Face to Face with Lord Hanuman
My Experiences – Part II
This is in continuation of the first part of the note on my experiences with His Holiness Sri Vikraman Swami, which was hosted at this site in 1997. This part accounts for some of my experiences during the period November 1997 to March 1998.
 - M.Peetambaren
A Breakdown Special
We were returning from Anna Nagar (a suburb in Madras) after a Thursday puja on 6th November 1997; Swami was driving His car and we were accompanying Him in another car. It was the around 2 a.m. The downpour was very heavy and all city roads were submerged. Our car got broke down near the Palavanthangal Sub-Way where rain water had risen almost to the bridge level. Swami asked us to proceed back to Anna Nagar and asked us to start the car. Lo! The car started and thereafter it did not breakdown at all. On the way back we found an array of vehicles broken-down in the heavy rains. It was divine grace alone that saved us from getting stranded on the road in that incessant rain.
Think Twice When Swami Asks

On a Saturday in December 1997, I went to Swami’s residence in the afternoon. Swami was taking rest after the morning puja session when He called me in. After a brief instruction regarding the forthcoming Jayanthi celebrations, He asked me to wait. When the puja commenced He called me into the puja room. Actually we were in a hurry, as we had to call on two family friends, one in connection with a wedding anniversary and the other a courtesy call. When I got up for leaving, He mentioned about the two programmes and told me that the function will be grand but we would be late. In fact, He asked me whether I really wanted to go for the programme? Without realising the implication of His question, I replied in the affirmative.
After a while, we took leave of Swami and proceeded to our friend’s place in Kotturpuram. We called on him and moved to the bus stop to go to Anna Nagar where the other function was being held. But strangely enough, we went to the wrong bus stop and wasted time over there. Later we went to the right bus stop, but could not get any bus from Kotturpuram to go to Anna Nagar and strangely enough we did not bother to take an auto rickshaw in the belief that a bus would come. As time passed off our expectation of getting a bus also increased with the result that we spent more than two hours at the bus stops. We could not attend the programme that night and we were told later that the function was quite grand as foretold by Swami.

In 1997, Swami asked a devotee about his son. The devotee replied that his son was fine. However, in a couple of days, his son fell sick of typhoid but recovered very fast with His blessings. The point is that one should be very attentive when Swami speaks, and try to understand His language.


The 10th Hanumanth Jayanthi
The tenth Jayanthi was celebrated on the 4th of January 1998. I was involved in printing the handbills. Initially I had thought that it was a very simple work to do. But soon I realised that service to Lord Anjaneya should not be done with a casual and lackadaisical attitude. I had to undergo severe tension before I could get the format approved as Swami was away in Dubai and my initial fax messages did not reach Him. I realised that any such work could be carried out with the blessings of Anjaneya only. Even the slightest ego will be punctured if the person assumes the doership of such service.

One lesson that I learnt during the celebrations is that service should be done with humility, even though there will be occasions when one would easily lose his cool for various reasons. Such occasions provide an excellent scope for self-training as the persons would be exposed to their own limitations in carrying out the work entrusted to them. A work is given to a devotee not necessarily because he/she is good enough for carrying it out but because the work would be good for him/her.


Delivery on Schedule

When we made a visit to the ashram site two weeks before the 10th Hanuman Jayanthi celebrations, it was inconceivable that the venue would be ready by the first week of January 1998. The works relating to flooring, white washing, electrical fittings, doors and windows, approach road, and even clearing the premises had not even started. However, the works that would have taken atleast three to four weeks was miraculously completed within ten days or so. I remember that the main door was fixed a few hours before the commencement of the program.

I have heard many such incidents wherein the help came at the last minute. There are incidents such as the required money for wedding ceremonies coming at the last minute, recovery from diseases when all hopes were lost, late arrival of trains to suit the convenience of devotees and so on. I am not narrating those incidents because there are too many such incidents and hopefully the devotees themselves would record them in their own words.


Anjaneya’s Alarm Service

I reached home on 4th morning after the Vilakku Puja on the 3rd evening. Being late and tired I was getting late for the next day’s program. It was around 4.45 a.m. when Swami appeared in the dream and woke me up saying, "Peetamberan! come along". On a subsequent Saturday puja He asked me about this dream.


A Direct Darshan
This happened on 4th January 1998 during the Jayanthi celebrations. It was past midnight and Swami did the arathi marking the conclusion of the celebrations. After the arathi was over, a devotee who was in charge of the store during the celebrations told Swami, pointing to a picture of Anjaneya kept in the Puja Mandiram, that he saw Anjaneya in place of Swami. When he narrated this he was choked up and straining to express himself. I must say that he was one of the finest volunteers during the celebrations and he had little chance of being with Swami; probably it was Anjaneya’s way of acknowledging his services.


Swami on AIR
Swami’s speech was recorded by All India Radio during the Jayanthi function and it was broadcast a few days later. The following is the gist of what He spoke on the occasion. "Living is like flying a kite. As long as the thread is in your hands, you can control it. If the thread is cut you will never know where it has flown to. In real life, bhakthi is like a thread. As long as you have the thread of bhakthi, you will have some control of your life and you will have peace of mind. You may choose any form or name of God. …. For the present world, peace of mind and realisation of God is a must."


Driver Anjaneya
This is probably the most amusing experience that I have come across in recent times. My friend and a devotee of Swami residing at Rangarajapuram in Madras, had taken his daughter to attend one of the pujas in 1997 when Swami said that she would get very good marks in the examination. Swami had asked him to offer a vada mala (a delicacy made of lentils and made into a garland) and the devotee promised that he would offer a vada mala.

A few days later, his wife was returning from T.Nagar in an auto rickshaw along with two neighbors after shopping. It may be mentioned here that she was not aware of the offering at all. The auto rickshaw approached a Ganesh temple nearby when the driver suddenly stopped the vehicle and said, "Somebody sitting in this vehicle has promised a vada mala to Anjaneya; I have no permission to take the vehicle any further unless the vada mala is given to Anjaneya. All your problems have been solved by Anjaneya." The driver refused to ply the auto rickshaw and they had to get down. Totally bewildered and not knowing what was going on, they got down from the vehicle and hired another vehicle to return home. When she reached home her husband confirmed the offering.

Then the next Friday one monkey appeared in front of their flat and it kept loitering around. The next day they prepared vada mala and gave to the monkey along with a fruit. The monkey received the offering, folded its palms as if in gratitude and left the place. But they could not trace out where it had vanished.

This reminds what Swami has been telling His devotees about offerings. Once a promise is made, it should be fulfilled. Swami also used to say that promises need not be made conditional. This incident also establishes the divinity of Swami. The points to be noted here are that the driver of the auto rickshaw was a total stranger to the passengers and the passengers themselves were not aware of the offering of vada mala. Last but not the least, the incident occurred near a temple. During the incident the driver was in a state of trance and was shivering. This happened in February 1998 when Swami was away in the Middle East. Finally, Anjaneya came in the form of a monkey and received the offering. The fact that it did not go to any other flat nearby for food establishes the fact that it was no ordinary monkey. Not only that Anjaneya can bloc your traffic anywhere in the world He could also be the best driver of your life provided you have enough of devotional fuel.

Anjaneya’s Care Unit
On three to four occasions Swami asked me to inform my friend Manoj to undergo medical check up for BP and sugar. However, he did not take the advice seriously and soon after he had to be hospitalised and kept in ICU for three days in January 1998. Swami had also cautioned his sister that doctors may give scaring news but they need not worry about it. When he was in ICU the doctor attending on him suggested informing all his relatives as his condition was quite serious. However, his sister was not scared at all, because Swami had already told that the doctors might scare them. But miraculously, he recovered immediately thereafter. In fact, He had mentioned the names of two medicines which Manoj would have to take with variation in dose according to the test report. Later, we found that the medicines prescribed by the doctor were the medicines mentioned by Swami.

While our skillful doctors diagnose sickness, prescribe medicines and treat us to safety, Anjaneya tells all about it in advance with a special note on whether they would scare us or not!


A Coconut Dream

This happened to a family friend residing at Anna Nagar in January 1998 when Swami was away in the Middle East. She had a dream in which Swami gave her two coconuts for breaking to ward off evil eye. (A ritual followed by Hindus in some part of the country in which a dehusked coconut is circled three times around a person and broken on the ground). However, she was hesitant to do it, as she did not take the dream seriously. The dream and its purport went out of her mind, however, the next day she was given exactly two coconuts by another devotee when she visited latter’s house. Taking it as a reminder, she carried out the ritual as suggested by the dream. Subsequent developments revealed that it was not just a chance dream.

A Special Day
It is very rare to hear Swami entering into a discourse and whenever He does so it would be crystal clear and logical. The 28th February 1998 turned out to be special day as He spoke at length on matters relating to guru and faith. I give below a gist of what He spoke on the day.
On Guru

" …Just as one has a variety of fruits to choose from, a seeker also has a variety of forms to contemplate upon. He may choose the form according to his taste and inclination. There are persons totally confused as to whom they should worship or which guru they should follow. You may worship any form of your choice or follow any guru in whose presence you get real peace of mind."

On Myths
"…There are people who believe and even tell others that Anjaney’s photograph should not be kept at homes, as Anjaneya is a Brahmachari. A devotee can keep any photograph of any form of God provided he/she has faith. Even though Anjaneya is a brahmachari, it was He who brought Sri Rama and Sri Seethadevi together."
On Faith
"…Faith is what is most important. Purity of mind and sincere prayer are essential for realisation of God. A pilgrimage or a visit to a temple does not necessarily imply devotion, as devotion has to emanate from one’s within. It is not necessary to visit a temple or attend a bhajan mechanically as a means to obtain God’s grace."
On Duty

"…It is enough if one carries out his/her duties honestly and with a sincere prayer to God. Karmasudhi (sanctity of work) and chittasudhi (purity of mind) are very important for realisation of God. A mere display of devotion would not last long; as none can display artificial devotion for long."

On Holymen
"…Holymen can not be compared as they differ in their background, mission, and powers. Some are jnanis who take upon themselves the task of educating people. Some are divine by birth and out of compassion they pray for those who approach them; but they would not know what would happen the next day. Yet there are thrikala jnanis like Shirdi Sai Baba who knows the past, the present and the future of the persons approaching them."

During the discourse He looked at me and said "now Peethambaran is listening to me in rapt attention so that he could shape up his ideas and present them in the Website." Needless to say, it was true indeed.


The Shirdi Connection

Sometime in December 1997, Swami made a casual remark that some of His devotees have felt and reported a sort of bond and similarity between Him and Shirdi Sai Baba. Ever since I have observed that His life and mission resembles that of Shirdi Sai Baba for various reasons.

Shirdi Baba used to say, "Sab Ka Malik Ek". Like Shirdi Sai Baba, Swami has a catholic outlook and respects all religions. He sings that Allah, Jesus and Hanuman are one. Like Akkalkot Swami and Shirdi Baba, Sri Vikraman Swami also has a large following of Christian and Muslim devotees.

Akkalkot Swami, considered as an incarnation of Dattatreya, reincarnated as Shirdi Baba in Pathri, 16 kms from Manmad Railway Station in Maharashtra. According to the biography, Sai Baba of Shirdi – A Unique Saint written by M.V.Kamath and V.B.Kher, Shirdi Baba was born in the Bhusari family whose family deity was Sri Hanuman of Kumbharbawadi, on the outskirts of Pathri. It is recorded that Baba had great admiration and respect for Sri Rama and Sri Hanuman. There is atleast one recorded instance of Shirdi Baba appearing as Sri Hanuman to a devotee.

Akkalkot Swami and Shirdi Baba did not have disciples initiated by them, no successors, and no apostles. Similarly, Sri Vikraman Swami also does not follow any particular religious order with disciples or apostles.

Akkalkot Swami and Shirdi Baba used to bless their devotees with holy ash and coins. It is the experience of the devotees of Sri Vikraman Swami that getting a coin from Him would guarantee income sufficient to meet expense atleast. Devotees have reported miraculous cure of their diseases by the holy ash given by Swami.

It is also a fact that Shirdi Sai Baba had the sidhi of trikalajnatvam, that is, the knowledge of the past, the present and the future. Devotees of Sri Vikraman Swami would acknowledge the same sidhi in Swami. No one needs to resort to self-introduction as He knows all.

Shirdi Baba gave darshan to devotees as Sri Hanuman. Sri Vikraman Swami has also given direct darshan as Lord Hanuman to select devotees. To my knowledge He has blessed three devotees with direct darshan and it is difficult for me to narrate their experience. Hopefully, they would narrate their experiences in their own words.

The White Paper Bunch

This note was keyed in on 5th March 1998 and in the evening of 4th March 1998, I narrated the Shirdi connection to my wife. On the 5th evening, during the Thursday puja, Swami asked me what we were discussing in the previous evening. I could not recollect it then. Then He asked me whether I had kept any white paper at home, but I did not realise what He was referring to. Later on our return home I found that I had noted down the anecdotes on Shirdi Baba from the above-mentioned book on white sheets. In fact I had kept a bunch of white paper bits meant for such purposes! Little did I realise that He was acknowledging what I had written about Him and Shirdi Sai Baba.

Holy Ash Versus Sleeping Pills

On 28th February 1998, a middle-aged devotee was advised by Swami to reduce the intake of sleeping tablets. He had stopped taking liquor as per His advice. It seems he was not able to sleep for many months until he met Swami. Another man of same age who was suffering from insomnia came and met Swami the same day. The man praised Swami in the superlatives for the peace He had bestowed on him ever since he had met Him. Both the persons used the holy ash given by Swami as the cure for insomnia!


Jesus Christ Comes Home

Jesus is one of the legendary heroes whom I have always admired mainly because He was probably the most powerful person who had to undergo the most excruciating tortures for His devotees! He was the most humane among the divine and the most divine among the humans! So when it was suggested to get a painting of Jesus Christ for worshipping in the Puja Mandiram, I was quite enthusiastic to get one. I searched through the Internet and elsewhere and finally selected two paintings, one large and one smaller, for the purpose. Actually, I liked the smaller one because the face of Jesus in that picture exuded a divine tranquility. When I presented the two paintings to Swami on 28th February 1998, Swami was very happy and returned the smaller one to me to be kept in my house. Actually, I had thought of buying a similar one to be kept in my house and obviously, He knew my wish.


Importance of Grihastashrama

On 28th February 1998, he spoke elaborately for nearly 45 minutes on the importance of grihastashrama (leading the life of a householder). The reason why He spoke on the subject was that a lady had complained that her daughter refused to get married, as she was interested in becoming a monk in a reputed ashram. The plight of the lady was that her son too refused to get married. The gist of what He said is as follows:

"…Life is a drama and we have to play our roles to perfection. One has to play the role of son, father, husband, brother and so on…It is the duty of children to look after their parents. No where has it been written that brahmacharya would necessarily lead to self-realisation. In fact it is a sin to forsake ones parents on the pretext of becoming a monk. What would be the plight of the world if all were to become monks? It is not necessary that one should lead a life of brahmacharya to realise God. Duty comes first, and that includes duty to ones parents. Forsaking duties and doing puja or going on pilgrimage would not yield the grace of God, rather it would amount to a sin."

Swami then prophesied that many of the monks would return to grihastashrama later which would be a lesson to such irresponsible persons aspiring to become monks!


Par Avion

On 28th February 1998, He asked me whether I had received any letter, however, I could not recollect receiving any letter. When I reached home in the evening, I had a letter from my brother in Saudi Arabia in which he had mentioned about Swami. In the letter he had asked me to meet Swami on his behalf. On a subsequent visit, He asked me about my brother and predicted that he would land a job in Dubai. This is a very common experience of devotees. It could be a letter, a visitor, a photograph, a watch, a pair of shoes, a vehicle or just about anything.


The Spy Who Turned Devotee

This incident happened in a foreign country in 1998 during Swami’s puja. The puja was attended, among others, by a couple of police officials of whom one was carrying a pocket-held tape recorder for recording Swami’s speech. Swami called him near and asked him to play the recorder when to his surprise he found out that nothing had been recorded on the tape. The amazed man was convinced that Swami was a divine person.

Admonition the Anjaneya Way

This happened to a devotee in Chromepet, near Madras in 1997. I was witness to the rejoining of this person and his wife after a small misunderstanding. Swami had asked him not to get angry with his wife thenceforth, which however, he violated thrice and three times Anjaneya appeared to him in an admonishing form. This reveals again that Sri Vikraman Swami in sookshma (subtle form) is in reality the divine spirit of Anjaneya.

ATM Service – Anjaneya’s Teller Machine Service

This happened to a close friend of mine who was planning to do a computer software course, which is quite expensive. While the puja was in progress on 26th February 1998, Swami called him and asked him to proceed with his plan. When he mentioned that he was yet to manage Rs.2 lakh for the course fee, He said that money has already been arranged. Within forty-eight hours, that is, on Saturday his friends offered to assist him in this regard. (As I was writing this account, my friend told me that the required amount had already been deposited in his account). No amount is big enough for the devotee of Anjaneya, the asaadhya saadhaka!

Music Lover

Anjaneya was taught music by none other than the great sage Narada and devotees consider Anjaneya as a great lover of music. Our Swami exhibits the same trait of Anjaneya. I have heard Him singing some songs several times to His heart’s content. On 5th evening during the Thursday puja He sang the Jai Ganesha song three times and Manasa Bhajarae song two times. He rehearsed the Pyarae Nandalaal song, Anajanisuth song and the Prema Muditha Manasae Kaho song when it was around midnight. This happens quite often even when He is physically exhausted. He gets fully involved with whichever song He renders. There are certain bhajans such as the Chinese song and the Kanulamundu Kadhalade song, which devotees would like to hear him sing.


The Missing Lines

It was probably too ambitious of me to attempt writing a bhajan on Anjaneya in the tune of the popular Jai Ganesha song. Nevertheless, I tried and completed the song except for a few lines. On 5th March when I told Swami about this He said that I would definitely get the remaining lines also within a week. On our return home that night I had landed one more line! Finally, I could complete the song on 12th March 1998 at around 4 p.m., a few hours before the Thursday bhajan at Royapuram, Madras. That day after singing a few bhajans, Swami asked me whether I had brought anything special with me. When I handed over the song to Him and He asked another devotee to render it. The song was rendered three times that night.

On Vegetarianism/Non Vegetarianism

On 14th March 1998, He advised a devotee to take the food that would not cause any harm or inconvenience to others. The food you take should not hurt others’ sentiments. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian food, one should not feel guilty after taking it.


An Aircraft Grounds but a Life Takes Off

On 21st March 1998 Swami told me that a visitor is likely to arrive whom I should bring to Him. On 26th morning itself my friend from Bombay arrived. An aircraft engineer by profession, he had flown down for repairing a grounded aircraft at Madras. When I told Him about Swami He expressed his desire to meet Him. We were readying to proceed for the puja and were talking about Swami when the telephone rang. To my surprise it was Swami himself on the line mentioning about the Internet. In the evening during the puja at the house of Mr. Krishna Theja, my friend had the fortune of getting a clear direction of what he should do in future. He gave ample evidence that He knew about him and his life completely. It was a new experience and a new take off for his life.

Laddu Comes Across

On 26th March 1998, while the bhajans were going on at the residence of Mr. Krishna Theja, I found that Swami was distributing laddu (a delicacy made of sugar, raisins etc offered to Lord Balaji) from Tirupati temple given to Him by a devotee. But I had no chance of getting a share because I was standing outside the house and I could not go in as all rooms were crowded. In about five minutes or so, a devotee came and handed over a piece of laddu sent by Swami specifically for me. It proves that genuine wishes get fulfilled transcending time and space. It is immaterial on which part of the globe you are stationed when you have realised the fact that God is omnipresent.



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