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|| Yatho Vacho Nivarthanthe || - 7

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Foreword by the author - B Radha Krishna Murthy (BRK)


After Swamiji left to His taposthanam from Jillellamudi, I returned to Srisailam wondering if He will ever come back. Meanwhile, the speculation that Swamiji will not return only grew stronger. Even in the Hatakeswara ashram, people started taking Swamiji’s belongings for themselves. A few people even stopped visiting the ashram. Only a hand-few of us were living in the hope that Swamiji would return. One fine day, I received a telegram from Ramana Baba that Swamiji and he were boarding the train from Madras to Bapatla. My joy knew no bounds! Elated that I could have Swamiji’s darshan again, I reached Ongole. From there, I accompanied them to Jillellamudi.


 

In those days, Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaj garu, who was a Sri Saibaba devotee, was running a monthly magazine on Jillellamudi Amma and was staying there for that reason. He had his first darshan of Swamiji in Jillellamudi. Captivated by Swamiji’s divine form, he also visited Sundipenta ashram a lot of times for Swamiji’s darshan. As both Ramana Baba and Bharadwaj garu were Sai devotees, they would spend the evenings in Sai bhajans and talking about Sai charitra. Ramana Baba went further ahead and also started preaching to Amma’s close associates. On noticing this Swamiji said,

“This place belongs to Amma. We should respect the belief system of the place we are in and act accordingly. We should not preach our ideologies here.

He (Ramana Baba) is talking too much, he will be hit on the head”.

As Swamiji predicted, a year later Ramana Baba went to Shirdi for Sri Rama Navami. He was walking on a street where kids were playing cricket. He was hit by the cricket ball on his head and was badly injured.


Sri Swamiji with Ramana Baba and BRK garu in Jillellamudi, 1969

In Jillellamudi, people perform pooja to Amma’s feet by themselves while reciting Amma naamam. At the end of the pooja, they would perform harathi to Amma. One day, the ashram’s secretary Ramakrishna garu came up to Swamiji and said, “Amma asked me to inform you that if you wish to perform pooja to Her, you can do it tomorrow. If you give me a list of things you need for the pooja, I will have them arranged by tomorrow”. Swamiji gave a list of pooja items, including items needed for decoration.


The next morning, amid auspicious music being played on instruments, Swamiji started to have Amma’s darshan. I was walking behind Swamiji. Swamiji was staying in a room on the ground floor and Amma was staying on the terrace. After climbing a few steps, Swamiji held my finger strongly and said, “You conduct the pooja”. I exclaimed, “But Swamiji, I never performed any pooja in my life. How can I do it?” Swamiji insisted, “No, you only have to do the pooja”. There were Sanskrit and Vedic scholars present and they would all communicate in Sanskrit only. I was filled with fear to perform the pooja in front of them and decided that it was best to run away from there. On noticing my predicament, Swamiji held my hand firmly.


All the arrangements were made on the terrace. A lot of devotees assembled to witness the pooja. On seeing the crowd and the grand arrangements, I was all the more scared. The thought of even jumping off the terrace and running away crossed my mind! But I was sitting between Amma and Swamiji and had no way out. Swamiji kept saying, “You conduct”. I, then, had an idea. Since Ramana Baba was a good singer, I asked him to sing. But after singing a couple of songs, even he became silent and everybody had their eyes on me. Realizing that I had no other option, I closed my eyes and chanted ‘Guru Brahma’ and the other four slokas that follow. Soon after, I faintly heard ‘Adhaarashakti kamalaasanaaya namah’ in Swamiji’s voice. I repeated the same out loud. Then I heard ‘Anantaasanaaya namah’ and again chanted it out loud. In this way, I repeated every mantra that fell into my ears in Swamiji’s voice and finished the pooja. However, once in the middle of the pooja, I opened my eyes and saw Amma smiling at me. I shut my eyes tight again and continued doing the pooja. I culminated the pooja with harathi and came down to the ground floor with Swamiji.


The Vedic scholars came up to me and said, “You performed the pooja in an excellent way”. I replied, “I cannot take any credit. Swamiji made me do it and it is all His blessing”. Even as I refused to accept their appreciation, they folded their hands and said, “It is your humility to say it was all Guru’s blessing”.


Unable to contain myself any longer, I went up to Swamiji and asked, “Swamiji, why were you reciting the mantras in a low tone? You could have performed the pooja yourself right!”. Swamiji surprised me by saying, “Oh no! When did I recite the mantra?”. In this way, for the first time in my life, I happened to perform an entire pooja to Jillellamudi Amma, as Swamiji guided me all through the procedure.


The next day after Amma presented Swamiji with saffron clothes, Ramana Baba, Swamiji and I left from Jillellamudi to Srisailam.


 

to be continued...


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