A Unique Experience

Sannyasi Srimukhananda

Lord Shiva has openly declared that his relationship with Sri Rama is that of bhakta and Bhagawan. Even Paramahamsaji had made it clear that the event of Sita Kalyanam was being celebrated with utmost sincerity, innocence and in the childlike hope and belief that Lord Shiva, a supreme bhakta of Sri Rama, would definitely come in some form or other to behold His Ishta being united in wedlock. Therefore, Paramahamsaji had very appropriately chosen the theme bhajan 'Jaya Jaya Shiva Bhole Bhandari, He Ashutosha, He Tripurari' and concluding arati 'Jaya Shiva Omkara, Prabhu Shiva Omkara' dedicated and devoted to Lord Shiva during this auspicious event. All the devotional bhajans from beginning to end pertained only to Lord Shiva. We are more than certain that Lord Shiva must have descended from his heavenly abode to grace Paramahamsaji's heavenly abode on this earth. Though we could not see the Lord with our naked eyes, we could certainly feel His presence in that serene and divine atmosphere.

Sita Kalyanam had many firsts to her credit. It was the first time that Paramahamsaji had appeared in different attire for different occasions, sometimes dressed like a priest, sometimes a sage and sometimes a royal king. One could easily see in him Christ, Sage Vashishtha, King Janaka or Dasharatha. It goes without saying that whatever robe Paramahamsaji wore adorned him the most.

It was the first time that a Mass was held outdoors, on the same platform where devotional bhajans and kirtans were being sung with a painting of Lord Shiva and Parvati in the background. The Cosmic Mass, conducted by three female priests from Australia, assisted by Paramahamsaji as co-celebrant, before a mammoth gathering, was a unique event. Last year during Ram Naam Aradhana it was the Sikhs, with their Holy Guru Granth Sahib, sharing the same platform. This year it was a Christian Mass. Next year will it be a Mohammedan group with their Holy Koran? After all, Ishwara, Allah, Christ, Buddha are just different names of that Almighty, the supreme authority and power which is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent!

It was the first time that, while enacting the wedding of Sri Rama and Sita, a real marriage was taking place side by side on the dais with full vedic rites conducted by four learned pandits from Varanasi. What an experience for Nirlipta (proxy for Rama) and Uma (proxy for Sita), citizens of United Kingdom, to exchange the sacred vows of marriage in front of an unprecedented number of people from twenty-three countries at a small and remote place like Rikhia Dham! Paramahamsaji was dressed as a royal king, Swami Niranjan as a royal prince, Swami Satsangi as a queen, besides thousands of devotees dressed up in their best available attire, as per the wish of Paramahamsaji. Most of the foreign ladies were wrapped up in traditional Indian sarees.

It was the first time that as many as 800 young brides from Paramahamsaji's neighbourhood received good luck kits containing all the precious articles, including jewellery, from Paramahamsaji himself on the occasion of the auspicious wedding ceremony of Sri Rama and Sitaji. The more Paramahamsaji gifts away to his humble neighbours the more he receives in his Prasad Kutir. It is not a tall claim when he discloses that he has a secret pact with Goddess Lakshmi. His slogan of “Give, give and give” applies to one and all and our desire or expectation of “Take, take, take” has to be curbed.

It was amazing to observe the rate at which Paramahamsaji was wholeheartedly gifting away Kanchipuram sarees to the female devotees; shirts and dhotis to the male devotees; blankets, shawls, track suits, etc. to the sannyasins, and T-shirts in geru, yellow and white with his portrait on the front, with the instruction to “Keep this old man close to your heart”; clothes to the workers; tools and implements to the tradesmen and village folk; books and stationery to the school children; shawls to the male teachers; sarees to the female teachers; as well as the usual prasad of rickshaws, thelas, cycles, autorickshaws to the humble neighbours, and hand driven tricycles for the invalids. Even the books of Ramacharitamanas, used daily for Ramayana path, were given as prasad.

It was also the first time that a Lalita Sahasrara Yajna dedicated to the Divine Mother was conducted by the five yoginis belonging to Lalita Siddha Peetha, Tamil Nadu, next to Christ Kutir in the presence of thousands of devotees. What a contrast to the normal yajnas we otherwise see!

On the last day, after the wedding ceremony was over, the grand finale came by way of superb bhajans and kirtans performed by 'Bhajan Samrat' Purushottam Jalota and his troupe. The gathering of over 15,000 people participated spontaneously, with full heart and soul. Thank God that Lord Indra behaved well on this day by controlling his happiness, for earlier in the week we had tasted his pleasure by way of a devastating downpour.

As all good things must come to an end so did Sita Kalyanam. As Paramahamsaji had declared that he did not wish to see any devotee after the conclusion, so the winding up operation commenced immediately after the record crowd began clearing the Tapovan complex. By 11 p.m. the complex where Sita Kalyanam had taken place bore a silent and deserted look as if nothing had happened there at all.