Temple aliveness had come to surface, for people participating could get a distant glimpse of that Divine Aliveness. All these distant experiences deepened the silence and contemplation within me. Swami ji told some very engaging stories, some insightful and a couple with esoteric meaning with an element of humor to it! They were all gripping to hear.
Swami ji everyday expounded on each varana/alphabet/beej (mantra) of the mantra that He had instructed us to chant. A glimpse Here. It was a very loving, caring and careful imparting of mantra to the audience. Swami ji everyday in such beautiful and seemingly crafted way imparted the mantra to all of us in the first three days. Swami ji emphasized enough – to keep chanting and maintain silence.
Frankly, interest to eat or go to the river-side was all sidelined as there was an urgency to be in temple and chant/meditate.
But then one day when sun had set, myself and Ananya participated in a little kirtan almost unknowingly. Two of us stood near river facing rooms hearing the sound of the river gently flow and seeing the outline of the mountains in the dark.. and there were few stars in the pitch dark sky! We sung songs dedicated to Mother Divine – Some time in chorus and other individually. One more devotee joined in as well.
Though I knew few bhajan but I have had been chanting invocation of Sri Vidya before starting my day/studies.. That was the way to ‘try to connect with Swami ji!
So, standing next to the river I sang that invocation that night to Mother Divine I felt so good I had something heartfelt, something that I worked on everyday I could offer it to Her even if only just verbally! I felt it as if I was called to offer the invocation to the Mother Divine. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Besides that, here in the temple… The different Seva teams were so on mark and time and on the toes to keep up the arrangements and sanctity and the ambiance of the temple and ashram, it was moving. I constantly felt lack of dedication (Let’s say devotion for Swami ji as its Love that enables one to act in such fervour as other devotees did). The schedule was especially jam packed for each one who was assigned with a seva. Also Srimad Devi Bhagvatam was a focused event oriented towards sadhana.
But I was constantly feeling guilty that I could not participate in Seva groups as my health was bit low – Thanks to Mulethi Tea from Vanika Om that saved my sore throat and lifted me up. I could participate in Seva then – it saved me from feeling thankless about my own-self. Thanks Vanika!
But to chant, either sitting in temple ( because of cleaning and event schedule) or sitting in dorm with presence of Kids was difficult if not out of question. But frankly it was a blessing, being in dorm. The devotee next to me was a mom with her little baby daughter of under a year I guess. So, She could not attend the katha in the temple but saw katha on the screen near dining Hall which was arranged for parents with Kids or those who could not be in the temple. I had told aunty ji to call me if she needs to leave the child in my care while she needed to take break for her other task/washroom breaks etc. before going further with this..
One day, mostly third day, Sunil ji (hope I recall the name correctly) who would help with outside arrangements ( I assume). I saw him close the door of the temple and exit just before katha started. No one could come inside once door was closed. I thought as He is resident devotee so He must be inside. But he was outside. An empathy, sadness and feeling of gratitude crept in. Staying in ashram He didn’t get to sit in the temple as I perceived it to be the case, don’t know what was his real sense or opinion was on that. May be He was alright with that. For a moment I found myself wishing if he could join all of us in the temple! I mean it was so sweet to be self less like that!
So, back to my fellow devotee at dorm, Mom and daughter seeing them – unknowingly a stream of observation had set in. Two things happened, one was the awareness in the moment that I had been trying to maintain. That observation started to sat in and you know when you actually see how from being an infant to a teen to an adult to an elderly and even the death of the body is just play of energy and energy manifesting in different forms there is a child like playfulness that dawns as one perceive it for real but as one’s striving to keep one’s consciousness “in the now” progresses one gets deeply meditative/observatory, in everything that one does, not just when one sits cross legged and ‘try to meditate’. (When I held that baby once in my arms while we waited for her mom to come and pick her, another little girl came to play with her, the girl started to play peek-a-boo with the baby who was in my arms. The little baby, the little girl and the one that held all seem like one manifested differently. The baby was jumping and swaying in my arms as the little girl circle around, giggling and playing with the baby. Oh wow it was so dynamic and joyous moment.)
Second thing that happened was seeing mother and daughter. The baby girl just won’t accept her Mom’s separation for more than 5 to 7 minutes. One day as her mom was away we could not distract her for over ten minutes. You just can Not distract her! Oh no, it didn’t transform me radically to become devout to Love Mother Divine then or there but one openness to just see and embrace all phenomenon around did take place. I was reminded of the closing statement that comes in the video – Vision of the Goddess; it says –
“When you want nothing but Her. No one but Her. She manifest Her Form in no time. – Om Swami.”
Probably that was the kind of yearning and sentiment it takes to call her in front of you and near you always. Oh wow! All Glories to Mother Divine.
Back in the temple, everyday for two hours 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon. The energy, it’s heaviness and intensity remained the same. I had this energy indigestion. Think of a sponge and a very dense liquid as dense as honey poured on that sponge. How difficult it would be to absorb a dense liquid like that. Such was the experience for me in the temple. My health as well was not at all at its best! But when Swami ji had given an audience to all present in the ashram on the evening of the day when Katha had concluded same morning. The energy was different then. More on that in the concluding post.
Probably my desire to not miss on experiencing a bit of that which Swami ji had invoked was running high. It was more of yearning not a desire or greed.
The Devi Bhagvatam Katha that Swami ji chose to narrate personally was culmination of many yagna which Matarani had took up. I can’t believe I have come to a point and narrating/sharing the experience of Devi Bhagvatam that I am mentioning Matarani. I didn’t think or even anticipated that I would have the privilege to mention her. I secretly admire her so very much. To me, I can’t approach her because I get struck by immense awe that I feel as I see her.
At one time I had the desire to have her left over food. Actually I feel she is the source of Swami ji’s beauty. My throat is choked as I write this.
At one point, I could not see Swami without remembering Matarani ji’s face.
I feel if not for the face that He derived from Matarani, I just feel this way….that He loved Mother Divine in flesh and bone and in formless as well and in all other ways, in ways that only He knows so dearly. Well I feel He loved her so profusely that Matarani face reflect on Swami ji – His face exudes feminine and masculine expression in full glory which is because of Matarani – Am I being too sentimental, no! not really!
This is really how I feel. I, while reading Book Of Faith had wondered what kind of journey it would be for those who were very near to Swami ji! How they accepted the transformation that took place in their bond with Him. Almost forced evolution. And I wondered How Matarani felt and so on… I had immense hesitation in sharing this but here it is!
And something happened when all these thoughts were going through my mind during the event!
Matarani came to use Dorm’s washroom!!! Can you believe that? She was with Pooja ji! Did she come as a result of the thoughts I had and how intimidated I felt to approach her? I felt so sad, because of me she had to use shared washroom (if that was the case / it could well be a coincidence). I wanted to really escape but I could not. I touched her feet she wore cute socks, she asked me few questions I was so stunned and happy at the same time.
I didn’t really had the guts to really strike a conversation if she had not visited dorm that day.. Frankly during the course of katha, I just feel best regards was not given to her. If not best regards at least we all could be mindful around her the way we conducted ourselves. That day when I felt so, I was sitting in one corner near Swami ji’s asana and I was just looking at the entrance door of the temple, just then Matarani stepped in and most of us around her were walking mindlessly she had to make way for herself to come and take her seat in the front. Though I should mention the temple had a large audience for the event but still being mindful around her should have been an obvious thing.
Same evening, Shamata Maa mentioned (during announcements) how it was our privilege to be around her and to be mindful and respectful! I was happy that she made that point. I had heard she sings soulfully but during one of the days when she sang she just cried after few lines. I saw a devotee in place of mother. I was dead having witnessed that. And yes I could not hear her sing live. I also saw a brief conversation between Her and Swami ji and (She was thanking Him to conduct the event and conclude it), the vibes I got I don’t want to word it!!!
In my adoration of her (in my visualisation) , I have stealthily offered flowers🌸🌺🌻🌹🌷🌼💐 at her slippers outside temple and dinning Hall – everyday of an event. And envisaged her wondering who is putting flowers on my slippers. I used to search and locate her slippers every evening outside temple and the dinning hall. They were very light pinkish-cream color Slip-ons, just sporting her slipper was such a joy! I am mentioning all this because I may not get to do all that. At least I can express feelings and emotions and let that be my offering to her. She sat near me (not next to me), in dinning Hall on the day of culmination of katha when we were offered Halwa Puri Prasad (food offering to all devotees). I so wanted to take prasad from her plate what she would leave at the end. There was no way but I fancied that she would ask for an extra chapati and somehow it will land on my plate as she had an extra chapati!!! If my scribbles hurt anyone, I am very sorry but this is the best way I could write to convey. I am not even sure I shall be able to post till the end as the moments of Devi Bhagvatam would get really intense here on as I experienced it.
In next part – Day 2 of the Devi Bhagvatam, joy of chanting with Swami ji… Inexplicable!
Om Shree Maatre Namah 🙏
Jai Ambe Gauri Jaya Shyaamaa Gauri 🙏