Category: Devotee Experiences (Bhakta Mala) ~ A Collection

Lifetime experiences of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji's devotees, collected and published by Avadhoota Datta Peetham (two 'devotee experiences' added per week).

Swami Dattananda Datta Pada Renu, Mysore: ‘The Guru transforms the disciple into a divine personality and we have to serve the Guru with child-like faith’

Swami Dattananda Datta Pada Renu, Mysore

Physical body is inherited from parents but a Guru gives a divine birth. The Guru transforms the disciple into a divine personality and he have to serve the Guru with child-like faith.”

 

Today, I can say thanks to Sri Srinivas Bhatt, my old friend from Cochin, who took so much pain in trying to introduce me to His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji. I had known Sri Bhatt, when he was a priest at the Gopalakrishna Temple in Cochin. I was not a spiritual person, but there was some religiousness in me, so off and on I would visit the Temple. During the late 1960s Sri Bhatt would talk about his Guru, Sri Swamiji, but for me there was no interest whatsoever. Whenever we meet, he would insist that I should come and have His darsan and blessing. I kept insisting that he should leave me alone, but he was more insistent.

I was employed as a bank-clerk and enjoying the fruits of my labor. My pastime then was taken up in singing film songs, a passion I loved. Any talks about God or God-men will immediately change my psyche. Why should I sacrifice a lucrative job and career for the sake of following these teachings?  After getting the job, I developed a small ulcer in my stomach, which was later diagnosed as being cancerous. Because of this, I had no interest in being married, so I remained a bachelor. The pains from this problem, at times was so great, that I thought I would die. Sri Srinivas Bhatt was sure that if I went to Sri Swamiji, this situation would go away. Finally in 1976, I acceded to his clarion call and visited Sri Swamiji in Guruvayoor, at a Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna.

Before having the darsan of Sri Swamiji, as I was approaching the venue for His program, I heard the sweet melodious sound of a celestial singer, which was like nothing that I heard before. The sound kept pulling me closer and closer to the source and hence to my Sadguru. That first darsan was very piercing for me, so I immediately left the scene but I couldn’t leave the area. I took a room in a nearby guesthouse and decided to rest for awhile without anticipating my next move. My fate was fixed and that was that. Suddenly, through an open window a crow flew into the room and sat on a chair. I tried shooing it away to no avail, then the crow disappeared and in its place Sri Swamiji appeared sitting in the chair. I immediately prostrated at His feet and seek His blessing, a few words were spoken then the crow reappeared and flew away. My fate was fixed and that was that.

The vision of Sri Swamiji and the crow not only wiped away all my skepticisms and doubts, but also made me realize that there was God and Sri Swamiji was that God manifest in human form. When I returned home my mind started revolving in the thoughts of the vision and slowly there ensued a metamorphosis in my inner life. An intense love and faith in Sri Swamiji welled up in my heart. I felt I got a rebirth in the same body.

The following year, intuitively, I visited the Mysore Ashrama for the first time, accompanied by Sri Srinivas Bhatt who excitedly introduced me to Sri Swamiji. He inquired about my name to which I replied; my name is Bhavani Shankar, Swamiji. Thereupon His Holiness started calling me Shankar and remarked; “Shankar, I have already taken charge of your affairs and your problems. You have to finish some more karma. Finally you will come to me only. Time is fast approaching for that”. Thereafter Sri Swamiji took a flower and gave it to me, with the instructions that I worship it daily. As the flower fell into my hands it turned into a small idol of Goddess Durga. Immediately He took another flower and gave me and this turned into a small article made of Gold. I felt very happy and thought to myself, “Oh my God! Sri Swamiji is blessing me with articles made of gold and panchaloha. What a love He has for me!”

As these thoughts flashed into my mind Sri Swamiji again looked at me and said: “Don’t worry about your stomach problems. Diseases and suffering are not meaningless. They have a great purpose in our lives. With the help of doctors and medicines you could not cure your ailment, but you thought whether Swamiji could help. You thought of giving a chance to Sri Swamiji and that thought brought you here. So diseases must be welcomed. They are God sent agents to cure man’s real sickness, which is his faithlessness. God is, have faith, and have faith”. I was taken by His words and I realized that I have found my Guru.

My love for cinemas and cinema songs abated and instead I started singing Bhajans and attending Satsangha. My reading of cinema magazines gave place to the study of Bhagavad Gita and other scriptural texts. Over and above this I also got tremendous relief to my long standing stomach problems. I realized that Sri Swamiji’s unseen hands were working behind all these changes in my life.

During my next visit to the Ashrama Sri Swamiji asked me to sit and said, ‘Shankar, the last time you came I gave you articles made of gold and panchaloha. This time I will give you Jnana and Bhakti. Physical body is inherited from parents but a Guru gives a divine birth. The Guru transforms the disciple into a divine personality and you have to serve the Guru with child-like faith.” With these words Sri Swamiji materialized two small packets of vibhuti and gave them to me.

Sometime later, during another visit to Mysore, Sri Swamiji chastised me by angrily shouting “Why are you coming to the Ashram so frequently? I don’t want to see your face. Go away soon.” I became nervous as I did not understand why Sri Swamiji was so harsh on me. However, after three years of intense sadhana, during which time I listened to discourses on Gita, Ramayana and Bhagavat Purana by eminent scholars, I also had a desire to give discourses on Gita. I also got involved in attending Satsangha and singing Bhajans.

Sometime in 1982, as per my invitation, Swamiji visited my house and seemed to act in an angry peculiar manner. I was put to an awkward situation as my relations were chastising me saying “Your Swamiji does not like you at all, otherwise why He should behave like that.” I could not reply to them. However, during His next visit I was skeptical, thinking that He will exhibit the same behavior as before, but in His infinite Grace He was the most friendly and jovial guest. I begged Sri Swamiji to explain to my relatives why He had kept silent during his first visit and He explained, “Shankar, I test the intensity of my devotees’ Bhakti in different ways. I wanted to know how you would react when your relatives bullied you. Instead of being disheartened you clung to my feet with firmer grip, so you won the test.”

Then Sri Swamiji calmly said,” Shankar,  I have a small problem; the devotees coming to Mysore Ashrama have some difficulties in getting conveyance to the railway station or bus stand. I would like to purchase a car as a means of transport to them, but I don’t have the money for it.” I replied, “I shall be getting nearly a lakh of rupees as my retirement benefits from the bank. I shall place the entire amount at your Holy Feet. Sri Swamiji may purchase the car or do whatever He likes. That this money should be offered at the Feet of Sri Swamiji was my life’s ambition. “However, Sri Swamiji immediately said, “wait, and don’t make any hasty decisions.”

After receiving the gratuity, I immediately took it to Sri Swamiji and placed at his holy feet. Sri Swamiji said, “Shankar, you don’t have a job now. How will you live if you give me your life’s earnings? Please take it back; I just wanted to test you. I wanted to know whether you will feel the pinch or hesitate to give me your life’s earnings, which is now your only source of income. The testing is over and you may take back the amount.” I was very adamant that Sri Swamiji should accept the amount and I didn’t budge an inch from my stand. Finally Swamiji accepted and asked me to put it in fixed deposit in a bank in joint names of Sri Swamiji and I. In His infinite grace, He asked me to utilize the interest accruing on that deposit for my livelihood. He asked me to consider the monthly interest as ‘Bhiksha’ given by Sri Swamiji. Thus I started living on Swamiji’s Bhiksha thereafter.

I am sure a worldly man would not care for his children so much as Swamiji does for his devotees. When I offered my life’s earnings to Him, He was worried about my welfare. How great is the love of Sri Swamiji for his devotees! I am sure there has never come on earth another Avatar of God who is such an ocean of compassion. Only those who have His grace can know Him. Our duty is only to pray to Him for His grace and the rest He does.

In 1984 as I came to the Ashram to witness Navaratri celebrations, I saw Sri Swamiji standing in the prayer hall talking to a few devotees that had gathered there. All the devotees were patiently listening to Swamiji, I went near and prostrated before Him. I politely enquired what the matter was, Sri Swamiji looked at me and said; “From tomorrow there won’t be anybody to clean the general toilets, the scavenger woman who has been doing that work said that she is resigning the job as she has to go urgently to her native place. To get another scavenger, that too in a short time, is very difficult, especially in this place. From tomorrow onwards more and more devotees would be coming to witness the Navaratri festival, I don’t know what to do, I am very worried.” I told Swamiji, “Please don’t worry on this account. I will clean the toilets and bathrooms; you may leave that matter to me.” “Then you take care of the toilets” so saying He returned to His room. With a smiling face, I cleaned the entire general toilets. Meanwhile, the management appointed a new scavenger to whom I handed over my charge.

Then He said,” by cleaning the Ashram toilets you have cleaned your mind, so shortly I will give you Sanyasi Deeksha.” I felt very happy. Thanking Sri Swamiji and prostrating before him I took leave and returned to Cochin. I don’t know whether this was also a test for me. But I take it as such. Because as St Paul letter to the Corinthians says, “How deep are the depths of God and how rich are His wisdom and knowledge? How impossible to penetrate His motives, and how difficult to understand His methods.”

In 1985 I visited Kashi and proceeded to the temple to have darshan of Kasi Vishvanath. I spent a few days there and early one morning, some unseen person woke me up from my sleep. As I opened my eyes I saw a light in the room and in the middle of the light there was the same Siva Linga that I saw in the Temple earlier. Within seconds Sri Swamiji’s regal effulgent personality emerged from the Lingam in the garb of Lord Mahadeva and in a tender, affectionate voice told me, ‘I will give you Sanyaasa Deeksha on Vijaya Dasami day. So saying the vision disappeared.

Later when I visited the Ashrama for Sri Swamiji’s birthday celebrations, His Holiness called me to His side, along with all other members of the Kerala unit and announced that I would be given Sanyaasa Deeksha on the forthcoming Vijaya Dasami day. I told Swamiji about the earlier vision and how it was coming true. As decided by Sri Swamiji, my initiation into Sanyaasa took place on October 24, 1985, on Vijaya Dasami day.

In the beginning of 1986 some devotees and I were privileged to accompany Sri Swamiji to Srisailam, a holy mountain peak where one of the twelve Jyothir Lingas of Lord Siva’s is situated. Sri Swamiji entered the Sanctum Santorum and did Abhishekam, Puja and Aarthi to the Lord. Next morning Sri Swamiji and a few devotees went for a bath in the Krishna River, below the mountain peak where the river is called Patala Ganga.

Many rowing boats were engaged for the trip. Swami Manasa Datta and I accompanied Sri Swamiji while the other devotees followed. All of a sudden, when our boat reached a particular spot in the river, Sri Swamiji had a jerk and instantly went into a trance. We were all watching with eagerness and anxiety to know was the cause for the sudden jerk and trance. We started chanted Datta Stavam and within a few minutes Sri Swamiji came back to normal consciousness. We requested to Sri Swamiji to let us know the reason for this sudden jerk and trance and He said, “It is in this particular place that I had given up my body in one of my previous incarnations.”

We recalled that Sri Pada Vallabha, a great incarnation of Lord Datta, had given up his body in the holy Krishna River near Srisailam. Hearing this, the Veda pundit, Sri Somasundara Sharma, who had taught Vedas to Sri Swamiji and who later became Sri Swamiji’s ardent devotee, became very emotional and excited. He stood up in his boat and declared at the pitch of his voice that the Lord Datta had manifested now as Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, after having manifested as Sri Pada Vallabha and Narasimha Saraswathi.

After the journey, Sri Swamiji took a dip in the river and while coming out I saw that His dress was floating in the river coming towards us. I was astonished to see the appearance of Sri Swamiji’s dress in the river. I was informed that Sri Swamiji had a similar experience in 1978 when His saffron robe appeared in the same river, in the same place and in the same manner. It was a long single piece of cloth, an Eka Vastram. Thereafter Sri Swamiji started using only Eka Vastram robe in saffron colour. Who sent the dress to Sri Swamiji in the river? This is a mystery. But, the way the dress came floating in the river as if dancing in the waters captivated the hearts of all devotees and filled them with delight.

Later, Sri Swamiji released His own production of ‘Datta Darshanam’, the movie, to cinemas in Vijayawada. His idea was to attract the masses, especially the illiterate and the rustics, to the life and message of Lord Datta through screening the film Datta Darshanam. Sri Swamiji, along with thousands of devotees would go in the early hours of morning, even in slum areas distributing free tickets to the people. Hundreds of cars and motor-bikes would join in the procession but Sri Swamiji would walk and distribute the tickets. Everybody was chanting the Maha Mantra ‘Sri Guru Datta – Jai Guru Datta.’ Thus the Lord’s name was reverberating throughout Vijayawada.

It was at this time that Sri Swamiji took the Anagha Vrata Pooja from the Bramhanda Purana and introduced it to the public. It was His sankalpa that Anagha Vrata Pooja should be made popular, as this pooja confers lot of benefits on the devotees and grants their wishes. Today, Anagha Vrata Pooja is very popular among Datta devotees, especially the devotees of Sri Swamiji. Another important point is that some ignorant people don’t worship Lord Datta for the simple reason that He is a Brahmachari and so He may not bless them to lead a householder’s life. To put an end to this misconception Sri Swamiji consecrated many temples where the idols of Lord Datta along with Anagha Devi are installed. Thus Sri Swamiji is not only a reviver who contributed much to the worship of Lord Datta by introducing Anagha Vrata Pooja, but also His Holiness is a daring revolutionary who promoted the worship of Lord Datta along with His divine consort Sri Anagha Devi.

Sri Swamiji knows even the smallest thoughts and actions of His devotees. Once after a bout of a virus attack, my health became very weak and I lacked resistance to cold. During the winter I would bathe only on alternate days which continued and became a habit with me. During a meeting with the Trustees and Sri Swamiji, He spoke as follows: “Some people think only mental purity is needed for spiritual Sadhana. It is not so. Bodily purity is also needed. One should not ignore the body, thinking it as of no significance in spiritual life. Body is the dwelling place of the divinity in man so it has to be kept clean. The only thing is that while a man takes care of his body he should not forget his spiritual dimension.” I immediately realized that Sri Swamiji is indirectly giving a hint to me and not to others. I restored to my old habit of having my bath daily and in summer even twice a day.

In 1999 I had a severe heart-attack on the premises of Lord Venkateshwara Temple as I was doing pradakshina to the Lord. I felt like a heavy stone falling upon my chest and I fell down with severe pain. At that time Sri Swamiji was present there and Mr. Jaggu, the Manager of the Temple, took me to Him. Sri Swamiji did not say anything to me. He simply called me to His side and moved His hand on my chest. With His benign touch the pain in the heart area instantly disappeared. Next day I went to the Ashram Hospital for a check up. Looking at my E.C.G and X-ray, the doctors said that I must have already had a severe heart-attack. I said, “Yes, by Sri Swamiji’s grace I am saved.”

I got another attack in January 2010. It was early morning, I was in deep sleep. I woke up with severe pain in the heart. I was calling, “Swamiji, Swamiji, the pain is severe and I am alone in my room, please help me.” After a few minutes the pain was gone and I slipped into a stupor. Then I had a vision where Sri Swamiji appeared and touching my chest He said, “You are not alone in your room, I am also here with you.” I felt very courageous. I got up and felt as if nothing had happened. I had my bath and went to attend Sri Chakra pooja. As Sri Swamiji was on tour, Sri Bala Swamiji was doing the pooja.

When Sri Swamiji returned to Mysore after His tour I informed His Holiness about my heart-attack and the dream vision. Sri Swamiji said, “Lead a silent life. One who has received Guru’s grace will be silent. Talkativeness is also a sort of disease. Along with the tongue the restless mind needs to be controlled. Then it gains power and clarity. Practicing long silence is ascetic life. The Guru is pleased by silent ascetic life.”

In the Bhagavat Gita, Sri Krishna says, “Among things profound, I am Silence.

Sri Swamiji Says:

 

A man may say that he is a disciple of such and such a great Master, but unless the Master also accepts him as His disciple, the awakening of his spiritual consciousness will not take place. As it is the all powerful king alone who appoints his ministers and other officials, even so, it is the Guru alone who selects His disciples and accepts them as such.

 

Do not implicate God with your problems. Our sufferings are due to our past karmas (actions). We have to learn to accept happiness and sorrow as fruits of our past actions and exhaust them by experiencing them with dignity and composure.

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Krishnappa Siddartha, Mysore: ‘The biggest miracle Pujya Sri Swamiji did in my life was mending my mind from the behavior of `Durvasa’ to the level of `Siddhartha’- a calm and quiet person.’

Krishnappa Siddartha, Mysore

All my mundane thoughts were being supplanted by thoughts of This Being.

 I, Krishnappa, was named as Siddhartha by Parama Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, on joining the Ashrama in May 1990 voluntarily, to render my humble service. I became a devotee of Pujya Sri Swamiji since May 1976 when was an employee of Indian Institute of Science, a prestigious academic Institution at Bangalore, founded by the Tata group.  I had worked in different capacities in the Administration of the students’ Hostel and was liked by both the administration and student bodies for my dedication and impartial handling of day to day affairs.

Ever since my father left for the heavenly abode when I was barely four years old, my mother became my mentor, provider and protector. With her love and care, I grew in accordance to her ideals.  Although, I had the full support from the strength of my mother, I would sometimes bow to my inner fear that something was missing from my life. Though I used to visit temples regularly, my mind was not attuned to religious acts. Somehow, the religion was not in the frontal mirror of my psyche.

In the midst of this predicament, sometime in May, of the year 1976, I was invited to attend a Bhajan session (held on Thursdays) by a co-worker, Mr. Sri Kumar, at the residence of Mr. R.R. Bhupathi, an ardent devotee of His Holiness Parama Pujya Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji. This session was conducted by the Bangalore branch of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashrama, Mysore.  The bhajans were different from the conventional bhajans I knew. However, I was fascinated with the fact that all the bhajans were composed and rendered by Pujya Sri Swamiji Himself.  When I beheld His photograph and stared into His eyes, a serene and unconditional love permeated my whole body.

At the end of the Bhajan session, Mr. Bhupathi’s wife, Mrs. Shakuntalamma invited interested devotees to visit Mysore ashrama to attend Pujya Sri Swamiji’s Birthday celebrations, which were presently going on.  Unconsciously, I had decided to visit the Ashrama in Mysore to have the darshan of Pujya Sri Swamiji. I informed my co-worker that I would join him on my maiden trip to Mysore Ashrama for Pujya Sri Swamiji’s Birthday celebrations. There I had the darshan of His Holiness in the living form; what a sight it was to behold.  I was actually standing before Divinity personified. There is no physical explanation for my emotions at that period. I was calm, but in awe and wonder.

Within a few months, I had the privilege of witnessing for the first time, a miraculous creation made by Pujya Sri Swamiji at the consecration of Ganapati temple in Tumkur, near Bangalore.  It was the manifestation of two-faced Rudraksha encased in gold.  My obscure mind was forever vindicated at this instant and was convinced that Pujya Sri Swamji was verily the present incarnation of the Godhead.

In February 1977, I again attended Maha Shivaratri celebration at Mysore Ashrama. During the celebrations I observed, with ignorance and reverence, the Sadguru in the perpetual form of the benevolent Lord Shiva.  He descended into the fire pit and performed Agni Puja.

On this occasion, the devotees informed me that Pujya Sri Swamiji has been doing this Agni Puja from the inception of the Ashrama during Maha Shivaratri and also during Navaratri celebrations.  The whole audience was simply unmoved and worshiped Him with tenacious chanting of Om Namaha Shivaya.  In the evening, all the devotees were permitted to perform Abhishekam to Lord Sachchidanandeshwara personally.  For the first time in my life I sat through the night into the next day, immersed in the celebrations. The nightlong rituals, pujas conducted continuously amidst Music concerts by renown artists, and Bhajans, spiritual lectures and benedictions by Pujya Sri Swamiji is etched as an unforgettable memory in my life.

My faith and my consciousness grew rapidly. And all my mundane thoughts were being supplanted by thoughts of This Being.  The ability to get my work done was becoming simpler, and I was able to lead a better life.  I was now differentiating between the limits of “No stress” versus “work stress”.

In 1981, Sri Krishna Bhatt donated the land in Giri Nagar, Bangalore for the development and conducting activities of Gnana Bodha Sabha, Bangalore, which was founded by Pujya Sri Swamiji. I was actively involved in rendering voluntary services and other seva. For the small services I was rendering to the Ashrama, Pujya Sri Swamiji graced me abundantly that are in my memory all the time. I can pick a few incidents that are noteworthy to be mentioned here.

In February 1983, I met with a near fatal accident in which I suffered chest and head injuries. There were three to four rib fractures on left side of my chest, which refused to heal in spite of treatment by doctors of various disciplines including allopathic, Ayurvedic and indigenous bone setting specialists. Even after three months nothing made me better and the pain due to ribs facture remained.  In the month of May 1983, a grand function to celebrate Sri Lakshminarasimha Jayanti was organized and I got the seva to manage the chappal stand with my nephews and my sister (Mrs. Parvathi).  At the end of function, I received the prasadam offered to Lord Lakshminarasimha by Pujya Sri Swamiji’s divine hands. I ate the prasadam and to my utter surprise, the next morning I was relived of the pain and the ribs were set to normalcy. I was mentally moved by His grace and had no words to thank or explain.

Another incident that I recall is the suffering from painful spondilitis since 1978.  One day in 1989, Pujya Sri Swamiji appeared in my dream in the early morning hours.  In the dream, he put His right hand on my shoulder and walked along with me.  I felt thrill as well as remorse for His inexplicable grace showered upon me.  My mind thought of submitting reverential pranams to His Holy feet. Suddenly, Pujya Sri Swamiji stopped walking.  I bowed to touch His feet and do pranam.  Pujya Sri Swamiji moved His divine hand through my vertebral column of back bone and stopped His hand at the paining spot.  His Holiness blessed me saying, `this day, I am blessing you the utmost’.  The energy passing through His hands was like a High-voltage electric shock for a second and my lifelong suffering and pain vanished in no time.

The above incident enhanced my faith in Sadguru and was actively involving in Bangalore Ashram’s activities.  In 1990, I resigned my position at Indian Institute of Science with the intention of joining the Ashrama to serve voluntarily.  My superiors, administrators and co-workers tried to dissuade me from these intentions, to no avail.  I decided that I had found my calling and wanted to serve my Sadguru only.  Finally, I arrived at Mysore Ashrama May 27th 1990 and my first job was that of a telephone attender.

With the grace of Parama Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, I am entrusted with the administration as a public relations officer (PRO) and also as the Manager and Trustee for Bhaktimala Trust.  In addition, I was in-charge of the developmental activities at two Ashrama branches since 1987.  The one in Mekedatu (Sangama), the holy confluence where my Master took form, is pristine nature and now houses an Ashrama with Guru Nilayam, Temple complex, halls for spiritual / cultural and social activities, kitchen and dining halls for Annadanam and accommodation for visitors.

At the Sangama, the Sangameshwara temple where Mata Jayalakshmi visited religiously to offer prayers and decorate the idol is also renovated by His Holiness. The second one is at Sogala, in the same house where Sri Mata Jayalakshmi was born. This is meant for spiritual and social activities for the benefit of the villagers. In this village, the great-grandfather of Mata Jayalakshmi, Sri Yogi Subbaiah’s Adhistana is also there and people worship this place with faith to get rid of the evil effects. It was my great fortune that I was associated with the development of these holy places

The biggest miracle Pujya Sri Swamiji did in my life was mending my mind from the behavior of `Durvasa’ to the level of `Siddhartha’. While at Bangalore, I was a high tempered and aggressive person by nature. Understanding this, Pujya Sri Swamiji transformed me into a calm and quiet personality, through His indirect teachings. By this, I feel relieved of the fear of taking many more births, just to nullify the deeds arising, due to wrong temperament and aggressive nature. This was possible only by Parama Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, my Sadgurudeva, with His divine blessings.

Jaya Guru Datta.

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C S Varada Raja, Bangalore: ‘Sri Swamiji has been a physical and spiritual instrument throughout my life. Every step of the way; He was either carrying me or holding my hands while I walked. I cannot recollect a period when He left me alone’.

C S Varada Raja, Bangalore

How can mere mortals compare themselves with the almighty?

 Looking fiercely into me eyes He blurted out, “you Varada, you have committed many sins and mistakes, you must improve and come to me. These were the first words spoken directly to me by my Master Kula Devata Sadguru Datta Avadootha Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.  He was visiting our house in Jayanagar for the first time in November 1966. To this reprimand I could not say anything, but bow my head and walked away.

I am military personnel, the second son of Smt Sharadamma, an ardent devotee of His Holiness. I am the brother of Swami Manasa Datta. I have three other brothers and a sister. Intuitively, after this incident, my mother insisted that I accompany her to the Ashrama where my other family members were already visiting. Sri Swamiji greeted me with a beautiful smile and said; Hey! Military come here, and cautioned me to do some work; which included the repair of old useless pair of tablas, and an antique cash chess.

He was testing my obedience and loyalty, as though we had known each from previous births. As time went by, we would play around the mango trees in front of the small thatched huts. Once He went inside the hut and made me lock the door and keep the key. To my surprise when I turned around he was standing right besides me, but the door was still locked.

On one occasion He informed me that He wanted vibhuti and that I must take, a ten year old boy, Srinath, with me and go to Thiruchendur Muruga temple. I must learn how it is made and bring back two full boxes. This was a direct order. On our return He was very pleased and He blessed us.

On another occasion, He purposefully challenged a group of five boys to climb the Chamundi Hills, barefooted with Him, across from the gate from the Ashrama. A task that was completed by Him in two to three minute took us a treacherous forty five minutes. How can mere mortals compare themselves with the almighty? To compound the matter, He chided me by saying; what military, no use. I was so ashamed, as my feet were covered with thorn and blisters.

At the spring that sprouted from the spot where He was standing, Sri Swamiji took His kamandalu and poured water over our heads and bodies. He affectionately bathed us as a mother would. It was a process of washing off our sins and ego.

His next challenge was to have us lift the kamandalu. Try as we may we could not move the vessel. Then He mockingly smiled and proclaimed; that we were just useless fellows, you cannot even lift a small kamandalu. He then chided; come, go around me three times and pray, for I am Lord Ganesha. After this the kamandalu became light as a feather. Oh! We were so surprised. He informed us that there were saligrama and a shivalinga inside the pot that represented Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, hence the pot was heavy. Only Guru’s Grace can give  you the power to lift it. Our return trip took Him two to three minutes versus our twenty-five to thirty minutes.

Hey Military! Come to the Ashrama early tomorrow, okay! Yes Swamiji, I said like an obedient child. Early next morning He was waiting when I came. First you must give an oil massage to My head and body. I poured warm oil over His matted hair and young muscular yogic body. It was hard work, but with immense enjoyment I started chanting Om Namaha Shivaya. He was none other that Shiva Digambara in Kaupeena.

My cousin Venkateshwara and I were ordered to perform Shiva Abhishekam; we smiled innocently, informing Him that we did not know anything. Sri Swamiji insisted that we should proceed and follow what He said. He chanted the rudram and other mantras and finally we performed mangalaarti and offered naivedium. Since that day we try not to miss a single Sivarathri.

A true devotee doesn’t have to be intelligent. In April 1972, Sri Swamiji visited our home in Tuticorin. He initiated that I should make arrangements to leave the next day on a pilgrimage to the south with my parents. My financial situation was not in a state for me to support this trip.

Suspecting my dilemma, this Enlightened One, inquired if I had money, without a reply He patted His stomach and produced a wad of ten rupees notes which he instantly handed to me. Neither did I count it nor thanked Him for the gesture. I immediately left to make the arrangements for the trip. I also applied and got a week’s time off without any hassle.

Our first stop, on this journey, was the temple of the venerable Lord Murugan in Thiruchendur. During my hurried preparation I had hired a taxi to accompany Sri Swamiji’s car. To my amazement the taxi was named Lord Muruga and was driven by a Christian gentleman.

After the vibhuti alankaram and aarti, Sri Swamiji had darsan of the Lord and then sat outside on a high pedestal. People had started to queue up for the prasadam. Suddenly the temple elephant came to Sri Swamiji and respectfully bowed to Him. All the devotees immediately started to queue up before His Holiness to receive the Holy Ash from His Hands. Sri Swamiji mockingly remarked to me whilst pointing to the Murti and smiling innocently, Varada, who is Muruga, is it He or Me?

Our journey then took us to Kanyakumari, Suchindram, Nagercoil, and Madurai. On the way He mentioned that we should look out for an old man who was looking for Him. Not long afterwards an old man stop the car, Sri Swamiji spoke to and bless him, and we continued our trip. In Dhanushkodi, a place where Ram Pariwara took bath after the victorious battle at Sri Lanka, Sri Swamiji and I took bath there. At Suchindram, a resplendent fifty foot tall Murti of Lord Hanuman majestically stands.

My third child, Datta Prasad, a baby boy, was born on January 1st, 1978 at 7.20 p.m. Although it was a government restricted holiday, I was attending to some work at my office in Annanagar. Just before lunch and to my surprise, Sri Swamiji telephoned me and started a conversation; Varada, what are you doing? I responded that I was doing some work. He said, I want to give you a News Years gift. What do you want? I became dumbstruck and kept mum. He continued, are you not worried that you have two daughters and no sons? Today a son will be born to your family at 7.20p.m. You must name him Datta Prasad, since it was my sankalpa during the Datta Jayanti celebrations.

In late 1983, Sri Swamiji visited Sriharikota, where I was staying and stayed for a day. Devotees were allowed to perform Pada Puja. His Holiness visited the Ganesha temple, sang bhajans and spoke to the audience. The next day He visited the launch pad of the SLV-3 vehicle. The launch was scheduled for the following April 3rd. 1984 at 9.00am. Sri Swamiji predicted that the launch will occur at 9.07a.m instead. Under protestations from the scientists and engineers on the ground, things happened as predicted. Later that year a cyclone devastated the island with little causalities, and this too was only the Grace of my Omniscient Sadgurudeva, Sri Swamiji.

Sri Swamiji had come to Calcutta for a visit and I was summoned to be there with Him. First He visited Kalighat and performed puja to Sri Kalimatha. Placing His right hand on the murti, He calmly reminded me that He was verily the venerable Sri Kali. Later He visited Sri Ramakrishna Mutt and the Sri Kali temple, on the shores of the Ganges.

After visiting the several Shiva Lingas at the temple, Sri Swamiji sat on the exterior steps to rest. I sat immediately behind Him. Suddenly He turned to me and said, Varada, at this present time the planets are in their correct benedictory places, you must ask for three boons. I hesitated, but He insisted twice. Under protestations I finally succumbed and the boons asked for were granted. They were;

1. That I should remember Him always,

2. That His name will be on my lips and I will have His darsan at the time I depart my mortal coil, and finally;

            3. That He will always be with me.

During a posting in Besant Nagar, I have had wonderful opportunities to serve in the Vellachery Ashrama. I would have a few boys with me, dressed in uniform, to help with the security details when He visited. Sri Swamiji was very impressed.

After awhile, with His observation, His Holiness asked if I would be able to organize security and VIP security training for some Ashrama boys. Emphatically, I happily responded to the affirmative. He kept quiet, give me a crystal stone and finally said, “You come to Madras”.

Sri, Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji has been a physical and spiritual instrument throughout my like. Every step of the way; He was either carrying me or holding my hands while we walked. I cannot recollect a period when He left me alone, to proceed by myself. If ever I had doubt Sri Swamiji would appear to me as some holy person to allay my confusion.

Miracles were constantly occurring, for my family and everyone around me. I was fully engrossed in my Master’s work. Everything He predicted came true. Every command He gave, if followed, was sure to yield results. Unconsciously, all my work was being done with a fair amount on ease. All the diseases from my body were being treated. All my footsteps were surefooted as I walk behind Him with the full knowledge that He will always be there.

 

Twameva mata cha pita twameva, Twameva bandhushcha sakha twameva,

Twameva vidya dravinam twameva, Twameva sarvam mama deva deva .

Kayena vacha manasendriyairva, Buddhyatmana va prakrite swabhavath,

Karoomi yadyad sakalam parasmai, Narayanayeti samarpayami.

 

You are my mother and my father; you are my relative and friend, You are my knowledge and my wealth, you are my all oh lord of lord. Whatever I do with my mind, body, speech or with other senses of my body, or with my intellect or with my innate natural tendencies,

I offer everything to Narayana.                                                                         Jaya Guru Datta

Permanent link to this article: https://puttugam.com/devotee-experiences-c-s-varada-raja-bangalore/

Shankar Sastry, Machilipatnam: ‘Whenever I think of Him I feel calmness within me. He fills me up leaving no room for troubles and worries’.

Shankar Sastry, Machilipatnam

Whenever I think of Him I feel calmness within me. He fills me up leaving no room for troubles and worries.

 

I am a retired L I C (Life Insurance Cooperation) of India officer. I reside in Machilipatnam. I met His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji sometime between, the years 1975 to 1976. A friend, Mr. M Sitaramaya, a devotee of Sri Swamiji who had met Him several times before, invited me to have His darsan. I had heard that Sri Swamiji was a spiritual man, and at that point in my life I wanted peace of mind. This was my motivation to meet Him.

We went to the Mysore Ashram where there were only a few sheds. We spent the night, even though there were lots of mosquitoes. In the early morning I got up and went to meet Sri Swamiji who was seated under a mango tree. I stood before Him and offer my pranams. At that same moment, I felt a wave-like sensation, starting from my feet travelling up to my head. This lasted for a few seconds, I composed myself. Then Sri Swamiji just waved to me and I left.

In the years that followed I would visit Him, at the ashram, twice per year during the major festivals. On an occasion, in the ashram, when a devotee from Delhi, Savitri Devi, was singing, the raga stuck in my mind and I couldn’t sense anything around me. His Holiness sent two boys to me; they called me by name but I did not wake up. My friend sitting next to me then nudged me and I came to my senses. The boys said, that Sri Swamiji has asked that I pay fifty rupees to the singer. I paid that amount but never questioned anything.

On another occasion, I was at the ashram attending the Dassera Festival. I got a high fever but I did not want to stay in the room and miss the pooja, so I went and sit where Sri Swamiji was performing the pooja. Not feeling very well I was lying on the floor. After the program someone came and told me that Sri Swamiji wanted to see me. I went to Him, He was in another building. I prostrated before Him and He asked what was wrong with me. I told Him that I had a fever. He immediately told me to open my mouth and He put vibuthi into it. After about five minutes I felt good, like I never had any fever. Then He told me to go and have prasadam (lunch). He knew that I did not have even coffee for breakfast because of the fever so He wanted me to eat something. I went and had food.

After one of my visits to Mysore, I was preparing to leave for Machilipatnam. Two of my friends were with me. The train was scheduled to leave the station at 7.30am. We thought we would have Swamiji’s darshan before we leave. He normally comes out about 6.30am. On that morning Swamiji came out later than usual, and at 7.30am we were still in the ashram. We could not leave without seeing Him. When He came and saw us, He said, “Go, go”. We hurried to the train station and to our surprise the train was still there; it was delayed because of some technical problem. We were so happy, for Swamiji had delayed the train for us.

I wanted to meet Sri Swamiji because I wanted peace of mind. I met Him and received more than that. Whenever I think of Him I feel calmness within me. He fills me up leaving no room for troubles and worries. When the worries and troubles come they melt away by the mere thoughts of Him. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent; He is in Machilipatnam, Mysore, Madras and everywhere. He is there; ready to help. Such is His love for His devotees.

Over the years I have learnt how to put a little control on my thoughts. Everyday I sit for some time and watch my thoughts, and when the unwanted thoughts come I concentrate on the upadesam mantra I had received from Him, more than thirty-five years ago, and those unwanted thoughts go away. I try to keep Him always, in my mind, so the unwanted thoughts would not get a chance to manifest. This is all due to the greatness of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.

We define God as one who sees everything, knows everything and is everything. In that case Sri Swamiji is my God. I am ever grateful for the little glimpse I got into His unexplainable reality. Jaya Guru Datta

Permanent link to this article: https://puttugam.com/devotee-experiences-shankar-sastry-machilipatnam/

C S Narasimha, Bangalore: ‘ I was able to experience the joy of a God-communion in the presence and form of Sri Swamiji’s infinite divine personality for more than an hour’.

C S Narasimha, Bangalore

However, I was able to experience the joy of a God-communion in the presence and form of Sri Swamiji’s infinite divine personality for more than an hour. I got the impression that ‘He was the true torchbearer of Hindu renaissance’

 

In April 1966, I had my maiden darsan of His Holiness, Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. This extraordinary spectacle occurred in Kesare (Electric Company) Mysore. I had accompanied my beloved mother Smt Sharadamma, who had immeasurable faith in Guru Parampara (tradition).

Smt Sharadamma was a devotee of Sri Shankaralinga Bhagavan, who had predicted that after His Samadhi, He will give darsan to His devotees in the form of Bala Datta. My mother’s inherent knowledge was that this young Swamiji was indeed her Guru. His picture had a tremendous influence over my family.

Although, I was not an atheist (nasthik), I did not have the discipline to have devotion (Bhakti) to God or Guru. However, I was able to experience the joy of a God-communion in the presence and form of Sri Swamiji’s infinite divine personality for more than an hour. I got the impression that ‘He was the true torchbearer of Hindu renaissance’.

My next encounter was on 06-06-1966. On this date the Ashrama was formally moved to the present location. The idyllic setting of the Ashrama was filled with trees and plants that were conducive for spiritual study and growth. Out of this He has built a modest but permanent Ashrama for the ever expanding circle of devotees. My subsequent visits to the ashrama were sponteanous.

During our first meeting at the new Ashrama, Sri Swamiji narrated the glories of God and the need to serve Him. He iterated that God is the Only Reality and that He is omnipotent. We must enjoy or suffer the consequences for our actions, for attributing them to God is impious. Inevitable failures should never disillusion us.

Quoting the life of Sri Rama, He showed that His life was a chain of total suffering, who not only made tangible material sacrifices, but also the more difficult renunciation of selfish motives, while merging His innermost being in a stream of humanity as a whole. He advised that every problem would lead itself to solutions if we are determined to make the law of truth and non-violence our law of life. Develop endurance, fortitude and be brave.

My parents influence, and particularly, my mother’s inspiration and immeasurable faith in her Guru were the main instruments that brought this mangled body to the Lotus Feet of my Pujya Sadgurudeva. There was a silent spiritual awakening, an awakening that propelled me to look into my physical self. That self that has form and can be seem.

My mother had strong desire for wanting me to pursue my higher education, and decided promptly to appeal to Sri Swamiji about my academic career and future course of action. But even before asking, His Holiness cautioned that I must continue my higher studies. Although I did not meet the eligibility criteria for acceptance into the program I got an invitation to join the post-graduate class.

The first Navaratri celebration at the new Ashrama was in a small thatched hut. I was chosen to help in the Nava Aavarana Puja. He explained in detail, the significance of Devi Puja, the divisions of Sri Chakra as nine Aavarana, and the whole manifestation of Sri Raja Rajeshwari, which is nothing but the universal Cosmic Energy. He performed the Navavarana Puja chanting only Beejaksharas (seed letters) and moola mantras only.

The flowers supply for the first day of the Devi Puja was totally inadequate, abundant amounts of flowers were required. As a student I was not in a position to procure this amenity, nor did I want to bother my parents with this burden. Anyway, I confided to my mother about my dilemma and to my surprise she was able to supply all the flowers needed for the next day Pujas.

The lesson learnt from this; was that ‘we should use all our energy in serving Him’. Serving the Guru with unbounding faith will make the pathway easier to traverse. There is a reason and a time for every purpose under the Heaven. I realize that God/Guru is simple and everything else is so complex.

In November 1996, Sri Swamiji informed me that he will visit our house in Jayanagar, Mysore. This information was not only a surprise but one of confusion and excitement. We proceeded to make all the arrangements for His visit. I made arrangements, with a taxi, for His travel to and from the house, which was about five kilometers away. Sri Swamiji bluntly refused the proposal and informed me that the cost for hiring the taxi should be given to the Ashram. He will walk to and from the house. As promised, His Holiness walked to the house with a few devotees.

Divya Nama Sankeertana or Naadopaasana and nirthya (dance) are the simplest and easiest way to approach God for those in pursuit of Bhakti through music. Divya Nama Sankeertana or music gathering is an effective form of yoga or spiritual discipline necessitating intense concentration, and full absorption of the mind. Those were the messages that were parted from His lips on this occasion.

Sri Swamiji, being fond of children, had taken a special likeness to my youngest brother, fourteen years old Radhakrishna (Swami Manasa Datta). They look into each other eyes with glowing tears and a blissful wave of cosmic love engulfed them. Did they recollect their association from previous birth? His Appaji then gently struck his forehead and blessed the house with a Vigneshwara idol that was manifested from the Bhiksha offered to Him. That moment was the beginning of Sri Swamiji’s teaching to us; the secret of balanced living.

Unknowingly the spiritual dynamo in Sri Swamiji kept dragging me to the Ashrama everyday, although I was desperately trying to find employment. He said that one has to go through the laws of karma, and there was no way of escaping it. None can eradicate past karmas without worldly experiences.

One day, in the midst of a satsangha program, at the Ashrama, Sri Swamiji called my mother and giving her a packet of vibhuti, candidly informed that she should immediately go back to her home. She was confused, but unhesitant obeyed. When she got home she found out that my father, an education officer, had an attack of paralysis and was hospitalized. My brother who is a medical doctor was treating him. He stayed hospitalized for eight days, and at home for one year.  No one knows the wonder of Sadguru. In the packet of vibhuti that was given to my mother, lay the strength and confidence to face immediate problems.

My parents were in search for a suitable match for my marriage. This decision I had not left to Sri Swamiji, but He suggested a match to which I did not consent. He informed that I should get into Chakra Vyuha (wedlock), and even though you have no confidence in My decision, I will be with you in choosing a suitable match, maybe in Bangalore. The marriage with Smt. Usha, from Bangalore was arranged on March 7th, 1973. Although He was not present at the marriage, He sent prasadam at the exact muhurtam. “Guru is always simple amidst the complexities of life”.

Thirteen days after the birth of my son, Sachchidananda, in May, 1974, my wife was diagnosed with brain tumor. With the Grace of Sri Swamiji, she had surgery and was released from the hospital within ten days. His Holiness visited the house where she was staying after her discharge, and informed that we should perform Mrityunjaya Japa for thirteen days with purity and devotion.

In April of 2004 just before leaving for the West Indies Sri Swamiji said that He was doing a special prayer in the Bangalore Ashram for someone who is going to become sick.  With this he left India. Shortly after we had a fire at our home caused by the explosion of a gas cylinder; my wife suffered from burns to thirty percent of her body. She was admitted to the hospital and in addition to the burns she also suffered from diabetes. The first fifteen days was terrible for her.

On the sixteenth day Swamiji was back in India and in Hyderabad, he called me by telephone and asked me whether my wife was alive or dead. I told him that she was in the hospital recovering. That same night my wife had a dream where Sri Swamiji was singing Devi bhajans and His body was covered with bandages. She woke up about 5am and told me of the dream.  She was feeling much better. Later on we found out that in Hyderabad at the same time, Dr Phanishree who is Sri Swamiji’s physician, was attending to Him. He had itches and seem to be suffering some ailment, which Dr. Phanishree could not diagnose. Swamiji was given sleeping pills to rest and he woke up at 5.00 am He told Dr. Phanishree that He was feeling better.  Sri Swamiji had taken all the pain and illness of my wife on Himself and so saved her life once again.

From the very first day I laid my eyes on Sri Swamiji I knew that He is the one who will direct my life. It is said in the Guru Gita that you will recognize your guru when you come in contact with Him. I knew it in my heart when I met Sri Swamiji that He was the one, the one who holds my life in His hands. As time passed by I learned to surrender all at His feet and know that He will take care. Whenever I get any problems I do Nama sankirtana and all worries dissolve away. That is the power of His name. Om Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Namaha

In Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji’s leela, there is a lesson for everyone; the lesson of relationships. The relationship between Guru and Sishya is most intimate and not a business deal. This relationship is based on pure, unbounded and unconditional love, by the disciple who wholly subordinates himself to the Guru.

I have witnessed many divine incidents since meeting with my Guru in 1966. I have suffered through many trials and tribulations. I have seen lots of doors open and close in front of me. I have incurred the wrought of some, but also indulged in lasting and meaningful relationships with so many souls, that what I am today could not have been without the fostering help of my Sadgurudeva Parama Pujya Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. Jaya Guru Datta.

 

Sri Swamiji Says: 

Man enters the world alone and leaves it also alone. All that happens, in between the womb and tomb is a big drama.

Permanent link to this article: https://puttugam.com/devotee-experiences-c-s-narasimha-bangalore/

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