With my Pranams to my Guru, Shri Vikraman Swamiji.
All devotees have been asked to write about their experiences with Swami. To share with other devotees the many little and big miracles that have happened after Swamiji has touched their lives. It is said that the process of sharing our experiences, leads us all to a greater wisdom. There is an opportunity for learning from every event in life. Whether our own or another’s. And through this form of sharing, Swamiji wants to bring His devotees closer to God realization, to have a more meaningful understanding of the divine force and to reinforce our faith in God. There is a world of philosophy and teaching contained in Swami’s simple instruction.
Our experiences can teach us many things, both at the time they happen as well as later, when we reflect on the experiences in a different mood and light. Each experience is a story. When we listen to another person’s story, we become at that moment, a guest in someone else’s life, and together with them we sit at the feet of our teacher, our Guru, our Swami, and we learn something better, something more enriching.
Sharing experiences can be healing, because as we tell our story and listen to others’ stories, we realize we are not alone. That fact itself gives us an added understanding and deeper realization of how blessed we all are to be His devotees. We do not have to share only the miracles and the good experiences. Even the experiences of suffering – whether physical, emotional or spiritual- can have something positive within them.
We are all ordinary people, living ordinary lives. We carry with us stories of owning, losing, stories of success and achievement, stories of failure. We carry stories of courage, hope, pain and healing. Hidden within all these, lies THE ONE TRUE STORY, which is the story of what Swami has meant to each one of us, as we have faced different situations in our lives. The courage, the strength that He has given through His words. The support He has provided by becoming the anchor, so that we do not sink in the turbulent waters of our lives.
This is my third endeavor at sharing my thoughts, my experiences. The first two are experience nos. 28 and 70. Here, I share with all devotees, some pages from my diary. The events are very recent, and described as they have happened. Words are often inadequate to express the depth of a situation or emotion, but I have tried to write down my feelings, thoughts and even questions as honestly as they have come to my mind.
Pages from my Diary
One morning I was sitting with Swami along with few other devotees. He was attending to phone calls, blessing others who came to see Him. Suddenly Swami looked at me and asked "Saraswathi, what are you thinking". I meekly replied, that I was thinking of my parents and the fact that they had not even met Swami till then. Swami just said "I know". He gave me one packet of vibhuti and one packet of kumkum and said that they were for my parents and they could both share it. In the six years that I have known Swami, this was the first time, Swami ever gave me vibhuti and kumkum for my parents. I was so happy to receive this blessing from Swami for them.
A little while later, He said to the few of us sitting there, "Sometimes even if your parents and relatives do not believe in Swami, because of your bhakti,(devotion) Swami has to do something, Swami has to protect them. Swami will protect them in the form of whichever God they believe." I could only bow my head to the greatness of the divinity I saw in Swami at that moment.
Swami’s small and apparently casual sentence had a significance and relevance that could almost have passed by unnoticed. Except that over the years I have learned that every little word that comes from Swami’s mouth has a significance and relevance because it is the All Pervading Truth.
What I must mention here is that my parents are South Indian Brahmins, followers of the Sankaracharya of Sringeri. They have their faith in God, but never looked upon anyone as a Guru or Saint. They were never comfortable about our meeting with Swami and our increasing faith in Him. This used to make me very sad, especially when I saw other devotees come to Swami, bringing their parents and other family members. When I saw how happy they all were, I often wished that my family could be like that too, all of us happy with Swami.
I still pray that one day that will happen.
My husband, son and I went to India to attend the Hanuman Jayanthi celebrations in Swami’s Ashram in Chennai. We participated in the various aspects of the Jayanthi and enjoyed the time spent there immensely. This was the third Hanuman Jayanthi we were attending and we could see how every year, Swamiji adds something new to the celebrations. As always, it was a memorable occasion.
After attending the Jayanthi, we wanted to take my parents to Sringeri. For many years they had a wish to visit there and take Acharya’s blessings, but given their age and health status, they lacked the confidence to do the journey on their own. We did not know whether they would withstand the journey. Swami said we could proceed and we would have a smooth journey and good darshan. So with Swamiji’s blessings, we proceeded. Getting confirmed train reservations in holiday season, good weather, an excellent taxi with a friendly and careful driver were just some of the signals of Swami’s presence with us.
With my parents, we went to Sringeri, and Udipi, visiting many temples along the way. We did the Paada Puja to Sringeri Acharya and had very good darshan in all the temples. Whichever temple we went, we also had a very good darshan of Aanjaneya. My parents were very happy. We were glad that with Swamiji’s blessings, it became possible for us to do this service for my parents.
During that Sringeri trip, I gave my mother the vibhuti and kumkum packets that Swami had given to me. I asked her to accept it for the simple reason that Swami had instructed me to give them to my parents and I must do His bidding.
The significance of these two diary entries and dates is that they were a prediction of what was to come a few months later.
Thursday May 10th 2001
This morning I had a beautiful telephone conversation with Swami. He had been in Kerala for some weeks and had returned to Madras, leaving his wife and daughter in Kerala. I was hesitant to call at first, I had no particular problem or good news to convey to him. It was just the irrepressible urge to hear his sweet voice, which is a blessing in itself, because it radiates happiness.
Someone answered the phone and I just said ‘Hello’…and was going to identify myself, when Swami picked up the second line and said "Hello Saraswathi…How are you?" That sentence and those words are the tonic to boost the system. Swami spoke of his return to Madras, of other devotees who had called him with good news and local Madras devotees who were eager to see him.
Swami spoke lovingly of Blacky and Brownie, his puppies who were desolate when Swami and Indiramma were away and not taking food. Now that Swami was back, the puppies were happy and lively and had eaten well. Swami described how Indiramma’s heart was in Madras with the ‘children’ (puppies) she left behind there.
Swami spoke of his vacation in Kerala, of the weather there after the rains. Swami said he had been to see his parents. I asked him how they were.
And then I heard Swami speak lovingly of his parents. He told me that His father was very advanced in age and a few months prior, had a memory loss. It seems the first day when Swami went to see him, His father did not recognize him and asked who he was. Another person who was there said that this is Vikraman your son. Swami then described to me how every day he would go to his parents house which was some distance away from where Swami was staying. He applied vibhuti for three days continuously on his father’s forehead, and was contemplating taking him to a nursing home, when things started getting better. His father started eating properly and regaining recognition of Swami, Indiramma and Archana. In the two weeks that Swami was there, this is the care and attention that Swami gave his father. Now he was much better, recognizing Archana and very happy to play with his granddaughter. Like a child he was excitedly happy and saying he wanted to travel to Madras to be with his son. Swami said that He would bring his father to Madras, once he got little more energy back. Swami described to me how hot the summer was and that each day He would stand outside and look up at the sky and pray for rains, so that the weather will become cooler and His father would feel better. After a few days, the rains had started and the days were cool and pleasant.
How can I describe, the feelings I had at that moment? Could I sense completely the love and care of a son to his father? Was I filled with awe at the humility with which Swami was describing to me the pleasure with which He served His father? Was I feeling slightly ashamed of myself for selfishly wanting Swami to come to Dubai…after knowing now the reason he chose to stay in Kerala? Did I learn a lesson in duty to one's’ parents, that even a divine soul like Swami performs because he is in the human avatar? Was I overwhelmed by Indiramma’s choice to forego her foreign holiday and be with and care for her family members in Kerala?
Or were all these feelings just the surface of an underlying greater feeling of love for Swami and trust and faith in the personna that HE is. Or were these feelings a reflection of the overriding sheer happiness at receiving the blessings of such a divine soul.
Friday May 11th 2001
This morning, at 6.40 am I received a telephone call saying that my father (aged 79) was admitted to hospital in Hyderabad, India, and they were suspecting a sort of paralytic stroke and tests were being done. Later, we got a call from Hyderabad saying emergency surgery was being done for my father as there was bleeding in the head. We did not understand what was happening.
We made reservations for three of us to leave on the Indian Airlines flight from Sharjah to Hyderabad that night. Then we called Swami in Madras. My husband spoke to Him first and explained what we knew of my father’s situation. Swami said some problem was there and that He would pray for him. When I took the phone, I was crying and Swami said to me "Saraswathi, why are you crying? Remember, yesterday I was speaking to you of My father, some reason is there, otherwise Swami never speaks like that. Don’t worry, your father will be safe." Swami also said to us that there was no need for all of us to travel, just I could proceed, see my father and come back. Swami told me that He was coming with me and would be ‘right behind me’ while I was in Hyderabad. Encouraged by His words, I packed a few things and left for the airport. My return ticket was booked for the following Friday 18th, back to Dubai.
Saturday May 12th
Arrived in Hyderabad and was received at the airport by my elder sister who told me that the surgery was done, my father was out of ICU and in a private room. We went straight to the hospital. My father’s head was bandaged, but he was awake and talking. My mother was looking exhausted. The neuro surgeon came and explained what had happened and how the surgery was done and that for the next three days the head should not be moved.
I thought of Swami and remembered how He always tells us to write ‘Shree Ramajayam" 108 times for 41 days and then give the mala in any Hanuman temple. I thought I would write 41 pages in the few days I was there and give it in the Ram Mandir near my parent’s house before leaving, as a prayer for my father’s recovery.
That night I had a beautiful dream of Lord Aanjaneya coming into my father’s house as a small green monkey and walking around looking into the cupboards and shelves. I kept saying that Swami has come, while others said ‘shoo the monkey out’ but my mother was saying that that is not a monkey, that is Aanjaneya and He has come because Saraswathi is here. Then the monkey firmly shut the door and in Swami’s voice said that He has come to stay and will not leave the house.
Sunday May 13th – Wednesday May 16th
Each night I dreamt of Swami again. I have never had such consecutive or vivid dreams of Swami, but in these five days I had beautiful dreams. My family members were also with Swami in the dreams. Through these dreams Swami showed me that He was there with me, giving me courage and strength. My father was discharged from hospital on Wednesday and we brought him home. There was severe power failure in our locality and without electricity, it was very hot. I remembered what Swami had said to me during the telephone conversation about His father. So I stood outside my father’s house and prayed for rain, to cool the place.
Thursday May 17th
I finished writing 41 pages of ‘Shree Ramajayam’ and went to give it in the Ram Mandir. As I was praying in front of the Aanjaneya idol, I started trembling. I thought it was relief after the stress. (Little did I realize that I was being infused with extra energy for the days to come) On the way back home, it started raining.
Friday May 18th
My mother woke me up at 1.30 am saying my father was mumbling incoherently and could not sleep. I sat with him. He started talking disjointed sentences, about his childhood, relatives who were deceased and sometimes he was rambling incoherently. Suddenly he looked straight at me and said he has written everything in his will and I should see to it that his written instructions were carried out. The time was almost 4.00 am and I knew something was very wrong, so I called the doctor. The doctor advised a tablet for sleeping. But it had no effect. His body became limp and he was not responding to any of us. He even stopped sipping water. Everyone was crying and I shall never forget the feeling in the room. But in my mind there was only one thought, ‘Swami said he would be safe’. I had Swami’s vibhuti and kumkum and I applied it on my father’s forehead. I called the surgeon again and he said he was on his way to the hospital would come to the house and see my father.
I know of physicians and family doctors paying home visits. How come the neuro-surgeon, of his own accord, said he would stop by?
When he saw my father’s condition he said we immediately have to him back to hospital. The surgeon called the hospital and made all the arrangements himself. When the ambulance came, I sat with my father, singing Swami’s bhajans all the way to the hospital. I remember the look on the driver’s and attendant’s faces….they were probably used to seeing people crying or praying in the ambulance with their loved ones……but singing..?? This was probably the first time they were witnessing anyone singing bhajans during an ambulance ride to the hospital.
At the hospital, the surgeon called me into the CT Scan room and showed me the pictures and explained the problem and that yet another emergency surgery had to be done right away. I was chanting Hanuman Chalisa and suddenly the surgeon said that if I had some medical background, he could take permission to allow me to stand in the operation theatre next to my father during the surgery.
How did the surgeon know or sense that I had worked in hospitals before and I could withstand the sight of an operation? How did he know that I did not want to leave my father’s side?
I was standing next to my father throughout the surgery. Without flinching.
Alternating between reciting ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ and chanting Swami’s name 108 times. After the operation, the surgeon said to me that he could only say that the surgery was alright. But there was no way of predicting how the brain would respond. Anything from a coma to a memory loss to a loss of motor function in the body was possible. Even a complete normalcy was possible. In an almost apologetic tone, he said to me that he is only a surgeon, he was not God, so he could also only hope, wait and see.
In my heart I thought ‘I have prayed to Swami. With His blessings, we would see the normalcy returning’.
Tuesday May 29th
My father was discharged from hospital today. The surgeon was so happy with his recovery and progress. We had to return after two weeks for a complete check up.
May 30th –June 17th
This period I remained in Hyderabad, while my mother and father recuperated from this recent turmoil. Swami was in Dubai and I was torn between wanting to return to Dubai and be with Swami, and needing to stay with my parents.
Friday, June 8th
I received two calls out of the blue from my husband who was in Dubai with Swami. One in the afternoon just as Swami was leaving for the temple bhajans. Swami spoke to me and said the follow up scan scheduled for June 12th would be normal for my father. My father’s birthday was on June 16th, and Swami said I could remain in Hyderabad till then and return to Dubai on 17th.
The second call my husband made from another devotee’s house where Swami was having puja after the temple bhajans. When I picked up the phone, my husband just said "Listen". I could hear everybody singing the bhajan "Thaaraka Ramudu" which is a personal favourite. I could hear my husband tell Swami that Saraswathi was on the line listening…..and Swami came on the line and sang the full bhajan for me. I was ecstatic and speechless….just listening. Then Swami sang "Ananda Saagara" the full bhajan, rendering me more speechless and brimming with joy and happiness.
Even though I was far away in Hyderabad, Swami knew the longing in my heart to be with Him in Dubai and fulfilled my wish, through a mobile telephone. .
Sunday June 17th
My flight landed at Dubai at 11:15pm. I had asked my husband to find out if there was any puja anywhere, because I wanted to go straight to Swami from the airport. And all the while in the flight I was praying "Please let me come to You, Swami… please let there be a puja somewhere….please make it possible for me to have your darshan…as soon as I land in Dubai."
My wish, my prayer was granted! Sundar greeted me at the airport with the news that Swami was in Mr. Shankar’s house in Karama and we could go there. I had brought a cashew sweet for Swami which is a speciality of Hyderabad. When we parked the car, I wanted to open the suitcase and take the box of sweet upstairs, but my husband said to leave it, we could take it for Swami the next day.
As we entered the house, Swami was talking to someone, but looked at us and gave a big smile. I went to do Pranam at His feet. Couldn’t speak as I was overcome with too many emotions, too many feelings.
But only one thought. ‘Swami…this is where I always want to be…At Your Feet. Thank you for granting me this. And make me worthy of receiving this blessing from you always, in future.’
Other devotees present there said that Swami had been giving a running commentary on my arrival, the landing of my flight, my walking out of immigration etc!
Swami asked me for the special sweet I brought for Him.
When I said it was in the suitcase, He said no problem, I could bring it for Him the next day.
So the next day we attended Swami’s puja in Sharjah. And took the sweet. At this puja Swami asked me to speak about the recent experience with my father. I started the story, but was choked with emotion and couldn’t continue. In my mind, I resolved to write it out as soon as possible.
Consecutively, for five days in a row, Swami blessed me with the opportunity to be with Him. Five days of being in His physical presence here in Dubai. Five days of His darshan in my dreams in Hyderabad.
But still, I want more.
In Hyderabad, my father is well again and is walking, talking, eating and caring for his plants in the garden. One cannot make out that he has been through two head surgeries one week apart at the age of 79. The rains came again and again and really made the atmosphere cool and pleasant. And now, my father wants to come to Dubai along with my mother and stay with us for some time. We are hoping to bring them here as soon as possible.
The truth is that all these little things were spoken about by Swami during His telephone conversation with me on May 11th when He was talking about His father. The memory, the recognition, the prayer for rain and the desire to travel.
Was it Swami’s casual sentence uttered in November 2000 that protected my father…..? Was it the vibhuti and kumkum He gave for my parents that protected my father……Was it the darshan of their Guru i.e. Sringeri Acharya, in December 2000 that protected my father? Was it my constant prayers to Swami to protect my parents, even though they did not believe in Him, that protected my father….?
Or were all these miracles just part of one of the many dramas of Life, that take place so that all the spectators can sense the Oneness and Greatness of the single Cosmic force that manifests in different forms and names. A drama to bring home the one single Truth to all of us that belief and involvement in one’s faith in God, whichever form, is most important. One of the many things that Swami says is:
If 100 percent faith and devotion are there, then God will surely answer our prayers.
Wednesday, July 4th, Dubai
Swamiji came to our house to light the lamp. At 11.15pm
In the evening we were at the hall, the venue for the big Guru Poornima Puja being organised for the next day, along with other devotees, helping in the arrangements and practice Afterwards we went to have dinner at a restaurant. As we were about to eat, we received a call on the mobile from another devotee asking us to call Mr. Pravin Dua’s mobile. When we called Pravin, he said that if we were at home in the next 10 minutes, then they would bring Swami to our house. Sundar asked to speak with Swami and asked Swami to please come and that we were eagerly waiting for Him.
Swami said to him that He would "just step in, have water and leave".
We said Ok.
We stopped eating, rushed home and woke up Sundar’s parents who were fast asleep. We quickly arranged the diya for Swami to light the lamp, even though He said He would just step in and leave.
Our good friends, Mohan and Daya rang our doorbell and entered, saying that Swami had asked them to come to our house. At that moment, in my heart I was so glad, because Swami had fulfilled this unspoken wish of mine, to have them with us whenever Swami came to our house.
Swami arrived, along with Pravin Dua and family. When He went into the puja room, to light the lamp, we said we wanted to do Paada puja. He spread His hands in the air and said "No Paada puja or anything now, I have to leave in two minutes. Just I will light the lamp and go".
We said Ok.
Swami then looked at the chair and the flowers, and promptly sat down in the chair and we performed what is probably the fastest Paada puja done by anyone till now! We poured exactly few drops of water on His feet, dried them, applied kumkum and put flowers. Our Paada puja was completed in less than two minutes!
Swami then lit the lamp and prayed, as He always does. Then He stood in complete silence for few minutes (more than two minutes) and in my heart I was praying that Swami please sing one bhajan, any bhajan, even four lines will do. Swami then turned around and smiled at all of us and said He will sing one bhajan. He sang "Aananda Saagara" with full zest and energy. We all joined in.
When He finished, I requested that I be allowed to sing "Guru Mathra Pithra, at least four lines, as He had come to our house on the eve of Guru Poornima. Swami said "No, not now, next time I come we will have a puja here and I will sing lot of bhajans. This time I have come only for two minutes"
We said Ok.
Swami turned back to the photos and waited for a minute before turning to me smiling and said, "You really want to sing? Ok go ahead."
So we all sang Guru Mathra Pitha….the complete song.
Swami immediately continued with "Aanjaneya Sanjeeva Raaya……so we all enthusiastically joined in.
And finally, without a moments hesitation, Swami sang Rama Paada Sevaka……He knows that bhajan is one of my personal favourites.
Swami distributed prasad and spoke to everyone. Just two sentences each maybe, but enough to make each heart happy. My husband’s parents were very happy to receive Swami’s blessings.
I had bought five silver coins, different sizes, with the intention of buying more, in case there was a big puja in our house, so that Swami could distribute them to everyone. When the puja did not happen, I kept them away for next time. I remembered the five coins, and rushed to get them. Swami disributed them, too.
We then asked Swami to sit in the chair in our puja room and we gave Him our Guru Dakshina. Swami said the envelope was "just like dollars" and was the first Guru Dakshina He was receiving for this Guru Poornima.
I gave Swami a printout of another devotees experiences which I had written. Swami blessed it and said we could send it to the website and then asked me to read certain lines from it.
And finally, Swami looked at all of us and asked His standard question. "Are you Happy?" Who wouldn’t have been?
And then Swami left. In my kitchen clock the time was midnight.
However, after the Guru Poornima puja on Thursday night in Dubai, as I was recounting this experience to another devotee, Sunita Dua said that when they took Swami back from our house and entered their house, the time in their watches was exactly midnight! She said that Swami had left our house before 12.00.
Later, as I reflected about this experience, I wondered whether the hour or the day really mattered? When we believe the REALITY to be that Swami is with each and every one of us, in our hearts, all the time, 24 hours a day, everyday. Yes, I believe that is the reality. And whenever our Guru enters our homes, the homes of devotees anywhere in the world, at whatever time, that day is bright and powerful and vibrant. Swami makes each day in His presence, equivalent to the Guru Poornima Day.
I had been sad that Swami did not have a puja in our house. I had been wondering why Swami did not come to even light the lamp. I never imagined that Swami would grace and bless our home in the manner and the timing with which He did. Swami fulfilled every little wish I had in my heart, He allowed us to wash His feet and do a mini ‘Paada Puja’, He lit the lamp, He prayed for us, He sang bhajans, He spoke to everyone He distributed prasad and He distributed the silver coins I had bought. He accepted our humble guru dakshina, and made us feel it was worth much more to Him, than what it really was. He conducted all the elements contained in a big or grand puja.
All in His timing of "two minutes"!
Swami left Dubai for India. During this visit to Dubai He left devotees with many messages. The three that have struck a significant chain of thought process within my mind are these…
"Life is a big drama…we all have to act…..sometimes even Swami has to act…."
This was said by Swami one day, during a casual gathering of selected devotees at Pravin’s house for discussing arrangements for the Guru Poornima puja. My eyes were fixed on Swami’s face when suddenly Swami made the above statement, caught my eye and gave a tiny, almost imperceptible wink! Maybe it was a signal to me because there are many aspects in my life where I need to apply this statement to my own actions and reactions.
"The most essential thing for everyone in the present world is that WE MUST REALIZE GOD. Only when we achieve that realization, can we improve ourselves and never do any wrong or harm to others."
This was said by Swami as a general sentence to all devotees present during the Guru Poornima puja.
"GOD is ONE, but appears in many different forms with different names. When we realize this truth, then there can be no difference between religions. People of different faiths should unite for the sake of peace."
If we all reflect on these three sentences and apply it to different situations in our individual, personal lives, can we not together improve the world around us? And work towards the concept of ‘Unity of Universe’?
The concept that Swami has made an integral part of His Mission.
I recently saw a recorded video of a Puja, a gathering of devotees with Swamiji at Safa Park, Dubai.
Devotees were sharing their experiences against a backdrop of setting sun and breeze. Swami had asked me to speak and I started with the sentence, "Swami, YOU are the Miracle in my life, what else can I say?"…..
Yes, it is my belief that having Swamiji as my Guru, is the greatest miracle in my life.
Jai Shree Ram!
Mrs. Saraswathi Rajan
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