Face to Face With Lord Anjaneya

Part V

M Peetambaren, Chennai, India

Prayers Go Up, Blessings Pour Down

Just before the 12th Hanumanth Jayanthi, in December 1999 or so, Mr. Rajaguru and myself were in conversation with Swami at His home upstairs. It was a Thursday and devotees had gathered in the Puja Mandiram for the bhajan. However, Swami had to cancel His participation in the bhajan that day for personal reasons. Suddenly, He turned to Mr. Rajaguru and said: "A person working in armed forces has come to meet me. His wife and child have left home for some reason. Tell him that they will return soon and that he need not worry about them. They are safe. Another person, a lawyer by profession, is waiting downstairs. His child is missing. Tell him that he will find the child after some time. He need not worry at all."

When Mr. Rajaguru announced Swami’s message in the Puja Mandiram, the two persons, who had come for the first time, came forward and received the divine message with great relief. One of them broke down and wept like a child. No matter whether it is a first time visit or whether Swamiji is physically present, the blessings literally pour down for those who deserve them.

To Shores of Eternity

April 13, 1999. It was the birthday of a devotee. When we reached Mandiram Swami was sitting on a chair at the entrance itself. Seeing us, He said with His characteristic smile, "Now I know why I got delayed. I was supposed to go out in the afternoon. I could not go because you all were destined to meet me today." After darshan, He suggested a visit to the Besant Nagar Beach. We were ten persons in two cars. Once we reached the beach, Swami took over. He started cracking jokes to the accompaniment of peanuts.

We had reached the land’s end where the fathomless sea takes over. All mundane logic came to an end gathering silence against a surging sea. What stood between the sea and me was a man whose mission too was equally fathomless. Am I to deal with the roop thera masthana humming, happy go lucky person or the divine spirit that has scratched even the innermost recesses of my mind? When does the man takeover and when does the divine spirit take over? Or is he trying to hide his divine identity with a mask of jokes, peanuts, and songs? Does the vast expanse of the sea surging in fury symbolize the future ahead? By bringing us to this land’s end, is he assuring us that he will be with us further and farther? All my questions gathered nothing but silence in the stillness of that pleasant night. It was past midnight when we left the beach.

Hanumanth Jayanthi 2000

Came January and Nanganallur was once again transformed. It was Swami and Anjaneya everywhere. The 12th Hanumanth Jayanthi was celebrated with much enthusiasm and finesse with the blessings and grace of Lord Anjaneya. Almost every devotee who came could meet Swami and get blessed by Him. The live webcast was also carried out successfully. It was one of the most peaceful celebrations ever.

Year of the Vikrama

Swami used to say that Anjaneya would be the Brahma from the year 2000. During the New Year bhajans on the night of 31st December 1999, Swami declared that Anjaneya had taken over, and that the world was going to witness changes on all walks of life. It is no mere coincidence that the lunar year that commenced on 14th April 2000 when the moon entered Aries constellation, is termed Vikrama Varsham or Vikrama Year. A varsham is a solar year. A varsham starts roughly in the middle of April each year. The varsham 1998-99 was termed Bahudhaanya Varsham and the year 1999-2000 was termed Pramaadi Varsham. The Varshams repeat in a 60-year cycle. So the next Vikrama Varsham will occur in 2060-61 A.D. We are blessed to live through the Vikrama Varsham when Anjaneya has taken over the reins.

Hindsight Too

When the New Year bhajans were in progress, I was standing very close behind Swami helping Him by passing on calendars for distribution to devotees. His hands moved back and forth so swiftly picking the calendars and other materials precisely from our hands even without looking back! Later Swami revealed that He had a strange feeling for the first time.

Cassette Selection

The audiocassette of Swami’s Astoria Program was to be released during the Jayanthi celebrations. The cassette was recorded by a professional firm and the cassette cover was designed and printed at Puja Mandiram. The cover design had green letters on the side against a yellow backdrop. I made one more design with brown letters on green background, but I preferred the one with green letters on a yellow background. There was a difference of opinion on the design. I suggested that Swami be consulted. We gave three different designs to Him. He looked at them and showed one to me and said, "You liked this one, that is the best, go ahead." I was sure that Swami would choose that one, but devotees around were too baffled. Later when I prostrated, He asked me, "How was the cassette selection?" There was no way that I could have responded to His question.

Bullock Cart

During Hanumanth Jayanthi procession, the picture of Anjaneya is usually taken in procession on a bullock cart. In 2000, it so happened that we forgot to arrange the bullock cart. The picture of Anjaneya/Mecca/Jesus was carried on an open car, with Swami sitting in the car. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because had the picture been kept on the bullock cart, the procession would have been disturbed because some of the arches enroute would have blocked the picture.

Swami’s Compassion

On 9th January 2000, I received a message from Puja Mandiram that I should reach Mandiram immediately. A very bad news was awaiting us. The son of a devotee of Swami, a college student had died in a tragic road accident that morning. It was no mere coincidence that Swami had cancelled the usual puja on Saturday and Sunday. At around 7 p.m., the boy’s father arrived and we took him to the hospital where the body was kept in mortuary. Swamiji had already went to the mortuary and seen the body. Swami again came to the hospital with the boy’s father. It was only at the hospital that the worst news was conveyed to him. We returned to Mandiram to receive the boy’s mother who was to arrive from abroad. Swami gave her and her husband courage and consoled them. The family spent the night at Swami’s residence.

The next day Swami again went to the hospital and supervised the entire formalities such as post mortem, embalming the body, packing the body in the coffin, and accompanied the body to Chennai Central railway station from where it was to be taken to the native place. From morning to evening 6 p.m., Swamiji and His wife stood with the bereaved family and did everything for them like the head of the family. I don’t know of any spiritual leader or a monk or a mystic who would have visited a cemetery or attended a funeral. I am sure His presence would have consoled many a hapless spirits in the hospital that day. Strange and inscrutable are the ways of God.

A Treat in the Shadow of Monkeys

We had the fortune of a pilgrimage to the famous shrines of Lord Narasimha and Lord Anjaneya at Sholingur, led by Swamiji on 14th and 15th January 2000. The Yoga Anjaneya Temple has a rare idol of Anjaneya with four hands holding the Conch, Disc, and weapons. There are over 400 steps to this temple. Facing the temple is the Yoga Narasimhar Temple situated on another hill just opposite.

We were twenty persons. We stayed at a hotel on the foot of the holy hill. The next day morning we climbed the big hill and had darshan of Lord Narasimha. An amusing feature of this hill is that there are 1300 and odd steps. The entire route is inhabited by monkeys who will snatch away garlands and fruits. Pilgrims are advised to carry hiking poles to scare the enterprising cousins. But they move so swiftly that even before we come to know what had happened their mission would have been accomplished in style. I was intercepted mid-way by a smartie who took away one tulsi garland, bit on it, and threw it away. In few moments came another cousin, intercepted me, took the remaining garland, bit it, and threw it away. I imagined that it was well received by Anjaneya.

Meanwhile, Swami, who was in the hotel told another person that the person to climb up the steps would be the oldest devotee, a septuagenarian nine year old woman devotee. She climbed with ease and was the first one to reach while the young ones had to labour hard.

We returned to the hotel for breakfast and left for the Anjaneya shrine. We climbed the small hill led by Swami. Swami and others gave plantain to the monkey clan that had lined up along the route. I was wondering which of the crowd really belonged to the monkey clan. Were we not qualified to be monkeys with our ignorance, attachment and arrogance? Aren’t these innocent monkeys who were satisfied with a bunch of fruits better off than us. In any case what difference does it make when the divine monkey was around?

Sai Darshan

16th March 2000. Mr. Krishna Theja and myself were at Puja Mandiram. It happened to be Swami’s wedding day. We all went to the temple of Shirdi Sai Baba at Injambakkam on Chennai-Mahabalipuram road. It is a beautiful shrine with a marvelous hall. A dhuni is kept burning all the time. Swami and Mr. Krishna Theja sang a few bhajans that evening to the satisfaction of all Sai devotees there.

Tata Sumo

We attended the wedding ceremony of a devotee in Chennai in March 2000. We were all blessed to have Swami’s darshan that day. After the function, we were given a lift in His new Tata Sumo vehicle. Swami said that it was the maiden trip after puja on the vehicle a few hours earlier. It was indeed an honour from Swami.

Frozen Devotees

On 14th April 2000 Swami visited the residence of a devotee in Pallavaram, Chennai. We were around nine persons. Swami suggested taking food first as it was 1 p.m. After food, Swami, Shri Krishna Theja, and Shri Prempal sang bhajans. Then He started His divine outpourings. He spoke to everyone. He asked the devotee’s daughter whether any sweet was kept in the fridge. She checked the fridge and brought some sweet. Then He asked her to check again. This time she brought some more sweet. Swami asked for more, but she replied that nothing more was left in the fridge. Swami said that there was something more! It was then that they all realized that they had kept ice cream in the freezer. Swami said that the ice cream was the most important menu. The ice cream turned out to be the most delicious of all the items! Swami mentioned about it at the most appropriate time even though He was aware of it from the beginning.

The Pen

For every deed of His there will be a meaning. During a Thursday bhajan, one devotee presented two pens to Swami. Instantly, it occurred to me like a flash that I would get one. As the bhajan was in progress, I closed my eyes and went into meditation. A few moments later, Mr. Selvam woke me up and handed over one of the pens to me as directed by Swami. The very next day I got an offer to prepare a publication. Needless to say, Swami had foreseen the offer and the gift was a symbolic gesture to encourage me to accomplish the task.

Two Accidents in 12 Hours

When I told Him that I was going on leave during April/May 2000, He gave me some packets of vibhuthi, which He asked me to carry with me. On 19th May morning, I was proceeding in a Maruti car to the temple where the marriage was being conducted. The car was the last in the procession and we were only two persons in the car. On the way our car hit a bus as its driver applied sudden brake. The bonnet, one headlight, and the grill were extensively damaged. My head hit somewhere on the car leaving a scar on my left forehead, but I came to know of it hours later. We were safe. As we were at the end of the procession, no one knew about the accident. We made arrangements to take the car to the garage immediately. Had anyone known about the accident, it would have raised a commotion in the crowd attending the marriage.

It was 9.30 p.m., and we were on the way in another Maruti car to a petrol bunk when a speeding truck hit the rear view mirror smashing it into pieces some of which fell on the seats. One small piece just whizzed past my nose leaving a hairline scratch, which I came to know of only the next day. Then I realized why Swamiji had given the vibhuthi. I immediately applied kumkum on the dashboard praying that nothing more should happen.

Later I noticed that He had given me exactly two packets of vibhuthi, one each for an accident!

Hounds of Heaven

In Hindu mythology, every deity is associated with an animal as the carrier: mouse with Lord Ganesha, peacock with Lord Muruga, swan (hans) with Lord Brahma, Garuda with Lord Vishnu, Nandikeswar with Lord Siva, and dog with Lord Dattatreya. Lord Dattatreya is an incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Symbolically Lord Dattatreya is depicted with three heads, six hands, four dogs, standing in front of a cow and tree. In his hands He holds a drum (damaru), discus like weapon (chakra), conch shell (sankh), rosary (japa maala), water vessel (kamandala) and a trident (trisula). These symbols have esoteric meanings. The four dogs of Dattatreya are considered as the embodiments of the four Vedas. They are referred to as hounds of heaven and watchdogs of the ultimate Truth. It is believed that they assist the Lord in finding pure souls.

Laxmi is the name of the pet dog in Puja Mandiram, which Swami is very fond of. She is a gentle dog, which even prostrates before Swami. She produces sounds as if she wants to talk. Every morning, she would produce sounds looking upstairs as if she wants climb up. Once freed, she would sprint to Swami’s house, take tea and climb down! If she finds that Swami is approaching Puja Mandiram, she would sneak through the rear entry and lie down smartly as if she had never ventured out! Shirdi Sai Baba was very fond of dogs. Shirdi Sai Baba is believed to be the incarnation of Akkalkot Sri Samarth Maharaj also known as Akkalkot Swami. He is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. In August 2000, Laxmi gave birth to three offsprings, one male and two females; thus there are four in her family now. Is it a coincidence that Lord Dattatreya too is depicted with four dogs? Sri Hanuman is the family deity of Shirdi Baba’s family. One more clue to Swami’s link with Shirdi lineage.

The Restive Devotee

It is a common sight that some devotees become restive during bhajans when it gets late. It is only natural that they worry about their return, about their angry spouses or parents, about kids waiting for food, etc. One day a woman devotee got up during the middle of the bhajan as she wanted to go home. Swami asked her what was the reason for her hurry. She replied that she was worried about her children at home. Swami said, "You are not happy at home, but now your children are really happy at home. They are praying that you should reach late. You are also happy sitting here. Better sit here till the bhajans are over. You will reach home safe, your children also will be happy."

Dead Cat

A devotee of Swami is very fond of cats. One of the pet cats fell into a well and was drowned. She came for the bhajan on a Thursday still upset over the incident. She told Swami that the cat fell into the well and it would have died after great struggle, and that she could not save it. Swami replied, "How do you know that it struggled before dying. While falling its head was hit and lost consciousness. It did not struggle at all." The lord knows not matters of the man but that of every being in this world.

An Advance Notice

During a Thursday bhajan, Swami told me that a message would come from my brother and that I should convey the message to Swami. Within a couple of days my brother rang up to inform that a vacancy was available in his organisation for which he wanted to take Swami’s advice. When I met Swami the next week, He asked me, "What is the message from your brother?" When I conveyed the message, Swami said, "Ask him to proceed." He applied for the vacancy and got it too.

Real Estate Advice Turns Real

My brother had met Swami in December 1996. Swami had advised him not to sell his flat in New Delhi as planned by him then. He was transferred to Gujarat in 1997, to Bhubaneshwar in 1999, and to New Delhi in 2000. When Swami advised him not to sell the New Delhi apartments he had no inkling of the transfer to New Delhi.

Heavens Waited Once Again

The bhajans on 23rd June 2000 at the residence of Shri Sahu was memorable. The bhajan was arranged on the terrace as Swami had promised that it would not rain. The bhajans started at 9 p.m., and it turned out to be a magnificent puja. He spoke to every one and every devotee, including those who had come for the first time. It was past midnight when the puja ended. I heard a devotee telling his child, "Have you ever seen a bright red light at midnight? See that." I could see a copper red tinge in the horizon. Swami got up from the chair and the arati was done. He looked up at the sky and remarked; "Now it will come down and clean up everything." Raindrops, as if waiting for His permission, came pouring down. Swami looked at me, smiled and said, "See." Not many would have noticed His smile that night. Swami went downstairs for food and it rained cats and dogs that night drenching every carpet and shamiana. This is the third time that I have witnessed this miracle.

Divine Master in Search of Tuition Master

One Sunday in June 2000, we visited Puja Mandiram as it happened to be a friend’s birthday. As soon as we reached Puja Mandiram, Swami came down and gave darshan. Then He asked me to accompany Him in the van. I had no idea where He was going. The vehicle drew up near a house. As soon as Swami got down, the house owner and the family members came out running to receive Him. It turned out to be a magnificent puja that day. Incidentally, He was searching for a tuition master for His devotee’s son. A great Master and a blessed devotee.

Green Anjaneya

All colours are God’s creation, but association with holy names sanctifies some. Green symbolizes growth and is accorded a holy place in Islam. Green represented an oasis of hope and survival for the desert nomads.

A devotee presented a silk dhoti of green colour on 20th March 1999, His birthday. Swami usually wears dark maroon silk. On that day, however, Swami came dressed up in the green silk. The devotee had forgotten to bring a camera that day. However, another devotee felt like bringing his camera that day not knowing that it was badly needed by the other devotee. Thus the only time when he appeared in green silk was absorbed into the celluloid to the amusement of those present there. Incidentally, Swami used to say that green colour is associated with Goddess Lakshmi and prosperity. Lord Rama is said to have had a green complexion. In Tamilnadu, women folk mention Raamar Pachai, a green shade.

I wrote this anecdote on Saturday, 8th July 2000 unaware of the fact that Swami was in puja dressed in the very same green silk! It was the second time that He wore it. I came to know this the next day only. The next day, on 9th July, I visited Swami. He had cancelled the usual puja for personal reasons. However, He held a small puja at 9 p.m. dressed in green silk again. Incidentally, the person who had photographed swami in green last year was also present.

A Marine Miracle

Here is a chilling experience of a devotee working in a shipping company. He was on a voyage to Singapore. Suddenly, the fuel and provisions got depleted and the ship was stranded in the mid sea for days. The crew lost hope and had given up. Meanwhile his wife had contacted Swami and told Him that there was no communication from the shipping company or any crew. Swami told her that his life was in danger, but he would be saved. Later a ship passed by and rescued the crew. Till today it is not known who gave the SOS message. Even the rescue ship did not know who had given the message.

Fire Service

Some time in early 2000, a devotee lighted the gas stove in her kitchen. She was not aware of a leak and a thick ball of fire rose and her clothes caught fire. She ran to the prayer room, applied vibhuthi on her body returned to the kitchen, and then switched off the stove. She recovered from the burns very fast and no scars were left behind.

Vibhuthi Vs Poison

It was almost 11 p.m. and Swami retired to his room. A devotee came running crying and told Selvam that her son consumed poison in an attempt of suicide. Selvam was in two minds because Swami had already left Puja Mandiram and at the same time the case was serious. Selvam went near the door of His room and prayed. As soon as he came down, Swami also came down. Swami gave vibhuthi and assured the devotee that her son would be all right. The very next day, the son recovered.

Keep Your Umbrella

It is said that experts explain the truth differently. Ekam sat viprah bahudha vadhanthi. The sign of jnanis is that they don’t have to strain to explain their point of view. It is the empty vessel that makes the loudest noise. Swami narrates scriptural truths in His unique way. One Thursday night, after the bhajans, He spoke on faith and devotion for a while. This is the gist of what He said that night. "Having faith is like listening to the weatherman’s forecast. If you have confidence in the weatherman, you may carry an umbrella so that it would come handy in case it rained. If it rains, you may unfold the umbrella and hold it against the rain. But you might still get wet. However, you will be more comfortable than the person who did not carry the umbrella. The other person also reaches his destination, but more delayed, totally drenched, and frustrated. To have faith in a guru is like having the confidence in the weather forecast. Carrying the umbrella is the sign of that confidence. Similarly, devotion to God or your guru is a sign of your faith."

Prayer in the Rain

On 6th July 2000, the Thursday bhajan was held in a devotee’s house. The bhajan was arranged on the terrace. Swami arrived at 8.45 p.m. After Paada Puja, bhajans started at 9.15 p.m. or so. I was sitting somewhere in the back. Swami gestured me to move forward. I moved and sat in front of Swami. After a few bhajans Swami commenced His divine outpourings to the usual surprise and satisfaction of everyone. It was approaching midnight. A cold breeze gently whizzed past. I could feel a few droplets of rain. Curious and anxious eyes were turned towards the dark sky. Swami commenced bhajans again. Wind blew stronger spraying raindrops. The drizzle became thicker, but Swami was unmoved. Most of the devotees did not get up.

Swami said, "Rain is also necessary. But it will stop after some time." Swami continued His bhajans. After the waving of aarati, He stood up and began meeting devotees individually. Witnessing a nonchalant Master and His adamant devotees the rain god withdrew the spell blessing a city deprived of water. It was then that I understood why Swami had asked me to move forward. The place where I was sitting earlier had got completely drenched in the heavy drizzle. When Swami completed the session it was past 1 a.m. Saints are unaffected by the vagaries of nature, nor do they interfere in their operations.

Downstairs to Divine Presence

After a few bhajans on 6th July 2000, Swami mentioned a name. When none responded, He asked us to check downstairs where this person was found. He was soon summoned up. He presented himself before Swami unaware of what was going to happen. Here is a gist of what happened between them.

Swami: You don’t have faith in saints, you criticize them. Isn’t that true?

Devotee: Yes.

Swami: You are a good person. You do not trouble anyone. That is fine. If a person is able to attract lakhs of devotees, there must be some divinity in him. God is one and only one. The same God would appear in many forms and names. Whichever form is acceptable to you, you can worship that form. You should not criticize the person without proof. God will give you message through any one. It could be me or somebody else. You must have faith, for faith is most important. You may accept or reject that message. Anjaneya is looking for you.
The devotee could not contain himself any longer. He stood up and prostrated before Swami saying, "Sorry Swami."

Swami: What happened to your marriage?

Devotee: I am not married.

Swami: I know that. But what happened to the alliance that was nearly finalised?

Devotee: It is postponed.

Swami: Why?

Devotee: Because I am yet to settle down.

Swami: Who is Mani?

Devotee: I know one cook by that name.

Swami: Do you know Postal Colony?

Devotee: Mr. Mani is staying there only.

Swami: He is a good person. He wants to go abroad. You can tell him about me. I have some message for him.

The dialogue went on for half an hour. At the end of it, the person was totally transformed. He could not contain his shock, surprise, guilt and happiness. It has always been and still the same story with every person meeting Swami for the first time.

A Transfer in Few Minutes

A devotee who is an executive in a government department once prayed for transfer to Chennai as his family was in Chennai. It was a Saturday, and Swami told him that transfer would materialize very soon. The devotee was not convinced because a transfer was inconceivable then. The devotee reached his home and in a couple of hours he got a mail informing that he had been transferred back to Chennai. He came running to Puja Mandiram to inform Swami about it.

July 15th

July 15th 1999 happened to be the wedding day of a devotee. It was a Thursday and the bhajan was in progress. Swami asked the devotee about his wedding day. Then He turned to Selvam and asked, "Selvam, what about your marriage?" Little did he realize on 15th July 1999 that his marriage would fall on 15th July 2000!

A Caravan

Came July 15, 2000: The wedding day of Mr. Selvam. The bridegroom’s party consisted of 36 passengers led by Swami. We all proceeded in a bus to Kurinjipaadi, 30 kms from Cuddalore town. We set off at 6 a.m. Swami gave a free hand to the devotees to indulge in whatever way they could rejoice. The voyage started off with bhajans and ended up with film songs. Swami too rendered a couple of songs including His favourite Roop Thera Mastana and Chaudvin Ka Chaand…He cracked a few jokes too. But the best was His mimicry of a commentary on a local wrestling contest in Kerala. We reached the venue at 10.32 a.m. (exactly after Rahu Kaalam) and the marriage ceremony was over by 11.55 a.m. We returned to Puja Mandiram at 6.30 p.m. This was the first time that a marriage was performed with the total involvement of Swami and devotees. The trip to Kurinjipaadi and the wedding will linger on in our memory forever.

Old Spirit in Old Clothes

This incident happened a few years ago. A boy child of the milkman who stays near the Puja Mandiram had died of drowning a few years ago. Swami was staying in His residence on19th Street when the incident happened.

When the father of that child met Swami one day, He asked:

"What happened to your child?"

"It died."

"Where are its clothes?"

"We have preserved them."

"That child will be born again to you."

Later, a boy was born to the couple whom they named Ayyappan. Ayyappan was given the same clothes, which their son who died was wearing! Ayyappan is not an ordinary child. He is Swami’s neighbour. It is a rare sight to see him struggling to prostrate before Swami’s chair. He does that whenever he enters Puja Mandiram, irrespective of whether Swami is present or not.

Guru Purnima

The guru purnima celebration on 16th July 2000 was significant in many respects. It happened to the day of lunar eclipse. Devotees performed paada puja. Swami was in a different frame of mind altogether. For the first time, devotees shared some of their unforgettable and unexplainable experiences that have happened to them since their meeting Swami. The experiences related to miraculous cures, bilocation, incredible prophecies, and the like. For the first time, Swami answered questions on jivatma, paramatma, liberation, etc. He touched upon a variety of topics such as devotion, faith, superstitions, rebirth, karma, responsibility of media, the need to discharge one’s duties, and so on.

Of Cats Again

Swami had promised a devotee, almost an year ago, that He would visit her home. He used to remind her about His visit, but never gave a clue about the date of the visit. However, He had told her that there would be twenty devotees and that she need not prepare any food for them. Interestingly, He had told her that whoever visited that day would be served food! On August, I received message that Swamiji was at a nearby telephone booth and that He wanted to visit the devotee’s home. It was 6.30 p.m., we all went to the residence of Shri Krishna Rao from where we went to her home. True to His words, twenty-one devotees visited her home that night to meet Swami, and as the visit was unplanned she had to bring food from a nearby hotel.

While Swami was singing bhajans in the prayer room, a cat watched Him from a nearby window. Some devotees noted the scene but none gave any significance to the incident. During bhajan on the ensuing Thursday, Swami asked the devotee: "How many cats are there in your home now?"

Devotee: "Only one."

Swami: "What about the black cat?"

Devotee: "It comes from the nearby house. It was watching you when you came home."

Swami: "It did not see me, it saw some one else."

The dialogue ended there. The devotee returned home after the bhajan to find that the cat was dead.

The Temple Guide

I had booked a Guruthi puja at the famous Sree Rajeswari Temple, Chottanikkara in Ernakulam District in Kerala on 11th January 1997. I was waitlisted and my turn fell on 9th August 2000. When I informed Swami about the puja, He blessed me and told me that a person will show us the place at the temple. I was under the impression that someone would show us around the temple! The unique character of this renowned temple is that the Goddess is worshipped as Saraswati in the morning, Bhadrakali at noon and Durga in the evening. This temple has the reputation as a place of redemption from evil spirits.

We had darshan at the first temple (Melkaavu) where none turned up. Then we proceeded to the second temple (Keezhkaavu). I informed a priest there about the puja. He asked me to be present at the sannidhi at 8.30 p.m. I was still looking for the elusive ‘guide’ because Swami cannot go wrong! I was about to return to the first temple when a temple employee told me pointing to a place just outside the sanctum sanctorum," During the puja you may sit here."

We returned to the first temple for the seeveli, a ceremonial procession that marks the conclusion of the morning and evening puja (devotional rites). After the procession, we returned to the second temple at 8.30 p.m. for the Guruthi puja. When we reached the sannidhi, another temple employee pointed to a place near the sanctum sanctorum and asked us to be seated there. With Swami’s grace, it turned out to be a magnificent puja with heavenly vibrations reverberating throughout the temple.

Jai Sri Ram, Jai Bajrangbali, Jai Sri Vikraman Swami

M Peetambaren, Chennai

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