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Blossom 16 Petal 3 September 2012 The Source of the Cosmos Sri Chakra Sri Chakra Sri Chakra Sri Chakra Sri Chakra The Journal of the Sri Rajarajeswari Peetam, Rush, NY

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Blossom 16 Petal 3September 2012

The Source of the Cosmos Sri ChakraSri ChakraSri ChakraSri ChakraSri Chakra

The Journal of the Sri Rajarajeswari Peetam, Rush, NY

Since the last issue...

NewsletNewsletNewsletNewsletNewsletterterterterterNewsletNewsletNewsletNewsletNewsletterterterterter

2

SeptemberSeptemberSeptemberSeptemberSeptember

After returning from theToronto workshop Aiyaconducted on June 2, he andAmma remained in Toronto thatfollowing week to performvarious private pujas. On the 9thand 10th of June, they went toWashington DC to perform awedding and then came back toCanada to do another wedding inOttawa on June 16th and 17th.

Aiya was back in Rochester theweekend of the 23rd and 24thbecause he was teaching one ofthe ILS (Interactive LearningSessions) classes. That week wasalso quite busy since everyonewas preparing for the annualAlankara (Pratishta) festival fromJuly 1 to 3.

In the second week of July, Aiyaand Amma went to England for aprivate visit but then returned intime to conduct the AadiAmavasya puja at the temple.

SeptemberSeptemberSeptemberSeptemberSeptember

In the latter part of July, Aiyaand Amma left for Europe again,but this time met up with SriMathioli Saraswati (Sri Akka) forabout 10 days.

Aiya had to miss the first twodays of the Vibhuti SaivaiteImmersion camp, but was theremost of the week. Even before

camp ended, he had to honour aprior commitment he made to thestudents in Australia andSingapore, and was on a plane tovisit them for about three weeks.

While he was abroad, Aiyaperformed several workshops,house pujas, public pujas andconducted university lectures.

Thanks to Mayuran Saththianathanfor sending in photos of Aiya’shomam/puja at the site of theupcoming Shree Shirdi SaiSansthan in Sydney, Australia.

3

Past Events

Guru Poornima, July 3

Pratishta had a slightly lowerturnout than in past yearsbecause of the adjustment inscheduling to coincide with GuruPoornima. The first day wasSunday instead of the usualFriday, and the Ganesha festivalwent on as usual with a grandGanapathi homam in themorning, followed by the utsavaGanapathi’s procession aroundthe temple at night.

Early Monday morning saw aChandi homam, followed bykalasa sthapanam andannapavadai being offered to theDevi at midday. That night, theDevi’s chariot lit up the parkinglot.

The temple’s children ran theshow on Tuesday for theDattatreya puja, and puja wasalso done to Aiya and Amma, aswell as the whole guru lineage, forGuru Poornima that day.

Vibhuti Saivaite Immersion(camp), July 28 to Aug. 4

Aadi Puram, July 22

Pratishta Festival, July 1-3, and

Varalakshmi Vratam, July 27

Aadi Amavasya, July 18 About 50 people sponsored thispuja, in which individuals offeroblations to the departed souls oftheir fathers (if they do not knowthe thithi and month of theirfather’s departure, or havemissed that date).

The turnout was remarkable,considering the puja happened ona Wednesday morning. After ashort puja, sponsors went outsideto perform tarpanam. Aiya, whoconducted the puja, offered themain kalasam with five pindams.

Falling on a Sunday this year,many people were able to attendthe festival that celebrates theDevi’s entrance into womanhood.

Shankar aiya presided over theChandi homam on this day,which took four or five hours tocomplete. The Vana Durgamurthi was bathed in milk byeveryone present, then dressed,carried in procession, and finallygiven a short puja featuring avariety of snacks and sweets.

The festival wrapped up atabout lunchtime and everyonepresent was then givenmahaprasadam.

At least 75 sumangalis (marriedwomen) sponsored this puja, andthe subsequent number of spotswere set up, row by row,surrounding the Devi standingatop the homakundam.

A large lamp was dressed as awoman with the customary silverVaralakshmi face fastened at thetop. All the puja sponsorsperformed their own Sri Suktampujas to the small lamps beforethem, guided by Shankar aiya todo the puja step-by-step, inunison.

The eighth year of camp was thelargest but many agree perhapsthe best. The temple took on 110children from the ages of 8 to 19,who experienced a variety ofactivities throughout the week.

They learned about two saints,Sri Yogaswami of Jaffna, and Sri

Kumaran aiya worships the Bhairavaas Devi’s chariot waits to move on.

Good weather allowed all sponsorsto perform their own tarpanams

Ramsuratkumar of Annamalai, aswell as various aspects of theculture within Sanatana Dharma.Arts classes showed them how tostring kalasams, tie malas, anddraw kolams.

They learned the importantaspects of seva and how tooperate a temple, and also spent alot of time outdoors during sportsand games and during the full-day outing to a local Rochester

park. The kids were fed a purevegetarian diet, even during theouting and barbecue at the end ofthe week. Special thanks to all thecamp admin, the temple admin,the counselors who gave their allto the kids during the day despitemany sleepless nights, the medicalteam, the parents who stayed onsite and ran the temple for theweek, and Aiya and Amma. Seepage 5 for camp pictures.

VanaDurgaduringthe finalaarthi ofthe AadiPuramfestival.

4

The many forms of the Mother

The Sri Rajarajeswari Peetam ~ 6980 East River Road ~ Rush, NY 14543 ~ Phone: (585) 533 - 1970

Devi willing, the next issue ofthe Sri Chakra will be up on thetemple’s website at the beginningof December 2012.

This magazine cannot keeppublishing withoutcontributions! Articles, poems,stories and photos about anyspiritual topic are welcomed.

The next deadline for articlesubmission is November 10.Please e-mail us with yourcontributions or feedback aboutthis issue [email protected] ortalk to Kamya or Abhi at thetemple.

Sri Gurubhyo Namaha!

In Three Months

Our sincere thanks and gratitude to this issue’sOur sincere thanks and gratitude to this issue’sOur sincere thanks and gratitude to this issue’sOur sincere thanks and gratitude to this issue’sOur sincere thanks and gratitude to this issue’svvvvvolunteerolunteerolunteerolunteerolunteers: Aiys: Aiys: Aiys: Aiys: Aiya,a,a,a,a, V V V V Vilas Ankilas Ankilas Ankilas Ankilas Ankolekarolekarolekarolekarolekar,,,,, Sar Sar Sar Sar Sarmel Armel Armel Armel Armel Arudsothiyudsothiyudsothiyudsothiyudsothiy,,,,,VVVVVenkateshwenkateshwenkateshwenkateshwenkateshwar Babar Babar Babar Babar Babu,u,u,u,u, B B B B B. J. J. J. J. Jaaaaayyyyyaraman,araman,araman,araman,araman, R R R R Ramesh Kamesh Kamesh Kamesh Kamesh Kutticad,utticad,utticad,utticad,utticad,

Anand PanikkarAnand PanikkarAnand PanikkarAnand PanikkarAnand Panikkar,,,,, K K K K Kumaran Perinpanatan,umaran Perinpanatan,umaran Perinpanatan,umaran Perinpanatan,umaran Perinpanatan, Ma Ma Ma Ma MayuranyuranyuranyuranyuranSaththianathan, Vimalan Sothinathan, SreekantSaththianathan, Vimalan Sothinathan, SreekantSaththianathan, Vimalan Sothinathan, SreekantSaththianathan, Vimalan Sothinathan, SreekantSaththianathan, Vimalan Sothinathan, Sreekant

Subramanian, and Dhanuja Uthayakumaran.Subramanian, and Dhanuja Uthayakumaran.Subramanian, and Dhanuja Uthayakumaran.Subramanian, and Dhanuja Uthayakumaran.Subramanian, and Dhanuja Uthayakumaran.

Upcoming Events

Ganapathi Chaturthi, Sept. 19

Skanda Shashti, Nov. 14 to 18

Kedaragowri Vratham (last day),Nov. 13

Sharada Navarathri, Oct. 15 to 25

Karthikai Vilakku, Nov. 27

Falling on a Wednesday thisyear, Ganapathi Chaturthi isusually the last exclusivelyoutdoor event of the year, subjectto good weather.

If sunny and clear, the festivalwill be held outside on the deckand a grand Vancha-kalpaGanapathi homam will beconducted in the morning. Atnight, the utsava Ganesha murthiwill receive puja and be takenaround the temple in processionon a palanquin.

The Brahmotsavam of thistemple, Navarathri lasts a fullthree weeks from beginning to end.The flag-raising, or dvajarohanam,will take place the evening of Oct.8.

About a week later, the start ofNavarathri proper will see threefull days of worship to the Devi asGoddess Durga. Devi will take theform of Mahalakshmi over the nextthree days, and the last three dayswill see her become GoddessSaraswati.

Every third night, the Devi willgo around the temple inprocession, and a different upasakawill perform Navavarana Pujaevery evening.

Important days include Chandihomam and Vijayadasami on Oct.24, water-cutting ceremony onOct. 25, and kulurthi on Oct. 26.

Beginning on Vijayadasamiday (even before Navarathri isover), this festivalcommemorates the Devi mergingwith Shiva and occupying halfhis body. Married womentypically perform this vrathamto pray for the well-being of theirhusbands. Please call the templeearly to register as a sponsor.

The temple is lit up like aChristmas tree this evening, andeven though Karthikai Vilakku (ordeepam) is only a one-nightfestival, it is certainly one of themost beautiful of the year. Afterthe main puja is complete, scoresof tea candles and deepams willbe set afire and the lights will beturned off.

This is the night that hundredsof people perform girivalam inThiruvannamalai (pradakshanamof the Annamalai mountain,which is a 14-kilometre trek), inan act of worship to Lord Shiva.

Shankar aiya performs puja to the Devi asMahalakshmi, seated upon Kamadhenu.

Utsava Ganapathi and Siddhalakshmireceive abhishekam at last year’sChaturthi celebrations

Starting with nightly pujas toLord Murugan and his two lovelywives, and culminating in SuraSamharam and Devayani andValli kalyanam, this festival runsfor six nights. Those present areoften given the chance to performpart of the puja themselves.

5

The many forms of the Mother

Vibhuti Saivaite Immersion,2012Vibhuti Saivaite Immersion,2012

Clockwise from top left: Ammatrusts Pravin immensely duringher first time in a canoe; Sahanaakka instructs a class; Aiya andthe admin team run the food tableduring the outing; the kids sit incomplete silence during Vediclunch; and Lord Natarajadecorated with the malascampers made during art class.

The kids learn teamwork activities on the outingMadhu and Nikhil take part in Raksha Bandhan, wheresisters pray for the well-being of their brothers.

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The many forms of the Mother

I’ve been coming to the templefor the past 12 years. I’ve haddiksha for the past 10. In thebeginning I used to do my japam,do puja, chant Shivapuranam,and listen to LalitaSahasranamam every day. Why?Because that’s what seemed likethe right thing. Everyone aroundme was doing it and to me, at thetime, they seemed to haveeverything.

Once I got into high school, theway I saw things changed. Istarted asking more questionsabout life and what we do at thetemple. What wasthe purpose of doingall this? I never gotany answers fromanyone. Not even theDevi herself. I stillwent to the temple forthe sake of it, butwhat was I reallydoing there?

Everything that Idid completelystopped. I would stilldo puja, but it wasjust me showing thedhupam or deepamjust so my mom knewI was still a“believer.” Peoplewould tell me theirexperiences andexplain their conceptof Sri Vidya while I was there justnodding my head, listening to allthat garbage.

We heard that the temple washaving an India Yatra trip inDecember 2011. I didn’t want togo for many reasons. To name afew:

1) I’ve been to India way too manytimes

by Dhanuja Uthayakumaran

My Awakening

Aiya and some of the Rochester students in Devipuram during theIndia Yatra in December 2011. It was at the feet of Sri SahasrakshiRajarajeswari that the author had her first experience with the Mother.

My Awakening

2) I didn’t believe in any of this,and3) it would have been a waste ofmoney.

But my mother of course,knowing her, forced me into going.I was really bummed out. Myfriends and I planned to do somany things during ourChristmas break but I was stuckgoing to India. But during thetrip, on the second day, I had myfirst experience.

It was during our time inDevipuram, where Guruji’s

temple is. I was telling a couple ofthe temple boys, Ruban andJeilan, right before it happenedabout how I didn’t believe in Godand the whole japam/puja thing.Later that day, the kids weredoing an abhishekam at theKamakhya peetam. I just stoodoutside. What was I going to dothere? But a few minutes went byand I had a feeling that I would go

inside, sit, and “try” and dojapam—see if I could bring myselfback. And I did!

I completely zoned out. I didn’tknow what was going on aroundme. I woke up and had the feelingof going somewhere. Seeingsomething. But it wasn’t mewanting to see this thing. It waslike something was controllingme.

I got up and started running. Ihad no idea where this“controlling power” was takingme. I started walking up somestairs and there I was. Staring

right at Her. Ifelt likeeverything wasanswered, thatshe was rightby my side, thatI could doanything Iwanted andthat everythingwas going to beokay.

I startedcrying so muchbecause I wasthe happiestperson in thewhole world.Ever since thatday, I knewwhy I was here,what I’m doing.

It took me 10 years to realize whyand what I’m doing in life.

Look around you and appreciatethe things that are right in front ofyou. People always say thatthere’s a reason for everything.And sometimes you won’tunderstand what that reason isbut there’s still tomorrow. Behappy for everything you haveand live in the moment!

7

The many forms of the Mother

During the Vibuthi SaivaiteImmersion (camp) of 2011, thekids and counsellors weretreated with a class by Aiya’schildhood friend, Anand uncle,who was a direct student of SriSatya Sai Baba and spent yearswith Him at his ashramam.Among other topics, Ananduncle answered a camper’squestion about how hedeveloped an intense spiritualbond with the divine source ofthe universe.

The simple answer isthis—if you learn to be quiet,meaning your thoughts, you haveinstant access to God all the time.Maybe not all the time becausethe thoughts still interfere. Nomatter how much we say wewant to lessen the ego, it’s stillthere. It’s like if you have a dirtyrag and no matter how much youwash it, it’ll still be dirty. Buteach time you wash it, it gets alittle bit cleaner.

That’s what happens when youmeditate, when you do bhajans,when you do puja—you’re gettinga little closer each time. So youdon’t always have instantaccess—at least I don’t. It’s easierwhen I’m meditating because I’mreflecting inside.

The biggest thing for me [whenlearning with Baba] was that hecould help me realize rueconsciousness. It wasn’t aboutthe tricks, the rings, theviboothi—because these thingsthat were created don’t last.What lasts is the experiences andthe faith that takes you throughlife.

Usually the way this starts iswhen you’re desperate. I’m sureyou have all experienced this;when something bad ishappening to you, you are able toask, and you’re able to askwithout the ego. You can say,“Please help me,” and there’s noego because if there was, youwouldn’t be able to ask for that

Touching the SourceTouching the Source by Anand Panikkar

help—you would think there’sstill something you can physicallydo to help yourself.

So when you’re desperate, youdrop the ego. For me, I have seenso many desperate situations as aphysician where we doctors haveno answer. If you are functioningas yourself, as a body and soultogether, it’s going to be limitedbecause the very essence of whatwe can do in these forms islimited. But if you’re functioningwith a greater source comingthrough you, the result is muchbetter.

If I have a patient, while I’mwalking to that patient, I ask,“What’s wrong with this person?”And by the time I’m there, I havethe answer because I’m asking forhelp. I’m not trying to use theknowledge I acquired in medicalschool because I know that’slimited knowledge.

When you’re desperate, it’s asickness. It’s a sickness becauseyou know you can’t control it. Butif you can let go and ask for thathelp, you’ll be amazed. Help iscoming from within you and it’seasy for us to link it to the Devi orSwami because that’s ourmindset. It’s really difficult toconsider something that you can’tsee or touch because it’sunmanifested.

But you have to go beyond theform [of Devi, Swami, etc.]. If youstay with the form continuously,

it impedes yourpurpose. It’s almostlike putting the brakeson. That happens to alot of people, I find,because it’s hard to letgo of those ideas you’vealways held close toyou.

At the same time youfeel the desperation,you’ll feel the fear—there’s no questionabout that. But that’swhere faith comes in.When you canabsolutely have total

faith, the fear goes away becauseyou know the right thing willcome through. It may not be theresult you want or expect, butfaith will pull you away frombeing miserable from whateverthe result is, and take you to beingat peace with it.

It’ll start initially with youinjecting yourself into a situationto affect the outcome. But thenyou’ll realize that if you inject, theoutcome is never what it’ssupposed to be because it’s neverperfect. And then you can let go,but you have to accept what theresult is as being His will or Herwill. If you can live like that, lifebecomes very easy.

In my life, I’ve made bad choices.But if you surrender, you’ll soonrealize it’s impossible to make abad choice.

But this doesn’t mean it’s okay tonever try and not do your duty tothe best of your ability—youmust still do that, but the trick isto do it without going after theresult. I tell the kids you have tostill study, but don’t worry aboutthe A. Your job is to study. Soyou have to make the effort. Theresult will happen and whateverthe result, it’s what was supposedto be. And the result will usuallybe good if you do what you’resupposed to do.

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The many forms of the Mother

Wash it Away

Recently, an upasaka asked Aiyaabout why we do abhishekam and howit is tied into the overall practice inSanatana Dharma. In this series, Aiyagives a detailed answer to that question,and addresses the background as to howkarma is created, preserved by usthroughout lifetimes, and eventuallydestroyed. Thanks to KumaranPerinpanatan for sharing his recordingof Aiya’s answer.

Now, one of the principles uponwhich this faith is built is that wedon’t just have three score [onescore is equal to 20 years—ed] and 10.What the Bible says is that youhave three score and 10 years, andafter that, you’re gone. I think thesupreme intelligence is not goingto just give you 70 years to cleanup your act. If He or She or It,whatever, is described all all-compassionate, omnipresent, andall-knowing, it has to have muchmore intelligence than to giveeach person three score and 10.

Imagine there’s a string hangingdirectly toward the ground and at

the end of it, there’s a steel bar.Someone is giving that steel bar apush so that it swings like apendulum. It will go far one wayand then the other, and so on.

Eventually, it will come to astandstill. I think the humanexperience, the birth experience islike that. You’ll find eachsuccessive swing is marginallysmall than the previous one. Soultimately, what is the aim? It hasto come to rest. That is what thatwhich is inside of each of us isyearning for.

It wants to be completely at restwithout running after this thing,running after that, analyzing this,analyzing that. That’s what we’redoing. Twenty-four hours of theday, anything that comes into ourheads, we analyze. “Oh, I haveseen this person somewhere…”Now you’re accessing yourmemory. And in the timebetween when you start accessing

your memory and when yourealize that’s what you have beendoing, you’ve lost track of time.

Every time one passes on intothe beyond, there’s no beyond—this is what it is. You have tocome back again. If you have notreached that stage of completeoneness and equanimity, you aregoing to come back.

Throughout your life, you aregoing to carry impressions. Thehuman mind is structured in sucha way that it will quietly pushback any unpleasant experience tothe back. Any pleasantexperience, it will bring to theforeground so that you relive itagain and again and again. Butwith the unpleasant experiences,you have to confront them andrelive them and deal with them ifyou want to move forward. Andthere are some mantras that willdo just that—they will drudgeback all the rot that’s been keptunderneath. And as it comes up,you’ll be forced to deal with it.

Now, what does have to do withabhishekam? I’ll get to that.When you die, what is it thatleaves the body? It doesn’t have ashape or a form, nothing, butsomething is leaving the body.Today they call me Haran. But theminute I die, this form will just beknown as “the body.” They won’tsay, “Have they brought Haran tothe funeral parlour?” They’ll say,“Have they brought the body tothe funeral parlour.” Something ismissing from that body. What isit?

It can’t be the intelligence.Because if I clunk you on the headwith a baseball bat, you’re stillliving and breathing even though

Wash it AwayMethods of Karma-Burning, part 1Methods of Karma-Burning, part 1Methods of Karma-Burning, part 1Methods of Karma-Burning, part 1Methods of Karma-Burning, part 1

9

The many forms of the Mother

you might be unconscious. Themind is still going, and theintelligence has to do with themind. When you die, the mindalso dies. So something that’sbeyond the mind must be there.Finding out what that is, is whatthis journey is all about.

On the way, you will comeacross impressions that you havecarried with you maybe evenhundreds of years ago. Godknows how many lives we havehad. You have to take care of allthose impressions and mute themand neutralize them if you wantto go forward. When a personpasses on, according to what ourscriptures say, the causal bodymoves on. This is how you carrythose impressions with you, in

the causal body. Where youend up in the next life isentirely up to Her.

It has to do withcommitting negative acts.Let’s say you wake up in themorning, put your feet downand hear a crunch… you lookdown and you have justkilled a big ant. You go on,shower, get dressed, leave thehouse, get in the car and backout of the driveway, andaccidentally hit theneighbour’s cat on the wayout. You tell the neighbour,keep going around the cornerand then a German Shepherdjumps in front of your carand you run over it as well.

But then, you’re drivingalong and you hit and kill a

small child—of these four things,which is the one that will remainmost strongly in your mind? Thechild. But why? The ant, cat, dog,and child all had life. It’s becauseyou identify thechild’s body withyour ownexistence, andyousubconsciouslythink it is moreimportant thanthe other three.And the creatureyou will thinkabout the leastout of the four isthe ant.

But remember,in the eyes of the

Absolute, in the eyes of theMother, all those lives are equal.Many people may not accept it,but that is their problem. But foreach of these living beings, youwill carry some guilt, maybe alittle with the cat and the dog, buta massive amount of guilt forkilling the child. All that guiltwill be quietly programmed intoyour psyche while you are stillalive. And after the causal bodyleaves when you die, it will takethe psyche along with it—allthese subconscious memories andfeelings that have been recordedin you.

And when you are reborn, thesethings will enter the gene poolwith you. And now you have towork this karma away… buthow?

Find out how to work the karma outin part two of this series, in the next SriChakra.

10

The many forms of the Mother

Pathishad Rudra MantraOne of the main morning bedside rituals of a Sri Vidya upasaka is chanting the Rasmimala of 37 mantras.

One of the mantras is the Pathishadrudraa mantra. The fruit of recitation is Marga Sankata Hari, which isthe removal of dangers/discomforts in one’s way or journey. The root word is ‘path,’ the way or route takenfor travel. The suffix ‘shad’ will mean protection. The deity indicated is ‘Rudra’—a fierce, terrible form.

The dhyana sloka is:‘Aatta sajja dhanurbaaNa TankaiNaM vRUshabhasthitamAnnapoorNaa samaaslishtam pathishadrudramaasraye’

The mantra as per Nityotsava/Parashurama Kalpasutra is:‘om namo bhagavate rudraaya pathishade svasti maam sampaaraya’

The free translation of the meditative verse is, ‘Having a strung bow and arrow, also holding a chisel anddeer, seated on the bull, and hugged by Devi Annapoorna, I seek refuge in the Pathishadrudraa.’

The translation of the mantra would be, ‘I bow to the lord Pathishadrudraa, let him protect me on the wayand lead me to my destination successfully and peacefully.’

The idea of travel was difficult in the earlier days; the dangers in travel were innumerable, like thick forestswithout any defined way, wild animals, dacoits, and foreign people. To cross oceans, the only mode was aship which had even more factors of danger in it and finally unknown diseases. Hence, few people traveledby foot, cart or in a ship. They also prayed for a happy and successful travel to the Lord.

The bow and arrows are said to represent the senses and the mind, thus the image of a strung bow andarrow reminds us to keep alertness in any situation. The chisel represents the finer shaping of ideas like thecreation of a beautifully shaped idol. Holding the deer represents restraint of the ever restless mind.

The bull is said to be the personification of Dharma Devata; hence this indicates adherence to one’s dharma.The Devi who hugs the Lord is Annapoorneshvari. She represents the annamaya kosha, the gross body.Thus the deity to protect on the way is held closely by the gross body.

Summarizing, we find the alter mind, with emphasis on fine details, restraining the flickering mind. Thesafety of the gross body is granted by the Lord Pathishadrudraa for a safe travel to successfully reach thedestination.

‘aatta sajja dhaNurbaaNa TankaiNam’ = Having a strung bow and arrow, with a chisel and deer. Referringto the above idea, this will point to the ‘svasti’ and ‘sampaaraya’ in the mantra

‘vRUshabha sthitam’ = the Bull is the Lord of dharma and hence the Pranava mantra is elucidated in ‘Om’

‘AnnapoorNaa samaslishtam’ = Hugged by Devi Annapoorna, will point to ‘maam’

‘pathishdrudram’ = Lord Pathishadrudraa, the mantra says’ rudraaya pathishade’

‘aashraye’ = I take refuge in him. The mantra will say’ namo bhagavate’—I bow the supreme Lord.

Thinking on a higher plane of consciousness, in the journey of an aspirant to the final destination of therealization of the Divine, the protection of the body—‘sareeram aadyam khalu dharma saadanam’ verilyrefers to the gross body as the base of all sadhana.

This includes the alertness of the mind in all situations, the fine points to be enjoyed like the chiseling of anidol, and restraining the mind to not wander in unknown areas as the pointers revealed. This will ensure asafe and successful journey to reach the divine.

Thus, this mantra is to be chanted daily for the Sri Vidya upasaka to attain a state of being ever immersedin Shiva—‘satatam shivatamaavesha.’

Pathishad Rudra Mantraby Ramesh Kutticad

11

The many forms of the Mother

The story of Sri Amritananda Saraswati

part 8part 8part 8part 8part 8

ChidagniChidagniChidagniChidagniChidagni

The biography of SriAmritananda Saraswati—who is affectionatelyknown as Guruji to mostof Aiya’s students—waspenned in Telugu by Smt.Nethi Seeta Devi. Thesechapters were translatedinto English andgraciously submitted tothe Sri Chakra byVenkateshwar Babu fromPhiladelphia in anongoing series.

ChidagniChidagniChidagniChidagniChidagni

ZambiaIt was in 1977 Guruji had gone

to Zambia on deputation, to workas a professor of nuclear physicsat Lusaka University. Guruji’sfamily accompanied him, andthey stayed in Zambia for 2 years.

Though far away from hismotherland, Guruji continued hisspiritual journey even in Lusakawith chanting LalitaSahasranamam, Navavaranapujas, etc. on a regular basis. IfGuruji came to know that therewas a Lalita Sahasranamamparayanam going on, he wouldjoin along with his wife and kids.

It was here in Lusaka that hemet Professor Ramanathan, SriBalasubramanyam, and SriWijayaharan. There were manySouth Asian families residing inZambia those days, and thesefamilies wanted to ensure their

kith and kin didnot lose touchwith their cultureand traditions.

These Indianfamilies had theutmost devotionand hadcelebrated everyHindu festivalreligiously, butsome were limitedby theirknowledge ofrituals. To ensurecontinuity, theywould meet eitherweekly ormonthly andchant LalitaSahasranamam

and Vishnu Sahasranamamwithout fail.

Sai Baba bhajans were acommon event during suchregular gatherings. In addition,those with some knowledgeablebackground in scriptures andVedas conducted religiousdiscourses. In this fashion, thoseIndians living in Zambiacontinued to keep in touch withtheir religious roots and Hinduculture.

Sri Balasubramanyam took anactive part in all religiousactivities. He had Guruji by hisside whenever he attended suchfestival functions. Since all thesefunctions were in the eveningsGuruji’s family accompanied him.

Though Indians in Zambiachanted Sahasranamam on aregular basis, they were unawareof its diction and pronunciation.Guruji explained in detail thefiner aspects of chantingSahasranamam to others.Gradually, they started likingGuruji and were eager to learnabout religion, customs,traditions, and about Hinduculture from him. Over a periodof time, the South Asians inLusaka started looking up toGuruji for counsel and guidance.

The daughter of one Gujaratifamily residing in Lusaka wasready to get married.Unfortunately, there was noHindu priest to conduct thewedding, so the Gujarati familyapproached Guruji to do it.

Guruji said, “I do not know howto conduct a Hindu marriage. AllI know is Lalita Sahasranamam.

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How do you expect me to perform the marriage?”The girl’s father responded, “Please chant Lalita

Sahasranamam and conduct the wedding. Allthat we want is you to perform the wedding.What mantras you chant is immaterial.”

So, Guruji went ahead and performed thewedding by chanting Lalita Sahasranamam.This blessed Gujarati couple has remained“happily ever after” to this day!

Gujaratis are generally very devout. TheGujaratis in Zambia had converted one houseinto a temple. Daily rituals were sincerelyperformed to a few photos of gods and goddessesin that shrine. Sri Gananathan thought it wouldbe more appropriate to have an idol in place ofthe photographs to worship and perform dailyrituals, so he successfully managed to get the idolof Lalita Devi from India.

The next important question came up—whowill consecrate the Lalita Devi idol now?Naturally, they looked to Guruji for answers.

Guruji said, “I have never consecrated any idolto this day. I do not know how to!”

The unanimous response was, “Please don’t sayso! We look to you for guidance. Only you canperform this holy task. Kindly accept ourhumble request.”

Guruji was speechless. He did not know whatto do.

He meditated that night. By the time he got up, hewas fully aware of all the consecration rituals andall associated holy chantings by heart. It was Deviherself who taught Guruji everything to do withidol consecration. Devi’s wonders were countless!

Guruji picked an auspicious day and time forLalita Devi idol consecration. He performed thisevent on a very grand scale following all necessaryrituals, and Vedic chantings. Lalita Devi’s idol wasconsecrated in a small suburb of Lusaka calledKavyoowe. This Lalita Devi Temple has become themain center of worship for all Hindus in Lusakaeven to this day!

Sri WijayaharanSri Wijayaharan was a close friend of Sri

Balasubramanyam and they had been living closeto each other in Zambia for a very long time. SriWijayaharan was a Sri Lankan Tamil and anarchitect by profession. He was extremely devoutand highly spiritual in his endeavors, and he wasinitiated at a very young age by a disciple of SwamiSivananda.

Sri Wijayaharan had taken on these initiatedmantras very seriously, and these became his wayof life. Whether it was the power of these mantras,

or it was hisinbuilt willpower, he wasalways aiming toreach the highestpeaks ofspirituality. Thisdesire in himgrew strongerday by day.

SriWijayaharanattended allfunctions,festivals, and allprograms ofspirituality thatwere celebratedin Zambia. Hisprizedpossessions werea tabla and aharmonium thatenabled him toperform bhajanswith utmostdevotion. Hewas the people’sfavorite for

devotional bhajans.It was his long unfulfilled wish that someone

would teach and guide him through the principlesof Vedic worship. He was always on the lookout forsuch a noble soul. Since his initiation by Mataji, hewas on the lookout for a guru that could lead him tohigher levels in spirituality.

Instead, people discouraged him saying, “Whylearn these mantras? Why do these pujas? Beingnon-Brahmins, in case we make any mistakeknowingly or unknowingly, these can destroy aperson completely. Better stay away from it.” SriWijayaharan felt that he could never realize hisunfulfilled dream to attain high levels ofspirituality in this lifetime.

During one of his conversations with SriBalasubramanyam, Sri Wijayaharan wonderedwhether Guruji initiated people into Devi worship.

Sri Balasubramanyam responded, “He hasinitiated many. As long as one’s intention is sincere,he does initiate.”

In addition, he said, “My wife went to India to getinitiated. She met Kanchi Kamakoti PeetadhipathiSri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi, andexpressed her desire to get initiated. He said I amnot your guru. Your guru is in Africa. His name is

Guruji and Wijayaharan (Aiya) in 2009.

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The many forms of the Mother

Amritananda Saraswathi. Goand request him to give youmanthropadesam.”

Hearing this Sri Wijayaharangot a glimmer of hope. Thisconversation continued.

“Will he initiate me?” SriWijayaharan asked.

“I see no reason why he will notinitiate you,” SriBalasubramanyam replied.

“As you know, I am not aBrahmin,” Sri Wijayaharan said.

“He does not differentiate,” SriBalasubramanyam assured him.“He will surely give youmanthropadesam.”

“So, can we go and ask himtomorrow?” Sri Wijayaharansuggested. “If he agrees, well andgood! If he doesn’t, I will considerhim one of the many whodeclined.”

It was one of the days duringNavarathri. Sri Wijayaharan andSri Balasubramanyam wenttogether to meet Guruji and maketheir humble request.

“Why won’t I?” Guruji said. “Iwill give it to you! These are thedays of Navarathri. These arereally auspicious days. Panchamiis even better. I will initiate youon that day!”

As promised, Guruji went to SriWijayaharan’s house on theauspicious day of Panchami andperformed Sri Chakra Puja andgave him and his wife themanthropadesam.

Sri Wijayaharan’s joy knew nobounds. Whether it was the effectof Guruji’s manthropadesam orSri Wijayaharan’s dedication orboth coming together, SriWijayaharan reached greaterspiritual heights. Since then, hehad established himself very wellin the USA and consecrated hisown temple, the Sri RajarajeswariPeetam in Rush, New York

Within four or five months sincebeing initiated by Guruji, SriWijayaharan migrated to theUSA. It just seems like he mayhave spent such a long time inZambia only to meet Guruji andget initiated.

Detachment from common lifeWhile in Zambia itself, Sri

Balatripurasundari appeared inmany forms to impart spiritualknowledge to Guruji. Along withthis, his inbuilt urge to share theknowledge of Sri Vidya, andthereby help others on therighteous path was a hugemotivation.

During almost every one ofGuruji’s interactions with theDivine Mother, she said, “Why doyou need this job? Just stay withme. I will give you everything.”

“That sounds too good!” Gurujireplied to Her. “You have imbibedspirituality in me. You taught meall sacred scriptures. You haveshown me the world. I am givingmanthropadesam to all those whoseek it from me. Performing pujasand bhajans has become my wayof life.

“At this stage, in this state ofecstasy, fulfilling my professionalobligations has become a big teston its own. Under suchcircumstances, if I quit my onlylivelihood, what will I do? Howcan I feed my wife and children? Iam not rich either!”

“This job is no big deal!” theDivine Mother responded. “Youhave attainedhigh levels ofspirituality,which cannot beconfined by yourprofessionalstatus. Please quityour job.”

“I am not alone,”Guruji said. “Ihave a wife andthree kids to takecare of.”

“Is it just yourwife and kids?”the Mother asked.“Is you who isfeeding them? Is ityou who isbearing theresponsibility onyour shoulders?”

“Then who isit?” Guruji asked.

“It is me who brought everyoneinto existence,” the Motherexplained. “It is me who isbearing everyone’s responsibility.It is me who is taking care ofeveryone.”

“So what is happening to me?”Guruji asked.

Understanding Guruji’spredicament, the Divine Mothersmiled and said, “Nothing ishappening to you. You are safeand sound in my arms.”

During the early days, Gurujiwas always worried that thesedivine interventions and divineexperiences were taking away histime and energy, and was not sureif he was allocating the necessaryattention to his family and job.But, at the same time, he wasenjoying his spiritual journey andall the exhilarating experiencesalong the way!

Guruji’s life continuedpeacefully and happily in Zambia.The Divine Mother showered Hergrace on him in the form of ahome, car, prestige, wealth, and aprofessorship at a university. Itwas in 1980 that Guruji’sdeputation came to an end, and hereturned to Mumbai to take up hisold job.

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The many forms of the Mother

Our HomeOur HomeOur HomeOur HomeOur Home

It seems as if it was just a fewdays ago that I entered this littletemple (yes, a very little temple atthe time) in 2001. We stayed foran hour or so and watched theend of the evening puja whichwas done by Mohan uncle.

To me, there was one thing thatstuck in my head. It was the sightof watching a man blow into aconch shell. I hadnever seen anythinglike that before.Fortunately, we keptcoming back to thislittle temple situatedin what I felt like wasin the middle ofnowhere since weinitially missed it thefirst couple of timestrying to find it.

In those days, ourtemple was a wholelot different. Most ofthe inside wasn’t goldplated and theyajnashala extension,which we have nowhad yet to beconstructed. Every

Our HomeOur HomeOur HomeOur HomeOur Homeby Sreekant Venkata Subramanian

The author (lying down), with his surrogate siblings (L to R),Venodan, Tharuman, and Sankavi, in May 2005. All are stilltemple volunteers to this day

Saturday we would come to thistemple, a rather long drive fromSouthfield, Michigan where weused to live in those days. I canstill remember every Saturday wewould have to go and get milkfrom the fridge for the regularabishekam.

Every Saturday, Tharuman andI would have to run by the office,which happened to be the roomacross from the old kitchen(which was the only kitchen) andget car keys from Raji aunty toher little car’s trunk, which held afair amount of milk. We then tookthat milk to the fridge of the houseand replaced it with the milk thatwas put in last week.

It was a constant cycle. Whenwe took the milk, we needed toalways make sure we checked thedate on the milk or we would geta sufficient yelling. Mind you, thisroutine did not stop even in thecoldest of winters but it didn’tmatter.

To some, this would seem as if itwas a chore but to me there was ahidden joy in helping out. Itcannot be described—the feelingyou get when you feel like you’re apart of something bigger thanyourself. This temple had becomea family to me.

I have moved a lot for variousreasons and those who know megenerally ask, “Where do you livenow?” I ended up in this littletown called St. Catharines,situated in the Niagara region,which also happened to be aboutan hour or so from the temple.

I can remember one such week,there was a Kanda Shashtifestival going on. I would go toschool in the morning, come backquickly and be ready in 20minutes to head down to thetemple to help set up. It was suchan awesome time.

As time went by, our temple hadits extension and eventually theannual camp started to run. Thatwas when Aiya started getting all

the kids to learn theShivapuranam. Iwent through thewords day in andday out but forsome reason itnever stuck. Thenone day, I thoughtwhy not just play itin my sleep? Threeto four days later ithad just stuck in myhead.

The one year wedidn’t have campwas in 2010 whenwe had the AtiRudramkumbhabhishekaminstead. I hadreached my final

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The many forms of the Mother

year of high school by then. I canremember at dinner one fine day,Aiya came up to me while I waswith my mom and said, “Okay, soyou will be doing the archana for11 days to the main kalasamwhile Tharuman doessankalpam,” and then with asmile graciously walked on.

I was in shock now because Ineeded to learn the Shiva andLalita namavalis and I needed tomake sure my pujas weren’trusty for this festival. I practicedday by day with my mom (whohas generally been my teacher formost things).

Ati Rudram finally arrived andI was ready to my best ability. Atthe end of the second or third dayI remember Priya akka came upto me and told me to chant theKhadgamala Stotram, which Ididn’t happen to know too well atthe time. So I quickly ran aroundand found Abhi akka, who helpedme pick it up in one night. I havelearned most things last-minutelike this. I can thank nobody butthe Devi herself for this.

This Ati Rudram was a big dealfor me because I was heading toIndia for two years, so for me thiswas almost the last time I couldhave been at the temple like oldtimes.

Ati Rudram came and went likea flash of light. It had taught usmore than just the Rudram or forme, the namavalis and theKhadgamala Stotram. It taughtme that as a group we canaccomplish anything.

In the September 2011 issue ofthe Sri Chakra magazine,Tharuman wrote about theevents of the tent flood during AtiRudram. If you ask anyone whohappened to be present for that

event you will hear them talkabout how everyone was runningaround and trying to help out,even old aunties who could barelywalk.

It was a tale that was similar towhen Rama was building a bridgeand even the squirrels and antswere moving things. Regardlessof how big a job they did, nobodywas any more important thananyone else.

The Devi and Aiya must havethought the lesson was bettertaught by involving us than bysimply telling us, because thatincident really made us step up tothe plate.

Finally, it’s my last day of school,two years have passed and I amready to get back to NorthAmerica from India. As I washeading back, the first thoughtthat ran through my mind was,“Sreekant! What changes havehappened. How will you cope?Will you fit into the rhythm likeold times or will it all be gone?”

On my first trip out to thetemple I finally walked in and all

my questions, my feelings wentblank. I just felt at home. Ofcourse, our temple had grown inthose two years but it hadmaintained the charm that keptme coming back every weekend asa child.

I walked up to my old friend,Tharuman, and gave him a hug,regrouped and caught up forabout a minute, then instantly asthough he had forgotten I had notbeen at the temple for two yearshe told me to help Aniruth make adetailed list for tasks for theupcoming July festival (which Ikept calling the May festival byhabit).

During thisalankarafestival I hada chance tosee kids whoused to helpout here andthere nowtaking upbigger rolesandbecomingcoordinators.I had theprivilege ofbringing abunch ofyoung kids(who were

about my age when I started here)to Kashi and showing them thefun of doing puja with our ownlittle twist.

Their reaction to the fun, and theoptimism and potential theyshowed made me realized thatthis temple is something more.This really is my home—scratchthat, our home.

The tent flood during the great rainstorm of Ati Rudram, 2010.

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Let us first understand the difference between knowing about Sri Vidya versus knowing Sri Vidya.Knowing about Sri Vidya is a mere collection of data or at the most organizing, processing and

assimilating the same into knowledge. Knowing Sri Vidya is the internalizing or imbibing of thatknowledge and reflecting the same in our attitude and behaviour in society. Since Sri Vidya is Atma Vidya,

the internalized knowledge of Sri Vidya is called Self Realization.Details of the worship of a specific path is Acharam. Performing

worship after understanding the details of that path isAnushtanam. Contemplating on those principles isAnusandhanam. Internalizing and reflecting those imbibedprinciples in behaviour is Anubhoothi.

Knowledge about Sri Vidya is obtained from one’s guru, lecturesby the guru bandhus and senior upasakas, from text books andalso nowadays through websites, etc. One may obtain mantrainitiation also.

Mere knowledge of Sri Vidya or mantra initiation does not makethe disciple a real Sri Vidya upasaka. Through the grace of GuruRoopini Lalitha, the principles of Sri Vidya will have to beinternalized and imbibed, and should be reflect in the upasaka’sway of life, behaviour and interactions with society.

AnushtanamJapa sadhana, Navavarana puja, and kundalini yoga

sadhanas are certainly the next steps towards realization. But ifthe sadhaka intensely concentrates only on the activity, itwill only cleanse his accumulated vasanas and thus prepare himwith Chittha Shuddhi (purity of mind) for knowing Sri Vidya.However, realizing Sri Vidya would still be a few steps away.

AnusandhanamContemplation is certainly the next higher and necessary step towards realization. It is still a mental

activity and hence one should not get stuck with this thinking activity but proceed further towardsAnubhoothi, which is Realizing or being in the experience of knowing Sri Vidya.

Anubhoothi It is an effortless activity—one’s own natural experience. It is not an artificial behaviour by any

compulsions. The impact is felt by others in society. It is usually a Blissful state. Principles of Sri Vidya arebest understood only through living by those principles.

Knowing about Sri Vidya

Knowing Sri Vidyavs.vs.vs.vs.vs.

Knowing about Sri Vidya

Knowing Sri Vidyaby Sri B. Jayaraman and Smt. Vijayalakshmi

part 1part 1part 1part 1part 1

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In any spiritual path there areclearly two distinct phases—Preparatory and Implementation. The first stage is knowledge ofthat aacharam and sadhana(Anushtanam)—oneshould collect all relevant details,understand, get convinced andadjust/prepare oneself to adoptthose principles. Often this wouldrequire some personal sacrifices.

The second stage isAnusandhanam—sincerelyadopting/implementing thosevalues/principles in life. Based onone’s sincerity and intensity, theGrace will dawn on the upasakaand one will get Anubhoothi. Letus look at some simple examples.

An athlete prepares himself for a100 metre running race. In thepreparatory phase, he should dophysical exercises and make hisbody capable of withstanding thestress of high speed running. He

may have to make some sacrificesin his food habits. In the secondphase he learns how to maximize

his energy as he nears the finishline.

A person prepares to attend awedding reception. First, heremoves the bad odour from hisbody by bathing. Next he appliesperfumes for the occasion anddresses himself well.

A very important guest iscoming to your house and youneed to give a grand welcome tohim. Your house is a mess. Firstyou will remove unwantedobjects and clean the house. Thenyou will decorate the house withsome paintings/handicrafts.

Before gold polishing an oldbrass item, it is first cleaned withacid and then coated with gold.Similarly, in any spiritual pathincluding Sri Vidya, the upasakais first cleansed of his negativeinflictions by hard work(Anushtanam) and then enrichedwith enlightening thoughts andpractices of that path throughAnusandhanam. Over time, andwith the grace of the guru, theupasaka gets Anubhoothi.

Watch for part two of this article inthe next issue of the Sri Chakra.

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Sri Gurubhyo Namaha