The family, which I am delighted to be a part of, has gotten me to post my first article – my account of how I met Om Swami in my very own alma matter!

In 2016, my elder son who had already visited the Ashram after his return from the US after nine years of stay there, excitedly told me “Mom, Om Swami is giving a talk on Success in Central Lecture theatre (CLT) in I.I.T Madras”. 

On the day of the talk, as I was driving to the venue in anticipation of Swamiji’s talk, I reminisced about the first time I was at CLT – In 1972, when I was all of 16 years old, attending my orientation on campus, beginning an engineering degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. 

The present day gathering at CLT was of a different nature, of course. Seeing the young boys and girls seated in the audience took me back to nostalgia. I was fortunate to get a seat though I made it at the nick of time. When Swamiji spoke, there was pin drop silence.

There was one point that made a profound impact in my ageing brain. In the Question-Answer session, one of the questions posed to Swamji was, “Are you Self-realized? Give a yes or no binary answer”. Swamiji started out in his inimitable way by saying, “You have the right to ask me a question. You don’t have a right to tell me how to answer that question”. He then proceeded to answer the question – “If you feel peace in my presence … If you feel a certain transformation in my presence … Then my tapas, my fire is real. If you don’t, then please note that it is not something lacking in you. It is something that is lacking in me. So if you don’t experience anything, then I’m not self-realised. If you experience something, then you decide if my fire is real or not”. Here is Swamiji’s discourse at the CLT in IIT Madras.

I had read Swamiji’s memoir that my son got signed by Swamiji as well as Om Swami as I Know Him. In the latter book, I read with awe as Ismita Tandon (now Sadhvi Vrinda Om) explained Swamiji’s spiritual powers so well. This background was helpful in appreciating Swamiji’s words at the CLT.

The next couple of times, I had an opportunity to see Swamiji in closer quarters than the discourse at CLT. I was blessed to be in a personal meeting with Swamiji together with my son at the ITC Grand Chola when Swamiji had come for a book release at Tattvaloka. That evening, I got to see Swamiji speak at the book release as well, and purchased a copy of the book being released, Krishna. I also attended the Chennai Kundalini camp, and got to ask Swamiji a question during my group meeting. 

Now what keeps ringing in my ears is what He said in one of the discourses “You have no idea how I help those who are devoted to me, in ways you cannot fathom or imagine”. He has given me an opportunity to see Him help in myriad ways. But to realise that, one needs to be constant contact with Him, and display the DIVINE LOVE that Meera Bai had towards Krishna.

Sure, we falter and waver, but we can get up and be with Him again, and be mindful about our thoughts and actions. Journalling three times a day, recording our thoughts (mind), words (speech) and actions (doing while being in Him) is a good way to keep track of our progress.

In the Zoom Sessions, Swamiji asked us to do the following till we meet next:

  1. Mindful Speech
  2. Get up 40 minutes earlier, irrespective of when you go to sleep
  3. Do not end your night in front of a screen, or WhatsApp, Netflix etc
  4. Instead, read a book or meditate on your breath

“I will handhold you and lead you”, Swamiji has said, giving us great hope. I am looking forward to Swamiji’s next zoom talk.

Image Credit: IIT Madras

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Lakshmi Devi Rajkumar

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