Sampath Speaks on Worship as a Lifestyle

My spiritual inclinations – worship as a lifestyle

It used to be very interesting for me to be with him. From when I was young, since I used to stay very near the temple, early morning, I used to go to the temple everyday. At that time the offering at the Arunachala temple in Tiruvannamalai used to be perfect. The priests at that time followed the ancient tradition that their forefathers had followed perfectly. At that time, although the temple was very famous even then, there were not so many people moving inside the temple at any given time. The local people used to come there for the various offerings and the priests lived out of the money that they got with the few people who visited the temple. They used to be very sincere. Anything they did they felt they did for Arunachala and whatever He gave them, they took back happily. That was the attitude at that time. I used to observe all this at that time.

As early as when I was in the 5th grade, every day I used to go with my father for the ritual of waking up the Lord in his chambers at 5am sharp every day. It used to happen every day at sharp 5am. At that time, the temple elephant used to go to Kumara Gopura Street, pick up the holy water, and proceed with the Odal drums (special drums famous in Tiruvannnamalai) and cymbals to the temple. A temple priest used to accompany the elephant. He would ride on the elephant, bring the holy water, pour it in the main steps of the sanctum, open the door, enter the sanctum, perform the offering for the Sun and Moon God, followed by the fire ritual, and then only attend to the Shiva Linga (Shiva deity).

When we watch those priests offering, devotion will swell in us automatically. They will do it so sincerely. So from those early days, my father took me to the temple and I had observed everything for many years. Whether I had devotion or not, the attachment to such things happened in me automatically.

Concepts like we have to pray to Arunachala, we should be with devotion, going to the temple is fun, one should not waste time in other things etc., entered me deeply. That is why I struggled and studied for three years from my mother’s older sister house, away from my hometown. After I joined there for my 5th grade, every time I came back home, a big war used to happen at home. 

Common interests that caused the bonding

Once I finished 7th grade, I came back to study in Tiruvannamalai. And since I was with spiritual inspiration, the moment I saw Swami, I felt an instant bonding and attachment to him. I felt he was different and that it would be fun to join him in his activities.

My mother used to offer to Lord Ganesha every day at home. She used to ask me to sit with her for offering. She would read Vinayagar puranam – verses on Lord Ganesha, on Divine Mother. So when I saw Swami doing similar things, I would tell him all that my mother used to do worship at home. When he heard all that, he developed an instant attachment to me.

These days, in no one’s home they do such elaborate offering. They generally have a slab on which they keep two pictures of some deities and offer some thing to them. Because of this the children these days do not develop a great attachment to God. Since we were brought up with the attachment to God, for play also we wanted only offering for God and for devotion  also, we wanted the same thing. Anyhow, when he spoke about these things to me, I was able to talk about it and so he developed a good impression about me!

He asked, ‘Do you have Ganesha deity in your house? I have a separate Ganesha deity.’ And he showed me his deity. I said that we too had and showed him our one. Then he said, ‘Both of us have everything in common! Let us both do everything together hereafter.’ So any activity, we both would do together thereon.

Sampath Speaks on The Avatar’s House

First visit to Swami’s house

I will narrate all the incidents – ordinary and mystical – I am able to recall. But what he tried through those incidents, what happened to him through those incidents, you have to ask him only.

When we met the first day in school, he said to come to his house. I asked him where his house was. He said, “It is in Tiruvoodal Sreet, AKS complex. There will be a cycle store there. On top of that in the first floor is my house.’ Then one day I walked and went to his house. It was a Friday. Since the next day was a Saturday and holiday at school, I thought we can play happily on Friday!

When I went, his mother was washing clothes. She asked me who I was. I asked her if it was Rajashekaran’s house. She said yes. She said that he was inside and to go and see him and that there was a dog and to be careful of it. They had a dog, a very active dog. Whoever comes, it will simply intimidate them. It came barking towards me. In their house, once it starts barking they will know that some guest has arrived. Swami came behind the dog screaming, ‘Hey Mani!’ His voice used to be shrill and innocent at that time! He immediately caught hold of its collar and said, ‘Va da, va da (come, come).’ Then he told me, ‘This dog is always like this. If it gets used to you it won’t do anything. Come in.’ By that time, I had climbed on to a raised square step afraid that the dog might bite me! He came and took me inside from there.

In the house, there was a bedroom in the rear. In the center there was a hall. The hall was divided into two. In the right half, on one side, there was the kitchen with the gas stove. On the other side, on a slab, there were many idols and photos. It was evident that Swami was maintaining them. That was my first visit. He told to come the next day as well.

I went the following day. In the morning, if he starts doing his puja (offering to God), no one will know when it will finish. It was around ten or ten thirty in the morning when I went. Generally at that time, he would not have even eaten breakfast. His mother would be cooking. She cannot keep any of her things anywhere on the floor. He would have filled the floor with his things. She can keep them only on that one table that was there. Both of them will be sitting next to each other and doing their own things. He will be removing the deities’ cloths one by one, performing holy bath for them etc. He would have occupied the entire space. She would tell him, ‘Why can’t you keep your things a little away from mine? How can I take out the dhal and other things and use them for cooking?’ He would never bother himself with what she says. He would just continue with his work.

The Watchful Gods

I saw 11 bhairavas constantly. But I used to think all kids see them. Sometimes I used to get scared of them. It takes/took 6-7 years for me to realize I am someone unique, even though I had a conscious birth. The nervous system gets shaken when you see extraordinary beings. So it took them some time for them to show me they are in action.

Lemon and Needle

Still I remember every year in my native place the  next day after Maha Shivaratri in my native place, there used to be a ceremony for the Devi. They call it ‘Angalamman‘, an Incarnation of Devi Annoorani. People will pray to her and perform certain kinds of a penance, like poking the needles in their cheek,  or in their back.

I used to wonder how they don’t have any pain. I asked Yogananda Puri. He taught me the whole science very beautifully, the whole science. He was explaining which points of your body will have sensitive pain experiences and the points of your body that do not have pains.

You never remember your back the whole day. You always remember your face. So the back becomes insensitive to all your pains. I realized the majority of all the poking is done in the back only. They would tie the lemon fruit in the back. Another one important knack he taught me: when the high sound is created rhythmically by beating any animal skin, your skin experiences the same vibration and  becomes insensitive to pain.

I was shocked. He revealed a secret, the animal skin and your skin vibrates in same frequency.

When that skin is beaten strongly, your skin feels that blow, feels that vibration and it becomes insensitive to pain. So, a kind of a chemical reaction happens below the skin and you don’t feel the pain. They make holes in the skin and hang the lemon

And one more important thing: when you are doing this kind of penance for some purpose, your whole system gets centered to that purpose. Not only you don’t experience pain and suffering, you achieve that the purpose for which you are doing the penance, because your kundalini gets awakened for the self-protection, to protect yourself from the pain. But because your mind is centered on that one subject, the whole kundalini rushes towards that subject- that purpose.

If somebody does this ritual for health, they will have health. If they do it for enlightenment, I can promise that,  your kundalini will be reaching towards enlightenment. It is a highly sensitive, scientific, intelligent form of tapas.

My ancestors – they are intelligent. Every year, even now, I can say at least twenty-five thousand people in Tiruvannamalai alone go through this ceremony. Every Shivarathri they will do this ritual the next day after every Shivaratri. But they all go through it for health, for wealth, for different reasons;  – but they get it.

Once I went through, not 108 lemon, but 21 vail.

Yogananda Puri did it for me.  I think just twenty-five on my kurma nadi and all other different nadis (energy pathways), . He did it to awaken certain nadis to make me free from normal pain and to teach unclutching to me. It’s possible,. It helps. But only thing, you should do that poking with samyama, so that you can unclutch from your nervous system, and experience the outer body experience, connect again and operate with your body.

I myself have seen with my eyes, rishis and siddhas through this samyama.

This Yogananda Puri will would make me lie down. My hip has to be on a rock and my head and leg will would be facing down and leg also will be down. I don’t did not know the purpose.  He will would always have a rock below my back, below my spine, especially the area where of the muladhara and, swadhishtana. On the  – backside, he will would put a the rock and I will would have to lie down.

He used to put at least a two feet high rock. Maybe that was the rock, which was near where he used to take me to do this samyama.

 He will tell me,  to “Lie down. Head should be down and you should be able to gaze at the sky. That’s the way it should be.”

 have seen suddenly saw the very frequency of the body will change.

108 Ganesha Deities

One morning, in my young age, I went and saluted Raghupati Yogi, my yoga teacher and asked him to bless me, the day being Ganesh Chaturthi. He would never bless me when I bowed down to him. He would only join his hands together in a namaskar in return. On that day, he narrated a few Ganesha stories and also the story where Ganesha went around the whole world and got a mango as a gift.

The story goes that Ganesha and Subramanya (his brother) decided to see who would quickly go round the world three times between them. Subramanya has his own flight – the peacock. He just sat on his peacock and started crossing the continents, the oceans, the hills…three times. He completed and came back. He saw Ganesha, sitting there and claiming that he won the game by simply going round Shiva and Parvati (their parents) three times! Very beautifully Ganesha replies to Subramanya, ‘You went around your world, I went round my world!’

I told Raghupati Yimagesuogi, “Alright, I will also go around and you should give me something.’ He agreed. He got some fruits and snacks and said, “Go around and see 108 Ganesha deities and come back.”

I ran all over from pillar to post counting 108 Ganeshas on every pillar. The whole town has at least some twenty to thirty Ganesha temples.

Once I was done, he gave me the fruits and snacks and said, “Fool! You heard the whole Ganesha story. You should have then simply done the Atma pradakshina (rotating around the deity).’