By G Sreenivas
I wish to record the most joyful and miraculous happenings during the consecration of a Shirdi Sai temple in Pazhaya Seevaram village, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, which happened under the divine guidance and presence of Gurudev Mohanji himself in September 2019.
My wife and I met Mohanji in Thrissur in Dec 2018 and requested him to consecrate our Sai temple. Mohanji most readily agreed and blessed us. The construction of the temple was in its final stages but like any other project, it got delayed towards the end. Mohanji’s appointment could be got till the end of March but after that, his diary of appointments was filled up. I continued to liaise with Rajesh Kamath and Preeti Duggalji. Some people involved with the temple construction appeared to be in a hurry. But then there was no convenient date. I prayed to Mohanji and one early morning, I had a dream of receiving an email that Mohanji’s appointment could be got only in early September 2019. The reason was that some cleansing had to be done; some karma had to be worked out. I shared this dream with my wife also. When I next spoke to Rajesh Kamath, Mohanji confirmed the date as 8th Sep 2019 with a quip, “Did I not already inform him? He knows!” It was just a reiteration of the message I got in my dreams. But at that time, we never knew the import of the message.
Since we had a good six months for the consecration, it was decided to build an annexe building to the Shirdi Sai temple, consisting of two rooms, one for the priest and one for us to stay as and when we went there. The work started. Then the roller coaster of events unveiled one by one. It was, in turn, a play of light and darkness.
It so turned out that my promotion for which I was waiting for more than 3 years materialized in the 2nd week of June 2019. It was my wife’s wish to go on transfer to Bangalore and stay with her son since he was hospitalized just a few months back. But I was torn between my duty towards my ageing parents and anxiety about the future maintenance of the temple. However, we had prayed to Shirdi Sai and gave an application for retention in Chennai with Bangalore as a 2nd choice, if the transfer was inevitable. Against all odds, I was promoted and retained in Chennai and posted to an office near my residence.
As they say, with the high comes the low. Barely a week after I assumed charge in my new post, we went to Bangalore to attend a family function. Just as the function culminated and we were looking forward to some time with our relatives, there came the bolt from the blue. Standing at the corner of a road, my son was hit by a speeding bike and had his right leg fractured. Emergency hospital admission and surgery followed within the next 24 hrs. I just kept holding on to the mental image of Mohanji and clinging to his grace to give me resilience. It was as though we had been tossed like a straw in the sea, churned by the turn of events. A week earlier, I had a strange premonition of wasteful expenditure and here it was turning out to be true. One hospital admission led to another for infection and the period of recuperation started.
It was painful to see our son suffering from severe pain and depression. But then ‘karma’ had to be worked out. Amidst the roller coaster of events, I kept my emotions at bay and clung on to ‘Mohanji Gayatri’. Due to severe water shortage in Chennai, we were compelled to keep our son in Bangalore, till he recovered. With the grace of Mohanji, we passed the storm and my son was ‘back on his feet’ literally by mid-August. Baba’s statue arrived on 25th August to the temple. I now understood the reason for Guruji’s appointment after a delay of nearly 6 months. By his grace, construction of the annexe building of the temple too was completed and lo and behold, Sep 2019 had come!
If life was churning out events in fast forward mode, Mohanji’s grace ensured that I did not falter and fall. His grace is the anchor that holds us steady even when the tide of events and happenings seek to overturn us.
On the temple construction front too, things were happening in fast forward mode. While work was getting completed, minor irritants cropped up. With the grace of Mohanji and Shirdi Sai, problems for funds miraculously got solved. But then to our shock, a person who was with us through thick and thin suddenly developed severe anger and animosity towards our family. It was personally very painful, hard and humiliating. Amidst all this misery, the only ray of happiness seemed to be the impending arrival of Mohanji for the consecration.
On 1st Sep, we met Mohanji who had come to attend a marriage in Chennai. When we showed him the picture of the statue of Shirdi Sai, he remarked that Baba was very beautiful and the statue was very powerful. This gladdened our hearts. We later expressed our anguish regarding the fall out with people close to us and Mohanji had these words “When Baba is coming, there will be great churning. People will leave us. Events will happen. But do not be rude with them. If they go, let them go, they will come back. But if you reply rudely they may never come back.” He further remarked “Do you think building a temple is a small thing? It is an event which has an impact on the whole lineage of ancestors and future generations. Even Swami Ganeshananda Giri went through so many troubles. He had to pick up the spade to do the temple work himself.” It was implied that we had to go through difficulties amidst all this and were thankful for Mohanji’s umbrella of grace.
Amidst our preoccupation with our son’s health and temple work, a proposed visit to Shirdi could not materialize. I desired to keep the temple invitation at Baba’s feet in Shirdi and implore him to ‘stay’ in my temple in ‘sookshma’ (subtle) form. It was also my desire to somehow invite Sulakhe Maharaj for the consecration. But it remained an unfulfilled wish. Just a day before the consecration, a close relative warned me that keeping a full-time priest for the temple would prove to be costly and uneconomical and I was suddenly beset with fears of sustaining the temple financially. I had no choice but to inevitably surrender at the feet of Shirdi Sai and Mohanji.
The tireless work of those around us ensured that all arrangements were in place for the consecration. Mohanji, Preethi Duggalji and yet another Swamiji had checked into a hotel in Kanchipuram, the previous day. The moment of Mohanji’s arrival had come. We were super excited as were the other ‘Mohanji brethren’ there. Mohanji was welcomed with ‘Poornakumbha’ and mala. We were desirous of doing pada puja and Mohanji very kindly consented before asking twice, “Do you surely want to do pada puja?” How could we miss such a wonderful chance! Thereafter Mohanji proceeded to do the consecration duly consulting the Brahmins there. Baba’s eyes were ‘opened’ through the prescribed rituals. A treasured moment! Mohanji then put in a bundle of money into the hundi and also directed Devadasji and others to put money in the hundi. The ceremonial fire in the Dhuni was also lit by Mohanji.
Later he asked me “Do you know why I put money in the hundi?” When I looked askance, he replied: “Don’t worry; now you will get enough money, run the temple nicely.” I understood that it was an unasked reply for the earlier day’s predicament and question. A doubt set to rest, a wish fulfilled by Mohanji. Such is his compassion and grace! My prostrations at his feet. Needless to say, since then money has been coming in various ways and through unknown sources for the development of the temple!
As we were returning after lighting the Dhuni, Mohanji casually quipped that he had got a call the previous day from Sulakhe Maharaj who was returning after doing aarati from Shirdi sanctum, and Sai baba had whispered in his ears, “Call Mohanji, call Mohanji.” When Mohanji told Sulakhe Maharaj that he was going for the consecration of a Sai temple the next day, Sulakhe Maharaj conveyed Baba’s message, “Tell him (Mohanji) that I am already there.” Such grace!
Even as I recall this incident, I get goosebumps. It just meant that Shirdi Sai was replying to my ardent prayer and also conveying the message via Sulakhe Maharaj (whom I had wished to invite) through Mohanji to me. All this without my verbally conveying to anyone! Is it not proof that my Guru, clothed in the cloak of ordinariness, is one with the Supreme Awareness, who fulfils the innermost desire of his devotees? I recall he had written in a book I had purchased “I am with you always.” So true! Only because he was ‘with’ me, he could fathom the wish in my heart and fulfil it.
Mohanji also mentioned that he was currently in Jammu (North India) and he had come all the way specifically for the function happening in South India. When I expressed my gratitude and thanked him, he said he had to come because Shirdi Sai had bid him do so and that ‘we all’ are one before the eyes of Shirdi Sai. Such humility! I can only bow before his stature.
Meanwhile, Mohanji kept speaking and blessing people who paid their obeisance. His expression of giving himself totally to those around him did not change a wee bit. It was our ardent desire that our son also meet him and Mohanji had a down to earth conversation with him regarding his career and plans. Such effortless getting into the groove of another person and interacting with them as per their inclination and interest has to be seen to be believed. A chance meeting with an old friend, one Mr. Murali happened and Mohanji promised to wait till his old friend completed his meal and then recalled their association and enquired about his family member’s well-being as well. We, the members of ‘M’ family, made the most of those cherished moments, savouring his physical presence and clinging to his words.
I had intended to donate to the Mohanji Foundation as Guru Dakshina. I handed over a cheque of Rs. 50K to Preeti Duggalji in an envelope. Within 10 minutes, she returned it to me stating that Mohanji had refused to take anything from Baba’s place, i.e. Sai temple. Later, Preeti Duggalji stated that Mohanji had asked me to keep the money intended for donation for the improvement of the Sai temple.
Later, I called Preeti Duggalji to check if any extra expenses were incurred by Mohanji and the group at the hotel in Kanchipuram. I wanted the bank details to transfer the money for any expense that they may have incurred. Preeti Duggalji replied that there was no amount due and Mohanji also wanted to pay back for the room booking as he had come for Sai’s work. I was speechless. Such is Mohanji’s love for Sai. Mohanji’s humility and respect for the tradition and Sai Baba stands out through this gesture.
Mohanji does not expect or require anything from us. He willingly and lovingly stretched himself to be present for Baba’s consecration in spite of his hectic schedule and back pain. He works selflessly, supporting his devotees and goes out of his way to help in every way possible.
Words fail to express the feelings of gratitude in my heart. The praise of my Guru cannot be sung in words adequately. A stanza from Shiva Mahimna Stotra sums up my predicament.
असित गिरि समं स्यात् कज्जलम् सिन्धु पात्रे
सुरतरुवर शाखा लेखनी पत्रम् उर्वी ।
लिखति यदि गृहित्वा शारदा सर्वकालं
तदपि तव गुणानां ईश पारं न याति ॥
Shloka as Romanized text
asita giri samaM syAt kajjalam sindhu pAtre
surataruvara shAkhA lekhanI patram urvI |
likhati yadi gRuhitvA shAradA sarvakAlaM
tadapi tava guNAnAM Isha pAraM na yAti ||
Meaning of the Prayer Song:
Perhaps taking the mountain of ink, dark ocean as the pot,
branch of the heavenly tree as the pen and earth as the leaf (paper)
even if Sharada (divine of knowledge) writes forever,
even then, Oh Ishvara, the boundaries of Your glory cannot be found!!
Jai Parabrahma Swaroop Gurudev Mohanji!
Radha Sreenivas adds:
We are grateful to Mohanji for not only fulfilling our biggest wish, the consecration of the Baba temple, but also for the small desires, just like a father.
Whenever I listened to the Guru paduka stotram, I would mentally picture myself worshipping Mohanji’s feet and would intensely desire that it would turn out to be true.
This wish was fulfilled quite unexpectedly and I still cherish the possession of the towel with which we wiped his feet. Such was his blessing!
We cherished every moment spent with him and stuck to his physical presence all through the program and it was my secret wish to get some prasad from his hands. This was also miraculously fulfilled when Mohanji sat for lunch. I was overjoyed when he handed over a piece of laddu to me. He gave Rekha a laddu to be distributed to others. She was also given a piece of the papad that he was eating!
I felt overwhelmed when Mohanji left, as if I was bidding adieu to a near and dear one.
Rekha Murali narrates:
It was a double treat for the Chennai M family as Mohanji visited us on two consecutive weekends. With great excitement, our small group waited for his arrival at the temple. His beautiful smile as he greeted each one of us filled our hearts with love and we were basking in the bliss of his presence.
Just the previous week, during the marriage, I showed him the picture of the statue of Sai Baba that had arrived at the temple. He looked at it deeply for a few seconds and mentioned that Baba was beautiful and powerful.
Radha and Sreenivas were anxious to meet him and formally hand over the invitation for the consecration. When I asked Mohanji if they could come over to the wedding hall to invite him (on 1st September), he immediately replied, “This is Baba’s temple. I don’t need an invitation.”
On 8th September, severe back pain did not deter him from travelling from Jammu to Chennai for the second time followed by an hour’s travel by road to this small town near Chennai for the temple consecration.
It was a hot day and Mohanji patiently stood in the hot sun watching and participating in the proceedings. His love for Baba was visible in the manner in which he carried out the rituals. Wiping Baba’s eyes after an abhisekam and wiping his mouth very gently was a sight to behold.
He not only gifted an audumbra plant, but he also planted it himself at the side of the temple. He also spent three full hours patiently blessing each person from the village who thronged the temple. Amidst this crowd, when he spotted a young bride and groom, he ensured that they were given his card with his blessings. While blessing the crowd that fell at his feet, he spoke to every member of the M family who was present there giving all of us a patient hearing and showering us with his grace and blessings. In spite of the humidity, he kept all of us in good humour, teasing and pulling our legs. Along with this, the photo sessions were also in progress. Truly an incredible day!
In his most casual way, he heard each of our thoughts and blessed us accordingly. As Mohanji says, he was doing his job. Every small desire was fulfilled amidst the function.
I had a dream of receiving prasad from Mohanji during the havan in Kailash. Surprisingly, the Kailash water was handed over to me by Chitra Aylam during this consecration. Unassuming and casual, he saw that he gave each one what was required.
I relive that day of bliss often. For me, the statue of Sai at the temple came alive. I was in the presence of Sai, a walking, talking, hugging and loving Sai Mohana!
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Compiled, Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 28th November 2019
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2 thoughts on “An umbrella of Grace”
Great reading. Srinivas Sir wonderful testimonial.
What a powerful validation of grace and protection. What a beautiful deed to burn lineage karma 🙏our beloved Sai Mohanji never misses anything. Never leaves us for sure