A View of Santhigiri Ashram

A View of Santhigiri Ashram
Lotus Parnasala and Sahakarana Mandiram , Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spiritual Experience of Janani Divya Jnana Tapaswini

Guru - Boundless Store house of love and grace
Janani Divya Jnana Tapaswini

I consider the day on which I got the darshan of my Guru for the first time as the most blessed and auspicious day in my life. It was in 1990 and I was studying in standard III. A disciple of Guru told my father about Guru and asked him to go to meet Guru. Accordingly, we had gone to the Ashram. Fortunately when we reached, it was time for Guru-darshan. Guru was not well at that time. He gave darshan in a recumbent state. The sight of Guru and the ambience endeared me to the Ashram. A unique sense of comfort and freshness dawned within me. Guru asked mother if she was having any problem. She answered in the negative.

When we came out, Guru asked Amrutha Janani to find out from mother if she had any ailment. Now mother opened up and told that during monsoon season she could not raise one hand. It was a chronic problem and all attempted treatments were of no avail. When Guru was told about this, he beckoned mother and talked about the issue. He then gave a pack of bhasma (vibhuthi) and asked it to be applied on the affected hand with prayers. “It’ll be cured” Guru assured mother. Mother was less enthusiastic about this suggestion and left it at that. But when the pain exacerbated she applied the bhasma and prayed. After sometime, she felt that the pain subsided and then it was gone forever! We developed great love, affection and reverence towards Guru. We started visiting the ashram once or twice a year.

Guru visited our house on 20th May 1994. This was during the pilgrimage to Kuthuparamba. He stayed at our house for more than three days. But during those days, I could not go near Guru and had to be away in a relative’s house. However, whatever ‘prasadam’ Guru would give others, he made it a point to keep my share thereof. When I returned (after the monthly periods), mother handed over these things to me. I could discern Guru’s love and care for me and felt that I must be having a bond of relationship with this Acharya.

Guru had instructed my parents to take me to meet Guru when he reached Kozhikode en-route the pilgrimage. We did accordingly and listened to Guru’s discourses on various topics. But, I was poor in listening. Although I would be looking at Guru, my attention used to drift to other things and people around. Many a time, Guru had caught me wandering around by saying “Look here and listen to me”. When we left, Guru gave me sweets and other prasadam. We were also told to let Guru know about any developments in the house and to accompany Guru’s entourage back to the Ashram. We joined Guru at Ernakulam. When we stayed at the Ashram there, two girls were introduced to me as kids with the power of darshan (spiritual vision). I wondered what the darshan was about.

Within a month of our return home, I experienced ‘darshan’. It was at 6.30 pm on 25th June. I was a student of class VII. It was like this: I was habitually not good at praying. When we - my sisters and myself - sat together for prayers, I used to take it lightly and engage in mischief. Not because I did not respect and love Guru. I was simply like that. On the day of the experience, when we sat for lunch, I didn’t have proper appetite. When mother compelled, unwillingly I took some non-vegetarian food. After sometime everything was vomited. There was no illness and I felt okay. In the evening, when we sat for the regular prayers, I felt pleasant. At the end of the prayers, we were on our feet chanting Guru Gita. At that time, I was transported to some other plane of consciousness. In that state, figures and scenes appeared and vanished in front of my closed eyes as if in a movie. I could see clearly those standing on either side and the lamp and pedestal in front. After a few moments, I involuntarily took steps and bowed before the lamp and fell unconscious.

Internally at that time I was seeing a black cat, frightful as it was, staring with its luminous eyes at me. I cried aloud. Mother and sisters were simply watching me taking steps and bowing in front of the lamp, thinking that, as usual, I was being playful. Hearing my cry, father came down from the upper floor and those around me were also upset. I lay unconscious for about five minutes. Kumbatheertha (holy medicated water of Kumbamela) was sprayed on me and vibhuthi was applied on the body. I was sweating all over, was stiff and could not tell anything.
Father contacted Ashram and told Amrutha Janani about the matter. Janani informed Guru and was asked to advise us that what was seen was good and that Guru would speak to me over telephone. I was nervous about talking to Guru over phone. Two minutes later Guru was on the phone, asking me what I had seen. I explained everything. Guru told: This is the beginning of darshan for you. The cat was a tricky sanyasi who was stealthily trying to bag everything from Guru. Your darshan is good and this is beginning of spiritual advancement. I was told that I would be seeing such things again and again. And I did. The following day, while praying, I could see not only the black cat but various other things as well. When Guru was informed about this, we were told that continuing at home would not be okay for me and that I was to be brought to the Ashram for proper interpretation of my darshan. We were also instructed not to take any food en-route to the Ashram. Upon reaching Ashram, I was given a detailed account of the various aspects of the darshan and was enabled to experience the subtle aspects. I got spiritual vision, which unfolded the reasons for Guru’s incarnation; the grace of Guru thanks to which I was with him for several incarnations; how the devis, devas, rishis, prophets and other great souls have been prostrating before and worshipping Guru etc. Needless to say, all these are the most treasured experiences of mine.

Guru could actualize great and noble tasks, unattained by the innumerable prophets and great souls who descended on the earth so far, through his arduous penances and ‘tyaga’ (sacrifice). The said prophets and great souls revered Guru and told me thus: “Dear, take to this path and tread it with all attention, unerringly. We were not fortunate to have a Guru like yours. Till last breath, hold this firm to your heart”. I had the darshan of my maternal grandfather as well who said: “Baby, hold this precious spiritual line rapturously, as it is perforce needed for our salvation. It can happen only through this Guru”.

I used to frequent the Ashram at monthly intervals, with a view to get my darshans interpreted. During such visits, we used to stay for about a fortnight at the Ashram. When this practice started affecting my studies, as per Guru’s direction, I joined Santhigiri Vidyabhavan and stayed at the Ashram for proper interpretation of my spiritual experiences. This was on 5th June, 1996, and I was in standard IX. While studying in IXth and Xth standards, there were moments when I desired to return home. Obviously, my mind was not stable in the new path during such periods. While in Xth standard, I had told Guru that I envisioned the life of a sanyasini. He responded, brushing aside such ideas, asking me to concentrate on the studies. But Guru had told my mother that he would tell about my future course after two years. When I was studying for Plus Two, Guru left his body and merged in Adisankalpa. As destined, after 72 days Guru gave me sanyasa-initiation and the new name in the sanyasa-robe.

Beyond description is the greatness of our Guru who is now above us as Navaoli! Unfathomable is Guru’s love and affection for his disciples! Guru’s divine light is all pervading in this Universe. His greatness, as experienced by me, is the ultimate truth beyond anybody’s comprehension. The cardinal mistake which occurred aeons ago was corrected by Guru with his unparalleled spiritual power. This was unimaginable for all the acharyas of yore.

Guru has merged in Adisankalpa. But the same love, affection and care I’m experiencing now also through Guru’s Sishya Poojita Amrutha Jnana Tapaswini. And the whole of Santhigiri lineage would vouch for the fact that Guru is always with us. Welfare of the world through his disciples is Guru’s mission. And that’s the Will of God.

(Courtesy: Santhigiri International Conference Souvenir)
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