to leave the temple. Then He asked “Is Shanmugam there?” I answered, “Yes Swamiji I am here” He said “It’s a long time since I saw you.” I was a bit puzzled because it was not long ago Sri Swamiji visited my home and I performed Pada Puja to Him, but I said, “Yes Swamiji.” Then He asked, “Are you coming to the Ashram?”
We decided that for Navaratri I would go to the Mysore Ashram and the day after I arrived, I met Him. I had His Darshan, collected Prasadam and as I was leaving the room; He uttered, “You came at the right time.” I started to analyze; first Swamiji said, “I did not see you for a long time,” then “are you coming to the Ashram? ‘Now He is saying “you have come at the right time.” I was puzzled, but I just performed namaskaram and left. The following day I left Mysore for Chennai. From Mysore to Chennai on the train, Sri Swamiji’s words kept playing back in my mind. Why did Swamiji say those words?
After the Navaratri festivals in Malaysia, we celebrate Deepavali by having a family reunion. We are originally from North Malaysia so we were driving to go there, but my car was giving trouble. As we were going on the highway and the steering wheel started to wobble and give problems. My son told me that the car was repaired while I was in India, why was it giving problems now? We were halfway there and I was driving about 110kmph, on the highway, when something told me to stop, do not drive any further.
I stopped and looked around for a mechanic shop and I saw a petrol station, so I reversed to the shop. To my surprise there were two gentlemen in their coveralls standing there, as though they were waiting for me. They were mechanics. It was about 6.45 pm. I told them what the problem was and one of the men who was Chinese said, “At this hour all shops will be closed and I would not be able to get parts needed.” I literally begged him to do something just to get me to the celebrations, after which I will have it properly repaired. He took sympathy with me as my whole family was in the car.
I thought that probably it was the drive shaft. The mechanic test drove the car and found the shaft was in perfect condition so he decided to check the tires. He observed that the left wheel was literally dangling and was just about to fall off completely. If I had driven another two kilometers it would have come off entirely. The mechanic, who repaired the car while I was away in Mysore, had forgotten to tighten the nuts. Even the mechanic was now saying that it’s God’s grace that I could have driven for that distance without the wheel falling off. I am sure it was Sri Swamiji’s doing; while I was driving, my entire family was crying and chanting Datta Stavam. When I attempted to pay the mechanic, he refused to accept the money. He said “I cannot accept money from you.” I do not know what he saw in me.
As I continued my journey, I had to use a trunk road, because there was an accident on the normal route and the traffic was crawling. I was so exhausted from all the day’s events that when the driver in front of me took a sudden brake, I hit the rear of his car. My number plate broke and his car had some scratches. He was arguing about his car so I gave him fifty dollars to polish off the scratches and continued on our way.
I realized that there was supposed to be a big accident which would have destroyed my entire family, which was reduced to a small one. The money that the mechanic refused, I had to pay to this gentleman. So I am alive today with my family to tell this story only due to Sri Swamiji’s grace. In 2010, I can proudly say that in my family, four generations have been His devotees and I ask Him to allow all my future generations to be at His Feet and serve Him.
Once, I had some chest pains, so I was sent for a medical check-up. A chest x-ray and echocardiogram showed that nothing was wrong, so I was referred to the institute medical hospital. One of the associate professors did the angiogram and told me that one of my arteries was ninety-five percent blocked. As he was talking, I saw Sri Swamiji standing in the room. I was just lying there, but I was unable to talk to Him. He was just standing there. The doctor was explaining that he was going to perform an Angioplasty and put a stent in my artery. After some time Sri Swamiji disappeared. I knew that He came to take care of me. Prior to this, my daughter had informed Prasadi that I was going to have this process. Apparently Swamiji was informed of this.
When I came out of the hospital, a message was sent to Prasad that I had the procedure and everything went alright. We received a reply saying that Sri Swamiji said that He was in the room with me. We don’t expect anything from Him but He just does these things. He knows what to do at the right time. Like this Sri Swamiji has done many things for us.
On another occasion, I was supposed to do coverage of the Ministry of Agriculture exhibition. As I was returning from that assignment with a colleague, it was raining heavily and the car in which I was travelling literally skidded unto a long trailer and hit the railing on the highway. The car was smashed. The night before, I dreamt Sri Swamiji holding my hand and saying, “Don’t worry; everything will be alright nothing will happen to you.” The next day this accident occurred. Again He saved me, because that car could have been crushed by that trailer. Sri Swamiji is always there for me and my family. If I have a concern it is, have I done enough to serve Him for all that He had done for us? It is invaluable.
Jaya Guru Datta