BALA IRUKKA BAYAMILLAI
BAYAM IRUKKUM IDATHIL BALA ILLAI
( Where Bala is present fear isn’t;
Where fear is present, Bala isn’t).
July 4th, 2008.
I resumed my journal today, after obtaining permission from Sri Ezhilmani at Nemili Bala Peetam to narrate all the extraordinary events that have occurred in my life from September 2007 to the present.
Soon after my arrival in Chennai in mid-September 2007, I began the task of slowly shifting into my house as preparation for commencing the arrangements for my daughter’s wedding .
Since Bala had chosen the wedding date as January 4th 2008, it was my intention to visit Nemili as soon as possible and meet Sri Ezhilmani.
However, during the very first week of my stay at my mother’s house in Chennai, several events occurred that resulted in much emotional turmoil. Within a week’s time, my husband, who had flown in with me, returned to London, and I was left to cope with all the work required for moving into a new house, as well as the additional task of organizing the wedding.
One whole week had gone by and I had not yet visited Nemili!
This was the foremost thought in my mind one morning as I sat in meditation and contemplated on the Child- Goddess. Like a flash of lightning, I received a message from Bala:
‘Go to Nemili this Friday and inform my son and his wife about your daughter’s wedding. Do this in the proper, formal manner taking fruits, flowers , a Veshti ( dhothi) for Ezhilmani and a saree for his wife”.
I called Sri Bala Peetam and told Sri Ezhimani that I would like to come to the Peetam on Friday. In his usual friendly manner, he welcomed me to his home with great enthusiasm. So, a few days later, I set off alone for the peetam, bearing gifts for Bala and her son as instructed. As the car sped on the route to Nemili, I listened to Bala’s songs and reflected on the some of the unfortunate incidents that had occurred so soon after my arrival, incidents that had caused a total disruption in family ties. It seemed to me that my hope of planning a happy family get- together at my daughter’s wedding had been completely shattered.
It was then with a very heavy heart that I entered Bala’s Peetam. Nevertheless, I reminded myself that I had traveled to Nemili on Bala’s instructions. She surely knew about my problems and was there to help me. In fact, even as I took one small step onto the small raised platform where her Peetam stood majestically, I felt all my worries and fear ebb slowly away.
Carefully, I placed the fruits, flowers and the tray bearing the gifts for Sri Ezhilmani and his wife at the base of the Peetam and sat quietly for a few moments listening to the songs Sri Ezhilmani played on his audio system. He explained to me that a new CD had been released, and I sat with my eyes closed as the music started. “ Nemili Nagar Aallum Naayakiye” ( The ruler of Nemili Nagar).
The melodious voice of Sudha Anand carried me, light as air, into a completely unique and surreal atmosphere where Bala was present in all her shining glory. The song that followed “ Kannil Neer vazhiya, Kavalaigal Pizhiya, Anru Nemili Vanthen Baala” ( I came to you that day, Oh Bala with tears in my eyes, harassed by worries) , was an emotionally charged piece which, given my present circumstances, held a particularly potent significance. Despite my best attempts, I was soon weeping like a small child as I sat all alone in front of Bala.
Sri Ezhilmani had retired to his room briefly as I had been listening to the songs. He now emerged. Turning off the CD player, he explained that this second song had been written recently, based on true events that had occurred in the life of one of Bala’s devotees. This long-time devotee, an extremely pious woman, had been plagued by numerous financial problems. Often, she could not even afford the bus fare from Chennai to Nemili, nor pay for her chidren’s clothing and education. However, her constant and unswerving devotion to Bala helped her to overcome all her problems. Today, she and her family are in a more prosperous state due to Bala’s grace. Her children have managed to come by a decent education and good employment.
Listening to this graceful and gentle man speaking in a soothing tone made me forget all my problems. We chatted for a while about the painting I had given to Sri Haran Aiya at Rochester and the story behind that particular portrait. As I did Namaskaram and stood up to take my leave, Sri Ezhilmani asked me why I had brought in the tray with the Veshti and Saree.
I explained that the saree was for his wife, and that I had actually come to Nemili to obtain his blessings before I started any preparations for the wedding. Sri Ezhilmani asked me to wait for a while and meet his family. By now, a few other visitors had entered the Peetam. So, I retired to the back of the hall and sat near one of the pillars, my eyes closed and focused on Bala.
After a short while, Sri Ezhilmani took me to a small room. This room opened off from the long corridor that led from the peetam into the family’s living quarters.
My first impression of Sri Ezhilmani’s wife was that she looked very young.
Nagalakshmi Amma is an extremely cheerful and happy person. Very soon, I felt completely at ease with her. I sat inside this large room talking to Ezhilmani and his wife about my earliest experience of “Bala” in my “dream” and about subsequent supernatural incidents. I spoke to them about my Guru, my devotion to Skanda, about my first experience at Bala Peetam, the paintings that followed “at Her command”, and also narrated clearly all the events leading up to Bala fixing up the date of my daughter’s wedding.
Sri Ezhilmani had made only one comment during my narration. He mentioned that Lord Muruga was also the main deity worshipped by his family. In fact, he said that Bala and Murugan were just as much a part of him as his two eyes. As we were chatting his two sons entered the room. I recognized “Babaji”, his elder son, instantly. I had not yet met his younger son, Mohan, and he seemed to be a very gentle, thoroughly humble and devout young man.
As I did a namaskaram for Babaji, he immediately said “I would never have come to meet you today, if Bala had not asked me to do so. You have obviously come here today under a lot of stress and Bala has asked us, as a family, to help you”.
Babaji’s eyes seemed to glow fiercely, emanating an intense light.
I was completely stunned by the veracity of his remarks. It was all true. I had been to Bala’s Peetam several times over the past few years, starting from 2002. Yet this was indeed the first time I was meeting Nagalakshmi Amma, Babaji and Mohan.
It was also true that while Bala had set the date for my daughter’s wedding and indicated that SHE would perform it, I had interpreted this to mean that Sri Ezhilmani and his wife might be present at my daughter’s wedding in order to bless the couple. I had not really expected much more than that. In fact, this was the reasoning behind my request to Haran Aiya to perform the wedding.
Now, circumstances had been completely reversed. Misunderstandings among family members had left me largely bereft of family support . Here I was, at the Peetam , and an entirely new family was ready to give me support because Bala had asked them to intervene on my behalf. My eyes blurred with tears and for a few moments, I was overwhelmed.
Soon, regaining my composure, I related once again to Sri Ezhilmani’s wife and his sons the extraordinary events that had preceded the decision to have the wedding in the inauspicious month of Margazhi (January). I also informed them that my family priest had found both the date and timing for the Muhurtham totally unsuitable. In fact, several family members had asked me if I didn’t care at all about my daughter’s welfare since I was arranging her wedding day, an incredibly important occasion, during what appeared to be a completely inauspicious period of the year, on a bad day (according to the position of the birth stars for the bride and groom), and to top it all off, during Rahu Kalam (a totally inauspicious time of day).
My reaction to all the opposition from family members had thus far been one of complete indifference. I told them that Bala Tripurasundari Of Sri Nemili Bala Peetam had especially fixed this wedding and that She would personally conduct it .
I had absolutely no doubt that Bala would help and support me. However, little did I realize that day in what manner and exactly how she would choose to shower her Grace!
I proceeded to pay my respects to this truly remarkable family. Sri Ezhilmani and Nagalakshmi Amma ( I shall call her Baby Amma henceforth) reiterated their words of support. They said they would sustain me through their prayers, by their presence and that every member of their vast, extended family would attend the wedding of my daughter because this was a wedding ordained and fixed by Bala!
Leaving the Peetam that day, I felt I was floating on air. I had come in with a heavy heart, desperately entreating Bala to help me. It seemed to me that She had heard my fervent prayers and replied resoundingly through her favourite child, Babaji!
On my way out, I reminded Sri Ezhilmani about the hall that Bala had instructed should be built across from the Peetam. I was informed that works had been started and that the hall would be completed by the New Year.