Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang
Jai Sri Krishna.
Bhakti Bharati Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang is highly revered as both an academic scholar and a Sat Guru. My first introduction to my Sat Guru was a series of lecture tapes i purchased at the Vishnu Mandir in Toronto. The discourse was based upon the Srimad Bhagvat Mahapuran. For about a year or so, those tapes were lost in my closet until I discovered them and started listening while I was stuck in New York City's traffic.
Her voice and passion was so strong that it captured my attention instantaneously. I found myself glued to my tape recorder. At times I was amazed at her knowledge and ability to deliver the message of the text. As I've never heard it in such a professional and devotional manner. At times I was smiling, then laughing, then also my eyes were swollen with tears when she spoke about the desire in man to meet his maker. I knew then I must meet this personality.
Five years went by before I could put a face with that voice. But before that, I asked Sri Krishna, please my Lord, my desire is to see this personality and I dreamt her. I didn't pay much attention to the dream until the opportunity came for me to see her for the first time.
It was August of 2000, I went to the Ganesh Temple in Flushing, and for the first time ever, I saw the personality who was going to change my life forever, Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang. My eyes were filled with tears, I had goose bumps all over my body, for it was the same person whom I saw in my dream. I had to make a personal contact.
I wrote her a letter stating my sincere gratitude for the emotions that emanates from listening to her discourse. That feeling of Krishna's love and God's presence in our lives could truly be felt by anyone who would have listened to Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang. I mustered up my courage, and I remembered what she once said...."if you want something, ask for it, for even if u're denied, you would not have any regrets for you made the best of the opportunity to ask."
My humble request to Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang was for her to accept me as a disciple. Nervous indeed I was, but the satisfaction was there that I did ask. Two days later, I received a phone call from Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang. I was invited to the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in New York City and I was accepted as one of her disciple. I now had a Sat Guru. This was the beginning of a new era in my life.
I visited Guruji's ashram in Sriperumbudur 2001 and invited her together with her entire troupe to visit Guyana and she accepted. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. We had record number of devotees who came to listen to Srimad Bhagvat for seven days. More so I believe people were amazed that the Katha was being conducted by a lady. It was truly a wonderful experience.
From then on, I would accompany my Guruji on stage as either her back up singer or panditji. The honor she bestowed upon me was more than expected. I had the privilege being with her in Albany, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Washington, DC and other major cities. But nothing could out number my experience which I had with her in the holy city of Puri at the temple of Lord Jagannath.
In November of 2002, a major changed occurred in my life. I came to accept that no relationship is permanent and I wanted one that would last me a life time and beyond. The only such relationship is with the Lord and with no human being. I decided then to leave the world of relationship and find my eternal companion. Guruji made is very easy for me. On our journey from Puri to Calcutta, Guruji asked me........"Rattan will you ever get married? Son, you need someone in life"........i answered........no guruji. I don't want to get married. She looked at me, then five minutes later she asked me to close my eyes and open the palm of my hands, when I opened my eyes, she had given me a most beautiful murti of Baby Sri Krishna. I cried and I got the message.
Guruji went further to arrange for my studies of the Srimad Bhagvat Mahapurn in Vrindaban. She became my constant supporter. I remember that day when I was alone in a hotel room in Madras with no one to talk to, no one to turn to and then Guruji called. She invited me to Puri and life changed.
Guruji saved my life. She saved my honor. She awakened that interest in me that was truly dormant and that was for the propagation and preservation of Sanatan Dharma. She lit that lamp of faith within me and granted me Krishna Prema.
I see myself as nothing more than a servant. To her yes and to the world. The love of my life and soul is Sri Krishna.
Our famous poet Surdas says:
"Naam rahe hotho pe mere, aik naam bas tera"
Let only your name be upon my lips
"Thake naa kabhi rasna mere, japte tere bol"
Let me never loose the ability to chant your glories
"Prabhu mere antar ke pat khol"
Open my inner self my Master
This is what my Guruji has done for me. I'm truly grateful for without her interest, her blessings, her words of comfort and advice, her stern warnings, I would not be doing what I'm doing today. As unpleasant duty can sometime be, it has it's merits. For once again i quote my guruji: "Duty leads to discipline, discipline leads to systemtic behavior, systematic behavior leads to order and harmony in life." I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to pen my feelings about my Sat Guru, Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang.
With my head at your lotus life feet