Satyam’s Chaturmas in Baandha Bazar

Dinesh Khare, Durg, Chhattisgarh

The Siddha Balajee Hanuman temple is situated on the Dongargaon-Chowki Road, in Baandha Bazar, about 40 km from Rajnandgaon in the state of Chhattisgarh. This temple was built on top of a picturesque hill of Himalayan like beauty with shady green forests, glades, rivers, ditches, a pond and medicinal groves of trees. Our revered Gurudev, Sri Swami Satyanandaji, had done his Chaturmas in Baandha Bazar in May 1959. Here he performed his austere sadhana and blessed his disciple Ma Dharmashakti, by invoking his successor through her, the one who would carry forward the work of his mission.

The pond can be reached by an unpaved country road at a distance of about 2 km from the main road leading out of the village. The temple comes into view from here high up on the hill and can be reached by climbing the narrow stone steps. This small temple, built on top of the hill with a square in front, enshrines Hanumanji in the form of Balajee, whose mere darshan calms the mind and bestows peace. At sunrise and sunset, the greenery of the whole village below is visible from here. On coming down from the temple, a hut or kutiya shaded by tall trees can be seen in the garden adjacent to the pond. This is where Sri Swamiji used to do his sadhana and give satsang during Chaturmas. This temple is reputed to be more than 200 years old according to our ancestors.

How beautiful is this house! It looks like a sage-muni’s kutiya. A small hut surrounded by flowers and fruit plants. Verandas on both sides. One worship room and another room for satsang. There used to be a gardener and watchman near the front side door. There is a well in the courtyard. A little away from the well, there are tall fruit trees. Sri Swamiji used to sit and meditate under the amla (Indian gooseberry) tree. That is why the atmosphere is picturesque and peaceful, full of natural spiritual energy.

Chaturmas rule

Sri Swamiji used to observe silence, mouna, during his Chaturmas sadhana and did not go anywhere for four months. Sri Swamiji had done difficult sadhana in Baandha Bazar 62 years ago, yet even today there is the same solitude in that area. There is a calm atmosphere. In Baandha Bazar there is only a temple and a dam has been built in the pond so one can go to the temple. Due to the dam in the pond, the name of this village is Baandha Bazar.

The villagers consider the Hanuman temple to be a siddha peeth, meaning an awakened shrine. According to them, even before the arrival of Sri Swamiji, many sadhus and saints, rishis and munis of yore did their sadhana here. The poojari who has been worshipping Hanumanji for the past several years, has become very old, but he still climbs the steps with ease every morning and evening, to reach the temple on time for worship. He takes pleasure in his daily worship. This is the reason why he does not get tired of singing the praises of Sri Swamiji along with Hanumanji.

The people of the whole village would gather to listen Sri Swamiji’s discourses on the Bhagavata, the Gita, the Ramayana. Listening to these satsangs with faith and reverence, they would even ask some questions. They were amazed how this mahatma knew so many things. They started calling him ‘Pitaji’ meaning father and summoned their relatives and acquaintances from other villages saying, ‘Mahatmaji has come, God gives him darshan and tells him everything. Everyone come for his darshan which bestows salvation!’

Vision of the divine light

While doing his special sadhana in this holy place in the month of May, Sri Swamiji taught Ma Dharmashakti asana, pranayama, dhyana, japa, bhajan, kirtan, swadhyaya etc., due to which she had many spiritual experiences. Revered Ma Dharmashakti has mentioned these divine experiences in the book Mere Aradhya.

Satyavratji and Dharmashakti went to Baandha Bazar on the morning of Guru Poornima. They reached the kutiya at 9 am, where they talked for some time. Then there was talk of pooja. Swami Satyam said, ‘Come, there is a temple of Hanumanji on the hill behind us, we will sit there. It is not too steep, there are about 40 to 50 steps to climb to the temple on top of the hill, and there is a square platform in front, and also a pond nearby.’

After climbing up, Swami Satyam sat down on the steps of the temple. We performed pooja while Swami Satyam sat with his eyes closed. We also sat in front of him with our eyes closed in meditation. Dharmashakti had a unique experience, it seemed as if a bright light emerged from Swami Satyam and surrounded her, and she started sweating profusely from the heat and covered both eyes with her hands, whereupon Sri Swamiji started laughing. This divine light disappeared as soon as Swamiji laughed.

During Chaturmas, Satyavratji would reach Baandha Bazar alone every Saturday with his files and paperwork. He would stay on until Sunday and return home to Rajnandgaon on Monday morning. When asked about Ma Dharmashakti’s well being by Sri Swamiji, Satyavratji would reply, “Dharmashakti wanted to come but feels shy. But even during this time she does all her asanas, as well as the rest of her work.”

The all-knowing Sri Swamiji understood Ma Dharmashakti’s condition. He gave the instruction, “Dharmashakti now only has to do pawanmuktasana and calming pranayama, she also has to take walks in the morning and evening, read inspiring literature, and think about Yashoda’s Krishna and Kaushalya’s Rama.”

After receiving the blessing of holy Mother Ganga and his Guru, Swami Sivanandaji, Sri Swamiji blessed his disciple Ma Dharmashakti with strong self-confidence, and completed his sadhana in order to invoke his successor, the disciple who would carry forward the work of his mission.

Divine grace and the blessings of the great Guru Swami Sivananda resulted in the birth of the long-awaited child on the morning of 14th February 1960. When Ma Dharmashakti asked for the name of her child, Sri Swami Satyanandaji gave the baby boy the name ‘Niranjan’ and said to him, your mahamantra is:

Mantra Satyam, Pooja Satyam, Satyam Devo Niranjanam.

Gurorvaakyam Sada Satyam, Satyamevam Param Padam.

Hari Om, At the feet of my beloved Guru.