The next navarathri festival of 2001 was held at the Peetam
The next navarathri festival of 2001 was held at the Peetam. The main presiding deity was Prathyankara Devi and other deities like Chandi, Chamundi, Mukambikai, Melkaavu and Keezhkaavu Chothanikkara Bagavathi, Lakshmi Varahar, Lord Venkatachalapathi (in silver), Lord Buddha and Kuberar (in the form of the Lord of joy) were installed and all of them joined together to bless the Bagavathi family. Swami explained that Prathyankara Devi, who took this form to pacify Sarabeswarar (half bird and half human form), who in turn had taken the form to pacify the Narasimha avathar of Mahavishnu after slaying Hiranyakasipu (father of Prahalada). She is at the peak of roudhra bhava (fierce and angry form). This Devi's idol was materialised earlier by Swami and She stands for shathru samharam (slaying of enemies). Red chillis were the main offering to Her. Swami also explained that one who worships this Devi should maintain strict self discipline. He fasted during the entire function consuming only water. Since he became the embodiment of Prathyankara Devi, he had instructed that none should garland him but one can do pada namaskar at his feet, since Kalyana Bagavathi presided over there. He also taught us the specific divine verses to be chanted to worship this Devi.
Five priests from Kumbakonam were to come and perform the Chandi homam on navami day. However, due to some unavoidable reasons, they could not make it to the function. Elaborate arrangements had been made for the homam which was performed by Swami himself. He elevated all the participants to the level of priests by the power of his sankalpam. He made us do the symbolic sankalpam and he even taught us two tanthric mudras. It was no doubt, a blessing in disguise that the priests did not turn up because if they had, we would not have been able to receive the mantra upadesam. Just before the start of the homam, Swami uttered the following divine words — keeping fire as a witness, I promise that it is true that the seven hundred verses that comprise the mantra upadesam I have given to all of you have elevated you to a certain status wherein I further bless and empower you to chant the moola mantra and the Lalitha thrisati. This chanting is equal to chanting the Devi mahathmiyam. Don't be worried about the diction or pronunciation. Even if some people can only murmur, because of my power, I will accept it as full chanting of all the people present here. This is Ambal's divine word, all of this is the absolute truth — sathyam, sathyam, sathyam. We were the most fortunate people of this yuga because no siddha purusha has ever given his devotees such a unique blessing. The power and commanding ease Swami displayed while doing the homam really made us feel that the entire celestial world was witness to the grandeur of the ritual and the spiritual vibrations. All present were participants who were chanting, there were no mere onlookers. After poorna hudi was over, Swami showed continuous jyothi darshan inside the sanctum of Kalyana Bagavathi to all.
In the evening, while we were chanting Lalitha sahasranamam, he charged all the gold inlaid photos of him and also lighted all the Kalyana Bagavathi iamps with his wand from which the jyothi got transferred to them. After the archanai, while abhishekam was done to Swami, sandal paste, kumkumam and haldi powder started coming out on their own from Swami's palms in large quantities. It was such a great sight. After that, Swami changed his dress and came back in a state of supreme bliss. While Swami sang devotional songs, he gave jyothi darshan and materialized several items for those who participated — all these events took everyone present to a supreme state of bliss. On the next day, Vijayadasami, abhishekam was done to all the idols materialized at different times by Swami. He then distributed the lamps to those who did not get them earlier and then he gave Himself — the ultimate concept — through specially made gold-like inlaid framed photographs, to the devotees. He said, "all of you are used to seeing God's photo pictured out of someone's imagination. Here you see my photo, the Guru, the God. You all have seen me in person. It is no imagination. This is my true form". He further added that this was no mere photo. He said, "till now, I have given several lamps and objects. Now, I am giving Myself to you. Keep it with you with all reverence and if you call Me with full faith and fervour, I shall come. As an indication, you will see my hands, eyes and face moving in response as an answer". In this form, Swami is now consecrated in our homes, because of which the house of each one of the Bagavathi family has been turned into his abode. So, it is now our duty to ensure that He gets our prayers. The function came to an end with pooja of Vilwamangala Maharishi Hanuman. Thus ended the grandeur of Navarathri 2001.
The navarathri of 2002 was an important turning point in the lives of all the devotees. Swami was to promote all the sumangalis (married women) to suvasinis this Navarathri. They were being blessed with the thirumangalyam bearing the emblem of Kalyana Bagavathi. The husbands of these ladies would be blessed and promoted to the status of Sivans to be on par with their wives, the suvasinis. For Swami, the build up for this event had begun from the first navarathri function itself. Over the years he had been invoking and giving various lamps, then the siddhar ponnuruvam (the golden emblem of swami), then introduced the kakasseri puja. All these had culminated in Swami blessing all the sumangalis and their husbands as suvasinis and Sivans. On 10th of October, all the sumangalis were asked to wear the thirumangalyam which had been placed over Padmavathi Thaayar, thus promoting the status of suvasinis, symbolizing their wedding and unison with Ambal.
The ghee poured by Swami or any devotee on Lord Vadakkunathar at the peetam stays frozen defying nature. It stands as proof that since Swami is divinity personified, the ghee stays put on this lingam even if poured by the devotees. Thus, drawing an analogy to all the suvasinis and Sivans, Swami said that all are one and divinity is present in every one. To vindicate his statement, Swami prostrated in front of all the devotees on the Vijayadasami day. Vijayadasami is celebrated as the day of victory over the darkness (agnanam), the culmination of nine nights of sincere prayer and spiritual seeking. It signifies the fact that our body consists of nine holes (dwarams), and our identification with these nine dwarams is the main cause of ignorance (agnanam). Symbolizing this eyeopening facet of the festival, Swami gave the divya nethra darshanam to all those present on mahanavami day (14th October 2002) in the Gnana Ambikai Maha Meru sannidhanam. There could not have been a better choice for the place where Swami chose to bless the devotees with this darshan.
Swami installed his own idol on 2nd October. He christened it Vishwamitra, the saint who gave the Gayathri manthra to the world. In keeping with the times, Swami gave us the siddhar Gayathri being our sage Vishwamitra. The entire Bagavathi family chanted the Gayathri 21 times collectively (all the suvasinis and Sivans) since Swami's birthday in June for 82 days till the 6th of October. They were chanting this daily with a silver kalasam and the thirumangalyam, which were given on Swami's birthday. Thus, from now on, the entire Bagavathi family were spiritually aligned, having the same kuladaivam and same gothra, the gothra of Vishwamitrar, Kausika.
Loka samastha sukhino bavanthu