After Swamiji returned to Hatakeswaram from Pochampaadu, as the number of devotees in Srisailam Dam Project Colony grew manifold, they requested Swamiji to reside in the Project Colony. In that way, after 1973, Swamiji started staying in Chandipeta (now referred to as Sunnipenta). The devotees appealed to Swamiji many times that they would build an ashram for Him in Sunnipeta. However, while making sure to not hurt their feelings, Swamiji gently declined the offer.
With the divine grace of Sri Rakhadi Baba, His paadukas were found in Kalavai in 1969. Swamiji instructed His devotee BRK garu to keep Baba’s paadukas in his house. To have the darshan of Baba’s paadukas, many devotees would frequently visit BRK garu’s house. Upon having Baba’s paaduka darshan, not only did every devotee have a wonderful experience, but they also found solutions to all their problems. After Swamiji started residing in Sunnipenta, BRK garu approached Swamiji one day and said, “Swamiji, every person having Gurupaaduka darshan is deriving a beautiful experience. It might be a good idea to build an ashram for Gurupaadukas. It would also be convenient for the devotees to visit the ashram for Baba’s darshan”.
Swamiji replied, “Oh, you have now found a new reason for building an ashram? If it is being such a burden to you, put the paadukaas on that rock”, and pointed to a rock nearby. BRK garu was taken aback on hearing those words and said, “Swamiji! How can we place Gurupaadukas on a rock? We would need a pedestal, right?”. To that, Swamiji responded, “The whole world is a pedestal to my Guru”.
BRK garu further asked, “Swamiji, we would also need oil and other items to light the lamp, right?”. Swamiji said, “Aren’t the sun and moon there? They are the irrepressible lamps that will always keep shining next to my Guru. The contentment obtained by every hungry soul in this world is the real naivedyam to my Guru”. Swamiji laid down some conditions for the establishment of the ashram. He instructed that money would not be collected in the name of the ashram. Without any grandeur, the ashram shall remain only as a Gurupaaduka Kshetram and seeking spirituality would be its sole purpose.
On many occasions Swamiji had said,
“My Guru is the Creator. He only knows to Give, but not to Receive. In the place that solely runs on Guru’s blessings, He is the only ruler. Accumulating money in such a pious place would be abstaining from His grace. Without the Divine Mother’s will, nobody can come here. Offer food only if the Goddess Annapurna showers Her blessings”.
In that way, the ashram that was built with Swamiji’s blessings, kept transforming as time progressed. While forming the Ashram Committee for the first time, Swamiji had appointed Rami Reddy garu as the Chairman and GNR (G Narsimha Rao) garu as the Secretary. On multiple occasions, Swamiji had reinstated that the ashram runs purely on Gurupaaduka’s grace and the establishment of the committee was only customary.
During the same time, Gangadhar garu, who was a renowned artist then, came to have Swamiji’s darshan and requested Swamiji to permit him to make a painting of Sri Rakhadi Baba. After receiving Swamiji’s acceptance, Gangadhar garu took reference from an old photo and beautifully painted Sri Rakhadi Baba’s picture on a canvas made from camel’s skin. However, he was unable to paint Baba’s eyes and appealed the same to Swamiji. Then, Swamiji Himself painted Baba’s eyes in that picture. Along with Baba’s paadukas and Bhuvaneswari Amma’s yantram, this painting of Sri Rakhadi Baba also was instated in the ashram.
On one occasion, Swamiji was talking about the eminence of Baba’s paadukas and said, “Baba Himself is residing in the paadukas”. Amongst the many glorious incidents that devotees experienced in the Baba Hall, one of them happened after 1990. With the blessings of Swamiji, a female devotee once had the opportunity to stay and render her services in the ashram. She spent her time in Swamiji’s proximity and in doing the Sapthasati parayana. On one of those days, she left her Sapthasati book in the Baba Hall and went to bring it back in the nighttime. As she opened the Baba Hall doors, she witnessed the hall as a magnificent, heavenly abode and saw thousands of saints, deep in meditation.
Astounded by this sight, she immediately ran back towards her room. This is only an example that proves that all beings from different worlds yearn for the pure, boundless Guru Krupa!
|| Namo Namah Sri Gurupaadukaabhyam ||