By Lata Ganesh, Virginia, USA
The Grace received through one’s Guru is difficult to describe in words. I am totally overwhelmed and overawed by the benevolence and magnanimity of the blessings bestowed on me by my beloved Guru Mohanji, by allowing me to experience the presence of the Supreme Goddess herself. Let me begin this narrative with complete surrender at His lotus feet.
The Autobiography of an Avadhoota, the fascinating life story of Guruji Avadhoota Nadananda gave me an introduction to the Mookambika Temple in Kollur. But I had never thought that I will be visiting the temple and walking the same grounds that Guruji had been. But my Guru had other plans for me! He wanted to grace me with this divine blessing out of pure compassion.
A few months ago, during a conversation, Mohanji told me to visit Mookambika and offer prayers to Bhagavathi (the Mother Goddess). What was strange was that, when He mentioned this to me, Mohanji said, “Oh, I was about to mention another temple, but Mookambika just came out of my mouth.” I thought this extremely strange. No words ever ‘slip out’ of Mohanji’s mouth! Since Guru’s command has to be fulfilled, I was very certain that I would visit Mookambika soon.
In the following months I was approved for the Mohanji Acharya Level 1 training and the first training was going to be held in Bangalore at the end of October. My request to be part of that training was approved and with the hope of fulfilling Mohanji’s instructions, I planned a visit to India in October so that I could visit the Mookambika temple as well as attend the training. However, there was a hurdle to pass through. I had just taken some time off from work to attend Mohanji’s retreat in Virginia in August, and was a bit concerned whether my office would consider giving me leave again in October. But lo and behold, my colleagues surprisingly agreed to my travel and were happy to fill in for me during my absence!
Now, I was wondering how I was going to travel all by myself to Kollur which I believed to be a remote place. I casually mentioned my travel plans to my mother who was quite thrilled and wanted to join me. She had been wanting to go to the temple for many years but had not told any of her children of her wish. This gave me an opportunity to fulfil my mother’s wish as well.
On October 25th, after a comfortable flight, I landed in Chennai from Washington DC. I spent the day with my family and was off to Bangalore the following morning. As soon as I landed in Bangalore, our angel escorts in the form of moths and butterflies, guided my way to Mohanji’s Ashram. The Ashram located in a quiet cul-de-sac beneath the umbrella of a huge Audumbar tree shelters our beloved Mohanji.
The Audumbar tree (Ficus racemose) is not planted manually but grows on its own mainly through birds which eat the fruits. The Audumbar is associated with Lord Dattatreya who is always portrayed as sitting under its shelter.
I was blessed with the opportunity of partaking lunch (prasadam) with Mohanji, Acchan and Amma. After lunch, Mohanji left the Ashram for the Acharya training which was taking place at a venue on the other side of the city. Taking Mohanji’s blessings I proceeded to Devi Amma’s house.
Most of you may have heard of Devi Amma, a loving saint and Mohanji’s spiritual mother. Devi Amma, the daughter of the revered Sage Agastya and his wife Mother Lopamudra has come back to this earthly plane, as a realized being, to speak the Truth and lead humanity on the right path. I had made an intention of meeting Devi Amma this time while in Bangalore and Preeti Duggal had kindly arranged a meeting for a small group of us. However, on the day of the meeting, none of the other people who planned to attend could make it to Amma’s house. I ended up being alone on a long drive to Whitefield where Amma lives. Even though I was late by over an hour from the agreed meeting time, Amma was so kind and had waited patiently for me. I was totally blown away by her simplicity and childlike innocence. She seemed like a beautiful fragrant celestial flower, so fragile yet so powerful! We talked for a long time in our mother tongue, Tamil, and listened together to the audio recording of Siddhar Potri (a hymn offering praise to powerful Siddhas) that I had on my phone.
When I mentioned to Devi Amma about the upcoming first Mohanji Acharya training, she told me that she would specifically seek the blessings of the Guru Mandala, her Guru and spiritual parents Agastya Muni and Lopamudra Ma.
During our conversation, I lovingly asked Devi Amma to speak about Mohanji.
Devi Amma said,
“Mohanji is a very great Siddha who has been sent to this world by the Divine Masters of the Guru Mandala. He is an extremely compassionate being. His role in this avatar is to spread unconditional love on this earth and beyond. He is not only a Jagatmitra (friend of the world) but Mohanji is a Vishwamitra (friend of the universe). I am clarifying here that He is not Vishwamitra, the sage of yore, but Vishwa-mitra, Friend of the Universe. Being an incarnation of compassion, Mohanji can only offer unconditional love, under all circumstances. That is why in spite of the many negativities and obstacles that come His way, He still offers love. That is the purity of His nature.”
This is an important message to mankind, revealing the inter-galactic dimension of Mohanji, and comes directly from the Divine Masters conveyed through one of their purest and truest representatives.
We clearly see in the picture above, how Devi Amma is immersed in the love emanating from Mohanji’s heart center – Two divine beings melting in pure love and bliss.
After spending a couple of hours with Devi Amma, I took a cab to the venue of the training, which was at the other end of the city. And oh boy, did I experience the legendary Bangalore traffic! Stranded on the streets of Whitefield for over an hour for a cab and then the drive to Banashankari was quite an adventure. Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a very powerful Master, used to visit his Ashram in Whitefield often when he was in his body. I had the blessing of spending some time, waiting for a cab, soaked in bliss of being in the energy cradle of Sai Baba, Mohanji and Devi Amma that nothing bothered me. When I finally arrived at about 10.00 pm at the Subramanian residence where the Acharya training was to take place, all the participants had already gone to bed.
I have no words to describe the hospitality, generosity and love of the Subramanian family. I felt totally at home when I entered Skanda Vilas and was welcomed by Radha, Sathya and their mom. I am very grateful to have met this loving family. I thoroughly enjoyed the spiritual discussions with Mr. Subramanian and am deeply grateful to him for including me in his daily morning ritual of feeding the cows and calves at a nearby goshala (cowshed). The experience of staying at their house where the vel and mayil (lance and peacock – the symbols of my Lord Muruga) reside was simply a divine blessing.
The Acharya training which started early next day was very intense. As promised, Devi Amma had indeed prayed for us and she received a message after having sought the blessings of the Guru Mandala. Preeti Duggal had received a call from Devi Amma early that morning to convey that the Guru Mandala was going to be present at the training session and that all the participants had the blessings of the Masters. And true to their promise, the Masters did make their presence felt and the entire training session was filled with intense divine energies, much more intense than witnessed before in front of and through Mohanji. It shook us all up!
During the stay in Bangalore, I had mentioned to fellow participants about my upcoming trip to Mookambika and Devadas then shared with me his own experiences when he had visited Mookambika several years ago, before Mohanji had entered his life. He had seen Prashobji (Guruji Nadananda’s spiritual brother) at the temple, who had prophesied about Devadas meeting Mohanji in the future. Devadas was very excited about my visit to Mookambika. He had told me that he will share the phone number of the temple priest who could help with any rituals at the temple.
On Monday night, at the end of the training, I took Mohanji’s blessings before heading out of Bangalore. Mohanji blessed me and said, “Do a prostration at Mookambika temple on my behalf.”
I joined the ride back to Chennai along with our loving Mohanji Chennai family members. With Kishore’s impressive driving skills and Rekha’s non-stop conversation to keep Kishore awake all night long, we reached Chennai in the early hours on Tuesday. Having reached home at about 4.00 am, I was ready to take the flight to Mangalore with my mother in a few hours, filled with excitement and energy.
As I boarded the flight to Mangalore from Chennai at 11 am, I realized that I did not have the telephone number of the temple priest as for some reason, neither Devadas nor Rajesh were able to provide it to me. However, I was quite confident that Mohanji would take care of that! I was thinking, may be, I won’t need the contact as the temple would not be so crowded during the weekdays. But as the flight landed in Mangalore at 1.30 pm and before the plane doors opened, I got a call. It was from Devadas. He called to give me the phone number of the temple priest.
I fell in love with Mangalore right from the moment of landing. The small airport was so clean and the air was filled with the fragrance of sandal wood or some herb. We were welcomed by a pleasant and polite man, Bibin, who was driving us to Kollur. Bibin and my mother enjoyed a lively conversation in Malayalam all the way to the hotel. It was a warm welcome. My mother and I felt so relaxed and at peace, driving past the lovely green landscape and many bridges over strips of water bodies, the Brahminy Kites with white heads and striking chestnut brown shining bodies, soaring high in the skies over our heads. It felt like we were being enveloped with love and gentleness in the embrace of the Mother Divine. My mother said that as kids, they would run along with the Brahminy Kites soaring over their heads and would ask for wishes to be fulfilled, as they believed these Kites to be Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. True to that belief, there were hundreds of these birds flying over the skies on the long stretch from the airport to Udupi and beyond. Udupi is the site of a famed temple of Sri Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Garuda was certainly guarding the Master.
After a comfortable three and a half hour ride from the airport, we reached the small town of Kollur. The highly revered shrine of Sri Devi Mookambika at Kollur is one of the oldest temples of Adi Parashakti, the primordial feminine energy. Nestled among the thick forests of the Western Ghats and the tranquility of the Kodachadri Hills, and on the banks of the Souparnika river, with a gold-plated crest and copper roof stands the majestic temple of the most benevolent and gracious Mother.
Legends of this ancient temple go back to date it as being over 1200 years old and it is believed that Devi Mookambika transformed herself into a Jyotir linga after destroying a demon named Mookasura who was disturbing the penance of Sage Kola. Answering the intense prayers of Kola Maharishi, for the upliftment of righteousness and welfare of humanity, the supreme energies of the trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and their consorts Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati, have empowered the Jyotir linga (the linga of Grace light) with their divine presence. The Svayambhulinga (a linga which manifested itself) manifested when Parameshwara (Lord Shiva) drew a Srichakra with his toe.
The chronicles of history teach us that the supreme Master of this yuga, Sri Adi Shankaracharya sat in meditation here, during his travel through this region. The supreme Goddess appeared in Shankaracharya’s vision in the most beautiful and magnanimous form. The idol of the Divine Mother was sculpted according to Shankaracharya’s vision and the magnificent Devi stands there today in brilliance, behind the Jyotir linga, bestowing blessings to millions of people who have visited her since then.
The idol of Devi Mookambika is visible in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, but the Jyotir linga is kept covered and is revealed only during the time of offering the archana (offering or kumkum or flowers) or abhishekam (ritualistic bathing of the linga with water, milk and other liquids). Devi Mookambika has merged with this linga, incorporating both Shiva and Shakti and fulfills all the desires of her devotees. A golden line (Svarna Rekha) has formed in this linga making a wider left side, where reside the energies of the Goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati, and a narrower right side where the energies of Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Parameshvara reside.
The hotel Mahalakshmi Residency is at the foot of the Mookambika temple and it was close to 5.00 pm when Bibin dropped us there and told us that he would meet us back the next morning at 8.30 am. After quickly freshening up and having some coffee and snacks, my mother and I were eager to get to the temple. I called Dr. K.N. Narasimha Adiga, the chief priest or tantric at the Mookambika temple who has deep respects and reverence for Mohanji. The present head of the Adiga clan, who has served the Mookambika temple for several generations, Narasimha Adiga is a charming scholar whose quiet demeanor radiated remarkable devotion and dignity. At the mention of Mohanji’s name, he welcomed us to his home and assigned one of his priests to accompany us to the temple and help us conduct all the desired rituals. After offering some fruits and dakshina to the priest, we proceeded to the temple.
As the evening rituals at the temple were yet to begin, the crowd had not started to gather. We entered the inner chamber (antaraalayam) adjoining the sanctum sanctorum (garbhagudi) where the deity is installed and were guided to stand in a spot on a platform from where we could easily see the Goddess and also watch all the rituals. The energy inside the inner temple was supreme and intense. Goddess Mookambika is the most exuberant expression of the Supreme Shakti. Words are insufficient to describe the effulgence of the Devi, such is her magnificence and brilliance. Standing there, right in front of her, I felt the deepest sense of gratitude and surrender. The thought that She had brought me from so far to grant me her darshan made me weep in gratitude. The only way I could compose myself was to start chanting the Mohanji mantra. As I started chanting the mantra intensely, it stabilized me, and I was able to connect with the Goddess. And I began talking to her, pouring out all my own thoughts, desires, fears, seeking for family and friends and whatever was there in me. As this mental dialogue was going on, I realized that we had been inside the sanctum sanctorum for over an hour! It was as though Mohanji had literally led me here to make me experience this oneness with the Divine. This is how the grace of the Guru operates. And it was awareness that brought me to this realization. It was as if time had stopped and so had everything else – there was only the blissful chanting of the Mohanji Guru mantra in my heart and the brightness of the Mother in front and all around.
There were hundreds of people passing into the hall for Devi’s darshan and exiting the sanctorum. My mother and I continued to stand there, in front of the deity. The young priest sent to us by the Adiga came to take our sankalpa (special prayer) for the rituals to be done for the Goddess. As the rituals for the Devi idol started and the priests removed the covering that was over the Jyotir linga and performed the archana and abhisekam, we were completely soaked in bliss and gratitude and Devi blessed us with a beautiful darshan of the Jyotir linga and lovingly allowing us to witness those highly sacred ritual offerings to the linga, where all the divine energies reside.
As the pooja rituals of the evening were coming to an end, we proceeded closer to the idol and did one pradhakshina (circumambulation of a sacred place) of the sanctum sanctorum and left the inner chamber. There are two doors to the inner chamber building where Devi resides; the main entrance facing the deity has two large doors separated by a small platform and the exit door to go out of the inner chamber is on the right side of the inner chamber building. The normal procedure is for devotees to enter the main temple building passing the two entry doors, walking in facing the Goddess and then to go around the main temple and exit out of the door on the right. Having completed one pradhakshina, my mother and I came out of the right-side exit door to the outer courtyard and then came back through the front double door to re-enter the inner chamber. I had mentioned before that the main entry to the inner chamber has two front doors and there is a gap of about 2 feet between them. There is a platform covering the gap. This area is not very well-lit.
As I was passing the first entry door, my attention was diverted on an elderly lady sitting on the platform in between the first and the second door leading directly to the inner chamber of the Goddess. I glanced at the lady who seemed to be in a meditative state, her eyes half closed. As I passed by her, something was drawing me towards her. Even though I had entered the inner chamber and was getting ready for another pradhakshina after the viewing the Devi, my mind was with the elderly lady. All of a sudden, the priests and the temple authorities asked the people who had gathered in the inner chamber to exit immediately as they were getting ready for the deeparadhana (grand showing of lamp to the deity). No one other than the priests are usually allowed to remain inside the inner chambers while they prepare the Goddess for this grand deeparadhana ritual. The doors to the inner chamber were about to be shut. There was a bit of a confusion among the crowd inside. As the temple guides were directing the crowd to exit the temple through the side door on the right, my thoughts went to the elderly lady and I was desperately hoping to see her again. I was worried that she might have already left the platform where she had been sitting!
As my mother and I were getting closer to the side exit, the young priest sent to us by the Adiga suddenly appeared out of nowhere and guided us to move towards the front entrance of the temple. This was very odd because, the exit was only through the side door. But here, we were the only two people being asked to exit the inner chamber through the entrance door. As we came out of the entry door, I saw the lady again, and this time very clearly. As they ushered us out of the main temple, I was able to go and sit on the platform very close to the lady. There was a metal railing dividing the lady and me and both of us were sitting on the platform alongside the wall of the inner chamber. This meant that all of us were outside the inner chamber, and except for the elderly lady and the temple priests, there was no one within the boundaries of the inner chamber. Strangely, the priests did not ask the lady to move out of her position, i.e. she was within the inner boundary. Even stranger was her attire. She wore a silk dhoti deep red in color with a zari border, that was tied to her waist and falling to her ankles. The upper part of her body was covered with a half-saree, with an off-white colored shawl draped over her head. This was a most unusual attire and not a single person in the entire crowd was dressed in anything resembling that. The women from Kerala do wear dhoti/mundu, but they don’t cover their heads, nor do they wear a silk dhoti as a mundu, only a cotton dhoti is worn. She seemed to be of about 70-80 years old, but her face was shining bright and she had a large round deep red kumkum on her forehead.
As I sat close to her, with the railing separating the two of us, she came very close to my face and looked directly into my eyes. It was the most beautiful and glowing face filled with love. She asked me, in Malayalam, “Child, you did recognize me, didn’t’ you?” I was totally numb for a second. Deep within me, I DID RECOGNIZE HER! SHE WAS NONE OTHER THAN THE MOTHER DIVINE, GODDESS MOOKAMBIKA. I was spellbound. I replied, “I did recognize you, Mother.”
Meanwhile, my mother, who was sitting on the other side had told me that we should chant the Lalitha Sahasranama till they opened the doors and allowed us back inside. But I could not focus on the chanting at all. I was so conscious of the energy emanating from this lady – on the one had she looked like a beautiful divine being and on the other hand she was behaving like an Avadhoota too, a bit unstable. Nobody seemed to be making eye contact with her, although she was making some gestures at certain people. Since my focus was more on her and not on the chanting, I looked at her again. She lovingly smiled at me and ran her finger on my face as though talking to a child. She asked me what my name was and took out a small banana from under her shawl and gave it to me. I accepted it reverently and asked her if I might offer her dakshina. As I took some cash and placed it in her hand, she took her hand and put it on my head in a gesture of blessing. She then told me to go stand right in front of the line and to rush inside as soon as I heard the temple bell ring, signaling the start of the deeparadhana. Most of her communications were by hand gestures. Except for the first sentence of asking me whether I recognized her and then asking my name, she was making several gestures, looking at some people in irritation etc.
Meanwhile, the people gathered around the temple were getting restless and were ready to charge inside the inner chamber for the deeparadhana. My mother and I and a couple were standing at a spot the lady had gestured us to. As the temple bell rang, everyone rushed inside. We followed the crowd and the lady asked us to walk behind her and took us to a spot, once again on the raised platform, with a fantastic view of the Goddess. The deeparadhana was an elaborate ritual and extremely beautiful. The radiance of the Goddess was brilliant and overpowering. As I kept my eyes focused on the beautiful idol in front of us, and as the lighted oil lamps were being waved by the priests, Devi’s face from the dark inner sanctum sanctorum was becoming visible. Even though the priests were some steps away from the idol, there certainly was some motion inside the sanctorum. Devi was alive. A jasmine flower garland which was going across Devi’s neck and attached to the Vel (lance) to her right side moved and fell on her chest. It was an extraordinary moment. There was a tiny bird, moth or a butterfly flying inside the inner chamber. The elderly lady who was standing below would every now and then glance back at me to make sure that we were getting a full and beautiful view of the entire proceedings.
As the evening rituals were coming to an end, the lady gestured us to come down from the platform and guided us to stand directly in front of the Goddess as the final aarati was being conducted. We got an up-close darshan of the Devi and filled our hearts with her image and energy.
As we were doing the final pradhakshina to come out of the inner chamber, the lady returned to me and said that she would see us next morning.
Within the inner chamber was also a small shrine dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya, called the Shankara Simhasana. This was the spot where the five hooded Nagaraja, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman and Lord Shiva in the form of Veerabhadra Swamy were also installed.
Almost 4-5 hours had passed thus in the temple. We came out after the deeparadhana and were waiting outside as the priests were getting ready to bring Devi outside for a procession in the outer aisle outside the limit of the flag post (dwajasthamba). Several hundred people had gathered and were waiting around for the final darshan of the Devi. I looked for the elderly lady in the crowd but could not find her anymore. Another thing that I observed was that though there were hundreds of people that evening at the temple, the lady had not spoken to a single person other than me, and a brief conversation with my mother which was kind of garbled and non-coherent!
After joining in the three outer pradakshinas walking behind Devi’s idol being carried in a palanquin by the priests, the evening rituals ended. We proceeded to get some prasadam (consecrated food). There is a huge hall in the temple complex where every day hundreds of devotees are served prasadam as lunch and dinner for free.
On the way back to our hotel, we visited the house of Narasimha Adiga and collected the prasadam of kumkum (vermilion) and flowers which had been offered to Devi Mookambika during the evening rituals.
As the day ended, all I had left in my heart was unlimited love and gratitude to my dear Guru Mohanji, without whose Grace, this experience could not have been possible. The deep connection with which I held on to my Guru was the one and only way I could have had this divine darshan.
I was also very happy that my mother who had wanted to visit this temple for several years and was now fulfilled with the darshan. Both of us slept so peacefully that night, like a baby in its mother’s warm and loving embrace.
We woke up at sunrise the next morning and were ready once again to visit the temple. Bibin, the driver had told us that he would pick us up at 8.30, so we did not have much time.
Once again we got to walk right into the inner chamber as it was not too crowded. As we entered I saw the elderly lady again. This time she was right in front near the garbha griha. As soon as we walked in, she turned around and nodded with a sense of recognition. She was appearing a bit serious today, no smile at all. She just looked deeply and directly. With her standing there, the temple guides did not ask us to move out at all. Normally, the temple staff usher people out of the main chamber allowing them a maximum of two to three seconds. But we stood right in front of Devi, soaking in her energy and admiring her timeless beauty for several minutes. The rest of the people were being asked to leave after taking darshan just for a few seconds. Standing in front of the idol, I recalled Mohanji’s words to me to offer a namaskaram (full body prostration) on His behalf. I prostrated in front of the deity. And as the elderly lady was standing close by, I also touched her feet. The priest then brought out the saree that had been on the idol overnight as they change the clothing during the morning ritual. The elderly lady gestured to us to come forward and touch the saree as it had only just been removed from the Goddess’s idol. Another unexpected and special blessing!
After that, the lady told me to keep doing pradakshina. She conveyed this message with gestures and not words. She herself started going around the main temple and I followed her. We did several rounds thus. While doing the rounds, she came and gave me some grains wrapped in a paper. At that point I asked her if I could take a photo of hers. She suddenly seemed irritated. She said, “You cannot take a picture inside this chamber. I will come out.” We remained in the inner chambers for about 15-20 minutes more. Once again we got to watch the full aarati, this time much closer and just in front of the idol of the Goddess. She was resplendent. Goddess Mookambika in the temple is worshipped as Sri Saraswati in the morning, Sri Lakshmi at noon and Sri Durga in the evening.
As it was nearly time for us to leave the town, after the mahaarati, my mother and I came out of the inner chambers and were doing a couple of rounds in the outer chamber. I could no longer spot the elderly lady, who I do believe to be Goddess Mookambika herself, who graced me by taking a human form again. Unfortunately, I could not take a picture of her!
We came out of the temple, fed a cow and calf and some baby monkeys that were in the courtyard outside. We then started walking back to the hotel so that we could pack our bags and check out. I was flooded with the memories of the life of our beloved Guruji Avadhoota Nadanandaji. I remembered that he had walked these grounds several times and with his Guru Maa Taramayee. I was desperately wishing that Maa Taramayee would come and bless us. As these thoughts were flooding my mind, a dog passed by and I gave it some biscuits. I was still holding a few biscuits in my hand to offer some more to the dog, when I saw a lady approaching me – (I get goosebumps as I write this now) – a frail beggar woman with a half-tied saree above her ankles, the sleeve of her blouse falling off her shoulders – I walked up to her and handed her the biscuits which she accepted in her hands and then asked for some money. I gave some cash to this mother and bowed down to her!
What more could I have asked for? The compassionate Mother left me completely full of bliss and blessings.
It was now time to take leave.
On our way out, we stopped by at the Shankaracharya Ashrama and the Bhagawan Nityananda Ashrama.
There was a cave temple and a Shiva linga which was worshipped by Adi Shankara. The priest mentioned to us that it was a doorway to Kailash. I am left wondering if Adi Shankara astrally left from there for Kailash and if Mother Parvati appeared to him through that doorway, walking behind him!
We then visited the Ashram of Bhagawan Nityananda located a few minutes from the Mookambika temple. As we entered, a young swamiji was conducting an aarati to the idol of Bhagawan. The ashram was very peaceful and there was no one there except for the swami who was very friendly. Though there were a number of unique photos of Bhagawan Nityananda, what caught my eye was a particular framed photo of Lord Dattatreya on a chair and the Datta Gurus, with a flower garland. I sought permission from the swamiji to take a picture of that framed photo. He granted this promptly and even raised up the flower garland from the frame so that I could get a good picture. Strangely, though the temple was poorly lit, the picture (shown below), is filled with light, as though Bhagawan has merged into Lord Dattatreya. The other picture of Bhagawan protected by Nagaraja, I thought was very powerful.
A visit to Kollur is not complete without wetting our feet at the holy Souparnika river. I was very keen on visiting the area and also to see the river and the forest behind, since this was where our Guruji Avadhoota Nadanandaji had spent his Gurukula days with Maa Taramayee. We walked to the shallow river where Maa Taramayee used to bathe Guruji by rubbing his body with the stones of the river bed. The dense forest on the other side of the river where Maa Taramayee and the boys had lived does not appear like any ordinary woods at all – one can see slippery walls of stone that have to be crossed over first to get into the forest. I wondered how they lived there or walked across in and out to the river and the temple. It is very hard to imagine living in those forests with Mother Earth to sleep on and the vast sky as the roof. But with the Guru by the side and a surrendered mind, it is of course completely possible. They were no ordinary beings either.
We left Kollur soon after and visited the Udipi Sri Krishna Temple on the way back to the airport.
Though it has been two weeks since I got back to my home in the USA, my experience at the Mookambika Temple has captured my mind completely. As I began writing this blog, I was quite disappointed that I did not have the photograph of the Mother (who came in the form of the elderly lady) to share with everyone. I thought that I could perhaps draw a sketch of her. Someone suggested that I get a painting done by a professional artist. However, I feel that none of these could ever capture the feelings and the unlimited love that I had experienced at the temple on the evening of October 30, 2018. That moment when the mother looked at me and had asked, “My child, did you not recognize me?” and my eyes locked with hers, it was a moment of deep stillness – the fullness of emptiness! If at all there was anything existing, it was only PURE LOVE. That is the lesson I take from this experience. That is what I believe Mohanji wanted me to experience and learn. The ability to feel that equanimity and wonder at all times would be such a wonderful thing! No photo, no painting or sketch can possibly explain that moment. That moment of experience I surrender to my Guru Mohanji. It is only His Grace which made that possible. And I am ever so much in gratitude for that. I am happy to share with you the photos of the two gifts that I received from the Mother.
The introduction to Goddess Mookambika began back in April 2016 when Mohanji handed me a copy of the original Autobiography of Avadhoota Nadananda, The Pyre of the Destined. Mohanji held my hand every step of the way, as we edited the original version of the book and published the now well-known Autobiography of an Avadhoota, so that Mohanji Foundation could take the story of this amazing saint to all over the world. The fascinating life and spiritual journey of this great Avadhoota gave me insight into the divine world of the Masters of Gyanganj, where the Supreme Mother Goddess, the dispeller of ignorance and compassionate giver par excellence, takes the spiritual seeker along the journey.
The instruction from Mohanji to visit Mookambika that came to me in July 2018, as I have mentioned at the beginning of this story, was also part of the divine play! As I mentioned earlier, words don’t merely fall out accidentally. The Master Mohanji, true to His role of a Supreme Guru – the one who has the power to dispel (ru) darkness (gu) – gave me this experiential knowledge. Even remarkable is the fact that this knowledge should come after the level 1 of the Acharya training, as I, like the others who attended, was being purified at subtle levels to embark on this important journey in our lives. To receive this blessing from the Goddess is a boon and I share this blessing with all my fellow Acharya Trainees, and wish that the journey we have embarked upon with Mohanji, bears fruit for humanity. We are also deeply grateful for the blessings bestowed upon us by the Guru Mandala, the Masters of the Tradition.
Although my stay in India during this trip was barely for ten days, a lot had been experienced and learned. I conclude this blog with the deep understanding from the revelations that came from Devi Amma about Mohanji, His mission and His incarnation. The Lord of my heart, Lord Muruga, son of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati is the Lord of the Pleiades and he is deeply connected to the earthly plane. He lived on our planet at one time, as is shown by the several temples of worship dedicated to him in Southern India. Lord Muruga is believed to have incarnated again, taking the form of Mahavatar Babaji as a disciple in the ashram of the great Siddha Bhoganathar, belonging to the ancient tradition of Nava Nath Sadhus (ascetics) who trace their tradition to Lord Shiva (Adhi Nath). The Siddha Kriya Yoga tradition was taught by Bhogar Maharshi and was then carried further by his disciple, Kriya Babaji also known as Mahavatar Babaji. It is believed that it is Lord Muruga’s will to reveal himself as the friend of the universe to help humanity evolve from the gross consciousness to that of subtle consciousness, which is pure light. Devi Amma’s words to me that Mohanji is a great Siddha who has taken the incarnation as Vishvamitra (friend of the universe) is a great revelation and has supreme significance.
Offered at the lotus feet of my Guru, Mohanji.
Om Sri Bhagwan Sri Brahmarishi, Mohanji Namah Om
Om SA RA VA NA BHA VAAYA, Babaji Namah Om
I thank my spiritual sister Geetha, for her constructive comments and help with editing this blog.
Lata Ganesh, Virginia, USA.
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
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