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In Bhava as a Child

My family is from Ramachandrapuram, a small town a few kilometers from Adivarapupeta.  I was a one-year-old child when I first had Swamiji’s darshan.  I had been bitten by a dog and my mother brought me to the ashram.  They tell me that Swamiji applied vibhuti on my forehead and I went into trance.

My mother took me home and tried to feed me milk, but I would not take milk or any other food.  The family took me to the hospital where the doctors declared that I was in a coma and I might come out of it in the next few days.  For three days I did not take any food and finally my parents brought me to Swamiji and complained about what had happened since his blessing.

Swamiji told them, “Why are you worried? I have put him in trance.  Put the child in the place where you had kept him the first time you brought him to the ashram.  Just keep him there and I will take care of him.”

They placed me in Swamiji’s lap and he applied vibhuti on my forehead.  Swamiji told my parents that I would always remain in trance. Swamiji put some crystal sugar in my mouth and gave me the name Bheemeshwara.

News of what Swamiji said circulated around Ramachandrapuram.  I kept getting bhava, which attracted

 considerable attention for me and my family.  By the time I was three or four years old, it became common for people, often strangers, to use the trance I was getting to get answers to their questions.  I would go into trance and they would ask their questions.  Sometimes they would get their answers by holding out two fingers and the answer would depend upon which finger I touched.  Whether I was in trance or not hardly mattered to them.  All they knew was that I was a blessed child.  People started bringing plantains and other food to the family’s house as offerings to the child.

The family became increasingly worried about my popularity.  I was about five years of age when my mother brought me to Swamiji and complained that the bhava was a problem, that I was always in trance, and I was getting too popular with too many people.  I could get into trouble.  She begged Swamiji to remove my trance.

Swamiji replied, “No problem.  I have put him into trance.  I will take care of him.  You have no need to get involved in this affair.  You need not worry.”  But she continued to plead with him.  Finally Swamiji agreed. “Because you are asking me, I am reducing his trance.”

The day after Swamiji reduced the trance, I had an accident.  A soda bottle exploded in my hands and the broken glass cut my chest so deeply that I still bear a five inch scar.  After this injury, I started having diarrhea and I would vomit anything they tried to feed me.  No matter what treatment they gave me, nothing worked.  I would not accept any food.  Swamiji kept telling my family to take me for more examinations and tests, but none of the doctors could diagnose the cause.  Having no success getting me to take food and being told by so many doctors that they could not find anything wrong, my family again brought me to Swamiji along with all the medical files, X-rays, and medicines they had been given.  They put me and everything else in front of Swamiji.  Even some of the doctors came and told Swamiji that they could find nothing wrong with me.  The problem was in Swamiji’s area, they insisted.

Swamiji blessed some vibhuti and gave it to me with instructions to mix some with water in a small copper vessel and drink it.  From that time, when I was five, until I was nineteen I did not eat anything.  I ate no food for fourteen years.  All I took was vibhuti and water from a copper vessel.  Swamiji’s vibhuti was the only thing my body accepted.  Everything else I vomited out.

My parents continued to fear for me.  They thought that I would remain weak without food, and in my weakened condition, a small injury might prove serious.  They refused to send me to school for fear that I might fall or have some other accident.  My mother used to complain to Swamiji, “Why did you bring this child here and put him in my lap?  I am trying to feed him and nothing goes into his body.  I am so worried to see him starving like this.  If you want, just kill him.  Why do you want to drag it on like this?  Whatever I feed him he vomits it out.”

Swamiji said, “No, Amma.  He is doing a trick.  By will he is vomiting it out.  There is a purpose behind it.  Just keep quiet.”

In fact, this is what I was doing.  I would vomit any food out at will.  There was nothing wrong with me.  I just didn’t want to eat because when this all began, my body would automatically reject any food.  This happened so long that it became my habit and after some time I was rejecting food because of my own will.  In fact, I did not even like taking the vibhuti water.

Swamiji gave my parents some advice.  They were to wait until I had gone to sleep, then wake me up from deep sleep and feed me then.  Then I would start having food.  They tried this and it worked.  So at age nineteen, I started mixing vibhuti with different kinds of food.  Little by little I started getting used to taking food.

Living on Vibhuti and Tea

I didn’t believe in God.  I thought that all these people who kept pictures of gods in their rooms didn’t have anything better to do, so they put up those pictures and worshipped them saying they were gods and all.  I didn’t believe in all that.  I was married and every time I got pregnant I had a miscarriage.  This had happened so often that I became very sick.

My sister-in-law’s brother stayed near the ashram on Bannerghatta Road, so he knew of Swamiji.  He came to my house and told me about him.  “I know of a Swamiji who has come from Andhra Pradesh.  He has done twelve years tapas.  He is equal to God and he can cure anybody.”  My sister-in-law was also not well then.  So he told us, “We will take my sister and also Lakshmamma to Swamiji and he will cure both of them.”

I didn’t believe in that, but we got an auto-rickshaw and came to the ashram.  A group of people gathered and were sitting around talking about Swamiji.  I thought to myself that those people had no better business so they come to the ashram just to chat and spend their time.  I was uninterested in the discussion so I walked around.  I found some people sitting on the ground with their eyes closed.  I didn’t understand what was meditation.  I went there and sat by them.  I also closed my eyes, but I couldn’t see or feel anything at all.  Somebody came up and asked me what I was doing.  “These guys are sitting here with their eyes closed.  They claim to see God.  I have also closed my eyes, but I didn’t see any God.  So what do I do?”

He arranged to have me take initiation.  At four o’clock the door to Swamiji’s room opened and I was asked to go inside. I was just about to cross the entrance when I saw Swamiji.  Immediately I went into trance.  I hadn’t even put my foot inside the room.  I didn’t know what was happening to me.  All I knew was that I lost consciousness.

It seems that Swamiji issued instructions to hold me and make me sit.  They tried to initiate me into meditation, but Swamiji said, “No. This lady is in trance.  We cannot initiate her into meditation now.  You make her sit on the other side.”  By the time I regained consciousness, all the others had finished their meditation and they were getting up.  Then Swamiji asked me to sit in meditation.  I heard Swamiji saying, “This girl wouldn’t believe in God.  She makes fun of God.  That’s the reason I had to put her in trance the very first time.”  Then I was given the meditation.

After this happened, I was taken home and my mother insisted that I do meditation every day.  But I wouldn’t listen and I didn’t care for it. One Sunday I was dragged to the ashram.  When we got there, the bhajans were already going on, and I lost consciousness.  I remained in trance throughout the bhajans.  Since then I started developing an attraction towards the ashram.

Every Sunday once the bhajans start, I cannot stay at home.  Even if I were tied and bound, I still cannot stay at home.  I have to come to the ashram.  Once I started coming to the ashram, I started eating so much vibhuti that even a full packet of vibhuti would not last me a day.  [A packet contains 24 blocks of vibhuti and is about the size of a brick.]  I used to buy seven or eight packets of vibhuti every week.

Automatically the trance started.  The meditation started by itself.  I started doing meditation every day, regularly.

During Swamiji's one-year tapas from August 7 of 1968 to 1969, the night before his birthday, I was serving food when the bhajans started.  Swamiji’s mother came and asked me to take food because I might go into trance at any moment.  Despite my protests, she made me sit.  She mixed some rice and sambhar (vegetable broth) and put some in my mouth.

Something happened.  I was not aware of myself, and I don’t know what happened to that handful of food, whether it went into my mouth or not.  I went into trance and remained in trance the entire night.  The next day when the homa was being performed, I felt a jyoti (light) enter my body.  When that happened, I felt that I had left this world.  I could not relate to any of the people around me.  I knew many of the devotees because I had been working at the ashram for a long time, but I could not recognize any of them.  I started asking who they were, who I was, and what I was doing.

I would not take any food or water.  This continued for a month.  Because Swamiji  was in tapas, it was very difficult to communicate with him.  It was either Veerabhadraiah or Adinarayana who communicated my problem to Swamiji, that I was unable to recognize anyone and was simply sitting without taking food or water.  Swamiji just said, “No, no. She can continue the tapas like this.  For her there is no problem.  But she is the only lady in the house and her children are still quite young.  So the family will have a lot of trouble.  You will somehow have to wake her up no later than tomorrow at nine past nine in the morning.  If you don’t wake her up by then, neither you nor Swamiji nor God can do anything about it.  She would continue to sit in tapas.”

Swamiji blessed some vibhuti for me and they came to my house.  Only after putting some of the vibhuti onto his own forehead was Adinarayana able to apply the vibhuti on me.  About a half an hour later, I slowly started regaining consciousness and I began to recognize my own house and family.  Somebody tried to offer food to me, but I refused.

From then on, I would get very angry at anyone who offered food to me.  I have not taken any solid food.  I just take some milk, coffee or tea.  Swamiji tried to get me to take at least one meal a day, but I couldn’t.

 

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