Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gurupoornima At Anand Ashram

This post contains a vivid journey of the exploration of North Karnataka - a welcoming land of Holy Siddhas. Our gratitude to all Siddha gurus and Bade Baba for their blessings and guidance to such divine places and people. .

This time, just a few weeks before Guru Poornima, Swami Vijayananda from Anand Ashram, Bevinkoppa, called me up and invited me and a fellow seeker to come over to the ashram if free to attend a function and  for sadhana. We then decided to spend time here for this year's Gurupoornima and thus informed Swamiji  of our coming.

On reaching the place late evening on June 14, 2011, we were glad to meet the little boys who came running as we reaching the ashram, to pick up our bags and escort us to our room.

After freshening up we both met Swamiji, prostrated and took his blessings. He happily told us that next day of Guru Poornima there were some events and we could participate in it. The main function was to release a Kannada book on Baba Nityananda "Nityanandapradam" by Shri Harikrishna Rao. 
"Nityanandapradam" by Shri Harikrishna Rao
Along with this function, he had organized this time Bal Bhojan for the poor children and people of the village. 
Also, the ashram was to distribute free raincoats and school bags to the poor school children followed by bhajans of Bade Baba. We both then soon had the night meal there and spent some time visiting the areas in the ashram. Swamiji invited us the next morning to meditate with him from 6 am to 8 am which we very gladly accepted. The next morning we woke up at 5 am and freshening ourselves up, we went to Swamiji's meditating room where there were a few more devotees of Bade Baba, and meditated with Swamiji. Then, having breakfast, we moved to the Nityananda Dhyan Mandir where there was the morning puja, after which a whole team of musicians and singers sang very beautiful songs of Bade Baba in Kannada, Marathi and Hindi. The aura is the temple was just great with the melodious voices of the devotees accompanied by the tabla and harmonium. During the short break between the program, we meditated in the underground cave that was constructed by Swamji close to a samadhi of a Siddha. Then, on coming back we saw the function had not yet begun and thus we sat meditating in the "Kutir" the hut in the ashram where he earlier did sadhana and he said we could do sadhana anywhere we wished in the ashram. This place is a very nice place to do sadhana and the last time i came here i had wished to be here in the Kutir and this time we could spend good time here.

At noon the function began in the open space besides the temple and the function went well with 8 guests and felicitations of them all. Swamiji's speech, as usual, was full of important messages filled with humour. The book was released. 

It was a different experience having food sitting outside on a stone near the Kutir along with the villagers who had spread themselves out on the open land of the ashram. Then, taking some rest in our room, we spent some more time in the evening in the Kutir.

After this we were fortunate to find Swamiji giving us some time who sat with us on a chair outside in the night under the light of the lamp that lit the entrance of the dining hall. I knew he was tired but his smile and enthusiasm to spend time with us was still intact. 
In a brief conversation, he said few important things about the anahad naad. He also mentioned how to differentiate between the logic and inner voice. He mentioned that while decision making or seeking answers one must not delay on the answers that come. The first thing that comes to mind, must be grabbed. He compared it to selectively buying something in a shop. If an instant decision is not taken in choosing between two things, the mind gets confused. The more the delay the more the confusion. Hence, he said, the selection must be spontaneous and instant, and thus not to postpone decisions. He added that whatever you chose, if done with surrender, the Guru always guides and protects through that decision or choice. We then had dinner with Swamiji. After dinner, we rested for a while and at 11 p.m. did Sri Vidya sadhana in the Kutir till late after midnight.

The underground cave
Next morning we woke up at 4:30 a.m. and after freshening up, meditated in the caves. When we came out the day was out and we saw Swamiji sitting in his room. Taking his blessings, we went back to our room and for breakfast we were glad to have Swamiji with us again. This time he spoke on many incidents from scriptures - about Ram, Sita, Ravan, Ganesh, Krisha - what they signify and how all these are the qualities within us and how instead of catching these meanings, people have forgotten it all and are only behind glorifying them as Gods. He spoke for a long time and then we took leave of him stating that we wanted to visit the Mallikarjun temple that was established by Maharishi Sumedha by the banks of the Malaprabha river. This place is a 10-minute walk from the ashram. He happily asked us to go there. We both walked to the place and sat down at the very  ancient Shivalinga temple. Great energies and experiences here. Just outside this old temple is a huge neem tree with concrete around it to sit, which is considered to be the samadhi place of Maharishi Sumedha. We then walked back to the ashram.

When we reached back, we were happy to hear that Swamiji had arranged to take us to two samadhi sites of two siddhas in close by vicinity. Along with some more devotees from Mumbai and places around, we left in two cars where Swamiji eagerly wanted us to visit.
Photos of Siddha Shridharananda, Swami Shivanand Paramahamsa and Siddha Maatananda Swami
Siddha Parampujya Shridharananda Swamiji
First, Swamiji took us to the Samadhi Mandir of Siddha Parampujya Shridharananda Swamiji. There is an underground cave where the Siddha did his tapas and above his cave is the Samadhi Mandir. Just opposite to this temple is a Dhyana Mandir that is built as the replica of Dhyana Mandirs of Swami Shivanand Paramahamsa of Kerala. This dhyana mandir had photos of three siddhas - Siddha Shridharananda, Swami Shivanand Paramahamsa and Siddha Maatananda Swami (guru of Mohan Swami). Now, i could see some good connections :) Swami Shivanand Paramahamsa is spotted in the famous photograph where Baba Nityananda is seated on his lap. Siddha Maatananda's Jeeva Samadhi is in Sogal (30 kms from this place) where Swami Mohan lives in his ashram (read my previous visits to him)
Where Siddha Shridharananda left his body
The energies were very evident in this place. The Dhyana Mandir is powerful for meditation and so is the house where the Siddha lived. The Samadhi Mandir was very vibrant and we preferred to sit here, which is located above the underground caves that he had done his tapas in. Swamiji allowed us both to sit there and they went to the home of the Siddha, asking us to come there directly after we finished. The home, the samadhi and the dhyana temple are all in one compound. After sitting there for sometime, we then joined Swamiji and others who was sitting in the home of the Siddha. Puffed rice and tea was offered to us all and Swamiji was again stuck in a welcoming formality. I could see Swamiji trying to explain to them that we had to leave and all this was not required, but in vain. Swamiji was made to sit in the Samadhi temple and honored with flowers. As Swamiji stepped down I was giggling looking deliberately at him and Swamiji laughed and said that these things had to be adhered to even unwillingly (for the sentiments of the people). Laughing, we got into the vehicles and left for the next place.
Just a few minutes and we reached another divine place - the samadhi place of Shri Jagadguru Madiwaleshwar. As we moved around this huge place, we looked at paintings hung on the walls depicting the miracles he did. Everything was in Kannada, so it took me some time to read, but then Swamiji quickly narrated some of the Siddha's feats. The story of the Siddha who when an emergency struck when ghee got over during the making of puris in  a celebration and the disciples ran to the guru, who asked them to fetch water from the river. No sooner they brought the water and poured into the pan, what poured out was ghee. Next day, the guru asked the disciples if they had bought ghee from the market and given it back to the river, and when the disciples looked surprised, he asked them to do so that nothing comes for free. Returning home, i tried in vain to search about the Siddhas from these areas and unfortunately not a single information about them exists.

It was quite obvious by now how precious this geographical belt was. Swamiji also told me that this is a very divine belt extending from Kanhangad to these areas in North Karnataka. Swamiji humorously told us stories about how Siddhas or people on this path are troubled and sometimes literally harassed. He told us his own stories but every time he narrated one there sure was something humorous in it and i couldn't help tossing in there with uncontrollable laughter. He too laughed like a child with us.

We reached the ashram by 3:30 p.m. and had food. Since we had to leave back home the same evening, we took some rest. Swamiji said he would drop us till Bailhongal and he did so at 6 p.m. From there we took a bus back home.

Quite evidently, things were opening up. i never ever imagined that these places here are such divine places, connected with so much of mythology and a Siddha bhoomi. i am sure, i wanted to come back here to explore for more and also write more (as and when i am directed to with His wish). All i knew was that not just these two, there were hundreds of Samadhis in this area,  known and unknown, even if known i could see clearly that people could not relate to what they have amongst their daily lives.

After two days, we both came back and explore one full day more places under the guidance of Swamiji and those were real mines, which i will be putting up in the next post. 

Our heartfelt gratitude to Swami Vijayanandji, Bade Baba, and all holy Siddhas.

~ Namo Siddhanam ~

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