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|| Sri Brahmananda Gurave Namaha || - 3

While pursuing studies at the Sanskrit School in Tiruchendur, Sri Subramanya Sastry had become close friends with a boy called Hari Haran who came from Kalladaikuruchi. His father was a great Guru named Neelakantha Dikshitar. Hari Haran used to compel Subramanyam to come with him to his house and have the darshan of his father. On one particular occasion they were received with great affection by Neelakantha Dikshitar who bade them stay three days. He was very much impressed by the manners and behaviour of Sri Subramanya Sastry and by his roopa; he predicted:

“You are the choicest child of the Mother. The time will come for you to be initiated into Sri Vidya. I will then call you".

He also said, "Please look after my son and adore him as a brother and as a friend and as a father too”.

The time came for Subramanya Sastry to embark on the next stage of his studies lasting for four years, and for this he was enrolled in the Mylapore Sanskrit College in Madras. First came two years of the Mimamsa Siromani systems of philosophy and all the whys and wherefores of ritual; these studies are usually clubbed together with Vedanta. This was followed by two years of Uttaramimamsa after which he was qualified to be called Subramanya Shastri. Hari Haran, his friend, had also passed his exams, though in a different branch, and so was Hari Haran Sastry. Subramanya Shastri was now seventeen or eighteen years old and was living in Madras in the family of his uncle, Hari Haram Iyer.

Bharati Swamy finished giving his orders and took his bath, had coffee and tiffin and set off for the Mylapore Sanskrit College where he went straight to the Principal. The Principal, on seeing his Tejas, prostrated before him and welcomed him. Bharati Swamy asked the Principal to take him to the boys’ classroom rather than asking that they be brought to him. It was a holiday and the boys were at leisure so they were all sitting round, freely discussing their own subjects. It was an astonishment to them to see Bharati Swamy come in with their Principal and sit down in their room. Each student was able to see that someone great was before them. Quite dumbfounded, their devotion increased beyond measure, they stood before him with folded hands and prostrated to him.

“I have come to select my son-in-law”, Bharati Swamy told them without more ado. The amazed Principal was looking round, searching with his eyes for the lucky boy. Bharati Swamy pointed out Subramanya Shastri, “He is my son and my son-in-law. It will be six months before his father returns to India. He will conduct his son’s marriage. When the boy is nineteen his father will leave his mortal coil”. So saying, he placed the palm of his hand over the mouth of a large vessel full of water and the water changed into pieces of Mysore pak. He distributed these sweets to all the students and told Subramanya Shastri,

“I’ll be waiting for you in the house, either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. After taking permission from the Principal you can come home”.

Subramanya Shastri (Nannagaru)

His message delivered, Bharati Swamy at once left the college. Two days later the son-in-law elect came home to his uncle’s house and again had the darshan of Bharati Swamy who said,

“Do you want to see the girl immediately? Have I to bring her here? As predicted by me will you marry my daughter?”

Subramanyam said, “When it is approved thus it has to happen. Why should I desire otherwise? I am here simply to obey and to have your full blessings”.

Bharati Swamy gave him vibhuti and straightaway left Madras. Exactly six months later, Patchumani Iyer returned from Ippoh; he had fallen ill there with smallpox and lost one of his eyes. He came to Madras and met his younger brother, Hari Haran, who surprised him with the whole story of Bharati Swamy’s irruption into their lives and how he had picked Subramanya Shastri to marry his daughter. The two brothers discussed the plans in great detail: where and when they would go to meet the Jnani, taking how many of their relatives. The discussion spread till all the family members in Pitchumani’s native village were involved; from there he wrote to all the relatives in other places too.

The recently qualified Subramanya Shastri, having finished his studies, travelled to Kalladaikuruchi to see Sri Neelakantha Dikshitar. This was the occasion of his initiation. Rituals were performed lasting seven days to render the boy competent to receive Poorna Abhishekam. The last day fell on Kartika Poornami when the Abhishekam was performed. Subramanyam was then initiated into Sri Vidya by Sri Neelakantha Dikshitar who had prophesied and promised this. At the very moment when the Guru was giving Abhishekam to his Sishya, sixty or more pandits came into the house; their arrival was quite unexpected even though they were all known to Neelakantha Dikshitar. It happened that they had all been performing Homam at a temple at Tirunelvelli. Now, in chorus, they chanted the Vedic hymns suitable to the occasion. Even Neelakantha Dikshitar himself was weeping in ecstasy. In this way, with all ceremony and auspiciousness, the boy had his bath and was initiated. Starting on the very next day Subramanya Shastri performed Sadhana according to the guidelines of his Guru, completing a Mandala of forty-eight days. He then left for Madurai.

A year of busy planning had passed since Bharati Swamy had appeared in Madras. All the arrangements for the marriage had been decided upon and the whole family gathered at Rajapalayam where most of the relatives lived. From there, a party of about twenty people set out for Madurai to see the girl and to discuss the preparations with Bharati Swamy. After seeing Bharati Swamy and having his darshan none of them could say anything at all, let alone bargain and negotiate. So much for all their elaborate plans! They could only ask Bharati Swamy to give his orders as to how, when and where the wedding should be conducted. It was decided that it should take place at Rajapalayam; the Peetham of Brahmananda Swamigal undertook all the expenses. Even though Bharati Swamy had left the Peetham after one year, he still often went there to give lectures on Vedanta.

It was 1925 and the boy was nineteen, as Bharati Swamy had foretold, when he saw the girl for the first time at the wedding. She was seven years younger than he, being but twelve years old. In those days, according to Vedic tradition, wedding celebrations went on for five days. It was a grand and lavish wedding. Not only the Peetham, but disciples and devotees in the Math and all over Madurai had offered money to pay for it. They came in a big crowd and attended the rites and festivities. They had purchased a house in Madurai and offered it to Bharati Swamy who now made it over to his daughter’s husband.

Subramanya Sastry was employed, when a couple of years had passed, by the Oriental Sanskrit College, run by the Meenakshi Ammal Devsthanam and situated on he banks of the Vaigai river. The following year, his wife Parvathavardhini gave birth to their first child. During the pregnancy, his mother, Meenakshi Ammal, demanded that her husband give them information about the impending event.

“You are a Trikalajnani, so you tell us which day the child will be born, at what time and whether it will be a boy or a girl”. In her anxiety she pressed for more and more details. Bharati Swamy answered in his own style, saying, “Male child. My grandson. A natural birth without complications”. He went on to give the date and predicted that the child would be born before ten in the morning. He said, “I will come to the Mission hospital before two pm. Brahmananda Gurave Namah”. Everything happened as he predicted: a son was born amidst great happiness.

Meenakshi Ammal delightedly plunged into intense activity, running here and there making preparations for the celebration on the tenth or eleventh day when the mother and child would come home from the hospital. Silver cups and feeding cups had to be purchased for the child as well as gold ornaments; cleaning had to be done and cow dung water spread in front of the house. Meenakshi Ammal was hurrying from one job to the next when Bharati Swamy appeared before her and said, “Why are you making all this pomp and ceremony over such things? The child is going to pass away when he is two months and eleven days into his ninth year”.

Deprived of all joy in her grandson Meeakshi Ammal vented her feelings, saying, “Predicting the unfortunate demise of your grandson in the most ordinary way must be the highest state you achieved as a Trikaalagnani!” Bharati Swamy laughed and waked away. His predictions continued as to the date, time and place of birth of each of his grandchildren as well as the gender of the child. According to his predictions, between 1930 and 1939, three more children were born: a daughter and a son, both of whom passed away in the third year of life, and then another son named Shankarnarayan. When the first-born died in his ninth year as predicted, Subramanya Shastri was very much upset. He went to consult his Guru, Neelakantha Dikshitar, to find out whether there was a spiritual or medical reason for all these deaths. Sri Neelakantha Dikshitar came to Madurai in person and performed Homa to ensure that a child would be born and would survive. The Homa he performed is called Putrakameshthi Yaaga or Kameshwari Kameswara Homa, in which Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari is invoked as Kameshwari and Lord Siva as Kameshwara; the name of the child will therefore be Kameshwari if a girl and Kameshwara if a boy.

When Parvathavardhini became pregnant, Bharati Swamy made his prediction.

“A son will be born to you on 5th star (Mrigasira) and 5th Thithi (Pancami) as a fifth child and he will escape everything. The fourth son born in the 5th star (Rohini) will also survive.

On 1st November 1939 a son was born and named Kameshwaran.

|| Brahmananda Gurave Namaha ||


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