EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Sri Swamiji's music has helped many a patient, listener, seeker, devotee and musician in various capacities and has thus acquired a reverential status in everyone's mind. His music a panacea for all those who experienced it. Here are a few examples of how the listeners have benefited from the music.

Sri Swamiji's music healed me like Divya Sanjivini Medicine- Manjunath Kolar Subbarao, Melbourne, Australia
Live in Melbourne with my wife, Lakshmi and two daughters Sushwetha and Meghana for the past 10 years. I would like to share my healing experiences from a major car accident and speedy recovery using healing music of Sri Swamiji, with fellow Datta family members. It was the auspicious day of Sri Krishna Janmastami on Wednesday, the 16th of August, 2006. At about 7 PM my wife, myself and my first daughter Sushwetha were about to leave home to attend Sri Krishna Janmastami program. My second daughter was studying in India at that time. I had the car key in my hand and just at the door entrance my daughter asked me that she would like to drive as she was still under supervised driving. We were getting late already, but destiny was at play and I just gave the key without any further comment or argument. My daughter took the driver seat and my wife occupied the front passenger seat and I occupied the back seat behind front passenger seat. The seat behind driver was vacant. (In Australia the driver seat is on the right side). Within 3 or 4 minutes of drive from our home we came to a big intersection where we were waiting to take a right turn to the main road. As our car started moving towards the main road, a car from the right side which was coming on the main road with a speed of around 80Kms/hr hit our car straight onto the back door behind driver�s seat. Due to high impact of this collision, our car swirled around and hit the kerb and stopped facing towards the opposite direction of the road. Due to this sudden jerk (I was not observing the traffic flow) I instantly pressed down my both hands on the seat to balance myself but my right hand landed on the buckle, the buckle got pressed & opened without my knowledge, the seat belt got released. With loose seat belt and the jerk of the car, I slid from the seat and my head hit heavily onto the back door frame and I became un-conscious immediately. As per my wife�s narration to me, my left hand and legs were twisted in a very funny manner and my complete body was stuck in between the driver seat and the back seat. Ambulance arrived immediately and transported me to Emergency Department. After the immediate check up within few hours they moved me to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for observations as I had head injury. As per doctors� explanation, when my head hit the door, the brain shook around and hit the skull so badly creating few blood clots on both sides of the head and causing bruises around the brain and ruptured veins around my eyes as well. Since my body was hit & stuck between the seats I also broke my radius bone on my left hand. By HIS grace there were no major injuries to Lakshmi and my daughter except for whip lashes from seat belt. I was in ICU for 3 days and was moved to surgical ward by Sunday. I was able to walk to the bathroom by then and I looked at my face in the mirror for the first time after 3 days. My right eye was still swollen badly and the skin around the eyes was purple in colour. I could not recollect what day it was and thought it might be the previous night that I came to the hospital and told my wife that next day(Friday) we will go home (thinking the day is Thursday) and after taking rest in the weekend, I will go back to work on Monday. Then, Lakshmi explained me that I was in the hospital from 3 days and I had a PTA (Post Traumatic Amnesia), where the person looses memory temporarily about the day to day issues, but slowly it will be recovered. The effect of PTA made me to think that I was in the hospital only from previous night. In the meantime, my family brought a MP3 player to the Hospital and started playing Sri Swamiji�s healing music CD and bhajans contineously in my room. I was told that the accident news was conveyed to Sri Swamiji very next day and as per HIS instructions, I was asked to listen to healing music continuously day and night. With this Lakshmi gave me few tips on how to focus my mind to enhance the healing process while listening to Sri Swamiji�s music and I followed the same. Since I had head injury, doctors waited for a week before operating my broken bone on my left hand as it was risky to give anesthesia for the operation. But, the way I was improving day by day was phenomenal and when doctors checked bruised brain and my memory, it was evident that the effect of PTA was not much and the wounds were healing very quickly. They decided to perform the operation on my hand to fix the bone on the 7th day after the accident. After the operation, very next day I was moved to rehabilitation centre for further recovery. I had to stay there for next 10-12 days to recuperate myself and also had to undergo some Neuro-Psychological tests to make sure that I am recovering positively without loosing my memory and cognitive skills and to take physiotherapy, hydrotherapy treatment for the broken hand. Coincidentally the Neuro surgeon - Dr Bala Vaidyanathan who was treating me at Rehabilitation centre is also very familiar with healing aspects of music and also knew about Sri Swamiji�s healing music. Dr Bala is the son of Kunnakudi Vaiyanathan, who was a famous violinist in South India. He encouraged me to keep listening to Sri Swamiji�s healing music as much as I can. After spending 18 days in the hospital and Rehabilitation centre I recovered very well and came back home for further rest & recovery. After 4 weeks of my accident I had an out-patient appointment with a neuro-surgeon in the hospital. During my appointment session, the Australian doctor was reading my medical history file and keeps looking at me in between few times surprisingly. When I enquired him �Is everything alright?�, he asked me: have I seen you in ICU any time?. I told him, �may be� I knew I was in ICU but don�t remember your face as I was under the effect of Post Traumatic Amnesia and also many doctors visited me during that time. Then he said, �I remember seeing you, but, you have changed so much in 4 weeks which is surprising me and you have recovered amazingly. The intensity of your accident was quite intense, atleast, it will take 6 months for a person to recover properly and you are looking so healthy and normal within 4 weeks, which is the most surprising thing. Also, there is no special treatment, medicine or therapy that was given to you. So, I was just wondering in my mind�. Then I casually mentioned that I was using healing music. When he wanted to know more about it, I explained in detail about Sri Swamiji�s healing music, how Sri Swamiji is our Sadguru & Spiritual guide and the benefits of HIS music etc. In the end he said �look Manju, all these alternative healing therapies are really good and qualitative, unfortunately I can�t prescribe it to patients (as it is not accepted by the modern medical system). But you have the access to it, you have faith in it so, make use of it. It will be really beneficial�. That�s when I truly realized the value of our beloved Sadguru�s healing music and I THANKED Appaji in my mind for taking care of this child. JAYA GURU DATTA
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Sri Swamiji's Music and its impact on my life - Cinda A. Raymond, Toronto, CA
It was the year 1997, my Mother died in hospital a couple of weeks after recovery period from surgery. I went into shock, followed by anger then the grief and sorrow hit me like a transport truck with no mercy. I had fallen deeper than any other time in my life. As weeks passed, I kept on being drawn to drums, the playing of it, any kind, as long as it was the sound of drums. Along with my deep grief, I was being treated for a back injury...pain that excruciated through my whole body at times, sitting, standing, lying down, whatever...it didn't matter. Three months after my mom died, my dad (master drummer) was telling me about a job he had been asked to perform at. He said that Sudguru from India is coming and he was asked to perform for his arrival. Then he asked me if I want to come along and play too. I said okay, hesitantly, because I was not all that great at playing...but I was interested in meeting Sudguru, I've never heard of. So the day came, there we were at this beautiful house in Caledon, Ontario. As we were getting ready to play, a car was driving up a very long driveway...someone said it is Sadguru coming. I looked up and watched as he stepped out of the car, all I could see was his feet. ..and as I spotted them, something in me stirred in me for me to take my slippers off (first time I've ever done anything like that) then the car came closer. As he stepped out of the vehicle, there we were playing the tassa drums and my dad was playing the steelpan instrument. Something touched me deeply, don't know how to describe it. AllI could think was hmmm...wow! He's the real McCoy! As the day went on, I kept on drawing nearer and nearer...still didn't know why. Before leaving the area, I heard someone say that there was going to be a healing concert the next day. I thought right away, how I would want to go. No one in my home wanted to go, so I asked my neice, Cathren, if she would go with me and she agreed. We had gone...and in sitting in the audience for the first time to have such an experience, I was in AW...and maybe still some sort of shock...who knows.. THen I thought to myself, not to expect anything and not to ask for anything...just listen. As the evening went on Sadguru came into the audience and walked around with a crystal wand in his hand...he listened, watched and moved around the room. Then he came over to my neice and me and stopped in front of us. We bowed and I glanced into his eyes, smiled in thanks and off he went. The evening passed with a good feeling. I went home, Cathren went home. When I woke up the next orning....like magic, all my back pain was gone!!! I was without pain for the first time in many years. I was in total amazement!!! How could this be? Sadguru? Then as the days went on, I accepted whaat had happened!!! Because before this experience, if anyone had told me about this sort of healing, I would have dismissed it from my mind. But this wasn't all...in the days to come, I still wanted to be near Sadguru, not to ask for anything, just to be near him. Then it happened...I was at a gathering at the Datta Yoga Centre in Brampton, I wrote down all the stuff in my life that bothered me and that I was ashamed of doing. When it wa time to make offering to Sadguru, I included the paper in my offerings. That night the Centre was packed...not much room to sit even crossed legged. I literally had my legs pressed up against my chest in order to sit on the floor. Sadguru talked and gave some lessons and examples of compassion and other things. He also spoke of when his father died...and the it happened, tears came gushing out of me like a fountain broke, I sobbed and cried like an endless waterfall. After that evening when I went home...something had happened...all of my grief, pain and suffering for my Mother had gone, disappeared, there was no more hurt. How can this be? Sadguru? I say, if anyone had told me that this was possible just by being in his presence, I would have doubted it myself. But now I know! now I have experienced! Now I have felt the shift in energy, the movement of possibilities, the magic, the miracle...the breath of life and death in the same inhale~exhale...this is when my nick name for Sadguru came..."SoHum" because he can breathe new life into your being and he can destroy the negativities of what is there too. This experience had left me with new windows and doors to other dimensions that really do exsist, we just need to be there for the opportunity and the opening of our minds that allow us to be the keys. SoHum, shows us the way, but we need to step through ourselves...his love is pure and true... In deepest gratitude and thanks, I bow, namaste to the universe for giving us SoHum...In spirit peace and love, Cinda Om Shanti shanti shanti hari Om
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Sri Swamiji's Ganaamrutam- Sai Satish, Mumbai, India
Jaya Guru Datta, I feel that Datta Devotees are the lucky people and their good deeds of crores of previous births have made contact with our Jagadguru Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. The more we talk about HIM, the less we spoke about HIM. The more we know about HIM, the less we know about HIM. It is very difficult to understand HIM, because HE is much more then human intellect and nature. Very Calm, Loving, Caring, Kindness, Ocean of Compassion, Strive for welfare of Humanity is a mystic and Unique Qualities in Him strucking like magnets by HIS Datta Devotees round the globe and welcoming more to join the Datta Family. My Happiness is His Happiness, my sorrow is His sorrow, my sucess is His sucess, my failure is His failure. Jaya Guru Datta, my failure is His failure does not mean His failure!!! But everything of mine is HIS. According to me, He allows the positiveness to get stronger and keeps removing the negativity without His disciple notice like an air conditioner. On a hot summer day, if an air condittioner is switched On, it slowly cools the room through cool air and simeltoneusly removes hot air from the room through other part of unit. ultimately He is the only one to me in this entire world. He is my mother, He is my father, He is my best friend, He is my Relative and everything and Finally my GURU, THE GOD!!! From here I am starting my exact experience, let me tell you, Every Guru's job or responsibilty is to make His Disciple get Salvation (Moksha) i.e. stoping the life cycle of birth and death again and again. Different Guru applies different techniques to attain this like there is America, flights arrive from Germany, India, Australia but they land in same city. Similarly, moksha is the same and different Guru's with their possible techniques brings their disciple to the same goal called Moksha. Sri Swamiji also gave many choices to His disciples, among them are few is, Nama Sankeertana, Chanting sacred verses like Guru Gita, Lalita Sahasananam, Vishnu Sahasananam etc, Guru seva, chanting and repeating mantra (God's name) etc. Among them, an easy way to follow by His disciples, a rare and unique quality in Him to proceed to the desired Goal, is the concept of Divine Music for Healing and Meditation. As everyone knows the interest Sri Swamiji have on music. He has inborn wisdom on music. When Swamiji was months old baby, he once happened to stay in his grandmothers house. He was having a nap in the swing. His grandmother as usual doing her daily chores, she was bringing water in a steel pot from outside for daily needs. Suddenly the young ladi started crying for no reason. Mother Jayalakshmi observed this, and instructed her mother to stop and proceed, and again to stop and proceed. When she stopped, the babyi stopped crying, When she moved again, the baby started crying. Again when she stopped, he stopped crying. The reason was later revealed that, when his grandmother was moving, the water in the pot was also shaking creating a false rythem which irritated the lad, when she stopped, the water was also calmed and he was silent. Mother Jayalakshmi said smilingly that when my son grows up, He removes the diseases of people with music. So Swamiji at that age can analyise music. Today He is well known as 'Nada Brahma'. At school days, there was a well known teacher who tought to the students and was a scholar pandit. He liked Swamiji very much. Sometimes, Swamiji used to study in his house overnight and sleep there itself. He used to say, "Satya, I can listen Sindhu Bhairavi Raga from your body". At that time Satya was at His aunt's house Venkamma. What the scholar said was true, Sri Swamiji, first time in His life composed and sang the Bhajan on Lord Ganapati 'Pahi Pahi Gajanana' in Sindhu Bhiravi raga at that period in aunt's house. The Sindhu Bhiravi track created by Sri Swamiji in the album 'Nada Prasara-1993' echos this episode and the sentiment Sri Swamiji has on this raga in the concert at Dasseldorf, Germany leaves anyone tearful at the end of listening to the track. During Swamiji's childhood, when He was immersed in sadhana, it was a command from Lord Ganapati to practice 'Nadopasana' (Science of Music). At that time, he used to take his friends to the temple and they used to do Nama Sankeertan. Suprisingly, He did not have any knowladge about names of Ragas. But He used to compose and sing. Later in His part of life, He grasped the knowladge of Ragas. It's surprising that tunes created by Swamiji in childhood were Ragas which even today He uses in concerts. It is a rare happening and sounds interesting to create raga first and know the name of it later. It's not like that, Swamiji started giving concerts from one day. He has done extensive research for three decades and mastered the technique to heal people using His super conciousness which is not possble for ordinary man. The instruments in which He had done research have also come to Him mysteriously. One afternoon, when Swamiji was sitting at the banks of River Kaveri, He saw something coming towards Him. He pointed to the children playing in the water. They recognised it as Harmonium. Within no time, all the instruments which Swamiji needed for research came floating. Actually, no musical instrument works if it gets in contact with water. From that day Swamiji used to not leave His room for hours and used to do research. He never allowed to anybody come in. He used to place Sri Chakra in the middle of room and Swamiji used to play music. At the end, the Sri Chakra used to rotate at a high speed. The reason is, the raga played by Swamiji created an energy which was grasped by Sri Chakra and the energy rotated it. Similarly, whle Swamiji was undertaking Nada Prasara Tour in the year 1993, in a concert, Swamiji instructed to place a plant next to His Synthesizer. At the end of concert, everyoone was shocked to see the plant placed next to him had wither away. It's leaves turned black. Sri Swamiji said that the concert was a special one and those who listen to this music tape invokes their Kunalini Shakti. Imagine the power of Sri Swamiji's music??? Several doubts arise in mind, what exactly method Sri Swamiji uses, how it heals etc etc. But remember, THE BEST WAY TO UNDERSTAND SWAMIJI IS NOT TO UNDERSTAND HIM, BUT JUST SURRENDER TO HIM. It's utterly confirmed, whatever He does, it's for our benefit. Is there any mother in the world who want to harm her child??? But little information I can give you on what method Sri Swamiji uses for conducting music concerts. Let me tell y Nearly at the period of 5000 BC, there used to be a school of music. It applies the method called 'Raga Ragini Vidya'. It used to teach music to it's students and simeltaneously treat patients suffering from various physical and mental diseases. Whenever, a patient used to come with a suffering, he was not given music tratment in the beginning. He was first trained to concentrate on the music. By the time they started treatment, the patient was easily capable to concentrate wholly on the music. That is why Swamiji says to still one's mind when he listens to the Healing Music. But teaching this music and student grasping it was a realy realy tough job. Slowly slowly, the Raga Ragini Vidya started getting lost. Within the course of time, it lost completely as no one were interested to learn a very tough job. Even though it was tough, there is no higher effective practice of music than this. So, in our course of time, like raising of sun dispells all darkness, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji again brought the lost 'Raga Ragini Vidya' back with the support of His Guru's. Today, He is not only applying this method for healing, but he had made it simple with HIS Infinate wisdom, where His thousands of Devotees are learning and conducting research for more better use in future. Nearly 4 million people worldwide, had benefited and felt solace from the Living Almighty's music and the figure still continues. So many bhajams, so many healing tracks listened and practiced by devotees worldwide everyday?. But it is our human nature that we don't care of things which is very helpful to us. Sri Swamiji gave so many public speeches on importance of music, written several articles, so many scholarly devotees like V. V. Prakasa Rao given speeches on wonders of music, so many articles published in newspapers, TV's, Leaflets etc etc on works of music. Sri Swamiji once mentioned that while playing the Synthesizer, He combines His Divine Message of Universal Brotherhood and the way to International Peace and Harmony in His music. This means, there is no need for Him to sit and give verbal message to His Devotees. It may also take lot of time and there are chances of forgetting what Swamiji spoke by the time they reach home. Once when Swamiji was touring Machilipatnam, Southern India, there was a question and answer session conducted by Swamiji. One of the question was: How does music on movies does not heal and Swamiji's music heal even tough there is slight differenciation in the raga used in both cases? The reply was: Even tough there is slight differenciation, Swamiji inserts Beejakshras (Seed Letters) in his music which help to heal people which is not available in other music. The best proof for this is the album 'Live in Minneapolis-USA' and 'Raga Sagara-1996' When one listens to this two albums, they might feel boredor interesting, but they will start experiencing the vibration from next day or the other day and they start listening to it again and again.(Please note that I have experienced this. Others might experience in other albums. It does not mean other albums are not that powerful. I have experienced it, so I am giving this example) Once Swamiji said that music definately heals people but the person who is creating the music must have adequate knowladge and he should know to control it well to the required extent. This is possible only by 'Sidda Purusha' (Englightened Person) Therefore, the one who listens to Swamiji's music, they automatically gets tuned to righteousness. He gains the clarity in thinking to overcome his problems, and find the way to salvation. This happens by certain positive vibration compressed by Swamiji in the music at the certain pattern of music frequency of sound, tune, Synthesizer tone, Raga Alap, Bhajan played and the presence of Sri Swamiji with Mystic Crystal powers which He alone knows in Live Concerts. Sri Swamiji have created outstanding albums for His devotees welfare. If we think on this, the first one is, 'Nada Himalaya', this is the experimental album created by Swamiji in Germany in 1990, for sleeping. One who struggle at night time for sleeping, instantly dips into deep Blissful sleep even before the albums gets over in one hour. This experiment, I personally done with my sister Sudha. Once she was complaining, that she was not sleepy and wanted me to awake to give her compay in chatting. I got an idea, and switched on the this CD. She went into that deep sleep where she even did not respond to move little aside where I had no place to sleep. Secondly, it's another experimental Album 'Pancha Tattva Raga Malika', this concert was given live by Swamiji in the year 1992 at Mekadatu. After the concert, Sri Swamiji said "Pancha Tattva Raga Malika has Tonic effect". It means, the music is that powerful of having original medicine tonic. It has another quality, the music once listened by the listener, the music can heal even after 10 days. Till then, the vibration keeps on moving in the body nerves.This is also my personal experience. This is common with even 'Live in Minneapolis-USA' Album Thirdly, is the unbeatable Album 'Nada Prasara-1993'.If it is listened carefully with devotion, there will be no one without tearful eyes. Sri Swamiji has elagantly echoed the Ragas Sindhu Bhairavi and Raga Chakravakam. We can listen in the CD, the audiance there shouting at the end of one of the track, 'Appaji ki jai' (Praise to Appaji) who attended the concert in Germany on that day. There are many other albums which I feel like mentioning but it will go very long. But remember, other albums cannot be neglected. They are also diamonds. Only thing is little ups and downs in all albums. One may like this album, other may like that album etc etc. I have given what I have experienced. Coming to the poing of Ragas, In a concert held in Mumbai, Sri Swamiji personally said, "In whichever house Mohana Raga is played, there Swamiji is". Sri Swamiji's favourate Raga is Keervani with Bhajan 'Achuta Ananta'. After the accident of Sri Swamiji in the year 1998, the first concert He had given was in Switzerland. He decided to play the Raga 'Keervani' and the devotees noticed tears coming out from Swamiji's eyes while playing this Raga on Synthesizer. The best Raga for mental health is, 'Sama' with it's Bhajan 'Raga Ragini Devi Mangalam'. Ecoing tracks of this raga is found in the albums, 'Live in Minneapolis-USA' and 'Live in Zurich'. Swamiji's most frequently used ragas during live concerts are as fallows: Raga: Bhajan: Rushabaketupriya Pranava Swaroopam Mohana Isha Patisa or Hanuma Maruti Chakravakam Gouri Taye Hamsanandi Peete Peete Amrutavarshini Needu Padauga (Dancingg Tune) Kalyani Gam Gam Ganapati, Kalaye Lalitam or Jai Jai Ganapati Sudha Kalyani Krishnum Vishnum Nata Bhairavi Sthapita Bhavita Bhiravi Dattatreya Trimurthi Roopa Sindu Bhiravi Pahi Pahi Gajanana Sama Raga Ragini Devi Mangalam There are many other ragas which Swamiji decides and plays according to that day's constellation for the concert. Sri Swamiji has also created Ragas which are not in Raga Ragini Package. Once Swamiji took a dip in river Kaveri and after coming out, He played a Beautiful Melody on His Synthesizer. The devotees cannot recognise which Raga He was playing. After the track, Swamiji said, "This is a new Raga I have created. Since today is an auspicious day and we are in shore of river Kaveri, lets name it as Raga Kaveri" In Tapes, Compact Discs, DVD's, even though there is no Swamiji's live presence with crystal powers, it cannot be said it's no longer difference comparing to Live Concerts with it's healing and meditative powers. The problem is, most people does not know how to use Sri Swamiji's music. According to my experience, it can be used for two purposes. One - Spiritual Upliftment, Secondly - Worldy affairs, e.g Health. If we take for first instance - Spiritual upliftment, one has to come to the path of meditation whatever he is practicing to obtain salvation. Hence, one who is practicing meditation through the path of yoga, practicing it with Swamiji's music boost the energy and the mind in short course of time, gets stilled and further sadhana can be done. For this one have to concentrate on music rather than concentrating on breath control etc. If using for second purpose, that is mainly health both physical and mental, one can switch On CD player and lye down and listen before bed time. One can even go to sleep while listening. Interestingly, the music works miracleously when one go to sleep only. The reason for this is, to get benefited from music, one has to still the mind and allow the music to penetrate deep in to the effected nerve to get healed. But when one is woken up, the human thoughts does not allow the music to go deep for healing purpose. Sri Swamiji personally instructs to fall in sleep on live concerts for music to work effectively. Some people have misconception that music should work instantly, it's wrong. Swamiji's music does not work same to all. Some people, it may take 1 day, other, it may take 2 days where in some other cases, it may take 10 to 15 days.This instruction is personally given by Swamiji. Sri Swamiji mentioned to listen Bhajans during day time and to listen Healing tracks at night time. On two ways, whatever one uses, it's better to do during night time. The best way to use Swamiji's music in whichever way, one has to still the mind and concentration should be only on the music and one should not try to analyse, differeniate, think etc, which are the qualities of mind. Wonders can be grabbed from Swamiji and His Divine Motherly Music if it is used in right way. If the whole concentration is put, the music have lot of impact. Soon, one starts thinking positive, acts positive and he will be useful to the society and have Sadguru's grace and win the game called 'Life' and finally gets LIBERATED. I thank for giving the opportunity to offer my experience to Yoga Sangeeta Website. Jaya Guru Datta
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I am always with you - Alana Vasanta Gorfaine, Las Vegas, Nevada
This is the thought for the month of January 1999 on our Beloved Poojya Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji 's calendar. It had been my fear since meeting with Him in this life in 1993 that He may somehow leave me I would no longer have the blessing of being in His presence. In certainty I now know that He will always be there because to have Swamiji commune with you is to partake in the timelessness of creation itself. How could I possibly have known that in my gross ignorance of 1993? Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A : It was in March of 1993 that an acquaintance showed me Swamiji's picture and suggested that I drive up to SantaCruz, California that evening to go and 'hear' Swamiji. Not having anything else to do, I went to Kali Rayâ??s Yoga Center hoping to enjoy some profound lecture from 'this man from India.' Sitting in the back of the room, very much aware of my blind­ing headache, I watched the procession of Swarniji entering the room with his entourage. Anticipating a discourse that would 'somehow instantly 'enlighten' me, I was disappointed in 'just' hearing His music, which to my untrained ear, sounded rather discordant to me. Initially it seemed a virtual cacophony of weird musical instruments, and at times I kept repeating to myself, "oh, I wish He would just speak!" Much to my chagrin, this didn't happen and the next I knew, people were walking up to Him and present­ing flowers at His feet. "Why are they doing this?", I wondered. Some generous stranger smilingly presented me with some flowers and encouraged me to get in line to receive 'darshan'. ("What on earth does that mean", I wondered further.. "Oh, I'll just go with the flow .... but there's absolutely no way I am going to lie down on the floor in front of Him .. and what is this "Jai Guru Datta" that everyone says when they hug each other, anyway? Oh, dear, have I walked into some sort of cult similar to the one in Oregon with that other Guru?") So I stood in line thinking that I would give 'this man from India' the flowers and somehow manage a smile when I reached the front of the line. But when I stood directly in front of Him, I found myself unable to make eye contact, felt humbled, and suddenly found myself bowing at His feet. I returned to my place in the room, slightly trembling .â?¢ but thinking it was the air conditioner, During my 45-minute drive home that night, I thought it had been a boring, unnecessary experience not to be repeated at any cost. Yet, driving home I remember musing to myself as to why the music had so agitated me. However, I felt myself awaken the following morning with a voice compelling me rather urgently to "go and hear Him again .... You must "Oh, come on, Alana, you hated last night", my own inner voice countered. But the 'other' voice reiterated: "Give Him another chance. You will learn from the experience." After I made inquiries as to Swamiji 's schedule, I decided to go to Kaliji 's Ashrama in Santa Cruz the forthcoming Sunday morning. Entering her beautiful home that morning, I was surprised at the number of people but luckily managed to find myself a place in one of the rooms where television monitors had been set up so that we could view the main room where Swamiji was going to conduct a puja. Outside on the terrace, Prasadi and others were chanting and preparing what I would later on learn was the Homa pit. Then, Swamiji came on the screen in front of me. The expression on some people's faces changed to smiles of recognition, I thought, and many seemed to be glowing with love, which completely baffled me, so I decided to see whether I could find some space in the main room where I hoped somehow, by osmosis, to understand this event. In His room, now, the effect on the audience was magnified. As Swamiji was performing the puja, some people had tears rolling down their faces, while others were glowing in total enchantment and entrancement, and a few, like me, were squirming and fidgeting, trying to assume a more com­fortable sitting position. I watched and inwardly mused, "Why are people so emotionally charged by a man from India pouring various liquids over little statues? What on earth is this craziness?" At that very moment, Swamiji made a 45 degree turn, looking over His right shoulder and looked directly into my eyes. Immediately I said to myself: "This is Mother, Father, brother, sister, friend ... this is God Himself!" Even though fifteen feet away, I felt His overwhelming love, compassion and under­standing. For the first time in my life, I knew what unconditional love felt like. The tears instantly rolled down my face as I felt and remembered Creation itself. My throat tightened in this recognition of being accepted by Universal Love. My squirming stopped and I started noticing the beauty of Swamiji 's movements, every gesture was a caress to the cosmos, His hand mudras punctuating His personal commune with Creation. Instinctively I felt that this ritual was not something done merely by rote to somehow appease the followers. Not having the slightest notion of His actions, I knew that it was for our benefit. He was praying for us, not Himself. My thought was then, "I haven't the slightest idea of what it is that I am witnessing, but I know with that deep knowing when recognizing Truth that I have to be in His presence to learn and experience not only what He is and what He teaches, but to discover who I AM." The following three evenings I attended Swamiji 's Kriya Yoga class. The Monday evening I learned that Swamiji was presenting a concert at a local church on Friday night, but discovered with disappointment that all the tickets were already sold out. Yes, despite my disastrous opinion of my first musical encounter with Swamiji, I knew that I had to be in Swamiji's presence as much as possible. Well, on the Tuesday evening, after the Kriya Yoga class, Swamiji went behind the counter where the books and cassettes were being sold and beckoned to me. Stunned and in fear of making a total fool of myself, I approached in trepidation. With incredible sweetness, He asked, "You coming to concert Friday night?" "No, Swamiji, there are no tickets left." "No, you see, Swamiji has ticket for you." That bewildered me. Swamiji continued, "You come to India this year for Navaratri. Very beautiful ... you will see." I had absolutely no idea of what He was saying. Me go to India! Hmm ... I had those wishes when I was a teenager particularly after reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Pararnahamsa Yogananda (a part of myself that I had long buried, I thought, since at that period of my life my yearnings for spiritual knowledge and in particular, what the Indian Vedic culture could teach me could not be shared with anyone I knew). Now, I was delicately being 'awaken' up by this beautiful, gentle Being who was no like no other I had ever encoun­tered. And what is Navaratri, anyway? I totally mispronounced the word when asking others what and when this event would be in India. I drove home with great skepticism as to Swamiji's comment about the concert ticket. So, if He had a ticket, where is it? In retrospect, I shudder at my doubts. The following night, the last of the Kriya Yoga course, about halfway through the evening I looked up and caught the eye of a stranger at the opposite side of the room who immediately stood up , walked over to me and said, "I don't know why I'm doing this . My name is Justin, but I have an extra ticket for Friday night's concert and some­thing compelled me to offer it to you ... would you like it?" I reacted with childlike glee, shouting "Yes! Yes!" The charming gentleman would not even accept my money for the ticket and I didn't even see him that Friday night. I was just beginning to grasp the mysterious and wondrous ways of Swamiji. His playfulness is to me, one of His most endearing qualities. And, yes ... I did enjoy Swamiji's music that Friday night! It is my belief that my initial unfavorable response to Swamiji 's music was a deliberate influence to ensure that when I heard the 'voice' the following morning urging me to return to hear Swamiji again, I would recognize it as a Divine Being encouraging me and beckoning me. Trinidad, West Indies : Trinidad means, the three 'Dads ': Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva. This is the embodiment of our Beloved Sadguru. Some months later I bumped into one of Swarniji 's devotees who told me that He was in Trinidad. I thought Swamiji was back in India. Not knowing precisely where Trinidad was, but knowing that it was closer than India, I hurried back to the office, called up the travel agent, ready to leave in a few days for Trinidad! The entire stay there would be only five days, three days in Trinidad and two in Tobago. However, after only one day in Tobago, I rushed back to spend one more night at the Ashrama in Trinidad where I rushed into the arms of my dear friend, Stella Siewratten upon arrival and shouted, "Stella, I'm home again!" As beautiful as Tobago was, it represented just another place to me. Trinidad.will always be very dear to m~~the kindness of the people towards me, the Temple, the Aripo River, the incredible concerts by Swamiji, the discourses with Swamiji, our" Silent Teacher" encouraging me to listen to the voice of the Soul. It was here, too, that Swamiji gave me my Sanskrit name of Vasant (to me it sounded like Vasanta, so that's who I am now.) Also, how could I ever forget that it was here that I started to truly develop my appreciation for Swamiji 's music. I clearly recall seeing Dr. L. Subrahmaniam delivering those exquisite sounds on the violin as he never look his eyes off Swamiji . His devotion was apparent. I remember, in particular, when Swamiji announced that they would be playing an excerpt from the new CD Inner Healing for the first time. Stella and I both spon­taneously reached for each other, both comforted in the fact that there was another who understood the vulnerability that the music brought about, shamelessly letting the tears roll down our cheeks. Ramesh, Radha Krishna and Jaitra, Swamiji's Celestial Music troupe, played with such skill, joy and beauty, enabling me to possess a completely different appreciation of Swamiji's music. As Swamiji says, "Music will have no effect on you if you do not cultivate the art of listening". So, I am still in the process of developing my nadopasana (musical sound concentration). Not a day goes by now without my listen­ing to the exquisite sounds of Swamiji. In fact, at times I just repeat the "Amba Bhavani" and "Inner Healing" cassettes. How could I not have recognized the Divinity in His music. As Swamiji says, "Music is my language, Music is my expression and Music is my religion ", If listen­ing to His music is religion, then I shall stay a member of this Temple forever! I was still struggling with the prayers and the bhajans, however. I just could not seem to connect with the Sanskrit. Then suddenly I heard something being sang which touched the very core of my being and I turned to my friend Stella and said, "I like that prayer that has the verse, .... Bhaddhrani pashyantu ... ' in it." (l was barely able to pronounce the words!) Smiling very sweetly, she pointed to the bhajan"Tvarneva Mataâ??. It was some years later when I discovered the meaning of the following verse. I now have it on my altar and sing it every day: Sarve cha sukhinah santu Sarve santu niraamayaah Sarve bhaddrani pashyantu Maa kashchit duhkha barbhavet Mayall of us live happily May we all be healthy May auspiciousness shower on us all May not a single being be unhappy June, 1993 gave me my first experience of the glorious Aripo River. Swamiji has revealed that the Aripo River has its connection to the holy Ganges and was known as the Sararipu Nadi, meaning the confluence of five rivers. Here, seven great Rishis came to bathe, meditate and do penance. Therefore, these waters contain both spiritual and medicinal properties. Swamiji has said that the Puranas state that taking a bath in the waters of a sacred river, with devotion and belief, can heal both physically and men­tally. Swamiji meditated on the ancient scripts and determined that it was the Aripo River. Seeing Swamiji in the River just dazzled me. He seemed to be One with the water and all of Nature itself. Standing above the rock and looking down at us, He became a spiritual giant. Swamiji then came down in the water and I had this overwhelming urge to approach Him and have Him 'dunk' me. He seemed to know what I wanted and as I carne within a few feet He approached and laughingly put his hand on top of my head and gently put me under the water. Suddenly feeling bubbling child-like joy, I came up laughingly expecting a repeat of what I later remembered as an initiation. But, it was now another's turn. I couldn't believe my own reaction. I was a grown woman acting like a six years old, giggling with great abandon and feeling so free. I have since learned that Swamiji seems, at times, to bring the child out in me and I have had very Vivid visions of Swamiji and I as children, laughing on a beach together. Swamiji then manifested bottles of perfume from beneath the surface of the water, tossing them around, evoking even more joy in me as I reveled not only in this miracle but also the wonderful aroma. Somehow the journey back to the Ashrama that day didn't seem so bumpy! I was granted my first interview with Swamiji on my last day there. I stood in fear in line since I felt so inadequate. How could I ever say any of the Sanskrit prayers, sing any of the bhajans. I barely knew what was hap­pening around me during services when people were chanting and singing. It all seemed so overwhelming. How could I ever continue any of this upon my return home? Now it was my turn to enter the interview room. All I could do for the most part was just sit at His feet and stare blankly. His perfection engulfed me. I felt like a two year old with very limited vocabulary. Eventually I mustered the courage to ask Him what spiritual practices He suggested for me. Very gently, He said, "Sing one or more bhajans each day ..... perhaps you only do Datta Stava". Then, as if He sensed that even this may be too much for someone like me who could not grasp very much of the Sanskrit prayers then, He said, "Just take one grain of rice each day and place it in a special place, and then you remem­ber Datta." My heart swelled. "This I can do", I thought. Swamiji's kindness and understanding made everything alright. I knew that some day, I would manage more than 'just a grain of rice.' As I type this and listen to the CD "Bhajana Mala, Garland of Bhajans" I thank Swamiji for holding my hand all the way.
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Sri Swamiji's Grace and Guidance Transformed Me - Ann Natalie, New York City, New York
In the Fall of 1996 I had a dream in which a man was smiling at me. The "dream" was quite vivid. The feeling was warm and loving. I initially thought it was an old friend of mine. At that time I had been involved in an "internal energy" practice (Qugong) with a Chinese Master. The practice seeks to connect the practitioner's body, mind, and spirit. In the Qugong class I had met and become friendly with a married couple and their daughter who were devotees of Swamiji. As I became friendlier with them, they would tell me of their experiences with Swamiji. On one occasion my friend suggested that I listen to the CD "Celestial Message." When I listened to the CD I felt as though I went into a deep state of meditation. I believe it was that night that I felt something brushing alongside me in my sleep. I was not afraid. Much later I was to discover during my reading, that it was Swamiji who was "moving like a gentle breezeâ??. (C. S. Radhakrishna) One evening in the Spring of 1997 while those same friends were visiting me, I happen to look down at one of Swamiji's CD's; I believe the CD was "Amba Bhavani -Inner Healing II". There is a picture of Swamiji smiling on it. It suddenly dawned on me that Swamiji was the man in my dream in the fall of 1996! In the Spring of 1997 my friend asked me if I would like to go to Trinidad to see Swamiji, informing me that Swamiji would be visiting Trinidad in August 1997. She explained to me that she had had a message from Swamiji a couple of months earlier, that she could bring her friend to Trini­dad. When she first received the message she wasn't sure who the friend was, but she felt that "the friend" was me. I felt at that time that "someone" (Swamiji) had heard me. Although I had never met Swamiji, intuitively I felt that I was supposed to go and meet him. During this period of time I had been reading a book about the masters, high holy men and saints. I had a desire to meet a-high holy man in India, but I did not know how to go about this. 1 remember reading that if you take one step toward the masters, they take ten steps toward you. My Visit To Trinidad I traveled with my friends to Trinidad in August 1997. While in Trinidad I somehow became separated from my friends and I found myself feeling somewhat alone and frightened while in a foreign country. My doubts began to creep in, "Was I supposed to be on this trip?" I felt that perhaps I wasn't the person that my friend was supposed to bring along to Trinidad to see Swamiji. Within a day or two of this feeling Swamiji's devotee's were going on a trip to another town in Trinidad, Princes Town, where Swamiji was to inaugurate a new temple. On one occasion while Swamiji was addressing the people in the temple he happened to make the state­ment, "Don't leave Swamiji." I felt that this was a definite message for me as well as for others, and I began to feel better. As I became less afraid and more relaxed other devotees would come up to me and tell me their experiences with Swamiji and I would reciprocate. The devotees in Trinidad were very helpful. One day while I was sitting in the temple one of the pundits offered me part of a coconut and began to give me a tour of the temple and explained the significance of the different deities. I also remember him telling how grateful he was to Swamiji and he told me of his experiences with Swamiji. I found this deeply touching. During my visit to Trinidad I felt that events which occurred helped to elicit feelings which I may have experienced as a child. Some of these were not always pleas­ant, but I felt that there were tests, challenges and healings on this trip. In looking back on it, since learning more about Swamiji through books and experiences, I realize that sometimes there will be pain or hurt in order to heal. During my trip to Trinidad I felt that Swamiji was always taking care of me. One day while in the temple some adorable children offered me some "sweets." On another occasion while sitting in the temple, Radha Krishna came up to me and gave me a warm hug. One night while in the dining hall, I was sitting at a table having dinner. I remember having sweet cravings on the trip, and there was something very sweet which was part of the dinner. I remember thinking that I would like to have more of it, but I didn't want to appear greedy. At that point the woman sitting next to me offered her sweet, then the two young people sitting on the other side of me offered me their sweets. The two young people then left the table and other devo­tees that I met on the trip sat down next to me. Within a short period of time the two young people returned to the table where I was sitting and gave me two more bags of sweets. The other devotees then were asking "What about us?" At that point of course I shared my sweets with them! On the last day of my trip to Trinidad I was fortunate to be able to go to the Aripo River and to bathe there. I had several dreams in Trinidad of people I knew. One dream in particular was of a woman I know from the agency that I work for. She works in another facility and although we are only acquaintances I knew that she had cancer. I felt that perhaps this was a message from Swamiji and that he might be able to help her. After returning from Trinidad I spoke with this woman about Swarniji. I learnt that in addition to being ill, she had many family problems. I gave her book and a tape to play. During the course of the year I would occasionally see her and she would tell me of her condition and of various treatments that she received. I recently found out that as of August 1998 she was 98% cancer free. After my trip to Trinidad, I placed pictures of my family and friends, particularly people who were ill in front of Swamiji's photo and I feel he has helped these people. On one occasion a woman that I work with, a nurse, was worried about her son. He had been suffering from Bell's Palsy, condition which involves partial facial paralysis. The boy was only 15 years old and had been depressed over this condition. I asked to bring me a photograph of her son. She brought me a photograph of her sonâ??s and I put the photo in front of Swamiji 's picture. Within a week or two of this, I asked her how her son was doing. He no longer had the facial paralysis. He has been doing well since then. The second time I went to visit Swamiji was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July 1998 (July 7 - July 12). This was a wonderful trip and I was able to . participate in Pada Puja. In the interview immediately following Pada Puja I asked Swamiji whether I should continue the "energy practice" I was involved in; I expressed to him that I thought there may be a conflict between my relationship with him and this "energy practice," (Qugong), with a Chinese Master. He advised me to do something different and he said, "I will help you." I also asked him if I could visit India within the next year and a half - meaning Mysore Ashram. He granted me permission. Within a few days of my return to New York, I received a call from a devotee that I met in Baton Rouge. He told me that a Kriya Yoga and Meditation Workshop taught by Bindu of Baton Rouge would be given in the Datta Yoga Temple in Pennsylvania at the end of August. I immedi­ately felt Swamiji's guidance and I was grateful. Of course I was able to take the Workshop and I met wonderful people there. In August 1998 my mother had been visiting me in New York when she developed a bad cough. When she returned to her home in Florida, she was not getting better but continued to become very weak. She also became very depressed. One night I woke up at approximately four in the morning and I was worried about my mother. The next day my mom told me that something "weird" happened at approximately four in the morning. She said she couldn't sleep. She had been looking at her dresser and there appeared to be a light above the St. Jude plaque on her dresser. At first she told me that she had thought maybe there was a light there to begin with. She realized there wasn't when the light traveled to the picture on my father which is on her dresser. My father died in August 1993 and my mother always thinks of him. I realized as soon as my mother told me this that Swarniji was looking after her. When my mother finally went to see the doctor, they discovered that she had developed pneumonia. She is elderly and has a heart condition, high blood pressure and other medical problems. Needless to say I was worried about her. During the time of her illness she told me of another experience which she had. She again referred to it as weird, She told me that one night she felt my presence at the foot of her bed and she also felt that I was in the guest room, the room where I sleep when I visit her. There is also a picture of Swamiji on the dresser in that room. I immediately felt in my heart when she related this experience to me that Swamiji was there with her. Within a few days of antibiotic treatment my mom gained back her strength. She also came out of what she has described as a very depressed state. I feel that Swamiji has helped to heal her on all levels, physical, mental and psychological. Since the death of my father in 1993 my mother has gone through difficult times. Now she has been doing much better. Her blood pressure is stable and her outlook on life is much more positive. Swamiji has also helped me to resolve various mother-daughter conflicts and I feel that my relationship with my mother has been transformed in many ways due to Swamiji's grace and guidance. Swamiji has assisted me in my job as well. I work for an agency which serves handicapped individuals, people with Cerebral Palsy and other conditions affecting the physical and mental state of an individual). I have a degree in Psychology and am responsible for counseling, psychological testing and behavioral interventions. I feel that Swamiji is always with me and that he has helped many of the clients and staff that work with. On the most difficult and challenging cases that I have is a woman with cereebral Palsy and Dysarthria; she has a speech impairment and her speech not intelligible. One of her goals is to obtain her GED (High School Equivalency Diploma). Some of the staff members were not sure if this was a realistic goal. I was able to obtain a nonverbal test of intelligence scored within the average range of intelligence on this test. It is very difficult to tap into the intelligence of someone who is completely disabled and unable to speak, due to the nature of intelligence. She became more assertive and developed more self-confidence within the past few years and her goals of obtaining a GED and moving out of her present residence appear to be attainable.
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I will be with you and protect you - Ashweena Gonuguntla, Newburgh, Indiana
I along with my sister Suneetha went to India for summer vacation and also planned to visit Mysore ashram. I wished to seek blessings from Sri Swamiji before joining college as freshman at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA. We have known Sri Swamiji since the year 1981. I was then at the age of five when Sri Swamiji for the first time came to Suriname, South America, and stayed with us. It was the beginning of a new era in our lives. My parents have been ardent devotees of Sri Swamiji and always spend time in Mysore with Sri Swamiji whenever we visit India. In 1990 my sister and I even spent two months of our summer vacation in Mysore ashram. That was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I always listen to Sri Swamiji 's music and bhajans, and sleep while listening to healing and meditation music. I have keen interest in learning about Sri Swamiji. The experiences of my father even were published in Bhakti Mala. "People who have complete faith in Sri Swamiji will have Sri Swamiji's grace all the time," says my dad. I was a recipient of a scholarship from ALCOA, where my dad works. Due to Sri Swamiji's grace, I succeeded in getting the scholarship, so I wanted to give some Guru Dakshina out of my scholarship. Sri Swamiji was very much pleased with my humble offer. Sri Swarniji gave assurance saying, "I WILL BE WITH YOU AND PROTECT YOU". While we were in India that year my sister's marriage was arranged. Consequently my return to USA was delayed and I missed my week long orientation program at IU, Bloomington. As soon as the marriage was over, we proceeded to Tirupati, and from Tirupati I went straight to Madras airport on August 25th 1994 to return to USA. The last days were hectic and I did not have any rest. My parents were to rututn to USA on August 28th 1994. My first day on campus was a disaster. I did a lot of last minute shopping and bought some books that were necessary for the classes that started on August 29, 1994. Late in the day on the 27th I found that my wallet containing charge cards, drivers license, ID's and money was missing. 1 searched with my friends in all possible places including the bookstore, but with no success. Finally, I reported the theft to the local police station, but they were also unsuccessful in finding it. When my parents returned to USA two days later, I informed them of my misfortune. My dad simply told me to have complete faith in Sri Swamiji and to be cheerful. I prayed with great reverence that night to Sri Swamiji and fell asleep peacefully. Two days later, I went back to the bookstore to buy some stationery. As soon as I entered, the store manager simply handed over the missing wal¬let. The manager found the wallet on an open shelf of books. More than anything else, I was astonished to find everything intact including the money. Suddenly Sri Swamiji's words rang in my ears clearly, "I WILL BE WITH YOU AND PROTECT YOU." I felt heavenly to think of Sri Swamiji.
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Sri Swamiji's Concern for Devotees - Lakshminarayana Gonuguntla, Newburgh, Indiana
Our family is a happy family. Many of our friends used to feel the same way. Above all, friends say that our family has the grace of Sri Swamiji. We are very fortunate to have the grace of Sri Swamiji. We have had a very peaceful life. The Ocean of Samsara (life) will not always be peace­ful. We have to sail through some rough tides at times. Sri Swarniji helps us to sail through during these periods. This is because Sri Swamiji will also be very concerned about the welfare of His devotees. My wife, Swarna Lata, was falling sick on an almost weekly basis since January 1998. By the middle of February 1998, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor called "acoustic neuroma". The peace that existed for so many years disappeared suddenly and anxiety took over immediately. All the relatives and friends were very concerned. We made many inquiries about the hospitals and the surgeons. We finally decided on Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville. March 23, 1998 was fixed for a surgery. Our daughter, Ashweena, was in the Mysore ashram at that time. We communicated to her with all the details. My wife wanted me to talk to Sri Swamiji. I was very reluctant. I only asked my daughter to inform Sri Swarniji. A surgery was performed. It was a long grueling day for us. The physicians worked on Lata for 14 hours. They could not completely remove the tumor. The doctors decided to do surgery again after a week. Lata made a fantastic recovery after the first surgery and was discharged four days later. We stayed in a hotel. During our stay in the hotel, we got a call. The call was from Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji said, â??Lakshminarayana, I saw everything. I was in the oper­ation theater. Everything is going to be fine. You must compose and be brave. â??My mother-in-law, a great devotee of Sri Swamiji wanted to speak with Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji said to her, "I gave you energy. Treat Lata like Sri Swamiji." I never expected a phone call from Sri Swamiji. This phone call itself was a miracle. We were extremely happy. Why did I not expect a call from Sri Swamiji? I want to narrate here our previous meeting with Sri Swamiji in the ashram in 1996. We, together the whole family, had an interview with Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji talked for a long time. We were very happy. Sri Swamiji said to us, "You are my devotees for a long time. Sri Swamiji from now on will keep some distance away from you. It is only a physical distance, but you will always have my spiritual presence." We immediately felt sad. Then Sri Swamiji narrated very briefly a situation how Gopikas felt when Lord Sri Krishna told Gopikas that He will be moving away from them physically. Sri Swamiji thus narrating the story of Sri Krishna and the Gopikas, consoled us with a lot of compassion. This was the reason why I considered the call from Sri Swamiji to be miracle. Sri Swamiji said everything will be fine. Be brave. These words stuck in my mind. Why did Sri Swamiji ask me to be brave? A second surgery was set for April 1, 1998. We all expected that t surgery should not last long. But it took longer than the first surgery, another 15 hrs. Lata was really in bad shape because of many complications. She was experiencing seizures. Probably half of the time she was in a coma. It was very frightening to look at her. The doctors were struggling to contain the pressure in her brain. Many times we wept, seeing her condition. The doctors found a blood clot in the brain and on April 3,1998, an emergency surgery was performed. The surgeon came from the surgery and told me that the situation was extremely critical. I asked the surgeon whether I could call my daughter Ashweena to come back from India. The doctor said it could be too late. He gave us two days as a dead line. This happened at 7:30 in the evening. I asked my daughter Suneetha to call Ashweena and tell her come to USA as soon as possible. That whole night I could not sleep at all. I was constantly recollecting what Sri Swamiji told me on the phone. Now I understood why Sri Swamiji asked me to be brave. Sri Swamiji said everything should be fine with Lata. The doctor had set the limit at two days. How can Sri Swamiji go wrong? The whole night was spent only in analyzing the doctor's words and Sri Swamiji's words. While this was happening with us here, Ashweena with the help of Radhakrishna conveyed to Sri Swamiji about the gravity of the situation. Sri Swamiji said again that her mom should be fine but gave permission to leave India to take care of her mom. Sri Swamiji also sent special theertham(sanctified spiritual water) with Ashweena. The doctors were struggling to contain the blood pressure within reason­able limits. We wanted to do our share. We requested the doctors to play Sri Swamiji's "Healing & Meditation music". They allowed us to play it. We saw clearly the drop in blood pressure. The combination of doctorâ??s efforts and Sri Swamiji's music helped to resolve the blood pressure prob­lem. Lata started recovery. The surgeon was surprised at the recovery. We knew for sure it was all due to Sri Swamiji's grace. Recovery is a very slow and long process. Prasadi conveyed the message Sri Swamiji will be visiting Newburg to see Lata in July 1998. Sri Swamiji also would be staying with Drs. Sudhir and Mythili Gurram. We were all very happy for Sri Swamiji making this unscheduled private visit. Lata knew that Sri Swamiji protected her. But she was all the time questioning why Sri Swarniji did not help her from the pain and suffering. She was telling me to ask Sri Swamiji about this. I used to feel very uneasy. I used to think that for everything there must be some reason. I was praying to let Swamiji resolve this. When Sri Swamiji was with us, Sri Swamiji brought up this subject without even asking anything. Lata got her answers without ever bringing up her questions. Sri Swamiji is Omniscient. Sri Swamijiâ??s unscheduled private visit to Lata showed that He cares for His devotees a lot.
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Cancer Cured - Sudheer Gurram, MD & Mythili Gurram, MD, Newburgh, Indiana
We feel that it is a privilege to narrate our beautiful experiences with Sri Swamiji, but it does not appear to be the easiest thing to put it in writing. We will try to do our best to share our experience. We first had Darshan of Sri Swamiji in summer of 1993, when His Holiness visited Newburgh, Indiana. We were invited to attend Sri Chakra Pooja at the residence of Sri Lakshminarayana and Lata, who are the longtime devotees of Sri Swamiji. Later we also attended the musical concert conducted by Sri Swamiji, and enjoyed it soulfully. Since then we were very much interested in Sri Swamiji's Bhajans and were participating in "Satsang" regularly to enjoy the music. About a year later, we encountered an unexpected health problem. The day started as usual but it did not end in the same manner. In the evening when I was doing my prayers, I suddenly felt a swelling in the left side of my neck. I palpated the mass and found that it was hard to the touch and was quite big in size. I got really scared and showed it to my husband. As we both are doctors, we knew what it meant, usually it was cancerous unless otherwise proven. We had a sleepless night and we never thought nights could be so long. First thing in the morning we went to see a general surgeon who ordered all the work up including the CAT scan. On the same day I saw three different doctors in three different specialties. Since the mass was in the neck, I was also referred to an ENT surgeon for further evaluation. The ENT surgeon felt strongly that the mass was cancerous and commented to one of our friends that it would be a rare bird if it was not cancerous; he suggested a biopsy. We felt totally devastated and were deeply praying to swamiji to help us. I decided not to have the biopsy done until I got an to my prayers. That night I called my friend Nalini (Saginaw, MI) to contact Sri Swamiji for His blessings. Nalini and her parents (Father-Sri Choudary of Vijayawada and mother - Vasundharamma) have been very strong devotees of Sri Swamiji for many years. She said that she would try to contact His Holiness and then call us back. That night, after struggling for many hours, I fell asleep. I had a beautiful dream in which I saw Sri Swamiji sitting in a chair on a sea shore. He showed me His feet and blessed me while I was touching His feet. That dream lasted for only a few moments, but those were the most precious, peaceful moments of my life. I woke up and kept on memorizing the same dream. I did not want to lose that tranquillity. Within a short time the phone rang and it was from my friend Nalini. She said that Sri Swamiji himself contacted Nalini that night to talk to her father Sri Choudary who was staying with her at that time. They mentioned about my condition to His Holiness. She said that Sri Swamiji gave His blessings and asked me to keep chanting Datta Stavam as many times as possible. It turned out that Sri Swamiji had appeared in my dream around the same time that He was talking to my friend Nalini. His Holiness also appeared in my husband's dream and assured him there was nothing to be worried about. Later I had the biopsy done and to the surprise of the surgeon, it turned out to be non-cancerous. Even though we went through a lot of mental agony with this problem, We felt that it happened for our good, to witness Sri Swarniji's leela and blessings. We actually feel that the biggest of all Sri Swamiji's miracles is His bringing about change in our spiritual consciousness and helping us overcome the weaknesses of the self, which we witness many times. These kinds of miracles are only felt by the heart, and are difficult to explain. Music and Healing: I (Mythili) would like to write about the practical application of Sri Swamijiâ??s music. I know that we already heard about hundreds of cases with different ailments being healed through Sri Swamiji's music. I want to share my small and humble experience of the healing effects of Sri Swamij's music. Three years ago, I was having significant stomach problems with acidity which can result in a condition called "gastro esophagael reflux." It resulted in hoarseness of my voice, a sensation of tightness in the threat, and a burning sensation in my chest. I was taking three different types of medications and more I was even taking double the dose of the medica­tion, which was supposed to help reduce the production of acid in the stomach. Still I was not seeing significant improvement even with all this treatment. During that time, I went to India and had an opportunity to get information regarding the effects of Sri Swamiji 's different musical compositions on different organ systems in the body. After I came back home, I wanted to try this "Healing Through Musicâ??. I was listening to the cassette of "Panchatattva Raga Malika", which is sup­posed to help stomach problems. I used play that music while I was going back and forth from work, each time about half an hour. Within two to three weeks, I saw significant improvement and by the third week I stopped taking all my medications. My EARNEST advise to people who have stomach problems is try to listen to Panchatattva Raga Malika on a regular basis for few weeks with faith. It will help you the way it helped me. I will be very happy if I can be of any help to anybody in sharing this experience.
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The Silent Healer - Hira Duvvuri, Prairieville, Louisiana
Several crises occurred in my life all at once. My father, who was my best friend, guide and mentor passed away. All my siblings picked up disputes with me. Serious false allegations were made against me in the local com­munity. Friendships were betrayed. Pent-up differences surfaced causing marital problems. Our daughter got married and moved far away. Our son left for college. I became intensely grief-stricken, angry, hurt, and lonely. I fell under acute mental depression and psychiatric care. By mid 1997 I was taking the maximum dosage of anti-depressants. I stopped seeing people. I lost interest in everything including music, which was "my life!" I even stopped praying. I hit rock bottom. A whole year passed in practical isolation. In June 1998, I started devel­oping a desire to go in search of a spiritual guru and to spend some time in an ashram. When I began making inquiries with friends and relatives they started suggesting places far away. One day we received in the mail a flyer announcing Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji's arrival in Baton Rouge, with reference to the first anniversary celebrations of the Datta Temple. When Swamiji was in town in 1997, I had not seen him because I had heard unfavorable reports about him from my husband, and from other acquaintances. But now I thought, "Why not see this Swamiji for what it is worth, since he is coming right to my doorstep instead of completely rejecting him to run thousands of miles to seek another guru?" My bitter experiences had taught me a very valuable lesson. Having a victim of false allegations, I now knew that the negative reports that I had heard about Swamiji could very well be untrue. But I still need reassurance. I called my aunt in Madras, India, who is like a mother to me to ask if she had ever heard of Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. She said that Swamiji had a good reputation, and was famous for singing bhajans. Her ex-neighbors were staunch devotees of Swamiji and had been for a few decades now. They had known Swamiji since he was a little boy. My aunt who knew the mental anguish that I had suffered in the past several months encouraged me to see Swamiji. I decided to see him. I was still too nervous to drive, and to be amidst crowds by myself. So, I woke my son up, who was home from college for the holidays, and begged him to take me to the Datta Temple to see Swamiji. I had to spend a lot of time explaining, convincing, and pleading, before he reluctantly agreed. I knew we were going to be late for the puja. I was by then unaware of Swamiji's mysterious ways of testing devotees for their endurance, faith, and perseverance. I had absolutely no clue as to his unfathomable true dimension, or his extraordinary powers. I thought of Swamiji as just another highly respected individual with some knowledge of yoga and spiritual matters, who possibly could be my spiritual guide. On the morning of Wednesday, July 8, I saw Swamiji for the first time at the Datta Temple. We arrived too late to purchase tickets for the Sri Chakra Puja. The temple was crowded to capacity. When we tried to get in line to get Swamiji's darshan, the volunteers kept sending us off to the back because we did not have tickets. We were asked to wait, and then we were relegated to the sidelines, and again sent back to the very end of the line. We kept having to sit down, get up, sit down again, move back, and step aside. At a point I was so embarrassed at constantly finding myself in someone's way, that I regretted my decision of wanting to see this Swamiji. I had a strong urge to walk out and go home but I resisted, and my endurance paid off. . Finally I walked in front of Pujya Swamiji. It is an unforgettable moment for me. Swamiji 's powerful and eloquent eyes radiated immeasurable love and compassion mingled with mischievous amusement. He scanned my soul with his piercing gaze that made me feel all tingly. Swamiji looked satisfied and pleased. I felt a wave of relief as if I had finally come home. Swamijiâ??s brief speech that morning totally changed my perspective on life. He brought home to me the insignificance of the multi-varied relationships that we get involved in during each lifetime, which are so short-lived and transient in relation to our place in eternity. He made me realize that the sole purpose of one's life is to attain inner peace and perfection by overcoming one's ego. It was important to break this cycle of births and deaths by developing a detachment towards worldly posses­sions and enjoyments. Swamiji's diction was simple and direct. His tone was caring, friendly, and persuasive. Swamiji's childlike expression and manner were most heartwarming and adorable. I was totally drawn to him. The next evening I attended Swamiji's music program. Swamiji sang bhajans with the utmost fervor, which touched the depths of my heart. I was captured by the sincerity of devotion in Swamiji's voice. Swamiji's message to me was loud and clear. It was "GET BACK TO MUSIC!" On Friday evening, while I listened with closed eyes to Swamiji's healing music being played on a synthesizer, I was transported to a different world! My heart burst open and I sent out a silent wail imploring Swamiji to lift me out of my debilitating depression! Finally I opened my eyes to look at Swamiji. To my thrill and disbelief Swamiji was intently looking at me, straight into my eyes across the dense crowd. He compassionately nodded assent. The next instant Jayalakshmi Mata Bhavan was filled with the fragrance of Vibhooti. Swamiji had manifested the healing substance out of a flower while I watched with amazement! At the end of the concert, along with the others I too gratefully partook of the Vibhooti prasadam. I felt as if a burden had been lifted from my head. I caught myself singing on the way home! When I reached home I noticed the patch of skin problem that I had had for three months on my left wrist had magically vanished! In August I visited Swamiji's ashram in Mysore. Although I saw lining up daily for interviews, I never felt like having one with Swamiji. I attended all the religious rituals. The desire to pray arose in me naturally. The Vedic chants and the sacred aroma of the homa had a soothing effect on me. Wearing the rakshas that Swamiji gave as prasadam around my neck and wrist gave me a sense of security. I borrowed some books from the library and started reading about Swamiji. I had conversations with a couple of long-term devotees of Swamiji. Slowly my skepticism and doubts began to melt away. As I gathered more and more information about Swamiji, I began to feel more comfortable in placing my faith in him. I never spoke to Swamiji, except to say, "Jai Guru Datta!" I never told him any of my problems. I did not know if he even recognized that I was from Baton Rouge. I did experience off and on, Swamiji's intense but compas­sionate gaze resting on me for a few seconds during the morning and evening prayer sessions regardless of whether I was sitting near or far. By the end of my brief stay of four days at the ashram, something miracu­lous happened. My depression lifted completely! The intense anger that had been consuming me for over two years just evaporated! The grief and loneliness left me. I laughed heartily after many months. It was as if, like a quiet breeze, Swamiji had blown away all my negative emotions. I then suddenly realized that Swamiji had no need for words! He could look into my heart and see the hurt. He had a way of healing with mere looks. Swamiji had silently stepped into my mind and set my understanding right. It was JUST unbelievable! He made me feel compassion towards those who had hurt me. Every minor incident now made me go into deep introspec­tion. The result each time was a positive inner transformation. I was on my way to being a better human being. I was fortunate to be at the ashram during the celebration of Sri Krishna Janmashtami. During the festivities, I had an extraordinary experience! I would look at Swamiji, but I would see an enchanting, adorably mischievous little Krishna! Later I overheard other visitors at the ashram describing the same experience. Swamiji with his hand scooped out fresh butter from a pot and placed gleefully a handful of it in the palm of each devotee. What he was giving away was pure spiritual ecstasy! On my way back to Madras from Mysore, I surprised myself by deciding to visit my sister in Bangalore. I felt a little disheartened that she did not come to receive me at the railway station. I started walking towards the exit when I heard the voice of a longtime friend excitedly calling my name. It was a friend whom I had not seen in sixteen years! She was boarding the same train. Her sisters, who had come to see her off, were excited when they noticed on my wrist, the copper bracelet with Swamiji 's name on it. They are longtime devotees of Swamiji! They gave me a ride to my sister's house insisting that it was their privilege. They assured me based on their own experience, that from now on Swamiji would constantly be taking care of me. When I returned to Madras, my relatives were amazed to see the new me! I was full of enthusiasm and vigor. I threw away my anti-depressants and sleeping pills. I embarked at once on a renovation project of a flat that we own at Madras. Miraculously I found the confidence to deal with the contractors, take decisions, supervise the laborers, and put up with the dust, mess, and the chaos. Within ten days the project was completed without a hitch! Swamiji took care of everything! He stayed in my thoughts constantly, giving me strength and courage. The only thing that troubled me during that time was an excruciating pain in my legs. It hurt so bad to walk, or to climb stairs that I could have cried. I had four days left before my departure. My relatives expected that I would just sit back and relax in the nice flat, and enjoy my holiday. Instead, they found me taking the earliest train back to Mysore! When I arrived at the ashram, I was given a room on the third floor. There was no elevator. I walked considerable distances to get to the prayer hall, the temple, and the dining room. In addition, I went for a walk every day around the Guru Nilayam. I was very happy, and at peace with myself the day of my departure I realized with astonishment that my legs had not hurt one bit from the moment I stepped into the ashram! Before I left the ashram, I went to see Swamiji. When I touched his feet he blessed me and gave me an idol of Dattatreya Swami and Anagha Devi. It is the kind of idol which one keeps in the puja. I was puzzled at this gift, since I did not perform daily puja! In fact, it had been a sore point with my husband that I did not keep an altar at home. I had done only mental worship. Swamiji, who had miraculously cured me of my depres­sion, and to whom I was extremely grateful, had now given me an idol. I felt obligated to set up an altar. Although my husband did not believe in Swamiji, since I started doing the daily puja, he also started saying his prayers in front of the deity, and Swamiji's pictures. Slowly but percepti­bly, the antagonism between us disappeared! Instead of arguing constantly, we started to open up and have long, friendly conversations. I started to notice that Swamiji is a living presence in his pictures! Swamiji's eyes from the altar began to follow me around the room! In the process of soul cleansing, I confronted all my deep-seated, hitherto suppressed and unresolved issues, and requested Swamiji silently for answers. To each of them, a comforting and unexpected solution quietly came into my conscious thought! Swamiji had established a direct, silent access into my consciousness! In his writings Swamiji had recommended the Audumbara Deeksha. I took it up for 40 days. Swamiji gave me the necessary will power to do it. It produced a noticeable improvement in my mental comprehension. When I started reading complex works such as the Upanishads, the hidden subtle truths began to be revealed to me. While I was at the ashram in Mysore at the beginning of September 1998, I had heard about Swamiji's upcoming Kriya Yoga camp at Mekedatu in India scheduled for November. I had decided to attend it. I announced my intention to my husband as soon as I returned to the U.S. He was very upset. He was reluctant to give his consent. Days and weeks passed by. I knew that it was perhaps unreasonable to ask to make two trips to India within three months. But I was very keen on going. I also knew it was impossible for my husband to understand my enthusiasm because he had no interest either in yoga or Swamiji. Then a miracle occurred! My husband gave his consent to my trip to India! I silently thanked Swamiji. Mekedatu, a very scenic and spiritually charged spot is where Swamiji had his very mysterious birth. The camp was rigorous, intensive and refreshing. The privilege of basking in the glorious sunshine of Swamijiâ??s warm compassion, humor, uncommon spiritual wisdom, and love, and receiving yoga instruction directly from him, was indeed a gift from God! What happened during that week was truly remarkable! I slept on the ground, on a mat, rose daily at 3 a.m. (without the help of an alarm clock), and bathed in cold water. I sat in front of the Guru Nilayam and meditated. The spiritual energy currents that were transmitted by Swamiji gave me the most thrilling and unforgettable experiences! I watched the glorious sunrise every morning and worshipped the Sun God. I sat cross-legged on the floor for over 12 hours each day to attend the puja, lectures and yoga demonstrations during the day, and Swamijiâ??s exhilarating bhajans and Vedanta discourses in the evening. Entire experience was glorious! To talk it all, I was blessed with the opportunity of taking a dip along with Swamiji at the holy three-river confluence of Kaveri, Arkavati, and Guptagamini, where Swamiji individually gave each of the 250 disciples a ritual bath (prokshanam)! It was just out of this world! Incidentally a miracle of miracles! My husband joined me at Mekedatu to attend the Kriya Yoga camp! (Wonders of a Holy Master)
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Back Surgery Avoided - Vijayalakshmi Venkatesan, Lyndhurst, NJ
I live in New Jersey with my husband, Venkateshan Pundi. My husband carne to know about Sri Swamiji in 1993 through his friend Selvam, who also lives in Jersey. My husband and I were separated for nearly three and half years because of visa problems. We always prayed to God to shower His blessings for our early union. My husband first had darshan of Sri Swamiji in Canada. When he went there he didn't know anything about Sri Swamiji's Music for Healing and Meditation. Once the concert started he forgot himself and really enjoyed the music. While coming on rounds, Sri Swamji touched my husband and gave him a coral Sri Chakra pendent and a jade. From then he began listening to Swamiji' s music almost every day. Whenever he called me in India, he insisted that I listen to the music too. But to be truthful I did not pay attention because at that time I had faith only in God and nobody else; and it doesn't mean that I disrespected anybody. My husband visited me once a year and while he was there he always listened to Sri Swamiji's music. Even that did not change me. Still I went to have darshan of Sri Swamiji in Velachery Ashram with my father. Then I got to go to the concert at Kamaraj Memorial Hall. I really enjoyed the music. For one tune, He asked us to close our eyes and just concentrate in between the eyes and listen to the music. That was really wonderful. I have no knowledge of meditation or yoga; still I enjoyed the music. My husband used to write letters to the ashram to find out how soon I would join him and whether everything would OK for us,etc. He used to call Swamiji's party when he was in Switzerland and other places. When I came to the USA, I heard lot about Sri Swamji though Usha (Mrs. Selvam) and Mr. Selvam and my husband. Those things had changed my mind considerably and I started to listening to the music a little bit. Last year (1997) we experienced a number of difficulties. We lost a child (a baby boy) at the seventh month, having gotten pregnant after 5 years of marriage. My sorrow did not stop there. During my pregnancy I was suffering from severe back pain, which the doctors thought could be be­cause of the baby's weight leaning on the spinal column. The pain did not stop even after the miscarriage. Three days after delivery I was again struck by severe pain. It was unbearable, I should say. I could not move or stand or sit or do anything. My parents were here at that time. My mother would try rubbing my back with ointment and my husband would try putting a heating pad. A week later, my legs started crippling and I was not able to walk. Finally I was admitted to the hospital in an emergency situation. When the doctors took MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) they found that my spinal column was infected and the 10th and 11th vertebrae were compressed due to a fracture. Immediately the doctors ordered for a bi­opsy. The results were not favorable. They put me on various medica­tions, about 10 prescriptions. I was in the hospital for nearly a month. Since my spinal column was weak, I was given a body brace (a fiber shield which holds your spinal column straigfht), which I wore all the time. I was instructed not to get up from bed even to go to the bathroom. I was suffering with all these problems at the age of 30. I should thank God, who sent my mother and father at the right time to help me. Since I was 10,000 miles away from my home country, who would think that my mother would come to help me at the right time. That is why I believe in God always. There is one superior power who takes care of us all the time. It took some time for me to understand that God helps us through His messengers. That messenger is Sri Swamiji for us. Let me come back to the story. I was sent for the MRI again and now the doctors said they saw a little improvement in the way my spinal column looked. But I would have to undergo surgery in the spinal column very soon. We were all very much scared because we knew that it is not a joke to have operation in the spinal column. That is when my husband said without getting Swamiji's permission and bless­ing. We faxed a letter asking for Swamjii's permission. Swamiji advised us to go for a second opinion. He also said that should I undergo surgery, it would end up in complications. My husband's brother lived in Minnesota, where there is world famous clinic called the Mayo Clinic, which has the world's best doctors. As per Swamiji's instructions we went there and the doctors examined me thoroughly and said that I did not need surgery at that time. Since it would not help straighten my spinal column, a 17 hour operation would not worth it. Since I was being treated for the infection, there should not be any problem. If anything serious should happen then we would have to think about surgery. We all felt so happy and relieved. While undergoing all these problems, I started listening to Swamiji 's music regularly. That gave me peace of mind and courage to face the consequences. I had Swamiji's picture by my bedside and I also wore the Raksha given by Swamiji, all the time. This was a good lesson for me and I thought to myself, "It is human nature to seek for help only when you have a problem." From then I started believing in Sri Swamiji big time. As said by His Holiness, I have not had the surgery. It is already 11 months now. To my surprise, as we were having casual talk, Selvam told us about Sri Swamiji's expected arrival in the USA in summer of 1998. He also said that His Holiness was going to visit his house and bless his house on July 2nd. We all jumped with joy knowing that we would definitely get a chance to have the darshan of Swamiji. In addition to this, when Selvam told that I could help the person cooking food for Sri Swamiji that was the most wonderful opportunity that I have ever had in my life; it was a great honor for me. As there is a person who cooks food for Swamiji all the time, nobody can even think about that kind of opportunity. That morning, I even forgot about my illness and I was totally concentrating on cooking for Swamiji. I helped my mother who cooked food for the rest of the people. We were waiting for His Holiness to arrive. As soon as he arrived we got our chances to bow before Him and offer fruits and flowers. As this was going on, I saw that Sri Swamiji was looking at me, me alone in the midst of 30 people and chanting some mantra. He then turned towards me and said "Chant Adithya Hridhayam everyday; You will be all right and everything will be all right." I felt very very happy and tears were rolling down from my eyes. I was looking at Sri Swamiji and nothing else the whole time that He was there. I have heard my husband saying, "it is enough if Sri Swamiji looks at you once. Everything will be good from then onwards. Nothing bad could ever happen to you." I thought of it at that time. Then my husband and I got a chance to have the darshan of Swamiji in person. Swarniji blessed us again. I can never forget that smile face of His. Again He said "Chant Aditya Hridhayam every day. Everything will be good for you. You know, Swamiji gave you the opportunity to cook for Swamiji." After some time I said: "Swamiji, can you please come to our house at least for a couple of minutes." Swamiji answered "I don't have time this visit. Next time talk to respective people and make arrangements ahead of time. Then I'll come to your house." I requested again by saying "Swamiji, I wish you would stay in our house for at least 2 days" Swamiji laughed and said" Oh, no. Don't have that wish. I can't stay for too long in one place. I have to go to all my devotees' houses to satisfy them. Next year when I come I'll be staying for nearly two months and I'll have concerts and house visits and Homas, etc. Make arrangements in advance and we'll do the needful." We were really very happy to hear that and bowed before HIM. From then on I'm listening to the music whenever I get time. Now I feel Sri Swamiji 's presence always with me.
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