Dr. Padmaja

The following are recollected from personal experience of the author -

The experiences of the mystical kind, miracles in common parlance seem to be recurring frequently as a normal part of life and somehow these events would still be categorized as coincidences by the so-called rational beings or as supernatural by the so-called theists. I felt that it would be good if occult -ish experiences in our lives that ordinarily baffle us could be shared with others.I equally feel that these memoirs may amaze some but annoy others For me ,such events in my life or about which I have read or heard ,have only augmented my faith in the supreme super- consciousness .This ocean of consciousness that unites us would take many forms ,sequences and manifestations as and when one uncovers the many sheaths on us and opens up the small self in order to welcome the bigger SELF.

It is purely scientific in the sense that we are all webbed together in the canvas of life and we are all a part and parcel of the whole ‘holy’ sphere and it is just that some are spiritually aware of this while others aren’t .In the pretext of calling myself rational, I do not want to brush off awe-inspiring happenings as non-events while even a flash-back in thought brings the same horripilations.

It was a Purnima, a rare one which occurs once in 108 years.The day was 31st December 2009. I had gone to the magnificient temple of Moogambika for Darshan on New Year eve. My sons were with me on this trip and we envisaged a trek to the awe-inspiring Koodachadri hill. The jeep ride of 40 km approximately is like a desert safari, but much more jumpy ,jerky and jittery.

We also took a peek at the Ganesh Gufa cave and the thin cascades of Agasthyatheertha falls. Koodachadri seems to have attracted the attention of humankind since long time. Probably prehistoric men also trekked in this area . This belief can be compared with the ancient practice of worshipping Mother Goddess during prehistoric time all over the world. At present, Koodachadri is popular among locals and Keralites since at least 500 years or more. Sage Shankaracharya is said to have visited this place and established the Kollur temple while the MULA-STHANA,the original goddess is situated in Kodachadri. The terrain being impossible for temple construction ,the Kollur temple was made down the hill.

There is a small a temple near the peak where Shankaracharya did meditation and ancient Sarvajna Peetha (built out of rock) at the top. The Sarvajna Mantapa, a stone structure at the top, serves as a shelter for those camping here. The sides of the mountain drop almost vertically to the impenetrable jungles of Ambavana. Moola Mookambika temple at Kodachadri village is believed to be the moola sthana (the origin) of Sri Mookambika Devi. Just below the peak, almost vertical path leads to a small cave called Chitramoola, from where the Mookambika temple of Kollur is visible. Cave of Chitramoola is considered sacred because it is said that the great saint Adi Shankaracharya performed penance here before consecrating goddess Mookambika. Chitramoola is, according to the legend, the place where Shankaracharya met Mookambika Devi. Coming back to our trial, we felt that venturing towards Sarvajnapeetham after worshipping the deities closer to the jeep-stand was itself tiring but we did flutter into the next lap as the rain gods seemed merciless and clouds darkened suddenly. The others in the jeep did not wish to join. A tiresome long walk with an occasional chanting of AMME NARAYANA, we were at our destination. The deity installed is of Shankaracharya Himself. As we were about to leave Sarvajnapeetha, two men came out of the small beatific temple and asked why we were turning our backs to a life-time opportunity that awaited us.

“ Scale down a thousand feet and you will reach the cave of Chitramoola. We will lead you and even bring you back before returning to the cave for meditation on this unique Purnima night. But you should rather come with us”. Me and the boys were perplexed. In a few seconds, we decided to join them despite no precaution or first-aid kits with us for the rigorous descent .As the duo showed us the path down, we became somewhat challenged by the demanding task ahead. Personally, I made a vow that I will listen to the higher command, delivered through two agents who had literally landed out of the blue so we could take the call. I only joined hands and prayed that my enthusiastic young sons should not get hurt on this arduous journey. If I were to face the worst on myself, so be it ,as the wish of the divine Mother….I became bold. They lead us by the hand, literally like one would do to school kids and we scaled down ,chanting the holy names of the Goddess. All of a sudden, there emerged from the crevice in a boulder, a Sadhu who spoke in Hindi to us as if he knew us well. He indicated that the two mystic saints are seen in the cave today as it was a rare Purnima. There were thick bushes, extremely slippery sludge and creepy insects precipitating almost a grave slump here and there but we somehow managed. The rains had stopped by then and it was around 3.30pm already and we could neither hope that the jeep would still wait for us if /when we got back nor could we get any phone network whatsoever there. Finally ,we stood before a precipitous cave –the Chitramoola Guha. There was a OM-Shakti entourage down there who had tried climbing the cave and while some men succeeded, others did not. They warned me that women couldn’t do it .I nodded but assured myself that if I could have come this far, then the cave up seemed just a stone’s throw and I continued to pray to gather courage and faith. The two benevolent escorts we had with us, boosted our confidence. The cave was up above us but nothing inside was visible from down although we were told that it is almost a km deep.

As my sons went up a precarious ladder and reached the entrance of the cave, they were open-mouthed! Inside there , were two Siddhas, the sages whom many people revere as blessed with divinity. They looked ageless , without any movement at all, barely appearing to breathe but very much alive, in deep Tapas or meditation. One was in ochre and the other in white, facing two perpendicular directions, probably east and south. There was a Shivalingam as well in the cave, filled with holy ash or Bhasmam. I felt some strange stillness within me as I saw this unbelievable aura of holy light before me. The dancer in me felt it was SHIVA there , with the sun ,moon and fire as three eyes, sun-ochre ,moon-white and fire-the ashes. Within a few minutes, we had to alight as there was no space to linger and we were told not to even murmur lest we disturb the two sages who nevertheless, seemed materially unaware of anyone or anything around but yet, fully AWARE in bliss. Our God-sent escorts took us back to Sarvajnapeetham with care again, but this time, we were very swift and with added energy as if an Olympic medal was around our necks! When we reached Sarvajnapeetam, the two men bowed and simply turned back to Chitramoola to stay there that night and meditate. As they were leaving, they asked me if I carried a lamp to light in the cave as an auspicious sign. I remembered that I had three lemons in my bag that I had carried for the bus journey. I gave these so they could place oil and wicks inside them when squeezed out. This is usually done in Devi temples and fortunately, I could accomplish it.

Nov.18th2010, I had actually scheduled a dance programme at Auroville during the Mother’s Samadhi celebrations which suddenly got postponed. After an assignment at Chennai, I was taking the train back to Bangalore . I met some nice people seated next to me [one lady among them was a retired home nurse] in the train that evening. They were from Mumbai and were after a long stay leaving via Bangalore from Chennai. When I asked what they did for so long at Chennai, they replied that they were actually at Auroville and Aurobindo ashram. I was surprised and said that I was supposed to be at Pondicherry too the same evening. The friends I had got ,immediately said that they were only too happy to have brought Prasad prepared by a close devotee of the Mother, Kokilaben. They showed me her book on the Mother in Gujarathi with Mother’s hand-written letters and finally, a beautiful little picture of the Mother was also given to me! Saints carry the same light and when we surrender to them they shower this effulgence on devotees. The divine mother goddess energized in every form blesses everywhere...

I was returning from Rajasthan via Jaisalmer after a few dance programmes in 2009. I had started the trip with a visit to the rat temple- Karnimata near Bikaner and wished to end with a visit to any Shirdi Sai Temple around, being a Thursday. The local Bazaar was brimming with tourists and I went to a shop to pick up some curios. The gentleman there at the end of a brief conversation not only took me to the biggest Sai temple at Jaisalmer but also gifted me with an icon of Baba received by his father eight years ago from a tourist. This tourist had asked him to pass it on to another devotee who would reach in sometime. I was overtaken by the sweetest emotion of Bhakti or devotion to my favourite saint -Sai.

When the mind is tuned in to THAT, there is unity in all the diversity. True religion unfolds unitary spirituality. If one is able to believe that divinity exists in everything ,albeit in varying intensities and propensities ,then the chances are that one can actually perceive ,hear, touch or feel this same divinity through the vibrations and reflections in everyday living. UNTIL NEXT....WITH MORE ACCUMULATION OF MERITS.

It was my first time at the magnificent Vaishno Devi temple four years ago. The walk is usually enlivened by devoted cries of JAIMATADI all around. After Darshan which is commonly only once due to heavy rush, we wanted to collect Prasad in the queue. Since we had mentioned to an acquaintance at Delhi that we were visiting this shrine, they had on their own accord arranged for another Darshan for us through someone at J&K Bank who having missed us in the morning, pursued us for another Darshan. We became doubly pleased and collected the packets of Prasad given to all devotees containing some sugar candy and a small silver coin of the deity. I stood looking at the coin and felt I could have got atleast two more for my close relations but the system is such that only one packet is given and above all ,the queue is never –ending. Someone came by my side and asked if he could help. He was in uniform, a J&K commando officer and told me that he was from Karnataka. I was elated indeed and confessed my aspiring for two more coins. He told me to follow him and took me through the queue into the office treasury and after repeatedly asking if two were enough and I affirming that I cannot become greedy for more, he put his hands inside a large drum, asked me to open up my Dupatta and pushed about one hundred coins into them. The people around, especially in the queue asked why I should get such a treasure and were assured by him that the coins were for my group of followers, also known to him, who although were in the bus below the hill, couldn’t make it up the shrine. In all these years, I distributed most of them to other devotees. The next time that I visited Vaishno Devi, I received MATAKASHRINGAR packet from the priest at 2am midnight at the sanctum.