A Wonderful Experience

Ashok Modi (Mumbai)

We have just returned after nine marvellous days in the presence of Sri Swamiji. It was a unique experience and a wonderful feeling to be received by Sri Swamiji himself at the entry point of the Akhara. He said that he was the host and wanted to play host to each and every guest. He also said that his program was not for entertainment. Entertainment can be had at home or in a hotel. This program was not just for passing time, and not so that you have the feeling that it is a nice program. He said that essentially the purpose of the program was not to make us feel good but to make us become good, and if we achieve this, well and good.

And what a program he arranged! Early morning began at 4.30 am in Harla Jori temple with Sri Swamiji's darshan. There is something special about this temple and Sri Swamiji always feels inspired there.

Ramayana followed from 7 to 8 am. Sri Swamiji emphasized that one must read the Ramayana for some time every day. If one member of the family recites it even for ten minutes, then that will inspire and elevate the atmosphere in the home.

Sri Swamiji said, “Ramayana is the source of sukha, sampatti and arogya, happiness, wealth and health.” He also said, “Just as a tree without roots will perish, so will man without God. You must have your roots firmly ingrained in God. Think of God in all situations, in adversity as well as in prosperity, in sorrow and sadness and when you are deep down in the dumps, think of Him. When you are at the heights of prosperity, achievement and fame, think of Him. Keep God with you always.” This thought was also in the theme song so beautifully rendered by Swami Niranjanananda and Tripura Misra: “In all situations I will always remember you and never forget you.”

I was struck by the very efficient management of the program. Everything was prepared in advance, in anticipation of all requirements. I saw Swami Niranjan getting things done by a move of his finger or a move of his eyelids or a nod of his head. He has built up a group of brilliant workers who are devoted and work with the attitude of selfless service.

Sri Swamiji gave many items for the benefit of the community around him – bicycles, thelas, sewing machines, tricycles for the handicapped. The person who took us to Rikhia from Deoghar each day had received his auto-rickshaw from Sri Swamiji. He told me he supports a family of ten people – wife, parents, unmarried sisters, young brothers studying – with his earnings. He had started up a savings bank deposit so he wouldn't have to borrow when his rickshaw needed repairs. He said, “I have been blessed by Swamiji, now let me do my work and make a living.”

So by this process Sri Swamiji is transforming the Rikhia neighbourhood and spreading circles of joy and happiness among different sections of the community. Whether it's giving the widows a concept of honour and respect, teaching in the schools or giving uniforms to schoolchildren, one feels like a participant. It is no wonder that Sri Swamiji receives such a response from both India and abroad.

Sri Swamiji has a miraculous memory and never forgets a name or a face. He showered his blessings on each and everyone and the tremendous joy was expressed on the faces of devotees when they received his darshan.

My grateful thanks for arranging this wonderful program of yajnas. I have never seen them before and I wonder if people in India have ever seen nine tantric yajnas performed in such a masterly, meticulous fashion, nine days in a row, anywhere in the country, let alone in a remote place like Rikhia.