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Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Susan Mahabir shares a few of her memories of how Appaji has brought her family and her close to HIM. As the years rolled by Appaji has become an integral part of her life and the great joy and peace she has experienced is as a result of serving with her Datta family both in the DYC Ashrama and in the wider community.

‘You must listen my music’ - ‘You must continue seva.’ These are the instructions from my Guru, for me. Those words resonated in my mind for many years—and they still do--- but only as time passed I realized how much they have helped me to become a stronger person, a better devotee and brought my family and me closer to Swamiji.

My husband and I came to know of Swamiji in 1994, just a few years after we were married, but there seems to have been a connection before that. When I was 17 years I started my first summer job where I met a very pleasant woman, who, in spite of always being well attired for work, would always wear vibhooti on her forehead. One day she shared her experience on meeting a Swami who came to Trinidad from India and he had told her of her past life. I thought how fascinating that was and I would have liked to have met this Swami. One day after I got married, I saw an advertisement of Swamiji coming to Trinidad and at the time I knew nothing about Swamiji but somehow I felt it was the same Swami the lady had told me about and thought it would have been nice to have gone. Many years later, I met her during one of Swamiji’s visits. Only then I realized that she really was related to one of the earlier Trustees.

After 4 years of marriage, we were going through some challenging times with family relationships, so a devotee whom my husband knew for many years advised we should come to this Ashram, the Dattatreya Yoga Centre and do morning Pujas and Abhishekams. He told us that these pujas would help with the problems. That’s where we met Pundit Boloji performing morning Abhisheka and Pujas to Lord Dattatreya. We had never heard of Lord Datta before and these pujas were different-- even the prayers and bhajans were difficult to comprehend and pronounce, especially the Sanskrit ones. So much to take in but with bittersweet confusion, we persisted with devotion, and later learnt many devotees had also felt the same at first. Soon, we observed that little by little our problems were being resolved.

Chanting 'Datta Raksha Mantra'

In those early days we only attended the Temple when Swamiji visited but when Swamiji launched ‘Om Aim Hreem Shreem Shiva Rama Anagha Dattaya Namaha’ Mantra, we joined a group of devotees who went to other devotees’ homes for satsang, promoting the Mantra given by Swamiji. Though we were fairly new to Swamiji’s bhajans and satsanghs, we felt energized, peaceful and found we were drawn more and more to Swamiji. During that time I became pregnant with my first son in 1995 and about a year and a half later, with my second son. We had our first interview with Swamiji and I can still remember how ecstatic that was, Swamiji was in peachy orange sari. He smiled, looked at Kumar and said, “So many questions.” Kumar had had questions in His mind, but somehow, could not ask even one at that time. I can’t describe how I felt, so many emotions passing quickly through me, that I can’t even express. That was when Swamiji told me, “You must listen My music.” I could not even respond, just nodded as I was floating in His divine bliss, and could not even think!

The Datta Guru, Sri Swamiji, grants us the boon to do seva

Kumar started the boys off in regular seva from an early age

Afterwards, we started attending regular Sunday morning programs and I got the opportunity to assist Dr. Renuka Deonarine in the Medical Clinic. My children were quite young then and I wondered how would I cope with this responsibility but it wasn’t long after that, my husband and both my sons also got a chance to do Seva assisting in the pundit area. During one of Swamiji’s visits, He came to the Medical Clinic and on His way out He turned and said to me firmly, His voice seeming extremely powerful, “You must continue Seva.” Somehow, I was elated on hearing those words.

Kitchen seva --a challenge overcome with Sadguru's blessing

It wasn’t too long afterwards that I started to assist also in the Kitchen and was very happy to do so, but, I soon learnt the hard way, that it takes a different kind of strength to be in the Kitchen when Swamiji is in the Ashram. I would feel a certain magnetism pulling me to be in His physical Presence whenever He visited. But now I had to be in the kitchen, so it took me awhile before I could come to terms with it, and after struggling with this attachment to His physical Presence, I feel now He has brought me closer and made me realise that serving in the kitchen is also yoga, and devotion to Him. This kitchen seva was certainly a great challenge for me at first but with Swamiji’s Grace I overcame it.

Swamiji’s music heals me

One of my earliest experiences with Swamiji was through His healing music. You may have heard that many people are healed through Swamiji’s music but I certainly never thought I would experience that! In the early 2000’s during one of Swamiji’s visit I had a dental surgery and was unable to eat solid food because it was very painful. That happened to be a most stressful period for me in other ways too. During Swamiji’s healing concert at the Ashram I began to feel a tingling on my face where the pain was and through my ear I felt like a thread was being pulled from it and the pain started to disappear. I couldn’t believe it as tears ran profusely down my face. I started biting my teeth together harder and harder in disbelief to ensure what I thought was happening was really true! But to my great surprise, it was really true---- the pain had gone! So my faith in Swamiji became strengthened with this. I felt He was the One who had healed me.

My husband Kumar was sitting next to me asked what was wrong, if I was ok, and I just nodded but couldn’t stop the tears. After the program I went and had my first real meal in days and then shared my experience with Kumar and my brother.

Swamiji truly knows our thoughts

We have heard devotees say that Swamiji knows our thoughts. This happened when Swamiji launched the Shata Sloki Ramayana. There was a rush by everyone, including me, to get a copy of the CD, and I was feeling happy to buy one. However, a couple days later, Swamiji had just finished Sri Chakra Puja. He is returning to the house so as usual everyone follows him. I am standing next to the staircase. Just then an announcement is made : "Anyone buying the CD now will get to meet Swamiji and get the CD directly from His hands." I stand there looking on and feeling most regretful, thinking if I had waited I would have had been able to meet Swamiji. Sadness comes over me suddenly. As Swamiji is proceeding upstairs, just as He passes me, He turns, and places His finger on my shoulder. I was dumbfounded. So many emotions flowed at the same time and everything just seemed to become still in that moment as I bowed my head towards Swamiji. ‘He knows, He knows how I am feeling!’ Afterwards my feelings and thoughts of disappointment were no more; I was completely filled with deep contentment instead!

Mysore at last

In 2012 my family and I were fortunate to join a group of devotees to go to Mysore for the consecration of Sri Hanuman Murti. We also visited the birth place of Swamiji and Jayalakshmi Maata and other sites spoken of in Swamiji’s Biography.

2012 in India was just thrilling and super.

The following particular events stood out for me during this trip. Going to Mekadatu was a long trip but well worth it, such peace and bliss! Such a sacred place. I strongly was feeling---- after reading about the wonderful experiences and penance of Jayalakshmi and the miraculous birth of Swamiji, --that I was actually stepping into this history at Brahmakund and the small Temple where Jayalakshmi had worshipped! I felt deeply connected to her.

Birthplace of my beloved Sadguru

Then when we went to Jayalakshmi Puram, for some reason, I was the first person to jump out of the bus and just at the entrance I saw a lady in a sari standing there. I froze! I just felt for a second, "Jayalakshmi Maa! ” To me, she looked just like Jayalakshmi Maa! All my hair stood on edge until she smiled and said “ Jaya Guru Datta,” and later I found out that she was Swamiji’s niece! That moment however, stays with me, so real it was! We spent the night and the next morning there was a wedding at the Ashram, and my husband took the opportunity to teach the South Indians how to dance Tassa Trini Style…. It was a fun-filled moment for all present!

The next exhilarating, unforgettable event was Christmas morning when Trinidad Devotees had to sing for Swamiji. We sang bhajans as Swamiji performed Sri Chakra Puja. As we started to sing ‘Guru Ek Deepa Hai’, Swamiji concluded puja. He turned to face us and wiped His eye, and tears just flowed down my face --it was so electrifying and blissful! I looked around at the other devotees and saw that they were also tearful with joy, like me, as we poured our hearts out in that bhajan to our beloved SadGuru. I will always remember this trip as one of the most beautiful experiences in my life.

Healing power

Just after Bala Swamiji’s visit in 2019 I got a Cyst and it became inflamed. As a result I had high fever and was in pain. During the night I was restless and unable to sleep well. That night I dreamt we were at the Ashram and someone said Swamiji was here. All I remember asking ‘Is it Bala Swamiji or Swamiji?’ and then I saw Swamiji standing and began to feel a throbbing sensation where the cyst was. After that when I woke up in the morning, the pain was gone and I started to press on it to make sure. It was gone in truth!

Swamiji saves my sister

In early 2020 I was unwell and my sister who lives abroad, was coming to look after me. When she arrived as I hugged her she suddenly burst into tears as she told me “ Swamiji saved us.” Then she related that during her flight there was a terrible turbulence so much that she felt the plane was going to split! As everyone started to scream and panic she pulled the blanket over her face and started to pray to Swamiji asking Him to please keep her safe to be able to take care of me. Within a few minutes, the turbulence began to subside. Somehow Swamiji kept her focused on Him to be able to pray during that ordeal, so terrifying for everyone on board the flight! Needless to say, we all also felt grateful to Swamiji.

Swamiji is living in His picture

Our photo of Swamiji on our altar always seems so truly alive that my sister once asked me if she was imagining it but she was feeling that Swamiji’s eyes follow her every movement! I just smiled because I knew exactly what she was talking about! We had Satsang at my home and this picture was placed on the stage. It came as no surprise when a young member of the ‘Datta Kirtan Mandali’ said he saw Swamij’s eyes in the photo looking around.

When I look back at the past 20 plus years of my life it has been filled with activities surrounding Swamiji and I bow down to Him over and over, feeling that my whole family belongs to Him. My husband and the young men (no longer boys)and I are still grateful and happy to serve Him wherever and whenever we can. He has brought good changes in us without our even being aware of when He did so! Swamiji has helped me to grow spiritually, to have a harmonious family life and to excel professionally! ! pray to remain always His servant, yet His child as well!

Avinash and Vickash all grown up.

We all are extremely happy and truly blessed to be part of the Datta Family.

Jai Guru Datta.

Loving Pranams

Susan and family.

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