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Sri Puthige Sreegalu's visit to Australia - A devotee's perspective

Rarely does one get an opportunity to witness history from close quarters! This new samavatsara (Hindu Calendar Year) presented one such opportunity to us devotees in Melbourne!

 

As the world over was getting ready to celebrate the rise of Christ on the Easter morning (March 31st), hundreds of devotees in Australia were getting ready to celebrate the arrival of Krishna! It marked the day when Sri Suguneendra Teertha Swamiji (henceforth addressed as Sreegalu or His Holiness) of Puthige Matha (one of the 8 Mathas in Udupi, Karnataka established by Jagadguru Madhwacharya in 12th Century AD) arrived on the Australian continent for the first time. Devotees were delighted to welcome Vijaya Vithala (aradhya devaru of Puthige Matha) and Muddu Udupi Krishna's amongst their midst and into their mind and hearts!

 

His Holiness' arrival in Australia was an apt 'phala' (reward) to the tireless efforts of SRSS (Shree Raghavendra Seva Samithi, Melbourne Inc, Australia) committee members. SRSS was formed in 2010 by a small group of devout Shree Raghavendra Swami (henceforth addressed as Rayara or Rayaru) devotees to celebrate the greatness of our Guru Rayaru and offer devotional services through monthly bhajans, periodic Ashtotras, and annual Rayara Aradhana celebrations! The word spread quickly and the annual Aradhane celebrations started seeing a swelling number of devotees each year. The committee members had a humble desire to bring Rayaru amongst their midst by establishing a Brundavana in Melbourne. The seed thus sown, their Aradhana celebrations in 2012 saw the highest turnout of devotees (over 400) and highlight was the presence of Shri Prasanna Acharya from Puthige Matha. The committee members made a humble request to Shri Prasanna Acharya to kindly request Sreegalu to visit Australia, which Sreegalu graciously accepted!

 

Sreegalu's visit to Australia had the full blessings of Shree Hari, Vayu and Gurugalu and it is evident by the various incidents leading to this trip. As the team in Melbourne was preparing for Sreegalu's arrival on Saturday (March 30th), the trip itself was in question since the visa was not granted till the last minute. With the blessings of Guru Rayaru, the visas for the entire team were granted on Thursday (Rayara vara) - the last working day before a 4 day Easter holiday for the Australian Consulate. Vayu Devaru or Madhwacharyaru ensured the safe arrival of the entourage on Saturday (Vayu devara vara) which was also Sri Vadirajara Teertha Aradhana day, in time to perform the Mahapooja on Sunday, which was the Aradhana day of Sri Vyasa Teertha (previous avatara of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji).

 

Over the next 2 weeks devotees in Melbourne were completely immersed into a state of bliss or ananda through Darshana, Shravana, Mañana, Chintana, and Bhojana. Devotees opened their mind, hearts, and doors and welcomed Vijaya Vittala and Udupi Krishna into their homes. Every morning and evening devotees participated in Sarvalankara pooje with Vedic chanting, Devranamas, Upadesha from Sreegalu, and Mahaprasada.

 

Sreegalu's discourses were very relevant with simple yet profound messages that applied to all of us in our daily lives. His Holiness made an instant connection with youngsters who attentively listened to his discourses and asked him questions. Sreegalu's discourses on the lessons of Bhagavat Gita, the importance of Yoga, tips for a happy married life, amongst others have left a lasting impression on the devotees. Sreegalu also blessed us with an opportunity to witness Sudarshana Homa and get Mudradharane to purify ourselves on Phalguna Krishna Ekadashi - the first ever Mudradharane in Australia.

 

Every day devotees felt like they were being transported to Udupi or Puthige to witness the elaborate Pooje of Sri Vijaya Vitthala, Udupi Krishna, Sri Danvantri Devaru, Sri Varaha Devaru and other deities.

 

Devotees would like to respectfully recognize and thank Sreegalu’s efficient and energetic team of Shishyas (disciples) who effortlessly and tirelessly moved from one house to another each afternoon and night to ensure the appropriate set up (maadi) for Sreegalu's Pooja.

 

Ø  Sri Vadirajara and Sri Nagendra created a divine atmosphere with their exquisite chanting of the Vedic mantras and melodious and soulful rendering of Devara Namas. It still lingers in our minds every evening.

Ø  Sri Santhosh with his immaculate arrangements ensured a smooth and uninterrupted pooja every time.

Ø  Sri Kodancha's delicious prasada was the ultimate highlight of every afternoon and night and left the ladies wondering on what is his magic recipe.

Ø  Special thanks to Sri Prasanna Acharya for facilitating this historic trip.

Ø  Words cannot express the heartfelt gratitude to Sreegalu for his benevolence on us devotees who live outside India. One can only offer our deepest regards to His Holiness for his selfless and courageous efforts to spread the message of Shree Hari, Vayu, and Gurugalu to the farthest corners of the world. Thanks to His Holiness’ vision and efforts, immigrants like us feel welcomed in foreign lands by the extended family of well-wishers!

 

The pinnacle of Sreegalu's visit was the opportunity to celebrate both Chandramana and Souramana (Lunar and Solar calendar) Yugadi (Hindu New Year) in Melbourne! Sreegalu welcomed the Souramana Yugadi (Solar New Year on April 14th) by performing the auspicious Pavamana Homa on behalf of the devotees! 

 

As Sreegalu himself put it, Vijaya Vithala heralded Vijaya naama samavatsara in the state of Victoria (signifies victory or Vijaya)! This marked a great beginning of the glorious year for us devotees in Melbourne or Vijayanagara in the state of Victoria!

 

I would like to conclude with this thought - 17 days with His Holiness are comparable to 17 chapters of Srimad Bhagawat Gita! I must say that we are thrilled that the 18th chapter is still pending and we look forward to the next visit of His Holiness to continue from where he left!

This is just the beginning!

 

May Victory be to His Holiness Sri Suguneendra Teertha Swamiji!

 

Sanjiv Kulkarni

Melbourne

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