Sri Hari Has Arrived! (Final)
Our dear Sri Hari
“Out of 700 crore people in the world the Divine has chosen only a few hundred to be present here on this auspicious day, today.” I felt a chill run down my spine as Swamiji spoke these words on the 4th of April 2014, the day Sri Hari was consecrated at the Ashram temple, the day He finally arrived.
It was a queer feeling walking into the temple this day. I was excited, happy and also very nervous, all at the same time. Swamiji had explained that after the ritual of Pran Prathishtha (infusing the Deity with Life) was done, the Divine itself would inhabit the idol. Everyone was at the temple by 11am. The ritual was supposed to begin right after the day’s Bhagwat Katha. The hall which had once appeared to be huge was jam packed with people today. I looked around only to find more eager and gleeful faces of the villagers and those of us visiting from the cities. There was a buzz in the air from the whispers of the eager devotees.
The Kewat (doors enclosing the Deity) were opening- closing very swiftly today, all the Swamijis had a serious look on their faces and I noticed their lips moving along with the Mantra Uccharan (chanting of holy verses) by the Pandits (ritwiks) in the background. I felt reverence, seriousness and a certain amount of discipline in the air.
A sudden silence fell upon us. I looked towards the main door and saw Swamiji walk-in. We all got up to welcome our Prabhu (the Lord), as He took His place at the Altar we paid our obeisance and settled down.
Swamiji greeted everyone and once again shared the procedure for the day’s program. Everyone was given the chance to offer abhishekam at the lord’s feet in the garbha-griha (sanctum sanctorum). At any given time there were to be only four people in the garbh griha and each person was to get no more than thirty seconds to pray. Swamiji has always loved discipline and a procedure for everything; how could this day have been an exception?
Swamiji went into the garbh griha which was still hidden behind the beautifully carved strong wooden doors. After a while with a roar of Govinda! Govinda!! Govinda!!! Swamiji threw open the doors to the Lord’s room. It was an electrifying energy that filled the air, all of us squeezed towards the middle to get a look at the beautiful Lord who had come to stay at our temple. And we were awestruck!
I will never be able to translate the emotions that ran through me at that time. Infront stood the beautiful dark Lord, gleaming even more against the bright background of cream tiles and the smile…oh! It was as warm as the morning sunshine and the light that fell on His cheeks appeared to me like streams of tears. It was like a mother with tears of joy on meeting her children. Swamiji had said that we would all have our individual experiences on looking at the Deity. This was mine.
Having said that, my nervousness did not die down. Infact I felt like I was being taken infront of the principal, the principal at the school of life. I knew it was the Lord standing infront of me and I knew He knew me inside-out. And it was scary to be so transparent infront of Him. As much as I wanted to, I could not look up to admire the Deity from close. How could I look into the Lord’s eyes? I was grateful He let me come so close, me the most fallen of souls, the most undeserving of all. I paid obeisance at His feet with some jal (water) and flowers, grateful for His grace that bestowed me with this opportunity and trying hard to keep a clear heart and mind as much as possible while doing so.
After our darshans were over Swamiji went inside the garbh griha along with His disciple Vidya Swamiji. The doors were shut once again and Swamiji started the chanting of the enigmatic and melodious Vishnu Sahasranam. This was not the standard Vishnu Sahasranam that we had heard before but the original one that was first given by Lord Siva to Mother Divine. Swamiji had explained earlier that this was going to be the original chants of the names of the Lord Vishnu, the chants that did not repeat His name even once, the chants that are from the ancient vedic scriptures. It was the primordial Vishnu Sahasranam. Even at the temple this was the first and the last time that Swamiji would chant the original Vishnu Sahasranam ever, he said. The air was swarming with Divinity and we all were submerged in its holiness.
After the chants were over Vidya Swamiji came out with the mirror that had been showed to the Deity, it was cracked to pieces. It remains a mystery till date how the mirror got cracked so artistically. When the door opened briefly, we could see Swamiji not in an ochre but black robe. Was this an illusion or what? The lines between the real and unreal were blurred. The door was quickly closed and Swamiji was still inside behind the doors doing a special pooja (prayers). He began chanting esoteric and occult syllables infusing the deity with special energies. Vidya Swamiji and Param Swamiji went around with the pieces of the mirror so that the devotees could see their reflection in what the Lord himself had seen His.
We could hear, very mildly sounds from the inside the garbh griha and were waiting anxiously outside. And then once again we heard the roar of Govinda! Govinda!! Govinda!!! and Swamiji threw open the doors but…Oh! His robe had actually changed to black. He had gone in empty handed in an ochre robe and surely his robe was jet black now. Dumbstruck for a while, we all bowed down in reverence to the Lord. I bowed down to the both present there, actually the same in different bodies because I could not make out the difference between the Bhakt and the Lord. For the first time I could understand why Swamiji says one becomes the Lord to attain the Lord. There was no difference, the energies were same, and the reverence they invoked in me was the same. Was I dizzy or was it the atmosphere that caused it…I will never know. But it was indeed a once in a lifetime experience and it left me infused with alot of emotions and yet drained out at a certain level.
We soon left for the afternoon break. We were to gather later for the evening havan (offering prayers to fire), that would be the final ritual towards the consecration of the Lord. Later in the evening Swamiji addressed the captivated audience once again. Some of the local villagers were presented with gifts recognising their contributions to the project. The mesmerising kirtan followed where Swamiji got off His platform and joined the exhilarated devotees in the Divine dance and song. We were all jumping, dancing and singing to the Divine’s tune. It was a perfect ending to the perfect day of our lives.
The remaining days at the Ashram saw a new energy to them. We all had a reason to rush to the temple every morning to pay our respect to the Lord. The kirtans had an excitement to them and we all saw amazing performances of dance and bhajans by more devotees. The most enthralling one was that by a group of children from a dance school at Solan. They had been brought in by their teacher Sahuji who had first performed Dashavatar at the temple on Swamiji’s birthday last year. Their half an hour’s performance won Swamiji’s heart. He personally presented all the kids with gifts and blessed them for a brighter future.
At the end of the week long Bhagwat Katha there was another havan at the temple and Guru Maa also carried out a ritual of Gau Daan (donating a cow) at this auspicious occasion.
I mark this as another beautiful divine journey in my life that was made possible only because of Swamiji’s blessings.
I bow down in Swamiji’s divine feet- humble and grateful
This post was originally published on Swamiji’s fan club website which no longer exists, to know more about that, refer to my intro part of the archives series here.
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