Welcome Speech September 2018
Prakasarao Velagapudi PhD
It is my rare and divine opportunity to welcome Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji to USA and particularly to Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple - a Temple that is unique, exceptional, amazing, vibrant, dynamic, spiritually charged, pulsating, incomparable and unmatched. This is the vision, planning, creation, mental construct and dream of Sri Swamiji. He is Sadguru incarnate. He is the source of all scriptures, all knowledge, all wisdom and all fortune. He dedicated this Avatara for the loka Kalyanamand loka sangrahana that takes him all over the world.
It is his purity of heart, uncompromising dedication to help the humanity, his life-long commitment to help both the devotees both internally and externally, his unwavering vow to protect and guide his devotees, Sri Swamiji as a Mother Cow keeps an ever-vigilant eye on the pasturing calf. SantJnaneswar says,” Just as camphor is clear both within and without, so the man of wisdom is pure both internally and externally. Like the jewel which is pure both in and out or like the sun who is equally brilliant both within and without, so he has become externally pure by means of his pious works and internally pure by knowledge. He makes his body pure by washing it with earth and water and by the recitation of the Vedas.”
It is his mission todestroy the poverty of thought, sow the seeds of spirituality, instill the value of Dhyana, inculcate the virtues of wisdom, instill the fruits of serving humanity, impart the merits of following dharma, and reveal the knowledge of Brahman.
Let us all pray Sri Swamiji to bless us with continued priceless association of our Guru and the ever-flowing grace.We will the unique opportunity to enjoys the rays of the sun of knowledge andtap the glorious treasure of ancientwisdom. Undivided attention is required to reap the benefits of His presence. Wherever he casts his eyes, think that he is only looking at you. Whenever He speaks, think that he is addressing only to you. Whenever he smiles, think that he is smiling at you. Whenever he sits silently, think that he is sending vibrations only to you. Whenever he admonished, think that there is lesson for me to learn. Whenever you are at the presence of Sri Swamiji, think that he will bring deep transformation in you. His state cannot be described in words.
No matter how much I talk about Sri Swamiji and how many miracles we can recount, it is like describing the dazzling brilliance of sun, which cannot be seen with naked eye. Then who is this Swamiji? It is appropriate remember the description of Guru found in Vishwasaara Tantra: “The Guru is the beginning of the universe, yet he himself is without a beginning; the Guru is the highest deity; there is none higher than the Guru … Salutation to the true Guru who is the embodiment of the Bliss of Brahman and the bestower of supreme happiness, who is detached, knowledge personified, and beyond duality, who is like the sky, and is indicated by such Vedic dicta as “Thou are That”, and who is One, eternal pure, immovable, the witness of all the changes in the Budhi (intellect), beyond all the states and devoid of the three Gunas.”
Sri Swamiji is an Avadhuta, the one who has shaken off the worldly ties while living in the world only to uplift and liberate. He is beyond good and evil, beyond three gunas and free from social and religious obligations. Paramahamsa Upanishad accurately narrates the uniqueness of an Avadhuta:
He does not fear pain. He longs not for pleasure. He forsakes love. He is not attached anywhere either to the pleasant or for unpleasant. He doe not hate. He does not rejoice. The activities of all his senses have come to the rest. Firmly fixed in knowledge, the self ever abides in the self alone. He is called an ascetic. He alone is a Yogin; he alone is knower. “I am Brahman who is consummate bliss and pure consciousness;” realizing this, he becomes one who has done all there is to do.”
There are many Rishis, saints, sages, seers and Gurus who trekked the width and breadth of India and the world. Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji is a visionary who set the example for the rest of the modern world. Only occasionally you will see such a visionary who is born to direct and lead suffering, stressful and confused humanity to the path of dharma by guiding, counseling, advising and admonishing those who had the fortune of being born at the time Sri Swamiji is present in His physical form. It is this vision that resulted in the establishment of the Ashram that contains Nadamantapam, Dhyana Mandiram, Universal Prayer Hall, Sukhavanam, Bonsai Gardens, Sri Venkateswara Temple, Vishwam museum, hospitals and many more facilities. With this vision to establish dharma, Sri Swamiji completed Vishwa Dharma Vijaya Yatra by trekking the world 150 times.
It is this kind of vision that enabled Sri Swamiji to build this magnificent, majestic and imposing Hanuman Agrahara. It is one of a kind, unmatched in the annals of humanity. I am not sure if we can find any Agraharam like this even in India. Sri Swamiji’s vision is empoweringto revive the past glory of the traditional Temple in this modern world, infuse them with more energy and vibrations and enabling the devotees to experience the divine presence in silence.
It is also this vision that made him establish more than 80 Datta Yoga Centers and Temples in all the continents. His inspiring teachings, his healing music, his soul stirring bhajans, his yoga and meditation, and Sri Chakra Puja have touched the hearts and souls of innumerable people by redressing their sorrows, reducing their pain, uplifting their spirits, cleansing their sins, purging their suffering and guiding them to the right path. His radiance, glow, his persona, love, compassion, luminosity and warmness bring relief, joy, happiness and peace to this chaotic, confused and confounded world. These are all part of his grand vision to uplift the mankind to higher levels.
Sri Swamiji is embodiment of all scriptures, all wisdom, all actions, all movements, all love and all compassion reflecting the true nature of a living God. The innumerable variety of subjects are touching every aspect of human living. His depth of knowledge is bottomless. His teachings are enlightening for both ignorant and intelligent. His vision is global enriched by love and compassion. His mission is to bring unity, harmony, congruence, tolerance forbearance in this disturbed constantly changing world beset by troubles, tribulations, torments, tortures, predicaments, predilections, and perturbance.How is it possible to make this insane world sane? For Swamiji who is a God realized soul, who eternally lives in samadhi, who exuberates nectar, who exhilarates the spirits,and who is Ashtasidhi, nothing is impossible, nothing is unsurmountable, and nothing is insuperable.
A passage in the Upanishadstells us: “That sage who has solely engaged himself in drinking the nectar which is no other than Brahman, the nectar which is the outcome of incessant meditation, that sage becomes the greatest of ascetics, Paramahamsa, and a philosopher free of worldly taint, Avadhuta. By the sight of him the whole world becomes consecrated. Even an ignorant man who is devoted to his service becomes liberated.”
Sri Swamiji incessantly challenges his devotees to control the senses and tame the mind though yoga, Dhyana and meditation. Mind is chenchala - unstable, imbalanced, unhinged, quivering, and everchanging. Dhyana is a royal road to find out how waves of thoughts are subsided, speech is silenced, and noise is stilled. We must free ourselves from everything that prevents us to enter the chamber of silence. The poem composed by Swami Gnanananda appropriate to remember:
Enter into yourself where there is nothing,
And take care that nothing enters there
Penetrate within yourself
To the place where there is no more ant thought,
And take care that no thought arises there.
There where there is nothing – there is fulness
There where nothing is seen- the vision of Being
There where nothing more appears – behold, the Self? That is Dhyana.
Sri Swamiji mentioned that silence is meditation. Dhyana should be done to put the mind to complete rest. “Then it imbibes greater power. It becomes clear. It gets refreshed. That is why Lord Krishna says, “Among the things profound I am silence.” We are all enamored by outside glitter. Stress, strife, and anxiety are affecting the sense objects to lose the balance of mind and composure. No peace of mind. But, Sri Swamiji says, “The foundation of perfect peace is within one’s own self. The only means to know and experience this center of infinite and absolute peace is Dhyaana or meditation.Concentrating the mind on one particular object or symbol or thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts and contemplating on it without interruption, constitutes Dhyana”
Dhyana Bindu Upanishad says “The mountainous sins accumulated over many births can be destroyed by Dhyana Yoga (Meditation). Nobody is found to have destroyed the sins by any other means except Meditation. Meditation is the only way to annihilate the sins.”
Role of Mind
It is indeed the mind that is the cause of men's bondage and liberation. The mind that is attached to sense-objects leads to bondage, while dissociated from sense objects it tends to lead to liberation.So, they think. —Amrita Bindu Upanishad.
Form VS Formless.
For many devotees, it is very difficult to comprehend, visualize, understand, and even experience the omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God. Without image, it is unimaginable to see God in abstraction, formlessness, shapelessness and silence. We are not yet developed to know any aspect of God, but what need is there to see the unseen, to know the unknown and imagine the unimaginable when we can also attain self-realization by worshipping the divine personality.Even Lord Krishana himself says that “For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifest, the path of realization is full of tribulations. Worship of the unmanifest is exceedingly difficult for embodied beings.” (Bhagavad Gita 12:5) For many of us, it is more than enough, more than adequate and more than satisfying to see Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji as an incarnation, manifestation, Avatara, Avadhuta, Sadguru and God in physical form. Thus, we can see him, we can feel his presence, we can touch his feet, we can talk to him in person, we can listen to his discourses, admonition and music, and we can enjoy his persona. Many Gurus and saints have longed to be in the presence of their Gurus. Because of the difficulty in visualizing the unmanifest and invisible, it is only natural to for the ordinary devotee to worship God with a human form. Even Saints sat in front of Dakshinamurthy and enjoyed the presence and learned from his silence. Tukaram was fond of worshipping his Guru only in the form. According to Tukaram:
Superior is the worship of the Lord with form;
It is supreme devotion.
Such worship brings one realization and every divine experience.
Such worship purifies the heart
And from it emerges the beautiful Lord
In his captivating form.
The Name of the Lord is the seed
And the fruit which springs forth;
It is the highest religion.
It is the essence of all religious practice.
His name banishes all trouble—
For where the devotee chants his name
There all virtues meet.
When the Lord enters the heart
And ascends his throne
All that is good appears there—
And no more does the devotee know the pain of rebirth.
Do not, therefore, fear to follow
The faith of your birth.
Repeat His name—that is all one needs.
How many names he has! the Vedas
Call him the perennial Being
The yogis the formless One
And the liberated know him as the radiant Atman.
But Tukaram knows him as Krishna
Who, for the sake of his devotee, assumed the radiant form of a man.
It is Sri Swamiji’s gleaming form that will make the devotees restless and agitated mind to rest and regain the composure.Arjuna was happy to see his universal form of Lord Krishna which enabled him to the normal, natural peaceful state. It is difficult to comprehend your form through intelligence, imagination, and spiritual discourses. We are like Arjuna, who said:
“Seeing this humanlike form, so very beautiful, my mind is now pacified, and I am restored to my original nature.” (Bhagavad Gita 11:51)
Whether we worship Sri Swamiji in the form or formlessness, the only way to get connected, feel close and become attached to Swamiji is only through Bhakti. Bhakti can move the mountains and even bring Gods to Bhuloka. Bhakti means devotion, attachment, surrender, faithfulness and closeness. It is an intense and deep love toward your Guru or God. Our Bhakti must not vacillate or waver, it should be steady and unshaken. If you have this kind of Bhakti, Sri Swamiji is always with you, is always present in your mind and consciousness, and always guiding you and steering you to the right path. The more we surrender, closer you will get to Sri Swamiji. Guru Bhakti arises once a psychic communion and spiritual bond is established with a Guru. A true devotee does not have to ask any thing. When Swamiji is Vishwambara, He who fills this universe, why would he leave you, why would he abandon you, and why would he neglect you. A true bhakta slowly drop off all his Vasanas that bind him, shake off his ever-fleeting desires, and unload the baggage. How can anyone carry so much weight on his head and run up the hill to reach the mountain top.
Lord Krishna himself says, “My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulated principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way you will develop a desire to attain to Me.” (12:9)
What is expected of a True Bhakta? Sri Swamiji expects only you, your commitment, your devotion and dedication. As per Swami Gnanananda:
What the guru expects of you is yourself
Not what you brought, as you went through the market.
Naked you are born
Only naked can you be reborn in the glory of the atman.
He who loses himself, finds himself
He who loses al, l finds all.
It is only by ceaseless, relentless and uninterrupted worshipping, praying, meditating and remembering Sri Swamiji we will develop bhakti. Bhakti must be unmotivated and with no selfish desire.By constantly chanting and hearing Sri Swamiji’s discourses, remembering the special qualities, reminding the unique attributes, relishing the benevolence of kindness, recalling mystery of miracles, and visualizing him as Supreme Lord, one develops pure and true bhakti toward Sri Swamiji.
In Bhagavata Purana, Lord Krishna says, “One who is free from expectations, one who does not ask for anything, one who is completely satisfied in his own Self, one who is free from hatred and enmity --- I always follow him; I always walk with him to protect him.” As a true devotee, our responsibility is to surrender, perform our duties without expectations and absorb in his radiance.
"Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and offer your homage unto Me. Thus, you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend. Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear" (Bhagavad Gita 18.65-66).
Let us remember these two verses that describe the greatness of Sri Swamiji and saints like him:
The saints are absolutely pious, the emblem of goodness;
Sympathy, compassion, affection, piety, help and kindness
Gracious in benevolence, philanthropy, charity and mercy;
They are lenient, humble, amiable; a living idol of kindliness.
The saints are blessed, blissful and they shower blessings.
They depend on intuitions and are men of profound feelings.
Their presence relieves, gives sense of security, confidence.
They are incarnations, figures divine and natural paintings.
That is the assurance we have from Sri Swamiji if we have full faith and dedication. His blessings, guidance and compassion permeate all around us to receive unconditionally. Please take advantage of his divine personality, bask under the rays of his grace, soak in the messages that come out of his lips, immerse deeply in the vibrations of his divine music, pluck the fruits of his compassion and experience the glowing personality.
Let us all welcome Sri Swamiji to Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple with a round of applause.