Salutations to Parama Pūjya Ānandāshram Swāmījī !
Sādhanā Kāikiṇi pachi walks down memory lane taking us through the much-awaited annual Samārādhanā of our Revered Parama Pūjya Shrīmad Ānandāshram Swāmījī at Shrī Chitrāpur Mat͟h, BeṅgaĪūru...
अस्मद्गुरुं नित्यमहं नमामि।।
Our Revered Guru Parama Pūjya Tṛtīya Parijñānāshram Swāmījī declared this shloka to be an apt one to describe His Beloved Guru, Parama Pūjya Ānandāshram Swāmījī.
railway Station on Their first visit in 1932
with members of the Bengaluru Sabha in 1932
The Chitrāpur Sāraswat Samāja in BeṅgaĪūru is blessed to have a Mat͟h that was selected personally by Pūjya Ānandāshram Swāmījī. In 1953, H.H. Swāmījī first stepped into the building, and that first step firmly established the Divinity that permanently resides here. Today it is a focal point for the Samāja where religious and spiritual activities are carried out all through the year, some on a daily basis.
A favourite summer residence, H.H. Ānandāshram Swāmījī loved staying at this Mat͟h, eventually making it the chosen place for embracing Mahāsamādhī on Bhādrapada Shukla Tṛtīya, which coincides with Swarṇa Gaurī Vrata, (also known as Tayi.) It was the day when the Devī had been worshipped as Gaurī, and as sādhaka-s began preparations for the following day's worship of Lord Gaṇapati, little did they know that they were about to witness a page turning in the history of our Guruparamparā. Revered Parama Pūjya Ānandāshram Swāmījī, a Jīvanamuktaḥ, uttered the Oṅkāra thrice, and even as its sound reverberated through the Mat͟h, His Holiness shed his mortal coil to become one with Lord Bhavānīshaṅkar. As the day came to a close, the sun also set on a blissful era in the life of our Chitrāpur Sāraswat Samāja.
Shrī Chitrāpur Mat͟h at BeṅgaĪūru was never the same after this, and was soon recognised as a Jāgṛta Sthala, an ideal place for all spiritual aspirants. The Samādhi Kūḍa, as we refer to the room where Parama Pūjya Ānandāshram Swāmījī had taken Samādhi, stands testimony to this. The room remains exactly the way it was in His Time. One walks in to be engulfed by the unseen,
Shrī Chitrāpur Mat͟h, BeṅgaĪūru in the 1950s
yet tangible peace that perhaps comes from the Oṅkāra that accompanied the last breath of His Holiness.
In continuation of the tradition that has been joyfully passed on from generation to generation, the Swarṇa Gaurī vrata that is grandly celebrated on Bhādrapada Shukla Tritīya holds special meaning for all the Chitrāpur Sāraswat-s of BeṅgaĪūru. No matter how busy or tiring the day has been with the Gaurī Pūjana at home, all feet turn towards our Mat͟h in the late evening.
In fact, the preparation for observing the Samārādhanā begins much earlier. A week-long Bhagawadgītā Pat͟hana is done before Tayi, but the eighteenth chapter of Bhagawadgītā is left for te last day. On the fifth day, bilvapatra-s are offered to Parama Pūjya Swāmījī's Pādukā-s while reciting the as͟hṭottarashata nāmāvallī on Parama Pūjya Ānandāshram Swāmījī. Earlier, the preceding week would feature daily talks by sādhaka-s who shared their divine experiences with Pūjya Swāmījī.
Shis̲h̲ya Swami at the BeṅgaĪūru Mat͟h, 1965
On Bhādrapada Shukla Tṛtīya, as the day dawns and slowly inches towards the evening, the Mat͟h prepares for the special celebration. The Samādhi kūḍa is beautifully decorated with flowers. The sweet fragrance of shewanti, mogrā, tulasī and roses fill the rooms. Dīyā-s are lit in the shape of a swastika in front of Parama Pūjya Pāṇḍuraṅgāshram Swāmījī's photo and Parama Pūjya Parijñānāshram Swāmījī's photo in the interview room. In the Sabhāgṛha lamps are placed
Shrī Chitrāpur Mat͟h, BeṅgaĪūru in recent times
in the shape of the Oṅkāra while crimson red rose petals in the shape of an Oṅkāra are placed on the cot in the Samādhi room. Divli-s are arranged on the chauraṅga surrounded by red rose petals which add to the beautiful décor.
Enthusiasm walks in through the open gates of our Mat͟h in the form of the laity around 5 pm. Men, women and children, the young and old, head for the Samādhi Kūḍa. Paying obeisance at the Holy Shrine, they then move to the Devā Kūḍa and finally settle down in the Sabhāgṛha.
At 5.30 pm, the program begins. Chapter 18 of Shrīmad Bhagawadgītā is chanted. The Dīpanamaskāra - the beautifully woven shloka-s that praise and salute each of our Beloved Guru-s is recited. A new addition is the Bhāshya Pat͟hana that follows the Dīpanamaskāra that quite a few of the laity recite with reverence. The As͟hṭāvadhāna Sevā is offered. Bhajana-s on Swāmī Ānandāshram Swāmījī are sung with fervour. Amongst all the bhajana-s sung 'Sundara tī Ānandāshram pratimā' is a favourite.
By 8.45 pm, the enthusiasm reaches its peak! "Bolā Jaijaikār Jaijaikār Swāmīñchā" fills the air and reaches its crescendo at 8.58 pm. Precisely from 8.58 to 9.03 pm, there is pin-drop silence. The transition from the Jaijaikār-s to the Mauna is an experience to be cherished. The Dīpālaṅkāra glows as all other electric lights are switched off, and in the glow of the brightly burning lamps is 'seen' the Oṅkāra! But naturally, the Anāhata resonates in every devotee present as each finds the echo of the Praṇava within themselves.
The deep clang of the bell declares that it is three minutes past nine. Sādhaka-s silently proceed to the Samādhi Kūḍa to offer namaskāra-s to our Ninth Mat͟hādhipati, the Source of ānanda to our Samāja - Parama Pūjya Ānandāshram Swāmījī.
As the sādhaka-s partake of the prasāda in the form of Kāllă phovu and būndi, they experience an uplifting of the spirit. Yes! The Samārādhanā is truly an Utsava in that sense.
As the sun sets on every Tayi, the bhaktibhāva in the Chitrāpur Sāraswat-s of BeṅgaĪūru rises and proclaims the glory of our Revered Guruparamparā.
Oṁ Namaḥ Pārvati Pataye Hara Hara Mahādeva!