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A historic Guru Purnima 1984

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

ON HH 80th birth year rekindling our experience of Sri Appaji then.

As we celebrate Sri Swamiji’s 80th Birthday, we recall this humble, historic event of His mission here on the 13th July 1984, through these old, rare photos of Him at the home of Krishna Kishore Persad, Arima. How His mission has grown, not only here in Trinidad, but worldwide since then!

People often ask why Sri Appaji focussed on Trinidad in the beginning of his foreign mission.

Trinidad is but a mere speck when compared with other countries. He was searching for Sararipu Nadi as mentioned in Brahmanda Purana, rekindling relationships with His 'old souls,' as He called them. New mantras were released here, Om Aim Hreem Shreem Shiva Rama Anagha Dattaya namah for the Jana Samrakshana Vishwa Shanti Yajna in 1995, and Shivaya Rudraya Namaha in 2018 .

The reality is that Trinidad lies close to the 11th parallel (10 deg 30 min north of the equator). In a veiled reference in the Rig Veda, it points to the 11th parallel 11deg north and south of the equator as powerful energy centers for destroying evil as the forces act vertically upwards and can spread easily to other parts of the world. So since the early days he has patiently laid the foundation for Datta Prachar. He always said that Guru Purnima is that special time when energy on earth is high and even plants and animals are rejuvenated.

A blissful Sri Swamiji on his 3rd visit to Trinidad. HH works 'slowly slowly' according to His words.

GURU PURNIMA 1984, Trinidad –a mystical moment in time

In July 1984 our Sadguru Datta Sri Swamiji visited Trinidad. During this third visit, before the Datta Kriya Yoga session in Arima, He had bathed unexpectedly at Tyrico Bay to the great delight of lucky devotees who also went! The next day, 13th July, this most auspicious event took place at Salamat-Ali St, where the first Datta satsanghs were started since 1976 with just a handful of devotees.

Guru Purnima Pada puja

He delivered the following discourse, still enlightening for us all even now, for Guru Purnima in the evening! We are happy to reproduce the salient points in His simple English. A lot of people who attended were completely new, and Sri Appaji came down to our level to reach as many as possible.

“ Sri Ganeshaya Namaha, Sri Saraswatiyai Namaha, Sri Pada Vallabha, Narasimha Saraswat, Sri Guru Dattatreyaya Namaha.”

Four foreigners from Europe join us for Swamiji’s visit-Shivu and Kamala from Germany , Murali and Manu from Switzerland.Here we see Murali from Switzerland, enjoying the Ganapati Homa and satsangh on July 8th.

“In Hindu tradition, each ancient, eternal Scripture teaches about the Lord at different levels, to suit different times. Veda describes the Supreme Lord’s Creation. Nature itself represents such a Creation. The Puranas are spiritual stories, not dramas that teach us through stories. Upanishads teach Brahma Veda, Creation, Nature. There are 108 most important Upanishads, that talk about Vedanta. They represent our Source. Vyasa wrote so many works on Brahma Jnana. His Gurus, Sanaka, Sananda... --all Gurus-- teach Upanishads. Gurus teach disciples about Vratas, Upasanas, for knowledge, for meditation. Some gurus follow certain rules, some Sannyasis practise certain rituals, Tyaga, mouna, etc.--different spiritual methods.”


Evening satsangh. Late Krishna Kishore Persad the host for that occasion is seen here in the foreground. Devotees are mainly from Princes Town, Diego Martin, Arima.

“ Today honours the Adiguru, today is Dattatreya’s birthday. Under the Star named Kritika He incarnated first, as Adiguru. Then He incarnated 16 more times, in various rupas/forms He appeared.…. Today is also Vyasa’s birthday. Today is our spiritual birthday, not only to do yagna, but to pray to Lord Dattatreya for Light, the Light of Atman. As Dattatreya, the Lord Brahma creates, Vishnu protects and Maheshwara destroys our sins. We always commit sins because of the five elements in our body. It is all His leela, sometimes, each action is either good or bad, because we are are ignorant for some reason, so we commit sins. Lord Dattatreya always helps us. We are all akhanda, part of the Supreme One Being or God. Now we must go to knowledge of God through His Grace.”

Guru the best doctor

HH travelled with his cassio in those days.

“We have sometimes desires, avidya or ego, ignorance or karma/wrong actions, because in our body, we want, we want….We are searching for a good doctor, to give that knowledge that we need. The Guru is the best doctor. Sometimes we get good doctor, sometimes it is our karma, getting worse with a doctor. Sometimes the doctor has name and fame but if he diagnoses wrongly, it’s our own karma. We suffer. That’s why Swamiji’s method is good as it’s not always we need a doctor. If you going somewhere, then there’s a signpost showing north or south, so Swamiji the Guru is like that signpost, (showing the way )even if we are going with our own car, our own karma. A doctor shows us what is the disease but it’s up to our karma if we are cured or not."

Guru our life gardener

"Guru is our life gardener also. He wants good flowers, as that’s his duty, his dharma. We are like small plants almost dying. The farmer becomes unhappy and uses so many methods like Guru uses so many pujas, homas, bhajans etc, because our karma desires are strong in our heart. One devotee asks today 'I want enlightenment, good knowledge' but, did not practise. It is very difficult to practise, not easy. There are so many gurus, doctors who operate like a business, but that is not the good way. Anyway, without service, without pain, the devotee wants an easy method. I said to that devotee, “ I don’t know any easy method."

Guru -- the best doctor

"Do service, with no second thought, pray. Swamiji always talks heart to heart. In India also sometimes only a silent doctor sometimes He’s giving lectures. What kind of Pain? What kind of devotion you have? There are so many kinds of knowledge, service or pain, so many ways to pray. We like ignorance, avidya, because karma also is easy, very quick!"

"But spiritual knowledge is NOT QUICK. Like a cow going from grass to grass, we are going from guru to guru, searching, searching, and at the end of life we are still hungry. Our time is finished with us in many good dramas.”

Don’t ask—search within yourself

Late Doolchan Ramdatt of Princess Town who played a major part in Datta Prachar in his area and the southland.

"'What kind of Guru is this one?’ We always question, always. Then the time passes, some live for 80 years, some 90, maybe a few for 100 years. If we have someone in the family 100 years old, then he is like an exhibition. It is very common, the family uses his life as a showpiece!"

Late Chanwattee Ramdatt who captured Sri Swamiji heart by the strength of her devotion. In front is Vishnu Ramdatt now a stalwart of the Princess Town Sri Datta Temple.

"It's a rare thing to live so long-- assuming that a person lives for 5 years in sleep, 12 years with no responsibilities, then at 38 the man wants a good job, marriage, children, he wants to be a big businessman, with 2-3 wives, or she wants 4 husbands. At 40 years old, he gets back pain, thinking, thinking, thinking, ‘My son not good, I have no bank balance, my wife not good, worrying, complaining, both old or young.’ At 70 years, old age, he can’t sit, so knowledge comes only for last 10 years, when he can’t hear, can’t see, mind is not clear!"

Enlightenment not a gift "Which time is good for spiritual pursuits, knowledge? No time, because he overworked! Which part of our life we allotted for spiritual improvement? No time, so now, pray to Lord Dattatreya because we want Light of knowledge! Enlightenment is not a gift, not something given. It is Realisation of your True Self!”

Complete self-surrender and selfless service to Guru essential

Late Mr. Roderick Noel, (center) who helped also with bringing Sri Swamiji to Trinidad, is in the middle. Sri Swamiji made a visit to his home also on this visit. When he had gone to Mysore for the Guru Birthday Celebrations in May, Mr. Noel had issued a formal invitation to Sri Swamiji to return in July. He had also taken copies of ’42 Stories’, published here in English for the Datta Peetham. As our Sadguru was 42 years in 1984 , this was to commemorate His birthday. This was followed by the printing of ‘Dattatreya the Absolute’ here in Trinidad in July 1984, to Sri Swamiji’s great delight.

"When the person who seeks it has surrendered his ego to Guru and deserves it, through complete self-surrender and service to Guru, service without any selfish desire, then he gets Self-Realization. The more you ask, the further away you go. Don’t ask, search within yourself! “

Strive for Datta’s Light with patience

Peter Seglias (standing) Anthony Alphonse (next to him) Krishna Kesore Persad (center front, deceased) and Michael James( right front. Key players in advancing HH mission in early days.

“So Lord Dattatreya’s Light we want! We must strive for it!

“Mother knows when to give the baby, and what to give, and will not feed the baby each time it cries. So Swamiji will not answer each time you ask for enlightenment. Some say, ‘I don’t want puja, I want Self –realization.” But wait with patience. Practise! After a bhajan session a devotee may consider himself very special. He may ask others to do a certain activity, but maybe feels it’s not important for him to do, not related to self-realization. It’s a blunder!”

“Guru Purnima, irrespective of proximity to Guru, you can receive His blessings. Develop yourself spiritually. But now you are here physically so it’s my duty to bless you anyway! You all want sweets from Swamiji? It’s the normal custom in India for Guru to share sweets on Guru Purnima.”

Datta Sadguru shares Datta mithai--Light of knowledge

Peter Seglias called Manu by HH

Devotees led by Sri Ramesh, and Manu from Switzerland on keyboard, and Sheshi on tabla, then sing ‘Guru ke samana nahi,’, and Swamiji leads the chanting afterwards, ‘Jaya Guru Datta, Sri Guru Datta’, before sharing sweets personally to everyone. Devotees have to tell him ‘Jaya Guru Datta’, before He gives them with His own hands! Everyone leaves with a smile on face and with blessings of Light from Swamiji in body, heart and mind on our first Guru Purnima in Trinidad with Him!

Jaya Guru Datta Sri Guru Datta

We dedicate this Article and videoclip to our Beloved Sri Appaji for Guru Purnima. Thankful Pranams to Your Lotus Feet Appaji, with Love, THDM team.

Sri Guru Datta!

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Jul 08, 2022

Jaya Guru Datta! Amazing! Goosebumps moment! So thrilling to read about HH's visit to Trinidad for Guru Purnima, 1984. Although it is not surprising, but HH travels any far for the sake of his devotees, His souls. Blessed are we, Datta devotees for spending our lives so fruitfully, with Appaji! For us, every moment is a celebration. Why not! When Datta himself is in our lives, what is it that we have to worry for? There is just pure happiness and bliss! May we continue to grow more and more, closer to His heart, every single moment! Datta Appaji ki Jai!

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