Posted in Being Prayerful, Blessings from Appaji, Celebrating Existence, Deepavali 2019, India, Life, Love and Blessings, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji

Celebrating our India Pilgrimage 2019!

Today I celebrate our India Pilgrimage 2019! A little over a year ago we were blessed to be in Mysore! One year ago we were blessed to be in Varanasi! One year ago we were blessed to take bath in the Ganges!  As I have said time and time again our pilgrimage to India was the blessing of a lifetime. 


Had anyone told us what 2020 would be like except our Sadguru we would have questioned it because a first visit to Mysore Ashrama is a visit that will be followed by other such visits! 

No one I believe would have thought that Covid-19 would bring the world to its feet. No one would have thought the travel industry would be brought to a standstill. No one would have thought life as we knew it would be replaced by the ‘new normal’. 


Our visit to India was a trip that will never be forgotten! We left Trinidad on September 23 and arrived in India on September 25. We arrived at the Ashrama in the evening after a 3 hour drive. It was scenic and provided a first hand view of India as it really is- a mixture of hustle, bustle, honking horns of taxis and rickshaws, well maintained roads and businesses of all types lining the highway. 


The next morning we were invited to join our Datta family from Trinidad (they had arrived a few days before) on a trip to Mekadatu where His Holiness was born.
Along the way we saw so many beautiful sights- fields of flowers in full bloom, rice paddies well cultivated and maintained by hard working farmers, a buzz of activity in the marketplace, school children going to school and people in general going about their daily activities with pride and a sense of duty. 


Our arrival at the temple where Jayalakshmi Maa stayed was peaceful and tranquil. The humility and the love of the people there is something which will always be with us. One thing that stood out was the peacefulness of the monkey who freely moved from tree to tree. 


Had anyone told us that we would be crossing the river in a basket we might have doubted. With the water higher than it usually was, it was certainly an experience and an experience that was guided by SadGuru. There was no time to think of being afraid of anything and the peace and serenity that was with us was incomparable. The sound of the water as it moved, the monkey that moved freely,  the small Hanuman temple where we were able to pay our respects and receive Darshan- all memories we will cherish! 


We were fortunate to spend the night in Jayalakshmi Puram which is very sacred grounds and has a lot of spiritual significance for all Datta devotees. This journey allowed us to get a valuable understanding of the life of His Holiness and His parents, Sri Jayalakshmi Maa and Sri Narahari Teerthan Swamiji. The next morning we got the opportunity to walk through the village where His Holiness lived in His childhood days and in the afternoon we were able to visit Sri Jayalakshmi Nilayam. Our last stop before returning to Ashrama was Sogala- very sacred grounds surrounded by lush green grass and beautiful well maintained surroundings. 


Our return to Ashrama occurred with us finding the Ashrama with a buzz of activity with Navatri preparations well underway. Experiencing Navatri in the Ashrama is beyond description. 


It meant seeing the ladies busy sweeping from early morning, doing beautiful rangolis, looking at the ladies who led the procession each day dressed in the colour for the day with the kalasas on their heads, the dancers and singers moving in unison and then those strategically positioned at the front of the chariot carrying His Holiness and Sri BalaSwamiji. It was in every sense truly festive, celebratory and filled with energy. 


It also meant seeing His Holiness beautifully dressed every morning on the chariot to Nada Mantapa where the devis would be aartied and gifted, Puja would be conducted and discourse would be given. It also meant bhajans from visiting groups who would have the privilege of performing while His Holiness conducted Puja. 


Following the morning programme it meant being able to go upstairs to take the Darshan of the Divine Mother. Each day was a blessing! Following Navratri we were able to visit different parts of the Ashrama and nearby places like the Market, the temples at Chamundi Hills and the shopping area just to name a few. Added to this Divali was a memorable occasion that will always be with us. 


Our journey from Mysore took us to Bangalore where the peacefulness, the divinity and the overall atmosphere reminded us of the Ashrama we had earlier left in Mysore. Undoubtedly the divinity, the positivity, the energy- everything provided insight on the spirituality and divinity of these spiritual grounds. 


The next day we travelled to Varanasi, a city steeped in history and religion. Different yes, but the walk to the Shivala Ghat the next morning where we  took bath in the Ganges was an experience we would never forget. The beauty of the sun over the Ganges is something we also will never forget.  The steps that made it easier to step into the water were quite helpful too. It was not just about being in Varanasi but it was about being in Varanasi with His Holiness our Sadguru and with His Holiness Sri Bala Swamiji for the consecration of the Varanasi temple and for the Maha Ati Rudra Yagna. With guidance from both we were able to see holy sites and maximize the extent of our travels! Every day brought something new that was reflected in various ways! Every day provided something to treasure!  The experience will always stay with us! It meant time in the presence of divinity, visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Vishalakshi Devi temple, visiting the Kedarnath temple and several other sacred places throughout the nearby areas. 


If you would like to read more about our 2019 India Pilgrimage please click on the links below. Please also click on the links to the videos above and do also take the time to view the photos that have been included. 

Celebrating our India pilgrimage- Appajiā€™s Grace! (dattamalatt.com)

https://rachaelathomasj.com/2019/11/19/celebrating-varanasi-2019/

https://rachaelathomasj.com/2019/10/07/celebrating-our-arrival-in-india-mysuru-ashrama/

Posted in Deepavali 2019, Divali, Life, Love and Blessings

Celebrating Deepavali 2019!

Jaya Guru Datta!

Deepavali 2019 is nothing short of a blessing. It is a first for us as this is our first trip to India and thus our first Deepavali in India as well as our first with our dear baby girl who is also celebrating her first Deepavali. In every sense it is a true celebration of life and understanding self, it is filled with priceless moments and being showered by an abundance of blessings. More so it is in every sense a day of being thankful for all blessings and a day filled with great humility and gratitude.

October 27, the most celebrated day of Deepavali, began in prayer, first with humble prostrations to our Sadguru, His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji and it continued with prayerful supplication throughout the day. We were able to join with hundreds of others to witness His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji perform Puja on the auspicious day of Deepavali 2019 and to participate in Puja. A great blessing this most certainly was!

Photo Credit: Ganesh Aps

As the day unfolded it presented so much that needed to be experienced with the heart and soul and not captured by phone or camera. It just needed to be experienced in its purest form, with energy at its purest and fullest- another step in understanding the self and the path being travelled. Energy, we can all agree comes in various forms. Energy, at its purest, is peaceful and calming. More so it is soothing and incomparable to anything else. There is no pressure, no stress, no pain, no negativity- just positivity!

Then came an opportunity to see the pieces of a puzzle (if one can call it such) come together as the Divine Master provided answers that for years I have not fought to find but accepted that faith would bring answers to if indeed they exist. It was like the unravelling of a story that for years has gotten the better of so many and has also denied them their true existence.
On the auspicious occasion of Deepavali 2019 He did exactly this! He provided answers and direction. Western Doctors who have resigned one’s fate to medication and dependency on medication they prescribe are no match for His greatness and knowledge, His compassion and His commitment to humanity. Being in the right place at the right time is one thing but being exactly where the Master wants you to be is another. It is absolutely the best part of the story ever! A way forward is what is received and it is better than being stuck which has been past reality.

Then to add to an already perfectly blessed day where your day begins with you seeing the Crowning Glory of the Universe, Nada Brahma, the epitome of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss, where it continues with you understanding how blessed you are by seeing more of what makes Him great, the epitome of perfection and the Master of the Universe you get your first real taste of Kriya Yoga which echoes the need to take care of oneself. Blessing after blessing most certainly! This is how I choose to see it and it is also how I choose to describe it.
It requires no searching, no stress, no fighting! That is not my life! No energy for it!
Then to bring Oct 27, 2019 to a close we had the beautiful opportunity of having a parent who lives downstairs where we stay do a rangoli design for our baby girl. Baby Sumanasa loved it and seeing how happy the daughters of these parents were made the occasion even more special.
Mere days earlier, on Dhanteras, Oct 25, 2019 this year, the first day of 5 days of Deepavali celebrations, we were fortunate to witness His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda perform Abhishekam for Lord Venkateshara. It was a sight to behold and truly an experience to be experienced through one’s own eyes and one’s own heart.
Then today, October 28, 2019 being able to witness Appaji’s return to Ashrama was certainly a most memorable occasion.

Sri Guru Datta