Monday, May 22, 2006

Chapter 17


After completing this massive portrait of my Guru, I started a painting depicting the Ashta Lakshmis ( eight Lakshmis). These depictions of the goddess of wealth are considered very auspicious. I decided to do them for my own peace of mind.
As is my usual custom, I did read up a lot of slokas pertaining to the various representations of this Goddess. She stands for many aspects of our personalities like valour, courage, love, generosity, hard work, knowledge, etc

I followed this up with a painting of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi seated on the mighty Adi Sesha. This painting was inspired by a beautiful Sanskrit hymn to this Heavenly couple called “ Lakshmi Narayana Hridayam”.

Following this painting, I engaged myself in doing a lot of abstract paintings as well as portraits of Lord Ganesha done in a modernist manner. I started reading the Narayaneeyam whilst doing the abstracts. I would simply close my eyes, meditate
on the Lord and within minutes conjure up in my mind, the colours for my abstract paintings. I reasoned the absence of figures as a ripening of my utter faith in the Lord and a movement away from Sagunam to Nirgunam Brahman!

During the summer of 2005 I made another visit to Chennai. I met Swami Paramarthananda on Guru Poornima day and sought his blessings. He remembered me from my previous visit and questioned me if I had folllowed his advice to set up
a web site with my writings and paintings. I replied I had not yet done so. Moroever, I informed him I wasn’t really sure if people would really be interested in my reflections and writings.

His reply was firm “ You should create a web site. Put down whatever comes to your mind. People living overseas will definitely benefit by this. I am giving you the confidence today. Start this project with my full blessings “ Then, in a complete
changeof topic he remarked, as I was leaving “ Don’t give up Sagunam deity bhakthi”. How had he known that I had started my abstract paintings? I puzzled about that for a bit and actually felt happier he had not asked me to move away from saguna worship. In truth I had been finding this process a bit difficult as my mind was so used to concentrate on the image of any particular God or Goddess. I was overjoyed to hear this respected Guru mention it. I did my namaskarams and left his presence.

During my two week stay in Chennai this time, I was fortunate to visit two more temples. This time I was able to get Darshan of Guruvayurappan and the great Bhagavathi of Chottanikkara. Was it mere coincidence that this deity is considered widely as “ Amme Narayana” ? i.e. an aspect of Shakthi or Durga along with Vishnu. I remembered my
painting of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi and said a silent prayer of gratitude.

During August, 2005, I was in Boston, U.S.A. staying with my eldest daughter. The month of Aadi is considered auspicious to Amman. So, I decided to do a drawing of the mighty Sri Chakra, as an act of propitiation to the Goddess. On the holy Adi Velli,(Friday), I attempted this very precise and mathematical drawing after duly reciting the Lalitha Sahasranamam and Lalitha Trisathi.
By the end of the day I had finished this mystical geometric pattern that harnesses all the power of Shakthi within its manifold triangles. I framed the print and hung it in my daughter’s flat as a good luck charm.

As things worked out, I was intended to stay on in Boston for the next two months. My husband seemed to be considering the possibility of moving to the U.S. permanently and I felt quite happy .
I continued with my prayers and meditation whilst staying in daughter’s flat. The next painting that “ happened” was one of Shiva and Parvathi. I had been listening to the Rudram every day and felt the urge to portray this great Lord once more dancing with his consort very happily !
I finished this painting just before the auspicious period of Navarathri.

During this time I had been constantly thinking about the purpose of both my paintings and writings. Despite the assurances given by Swami Paramartha, I was not fully confident that anyone might be remotely interested in reading either my narrative or for that matter interested in viewing my paintings. It wasn’t as if these art pictures were unique in any way, i.e. except in my eyes!

Nevertheless my daughters helped me to start a web site and I called it “ spiritualvision” In this, I pasted all my pictures and writings i.e. my spiritual diary. I left a blank page to put in daily thoughts and another one titled Spiritual Guidance.
However, I did not resume writing my diary just yet. I was assailed by conflicting thoughts.

During Navarathri I recited the Devi Mahatmyam every day and sought the guidance of my Guru. One night I got my answer. I was in the presence of Shri Shanthananda Swamigal. He was sitting on a pedestal smiling genially and conversing with a
group of people. I approached him and did my namaskaram. Then, what happened was very strange. He just looked at me and I found my lips moving and uttering these words several times “ Keep an exhibition of all your paintings. Collect money and send them to the Skandashramam temple in Tambaram”
In fact, I woke up as if from a deep slumber saying these words over and over again. It was early morning on a Friday during the holy nine days of navarathri. While I did not ignore this message, I hardly knew where to begin.

One afternoon during this auspicious period, I was surfing a web site that was devoted to the Raja Rajeshwari temple in Rush, N.Y.
I had come across this web site previously during my researches on Sri Vidya worship. It was maintained by a man called Haran or “Aiya’ and I read his short biography. He hails from a long line of Gurus all of whom are in the path of Sri Vidya and Shakthi worship. Apparently, he started this temple at Rochester many decades ago and it attracts hundreds of devotees each year, especially during the time of Navarthiri.
I was lucky that at the moment I tuned in, there was a live webcast of the Abhishekams that were going on to the main deity.
For a long time that day I sat and watched the proceedings at this temple. After the morning pujas were over that day, there was a short talk by “ Aiya” to the congregation.
What he spoke about quite simply took my breath away.
The whole speech was about the glory of Sri Baala, the little child-like deity whose temple was a small house in the village of Nemili.

I remember feeling an electric shock coursing through my spine. Baala was saying to me very clearly. “ I gave you the ability to paint ever since you placed the first picture at my feet. Now you seem to have forgotten me?

I sat, for what must have been a long time, in the same position, not being able to think, and with no other thoughts in my mind except this child deity. Much later, I remember my daughter entering the room and asking “ Mum, what’s the matter. You have been sitting rooted to that spot for ages. Is something wrong?”

There was no doubt in my mind about the message I had just received. It was the complaint of a small child seeking attention!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Chapter 16


We returned to Chennai the following day. Many months later I had a vision of the Acharya. One night, I was somehow transported to Shringeri. I saw him performing a puja. However, even as I looked on, his physical form seemed to balloon out.
His image became fatter and more grotesque. His face filled out until his eyes disappeared under the enormous folds of his chin. Suddenly, with a puff of smoke he completely disappeared from my view. I woke up as if from a deep stupour and the first
thought in my mind was “ He showed me that name and form didn’t really matter. I have been foolish to underestimate and not fully realise the immense power of this very Holy man”.

I don’t really know if that idol was ever returned to Salem. Somehow, I don’t think that was the real intention of Swamigal. I got the distinct impression that this whole episode was a test of my faith in my Guru!! It had taken a lot of courage for me to convey
my Guru’s message to the Acharya, braving criticisms from my family. The Acharya, of course, could see through this “test” very easily! I was meant to get the blessings of a “living” Guru and this objective had been achieved.

Two further memorable events happened during this short visit to Chennai in January, 2005. However, before I start to elaborate on them, I must mention another vision I experienced on the very early morning of December 26th , 2004.

In this vivid dream, I found myself in a very old, but beautiful mansion . It seemed that I was here to meet someone special. I wandered around the vast, spacious corridors that seemed to enclose a courtyard. I remember seeing a tinkling fountain in the middle of the
courtyard. The broad verandah encircling the courtyard had cool marble flooring and was perfumed with the fragrance of various exotic flowers and plants that seemed to grow in profusion in the garden.

All of a sudden I came across a a raised dais set in the side of the verandah. I went closer and then saw her. There was a woman sitting on the raised dais. I could not really see her face too clearly but registered in my mind that she had a portly figure. Then, as I drew closer to her, I seemed to leave my body and literally “ float” towards her, or into her. It was a strange sensation, but not too unlike experiences in the past.
This Lady said in a soft voice “ Please tell your sister to come and see me. I have been waiting for her. She was supposed to come and see me earlier but did not show up. You will bring her to me. “ That was all, that was the message.

I awoke and realised it was my sister’s birthday. I called her up immediately and told her about my dream. She remembered that there was a psychic astrologer- lady in Chennai whom she had intended to visit in October 2004. But somehow, she never got around
to seeing her. We felt that perhaps it was this person who wished to meet her after all!

Bearing this dream in mind, when I was in Chennai during January 2005, I asked my sister if she wanted to visit this lady.We found out where she lived and fixed up an appointment to see her. Meenakshi Ammal lived in a tiny flat in a suburb called
Chrompet. We introduced ourselves and soon got talking. Apparently Meenakshi Ammal had been blessed by Lord Muruga of Tiruchendur. . She had this God given ability of reading horoscopes and making accurate predictions.
I had taken my horoscope and my sister had taken her daughter’s horoscope as she was anxious for her daughter to get married soon.
Meenakshi Ammal did predict many past events for my sister rather accurately and reassured her that her daughter would soon get married.
Then she turned her attention towards me. She looked carefully at my horoscope and that of my husband’s as well. Without the slightest hesitation she described with great accuracy all the troubles I had endured on several fronts over the past. She
mentioned a great dosha in my husband’s horoscope and told me to carry out some parihaarams for it , if I was interested.

There was a marked difference in the tone of her voice while she spoke to me and gave further information. I was meant to be there that day! Meenakshi ammal told me that in my earlier births I had been extremely religious. However, this had been
forgotten in the most recent janma. Hence the return to spirituality in the current janma or birth. She assured me that throughout all my problems I was assured of Lord Muruga of Tiruchendur’s support. “ He is surely guiding you and protecting your children. Don’t be afraid”. These were her final words.

Soon after this interesting episode and, towards the tail end of my trip to Chennai, I had the opportunity to visit Tiruchendur. This temple by the sea-shore is one of the famous battle- camps of Lord Skanda, so the legend goes, and is a truly inspiring
sight. Apart from the architectural splendour, there was an unmistakable vibration in the atmosphere that was soul- stirrring.
The temple was, as usual, extremely crowded. Although we were escorted by a few temple priests who allowed us to escape the seething mass, nevertheless we were jostled and pushed towards the main sanctum. Here too, there was a tremendous
commotion and chaos.
My sister in law and her daughter had travelled along with me. We were given permission to sit up front at the very entrance to the main sannidhi. From this spot I could get an uninterrupted view of Lord Muruga in all his glory. Yet, the noise outside was
deafening. The people in the crowd that was just behind us, were screamimg at the top of their voices. The few priests inside the sanctum seemed to rush back and forth between the main altar and the entrance carrying the arathi and prasadam. There were people who were shouting out their respective names, gothrams, etc for archanas. In the midst of all this din, there was a solitary priest inside the sanctum reciting the Murugan Ashtothiram
( 100 names in praise of the Lord).

I strained my ears but simply could not hear anything! I then focused my attention on the main idol and sat there simply looking at this glowing figure.
Within a few minutes I completely forgot the chaos outside. In other words I could either not hear it or it didn’t matter to me anymore because something really strange was going on that caught my complete attention.
Even as I sat there gazing at the deity, I could very distinctly see His mouth move. I could “ hear’ Lord Muruga reciting his own Ashtothiram. I thought I was mad!!!

Surely someone else might have noticed this as well?

However, in that crowded sanctum not one of the priests seemed terribly concerned that something unbelievable was going on. I waited for a few minutes, my eyes still on the deity. No mistake here. I could see Lord Karthikkeya move his lips and now I could hear the priest chanting as well. The deity’s mouth moved in unision with the chanting!! I could not tear my eyes away. Now another strange thing happened. Lord Senthil Vel Muruga was giving me a darshan as Pazhani Andavar. Gone were the crown and robes that had been adorning this idol. The face looked young, the head was completely shaven, adorned with rudraksha beads. There he stood in solitary splendour wearing nothing but a loin cloth and holding his Dhandam in his right hand. His youthful face
smeared with sandal paste looked so calm and serene. His mouth was parted in a smile, but at the same time still mouthing the many namams of his own Ashtothirams.

I think at this point I screamed to my sister in law who was sitting next to me- ‘ Look , Look, don’t miss this sight. He is actually talking!!! Can’t you hear?”
Later, after we left the temple premises she told me that she had been really quite concerned about the state of my mental health.
As soon as the Astothirams were over, we did leave the main sanctum. However, I caught hold of one of the priests and told him what I saw. He did not really know how to respond! Clearly, he must have thought I was completely mad.
In any event, I can never forget what I had witnessed. That image of Tiruchendur Murugan who also revealed himself to me as Pazhani Andavar is something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

After I returned to London in eatly February, 2005, I decided to do a portrait of my Guru Sri Shanthananda Swamigal. I had meant to paint a large portrait of him earlier but could not find a suitable photo to copy from. The night before I departed Chennai, I
visited the Mel Maadi puja room to get a few minutes of peace. I sat in front of the photo of my Guru and said a silent prayer. I closed my eyes to meditate. A single thought appeared and despite all my efforts I could not cast it aside. This was the thought
message. “ Take my photo from this puja stand back with you to London and paint that image”.
Why had I not considered this option before? Well, I did not really think I should remove the photo my mother worshipped everyday!
Anyway, I went downstairs and asked her permission . She replied immediately I could take it as long as we substituted another one in the same place. That was easy to accomplish. Then, I asked her if there was anything special about this
particular photo. Apparently, after the death of my father, the rather neglected puja room upstairs did not really have a photo of Swamigal. So, during one of his visits to Madras my mother personally requested him to give her a copy. He had given her this
particular laminated photo with great love and affection. That was why it was so precious to her!

I promised to return this photograph once my painting was finished.
I started this painting of Guru with utmost devotion. I immersed myself in Slokas on Lord Dakshinamurthy, the Guru of all Gurus, as well as Avadutha Sri Datta Guru. I listened to the Sahasranamams in the praise of these two great spiritual masters
and then commenced my painting.

I must admit that this painting was the most difficult one to finish and although the photograph from which I copied our Guru had been taken about 30 years ago when he was relatively younger, by the time I finished, the face was totally different.
I was not very happy with the finished painting. I reasoned to myself that perhaps this was how He wanted it. So, I left it at that.

Soon afterwards, my mother came to visit me for a few days in London.
This was a surprise visit. It was as though she was destined to see His painting just as I had finished it.In fact, over the past three years I had completed a lot of my paintings. My mother had never really seen any of them in the original size in which they had been executed. She had not visited me during this period, so, apart from viewing them in prints or photos she had never seen the originals.
With great pride, I showed her all the 80 or so odd paintings that it had been my destiny to paint!
The last one I showed her was my enormous painting of Swamigal. I propped it up against the wall in our living room. The painting seemed to dwarf the whole space. My mother looked at it intently for a bit then said that although his face looked
different in my painting as compared to the photo I had used as a guide, his face here looked exactly as it did during his last days!!
I was truly stunned to hear this. I had not really seen him during the last few years of his life. All I had done was to copy his image from a more youthful looking photo. What turned out was what He meant for it to be.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Chapter 15


I had hardly finished this set of paintings when I received news from my eldest brother that he was to celebrate his sixtieth birthday in accordance to stipulated rites. The venue was The Sharadha Peetam at Shringeri. I was very happy to hear this news. However, I
was not too sure about making another trip to India especially as I had just been there less than a month ago.

Although such a trip would have provided me with the opportunity of visiting a very Holy place, and one that I had intended to visit during my last trip, I had to resign myself to not going for the function due to the extra expense involved.
However, a few weeks later, bowing to my mother’s wishes, I changed my mind and decided to make a quick dash to Chennai.

There I was, in late January 2005, back again in Chennai. My sister who lives in New Zealand had also come down for the function.
A lot of family members were attending the celebrations at Shringeri. I travelled with my sister, my sister in law and her daughter.
En route from Managalore to Shringeri a sudden decision was taken to visit the famous Sri Krishna Temple at Udipi. It turned out that my brother had a very good contact at the temple and this devotee could give us a tour of the temple.

I was overjoyed. It was early afternoon when we reached this famous temple. The contact proved enormously helpful and gave us a thorough tour of the whole temple premises including the enormous Go Shaala ( cow stalls) .

After we had finished the preliminary tour this man informed us that the head priest of the Math would be performing an evening puja at 7.30 p.m. and he insisted we stay and witness this function.
However, my sister- in- law decided that we could not stay on for it as it might not really be safe to drive back to Mangalore very late in the evening.
With regret, she informed the helpful man, we could not possibly stay.

My sister and I did not venture to say anything as we realised my sister- in-law did have a valid reason. Nonetheless I was disappointed by the decision.
Now came the surprising bit. Our guide agreed with our resolution but instead offered to take us for a very quick audience with the head priest of the math “ to get his blessings”.

We agreed and followed our friend into a small room situated on one side of the main sanctum. There was a huge silver throne in the middle of this otherwise very plain room.

We were told that this throne dated back several centuries and was one used by Saint
Madhvacharya, the founder of this Math. We stood in one corner of the room waiting for the chief priest to enter after finishing his evening bath in the temple tank. We didn’t have a long wait. Within a few minutes the door opened with a flourish and a young,
athletic man with a completely shaven head bounded into the room with great energy and got onto the throne. We were all surprised! We had expected an
old, venerable figure to come shuffling in slowly! Instead here was this smiling, enthusiastic priest who seemed to be in a rush to start the evening rituals!

There followed a very swift introduction and we bowed low with respect. Then this head priest said in a very clear voice “ You must stay for the Puja and only then you can leave”.

Saying this, he quickly leapt off the raised dais and hurried off to the main sanctum.
Crowds thronged everywhere and literally swept us in the same direction. Behind us, our friend said rather loudly “ The head priest has spoken from his throne. You cannot refuse his command”.
My sister in law reluctantly agreed to stay. However, she told us we must leave half way through the ceremony when she gave the signal.

The evening ritual began. And what an experience it was. I could observe every nerve fibre of the priest and indeed all his physical energy focused on Lord Krishna. It was as if he was invoking Lord Krishna to be part of Him. He gave the deity a ritual bath, anointed
the Lord with sweet smelling sandal wood, fanned him with great big feather fans, sang lullabies to him and put him on a swing to sleep!

We looked on fascinated and totally mesmerised by the rites. What struck me over and over again was the abject devotion and total Bhakthi that was exhibited. My sister in law also stood and witnessed the entire puja. No signal to leave was give, It was as though
she too had been transported eleswhere!!
I caught a glimpse of the Lord through the barred inner doors of the sanctum . He seemed to have a mischvievous smile on his lips!!

After this puja was over, we were told to collect prasadam from the head priest. There was a line of people queing up for this. I noticed that the priest was literally “ throwing” the prasadam down from a great height and one had to be quite adept and nimble to
catch it!
The reason for this was obvious. These priests were very holy and were not supposed to even “accidentally” make contact with any of us.
I was a bit concerned when my turn came as I was sure the prasadam which consisted of several packets of sweets as well as the customary vibhuti, etc , would fall on the ground .

I need not have worried. As I bowed low near the priest and focused on his hand I
noticed to my great surprise that it ventured lower and further down than it had done for the others. In fact He made sure I could received it properly. I don’t know what made me look up ( its not entirely respectful to make an eye contact), but I did so , and the priest looked directly into my eyes and smiled! It was a totally captivating smile that lit up his face and seemed to reflect his true inner self. In that instant I could clearly see Him as Lord Krishna!! Of that there is no doubt at all.

As we left the temple, I remember the last thing our guide told us. “ Look up at the frescoes adorning the inner sanctum They are very special because you can see all the Ten avatars of Vishnu carved on stone”.
What a fitting end to this marvellous evening!!

We proceeded to Shringeri the following morning. Here was yet another temple complex and ashram nestled in a beautiful valley with the serene river Tunga flowing through it. While attending my brother’s birthday celebrations I had ample time to wander around
and marvel at some of the ancient shrines that were dotted around in the vicinity of the Peetam.

Our family members were also able to get the blessings of the Archarya of Shringeri. I remember standing in a long line waiting to receive “holy” water from this man. The Acharya represents the head of one of four peetams established by Aadi Shankara several centuries ago. This is a highly venerated position and he is literally treated as a royal personage. Bearing all this in mind, I approached him, when my turn came, with great humility indeed. I received the holy water and, viewing my brother’s consternation, stepped back at a discrete distance , to sip it. My brother introduced me to him and said I lived in London.

My first introduction to this Holy man seemed somehow , totally forgettable. I did not really feel any sense of exhilaration from having met a religious leader held in awe by so many devotees. However, I chastised myself for being too critical and thought that
perhaps I might seek out an opportunity to get a private audience with him and get his blessings. I decided to ask my brother about this later. He knew the Acharya extremely well and promised me he would try and arrange something for the next day. However,
everyone seemed busy with the Shastiabthapurthy celebrations and I decided not to press this matter any further.

That evening I witnessed a puja performed by the Acharya. It is customary for this daily rite to be conducted with a lot of pomp and I sat in a vast auditorium watching the Acharya perform this late night puja on a raised dais.

There was a group of people in a corner chanting the Rudram and Purusha Suktham. It was peaceful to hear these ancient vedic chants. However, after a while my attention was focused on the Acharya himself. I noticed that although he seemed to be performing
many rites, his eyes were not really on the deity he was worshipping. He was constantly looking at the doorway of this vast auditorium as if to check out who was coming in or leaving.

There did not seem to be any positive vibrations coming from this holy man. I could not help but compare this evening puja to the one I had witnessed the previous day in Udipi. There was absolutely no way to describe either the mesmerising quality of that puja
ritual or the utter faith and conviction of that priest whose entire body seemed to quiver with total bhakthi and in whom Lord Krishna was totally dissolved at the end.

Today, I was watching a corpulent, old man ( actually I later came to know he was only in his early fifties),performing a ritual rather mechanically with absolutely no involvement in it whatsoever.
I had perhaps expected too much and felt strangely let down. In fact, I noticed the Acharya yawning a couple of times as he was performing the puja and it seemed to me he was really tired and ready to go to bed!

The next day was my brother’s Shastidhaamaabthipoorthy celebrations.
It came to me as great surprise that morning that in the middle of his busy schedule he had remembered my request of the previous day. He had arranged for someone to take me to see the Acharya at 9.30 a.m. that very same morning.

My sister agreed to accompany me. However , my mother warned me before I left that despite all my misgivings about this man, I had to observe the usual niceties. I was given strict instructions not to bring up the subject of that broken idol that Santhananda
Swamigal had wanted returned to Salem. In other words, my mother did not really give any credence to either my dreams or visions.
She perhaps thought I would embarrass myself in front of this Holy man by saying something that was totally irrelevant. My sister was sent with me in order to prevent me from committing any such folly!

At precisely 9.30 a.m. we entered his private quarters and were taken into what was called the “ Darbar room” or throne room. This was where the Acharya usually met people.
There was a carpet on the ground of this otherwise bare room. We sat down and waited. At this time I still had no idea about precisely what to say to the Acharya. I said a silent prayer to my Guru and requested him to speak on my behalf! I told him mentally “ If
you want your idol back you will have to ask for it. I have been warned not to ask silly questions”.

Within a few minutes the Acharya entered along with an assistant. He sat on the throne in a comfortable posture. My sister and I did our namaskarams. Then, the Acharya looked at us and smiled. He asked us if there were any problems either of us wished to discuss.
The man who came with him retired to a discreet distance at the far end of the room. Clearly, this was the general protocol as most people who visited the holy man came to unburden all their family problems and ask for advice.

My sister remained silent and looked at me. I stood up rather hesitantly, and began to talk. I started off by telling the Acharya that I had not come here to discuss any of my personal problems. Instead, I said I had come to him because my Guru had sent me here. He looked a bit surprised. “ Who is your Guru?’he asked. This was the cue or so it seemed. I don’t know how I managed to talk, but words seemed to flow out of my mouth, in perfect tamil!
I talked about how Sri Shantananda Swamigal had been our family Guru ever since I was little; about how he had taught me a sloka on Goddess Bhuvaneswari when I was just three years old; about the mantra he had given me years later; and all the visions I had
experienced; my paintings; about my out of body experiences, etc. In short, within the space of perhaps ten minutes I was able to give this most holy man a complete account of my spiritual journey thus far, including my momentous meeting with Amma!!
I was emotionally overcome by the time I finished. I noticed the Acharya yawning a few times during my narration carried , but did not really care!

I finished my speech or rather my Guru finished it off for me by saying the following:
‘ Acharya, compared to you I am a very ignorant person. In terms of knowledge, I know perhaps what is equivalent to a grain of sand while your knowledge can be compared to the vast ocean. Therefore, please do not consider me as pretentious when I just pass on
a message that my Guru wanted me to deliver to you.I understand there is an image of Goddess Bhuvaneswari that is currently here at the temple. This has to be sent back to Salem. This was my Guru’s instructions and I had to mention them to you. The outcome, however is not really a concern of mine. I’m sure you will do what is meant to be done..
Finally, I would like to seek your blessings so I can carry on painting religious deities as long as I live. I would not like to discuss my desires for Moksha or liberation as Vedanta decrees one should be free from all desires; even the desire to achieve liberation. That
is all.”

The acharya looked at me for a few minutes and then smiling softly, said “ You will always be able to achieve whatever it is your deep down subconcious mind feels.” So saying, he took a huge pomegranate fruit from the tray in front of him and gave it to me.

Then, he turned his attention on my sister and asked about where she lived and enquired about her family. He blessed her as well.
With that, our audience with this Holy man ended.