Part 1 Here.
The festive energies of ashram from the evening of Sri Hari Anniversary had begun to transform themselves. From electric atmosphere to intense ambiance; from the exuberance of celebration to an energy that was grounded yet powerful – fit to do sadhana!
Amidst the festivity lot of Seva groups were made. I didn’t participate at first due to my health. There was this seriousness in those seva groups unlike in other events like Ashram Meet and so on. Swami ji was to be in silence for the entire duration of the event and shall speak only for the katha narration. That added in What- to-expect in the katha all the more!
Temple was already beautifully decorated for Sri Hari Anniversary. A yellow carpet was laid over the red carpet placement which adorns the temple floor at all times during katha which nurture and at the same time ignites devotional flames in the heart to seek and love (that is how I felt). Red carpet was laid outside the temple for devotees to stand on in comfort. Even though it was April still it was bit cold especially on fourth day (probably).. chilling winds blew when Swami ji expounded on the Beej Mantra of MahaKali. Mata Kalika ki Jai.. (Here blog of an ardent devotee of Maa, it is beautifully developing – The Third I)
Swami ji’s asana/seat was leveled up, his piano was placed right before his seat (asana). ( I wondered where will Paduka be placed! they were placed on the right side of His seat.)
With folded hands I invoke Lord Sri Hari and request Swami Maa to help me write this account of Devi Bhagvatam and do justice to those who would put their time and energy in reading the blog and share the lovely experience of Devi Bhagvatam. As we were waiting for Swami ji to come, I had this flash of Lord Shiva!
Yes…… It was Swami ji as Lord Shiva, first visiting Mahadev’s Jatoli temple with Sheena ji and Deepshikha ji (in part 1) and now Swami ji as Mahadev? I wondered. There was a playfulness in the demeanor of Swami ji and in His glance that He casted and gave a glimpse of himself as Lord Shiva! That was first of many flash that I was to see!
Swami ji Arrived.
My heart was shattered in pieces I was finally participating, not a devotee or familiar with the Divine Feminine. I sat closer to Swami ji’s asana; for all the days timings were set for entry and discipline was to be followed to sit.
Swami ji did the katha in Vyasa Padhati (Methodology of Sage Vyasa to narrate Katha i.e. Puranic legends) , hence Swami ji’s asana was risen as He explained Himself later. If you want to know about importance of Vyasa Padhati you can see episode one of Srimad Bhagvatam katha on youtube. Swami ji did Srimad Bhagvatam in Narad Padhati (Methodology of Narad Muni to narrate Katha in which songs are part of katha narration) as explained by Him in those discourses.
As Swami ji took His asana all were in AWE. I was.
As Swami ji sat, He begun to work with his I-pad/Notepad and looked like He was marking something. He looked Intense to me. When Swami ji started to speak, He thus spoke – (as I remember)…
I have not decided on what to speak! Whatever will be said in the coming 4-5 days would be the Will of the Divine. What is in your fortune to receive.. One can’t get more or less than one’s own Bhagya/Fate.
And hence the narration of the Devi Bhagvatam started.
We all sat in rapt attention, as for me I just paid absolute attention to him what He said/did – Operating i-pad/notepad/playing piano and casting loving and serious glances at us and lot of smiles as well. It was liberating living moment to moment as I saw Swami ji. There was a proximity and presence in the air that would leave the participants more of what they were – mindful/loving/devotional and so on..
You know the Mantra; Live in the Now. It did help – A lot. More than expected.
As I am writing this account, its night, next to me lays my phone on which I have played playlist – “Devi Mantra Sadhana – Om Swami” and memories that I could not consciously draw on are resurfacing.
How I feel? – Focused.
Swami ji started to chant Mantras sounded like Shabar Mantra and others not easily known Mantras. I had not known those were Shabar mantra but only Vedic mantra. Somewhere a desire to know Swami and learn from Him grew there in that moment. I really have very intangible connect with Swami. Struck to the Swami who sat in the kutiya for His sadhana to meditate. Somehow I know I can attend to only one aspect of Swami ji and derive inspiration. Two is distraction. But to be very frank with you, when one focuses on one, rest (aspects of Him) follows and come to you naturally!
The moment the sound of Swami ji chanting and those mantra fell in my ears and His stances and poise started making a deep impression on my eyes, that moment I knew! – That we all present in the temple at that moment was in a very intimate space with Swami ji. A bleak glimpse of The Mantrin could be seen. All Glories and Heartfelt Thanks to Swami ji.
Within, I all the more felt I better be attentive every moment for those 2 hours of Katha every day for 5 days.
When Swami ji finished chanting the initial mantra after few moments gap He said ~ Jo main aavahan hai woh ho chuka hai. (The main Invocation/welcoming of the Divine is done!) The energy of the temple had begun to change. The ambiance of temple was heavy I say that because the Energy in the temple was so concentrated that one had to be strong to withstand that, at least for me. Those two hours seem to have compressed a very longer duration of time, concentrated wisdom, a phenomenon, concentrated energy that was present was beyond words and visuals.
The Moment Swami ji told try to be Silent as much as possible I wished I had remained in an independent room to minimize the usage of words apart from what was needed for doing the Seva. It was phenomenal, Swami ji had instructed us to chant with visualization.
The day one was just so beautiful… The lovely Swami ji started to talk about how one is to sit in shraddha bhav (with devotional temperament) at that very moment I cried tears of helplessness – I didn’t have the devotion for Devi then! He looked at me from the corner of the eye! From there on Swami ji made all the participants do a pooja it was the sweetest thing ever. My most favorite part to be able to do pooja as guided by Swami ji! 😍 Swami ji asked all of us in the temple to offer him flowers and other offering using visualisation. I was just so so happy as it was a moment Swami ji himself told us to offer to Him. How could it be an ordinary moment! Swami ji made us to walk through all the steps with loving guidance. It was just so so awesome to be with Him that’s it. That’s really what felt the best.. All the steps we did was just a way to be with Him. Wow Loved it. Swami ji told us about the importance of shodashopachara (16 steps of doing pooja) as if it’s importance could not be emphasised enough! Day one concluded with Swami ji talking about the mantra He gave us all, to chant as much as possible. The emphasis He laid to chant as much as we can was felt. I did my best. The Day one concluded and I found myself looking forward to next day. It was so awesome. Something happened at the end of the katha conclusion of Day 1. It was subtle. Sharing with you all as I felt it – When Swami ji had just concluded He was still sitting on His seat and the main door was opened. Swami ji looked up and said – ” It disturbs me.” I looked at Swami ji almost holding my breath! She sat there , Her voice so feminine when She said that, under the sweetness of Her voice was a tone of being disturbed. She was interrupted. It was, to me it felt like as if an incubator was disturbed when the door was opened before time. Because for all other days when Swami ji started walk His way out from temple, the door was opened as He started to walk out, it was as if an energy receded and changed it’s rhythm and intensity and the way it pervaded the temple as He begun to walk himself out, which probably was disturbed on day one. You know I felt the Goddess speak/cast Her look at that moment. It was like being with Swami ji as if almost granted His proximity for doing sadhana and even to an extent granted to be in Her service. Something of that sort. All that made me wait for Day 2 all the more! Well I, on the other hand shall not make you wait for over a day for the next part to come out… Jai Maa 🌹🙏