This series chronicles interesting experiences recounted by the devotees of HH 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.
How a Guru Takes Care of His Devotee-Families
Love of God – if it were to take a form it is verily our Gurudev! This is what strikes me whenever I think of our Gurudev. Truth is we can never comprehend the unparalleled love of Gurudev who is its very personification. However, we feel that we grasp a little of it while seeing the way he leads the families that he has taken unto himself.
2003 – this was the year Mr. Sundararaman and Mrs. Jayanti Sundaraman had their first darshan of our Gurudev along with their children Vignesh and Vaishnavi. The way they came in touch with our Gurudev is truly exceptional. It was the time when Gurudev’s discourses were being telecast. Though this family had attended several spiritual events earlier, the forceful words of Gurudev that all can certainly have direct vision of the Lord got stuck in their minds and it impelled a deep, inexplicable desire to have his darshan. The journey towards Gurudev began at this point in time. Learning about Gurudev’s satsang in Ayodhya Mandapam in West Mambalam in Chennai through newspapers, they were drawn to Ayodhya Mandapam as is a piece of iron by the magnet. They went to Ayodhya Mandapam determined to have his darshan that very day.
Very shy by nature this couple always remains at the back, and that day Ayodhya Mandapam was overflowing with people. After satsang, hundreds of devotees were following Gurudev as he left the dais. Mr. Sundararaman, as if bound by some mantra, joined the crowd following Gurudev. Gurudev who had reached the entrance stopped for a moment and turned back. Among hundreds of people standing there he looked at Mr. Sundararaman and smiled. The doubt ‘Was that for me or someone else known to him?’ arose in Mr. Sundararaman. As if to reassure him Gurudev looked deeply at Mr. Sundararaman, wished him well and left. The couple felt highly elated.
From the time of his first darshan of Gurudev Mr. Sundararaman deeply desired to receive Divine Name initiation (Nama upadesam) from Gurudev. Finding out where Gurudev lived he went there after a few days. His whole mind was filled with only one thought – of somehow finding the right moment to seek initiation. Well! Does not Gurudev know our thoughts? As soon as Mr. Sundararaman prostrated to him Gurudev blessed him with the initiation on his own! Mr. Sundararaman was simply astounded.
Mrs. Jayanti Sundararaman was indeed glad to learn this. However, her prayer was quite different. She wondered if Gurudev would initiate her also, unasked, as in her husband’s case. ‘If Gurudev initiates me into the Divine Name I have to maintain discipline in regular chant of the Name. What if I fail in this? So, may he not initiate me into the Divine Name!’ was her prayer! A few days later when she went for Gurudev’s darshan he smiled as if to say ‘I know your thoughts’ and he initiated her into the Divine Name and said “Chant whenever possible!”
Once Gurudev visited Ambur. In Tirupatthur, a town near Ambur, lived Mrs. Jayanti’s grandmother Lalithambal. A valorous lady she was the councillor of the local Co-operative Society. Lord Krishna was her favourite God. She was deeply devoted to His form as Guruvayurappan. Even in her advanced age she lived on her own holding on to Lord Krishna alone. Grandmother and granddaughter went to Ambur for Gurudev’s darshan. As soon as they reached the place, Gurudev said to the grandmother, “I will come to your home.”
He, however, did not tell the time of his visit then. He said that he would, through someone, inform her over telephone. Grandmother and granddaughter at once left for Tirupatthur.
The grandmother cooked food and was preparing to welcome Gurudev. No call was received and there Gurudev was at her door arriving suddenly! This stunned the old lady and she was beside herself not knowing what to do. Collecting herself together she prayed to Gurudev, “This is like Sabari’s house. I have prepared what best I could. I had no information about your arrival time. Please kindly accept what this Sabari has been able to do.”
Gurudev stayed there for a while and while leaving said to her with a smile, “Next time I will inform Sabari and then come.”
After some years the grandmother, a great devotee of Guruvayurappan, visited Guruvayur, and after darshan of the Lord attained the holy feet of Krishna at Guruvayur itself. Have we not often read that it is verily our favorite God who voluntarily comes as Gurudev and takes us unto Himself!
The children Vignesh and Vaishnavi have been deeply devoted to Gurudev since their early years. Both are dear to Gurudev. They worshiped a picture of Gurudev in their house. Whatever they wished to say to Gurudev would be told to this picture. Both had the practice of writing down their prayers in the form of a letter and placing it in front of the picture. Once Vaishnavi’s school unexpectedly announced a holiday. She deeply desired to join Gurudev’s satsang at the ashram. Not knowing how to contact Gurudev for seeking his permission she, with deep faith, wrote down on a piece of paper her desire and placed it in front of the picture. No sooner had she done this than she received the invitation from the Ashram over telephone! The caller passed on the words of Gurudev, “Is Vaishnavi’s school closed? She can come and stay in the Ashram!” Several such prayers have been fulfilled in their home through such letters.
Once, during the family’s visit to the Ashram, Gurudev pointing to Vignesh asked Mrs. Jayanti, “Will you give him to me?” She responded wonderfully, “He is yours Gurudev!”
One day while in school Vignesh fainted as he was walking on the staircase. The parents had no information of this. But at the same time, at the behest of Gurudev, devotees repeatedly called their home and enquired if Vignesh had returned home. It was much later that the parents got the information from the school about Vignesh. Mrs. Jayanti felt shaken but on learning that he was not hurt calmed down. Only then did she comprehend the reason behind the repeated calls from Gurudev.
The family, every moment, feels deeply touched by the way Gurudev protects those who take refuge in him.