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 Blessings from Appaji, Happiness, Life, Love and Blessings

Celebrating our Arrival in India- Mysuru Ashrama

As the saying goes nothing happens before its time. Do not stop to question but accept and do. Savour every moment because tomorrow is promised to no one. Be good and do good.

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The morning of September 25, 2019 was unlike any other. Having left Trinidad on the evening of September 23 (less than 48 hours earlier) we got a very wonderful surprise that Annmarie, a very close member of our Datta family was travelling the same route and on the same flight as we were with her nephew Shivam. Our arrival in India on the morning of September 25 was in every sense a true indication that we were exactly where we were supposed to be.
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Having spent a rather super hectic week the week before doing so many things that needed to be done, the morning of September 25, 2019 marked our arrival in India. After a delay of 1hour 45 minutes at Heathrow Airport the day before we arrived in Bangalore for what prove to be a most beautiful sunrise as it was unlike any other and had we arrived when we were scheduled to then there would be nothing of the sort to see.

The clouds were majestic and white. It can easily be equated to what we see in the movies when we see the heavenly regions and the captain made our descent truly scenic and memorable. It lay the perfect introduction for a journey of a lifetime meant to be experienced only true your own eyes rather than be coloured through someone else’s vision.

Our arrival to India was further welcomed by our dear Datta brother Mohana Datta who did everything to ensure that our journey to the Ashrama which was 3 hours away was comfortable and safe. On our arrival at the Ashrama we met other members of our Datta family from Trinidad- Kesh Datta, Auntie Indira, Uncle Sam and Auntie Christine. We were also fortunate to meet with Uncle Sheetal soon after.

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While everything felt surreal we knew it was in every sense heaven on earth, Utopian but more as it is purely blissful and every thing and every happening echoed that all is well, all is right and this is the best place to be. Words are inadequate to fully describe our visit to the Ashrama as this presented a very scenic, peaceful, soothing atmosphere in a tranquil and beautiful Ashrama which is of idyllic beauty and is filled with love, life and meaning. A further blessing was our room which provides an absolute perfect view of Nada Mantapa.This was not all.

Walking around in an ambience that is a sanctuary was and is always a blessing. As one with unwavering faith in Sadguru it is the truest representation which shows plainly that our dear Sadguru, our beloved Appaji, His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda gives His love to all life and all creation. To be in Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashrama is nothing short of a blessing. To have His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda with us and to be in such close proximity to Him is a great blessing and to have His Holiness Sri Datta Vijayananda Theertha Swamiji present is also a huge blessing.

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With Lord Venkateshara temple, Lord Hanuman temple, Lord Datta, Lord Ganapathy, Rajarajeshwari Maa and all other deities present as well as Shuka Vana, Gau Shala, Bonsai, Kriya Yoga, Nada Mantapa, the Vishwam Museum, the birth pillars and Ayurvedic Medicine all in close proximity pure love is in full abundance. After a night’s rest we were given an even greater opportunity of a lifetime that some only dream of and others may be ignorant of. Kesh Datta, Auntie Indira, Uncle Sam and Auntie Christine invited us to join them on a journey to Mekadattu, Jayalakshmi Puram and Sogala. This journey allowed us to see and experience so much- to visit Appaji’s birthplace, to see the long journey Sri Jayalakshmi Mata would have taken before Appaji was born, to spend time in the Ashram where Sri Jayalakshmi Mata spent so much of her time meditating, to sleep in the hall of the temple in Jayalakshmi Puram, to understand the significance and importance of Jayalakshmi Puram as it relates to both Appaji’s parents, to walk through the village where Appaji lived, to visit the Hanuman temple near His home, to see where His Holiness lived, to witness puja to Sri Jayalakshmi Mata, to see the Shiva Lingam that tells so much about Appaji’s father Sri Narasimha Sastry, to visit Jayalakshmi Mata’s Nilayam, to visit the resting place of Sri Jayalakshmi Mata’s parents.It was in every sense an opportunity to get a deeper understanding and awareness of Appaji’s life and Jayalakshmi Mata’s life but also an opportunity to get their blessings on this very important journey. More so we got to do it as a family. Surely there is no greater blessing we could ask for. Surely there is no better welcome we could ask for.

https://youtu.be/Fqgaq2lYmtA

Having arrived in time for Navratri celebrations our days are filled with activity. Each morning we are greeted by chanting and prayer. Each morning we witness the procession and the dancing. Each member participating in activity is fully dedicated to serving. With song, music and dance the activity begins each day of the Navratri festivities. His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda and His Holiness Sri Datta Vijayananda Theertha Swamiji enter the chariot that makes its way to Nada Mantapa to commence the daily proceedings there.With so much to experience here we are sure that the rest of our visit will be equally as memorable and filled with continued blessings. It is the opportunity of a lifetime and it is one we intend to make the most of. More so it is one we will always cherish. 2019 is another most memorable year for us! Om Sri Matre Namaha! Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji Ki Jai! Sadguru Maharaj Ki Jai! Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji Ki Jai!