Tuesday, December 15, 2020

"Nannagaru Bless and Bliss" - (By Dr.Penemetsa Krishnam Raju Garu)

The early nineties, I attended Arunachala deepotsavam, celebrated in Meenakshi garu’s house in sithampeta, Vishakhapatnam sometime in the early ’90s. I never did attend such functions. But at the behest of my wife and my sister-in-law, I decided to go. Also, it became imperative to attend as someone had to take care of our kids, who were very young then. We reached early. I sat on the parapet wall of the terrace with my son in my lap. All devotees rushed to the terrace as Nannagaru was coming upstairs in a few minutes. I sat where I was, without moving. When Nannagaru came up, he looked at me sitting right across the stairs. It was love at first sight. I turned my head away. I do not know whether it was out of love or out of fear. He spoke about Ramana Maharishi’s teachings. I did not understand much. But I understood that it was not anything like regular discourses. It felt different. As a part of the program, the lamp was lit on the Arunachala replica on the terrace. Everyone performed circumambulation with devotion. I too started the circumambulation holding my kids’ hands. His words felt new. We offered our prostrations to him and came home.

A few weeks later, I, along with my wife and children visited Arunachalam. PSN Raju garu, a Vishakhapatnam resident and Nannagaru’s devotee gave us a letter of introduction, for our stay at Andhra ashram. A couple who maintained the ashram helped people with food, stay and also took people to all places of visit, Ramanashram and Giri pradakshina. We stayed there for 3 days and visited all places. They even took us for Annamalai swami’s darshan. It was a great experience. From then on, we used most of our LTC (leave travel concession) to visit Arunachalam alone.

This is how I got to know Nannagaru. Whenever Nannagaru came to Vishakhapatnam, I would go and meet him personally. I also used to attend the discourses in various parts of East Godavari and West Godavari districts, and also Arunachala deepotsavam. He gave me good guidance many times. I guess instead of using the word guidance, I should be saying ‘Bless and bliss’. I am sharing the little experience I have spent in his company.

I used to visit Nannagaru at Kodavilli Padma garu’s house. Padma garu encouraged me to speak to Nannagaru. I had the good fortune of being Nannagaru’s attendant during the opening of their factory. I wish to convey my gratitude to her for this great opportunity. Once, I met Nannagaru personally. I asked him thus- “I have been very honest in my workplace till now. There is huge pressure on me now. I request you to bless me that I may stay honest at all times.” He was very happy with my request and blessed me. Those blessings protect me even today.

My wife was more interested than me in visiting Nannagaru and listening to discourses. But I always felt that we must not disturb Nannagaru. Once, she insisted on taking her to Jinnuru for Nannagaru’s visit. I got angry. We started from Anaatavaram, East Godavari dist. and reached Jinnuru around 6pm. The people there told us that Nannagaru had just arrived from a discourse meeting. I knocked on their gate. Nobody answered. I knocked again after some time. Nannagaru himself came and opened the door. “Oh! It’s you!” he exclaimed. He asked us to come into the hall. We were seated there, in the hall. I then said, “Nannagaru! My wife likes to visit you in person and be in your presence. She keeps paying visit to you multiple times when you come to Visakhapatnam. I scold her for disturbing you.” To that Nannagaru replied, “I have no problem with that. Lord Vishnu likes to be decorated; Lord Subrahmanya likes to be visited often. So, you can come over to visit me any time.” I understood from those words that tiredness is something humans feel and is not what God experiences.

Nannagaru told us about two paths. One is of Bhakti and the other of Jnana. Once, during a conversation he told me that Ramana’s philosophy suits me. He encouraged me to read Ramana’s books. He mentioned this in one discourse, without revealing my name “A certain devotee came to me and asked which path was better for him. I told him that jnana marga was better for him. His path is jnana marga. Because he has an analytical mind and he will not accept anything easily.”

Many of the devotees’ children were studying engineering in colleges near Tiruvannamalai. When Nannagaru was in Tiruvannamalai, these students would come over to meet their parents and relatives. I felt that I could also shift to teaching in one of these colleges, so that I could stay near Ramana and also have the good fortune of visiting Nannagaru more often. Anyway, how could I become a professor without a PhD degree? I thought. Though I never did work in Arunachalam, Nannagaru made me complete my PhD. In 2016, my wife and I took the JNTUK, Kakinada PhD certificates and laid them at Nannagaru’s feet. Without his ‘bless and bliss’, this was impossible. Only the Guru knows our innermost desires. Whenever I met Nannagaru, he would call me a self made man. He would introduce me in this manner alone. Ramana and Nannagaru are not different. It is just the forms that are different. I strongly feel so. For a few days I have been having this strong urge to slip into sleep meditating on Ramana sitting in Skandashram. Once, Ramana gave me his darshan in a dream. He was glowing with a golden hue around him. Nannagaru also appeared quite frequently in my dream. He used to give me some message. Unfortunately, I never noted them and hence unable to share the exact words.

In 2004, I went with my port officer, Jayanti garu to visit Nannagaru. She too is a devotee of Nannagaru. She used ask me to keep her informed of Nannagaru’s visits. Nannagaru spoke to us. The conversation went as follows-

Nannagaru- Krishnam Raju garu, will you take VR (voluntary retirement) from service?
Me- No! Nannagaru, I will not. I like government service. I have no thoughts of VR. (It is interesting to note here that I had every chance of becoming chief engineer of the port)
Nannagaru- oh! You don’t like?....
Me- No, I don’t like to take VR
Nannagaru- Jayanti! Are you planning to take VR?
Jayanti garu- Yes! Nannagaru, I wish to. I am planning to apply.
Later, I told Jayanti garu, “ I do not want to take VR. With 18 years’ service still left, what will I do taking VR!” But I took VR in 2009. But Jayanti garu continued service up till normal retirement age. That means Nannagaru had already planned my retirement. He decided that. I also understood that I could not get to the post of chief engineer. A number of my well wishers asked me why I took VR. I took that decision while I was in Delhi because I received a job offer to be professor and director of a college in Vishakhapatnam. Salary too, was higher. Also, I was given some money as compensation for quitting the job. I needed money around that time for the marriage of my daughter. I had spent all my savings on kids’ education. I thought that it was more important to think for the progress and prosperity of my children than to think of my own. After taking VR from the Port, my stress levels came down drastically. While teaching in this college, I used to mention about meditation and Ramana’s philosophy to the students now and then. “Guru knows what you need”

In 2006 I used to work at Mangalore port. Nannagaru told me several times that he would come over to Mangalore and we could visit Udipi with him. That never materialized. I had come to Vishakhapatnam during holidays. I developed fever for 15 days and the doctors could not identify the cause of fever. One day, Dr.Satyanarayana Raju from Tanuku came to Vishakhapatnam. My maternal uncle took me to him. He diagnosed it as endocarditis. The port referred me to Care hospitals. The treatment was 2 injections everyday and bed rest for 40 days. I was admitted to Care hospital. When the first injection was given, I felt that I was going to die and shouted, “Doctor!!!” I thought that would be the last breath I would take. Then I remembered something! The last thought at the time of death would decide future life. Immediately, I began to meditate on Ramana. I became all right in some time. I was told that some other injection too was given. But I did not have any fear when I shouted ‘doctor’. I was later shifted to Port hospital. I could see the Kailasagiri hills from my window. I would satisfy myself considering it as Arunachala visit. I was discharged after a month. “GURU WILL KEEP UP YOUR HEALTH IN CASE YOUR PRESENCE IS STILL NEEDED”

2008-2009, I used to work in Delhi. My daughter’s marriage was arranged, but got cancelled later and I faced severe stress. My wife and I went to Arunachalam for Nannagaru’s darshan. We explained the marriage cancellation. Nannagaru said that it was good that the marriage was cancelled. Then I felt relieved. Later, we were able to find a good match for her. We gave the first invitation card to Nannagaru. From the day I reported the marriage cancellation, whenever I visited him, he would always ask about my daughter’s whereabouts and welfare. Even after she had two kids, he would continue to enquire about her. I feel that even parents cannot take as much care as the Guru does. “A CONTINUOUS CARE CAN BE TAKEN ONLY BY GURU. GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU INCIDENTALLY”

When Nannagaru’s health was declining, the day before he left for Jinnuru, he gave darshan to all of us at Vishakhapatnam in Murali’s (PSN Raju garu’s son) house. Nannagaru was confined to his bed. I too joined everyone for darshan. He recognized me, opened his eyelids and gave a look that said “Oh! It is you!” That was the last darshan for me. The Guru is not the physical body. When the time comes, he will take us unto himself. “GURU WILL EXPECT NOTHING, BUT GIVES US EVERYTHING”

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