By Naren Shivappa
With Mohanji’s grace and blessings, Rajesh Kamath and I were with Mohanji in Mookambika for a ‘sadhana in solitude’ for 21 days, during the end of 2019.
My relationship with Mohanji was getting deeper by the day. I never understood him then, not that I can understand him now, but our bond was getting deeper with this journey. Many things unsaid and many glances unnoticed, there was magic happening within and this drew me closer to him unknowingly.
In those 21 days, one day, during our regular visit to the shrine of Mother Mookambika, Mohanji’s disciple Sri Rajendran, met us unexpectedly in the Mookambika temple. He then came to the place where we were staying. During the discussions, he mentioned two Avadhootas who stayed around Mookambika.
One was a lady saint, Amma, and the other Chandu Kutty Nair. But Sri Rajendran suggested that we meet Amma before meeting the old Avadhoota. It’s almost as if by protocol, before meeting Chandu Swami, we had to pass Amma’s test.
Both these saints stayed in opposite directions of the little town. Amma has done penance for 40 years in the forests near Chitramoola cave in Kodachadri mountain, where Shankaracharya got the darshan of Mother Mookambika. She had high regard for Chandu Swami, and with her blessings, we set out to meet the Swami. Along with us was a disciple of Amma, who escorted us to introduce us to the Swami.
We bought some fruits and flowers on the way and reached his place in a short time. His place was fenced but there was a thick overgrowth of shrubs all around, amidst which there was a small gate made of some bamboo sticks. There was a surprise waiting for us. Mohanji, Kamath, and I, all of us heard a clear whistling sound along with a hissing sound. Mohanji immediately said, “There is an old snake that is guarding the Swami, so let’s wait outside.”
We could see a small hut about 50 feet away from the bamboo gate. There was a Chela (disciple) of Chandu Swami, who saw our escort from far and came to greet and take Mohanji inside. When we entered this small hut, we saw a man who was very tiny in stature, but after a while, we learned how big a giant he was. His demeanour was divine, his smile was so childlike and one can’t forget the cute chuckles of laughter that could give anyone goosebumps and bring a smile from within.
He was talking in Malayalam which I could hardly relate to, but I was getting a feeling that the two divine beings, both Mohanji and him were having a jolly good time.
By the Master’s grace, I was somehow able to get the gist of the conversation. Anyways, Chandu Swami suddenly mentioned about the Chitramoola cave and said that fellow (in his words “Anda Aaalu”) pointing at the back, also got darshan there. We were searching for the ‘fellow’ he mentioned and saw a picture of Adi Shankaracharya. Kamath and I were in splits as he so casually mentioned it as if they were buddies from ages ago.
I observed that Chandu Swami’s physical features were very different from the normal. Almost all the joints were twisted; all in all, he was four feet tall. He said he was 122 years old and he had met Bhagawan Nityananda. I noticed there were many lumps all over his body. I imagined the hard penance his body must have gone through in those dense jungles.
I was just watching them, Mohanji was engrossed in his conversation with Chandu Swami. After a while, he told us to come in the evening for aarati.
Mohanji thought it was time, and as he got up to leave, suddenly he noticed that there were no chairs and the Swami’s chair was also almost broken. Immediately he said to us, “We should have some chairs arranged for the Swami and for the people who come to see him.”
Mohanji asked the Swami if he wanted anything in particular, for which he replied, “No, nothing.” But suddenly, he noticed a sling bag on my shoulder that I carried and said, “Get me a bag like that as somebody took mine away and never returned it.” I am not sure what happened to me, but in a flash, I said, “Swami, please take this bag itself, I don’t need it.” I immediately emptied it in a jiffy and offered it to him. The Swami smiled and accepted it, softly stroked my back lovingly as I did my pranaam. That was so heartening for me.
When we set out of the hut, Mohanji said something beautiful. He said, “With this gesture of yours, Naren, you never know how many lifetimes of karma would have vanished.” I understood that these elevated beings operate from a different dimension unseen by mere mortals like me, they just make it seem obvious. Coming to think of it, it was not my bag he took but my baggage of lifetimes. He took off the weight of my shoulders to make me feel light.
In the evening, we returned at 4 pm to Chandu Swami’s place for the evening aarati. As I saw him, he removed all his clothes near the back door, and with hardly any body-consciousness he just walked to the back yard for his bath. The Swami changed his loincloth and started putting ash and vermillion to his forehead and other parts of the body. He started staring at the sunset and it seemed as though he was conversing with the universe. That scene melted my heart. He came back and sat with us, but seemed restless as though he was waiting for someone. Mohanji asked if the aarati was delayed, to which he said, “Mother Mookambika is taking time, she has not yet arrived from Chottanikara, so I am waiting.” I listened in awe. This touched my heart, the very fact that he took the effort to purify physically by bathing, adorning himself with ash, and waiting to greet the Mother Divine. So immense must be his love for her. He was eagerly waiting every moment with the same intensity. Within my mind, I said, “Look at us, we have an ‘insight timer’ to meditate, counting minutes and hours.” Anyways, let’s get back to the topic.
The Swami told Mohanji that Swami Veerabhadra guards the place when the Mother comes. After a while, we entered his temple which was a square hall with pictures of various gods and goddesses. When Kamath moved towards a corner, he asked him to sit by the side as that was the place where the Mother Divine sleeps. Swami sat for his prayers and seemed to sing something which none of us understood. He did some mudras which I thought was his way of communicating with the Mother Divine. And he started singing the aarati accompanied by the banging of two steel plates to the ground. It sounded quite weird but had an essence which pulled you; it had a rhythm that pulled your heart. The thought of how the learned and wise men pray and how this beautiful son of the Mother Divine prayed, was quite evident. For us, who witnessed the Nirmalya darshan of Mother Mookambika for 21 days in the most orthodox way every morning at 5 am in the shrine, to what we saw that evening with Chandu Swami was just worlds apart. All the puja was only between the Mother and him, nothing was done to please anyone else. It was so beautiful. It melts my heart to just relive this experience.
The next day, I went back and delivered the chairs and he was happy sitting on a new chair for once. He blessed me with some fruits and again slowly caressed and stroked my back with love. Those were the moments I can never forget.
By the grace of my Master Mohanji, I could be in the presence of such an Avadhoota. Today, I received a phone call from Mohanji who just said, “Chandu Swami has attained Mahasamadhi, that too he has chosen the day of the Gupt Navaratri.” I was taken by shock and surprise, because Chandu Swami had said, “I ask Mother when will you take me, this body is already 122 years old, but she says there is work to do, I don’t know what else is there to do.” Now I realize that he was just waiting for Mohanji before he left for his final abode.
That enchanting smile, those sweet words, the grace he carried in his actions; those moments will forever remain etched in my memory for this lifetime. My humble pranaams to this little GIANT, dear Chandu Swami. I am sure he must be now resting forever in the lap of the Mother Divine!
With all humility, this being prostrates in obeisance to this great Master, Chandu Swami!
Always in reverence at the feet of my Master!
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 24th June 2020
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