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At the passing of an Avadootha.

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Remembering and honouring Sri Narahari Teertha Swami

Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji’s father's Aradhana, i.e. the day he merged with Datta Parameshwara, is on Shukla Ashtami Shravan Masa and comes this year 15 Aug 2021.

Appaji reflects:

Photo Credit : Sheetal Persad

“…He was my father. Mother was alone in nature when she gave birth in a valley, seated in a cave on the edge of Kaveri River. The tribal folk said they saw the child in the water and retrieved him. They said they saw two babies and retrieved only one from the water. One grandmother of the jungle tribe at age 99 recently passed away with the secret she never disclosed to anyone about Swamiji’s birth… (was I an Ayonija or a Yonija )….”

Sri Gandluru Narasimha Sastry (his name before he became a Sannyasi in his advanced years…) was a calm and unperturbed man by nature. He became short tempered for some time even after his marriage to Sri JayalakshmiMata, then later, became calm again….He loved music….He was not trained as a priest but the need was there for a priest in that region, consisting of many villages. So he assumed that post for preserving Dharma. Serving the community sincerely, he won the respect and trust of the people. He would ride a horse between twenty-two villages to serve as a priest. Mother told him not to bring home any gifts offered by his clients. He had to bathe before entering the home. Father distributed all the gifts such as rice, and clothes (sometimes a cow) and bathed then entered the home. Mother followed the austerity of not accepting gifts. Father followed suit….”

“…Today it is Tatagaru’s (Father’s) Punya Smarana’s Day (Day of remembrance). I must recollect some events….He owned some fertile lands but never attended to them. If the farmers brought any produce or harvest on their own, he accepted, but never demanded from them….Later, when I was living in Kasare, a residential colony, I saw him again. Kesare means mud. Lotuses live in mud. I took up a job in a Post Office because I wanted to be a Karma Yogi. I never attended much to the postal work….I was riding a bicycle those days….I walked to Manasa Datta’s home to receive Pada Puja. Today I ride in a Mercedes car and an aircraft. It is not a big thing. It is silly of you to applaud for that. I also go by dream, mentally, without a body also. For this you do not applaud….This distinguishes your knowledge and ignorance. Swamiji speaks in the same breath about what is important and what is unimportant. That is Maya. Applaud now. This you must notice….”

“…On 25 May 1966, the new Ashram was entered….I was remembering my father a lot at that time. I asked everyone, ‘How is my son Narasimha Sastry?’ Everyone got confused. Who is the son here and who is the father? I had to send for him to spend some time with me. One day, he told me he wished to become a Sannyasi….He did not ask that I should initiate him. He wished for it. I did not offer to initiate him. I was not prepared for it. I said, “Yes. You may take up Sannyasa Deeksha”….He wanted to be initiated by a direct disciple of Sringeri Math, but he knew such a one would not be willing, so we searched for a disciple of a disciple of Sringeri Math. It was a challenge. There was a sacred Centre called Siddha Ganga. Swayambhu Shiva Lingam is there…A tapaswi (an ascetic) was there who would not speak but throw stones and hit you when you approach him.”

An extraordinary Avadhoota

“ More than me, it appeared as if my father was an Avadhoota. It took fifteen days to convince this tapsvi, after sharing many details about Swamiji’s Life History….He was somehow brought to Swamiji and gave Sannyas Deeksha to Narasimha Sastry who was already in his 80s. He insisted that the initiation should occur in Kaveri River….So we took him to a small tributary of the River Kaveri and set up a small Ashram there. The blind ascetic was very short tempered and could detect everything by smell…. The ritual was conducted in a very sacred and private manner. After giving the deeksha he decided to leave to an unknown place to relinquish his body. He would not accept anything—no food, no prostrations. We believed that he was Lord Dattatreya Himself. We left him where we found him. It was a wonderful incident.”

Last years in Mysore Ashram

“Narahari Teertha was 99 when he left his body ten years after receiving the Deeksha. He wished to stay in the kottam (thatched hut). I protested that there were no amenities there. Tatagaru got all the qualities of his guru. He would ask that he stay with his daughter then change his mind again. His changing demands were in the extreme. Only Swamiji could deal with and satisfy his demands. He loved me very deeply.”

“Son, I have brought 3 lakhs to give you," he would announce in public in front of thousands of persons. Not money, only Siva Mantra Japa count…He would give me the fruit of all his prayers. Another time he would say he is giving me 11 lakhs. It would be the count of another Japa of his. People thought it was money he was giving me. Kali Yuga….Sometimes terrible moods he would go into, my father….it was very tough to serve him. He is like the Avadhoota you read about in books….He tormented only me. At midnight he would insist that he needs a specific type of trunk and persisted till he got it….Bring this. Bring that. Non-available items. … He declared to me many times, “I scolded them nicely.” He would then laugh about it. Everyone respected, loved and feared Tatagaru…. He was always like my friend. We were not like father and son. Always smiling, eager for Swamiji’s Darshan….”

In Padmasana, the position of Mahatmas

A week before he died, he said to his daughter, “If one dies lying down, it becomes difficult to place the body in Padmasana.” At that destined time, He sat in the lotus position. “Namah Shivaya,”he said. That was it…. He left his body in that position and was buried like that. He kept a smiling face. Natural look, no distortion. Very remarkable and indescribable….Just to be instrumental in my birth, he assumed this body. He always lives in my heart. He has reached the highest state…. I pray to him now to bless and grant it to all the devotees….”

These Saints and yogis are never cremated but buried in salt in a sitting position.

( Extract from Pujya Datta Sadguru Sri Appaji’s discourse in Frisco, Texas, U.S.A.,2015)

Harry Roodal's experience:

In the DYC Ashrama in Trinidad, Harry and Roma Roodal are amongst the longest, hardworking, silent devotees of Sri Swamiji. They built Guru Nilayam under his instruction and have maintained it to date. Many devotees are given help by them silently and they are often the hidden hand behind many successful projects in the Ashrama. Only many lives of association with Sadguru can bring about this kind of implicit love and devotion. That is why during his first trip to Mysore, Appaji told that only those who have a close connection with HIS Tataji were destined to be present at his last rites.

In 1991, my family and I visited Mysore Ashram for the first time. We had no idea that we would witness the funeral rites of Sri Swamiji's father, Sri Narasimha Sastry . That morning, after Puja we were later informed to gather near the Audumbara tree and await Sri Swamiji's arrival with his deceased father. Many devotees were feeling sad out of sympathy for our Sadguru, while those who knew him better were grieving at his passing, and there was a kind of subdued air of silence prevailing, even though some devotees were bustling about busy preparing for the rituals.

On that fateful day, Sri Swamiji appeared serious, and withdrawn. He had secretly been expecting it because He had declined all travel for awhile especially abroad. He told this later, and so He had stayed in the Ashram for that year. Sri Narasimha Sastry was placed, still in the sitting position that he had passed away in, leaning against the Audumbara tree. Rituals were performed by Sri Swamiji and his close relatives. This was followed by all devotees coming, one by one, to lovingly offer their respects to the departed soul. Though I was somewhat bewildered, I now count myself fortunate to be among them.

When the rituals were completed, Sri Swamiji summoned me under the Audumbara and He softly informed me that He knew we had a meeting with Him later that day. Yet, with such compassion in His eyes and voice He was asking me what He should do! My reply to Him was that our meeting was not important at this time, and rituals and arrangements for His father were far more important. I was saddened like many other devotees there, knowing that His father had physically gone from His life and ours! Now, however, I prostrate to him and to my Sadguru with love and gratitude, because with Sri Swamiji sharing some of His special moments with His earthly father, He brings alive his extraordinary personality to us through His discourses. I have a better understanding and feel blessed to have been in the Ashram when he was there, if even it was for a short time. High souls like Narasimha Sastry definitely transcend time!

Sri Guru Datta

In Sadguru Seva

Harry Roodal

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