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Vidya Tirtha Vilasa - 3


A certain gentleman from Mysore was suffering greatly due to some Abhichara Prayoga by a relative who was a Vamachari. Both he and his wife began to suffer from unexplained illness and no amount of medical treatment proved fruitful. Ultimately, he wrote a letter to Mahasannidhanam requesting for help and protection. Mahasannidhanam immediately sent him Prasadam and advised him to recite a certain powerful mantra from Saptashati. The gentleman began reciting the mantra with great faith in Mahasannidhanam and day by day the effects of the Vamachara Prayoga began to recede. After a month, the couple was completely normal and the Vamachari who had done the Prayoga died of a heart attack.

During the hours of early morning, a gentleman had a divine dream in which Mahasannidhanam appeared and initiated him into a mantra. Mahasannidhanam instructed him to recite the mantra all the time and disappeared. When he woke up, he was unable to recollect the mantra. As he was located thousands of miles away from Sringeri, he wrote a letter to Mahasannidhanam and requested for help. When his letter was read, Mahasannidhanam immediately said, 'The mantra I gave him was of Rajagopala. Mail him the details of the mantra such as the Nyasa, Rishyadi, Dhyana etc. When the gentleman read the letter from Sringeri, he was immediately able to recollect that the mantra he received in the dream was indeed Sri Rajagopala Ashtadashakshari.

Once an old lady accompanied by a young lady and a child came to have the Darshan of Mahasannidhanam. Mahasannidhanam gave them Prasadam and asked in chaste Telugu, 'Where are you from? The elderly lady replied, 'We are from Guntur in Andhra. These are my daughter-in-law and grand daughter. I have come to seek your blessings. Mahasannidhanam said, 'Last year during Navaratras, I was in Guntur for fifteen days. Why didn't you see me then? You have now taken so much of trouble to come all the way to Sringeri. The lady said, 'My grandchild was normal till the age of four. She then suffered from a viral fever. Though she was cured of the fever, she lost her speech. Please bless this child. Mahaswamigal looked at the child and asked, 'What is the child's name? The lady replied sadly, 'Sharada. Mahasannidhanam immediately said, 'How can Sharada be speechless? This child will certainly speak. Everyday, mix Brahmi (herb) in honey, place it in front of Shiva Linga and give it to the child. With Amba's grace, the child will speak normally again. The child did regain normal speech within a month!

Sri Sundara Ghanapathigal was an ardent devotee of Mahasannidhanam. He had been to Trichy for some work and to return to Sringeri, he went to the Trichy bus stop to buy the bus ticket. As he walked towards the ticket counter, he heard a voice, 'Don't start from Trichy in chaste Kannada. Ghanapathigal was surprised to hear Kannada in Tamil Nadu, where even the animals seem to speak and understand only Tamil. He ignored the voice, bought a ticket and boarded the bus. He now heard the same commanding voice clearly, 'Who am I telling not to travel? Get down immediately. Immediately Ghanapathigal recognized the voice as that of Mahasannidhanam. He got down from the bus and sat there meditating on Mahasannidhanam. After about 30 minutes, he heard the same voice again saying, 'You may take this bus now. Ghanapathigal was surprised to find another bus standing there. He boarded that bus and during his journey, the bus stopped at a place for a while. When Ghanapathigal looked out of the window, he was shocked to see that the same bus which he had planned to take 30 minutes ago had met with an accident. Most of the people in the bus had died. Filled with tears, Ghanapathigal offered million thanks to the holy feet of Sri Mahasannidhanam for saving his life.

A certain gentleman was reciting Subrahmanya Shadakshari mantra by himself, without any initiation. Is it possible to become a doctor by merely reading books? Similarly, without an initiation from a Sadguru, mantra has no power and is simply a meaningless word. In spite of his reciting the mantra several lakh times, he found no peace of mind or any other promised benefits of the mantra. He then decided to visit Mahasannidhanam and seek a mantra from him. He went to Sringeri and said, 'Gurudeva, please initiate me into some mantra which will lead me to self-realization. Mahasannidhanam agreed and gave him the initiation of a mantra to the gentleman the next morning along with Anga Nyasa, Kara Nyasa, Dhyana and Purashcharana details. The gentleman was surprised beyond limit when he found out that the mantra which Mahasannidhanam had given him was Subrahmanya Shadakshari! Mahasannidhanam had thus corrected the mistake of his disciple and saved him from the great sin of reciting a mantra without initiation.

Srividya Upasana is the most powerful tool for realizing the self. Mahasannidhanam was touring a village called Ilanji in Tamil Nadu and was residing at the house of a gentleman named Chidambaram Pillai. On that night, which was a Friday, Mahasannidhanam performed a detailed Navavarana pooja after Chandramoulishwara pooja. Pillai saw this pooja with rapt attention and was overcome with a strong desire to perform Navavarana pooja. He decided to request Mahasannidhanam for Srividya Upadesha. Pillai had the Darshan of Mahasannidhanam one evening along with his friends Shanmuganathan and Krishnaswamy Iyer. Mahasannidhanam asked Shanmuganathan, 'I am told you have been initiated into Srividya. Have you studied mantra Shastra? Shanmuganathan replied humbly, 'Gurudeva, I perform Navavarana pooja as taught by my Guru. I don't know anything more. Mahasannidhanam then said, 'Why don't you perform Navavarana pooja to your Srichakra in Iyer's house this Friday. I will send all the materials required for the pooja from the Mutt. Let Pillai also see the pooja and take Prasadam. Pillai was very happy and took part in the pooja. When the three visited Mahasannidhanam after the pooja, Mahasannidhanam asked Pillai, 'You wanted to perform Srichakra pooja right? Let Shanmuganathan initiate you in Panchadashi mantra and teach you Navavarana pooja. Sri Sharada will bless you all. Pillai was filled with gratitude towards Mahasannidhanam who had given him the boon he had asked for.

Sri Rajagopalan Iyengar of Madurai was a successful professional who had also done well financially. Some people, who were jealous of his success, had resorted to Vamachara and performed Abhichara Prayoga against him. He began to face various problems in his house as a result. It started on a Ashadha Amavasya, when the key to a locker went missing. The next day, the key to the main-door of their house went missing and after a week, all watches in their house disappeared. Doors started opening and closing by themselves. One day, all the Salagramas in their house disappeared and the photos hung in the Pooja room fell down all of a sudden. Pages of Valmiki Ramayana and Stotras of Vedanta Deshika, kept in the pooja room, were torn into pieces by some unknown force. Iyengar sought the help of various Tantrics belonging to Elava, Poti, Nayar, Christian and Muslim communities, but nothing worked. When a Christian priest entered the house, the cross in his hand disappeared. The holy water he had brought turned into kerosene. Stones started falling on the house from nowhere. Excreta began to appear in food and water. Sri Srinivasa Raghavan and Padmanabha Iyer, who were close friends of the family, went to Mahasannidhanam who was then camping at Madurai and narrated the incident. Mahasannidhanam immediately said, 'Leave things to me. Sri Mahavarahi will take care of Iyengar and his family. The same night, a letter was found in Iyengar's house, 'I will not trouble you any more. I will go away. The mysterious happenings ended in their house from that day.

When Mahasannidhanam was touring Andhra, various debates and discussions were being held on spiritual subjects. A certain scholar, who was reputed to be the most known face among the scholars of that region, sought a debate with the scholars of Sringeri Sharada Peetham. He also placed a condition that Mahasannidhanam would not help the scholars from Sringeri during the debate. Mahasannidhanam understood that the egoistic scholar wanted to humiliate other scholars but agreed for the debate. The scholar from Andhra, accompanied by various disciples, began the debate and most scholars from Sringeri were defeated in no time. There was a young man who was listening to the debate with great interest. He was neither a learned person nor had he understood the debate. He was only trying to spend as much time possible in the holy presence of Sri Mahasannidhanam. Just then, Sri Mahasannidhanam started at the young man as though piercing him and the young man suddenly underwent a great metamorphosis. He stood up immediately and challenged the proud scholar for a debate. In the debate that followed, he easily defeated the scholar from Andhra. The scholar from Andhra fell at the feet of Mahasannidhanam and left the place. The young man, who had been graced by Drik Diksha from Sri Mahasannidhanam, became a great scholar in future. Sri Totakacharya had become a great scholar merely due to the grace of Srimadacharya Bhagavatpada. Now, Sri Mahasannidhanam had proved that it was indeed Srimadacharya who was present in the form of each of the Sringeri Acharyas.

Some young men had the Darshan of Sri Mahasannidhanam and said, 'People belonging to other religions are trying to convert Hindus to other religions by offering jobs, money and other materialistic comforts. This is greatly harming the Hindu society. Please take some action to prevent these unlawful religious conversions.

Mahasannidhanam replied, 'What do you mean by religion? We have to first understand this clearly. The only way to know this is through the Shastras. Religion i.e. Mata is related to 'mati' or intellect. The caste of a person i.e. 'jAti' is related to 'janana' or birth. Take the example of a certain breed of a cow. Can we simply change its qualities to resemble another breed by changing its name? What is now called Hindu dharma is actually Sanatana Vaidika dharma. That whose beginning is not known is referred to as 'Sanatana'. If you take the example of most other religions today, it has been started by a particular person and has a date from which it came to existence. Our Sanatana dharma has neither such known beginning nor has it been established by a single person. One should clearly understand the difference between jAti and mati. How to change one's mata? By advising an atheist, his mata can be changed and he can be made a theist. But jAti can never be changed. We think, 'he was a Hindu, he now became a Christian'. But in reality that is not possible. A person who leaves his own dharma for various reasons like material comforts is called 'bhraShTa'. You told me that various groups of organizations have been converting Hindus to other religions. This fact was already understood by our ancients and they have classified victims of conversion into four different categories.

Our dharma imposes certain rules and restrictions. It advises people to eat Satvic food and give up Tamasic foods like onions, garlic, meat and fish. It asks us to stay away from liquor and tobacco. It asks us to keep fasts for Ekadashi, Shivaratri etc. It bans eating anywhere, anything and with anyone. Some people think, 'God has given us tongue solely to enjoy the taste of various foods. Why should one follow rules of eating only certain things and with certain people? Such people who do not want to follow rules and want to enjoy 'eating' get converted to other religions which have no disciplinary rules.

Rules related to marriage are very strict in our dharma. People fro the same Gotra are not allowed to mary as this amounts to a brother marrying his sister. Also, one is not allowed to marry a lady elder to him in age. One is also required to see the lineage of the bride's/groom's family. Some get converted to other religions, which have no such rules, to enjoy marriage with anyone desired.

The Dharma classifies the society into Shudra, Vaishya, Kshatriya and Brahmana, and rules and duties increase exponentially from Shudras to Brahmanas. A Brahmana has to follow special rules like waking up before sunrise, offering Arghya exactly during sunrise, Sandhyavandana, worship of Gods, Brahma Yajna, Vaishwadeva, Agnihotra, Aupasana etc. There are other religions which proclaim, 'You don't have to do anything. All your sins will be forgiven. Whatever sins you commit, if you pray that day, your sins will be forgiven. People, who want to perform no Karmas, get attracted to religions as these where there are no assigned duties.

A person who fails to follow his own dharma is called 'bhraShTa'. In olden days, such a person would be kept away from the society. When he realized his mistake, repented for the same and purified himself, the society would accept him back. If a religion says, 'You don't have to repent for your mistake and do anything to correct yourself. Just tell us what you did and we will assure you forgiveness. A bhraShTa would naturally choose the easier way out and get converted.

I am also aware that the poor and needy get converted for the sake of money and employment. But this trend of converting people from Sanatana Vaidika dharma to other religions has been present from time immemorial. But have not we emerged victorious every time? All we need to do is to educate our people about the greatness of Sanatana Vaidika dharma. Once people realize the timeless worth of our culture, conversions will recede drastically.

In our society, we have the Varnashrama dharma, which is incorrectly projected as casteism, racism and what not? But one should observe that other religions also have various divisions within them. Once a Muslim priest belonging to the Sunni community told me, 'All those belonging to Sunni community go to heaven and those belonging to Shia community go to hell. I was speaking to a Roman Catholic priest one day and he said, 'My driver for today was a protestant. I could not even drink water during my journey today. How could I drink water in front of him? Won't it get contaminated? I belong to the orthodox church. I am quoting these to highlight the fact that differences are there in all societies and this is not just restricted to the Hindu society.

Our dharma has imposed some rules called 'samAna dharma' for all the four Varnas: non-violence, truth, not desiring other's property, cleanliness of mind, words and body, control over the organs of action and sense. Now don't you think the other religions also speak of these qualities? Any community following these will find peace and fulfillment'.