T Venkataram (Mysore Patrike Swamy) Mysore
“I bless all those who come to me irrespective of their caste or religion. If a Christian comes to me I tell him to believe in Jesus and continue to have faith in his own religion. Likewise, if a Muslim comes to me I stress upon the importance of being a good Muslim and follow his own faith.’’
I am T Venkataram, the son of Thirumakudalu Narayana, a veteran journalist from Mysore city, who was the founder of the Newspaper – Mysore Patrike. In 1976, at age fifty, my father passed away and I became the Editor of the Newspaper. I am a father of one son and seven daughters. My wife was a staunch devotee of Sri Swamiji who used to call her Amma. She was a god’s gift to me. She left me for her heavenly abode on November 2nd, 2002.
Sometime during 1964-65 I came to know of Sri Swamiji through my father who was also my Guru. One day I accompanied him to a press conference with Sri Swamiji in Kesare, the place where Sri Swamiji was staying and performing poojas, rituals etc. My father asked Sri Swamiji “what do you say to all these different people who come to you and how do you bless them?’’ Sri Swamiji replied, “I bless all those who come to me irrespective of their caste or religion. If a Christian comes to me I tell him to believe in Jesus and continue to have faith in his own religion. Likewise, if a Muslim comes to me I stress upon the importance of being a good Muslim and follow his own faith.’’ When I heard Sri Swamiji speaking like this I was instantly drawn to Him and so from then onwards every Sunday my father and I would attend Sri Swamiji’s pujas, homas and bhajans.
In 1965 my father and five other devotees purchased some lands on Ooty Road and on June 6th, 1966 Sri Swamiji started the present day Ashrama there. He would ask my father for his suggestions for improvements of the Ashram and He used to tell everyone that Mr. Narayana is the Architect of the ashrama. However, my father used to submit that he was only a humble devotee.
In November 1966, as it was the silver jubilee of our Newspaper the ‘Mysore Patrike’, my father and I went to the ashram to meet Sri Swamiji. On reaching there, we saw Him sitting under a mango tree; we approached Him and requested Him to inaugurate the silver jubilee function of the newspaper which we had started in 1941. He replied that since He did not like any publicity He doesn’t want to make a big show before the public. My father pleaded and requested Him to bless us by accepting our invitation to come to our office so that we would overcome the difficulties we are facing in running the press. Sri Swamiji consented and agreed to our request; He also asked us if by Him visit the press whether it would be helpful to us. My father told Sri Swamiji that by his visit to our press we would be blessed with miraculous changes.
Sri Swamiji finally agreed to visit the Mysore Patrike newspaper office the following day and He advised us that only workers of the office should be present and we should not invite any of our family members. We carried out His instructions and the next day Sri Swamiji came and stayed for over three hours. My father, with utmost reverence, performed Sri Swamiji’s Pada puja and offered the contribution, by the people attending the inaugural function, at His Lotus Feet. Sri Swamiji then asked my father, “Yes! You have called me and you did pooja. Now what do you want?’’ My father replied “My newspaper is small. I want to increase the size of the paper, but I have no money and no printing machine”. Sri Swamiji replied “I see. You want money and machine, but I have no money and machine to give you.” My father then said, “No, no we only want your blessings by which things will go on in its proper way to bring us prosperity”.
Then Sri Swamiji said, “Alright Narayana, by next year you will increase the size of your paper and also you will have a machine.” My father asked, “How can I increase the size of my paper, when I have no money and machine for printing’’, “Sri Swamiji said do you think my words will fail?”
My father began to weep and then Sri Swamiji took fourteen coins and threw them over the newspaper equipment we had and he asked us to collect the coins, place them in a box and do pooja daily. We did this and kept the box in the cash drawer. Within seven months the size of the paper increased and also we received about fourteen thousand rupees by way of advertisements from private business undertakings.
Subsequently we purchased a crown cylinder printing machine. When it arrived in Mysore we telephoned Sri Swamiji who was in Madras for the Deepavali celebrations. We told Him that we had received the machine and He asked us to print the next issue on the Deepavali festival. Then He said that He would see us when He returns to the ashram. We printed the next issue accordingly and surprisingly we received over ten thousand rupees by means of advertisements only. In this way the Mysore Patrike newspaper grew not only in Mysore, but in other cities as well by wide circulation. Even the Government of Karnataka expressed its appreciation for our editorials especially contributed by my father. Today by Sri Swamiji’s grace, the Mysore Patrike has a very good circulation. All this improvements have taken place with the blessings of Sri Swamiji.
The city of Mysore had arranged a function on January 18th, 1976 to honor my father for his distinguished service in journalism. Shortly before this date my father fell ill and became unconscious. The reception committee members of the function went to Sri Swamiji and requested Him to bless Narayana for a speedy recovery to become well enough so that they can honor him as planned. Sri Swamiji told them “you cannot honor him since he has already honored him on the Shivaratri day and there is no further need for others to honor him now and that too he is ill and is in his last days.” Later on Sri Swamiji came to my house and told me to pray for his wellbeing as those are his last days.
Next day His Holiness came to my father’s house and astonishingly my father who was unconscious for the past eight days suddenly got up and pay reverence to Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji asked him “what do you want?” My father replied and requested Sri Swamiji to give him Moksha/liberation on that day itself since it was Makara Sankranthi and the next day being the Uttarayana. He again emphasized that he should get Moksha/liberation on that day itself. Sri Swamiji said that he had already blessed him ten years ago that he would live up to this day. My father acknowledged Sri Swamiji’s blessings with a smile on his face and he requested again for immediate liberation. Just then my mother came to prostrate before Swamiji and in her haste she forgot to put the kumkum on her forehead. Sri Swamiji looked at her and pointed and said “see this sign?” The next day, on January 16th 1976, at around 9.30 in the morning, my father passed away as predicted by Sri Swamiji.
In January 1966, the Late His Holiness Sri Sri Paramacharya was in Kanchi, a temple town in Tamil Nadu. He was on embodiment of Advaitha Philosophy. He was 74 years old then. Sri Swamiji followed by some of the devotees including my father went to Kanchi to have darshan of Sri Paramacharya and accordingly we had his darshan. Sri Paramacharya used to walk eight to ten miles every day as he had no other mode of transport to move around. During his walk Sri Swamiji wanted to join him in a place near Kalahasti. All the devotees also followed Sri Swamiji.
After a while my father suddenly became ill and fell down unconscious. Since it was very hot on that day immediately some devotees took him to the nearby Mrityunjaya temple as it was suspected that my father had sunstroke. On learning this Sri Swamiji went there and within half an hour my father regained consciousness. Sri Swamiji then told him not to be worried about his health and blessed him that he would live for another ten years. On that particular day I was in Mysore working in the press. There was a photo of my father on the wall. The photo suddenly fell own on the floor and the glass broke into pieces. Sri Swamiji had returned to ashram. The next day I went to the ashram and I asked Sri Swamiji about my father, He told me that I should not worry as He has already extended his life by another ten years. As Swamiji’s blessings came true, my father lived happily for another ten years.
Since 1940 I had breathing difficulties and it grew worse as the years went by. In 1967 when my breathing was at its worst I told Sri Swamiji about it and also mentioned to Him that I might stop breathing at any moment. He told me to go home and sleep well and then come back in the morning and tell Him what experience I would have had during my sleep. I did as He told me and around 3.00am Sri Swamiji appeared in my dream in His spiritual form and asked me to open my mouth. He then put His mouth to my mouth and breathed several times and told me that from then onwards I would be alright and will have no breathing problems at all.
I got up and told my wife about the vision which I had in my dream. After bathing I went straight to the ashram to see His Holiness, upon seeing Him I narrated the whole experience I had during the dream. Sri Swamiji asked me that I should come in the evening to collect a Talisman. In the evening I collected to Talisman from Him then He asked me that I should always wear it around my neck. One side of the Talisman has an engraving of Hanumanta and the other side has a Sanskrit Mantra. I am wearing this Talisman even today. I am very grateful to Sri Swamiji that since 1967 I have no breathing problems at all.
Sometime in 2010 when I was sitting in the verandah in my house I fell down and lost consciousness. After ten days I regained consciousness. I had a fracture in my thigh and had to undergo surgery. Everyday Sri Swamiji used to call the doctor and enquire as to how I was doing. He would refer to me by my nick name ‘Swamy’. When the doctor told Him that he did surgery on my thigh, Sri Swamiji corrected the doctor and said that it was not he (doctor) who performed the surgery, but He Himself (Swamiji). Shortly after that on May 16th, 2010 I could walk by myself and went to the ashram to have Sri Swamiji’s darshan and He blessed me and gave me a Raksha. He also told me that I will be able to walk to the ashram without anybody’s help. Now I have been feeling better and gained confidence also. When I left the Hospital, I had slurred speech and now I am talking fluently by Sri Swamiji’s grace.
After I accepted Sri Swamiji as my Sadguru people around me extend their privilege and invite me to go to other temples and functions. I have been telling them that Sri Swamiji is my Sadguru and I have dedicated my life to Him. For me He is everything. He takes care of my health, my family and business. I always pray to Him to give me strength to serve the public. He is the incarnation of all Gods, Dattatreya, Jesus, Allah, Buddha etc. This is my belief. All day long I keep His words and prayers in my mind and leave no room for other thoughts. Guru is God and well-wisher of all. A blade of grass cannot move without the blessings of Guru. Friends and family may forsake you but if you believe in your Guru, He will never forsake His disciple. Every man wants peace of mind in his life. That is what I got from Sri Swamiji and despite the obstacles and challenges in life I maintain a peaceful mind because I fill my mind with thoughts of Him only and so nothing can disrupt that. This is only His blessings Jaya Guru Datta.