JAI GURU PARIJNAN
Our tenth Mathadhipati - Parama Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III was verily an Avadhoot who radiated the calm and majesty of an ascetic supreme.All devotees who basked in the sunshine of His unlimited Grace and Compassion realised that they had been blessed with a Guru of exceptional spiritual stature.
Even though sadhaks may be aware that a self-realised Master looks upon the whole of creation as a manifestation of the Divine, they still feel wonderstruck when they see how a Yogi is totally at ease even in the presence of the most vicious and venomous creature. It is as if the love and acceptance flowing from Him carries the power to make the most dangerous reptile utterly docile! During our Beloved Parijnanashram Swamiji's extraordinary tenure on this earthly plane, there were many striking incidents showing the close connection He seemed to have with the Nagadevata who has been worshipped by us from ancient times. Some of these wondrous happenings were related by Swamiji Himself at relevant moments to guide a sadhak.
Discerning sadhaks may perceive the Nagadevata as the Adishesh- or the deep , unfathomed consciousness upon which Lord Vishnu reclines in blissful yoga-nidra on the ocean of existence. They may also interpret the Naga as the visible and Divine reminder of the potential psychic energy - the kundalini shakti or 'serpent power' as it has been described which is lying dormant in each one of us. Some may even look upon the Naga as the manifestation of Lord Subramanya Himself!
One popular legend is the story of the serpent Karkotaka who adorned Lord Shiva's neck. Once, when he accidentally squirted venom upon the Lord He was banished from Kailas with the admonition that he could return only on the day he saw his Mahadev dancing! Flung down from the heavens, Karkotaka fell into the open hand of maid Gonika who named him Patanjali since he had fallen into her palm. After waiting for years when Patanjali finally witnessed the dance of Nataraja, he shed tears of joy which are said to have blossomed into the immortal Yoga sutras!
The Yoga sutras expound the fundamental science of raising the latent spiritual consciousness through discipline, devotion and systematic techniques. This enables the coiled Kundalini or 'slumbering serpent' to rise from the Mooladhara Chakra or the energy centre at the base of the spine and then slowly, ascend through the psychic passage or Sushumna- nadi, through various Chakras to its highest state of illumination or super-consciousness in the Sahasrar Chakra at the top of the head. This transcendental experience when the individual is freed from the compulsions of his earthbound nature and unites with his own Divinity is the ultimate stage of evolution and the very purpose of human birth. The story of Karkotaka is like an illustration of this journey of ascension.
Naga-worship in many ancient cultures must have originated from the intuitive realisation of seekers the world over, that the vibrant spiritual energy hidden within the metaphoric serpent in a jiva carries the secret of unraveling the mystery of existence and discovering the beauty and fulfillment of transcendence. This is one of the reasons why our temples, both ancient and modern, have a special shrine for the Nagadevata.
Devotees will recall that the birth of Parijnanashram Swami was a Divine event by itself. His mother Gurumata Shukla Shantpachi got many visions of a golden-hued seven-hooded Naga throughout her confinement. When she expressed her apprehensions about this to her father-in-law, he reassured her that this is a very auspicious portent indicating that she would give birth to a great Yogi. How true that prediction turned out to be!
There are many such astonishing instances revealing the mystic bond between Him and the serpent -god: As a child whenever Swamiji visited Vittal for the Srashti festival He would be blessed with a Darshan of the seven-hooded Lord Subramanya, while His playmates were not as lucky. Then there was this dilapidated temple on a hilltop at Shirali which Swamiji used to visit regularly. Once He went back there to retrieve the glasses He had left behind and the devotees who had accompanied Him saw a Naga guarding the glasses! As Swamiji approached, the snake relinquished his 'post' and crawled away quietly through a gap between Swamiji's feet! Whenever Swamiji visited the coconut grove at Bengre a huge Naga would appear and at other times the snake would enter the hut of the farmer-caretaker who was a great devotee and sit coiled around Swamiji's photograph for a while before vanishing...Similar 'happenings' - of the Nagadevata giving darshan to Swamiji have been witnessed at the Murdeshwara temple and the Mookambika Temple at Kollur. Once, at Khar Math, a Yogi named Pachlegawkar Maharaj came to visit Swamiji and then, suddenly let loose about a dozen snakes near His asan! As the dumbstruck onlookers watched in horror, the snakes slithered up to Swamiji crawled all over Him and happily settled around His neck. All through this our totally unperturbed Swamiji actually had a smile on His radiant face! A couple of quick-witted Bhaktas who were carrying their cameras were able to capture this amazing moment and that photograph adorns the shrine of many a Saraswat home.
The greatness of a Mahatma does not diminish in any way when He decides to drop His mortal coil. Recently at Parijnanashram Swamiji's Sanjeevan Samadhi at Karla Math, the Purohit stepped into the sanctum for the daily Poojan to find a Naga coiled around the lingam. As devotees watched, the snake crept away silently. The latest miraculous assurance of His Eternal Presence and Grace has come through the mysterious formation of a Naga (complete with hood, eyes and scales) on the photograph of Parama Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji at the Bangalore Math.
When the evidence is so obvious, the connection so deep and the identification so close, can we help ourselves from feeling that our beloved Parijnanashram Swamiji was an embodied incarnation of Lord Subramanya Himself?
- Devotees of Bangalore.