Trinath Babu Yaddanapudi, Bhimavaram
When I first laid my eyes on His form, I saw the same bright light emanating as I had seen previously, and I felt comforted by it. I left feeling that I had found my Guru.
I am a native of Bhimavaram, a place in the West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. I started having experiences with Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji in the early 1980’s, even without having met Him physically. At that time, in my life, I was faced with many challenges. I was the late born son to my parents, and I was the only one around to take care of them when they both fell ill. We were a poor family and I had no one to support me financially or emotionally. I struggled to take care of my life and my parents.
To ease my mind of its constant worrying I used to listen to a small transistor radio. This radio became my best friend. I listened to programs in different languages and from different countries. Even if I did not understand the language I listened, for it calmed my mind. One day while tuning to different stations I heard a melodious singing voice coming through the airways. I listened to the program; it was an L P recording being played and it was being broadcasted from a Sri Lankan radio station.
I continued to listen to this broadcast, although it was aired early in the early morning between 4.30am to 5.00am daily, every other week. When I listened to this voice my worries disappeared and I felt much better. I did not know whose voice it was but it helped me. After some time that radio station stopped broadcasting and I could not listen to that voice anymore.
Some devotees, from a temple in the nearby village of Akividu, where a Datta Kshetram is installed, would normally come to Bhimavaram to take part in Satsangha at various devotees home every Sunday. I attended these Satsanghas and the program would include; the chanting of Sri Maata Jayalakshmi Nama Archana, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Nama Archana and Sri Lalitha Sahasranama. After the program we would have Datta Bhiksha and then return to our homes. I became interested in these programs and wanted to know more about their Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji from Mysore.
Sometimes, after the programs while on my way home, I started observing someone in white clothes, with a glow emanating from His form. This figure would follow me into my house and stand at my pooja place. I knew it was this Guru, Sri Swamiji, and I prayed to Him to shower His blessings on me. The light around the form will then burst out into tiny particles and fly into the air. I was happy that this benevolent Lord would bless me, even though I have had no physical contact with Him.
In my home town there is a Devi Temple which I visited regularly. During the 1990 Dassera celebrations, I heard the voice coming from the temple’s sanctum sanctorum. To my surprise, I realized that it was the same voice I used to listen to. I enquired from the priest as to who is person with such a beautiful voice that was being played on the recording. The priest said that it was his Guru’s, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, and name of the audio cassette called ‘Amba Gana Vaibhavam’. Sri Swamiji’s devotees had given a copy of the audio cassette to be played in the temple.
When I heard this, I felt as though I must serve this Guru because of what His voice had done for me. I asked the priest if there was any service I can perform at the temple. He gave me some work and when it was completed I found out that the Guru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji was flying in from London and will make a short visit in Vijayawada. I immediately went there to have His darshan. When I first laid my eyes on His form I saw the same bright light emanating, as I had previously seen, and I felt comforted by it. I left feeling that I had found my Guru. When the Bhimavaram Ashrama was inaugurated I served in the Guru Nilayam.
Later, as time went by, I became totally involved in His mission and I would have His darsan wherever I could. I would sit for hours just looking at Him; His movements, His expressions, and everything about Him. He became part of my life, no! He became my life. That which was taken away from my youth, is now here again; He is my parents.
On one occasion I went to Acharapakkam to have the darsan of Sri Swamiji. I did not want to leave and only wanted to stay with Him. During the time I was there I felt loneliness, as I could not get His attention. I prayed that I should be alone in my life with no obligations to anyone; because I thought that He did not want me to be with Him. Sri Swamiji then said to those gathered there, “Who are you to think like that, I am here, I am here to enlighten you. Why do you think that you should go away? How can you go away? You did not come here on your own, and you cannot leave on your own. We are all connected, our Datta family is connected, we are here now and were here before, and we are all connected. Devotees should not think of going away from Swamiji, for Swamiji is connected to them and loves them.” These words of Sri Swamiji comforted me.
Occasionally, some strange things started happening and it puzzled and scared me. When I went to the bathroom I the early morning I used to hear a voice coming from within, chanting the different names of God. This worried me because I thought I was becoming insane. I prayed to Sri Swamiji asking Him to explain this phenomenon. Shortly afterwards Sri Swamiji gave a public discourse, and I was present to hear the words spoken by him, “I am in the hearts of all my devotees, I am everywhere, I am omnipresent, but you people have shut the doors of your heart. You are thinking of the material form and living in the materialistic world. I only want to break open the doors of your heart, and lift your spirit to the feet of your super consciousness, which is your Sad Guru. But you are not listening to me so what can I do for you? To enlighten you and save you from drowning in your back log of Karma I am chanting the names in you, just like Sriman Narayana chanted (in Dhruva’s story).” This is how Sri Swamiji gave His answer to console me, by speaking in public.
When the Sri Viswa Roopa Datta temple was being inaugurated in Ganagapuram, I prayed and pledged to Sri Swamiji to serve Him there. During the 2011 Ugadi celebrations in Hyderabad a senior devotee took me to Sri Swamiji and told Him that I wanted to serve in the Sri Viswa Roopa Datta temple and gave all my particulars. Sri Swamiji replied, “I know this person, he has served me in Guru Nilayam in Bhimavaram, now he can go and serve in the Ashrama where I will always be.” So I began serving at the temple in Ganagapuram. I am still serving to this day. This is how blessed I am, Sri Swamiji found me and opened up my heart to spirituality even without me meeting Him physically. He took care of my family and He has given me the gift of serving him, which is His greatest gift to me.
Jaya Guru Datta