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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Darshan after 18 years - Part 6

When the subject of my Ph.D Theses was finally decided, within two or three days, I went to Satara. The subject of the thesis was , "Kaavyaanuhav aani Chitrakalaaanubav".

I bowed to Swamiji and kept standing. And Swamiji asked the attendant, "Ask her whether she can compose poems?" I was at sixes and sevens because of the unexpected question, but I replied quickly, "No, I cannot write poetry".

Why did Swami ask me such a question? I failed to understand. Nor did I have the courage to ask Him about it. I continued pondering over it. While returning home by the bus, suddenly it became clear to me. "Oh, the subject of the thesis has been finalised. In this thesis, how will I discuss 'Kaavyanubav?" for I had never written poetry. Does Swamiji want to suggest this? I have obtained the degrees 'G.D. Arts' and 'Art Master'. So I can discuss at length, the experienes about the art of drawing and painting. But what about my thesis upto M.A? I had only studied the poems of many poets. When this was clear to me, I bowed down to Swami mentally and prayed, "Swami Maharaj, nothing is incomprehensible to you. You knew the subject without me telling you. You are omniscient. Then you must have known what I have told the guide of my thesis. I will explain only the three levels of the creative aspects of: 'The Art of Drawing and Painting and its Appreciation' and 'The appreciation of Poetry'. Many poets have written much about composing poetry. I will review it; but since I myself do not write Poetry, I have no direct experience of composting poetry. I will very clearly mention this in my introduction to my thesis. Swamiji, you must have known the above thoughts in my mind. But you have woken me up; I will keep my word and make mention of this in the introduction. Let me have your blessings".

Afterwards, my thesis was given the prize as being an excellent thesis during the period of two years. This happened obviously due to Mahaswami's blessings.

Recently, after having crossed sixty years of my age, from time to time, I fell inspired to write poetry also. I am wonder struck as to who inspires me for that? How has the poetic power suddenly bust forth? Swami alone knows!


Once I had a dream. In the dream, I saw Swamiji asking me to to serve curd. When I woke up, I felt, “When going to Satara, I should take curd with me. Swamiji is used to having only cow-milk. I knew it. Cow-milk, one could get. But what about turning the milk into curd?”. I pondered. I found a person owning many cows. Everything was explained to his wife, and she agreed to do the needful. I bought cow-milk and cow-curd from her. The next day, I took the curd to Satara.

That day, there were not many devotees. I told the attendant my dream and added, “I have brought the cow-milk curd. I pray Swamiji may accept it”. He conveyed the same to Swami and immediately came back to inform me, “Keep the curd pot in his room near the wall”.

I stepped into His room with trepidation, kept the pot near the wall. Swamiji looked at me, the look of acceptance in His eyes made me happy beyond words! It is beyond me to grasp the meaning of this event!

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime


Darshan after 18 years - Part 7

The ST bus going to Satara has to pass through the tunnel of Katraj. Once when I had gone for darshan, some girls from Miraj had also come for the same purpose. I got acquainted with them. They related many experiences that they had during the period of Swami’s stay at Miraj. I forgot everything while listening to the experiences told by them. I did not feel like returning to Pune by the bus at 2 pm. I decided to go by the bus at 4 pm. The girls also insisted on my waiting for some more time. Still one thought persisted, “Go back immediately, mother might be waiting”.

Resisting the temptation of the enchanting talk with those girls, I started for Pune by the usual bus. Had I started late, it would not have been possible to pass through the Katraj tunnel! The next day, there was a news item in the paper, ‘The Katraj tunnel has been closed for traffic for 2-3 days, as a result of a collapse of part of the tunnel”.

Need I explain who prompted me to start earlier?

From Satara, Swami left for Pandharpuri. On one side of the bank of Chandrabhaga river, there is Vitthal, and on the other side of the river bank, there stayed Swami, in a field. “Hari” on one bank and “Hara” on the other. We went there for darshan in my friend’s car. We reached there at noon. “Today darshan can be had after 4 pm, possibly, not definitely” – people were talking in this manner. We have come from such a long distance. Would darshan be denied to us” No doubt we had ‘Shri Hari’ darshan, but what about ‘Hara’ darshan? Then I started praying! Presently, someone came and enquired, “Did you get Prasad?. We answered in the negative by shaking our heads. That man brought rice-curd Prasad. And he said, ‘Have prasad’ – a most unexpected blessing! We had not even asked for it. I exclaimed, “Now, we shall have darshan definitely”.

The prasad experience taught us not to lose heart and upto 4 o’clock, we sat there watching the closed door. Swamiji did not disappoint us. He came out, and our yatra was not in vain!

After two months, Swamiji left for Sholapur we learnt. From there, Swami would leave Maharashtra. I felt the pangs of separation. Four of us - my friend and her husband, another friend and myself went to Sholapur. We were put up at the residence of a Jain family acquainted with us. We enquired with many persons at different places, but Swamiji's whereabouts could not be known. In the evening, after dusk, the news of Swamiji's journey in the direction of Gulbarga reached us. Ofcourse, it was a journey on foot! Swamiji was to stay somewhere in the open field. My friend's husband, Mr.Chandorkar, a retired police office opined that it would be risky to travel by car along that road in the dark. He was in favour of starting in the morning. But I said, If Swamiji makes a move from that place very early in the morning, i.e at 4 am, then how shall we know the direction in which he has gone? Besides, he walks very fast holding his tin-cart, attached to a cycle. Then how to stop him for darshan? So, let us move right now".

Finding me so anxious, that Jain gentleman got ready to take the risk. So his car sped up along the deserted road at night at about 8.30 pm, a small room, 4-5 persons, and a light were sighted in a field. There was a well nearby. We reached there. The persons with Swamiji recognized me. I had gone to Satara several times. So they started addressing me as 'Poona Amma'. I asked Swamiji's attendants - Shri Baluji and Shri Kanthiji, "Can we take Swamiji's darshan now? We have come only for that purpose from Pune". They replied, "Swami has been resting. He has been lying down, for he has crossed the distance of 12-13 miles on foot".

A 88-year old Swamiji, tired and exhausted. How to put him to trouble? The thoughts disturbed me very much! I said, "Leave that. We shall bow down from outside and then we can make a move". No doubt we were disappointed. At the same time, were reluctant to put to trouble the great saint, quite advanced in age. Our selfish desire put us to shame.

"But Swamiji would not like your leaving in such a manner", the attendant said. "Wait a little, I will go inside and find out as to what would be proper".

The door which had been merely closed (and not locked), opened, making a noise. The attendant came out and told us ,"you have been asked to come inside".

All of us (five in number) went inside. We bowed down and go ready to go. That very moment, Swamiji asked us to sit down by making a sign. We felt guilty and sat down.

Swamiji had been resting on a blanket, covered with two pieces of ochre-coloured clothes, in a crouching position. Allowing himself this type luxury, all in all of the Kanchi Peeth had been resting! And we had enjoyed a hearty meal and then reached the place, quit comfortably in a car. I felt like massaging His tired feet. His tired feet had become hard and had ensured great pain by walking long distances, for the well being of the common man. I felt like saying, "Swami Maharaj, we have encroached upon your time of rest out of our selfish desire - the blessings of your darshan. Forgive us!" The thought made me pant for breath. Presently Swamiji got up and sat in a semi bent position. We too sat dowan in a semi-circle around him.

Swamiji spoke to the attendant in a feeble voice. Swamiji wanted to know the purpose of our visit. Different reasons were given by different persons. Looking at me, Swamiji asked the attendant to make an enquiry.

"Why does she come here?"

I was tongue-tied! I was confused and did not know what answer to give.

Again the question was put to me, "Does she want to marry?"

Then immediately, shaking my head, I said "No".

Again, another question, - "Why does she come frequently? What does she need?"

Swamiji is capable of reading one's mind. He is omniscient. Why then is he asking the question in this manner repeatedly? At last summoning all my courage, somehow I said, "Spiritual progress".

In fact, the words that had come to my lips were "Mukthi" (Liberation)!! But a look at Mahaswami's luminous eyes made me utter different words. I faltered.

I thought, "Should I ask for liberation from this great tapasvin? Where do I stand spiritually? What penance have I undergone? What studies have I made? Should I ask for what I do not deserve? So quickly did such thoughts pass through the mind that I uttered the words "Spiritual progress". Swamiji raised His hand to bless us! We left for our home like persons possessed. The meeting on that day and the blessings received there, are a sustaining force in my life. The attendant, as directed by Swamiji, put an book before us and asked us to write our address in it. I know not why.

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime

Darshan after 18 years - Final
Shankaracharya is the Archarya for all Hindus. He is their guru. In this sense, Mahaswamiji is my guru also. But I intensely felt that Swamiji should give me some indication of my having received the initiation from Him. Otherwise, how can an ignorant woman like me understand that I have been initiated? Will He not make me understand it by giving some indication? I suppressed this thought as it came to the mind.

Afterwards, when Guru Pournima day was very near, again one thought cropped up in the mind. It was about composing a stotra on Swamiji in Sanskrit and dedicating it to Him. I should recite that Stotra daily. But, I do not know Sanskrit well. Of all the things, poetry! This is next to impossible. But it is true that intense desire opens up the path.

The famous R.S.S. Prayer "Namasthe sadhaa vathsale maathrubhoome" was compsoed by late Narhar Narayan Bhide. He was a scholar. He had mastered Sanskrit language. Being acquainted with him, I approached him and explained to him my desire, and also the problem.

He said, "I have great respect for the Mahaswami of Kanchi. I will compose the Sanskrit prayer for you. But write in prose in Marathi, whatever you want to say about Him. Hand it over to me. I will compose the Sanskrit Stotra giving poetic form to your feelings".

Next day, I wrote down my prayer in prose in Marathi expressing my feelings and gave it to him. After eight days, he gave me the beautiful prayer composed by him, in Sanskrit. I set that prayer song to the tune of Shankara Raaag and sang it before Shri Bhide. Then I went to Swami's ardent devotee (late) Pundit Shrinivas Shastri, taking with me a copy of the prayer song, and a letter in Sanskrit. I requested him, "You go to Kanchi for Swami's darshan on Gurupournima day. Please hand over this prayer and letter to Mahaswami".

Shri Shrinivas Shastri said, "On Gurupournima day. there is always a big crowd at Kanchi. So I had gone there earlier. I have come back recently. So, please send this by post".

I felt very bad. There was not sufficient time for the prayer to reach there before Gurupournima. It would have taken 3-4 days to reach the letter by post. And Gurupournima day was just two days ahead!

In a helpless condition, I stood up to go. I was to leave after making pranam to Shashtriji. That moment, the manager of the North Chidambaram Natraj Mandir from Satara, (Shri Jagdeesh Bhatt) came to see Shastrihi. He said, "Some of us are going to Kanchi".

Shrinivas Shastri was so overjoyed that he exclaimed, "See the miracle of your devotion. Uttering the words, "Devotion-Devotion" he was overwhelmed with emotion! Said he, "Give your stotra and the letter. That will reach Swamiji on Gurupournima day. Oh, Oh, what a devotion! Swami Himself has sent this individual to take in person the stotra and the letter!"

Then he himself gave me a blank envelop. He examined my Sanskrit letter. I put the letter and the stotra in the envelop, along with some amount as Guru dakshina. Handing over the envelop to Shri Jagdeesh Bhatt, Pt Shrinivas Shastri said , "Look, this envelop must be given in the hands of Mahaswamiji only. Do not give it to anyone else. Do this personally. Jadeeshjee agreed to do so. He made pranam to Shastriji and left for Kanchi.

In my letter, offering my pranam, I had said, "Ethad 'Sree CHandrasekarendra Panchakam' mama manogatham asthi. Thad mayaa gadhye likitham. Mama aadharanneeyena brathruthulyena vayovridhena samskritavishaaradhena Narahari Narayanaa Bhide Mahodayena that gadhyamanogatham kavye Gratheethamasthi. Gurudhakshinasahitham arpitham 'Sree Chandrasekarendra Panchakam sweekurvanthu swaamina:"

On Gurupournima day in 1992, Shri Jagdeesh Bhatt offered that letter with the stotra to Revered Swamiji. Swamiji read it. He was very happy. He liked the stotra. He did mention so.

After 3-4 days, Swami's personal secretary wrote about it to me. He wrote, "Mahaswamiji liked the stotra very much. By way of His blessings and acceptance, the prasad He has given with His own hands is being sent to you by post ..!" Even now, I have preserved with great care, that prasad and the letter, as the most precious thing. I needed some indication of having received Swami's grace.

And it reached my dwelling place because of my invisible good fortune. Sadguru, Mahaswami Chandrasekharendra Saraswati could detect the desire in the core of my being and he fulfilled my obstinate desire. Afterwards, that stotra was published in the book "A Hundred Years of Light - III".

The stotra begins thus:

"Bhavanthamaadhya shankaram
chandrasekharendramaan thaasmi


Afterwards, in May 1993, we some of the family, had gone to Kanchi. Birthday centenary celebration was to commence from 5th of May. On 3rd of May in the morning, just before getting up, I had a dream. I was neither fully awake nor was I full asleep during that transition period. I had Mahaswami's darshan. I bowed down as usual. i.e with bent knees and the forehead touching the ground. Mahaswami commanded, "Prostrate full length on the ground.." I made pranam again, but with some reservation. Mahaswami again told me, "Not like this, prostrate full length properly". Then, without any reservation, I prostrated full length and I woke up. I started thinking about the dream. What a clear darshan I had! And, Swamihi is only half a mile away in His Math. What is the meaning of this dream? And it stood revealed automatically in the mind. Nay, Swamiji made it so. Otherwise, I do not have the capacity to understand it.

"Last year you received His grace. You consider Him your Sadguru. But when did you prostrate full length before him as a mark of complete surrender? Without that how can the formality be completed?" These thoughts came up automatically. Then, I made up my mind, "Now while taking darshan as commanded by you, Swamiji, I will make "Saashtanga Prannipaatha'.

I had Swamiji's darshan at 2.30 pm in the afternoon. Swami's birthday centenary celebrations were to commence. So I had brought 100 silver bilva patras, strung an oche coloured wool. In the middle, there was one golden bilva patra. A little prasad and the bilva mala were kept before Him. The 100 year-old Swami was sitting in an easy chair. The attendant understood my desire and kept the bilva mala on Swamiji's head. And to mark my total surrender I made "Saashtaanga Namaskaara" to my Sadguru God! Swamiji Himself had removed the deficiency in my devotion!!

Author: Smt Shashikala Gore, Pune
Source: Moments of a Lifetime 

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