Report by Smt. Jyothi Bharat Divgi

The Anugraha of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III flowed in abundance strengthening devotion and love in every heart – on the 7th of February 2008, - A day that will surely be recorded as a beautiful and extremely significant day in the history of the Chitrapur Saraswats.

II Shri Gurubhyo Namah II
II Shri Bhavanishankaraya Namah II
II Shri Matre Namah II

Guru Jyoti Yatra begins ….

The Anugraha of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III flowed in abundance strengthening devotion and love in every heart – on the 7th of February 2008, - A day that will surely be recorded as a beautiful and extremely significant day in the history of the Chitrapur Saraswats. A momentous beginning to the Tercentenary Year. This was the day when the “Divya-Jyoti” and the “Jnana-Jyoti” were lit. With the lighting of the Jyoti, our Guru, Param Poojya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji, taught the entire samaj what true Guru Bhakti is. Intense, Steadfast and Resolute………. The kind that can make mountains move and the toughest of the ‘sankalps’ come true. Witnessing this historic event, were hundreds of devotees, from across various Sabhas, who had gathered at the Shri Durga Parameshwari Mandir, Karla.

Param Poojya Swamiji arrived at 8 am to perform Jalabhishek and offer prayers to Shri Devi Durga Parameshwari, Lord Ganesha and Sannidhi of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji. Following this was the ‘Samuhik Prarthana’ conducted beautifully by Ved. Ulman GuruBhatmam, who explained how the Sankalp of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III was slowly but surely attaining fruition. He elucidated how, three hundred years ago, with great devotion and prayers, our forefathers were blessed with Adi Guru Parijnanashram Swamiji I. He expressed how our sacred Guru Parampara has since, continued to guide us and protect our entire samaj. At the onset of the “Guru Jyoti Yatra”, Samuhik Prarthana was offered to Shri Durga Parameshwari, Lord Ganesha, Sannidhi of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji and our Guru and the Mathadhipati, Shreemat Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji. Esteemed elders of our community – President of the Standing Committee, Trustees of the KDPT and Shree Trust were present during the Prarthana. All the devotees joined in offering our prayers for the success of the Guru Jyoti Yatra. 

Following this was the Shri Devi Anushthan. The hall reverberated with the chanting of the shlokas as devotees performed the Samuhik Devi Anushthan. This was the final day of the first link in Sadhana Shrinkhala – in the spiritual chain that will reinforce our Sadhana, the spiritual worship that will continue all through the Tercentenary Year- across the globe. The auspiciousness of the day heightened as Vaidiks performed the “ Gana-Homa” . 

A little later, at 10.40 am, Param Poojya Swamiji returned to the Mandir for the Mahapooja and Mahamangalarati to Shri Devi Durga Parameshwari and the ‘Divya-Jyoti’ was lit. Pooja and prayers were offered to Lord Ganesha. Special prayers were offered to the Gram Devata - Shri Ekveera Devi Mata. 

After performing Pooja at the Sannidhi of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji, the “Jnana- Jyoti” was lit from the Mahamangalarati ….. A truly sacred and momentous occasion!

After the Jnana Jyoti grahana, Shree Paduka Poojan was performed by the Trustees of the KDPT and Shree Trust. Following this was Teerth vitarana by Param Poojya Swamiji to all the devotees. 

Of great significance on this day, was the set of twenty beautifully sculpted “Kalash” which carried the sanctified waters from the sacred rivers of our great motherland - Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, Tungabhadra and Brahmaputra. Mention must be made of the kalash that carried the waters from River Credit from Canada – where our Guru Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III had offered prayers and Pooja many years ago. The water from River Credit was brought all the way by the devotees of the Canada Sabha, with great reverence and love. 

And yes, this is but one glimpse of the intense devotion and love that has been lit in the Tercentenary Year, by the Anugraha and Grace of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III , in the heart of every Chitrapur Saraswat! 


Karla – Gokarn

7th February… The day was charged with enthusiasm. And the devotees of Punyanagari were blessed. The Guru-Jyoti-Yatra reached Shri Chitrapur Math, Pune, that evening to rousing Jayjaykars and fireworks. The path was bedecked with ‘torans’ of emerald green mango leaves entwined with bright marigold flowers. Intricate rangolis and little children holding lamps welcomed the Guru-Jyoti. The signature tune, rendered melodiously by the devotees, heralded the arrival of Param Poojya Swamiji with the sacred Padukas. Bhajans and Shri Paduka Pujan by the Office bearers of the Local Sabha followed. Param Poojya Swamiji performed the Shri Guru Pujan that night.

The next morning, under the able leadership of Karpe Bhalchandramam, a convoy of 21 vehicles, all proudly displaying the ‘Guru-Jyoti-Yatra’ stickers on the windshields, left early after a sumptuous breakfast at the Math. Each vehicle carried a well planned and neatly packed lunch bag- complete with refreshing yummy buttermilk and generous packets of ‘mukhwas’! Groups of yatris sat under the shade of trees and bamboo groves and thatched covers for their lunch – the air was bracing and the spirits high as ever! Yatris exclaimed over lush green fields and gorgeous hornbills and blue jays along the route.

And at the end of the journey, what a warm welcome was given to the yatris as they drove up Patradevi ! Cheerful smiles, hot tea and clean rooms for all the yatris at the Mangeshi Sansthan and Manguirish Math. The Goa Local Sabha had gone all-out to make us comfortable. Their hospitality was heart-warming.

Param Poojya Swamiji arrived with the Guru-Jyoti to the accompaniment of the traditional ‘vajap’ and were escorted by Shri Prashant Nadkarni, Trustee of the Mangeshi Samsthan. Vaidiks of Mangeshi Samsthan performed the Shri Paduka Pujan at the Shri Mangeshi Mandir. This was followed by Shri Paduka Pujan by the President of the Local Sabha and Shri Prashant Nadkarni. Param Poojya Swamiji led the congregation with a beautiful bhajan ….. …. 

The next morning, the convoy left for Adi Math, Gokarn with a short stop at Karwar and Prasad bhojan at Ankola. Devotees in large numbers were waiting to receive Param Poojya Swamiji in the Sitarameshwar Mandir in Karwar. The temple with the backdrop of a lush green hill, was bedecked with thick mango-leaf-torans on the gate. 

The next stop for the yatra was the Laxminarayan and Mahamaya Devi Temple at Ankola. After dhool bhet, Shri Paduka Pujan was performed and was followed by an Ashirvachan by Param Poojya Swamiji.

It was well past six in the evening on the 8th of February, when the Guru-Jyoti wended its way to the Adi Math at Gokarn. The first half of the Yatra had been successfully completed. From the precincts of Shree Devi Durga Parameshwari and the Sannidhi of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III at Karla to the sacred Sannidhi of Adi Guru, Param Poojya Parijnanshram Swamiji I…… the Guru Jyoti Yatra had arrived. Poorna Kumbha Swagat was extended as Vaidiks chanted mantras with the conches reverberating in the background.. Jayjaykars filled the air. It was a glorious moment – one that will be etched forever in the hearts of the Chitrapur Saraswat Samaj.

Adi Math, Gokarn 
Through the portals of the Adi Math, trooped in the 1500 + yatris to register their names. We had yatris from New Delhi to Hyderabad, Surat to Chennai, from metros to tiny hamlets, from Canada and the US to the UAE’s and Switzerland; the young and the extremely old, the very weak and the highly energetic – they came in with but just one objective- to participate in the Guru-Jyoti-Yatra! Taxing office schedules and demanding home-duties were temporarily put aside as the sadhaks soaked in the rich and elevating atmosphere at the Math.

The Front Desk set up by Bangalore Local Sabha was humming with activity. Sheaves of papers, Sabha-wise, with names of yatris who had registered many months ago, were shuffled and each yatri was identified “Ah! There you are!!” Cheerful pacchis handed over a bag for each category of yatris after the registration. A beautiful picture of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III to be kept throughout the Pad Yatra, a beautifully designed brochure and information leaflet, the Tercentenary Cap, badges with number tags, elaborate colour code stickers, plastic covers- one for footwear and some for clothes, a bag of sweets and a yellow sash to distinguish the Sankalpitas – why, they had even so-thoughtfully put in the lyrics of the Tercentenary Signature Tune! Any yatri opening the bag would agree that hours of hard work had gone into this effort and that Team Bangalore had worked meticulously and painstakingly! 
Kudos to Team Bangalore… Namah Parvati Pataye Har Har Mahadev!

On the 10th of February, Param Poojya Swamiji performed the Jalabhishek. Samuhik Prarthana was held. Param Poojya Swamiji took Darshan and performed the Pooja at the Pette Vinayak Mandir. At the Math, Vaidiks performed the Atharva Seersha Havan and Mahaganapati Poojan. This day was also a very important day for the sadhaks. The Sankalpa for Sadhana Shrinkhala for the year was made – heralding the yearlong chain of Sadhana across the globe. Dr. Gajanan Mankikarmam, Chief Coordinator, made the Sankalp on behalf of the Saraswat Samaj and then devotees proceeded with Navaratra Nityapath and Devi Anushthan led by Sharayu Shirali. Shri Guru Pujan, Shri Shiva Pujan and Shri Devi Pujan were done by devotees on the three days. 

On Monday, 11th February, Param Poojya Swamiji took Darshan and performed Pooja at the Mahabaleshwar Mandir. The next day, a Sankalp was taken for one lakh- Gayatri Japa Anushthan- by the devotees, led by Dr. Chaitanya Gulvady, to invoke the blessings of Lord Bhavanishankar. The chanting reverberating through the hall created a vibrant atmosphere. 

On all the three days, Param Poojya Swamiji performed the ‘ Jalabhishek’ in the morning and distributed Teerth after the Maha Pooja. After Deep Namaskar each evening, Swamiji performed the Shri Guru Poojan. 

The Math itself was looking magnificent with strings of white mogras and pretty ‘kanakambra’- those dainty light orange flowers decorated oh! so beautifully all through the aisle and on the granite pillars. On the dias, against a magnificent backdrop, the Divya Jyoti and the Jnana Jyoti, along with the ‘kalash’ and the Pratima of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III, looked resplendent! 

The Guru-Jyoti-Padyatra
Three hundred years ago, in 1708, our forefathers had gathered on the banks of the Kotiteerth to receive our Adi Guru. On the 13th of February 2008, Chitrapur Saraswats from different parts of the world had come together once again…..at the very spot- this time, to joyously offer infinite gratitude and salutations to Lord Bhavanishankar and our Guru Parampara. And long before Lord Suryadeva climbed the eastern skies, the Chitrapur Samaj was present at Kotiteerth that morning, to proclaim to the world, the Greatness and Glory of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III. Jayjaykars filled the air….. The Signature Tune melodiously broke the stillness of the dawn …… Joy and devotion was visible everywhere… 

After Samuhik Prarthana at the Math, Param Poojya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji arrived at the Belli Mantapa on the bank of Kotiteerth and performed Jalabhishek on the “ Satchidanandeshwar Linga”. Swamiji sat on the steps of this auspicious place in meditation for a few moments, before the commencement of the Yatra. The second phase- The Guru-Jyoti-Padyatra was all set to begin……..

Ram, the handsome ’Nandi’ bull drew the gaily decorated ‘rath’, (the cart) that carried the glorious Pratima of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III, the Guru-Jyoti and the Kalash. Devotees took turns in carrying the sacred Guru Padukas and our beloved Param Poojya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji, inspiring and radiant as ever, walked along with the ‘rath,’ while hundreds of devotees donning the yellow Tercentenary caps followed…..… 

The Guru-Jyoti-Padyatra had begun and Oh! What a magnificent sight it was to behold!

Cheerleaders, equipped with harmonium and dholaks, cheered the yatris with bhajans and refreshing energy drinks. Acupressure was given by trained volunteers and homeopathic pills were dispensed with smiles and cheers! Well-equipped Ambulances with dedicated and cheerful doctors and nurses worked overtime to keep the yatris going and a dedicated Karpe Manoharmam and Arun Irdemam ensured that the sacred Shri Guru Padukas were held by the male devotees very systematically! At the breakfast halt at Madangeri- with hot hot moodos and chutney and sambhar- yatris were exultant! The first ten kilometers had smoothly gone by and they were ready to take on the Highway now!. 

There was a refreshment break at Mirjan- where delicious phowu and panak awaited the yatris. 

Now began the tough part – the sun blazed down and the road was a series of steep incline as it inched towards Kumta. For miles on end, the yatris walked. The hills in the distance looked green and inviting, river Aghnashini meandering through lush green paddy fields glimmered like a silver ribbon.

The going became tough… but our tough yatris got going! The sun’s rays beat down fiercely and were accepted meekly! Blisters appeared and were nonchalantly ignored. Heavy traffic spewed fumes and the yatris waved ‘em off! 

Did such tiny impediments ever matter to the Yatris? NAY!!! They were all brushed aside as the yatris moved on….. cheerfully and happily! The Anugraha of the Guru was with them…… Namah Paravati Pataye Har Har Mahadev!

Lunch at Kumta was a welcome break. The walk down to the next point- Dhareshwar was beautiful. Water birds in hundreds could be spied in the backwaters after Kumta. The sun was no longer as fierce and the breeze was heaven sent! After a refreshment break at Dhareshwar, began the last leg of the Day1 …the Guru-Jyoti-Padyatra set out to Haldipur and reached the destination after eight that night. Jayjaykars rent the air as Ram strode in with the Rath. The yatris were treated to a sumptuous dinner served with great care and love! All through the day, volunteers had worked hard to ensure that the yatris were kept in comfort. 

Day 2 of the Padyatra, yatris woke up to sore bodies, blistered feet and the simply amazing indomitable Yatra-Spirit! The Guru Shakti was visible in the determination and grit shown by the hundreds of yatris. Breakfast halt was at Honnavar. The Local Sabha welcomed the Guru-Jyoti with fireworks and Jayjaykars. The lunch break was at Lord Janardhan Temple at Manki. Aayojaks took great care of the Sankalpitas. Acupressure, exercises and a great deal of warmth, love and care was showered in abundance- and Oh! What a difference it made to the morale of the yatris! Cheers to the Aayojaks…… Namah Paravati Pataye Har Har Mahadev!

Simply delicious watermelon juice at Bailur and Panak halt at Murdeshwar kept the Sankalpitas moving on the last leg of the Yatra! All through the day, vans filled with Aayojaks, kept a constant supply of water and energy drinks, oranges and bananas ,.Bhajan -Mandalis kept the spirits high and ambulances worked overtime!

Every small village right from Gokarn to Shirali had shown their devotion with green torans and colourful posters welcoming the Guru-Jyoti-Yatra. Temples and Maths along the route offered Mangalarati and phalsamarpan. Curious adults and cheerful children waved to the yatris and the Rath rolled on ……….

Guru-Bhakti 
A kilometer before Shirali, all the yatris congregated at Sharada Holae and when the Rath, carrying the Guru-Jyoti came along, fireworks illuminated the darkened skies and Jayjaykars filled the air! Blisters and aches were forgotten as the tired but happy yatris followed their beloved Swamiji and the Rath to the Shri Mahamaya Ganapati Mandir. 

Late in the night it was and a full 95 kms gruelling walk later, Param Poojya Swamiji performed the Shri Guru Poojan – yet another glimpse of Swamiji’s indefatigable spirit and resolute Guru – Bhakti. What a magnificent lesson for us…….

Shri Chitrapur Math, Shirali 
The Gods poured their blessings in the form of gentle showers early that morning on the 15th as the Guru Jyoti Yatra began its final lap. An elephant, led the way, devotees danced and sang bhajans, with fireworks bursting, and the road was adorned with torans and rangolis. Houses along the way offered phalsamarpan and arati to the Guru–Jyoti. On either side of the road, women stood with poorna kumbha – (and even at that early hour, lovely mogras chiklis adorned their heads!) and the children of Srivali School chanted the Dhyan shlokas and 12th Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita with immaculate pronunciation! Shukla Shantipachi, despite her frail health, was present on this momentous occasion. 

The Yatra reached the Ashwatha Katta. Vedghosh and Jayjaykars rented the air. Only a few more steps were left……for the homecoming of the Guru. And it was a touching sight to see our beloved Swamiji carrying the Padukas inside the Shri Chitrapur Math. Eyes were moist. And the lump in the throat refused to go. The Yatra had reached its destination.

Pratishtha
The ceremony of the Pratishthapana began in all its glory… Vigraha of Shri Devi Bhuvaneshwari, Shri Mahaganapati, Bhashyakara Adi Shankaracharya were installed with great piety and devotion in the three temples. The Pratishthapana of the Shri Guru Paduka Sannidhi was done with great reverence. The Jnana-Jyoti and the Divya-Jyoti were installed at the Sannidhi near the Baan-Linga and the Shree Chakra respectively. 

The Vaidiks performed the Saanidhya Homa….. and witnessing the entire momentous event were devotees in thousands! Big screens at convenient places outside beamed the entire events to the devotees who were outside ..

After the Mahapooja that noon, Shri Paduka Poojan was performed on behalf of the entire Samaj by the President of the Standing Committee and the Chairman and Trustees of the Shree Trust and KDPT. Param Poojya Swamiji distributed Teerth to all the thousands of devotees who had gathered on this auspicious day. 

That evening, in the Dharma Sabha, Param Poojya Swamiji, in the Ashirvachan, stated that the Saraswats now had the Sannidhi of Shrimat Parijnanshram Swamiji III at the Shri Chitrapur Math, Shirali – where we can worship our 10th Mathadhipati with love and reverence.

The Guru-Jyoti-Yatra was a joyful experience of the Anugraha of Param Poojya Parijnanashram Swamiji III , which cascaded in abundance at every step and at every moment and became evident in the grit and determination, the joy and devotion, the zeal and the enthusiasm of thousands of sadhakas…..

And this is just the beginning………….