This series chronicles interesting experiences recounted by the devotees of H H Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. These articles are translations from the series, “Madhuramaana Mahaneeyar” that is published every month in Madhuramurali Tamil monthly magazine. The original article was written by Dr. Bhagyanathanji, Personal Secretary of Sri Swamiji in Nov 2016 issue.
Early Days, Old Devotees & Chaitanya Kuteeram
Sri Swamiji’s Jayanthi month special
A renowned musician by name Kailasam Iyer lived in Kumbakonam. Ramachandran, his son could also sing well and was popularly known as ‘paattu’ (music) Ramachandran.
It was on a Sivaratri while leaving after the whole day darshan of Mahaperiyava that our Sri Swamiji became acquainted with ‘paattu’ Ramachandran. From then onwards Ramachandran used to pay frequent visits to Sri Swamiji. Ramachandran was then staying in flat (apartment) no. 51K, Bharati Dasan Colony. He brought Sri Swamiji for the first time to that apartment to celebrate Gokulashtami (Lord Krishna’s birthday). On that occasion, Gokulashtami was celebrated with a Thanjavur painting of Sri Krishna. After a few days
Sri Swamiji shifted to this apartment as a tenant. The rent Rs.400/- was paid by Sri Sridhar. Ramachandran would, on some days, bring food from his home for Sri Swamiji.
For most part of the time Sri Swamiji remained in dhyana, japa and Namakirtan. At that point of time Sri Swamiji had only Mahaperiyava’s picture and Padukas. Slowly those in the neighborhood came to know about Sri Swamiji and began to visit him. Satsang was conducted. During this time Sri Swamiji would keep chanting Arunachala Aksharamanamalai and Atma nivedanam. It was here that old-time devotees such as Smt. Gomati, sisters Uma, Usha and their mother Smt. Lakshmi, Hari, Giri, Meenakshi mami, the lady known as ‘L’ mami, Bengaluru Smt. Lakshmi’s mother Smt. Kalyani, Smt. Jayanthi, ‘Annanagar’ Sridharji and his wife Girija, Chandra chitti and her husband Sekar chittappa, the couple Smt. Kanchana and Sri Sankaran, ‘IOC’ Jayaji, all began to visit Sri Swamiji.
It was to this place that the Divyanama Krishna now at the Ashram came first. This Krishna used to frequently conduct divine plays (Lila) with Sri Swamiji. This Krishna must have, till date, listened to more than ten thousand Divyanama bhajans! During Navaratri Sri Swamiji would dress this Krishna in various costumes. Sweet fragrance would emanate from Sri Swamiji’s flat when he used to be in dhyana here.
In the apartment adjacent to Sri Swamiji’s lived the couple Chandra chitti and Sekar chittappa. Pattu Paatti (grandmother Pattu) was Chandra chitti’s mother-in-law. When in solitude Sri Swamiji would shed tears thinking of this old lady. Sri Swamiji would often narrate an event in Sri Adi Sankara’s life – “Sri Sankara seeks his mother’s permission to renounce his home. The mother asks him with deep concern, ‘Who will feed you from tomorrow?’ To this Sri Sankara says, ‘Till today you alone were my mother; but from tomorrow all those who feed me will be my mother’.”
Grandmother Pattu worked ceaselessly for the family. As she was diabetic she would not eat much. After all left home on work she would take a rickshaw and go to the doctor all by herself to get her shot of insulin. She never got angry over anything and was very forbearing. Sri Swamiji would always bolt his door from inside. This grandmother Pattu would sit on the staircase opposite and wait for him to open the door. As soon as the door opened she would compel Sri Swamiji to drink or eat something – Horlicks/coffee, dosa/rice, etc.. She was a very soft spoken person. During her last days her health deteriorated and she attained Vaikuntam.
Vishnurathan (Sumanth) who is today a great Bhagavata is the grandson of this grandmother Pattu. He lives at Govindapuram in the Guru’s sanctum and performs puja for Lord Jagannatha at Chaitanya Kuteeram. This year, on September 19th, the tenth anniversary of the founding of Chaitanya Kutteeram where Lord Jagannath along with Sri Subhadra, Sri Balaram and Sri Krishna Chaitanya-Sri Nityananda reside, was celebrated successfully. Paranur Mahatma Sri Sri Anna was present in person and discoursed on his granta (holy book) ‘Bhakti paattam’ for five days. Our Sri Swamiji also participated in this function.
Sri Swamiji would quite often say ‘Brahma deva himself has declared that Kalisantarana Upanishad that has given us the Mahamantra, says that three and half crore chants of this Mahamantra would bestow its fruit. And what do we see in Chaitanya Kuteeram? For more than nine years Mahamantra kirtan has been going on every day without break! The sound of Mahamantra has been ringing here all 365 days from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. without break! Further, it is not a single devotee but several devotees chanting the Mahamantra! During holidays and festival time hundreds of devotees come here and chant the Mahamantra. This is verily the Temple of Mahamantra. Here, Namakirtan is being performed neither for publicity nor for wealth and fame; but verily for the sake of Nama the devotees chant the Nama! Further, this is a divine temple where Nama declared by Mahans, Upanishads and Puranas as the only way to salvation in this Age of Kali is being chanted incessantly. Moreover, it has been said that any dharma done on the banks of a river or in a temple or in a cowshed becomes more fruitful. River Cauvery is the only one of the seven holy Rivers flowing through S.India. This incessant chant of Mahamantra is verily taking place on her bank! Also, as the chanting is done at a place where Sri Bodendra swami has been residing in his subtle divine body for more than 300 years even as he chants the Taraka Mantra (Ram Ram) its significance is increased multi-fold. This holy place (kshetra) is of such glory. Only due to the grace of the Sadguru that all these have come to pass’.
‘Merely by stepping into this Mahamantra temple a person is at once wholly purified’ are the words of benediction from Sri Swamiji.
Original article by Dr. Bhagayanathan, Madhuramurali November 2016 issue. Translated by Nirmala Giri, Chennai India