Sri Datta Yogi Raj, USA: “You will be known as Datta Yogi Raja. That was the moment our association for many, many births got re-connected.”
Sri Datta Yogi Raj, USA
“From now on you will be known as Datta Yogi Raja, go and spread the message of meditation and music therapy like you have been doing.” That was the moment our association for many, many births got re-connected
I met Sri Swamiji for the first time in 1993. At birth I was given the name Raju Ramanathan, I was born in Kanya Kumari, a town in South India. While growing up I used to wander near the waterfalls; the place where legend has it that Sage Agastya lives. One day, at the age of seven, I sat chanting the Yoga Menakshi Strota, a prayer dedicated to the goddess Menakshi that was composed by Sage Agastya. A sage came to me and said, “You are chanting so well for a little boy.”
Later, I began chanting the Soundarya Lahari, a poem written by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. When I completed it, the sage took a Rudraksha bead from His mala, squeezed water out of it and told me to drink it. He said, “You will grow a lot spiritually.” I asked, “How can I grow without a Guru?” He then said, “Guru Sachchidananda Himself will come.” He walked away and I went home and told my grandmother what had happened. From that young age, I knew that my Guru would come to me one day.
As a young man, I consulted the Nadi Grantas, a great book of subtle knowledge of peoples lives written by the Saptha Rishis. I got a reading from the Agastya Nadi by giving my thumbprint. I was told everything about my life including that I would have two Gurus in my life, one will have the name of the sun and the other will be named Sachchidananda. Even though I could have chanted mantras, and I knew that my life was destined for the spiritual path, I was drawn to the path of the material world. I studied engineering, then I went for my masters, and then for my doctorate. These engineering studies brought me to America at the age of twenty-seven.
I was working in my profession but I was still searching for that being whose mere sight can bring about spiritual changes in me. In 1981, Rishi Prabhakar, a friend from Bangalore, and his mother, Ramadevi, came to visit me. This pious lady was a devotee of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. Prabhakar is another word for sun. She told me that she and her son have the same Guru. I began working with Rishi Prabhakar conducting meditation camps and teaching Yoga in India, America and Canada.
I wanted to see his Guru but the time was not right. Once he brought me a music cassette from Sri Swamiji and I kept it in my bag. I was teaching a class to a tough group of prisoners, working with their emotions, but I could not keep them under control. I remembered the cassette in my bag and I pulled it out and played it. When they heard the music, the entire class settled down and became calm. After the class, they said that the music did something to them. I was amazed myself; I thought here was something mightier than Einstein’s theory of relativity. I wish I could meet the one who made this music. I dismissed that thought soon after and kept going in my scientific world. The time was not right yet.
In 1993, I was in Canada and Rishi Prabhakar came to visit me. He said, “Do you know that He is here? Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.” Without hesitation I asked, “Where is He?” He said, “He is at the house of a devotee named Jairajh and they are forming an organization today, let us go there.” We both went to that house and when we got there we saw Sri Swamiji talking to the devotees. He had inaugurated the start of the Datta Yoga Center of Canada. This was the last of a three-day program and people were beginning to leave.
I just sat there looking at Sri Swamiji. Then an announcement was made that tomorrow there will be a mantra initiation program. I left that place excited to attend that program. Early next morning I went to the house, there were five of us waiting to see Sri Swamiji. I went in and saw Him; He gave me Mantra Deeksha in a spiritual way. I felt His energy within me as I left that place. I did not want to lose that energy so I began practicing the mantra He gave me. I chanted the mantra more than a million times.
In the late nineties, I was always invited to attend one of Sri Swamiji’s temple inauguration ceremonies. In 1997, my sister living in Little Rock Arkansas called me in Canada and said that Sri Swamiji was coming to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to inaugurate a temple and she wants me to come and take her there. I went and sat in a corner and witnessed the entire function. He did not speak to me. The same thing happened in St. Louis, I was present for the inauguration ceremony and Sri Swamiji did not talk to me. I kept a low profile and observed everything.
In 2002, when Sri Swamiji visited Chicago, I was invited there since I had done meditation camps in nearly all the hospitals in Illinois. I was at a devotee, Kris Raman’s, house and I got a call that Sri Swamiji has just came in and wants to see me, I met Him at the airport and after talking for a while I told Him, “Swamiji I am working on this temple construction in the Chicago region and I want you to come and bless it.” He replied, “Raju, my programs are totally filled here, I do not know if I will have time.” I left and the next day, early in the morning I got a call from Prasadi, saying, “Raju at around midnight Sri Swamiji got up and told me that He is feeling bad because He told you no, but He said He will use His meditation time around 5.00 am, to go to the temple with you.” I was astonished and happy.
We both went to the temple site at 5.00 am in the morning and He told me, “The Temple will happen here and you will be a part of it, a new community will happen here.” I was happy for this news but even happier that He had sacrificed His meditation time for me. What love and compassion He embodies! On this same visit in Chicago, I was sitting in a corner of the temple and Sri Swamiji called me and said, “I want you to come to India.” I said, “Yes, Swamiji.”
I started to think if I could make it for I had some work to do with two doctors. The next day Sri Swamiji called me again and said, “You are coming to Mysore for Datta Jayanti, aren’t you?” Before I could answer, He pointed to the two doctors next to Him and said, “You bring him to India on December 19th.” Sri Swamiji knew that I had an obligation to these doctors, which would have prevented me from coming for Datta Jayanti, so He worked it out so that I can be in Mysore for Datta Jayanti.
On December 19th 2002, I was in the Mysore Ashrama. I went to the temple to witness the Thaila Abhishekam of Lord Dattatreya. I was instructed to sit up front. Suddenly Sri Swamiji called me up, put a garland on me and said, “From now on you will be known as Datta Yogi Raja, go and spread the message of meditation and music therapy like you have been doing.” That was the moment our association for many, many births got re-connected.
Around 2000 I had an accident and developed a back injury, which made my back weaker and weaker as time went by. On His visit to the DRC in Pittsburg in 2005, someone told Sri Swamiji about my back. He told me to practice Kriya Yoga and it will help the injury. I learnt the Kriya Yoga as taught by Sri Swamiji and began practicing it. It definitely helped my injury. I then took a teachers training course and now I teach this practice to many devotees and associates.
In 2009 when Sri Swamiji visited Dallas for Guru Purnima Celebrations He called me on the stage and told me to teach Kriya Yoga. I have been doing that and the name has been changed to Datta Kriya Yoga. I met Rishi Prabhakar in 1981, and he brought Sri Swamiji in my life as predicted by the Agastya Nadi. Today is July 15th 2011, exactly thirty years since I am physically connection with my Guru Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.
Jaya Guru Datta.
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