Kolli Gopala Krishnaiah and Krishna Kumari, Vijayawada: “Sri Swamiji smiled and said, “Yes, Mother looked at me; She looked at me thrice.” I knew that when She looked at Him, She was looking at the personification of Lord Dattatreya that is emblemic in Sri Swamiji.”
Kolli Gopala Krishnaiah and Krishna Kumari, Vijayawada
Sri Swamiji smiled and said, “Yes, Mother looked at me; She looked at me thrice.” I knew that when She looked at Him, She was looking at the personification of Lord Dattatreya that is emblemic in Sri Swamiji.
Guru comes to one’s life due to bonding from previous births. Most times a disciple chooses his Guru, but a few fortunate disciples are chosen by the divine grace of a Sadguru. And we are among those fortunate to be chosen by Sadgurudeva Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. In early January 1970, we heard about a Swamiji who was visiting Vijayawada. We came to know that the pontiff hails from Mysore and had a mission of saving Sanatana Dharma. The more we learnt about Him, the more we were enthusiastic to meet Him. Finally we had His darshan in the Venkateswara Swami Temple in Labbipet. We attended a bhajan session and I had a deep desire of talking to Him. Sri Swamiji chose five others along with me and gave permission for us to speak with Him.
During that meeting, I requested Sri Swamiji to visit our house on January 10th, but the visit was scheduled for either January 13th or 14th. We were excited to have Pada pooja done at our house. A little while later, we received a call from the organizers informing us that Sri Swamiji would visit us on January 9th instead, which was the next day itself. We were completely unprepared; my kids were sick running high fevers and my wife had a very important surgery, to be performed that day. All we could do was just pray for strength.
Then, early the next morning, the kids were faring well and my wife easily handles the operation and accompanying transfusion. Within a few hours we got ready and Sri Swamiji graced us for Pada Pooja. He was pleased with our devotion and asked us what we wanted. All we could think of was ‘His blessings and protection’. Many things look minute for us, but indeed it is only the grace of Sadguru. For onlookers; the kids getting well or my wife handling the blood transfusion during surgery may seem normal, but we feel it was only grace of Sri Swamiji.
During Pada pooja we prayed for His blessings. At that time I had kidney stones problems, I used to have severe pain and taking food had also become a problem. If the situation persists, doctors advised me that I should have surgery. When I told Sri Swamiji about that problem, He simply touched me on my abdomen and since then I have never had such complaints anymore. Also at the same time, my mother was in second stage of her cancer. I told to Him about this and He simply nodded. My sister who had ovarian cancer and underwent a surgery, by my wife, was also present at that day. Sri Swamiji blessed her and said, “I will take care of you.” When a Sadguru says ‘He will take care, we never have to worry about it’.
A year later my mother passed away, but she never suffered. Usually, the second stage cancer patients would undergo a lot of pain and suffering, but she breathed her last in a most easy way. As for my sister, she was completely cured and fared well. Later, we remembered Sri Swamiji’s gestures and realized that He never promised anything about my mother, but He said that He would take care of my sister. My sister’s son, Rampradad, lives in Dallas and although his parents don’t follow Sri Swamiji, he has become an ardent devotee. Some time ago, his mother suffered with chest pains while Sri Swamiji was visiting Dallas. The angio showed three blocked valves so he went to meet Him to tell Him about his mother’s condition, but was unable to do so. Later that night Sri Swamiji came into his dream and told him to come back to see Him. Everybody told her that she can’t undergo a surgery as her heart valves were weak, but the next day Sri Swamiji assured Ramprasad that she would be fine only after having the surgery, which came true.
We made it a habit to visit for all the important functions in Mysore Ashrama. In September 1972, near to the time of the Navaratri festivals my kids were traveling, in a car, going to Mysore with my mother-in-law and her son. As they were nearing Tirupati, while negotiating a turn in the roadway, the driver lost control of the car and crashed into an electric pole. The damage was intense and people around though that no-one in the car would be able to survive. However, to everyone’s surprise, amazingly no one was hurt.
In those early days, Sri Swamiji used to do Agni pooja on all important occasion. When we called Mysore to inform Sri Swamiji about the accident we were told that He was already in the Yagna Kunda. It was unusual, because the fire worship usually starts around noon. The accident took place around 11.00 am and we called ashram around 11.30 am. So we knew He must have done it to save my family from such a great danger.
In the early seventies my wife was having a good practice, so usually she had equal number of people who were jealous of her. There were many damaging rumors coming up against her even advertising that she was dead. One day she couldn’t bear all these and she called Mysore to get these things to His notice. Sri Swamiji spoke to her and said, “I will take care of you, don’t worry about the rumors.” When He said so, we knew that He had taken our responsibility on His shoulders. One morning there was news in the media, about a complicated surgery that was successfully handled by my wife. We were surprised as to how they could know, but later we learnt that the news was made public from the medical center. This piece of news helped my wife and her reputation was saved from being tainted by rumors.
Sri Swamiji always had been so adaptable to situations. Sometimes, we would be busy with unplanned or emergency surgeries and Sri Swamiji’s Pada pooja would be scheduled, at our home at the same time. Without any excitement and cancellations He used to make changes to suit our timings. He showered a great love on us.
Once we traveled with Sri Swamiji to Srisailam. Sri Swamiji went in a small boat and all other devotees were waiting for Him on the shore. Sri Swamiji returned in few minutes, when asked why He returned so soon, He replied, “I am reminded of my Sripada Srivallabha Avataram. I left a few of my devotees here and disappeared into the river. Now you people are those same devotees who were with me at that time.” This made our hearts contended, because it shows that we were with Him since many births.
Traveling with Him to these special places always had been memorable. Once, in 1996, we were with Him when He visited the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada. Along with about fifty others we went to temple. Sri Swamiji was inside the sanctum sanctorum and the priest was performing pooja. I could clearly see the Mother Goddess moving Her eyes towards Sri Swamiji; not once but twice. That scene reminded me of how Narada and other celestial beings would look at Lord Visnhu with respect. While returning in the car, I couldn’t resist, but ask Him if what I had seen was real or an illusion. Sri Swamiji smiled and said, “Yes, Mother looked at me; She looked at me thrice.” I knew that when She looked at Him, She was looking at the personification of Lord Dattatreya that is emblemic in Sri Swamiji.
Sri Swamiji would shower love like a mother. Once, I had heart attack and contracted a stroke which was severe. At the same time Sri Swamiji was camping in Vijayawada. I wanted to have His darshan and requested that I would come for His darshan in the ambulance itself. Sri Swamiji rejected the idea and He came to the hospital to see me. Everyone was surprised, as we didn’t expect Him to visit me there. Sri Swamiji blessed me and said, “I need you to serve me more for twenty years.” He spent fifteen minutes with me and when He was leaving I started feeling better and could walk for the first time after the stroke.
There were many instances in which it showed Sri Swamiji taking care of my wife’s hospital in her absence. Once, the night nurse asked the watchman, Narayana, to patrol around the building and secure everything. He acknowledged her, went away and after a while he came back and said that everything was okay and then left again. As she was about to go back to her station, she glanced at the bench in the waiting room and was surprised to see Narayana asleep, storing aloud. Also many patients have felt Sri Swamiji’s presence in the operation theater. Some of them used to admit that they have had the darshan on Sri Swamiji during or after surgery.
My wife always liked to do Pada Pooja whenever we had opportunity. Every time Sri Swamiji would graciously agree to her requests. He used to joke a lot saying she was very much attached to Sri Swamiji. Once we had opportunity to do Pada pooja to Sri Swamiji with 108 gold flowers. After Pada Pooja, when we will be heading home, always we would feel His presence in the car. There will be this fragrance and at times we will find betel leaves and bananas.
In those yesteryears, devotees had wonderful opportunities. Abhishekam was directly performed to Sri Swamiji on special occasions. We didn’t even know how to say normal mantras, but Sri Swamiji gave us many wonderful opportunities. We were the first couple to perform the ‘Pratyaksha Pada Pooja’ to Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji said that no one had such opportunity in the last four hundred years. In that pooja, which was specially performed during His birthday celebrations in 1986, we personally did all the events; from waking up Sri Swamiji, abhishekam, Pada pooja with different flowers and pulling the chariot that Sri Swamiji was sitting in. It was a spectacle and we are really blessed to have such opportunity of doing all these to God Himself.
We realized that when Sri Swamiji makes a promise to someone, come what may, He will fulfill that promise at the the appointed time. Once in 1988 we traveled to Kumbakonam with Sri Swamiji to visit a devotee. He told us that when He was in Kesare, He had made a promise to visit the house of this devotee, who worked with the railroads and have since moved to Kumbakonam. After all these years Sri Swamiji was coming here to visit him. When we entered the house we saw a small black and white photo of Sri Swamiji in short sleeves and shorts. This gentleman had preserved and prayed to this photo ever since.
Once, a group of us stopped at the Mysore Ashrama after completing a trip to Shabarimala. I wanted to stay for some more days in Mysore, but Sri Swamiji asked me to leave soon. I was halfhearted, but left as per His advice. Returning home I found that the owner of the house we were staying in wanted to sell it. After a small argument he decided to sell the house to me. Then I understood this was the reason Sri Swamiji wanted me go back home soon.
In 1980, my mother-in-law was not doing well so my wife did not go for the pushkarashana at the Krishna River. However, later, when her mother felt better, she went and bow to Sri Swamiji’s Feet and said, “Swamiji, to me all the Holy Rivers are in your Holy Feet.” Little did she realize how true those words were at that time.
Sri Swamiji made many surprise visits to our house without notifying us beforehand. Once He called and told us that another Swamiji was coming to visit us and we should take care of Him the same way as they took care of Him. Later Sri Swamiji showed up and laughs hysterically. Like this we enjoyed the lighter side of Him. During one such visit, He casually told us, “Enjoy this close association and darsan now. In a few years you will have to stand in line, just like everyone else, to get a glimpse of Sri Swamiji. You will also have to wear a barge to enter the Ashrama.” Even today, those words that were said in the 1980s are proving true.
The Ganapati temple in Vijayawada is a miracle on its own. Many a times we had darshan of Sri Swamiji there. There used to be a lot of power cuts in the area. In 1984, one evening during the Ganapati pooja, there was no power and there were about fifty devotees in the temple. Everyone noticed the Ganapati murti coming to life and the hand moving as if it was blessing us. Then a lightening flash originated from its head going up towards the sky. After that we saw Sri Swamiji giving darshan on the forehead of Ganapati. Later, during one of His visits to Vijayawada, we noticed Him getting bigger in His physical form growing as tall as the main door.
The Shivaratri festival in the Mysore Ashrama was a spectacle always. Sri Swamiji used to do Agni pooja and later He used to materialize objects out of the ‘Akashya’. During the 1985 Shivaratri, Sri Swamiji materialized a ‘Emerald Sumeru’ and gave it to us. We had doubts if we can keep it at home as it is said that a Sumeru needs a lot of poojas. But Sri Swamiji assured that it was fine and told us to bring it to Mysore whenever we visit. He would always give it back to us when we are leaving.
Around 1987, my wife expressed a desire to do ‘Lalitha Trisathi’ and asked Sri Swamiji to give her permission. Sri Swamiji agreed and blessed her with a budding rose. The rose stayed like that for fifteen years. A few little miracles like this were always wonderful. During the same year we accompanied Sri Swamiji to the Krishna River. He said, “I will give a gift for the person who would find my feet under the water.” Hearing this son, Srinivasa, dived under water and touched Sri Swamiji’s Feet. Sri Swamiji later gave him a Shivalinga.
Later, Srinivasa experienced a miracle. He was helping our house-keeper clean the water tank. The water tank in our house was a little bit high. While doing so he slipped and fell on the floor, but miraculously nothing happened to him. It is nothing but the grace of Sri Swamiji. We had many opportunities to travel with Sri Swamiji in abroad also.
In 2003, during the Kumbha Abishekam of the Marakata Rajarajeshwari Temple, Sri Swamiji sat on the stone where the murti will be installed for forty-five minutes. After the installation, He went to the podium and prayed to the ‘Mother Goddess’ to protect all the devotees.
Spiritually we have grown so much with Sri Swamiji. My wife once had a surgery was taking bed rest. During her meditation she could see ‘Manasa Sarovar’ and Sri Swamiji in her vision. She also saw a blood clot near to Sri Swamiji toe. During a telephonic conversation with Him, she came to know that Sri Swamiji really had a clot because of a rough edge on His paduka.
During 1989, my wife had been suffering with breathlessness and acute pain in her heart; she was having all the symptoms of a heart-attack. In a vision she became aware the Sri Swamiji visited her and she was sitting down in the corner of His kitchen. She felt as though someone was cleaning the valves of the heart with a spoon. Then she felt as if the blockage was being removed. After sometime she got relived of the pain and after that her history of heart problems were gone forever. This happened during the same time that Sri Swamiji was in the Vijayawada Ashrama.
Later she had loss her appetite for a week and was just surviving on coconut water. We doubted that she had contracted cancer, but to take precautions we had all examinations done. At that time, Sri Swamiji was in Surat for the Datta Pratishta. We went to Surat and Sri Swamiji advised us to meet Him in Bangalore. Following His word we went to Bangalore. On the day we were supposed to meet Him my wife had a vision early the morning where she saw Him wearing a very bright crown. Not knowing the meaning of this, we left for His darshan. When we met Him and even before we talked to Him, Sri Swamiji looked at her and said, “You saw the crown. Don’t worry; your illness will be gone.” And she was fine after that.
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