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|| Yatho Vacho Nivarthanthe || - 13

Foreword by the author - B Radha Krishna Murthy (BRK) With the blessings of Sri Rakhadi Baba and Sri Poornananda Swamy, we left to Thiruvannamalai from Kalavai along with Baba’s paadukaas. Raju garu joined us in Kalavai shortly after we found Baba’s paadukaas. I narrated the story of how Rakhadi Baba blessed us in the form of His paadukaas to Raju garu and he too was elated.


 

As we went to Thiruvannamalai in the auspicious month of Karthika, the place was extremely crowded and we found it hard to find accommodation. Swamiji took us to Sri Seshadri Swamy’s ashram, which is located near to Sri Ramana Maharshi’s ashram. Sri Seshadri Swamy attained Mahasamadhi in 1929 and pooja is performed everyday in His samadhi mandir. On that day, even Sri Seshadri Swamy’s ashram was filled with devotees. The pandit who conducts the daily pooja in the adishthana mandir was delighted on seeing Swamiji. The pandit requested Swamiji to stay in his room, next to the adishthana mandir, to which Swamiji agreed. On learning that the pandit was ill, Swamiji asked him to rest and instructed me to perform the pooja in the adishthana mandir. In that way, with Swamiji’s blessings, I had the fortune of doing service in Sri Seshadri Swamy’s adishthana mandir for three days. Swamiji took care of the pandit for those three days and after he recovered, we did the Arunachala giri-pradakshina along with Swamiji. As a part of the pradakshina, we visited all the temples that surround the Arunachala hill. Swamiji was received with great adoration in every temple we visited. He was also garlanded and given harathi in some of the temples. We were overjoyed on seeing Swamiji celebrated in this way. The important temples that we visited there are Arunachaleswara Swamy's temple, Abhithakuchalamba Amma’s temple and Sri Ramanashram. We had some great experiences in Arunachalam and then Swamiji took us to Tapovanam, a small village near Thiruvannamalai.


Sri Seshadri Swamy, Arunachalam

A great saint, Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy was staying in Tapovanam during that time. Swamiji told us that Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy was above 300 years old. For a while, He was the head of Jyoshirmatt, one of the peethams established by Sri Aadi Sankaracharya. He then toured the entire country and finally settled in Tapovanam.


Between 1965 and 1968, Swamiji toured the southern parts of India along with Rakhadi Baba. On some occasions, Swamiji toured alone. On one auspicious day, Swamiji reached Tapovanam. While Swamiji was seeking alms, a housewife, out of ignorance behaved rudely with Him. Nobody else in the village offered anything to Swamiji too, as they did not know about Him. As it was an auspicious day, all the local people queued up for the darshan of Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy, outside His ashram. As Swamiji was approaching the ashram, Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy at once got up from His chair. In a majestic voice, He started singing

‘Srisalam, Om, Aanandam, Poornanandam, Pothigamalai Jyothi’

and walked out of the ashram to welcome Swamiji. The devotees present in the ashram were astounded as they have never before witnessed Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy welcome somebody in such a manner. In this way, Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy greeted Swamiji with great affection and took Him inside the ashram. A separate room and food were arranged for Swamiji. Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy instructed all his devotees and the locals to have Swamiji’s darshan and seek His blessings. The rude housewife and other locals who refused to offer anything to Swamiji that morning, realized the grave mistake that they committed and pleaded forgiveness. Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy asked Swamiji to stay back in Tapovanam. Swamiji replied that He was on this tour as instructed by Rakhadi Baba and that He would return to Baba once the trip is completed. Soon after, Swamiji left Tapovanam. Swamiji Himself narrated this to me.

After that, this time Swamiji visited Tapovanam with Raju garu and me. Even this time, the ashram was filled with devotees. As we were approaching the ashram, Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy’s disciple Balu garu was waiting for us. Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy informed Balu garu about Swamiji’s arrival and instructed him to welcome and escort us into the ashram. In Swamiji’s welcome, Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy again sang in His majestic voice, “Srisailam, Om, Aanandam, Poornanandam, Pothigamalai Jyothi”. When Swamiji went closer, Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy said, “Guruvaaram, Guruvaaram, Gurusannidhi”. Raju garu and I did not understand what that meant. We reached on a Sunday and Swamiji later explained it to us that Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy was asking us to stay until the following Thursday. We were given a room in the ashram. After spending the entire day in the ashram, towards the evening, Swamiji took me outside the ashram without anybody’s notice. We went to a river nearby, bathed ourselves and then went atop a mountain situated further away. The time I spent with Swamiji amid the cool mountain breeze, in a moon-lit night on a full moon day is priceless. Swamiji spoke about various topics through the night. Although I lacked the wisdom to understand what Swamiji said, just listening to Him filled me with ecstasy. We spent all night on the mountain and returned to the ashram before sunrise. In this way, we spent four days in Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy’s ashram and left from there on Thursday.


Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamy
 

to be continued...


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