After the first meet in 2014, I landed in Bangalore the year after for the  Meditation Retreat based on the book “A Million Thoughts”. This retreat was a non- residential one, so that more people can participate. The number of days was also reduced from 5 to 3 days. As the duration of the retreat was cut down, the backlash was that the private audience with Swamiji was cancelled. One could also make out that Swamiji  looked  a little sad and brooding over it (I felt like that) which is quite rare. More than 300 people had come and there was no way a private audience could be held. Swamiji, mentioned it on the first day of the retreat that he was not able to do justice to all those who made it to the retreat to meet him and he couldn’t meet them privately. But, in the place of private audience, a group meet was organized where ten to twenty people would meet as a group. This was the first time that a group meet was planned. Everyone while registering on the first day were given a card with an alphabet and when they would meet Swamiji.

My group meet was allotted on the first day evening itself. I was a bit dejected that I would not meet him personally (Who wouldn’t want to sit in front of him and have all his attention to oneself for as long as possible, even though it’s for just two minutes).  The good part was that the group meet would be for ten minutes for  each group. Evening came, the group meeting took place.  I will detail it at the end as something interesting happened unexpectedly the next day which filled me with goose bumps. Even now as I recollect and type this,  I am filled with exhilaration.

On the second day around 4pm, I took a break as my legs were numb due to prolonged sitting in padmasana. I came out of the discourse to the corridor in front. It was empty ( as everyone were inside) except for Prasad Parasuraman Ji. He wrote the first chapter in the book ‘The book of faith” a year later after this event. He was deep in thought brooding over something and as he saw me, he gave a big warm smile. I too smiled and we introduced ourselves and soon started talking about none else but Swamiji. Then I told him how the group meet yesterday was so wonderful. To see Swamiji so close, sitting nearby basking in his divine irresistable aura for 10 whole minutes. I also told him, how in a way the group meet  was much better than private audience which lasted only for 2 mins, as in those two minutes one becomes mute with excitement and anxiety.

Prasad JI was taken aback in surprise and asked me, ‘What did you say? Say it again’.  I told him again. I didn’t  knew until then that he was a part of the organizing team for the retreat in Bangalore. Seems like coincidence right? He told me, “This is what you have to do, you stand in this corner right here( where the corridor ends into the hotel reception ). Swamiji will walk by, say ‘Namaste’ and tell him what you just told me. I felt like a school kid in front of Hariprasad Ji’s command. He didn’t even ask, as he too became super excited out of the blue. I thought, “why? why me, what have I landed myself into”. He could sense my confusion and told me, “As we were scheduling the retreat, due to sparsity of time and space the private audience stood cancelled and their were two factions with one group against group meeting and the other one favoring  it and my team was in favor of it. In fact, Swamiji too was in dilemma and had decided to cancel the group meet. We told him, people have come from far, so by whatever means possible we will arrange a group meet so that they can sit with you for a few minutes, for which he agreed. And then the whole scenario panned out in front of me –  Swamiji was a little sad yesterday, Harish Ji and his team left no stone unturned to get the group meet to happen and I was on cloud nine after the group meet and the dots just got connected. And so got one more chance to talk to Swamiji. 

As Swamiji took the turn where I stood, He just tilted his head to listen and I told him, “Swamiji, the group meeting was very nice , we could sit with you for 10mins”. He replied, “That’s good, glad to know that you liked it, Thank you”. I said, “Thank you Swamiji”. And he zoomed  through the hotel  reception to his lift. when I met Prasad Ji, he said, “He needs to know, he was kind off worried as this is the first time that private audience had to be cancelled. He would be glad to know that people liked it”.

The group meet:

A separate hall on the upper floor of the hotel was arranged for the group meet. we were a mixed group of 5-6 teenagers, a few elderly couples and middle aged folks, everyone anxiously waiting in queve as school kids wait to go to the prinicpal’s office not knowing how it’s going to be. As the previous group  moved out, we all like good obedient toddlers went in. It was a square shaped empty hall with a single long exquisitely carved wooden sofa to the left in which Swamiji majestically sat flanked by his inner circle disciples two behind him and two by his side who were ready to protect him with their lives.

The air was intensely cold due to the AC and the energy was intensely and serenely peaceful with his presence. we spread out and sat down in a kinda circle in front of him.  We all just sat there as if spooked, looking at him dazzled by his radiance and he looked at us. No one spoke. Swamiji said, “No one has any questions, I think this is the only group which has no questions. I can feel your energy. Thank you!”. Everyone in unison replied back in chorus, “Thank you, Swamiji”. Still no one spoke. It was beautiful, the whole group helplessly falling in love, enthralled at the sight of the  fountainhead of LOVE itself. Once again, Swamiji prompted, “do any of you have any questions?”. We started to come back to our senses, “Oh my God! what shall I ask him?”, I should ask him something, but what? He said in the discourse about mount Kailash, that the abode of Lord shiva is millions of light years away and not the one in Tibet. So I asked him, “Swamiji, so the Kailash is very far away?”. He nodded his head. Such a dumb question that one, I felt😬. A young girl gave him a long letter which he said he will read it later. I too gave him the rhyme which I penned last year after the first meet. I remembered Sadhviji’s book, “Om Swami, as we saw him”, in which he visited her in the Astral body. I raised my hand, he turned and I asked him, “Swamiji, If I meditated properly will you visit me astrally?”. He paused, I bit my tongue immediately, OMG ! what have I done🤦‍♂️. I kind off cornered him unintentionally. What will he do now? If he says ‘yes’, he has to come and meet me, for him, his word is his life and he cannot say ‘no’ also😖. We both looked at each other. Guess …….. for a moment and think what he would have said. For our beloved Swamiji is not only super cool but also super smart😎. He replied, “If you meditate correctly, why me, the divine itself will visit and bless you”. I gave a sigh of relief  with his reply🙂.

As others spoke to Swamiji, I kept my unblinking gaze on him until it was time. Somekind of energy was overflowing through him as if he was bathed in bliss, he strained to listen and answer as if with slightest of being less mindful he would slip into samadhi. I have read that Sri Ramakrishna would reel unsteadily while walking in divine bliss that hriday (his nephew) had to be by his side always. It looked like, given a chance Swamiji would vapourize into molecules of love and merge with the Divine. As our time ended, we prepared to leave and turned around. Few of the elderly couples went forward to take the blessings of Swamiji. His left foot was down resting on the carpet. One of his disciple came forward and asked whether it’s ok? Swamiji nodded. Oh my God! He is allowing us to touch his feet. I pounced at the opportunity and went back to wait for my turn. When I touched his feet, my fingers could not feel his feet or his skin for they were so light and soft. I remembered why they say. “Lotus feet of the Divine”. I touched his lotus feet yet did not touch it, you get it?  I read somewhere, when you take blessings from a God realized sage, if one thinks of one’s  ishta and touches a sage’s feet, his/her Ishta will manifest in front of you in the sage. So, I too mischievously 😈 thought of looking up at Swamiji but felt a nudge in my head, “No, no, don’t do it, not now”. There’s a time and place for everything isn’t?☺ Even the minutest thought of anyone does not escape his attention. I retreated with all the memorable moments of the group meet. So, that’s how it ended my second meet with Swamiji.

I also met Sadhvi Vrindha Om in the retreat, I told that I loved her book ‘Om Swami, As we saw him’ very much and that she should write more of such books on Swamiji. ‘The book of faith’ was so good and the recent one ‘The Rainmaker’ was simply superb. It’s really divine’s grace to have known and to live in the times of swamiji and his entourage.

At this auspicious moment of Swamiji’s birthday, let’s celebrate the advent of Mother Divine, in and as Om Swami!!!