Travelogue: Bengaluru & Mysore
The ride from Nilgiri Hills to Bangalore was about seven hours in length, but we passed through both an elephant sanctuary and a tiger sanctuary, which held our attention.
These sanctuaries are actually large tracks of preserved wilderness, so seeing an elephant or a tiger isn’t all that likely, but that didn’t stop us from scouting out the landscape for any sign of movement.
I was actually quite keen on having the experience of witnessing an elephant or a tiger in the open wilderness, so I repeated Ganesha’s Mantra over and over again, holding out hope.
As we drove merrily down the road, we spotted a vehicle that had pulled over to the side of the road. We quickly followed suit and pulled over as well. We assumed they had spotted wildlife and we too wanted to see what had caught their fancy.
I scrambled out of the car as quickly as I could and looked up to catch a glimpse of an enormous gray elephant just a short distance from the road!
Oh my goodness! Jai Ganesha! I was so thrilled I could feel my heart pounding as if it was going to leap out of my chest! Ganapathi Ki Jai!
We all took a few enjoyable moments to watch this amazing beast. He seemed so content, so majestic, just standing there in the hazy sunlight. As we took the time to gaze, we also noticed deer and other animals roaming peacefully in the preserve.
It is always so sacred to receive God’s darshan in the form of untainted countryside and natural wildlife. What a blessing Lord Ganesh bestowed on us today!
It didn’t take long for us to hop back into the car and continue our expedition. We were still hours from Bangalore, and we were planning to take our lunch at a devotee’s ashram in Mysore.
Upon arrival, Shree Maa and Swamiji first enjoyed a mouthwatering lunch, then we walked around the lovely landscaped property and worshiped in the Shiva Temple, the Devi Temple, and a newly installed Hanuman Temple.
This beautiful ashram is located in a rural area, where the atmosphere is calm and quiet. There are several temples here, a river flowing nearby, and a divine feeling all around.
Unfortunately we were not able to stay long at this lovely ashram, but Shree Maa and Swamiji surely filled the space with their divine presence. We quickly took our leave and a few hours later we arrived in Bangalore.
Srini and Ramya are both professors at the Indian Institute of Management (IIMB University) and they conveniently live in a beautiful house in a large garden right on campus. IIMB is one of the most prestigious business schools in Asia with over 400,000 potential students competing for the 450 or so seats available in the program. Graduates from IIMB often go to work for large multinational companies.
We were greeted joyfully by Srini and Ramya when we arrived. They certainly are lovely hosts! The first thing they did was to perform a pada puja to Shree Maa and Swamiji with such love and devotion that we all smiled, laughed, and even participated.
Shree Maa and Swamiji were smiling with delight as Srini and Ramya repeated the mantras and led everyone in shouts of “Shree Maa Ki Jai!” and “Swamiji Ki Jai!” Ramya playfully echoed our stay at Vaishnav Devi, where she led us in continuous shouts of “Jai Mata Di!” while we carried Shree Maa in Her palki through the city.
While at the University, Shree Maa and Swamiji also took a tour of the classrooms and of the offices of Professor Srini and Professor Ramya. They both looked like college students ready for study as they sat at the desk checking out the computer systems!
Srini also invited Swamiji to give a satsangha for a group of students. Much to our surprise though, rather than students showing up, a group of professors came! Several of them had read Swamiji’s biography, Sahib Sadhu, and others had heard about Shree Maa and Swamiji from fellow professors who had met them on previous visits.
He stated that, rather than just teaching book knowledge, a teacher’s job is to inspire the students to want to learn, to want that knowledge.
With this inspiration, a student’s cultivated mind will seek a lifetime of continuous exploration, of continuous learning, which will foster individual growth and great contributions to society.
A teacher’s dharma is to inspire, and this is a much better method than to force a student to memorize by rote, which will eventually lead to forgetfulness.
Swamiji then opened the floor for questions, and the teachers asked questions primarily related to spiritual life. All were very pleased with Swamiji’s wisdom and inspired to hear his answers.
Some of the professors requested for us to make this video available to them so that they could share Swamiji’s wisdom with their students:
By evening time, news had spread all around the university that Shree Maa and Swamiji were staying on campus.
Shree Maa led the bhajans that evening, and by the look on everyone’s face, it was clear they were deeply touched by her breathtaking voice and the devotional songs that She sang.
One professor even danced to Shree Maa’s beautiful song to Lord Shiva, Matanga Vadana. Afterwards, Shree Maa told the dancer that Lord Shiva was very happy with her dancing.
And now, as the last of the devotees trickled out of the house, this glorious evening was coming to an end. I found myself compelled to walk over to Srini and Ramya’s altar and just spend a few moments there.
Gratitude not just for the beauty that blossomed during this evening’s kirtan, but also for the divine love shared during the entire yatra of India.
For, this was our last satsangha of the 2014 tour. Tomorrow morning we were destined to awaken bright and early, perform our puja, and get ready for the airport.
I bow in gratitude!