When the Gates of Vaikunta Opened on Earth – Lunar Anniversary of Old Mandir
We have reached the fag-end of the year. The Lunar month of Margaseersha has begun. In the Gregorian calendar, the Lunar month of Margasheersha starts around mid – December and lasts till mid- January. In Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna declared that among all months, He is the month of Margasheersha (Maasanam Margashirsoham). It is also the season that brings about celebrations in many faiths. It is the season where Gopikas underwent austere penance to please Goddess Katyayani in order to merge with Lord Krishna. It is also the season which brings in the Joy of Christmas and happy tidings of Yuletide. Most importantly, in the relative time cycle of Humans and Celestial beings, this month is the auspicious Brahma Muhurtha of Devas or Heavenly beings.
This season also witnesses the auspicious Vaikunta Ekadashi, which occurs on the 11th day from the new moon day during the month of Margashirsha. Indians believe that fasting on this day guarantees an entry into Lord Narayana’s celestial Abode, Sri Vaikunta. However, for those of us in the fold of Lord Sai Narayana, Vaikunta Ekadashi is the day Lord Sai Narayana chose to bring His celestial Abode or Sri Vaikunta to Bhoolokha or Planet Earth.
After Bhagwan declared His avatarhood on October 20, 1940, He continued to reside in the house of Karnam Subbamma. For nearly 5 years, the young Sai had no residence. This led to a lot of unrest among the villagers of Puttaparthi, who chided a “God without a residence” and turned against Him and His devotees. It was at this juncture that a proposal rose for the Yadalam and Gummagatta families to find a place for Him to live in Bukkapatnam, the neighboring village. But the villagers of Bukkapatnam refused, saying that the village would not prosper if He stayed there.
As always, unperturbed by things happening around Him, Bhagwan began to live in the caves on the other side of the river, near the village Karnatakaganapalli. Subamma would bring Him food daily. The villagers came to hear of this and thought he was undertaking austerities to obtain special siddhi (occult powers). When they approached the caves to stop Him, snakes and other creatures appeared from nowhere and drove them away. While He was residing in the caves, Chighananda Swami from Bukkapatnam even approached Bhagwan’s earthly family permission to take Swami to his ashram in order to be his ward, successor and spiritual heir.
When Kamalamma heard of such things, she was aghast and felt that Bhagwan should move into a small hut on land owned by the Karnam family on the other side of the river, in order to put an end to all this. Kamalamma then went to ailing Subbamma and told her that their husband had planned to build a temple for the poor, but had died before he could get it built. They decided that the land set aside for building a temple could be given to Bhagwan for the use Bhagwan and His devotees. A sale deed was drafted and the very next day, on 25th of July 1945, Kamalamma went to Bukkapatnam to have the deed registered.
Bhagwan’s early devotees from Bangalore, Sri Tirumala Rao and his wife, Shrimathi Pushpamma, Sri Madhava Rao, Sri Keshava Rao along with Karnam Subamma and Karnam prayed for His approval to build His first permanent residence, a Temple, for which Bhagwan graciously consented. This Temple had traditional Mangalore tiles made of clay. The tin roof was constructed by Maysthri Sri Ramaiya under the supervision of Sri Munusamappa, an engineer under the personal supervision of Sri Thirumala Rao. This was later expanded with another hall by Sri Devaraj Urs from the Mysore royal family in the year 1947.
On December 14th, 1945 on the auspicious day of Vaikunta Ekadashi, Bhagwan was taken in a procession from Subamma’s house to the newly built Temple. Thus was born the historic “Old Mandir” or “Paatha Mandiram”. Almost to date, 70 years ago, Old Mandir heralded yet another significant milestone in Bhagwan’s earthly sojourn, which was witness to many of His Divine Leelas. As is the tradition in Indian Temples, the Vaikunta Dwar or the Celestial Gates are open on the day of Vaikunta Ekadashi. It was not a coincidence that the Celestial Abode itself was brought to earth by the Avatar of our age, Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
The translated text of the Sale Deed of Old Mandir land
Let us savor the occasion, reliving moments from the historic day when the sale deed was drafted. For the benefit of our Sai Family, we have the translation of the sale deed along with its original form here.
Document No.553 of 1945:
Executed jointly by Smt. Karnam Subbamma and Smt. Kamalamma, the wives of Sri Karnam Lakshminarayana, Brahim, the resident of Puttaparthi, and documented in the Sub-Registrar office, Bukkapatnam on the 20th day of July 1945 between 12.00 and 13.00 hrs., duly paying the requisite fee of 0.12, in favour of Sri Sathyanarayana, S/o Sri Ratnakaram Pedda Venkama Raju, Bhat Raju by caste, the resident of Puttaparthi, the temporary manager of Sai Baba Matam and handed over the schedule property worth of Rs. 50 as donation for the use of the devotees visiting to worship Swami, with all the Absolute Rights, and with a view to derive punya (merit) for themselves or their legal heirs. They will, however, not have any claim over the schedule property there from.