Divine Visit – Bandipur, Ooty and Mandya – Day Six – 05 March, 2016 (Auspicious Inauguration)
Even a minute gesture of Bhagawan is laden with great significance; what to say of an event like the consecration of a temple, and a place of meditation, for the betterment of mankind! Bhagawan had given glimpses into the larger significance behind the construction of the temple at this sacred place. The Lord revealed that 180 years ago there was a yogi or Saint, Chennabasappa, who lived in the cave next to the temple (even now one can see the cave while in the temple). He had an earnest desire to build a temple for Lord Shiva at that very spot. He went around securing money for the same, and gave up everything that he had, in order to build the temple. This was at the time of the Mughal rule. Soldiers had harassed him, and he lost his life. But, due to his untimely death, his desire remained unfulfilled. Bhagawan revealed that the yogi continued to reside in his subtle form in the very cave, next to the temple, and wanted a temple to be built for his dear Lord Shiva! Swami said he had come to fulfill the yogi’s wish.
The morning of Saturday, March 05, 2016, began with all the auspicious signs in the air. As the devotees, staff and students started gathering at the Dhayana Mantapa at around 8:30 a.m, bhajans and the sacred chants of the vedas, reverberated through the morning air. The final preparations, both at the temple and the meditation mandir, saw a flurry of activities, as everyone eagerly awaited the Lord’s arrival. As Swami’s car climbed up the hill, the auspicious time of the purna ahuti was nearing. Bhagawan was seated in the yaaga shaala, as the final part of the rituals were in progress.
The compassionate Lord was often seen turning to the overseas devotees who had turned up in large numbers, to explain the events as they were unfolding, and their significance! The rituals were indeed a sight to be witnessed. Villagers turned up in large numbers as well, to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva! Finally, the time for the purna ahuti arrived and the chanting, singing and music reached a crescendo, uplifting everyone present to a higher plane.
Sri Anantha Murthy, Chairman of the Mandya campus and his devout wife, whom Swami lovingly addresses as ‘Guru Matha’, Smt Chaaya Murthy, who were designated by Bhagawan to officiate the yagna, offered the purna ahuthi. Bhagawan then proceeded to inaugurate the Gavi Siddheshwara temple. He was led by the ceremonial purna kumbham and the nadaswaram, and the Lord cut a red ribbon, marking the official inauguration.
The Dhyana Mantapa is an imposing edifice, with its characteristic feature being the 36 feet Shiva Linga that adorns the roof of the structure. During the planning stage, the drawings were made, and as guided by Swami the temple was to be in the shape of Shiva Linga (36 feet high). It was a divine coincidence that Sri Venu Srinivasan looked at the project drawings, and decided to build this temple through their Foundation, which is already in to building/ restoring and renovating temples in India, as this was the Seva, Swami Himself had commanded him to do.
This temple was a divine sign from Swami of fulfilling his dream of building a Lingam shaped abode for Lord Shiva. Hailing from a very traditional Brahmin family background, Mr Venu made sure that every aspect of the temple was made according to the various Agama Shastras, relating to temple constructions. He soon sent Sri Padmanabha Sharma, a very renowned Vedic scholar from Kasargod, who specialises in Ashta Mangala Tamboola Prashna, a sacred and mysterious ritual that invokes the Lord for whom the temple is to be constructed, and then seeks the deity’s guidance on how the temple should to be built in great details, as per the deity’s preference, by asking certain questions through this sacred science.
Arrangements were made for the ritual to take place, and the very first comment that the scholar made was about the presence of the divine personality in this place, who lives in his subtle form. He went on to reveal about the history of the village, and the guardian deity Goddess Maramma Devi who seemed to be a bit disappointed, after the residents of the village gave up worshiping her. The village suffered many set backs, droughts and obstacles, due to this reason. He guided the team to first build a temple for the Goddess, and only after that, the Shiva temple could be constructed. Every instruction about the Shiva temple, as he sought by his mysterious science of questions, matched perfectly with the instructions given by Swami!
After constructing the temple for Goddess Maramma Devi, which was also consecrated by Swami Himself, construction of the Shiva Temple was taken up. TVS Foundation engaged the best Sthapathi, Sri Mutthaiah from Tamil Nadu who is an advisor to the Temple Board of Tamil Nadu, and is famous for having designed, and supervised more than 35 temples in the USA. He drew up plans to Swami’s satisfaction, and soon the work began on war footing to complete the whole temple within a year.
The Lingam can be seen from even Melkote, a town which is at a considerable distance from the Mandya campus of the Sathya Sai Institution! As Bhagawan took His seat facing the garbha gudi or sanctum sanctorum, Swami’s students sang a medley of bhajans and classical devotional songs invoking the residing deity – Lord Shiva. Everyone present were swept into the flow of divine vibrations, and enthusiastically joined in the bhajans. In the meanwhile, the ’ashtavadhana seva’, as part of the ongoing rituals commenced. This involved presenting to the deity of the temple an offering of veda chanting, gita narration, dance performance, devotional singing and instrumental music. Swami explained this tradition by saying, “These are done to please the newly installed deity, and also to ensure the Lord is entertained!” The devotees were enthralled witnessing the ‘ashtavadhana seva’ and the morning program ended on this high note.
Bhagawan graciously accepted Sri Anantha Murthy and Smt Chaaya Murthy’s lunch invitation. He along with a few senior devotees proceeded to the residence.