It was the photo of their guru Gnananandar
Once a stranger stepped inside their mess and while he was eating, he saw the photo on the wall and he asked about it. Govindarajan replied saying that it was of their guru Gnananandar with whose grace the mess is being run. The stranger immediately asked Govindarajan whether he had seen and heard of Bagavathi Siddhar in whom Gnananandar has really merged. He introduced himself as a Sathya Sai Baba devotee and said that at his first meeting with Bagavathi Siddhar, the latter materialized a pendant of Sathya Sai Baba and gave him. Govindarajan replied that he had not yet seen this great soul. The moment he heard that his guru had merged in Swami in sukshma sareeram (merger of soul), he became very anxious to meet Swami at an earliest opportunity. So, he asked the stranger about the whereaboutsof Swami. The latter said that Swami is always on the move and gave him two contact telephone numbers through which he can get an appointment fixed in advance by calling his devotees. Govindarajan eagerly replied that if his guru had really merged in Swami, then Swami would definitely visit his house on the very next day after he extends his invitation to Swami in his first meeting itself. The stranger was bewildered at Govindarajan's seemingly foolhardy confidence. Seeing the reaction in his face, Govindarajan told him that his firm belief and sincere devotion to his Guru had made him to utter such statements, not because he had a high opinion of himself. When he asked the name of the stranger, the latter replied Sivanandam and left. The most astonishing fact was that after that meeting, Govindarajan has never seen or heard of Sivanandam till today. He was very sure and strongly felt that it was his guru who had come in disguise and revealed to him about his present abode of living.
Very soon, Sri Govindarajan contacted Mr. Raman on phone to get an appointment to meet Swami. The latter replied that Swami would be arriving from Bombay on the coming Saturday evening to his house and that Sri Govindarajan could come on Sunday morning to have the darshan of Swami. Sri Govindarajan could not control his anxiety of seeing Swami and not being able to wait till the next day, he left with his wife on late Saturday evening itself. On the way they saw an elephant with its trunk raised. The elephant is considered to be a symbolic representation of Gnananandar as Gnanaganapathi. Sri Govindarajan was delighted that his guru had come in elephant form and had approved his plan. When they reached Raman's house, one of the devotees asked him why he had come in at that time itsfelf instead of Sunday morning. Meanwhile, Swami who was seated in the other room asked Govindarajan and his wife to come and see him. After paying their obeisance at Swami's lotus feet, Govindarajan introduced himself and his wife to Swami. He started narrating their past experiences with Gnananandar at Tapovanam. Swami was listening intently and the joy in his face was visible. Their meeting with Swami continued for about three hours non-stop without any disturbance. The other devotees who were assembled outside the room, were wondering about what was happening inside. Just before leaving, Govindarajan extended an invitation to Swami to visit his house on the very next day. Swami replied that he would ask Gnananandar and if approved by him he would visit. After a few minutes, Swami said that Gnananandar had advised him to go and visit his father Sri Ramani on the very next day and not to Govindarajan's house. Govindarajan told Swami that his father Ramani was staying with him only and was visibly delighted that Swami would be visiting his home on the very next day. After returning home he narrated all the happenings with Swami to his parents.
On the next day Swami came to his house around 9 am. The door was open and Swami entered. Govindarajan was busy in the adjacent room and his wife was in the kitchen preparing food. So Swami met Ramani first as per Guru's order. The whole family had a nice time conversing with Swami. After this incident Swami visited their house several times. When Sri Govindarajan and family went to meet Gnananandar before he attained samadhi, he told them he would always be there to guide them and bless them. When their guru attained samadhi they were desolate. Now after their association with Swami they feel that Gnananandar is always with them in Swami's form. Once Swami jokingly asked Govindarajan whether his thirst for always being with Gnananandar has been quenched. To this, Sri Govindarajan replied with tears in his eyes that he would always cherish this experience of seeing his guru in Swami's form. The followers of Sri Gnananandar are always amazed at Swami's accurate narration of episodes from Gnananandar's life. Swami is able to tell the exact time of each incident and also the devotees who were present at the time. Swami, as we know has never seen Gnananandar when he was alive. The close associates and followers of Gnananandar could not believe the accuracy with which Swami relates incidents, the names of the devotees present and the time and the place so accurately. It is well nigh impossible for anyone except maybe Gnananandar himself who has merged in Swami who can recall these incidents with such clarity. The only explanation for this uncanny ability is the realization that he and Gnananandar are one and the same. Swami often quotes "uruvathai ullathil kattuvom unarnthavaruku mattumai" meaning that the fact that Gnananandar has merged in him would only be revealed to those who could experience it in their hearts. Swami, without doubt is the embodiment of "two in one", Devi and Guru being in him.
One would wonder as to why Gnananandar chose to merge with Swami inspite of having so many devout followers during his life span especially when Swami had never been in contact with him when he was alive. Yet he selected Swami for reasons that were covered in the earlier chapter.
Another close devotee of Gnananandar by name Sri Paiani related the scintillating experiences he and two generations in his family had with Sadguru Gnananandar and how that gives him the conviction to state without doubt that they could feel and experience their guru in Swami. He would like to take us through the experiences of his ancestry to establish his view. Sri Paiani hails from a village called Kadakkam in Mayavaram taluka in Tamilnadu. His grand parents were Sri Kumaraswamy Udayar and Smt Nagammal. In the year 1910, they lived in the town of Chittoor, where Gnananandar used to visit often on his various trips around south India. At the time Gnananandar used to have long hair which he used to tie. On one such visit, Paiani's grandmother met the sage Gnananandar and invited him over to their house for food. She did not know anything about him, just that he looked like a sage. After washing his feet and doing appropriate pada pooja she served him food. After his bikshai Gnananandar told them that he could sense that they grieved at not having a child. He told them to go to Tirupathi and perform kalyana utsavam and on their return they should do annadhanam. Gnananandar told them that with divine grace they would soon be blessed with a child. In those days there was no transport to Tirupathi and it took them three months by bullock cart to reach there. They followed the guru's advice and very soon they were blessed with a male child. A few years later, they conceived another child named Sri Siva Vadivil in 1917 who was none else but Palani's father. At that time, Gnananandar was moving around places like Vizhuppuram, Siddalingamadam, Salem, and Erkad by walk. Once, Sri Palani's father who had gone to the Dakshinamoorthy temple in Mayavaram heard a divine voice saying — I have come to Siddalingamadam to bless you and give you darshan. Unfortunately, Sri Vadivil was unaware of this place. The next day one of his friends, who shared his name and who was a station master came to his house. When Palani's father asked him about Siddalingamadam, he told them he was coming from there and that there was a sage named Gnananandar staying there now. Soon, Sri Vadivil Udaiyar, Sri Vadivil the station master and their common friend Sri Venkatraman went to see Gnananandar in a car. The car driver's name was Sri Venugopal. Sri Palani, at this juncture says the reason he elaborates on the names is to reveal the similarity between incidents involving Gnananandar and Swami where divinity is constantly connected with the names of the devotees and the associated events. The group in the car reached Siddalingamadam at 9.30 pm. Meanwhile Gnananandar had instructed his disciples to keep food for four people who would be coming to see him. They were surprised to see that their arrival was expected. They were given a warm welcome and served food. They were unable to see Gnananandar as he had retired for the night. On the next day, when they met him and paid salutations to him, he recalled his visit to Sri Kumara Udaiyar's (Vadivel Udaiyar's father) house where he had asked if the latter had any offsprings. Sri Vadivel Udaiyar became highly emotional as he realized that it was Gnananandar who had many years earlier, visited his house, taken bhikshai and blessed him. With full of gratitude and respect, he fell at his lotus feet, overcome with emotion. Gnananandar pacified him and hugged him. After that meeting, his faith and gratitude towards Gnananandar increased so much that he started visiting him frequently and serving him. A few years later, Gnananandar established Tapovanam near Thirukkoviloor and moved over there and stayed there till his end. He had created a trust to manage the activities of Tapovanam. Sri Vadivel Udaiyar was given a responsible position by Gnananandar in the trust for managing and organizing the day-to-day activities of Tapovanam. He implicitly obeyed his guru's orders and carried on his service.