Monday, September 7, 2020

"The Glory of Surrender" - (By Ammaji Garu)

I was 33 years old when I first met Nannagaru. Till then, I did have devotion, but it largely consisted of performing puja, going to the temple, and asking God for boons. Performing various vratas (prescribed systematic puja) and fasting, were what I thought was devotion. Maybe doing all these sincerely has brought me to Nannagaru. But, ever since I was a little child, I strongly believed that whatever happens is for our own good. Sri Adi Sankara said that there are three important requisites for salvation (moksha) 

1. A Human birth; 2. A strong desire for salvation (moksha); 3.The grace of a benevolent Guru. I have a human form and devotion to some extent. 

Now, how and where the third would happen, I wondered. This happened to me in the form of Nannagaru’s darshan. My brother-in-law’s daughter-in-law Padma (Bhanu’s sister) used to come to my house, during her stay in Vijayawada. Once on a Karthika Pournami (full moon) day, I had just returned from the temple. Padma came to my house. She said, “Ammaji Akka, you have great devotion. I will take you to Nannagaru someday”. I asked her who Nannagaru was. She said he was a great Jnani and that I must pay a visit once. In those days, when in Vijayawada, Nannagaru’s stay was arranged at Siris Subbaraju’s house. Padma said she would call me if Nannagaru came to Vijayawada, and I agreed. On one of Nannagaru visits to Vijayawada, Padma called and I went for his darshan. Padma introduced me to him as her younger mother-in-law (mother-in –law’s co-sister). Nannagaru looked at me and smiled. He did not say anything else to me. I sat there in his presence for some time and came home. During the second visit too he said nothing; just smiled at me. The third time, when I was getting ready to go, a thought inside me said, ‘Why do you want to go? He does not talk to you anyway.’ I thought, ‘that’s alright. He doesn't look at me, but his gaze and his smile are very beautiful. There is some kind of peace in his presence. It will be sufficient, if  his gaze falls on me.’

That day there were no other devotees. He asked me to come in and sit down near him, and I sat near his feet. He spoke for one and a half hours with me. He asked me all details; and it seemed like he read my mind completely, like a book. As I kept looking at him, a fatherly feeling (God as father) filled my heart. I can tell him everything; there is no need to hide anything from him, I felt. As I was leaving, He gave me a small book. It was Bhagavad-Gita. I said to Nannagaru, ‘It is said that we must not recite these verses wrongly. Will I be able to read this book?’ “Read the meaning. Once you understand the meaning you will be able to recite the verse” he said. From that very day, a deep bond developed.

In this way, when the bond with Nannagaru developed, I started reading his books. I began with two books - Amrutha vakkulu (words of nectar) and Nenu evadanu (who am I). I found the latter very confusing. I asked Nannagaru during his next visit to Vijayawada, “This book ‘Who am I’ is very confusing. It says we have to remove this false 'I' using this  'I'. I find it very confusing Nannagaru!” Nannagaru looked at me quietly for 2-3minutes. 

Then lifted his hand as though blessing me and said, “Ammaji! You stay on the bhakti path. It is sufficient for you.” I said, “But this book says that in order to get jnana one must do self-inquiry!” 

Then Nannagaru told me, “I gave you ‘the Gita’. How many paths Sri Krishna has described: Bhakti, karma, Dhyana, Jnana. He has given us so many paths. One can achieve the same state in bhakti marga as in Jnana Marga. Bhakti is called Jnana Maata (Jnana’s mother). A baby doesn’t come without the mother, isn’t it? Bhagavan appears on the outside as Jnani, but inside he is full of bhakti. Sri Ramakrishna appears outwardly as Mother Kali’s bhakta (devotee) but is full of jnana inside. Wherever there is Jnana, there is Bhakti also. Where both bhakti and jnana exist, you will find peace and bliss. You stay on the path of bhakti. That will suffice for you.” I strongly felt that he advised me, based on previous birth sadhana. “Bhakti doesn’t mean asking for boons. You should not be visible. You should melt away in that bhakti. Just as a sugar cast doll melts away in water, as you melt away, you will only then remain as the true self” he said. 

From then onwards I stopped asking for boons when I visited temples. I used to ask God to give me a deep devotion to my Guru as long as I breathe.

From the very first time that I saw Nannagaru, I had a feeling that he was my father. I felt that I was his daughter in some previous birth, estranged later, and now born as a devotee. Nannagaru created an incident to strengthen my view. On 29 October 1998, Nannagaru came to Siris Subbaraju Garu’s house. When I went to visit him, he told me that I should come over the next day to accompany him to a shop to buy a watch. I agreed and said I would come by 10.30 am. When I came over, Nannagaru was having his breakfast. He spent some time with the devotees gathered and then signaled to me that we could go. We left in Siris Raju Garu’s car, I told the driver to take us to the Titan showroom opposite Apsara Theatre. After entering the showroom, Nannagaru asked me to do the selection. I went through all the models and selected one. I then showed it to Nannagaru and said to him that it was good. Nannagaru immediately asked me to get it packed. 

While packing the owner of the shop asked Nannagaru, “Is she your daughter?” 

Nannagaru replied “Yes”. 

“Then Sir, What does your son-in-law do?” 

“He runs a printing press” replied Nannagaru. 

Hearing these words, the daughter attitude of devotion that was hidden somewhere in the depths of my heart sprung up and touched my Sahasrara (crown chakra). Till today I did not have a birthday, today I am born as Nannagaru’s daughter I thought. As Nannagaru called me his daughter, I was filled with happiness, like one feels when you climb an elephant. I don’t need anything beyond this in my life, I felt.

God is an administrator. He will send our way whatever is destined. If we have to go through hardships and take some blows, then it is bound to happen. When these do strike, it is the Guru who gives us strength and takes away the sorrow associated with the incident. And the proof to this is the happiness, sweetness, and strength I had during my difficult and harrowing times. We bought an offset printing machine. We had to face numerous problems because of this machine. In those days without my awareness, depression crept in. I went to Nannagaru and told him all my problems. There is nothing he doesn’t know, but we always tend to share our experiences with the ones closest to us. So, I told my Guru all this. 

Nannagaru said, “We have paid money and bought poverty. We have to go through whatever is destined, isn’t it? You feel depressed because you expected something out of your work. We are imagining a certain result while working. So, when we get a result that is different from our expectations, we get depressed.”

He further said, “Only work is in our hands. The result is decided by God. We have to accept whatever result he gives us. We cannot question his discretion. While working, think that this is the work that God has given as my share, and it is God himself who is making me work. Then we will not get tired by doing the work. It is because of doer-ship that we get tired. Work should leave us, we should not leave work.” 

From that day onwards my depression disappeared. The thought of leaving my work also disappeared. After some time, he created circumstances where that work left me.

Later that machine too got sold, by Nannagaru’s grace. In one of his speeches, Nannagaru mentioned that he had requested Kashi Vishweshwara to help in the sale of our machine. Who in this world except Nannagaru would ask God to help us? I too accompanied him to Kashi. But I asked help from my Guru, not the Lord Vishweshwara. I asked him to give me the strength to go through this body’s destiny (prarabdha). He gave me the strength, but also removed the hardship. This is possible only to our Guru, Nannagaru.

During these times I asked Nannagaru, “Nannagaru, my desire is bringing me all these troubles. I thought I could achieve something by buying this machine. But it has brought me misfortune. All this has happened only because I had a desire isn’t it?” 

Then Nannagaru replied, “Where is strength to your desire? If your destiny was to bring in hardships, irrespective of your desire it will do so. If at some time, you feel your desire is fulfilled, it is only because your desire and God’s intention have coincided. It is God’s resolution alone that is bound to happen. Without his intention, your desire will not be fulfilled. Desire from your mind has no strength at all. When you start working without desires and respect God’s intentions, then your mind will have no reaction. Then he added, “Bhagavan’s words to his mother are enough for a lifetimes’ sadhana. Whatever is destined to happen alone will happen. Whatever is not, how much ever there be one’s effort, will not happen. Hence remain in silence.” “Remember these words. Don’t ever forget this one.”

The words that the Guru speaks do not go in vain. As proof of this saying, let me narrate an incident. When my children were in 8th and 10th grade respectively, Nannagaru had already told me that both of them would do engineering. But my daughter never liked the engineering stream. By force, she joined the MPC stream in intermediate and had to go to the hostel. She did her entrance exam (EAMCET) very badly. Because we told her that if she would not get an engineering seat, she would be allowed to join the Fashion designing course. Despite her really bad rank, she got a seat in K.L.C.E, Vijayawada under the ex-serviceman quota.

She joined engineering as there was no argument she could put up. When she was doing her 2nd year, she came with me to Nannagaru. She went to speak to Nannagaru alone. telling me not to accompany her. She did not tell me what she spoke there. After her engineering, she went to Bangalore to do fashion designing. After many years she herself told me, “Do you know what I asked Nannagaru? I don’t like to study engineering. I want to leave the course” 

Nannagaru said, “What do you want to study then?” She seems to have said what she wanted to study. 

Then Nannagaru said to her, “In your life, this will be the only thing that will go against your wish. Complete this course and later on, you can do whatever you like. I will tell your parents. This will be the only thing against your wishes" he repeated. That is why I completed my engineering. 

Then, I could understand the real strength that accompanies a Jnani’s words.

Whatever comes in our destiny (prarabdha) comes only with Eshwara’s (God’s) knowledge. When we are under Guru’s grace, despite destiny bringing all the hardships and blows it must, its influence is not felt by us. Again as proof, I narrate another incident. We started a real estate venture in 2008. We invested in this project all the savings that were collected for the marriages of our children. Exactly at the same time, we paid advance money to buy a flat. Suddenly the real estate market slumped. All transactions came to a halt. My children’s marriages also got settled at the same time. Three auspicious events in one year! All three went smoothly.

Those we requested for monetary help gave us without any denial, and all the three auspicious events went on smoothly like a miracle. Though we were stuck in the real estate business, none of the auspicious events stopped. Some of our colleagues in the real estate business asked us how we were able to manage in this slump. How we manage to eat or sleep. I replied to them that I was not at all scared, as our Guru stood as our support. I do not think about how we would come out of this struggle. My Guru stands support to me like a mountain. I strongly believe that he will take care of us. That is why I listen to his words while eating and I listen to words before sleeping. I have nothing to worry about” and Nannagaru did bring us out of that situation. That is the glory of surrender (
sharanagati).  Marriages of daughter and son, and buying a new flat; all the events were done extremely well by his grace.

During this real estate slump, I realized something. Nannagaru always spoke about forget and forgive. I was able to forgive, but not forget. We paid all the dues, to everyone we owed, in time. But we had to put up with some harsh words. We did not answer back when those words were said. But I would still remember those words and was unable to forget them. We went to Nannagaru during that time and narrated all this. 

Nannagaru said, “If we are able to widen our hearts, we will be able to forget. We have to go deeper into the heart.” Saying so, he looked at me for 2-3 minutes. 

He raised his hand to bless and said, “You will be able to forget!”  After a few days, without any effort, automatically I forgot all that. Nannagaru used to guide us in the path that brings us happiness.

No comments:

Post a Comment