Ma’s Blessing at Bandhwad
As part of the India trip in January, Shri Anandi Ma, Bapuji and disciples traveled from Nikora to spend five days at the ashram in Bandhwad, a small village where Guruji spent many years doing sadhana. A beautiful white marble murti (statue) of Guruji was to be installed with a Pran Prathistha Ceremony of pujas and fire ceremonies. Pran Prathistha enlivened the statue with Guruji’s energy.
Then on the morning of the 19th, Bapuji announced to us that Ma had agreed to take on the responsibility for the Bandhwad ashram. Chabiramdasji, the priest who has been running the day-to-day affairs of the ashram for many years, felt it was best for Ma to officially take over and manage the ashram. He will stay on as priest of the ashram, but Ma will be consulted in all matters from here on.
A special ceremony was held that morning where he officially gave the ashram over to Ma by laying a shawl over her shoulders. Ma gave the following talk on this special occasion.
jtendriyam buddhimatam varistham,
Shri Rama-dutam saranam prapadye
Swift as thought, wind-like force, conqueror of the senses, the best of the intelligent, the son of the wind, leader of the army of forest animals, Sri Rama’s messenger – I fly to him for refuge.
– Mantra to Hanumanji from the Rama Raksa Stotram
Respected Chabiramdasji Maharaj, my parents, residents of Bandhwad, disciples:
Today, as we are in the process of accomplishing the prana pratistha of Guruji’s murti, a significant sankalpa (resolution) of my life is being accomplished and my inner joy is flowing beyond limits.
After many years the opportunity to stay in Bandhwad has come again, and the occasion is bringing back sweet and golden memories of my initial days here with Guruji. During those days I would remain in meditation a lot, and was hence not aware of external events and do not remember too much, but the energy of Guruji’s austerities is vibrating in every atom and the flow is tangible even today.
After Guruji’s return to India from the U.S., we tried to establish Bandhwad as the main ashram but due to some divine reason it did not become possible. By Guruji’s wish and command another ashram was to be established, and that search ended in Nikora at the banks of Mother Narmada. So another sankalpa was completed and we were the tools through which that manifested.
Today, by putting me on the seat of the Guru lineage at Bandhwad with the shawl, H. Chabiramdas Bapu has laid another responsibility at my doorstep.
I remember the first day I arrived in Bandhwad when Guruji showed the ashram to me and said, “This is all yours.” Today His words have proved to be true in some ways.
During his lifetime Guruji accepted this same responsibility, doing many works for the village and its inhabitants, sharing their joys and sorrows and bringing many states of growth. Similarly I am just a tool to do His work. I have many responsibilities on my head both here and overseas and I will do whatever is possible by me.
I would like to say that this temple and ashram are of the people of Bandhwad. In reality, the villagers need to become very awake. You have to preserve Guruji’s spiritual wealth. It is your dharma to protect the ashram, to look after it and work for its growth.
As the lotus grows in the midst of the water, the fish are always around it and do not enjoy its nectar but the bees from far away come and enjoy it. You are so fortunate to be right here, so close to Guruji; do not miss this unique opportunity, do not be like the fish.
Times have changed. Many here today have not seen the Bandhwad I have seen and experienced. Today you are one with the outside world. While you are more worldly now, do not miss Guruji’s root message and command.
Bandhwad is a site of austerities and pilgrimage in India. Today millions of devotees visit Shirdi, Sai Baba’s temple, and millions can also come here to benefit from Guruji’s love and teachings. This is an effort we all need to make.
In Tibet there lived a saint named Milarepa. It is said that at his cremation the devas and devatas from the heavens descended to take his ashes. My experiences endorse that Guruji was also a being of that caliber, so in order to accept His true gift we have to awaken ourselves.
I will keep on visiting here and do whatever I can, but without the cooperation of the village and the involvement of its people in daily matters, it will not be possible to reach the goal. Therefore, it is my request that everyone awaken and give all your effort with body, mind and spirit to keep Guruji’s name and His teachings immortal.
Through His practices here, Guruji has made Hanumanji’s presence tangible. So if we fail to benefit from God’s presence here, who is more unfortunate than us? At three different times I asked Guruji go give me sanyas (renunciation of worldly life) and every time he said, “You are already a sannyasin. Sanyas is a state of mind and not the mere wearing of white or colored robes.”
I simply pray to Lord Rama, Hanumanji and Guruji from the depths of my heart that they reside in your heart and inspire you to walk the true path in life, and to grant both physical and spiritual joys of the highest realm.
[Video of the ceremonies at Bandhwad can be found here.]