Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sri G. Venkannaiah

Sri G. Venkannaiah.
(Founder of Sri Brahmachaithanya Sri Rama Mandir,Chintamani)
Sri G. Venkannaiah,(1885 to 1969) is a direct disciple of Gondavalekar Sri Brahma chaithanya Maharaj. He belonged to a place called Ganjur, near Chintamani, about 75 kms from Bangalore. This is an attempt to tell how he came into contact with Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj.
Sri G.Venkannaiah,was the eldest son of Sri Timmappaiah and Smt.Putta Lakshmma . Sri Timmappaiah was a teacher. He had lands in Ganjur village near Chintamani.. Venkannaiah studied civil engineering in Govt. Engineering School in Mysore. He was appointed as Sub-Overseer in the Government public works department of old Mysore State. In 1913 he had been transferred to Chikkanayakana halli Taluk. He was posted to supervise the construction of a tank in Malligere village,about 22 miles from Chikkanayakana halli. to supervise the construction of a tank.
One day, in November,1913, during lunch break, when Venkannaiah was meditating on Sri Ram, sitting under a tree, he heard a big shout of “Maha Purush, Maha Purush”. When he opened his eyes, he saw a Saint standing with two disciples, before him. When Venkannaiah prostrated before him, the Saint asked him to come to Gondavale (Gondavalyaave), and vanished immediately. Sri Venkannaiah did not know what was said as he did not know Marathi. So, he noted it down in his dairy. In the evening, he returned to Chikkanayakanahalli, where he was residing. One of his friends who knew Marathi, said the word expressed by the saint was, “ come to Gondavale”. But, neither Sri Venkannaiah nor his friends knew where Gondavali was. That night he dreamt of a Sri Vaishnava reading Bhagavadgita, and some one pointed out to him that his doubts will be cleared by the Sri Vaishnava. A few days later, when he was returning from the morning walk, he suddenly came across the Sri Vaishnava of his dream, coming in opposite direction. Sri Rangachar, that was his Name, took Sri Venkannaiah to his home. After learning about his experience, Sri Rangachar, went to the pooja room, closed the door, and sat for meditation. Sri Rangachar, was a yogi, and after an hour, he came out from the Pooja room, and told Sri Venkannaiah that the Saint who gave him darshan was Sadguru Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj of Gondavale. He said, that he met Sri Maharaj, in his meditation and Sri Maharaj asked both of them to go to Gondavale. He told that Gondvale was a place in Maharashtra, and explained the route to reach the place. Both, Sri Venkannaiah and Sri Rangachar started for Gondavale with in 8 days. When they reached the place, some of the devotees staying there told them that Sri Maharaj had cancelled his programme of going to some other place stating that he has to meet two devotees from a far off place, on that day. They had a nice welcome and they were allotted a room to stay.
In the morning, Venkannaiah, who was standing behind the group of devotees surrounding Sri Maharaj, was called by Sri Maharaj .
Sri Maharaj initiated him to Ram-nam, by whispering the Taraka Mantram in his ear.. He asked him to do: 1. Do Namasmarana without break. 2. Spread or propagate Rama-nama. 3. Construct a small Ram-Mandir.4. Carry on Upasana.
Sri Venkannaiah returned to his place and started his Anusthan. After a month, Sri Venkannaiah received a telegram intimating Sri Maharaj’s departure from his mortal body. Immediately, he went to Gondavale and participated in the funeral ceremony.
Sri Venkannaiah, who was in the Government service, could not plan to construct the Sri Rama Mandir early, as he was being transferred from place to place. But, he did Bhajans and japaanusthan and pooja to Sadguru paduka, at home. He participated during functions in Gondavale and he even went to functions arranged by Sri Brahmanand Maharaj in Venkatapur and Beladadhi. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj used to call him ‘Mysore Buva’.
Where ever he was transferred on duty, many friends of those places, became devotees of Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj. Later on, when he was transferred to Chintamani, his work was in many surrounding places like Hindiganal, Jangamakote, Sidlaghatta, etc where his devotion to Sri Maharaj, secured him many followers,
In the year 1939, a garbha gudi and a hall with thatched roof was constructed in the site previously bought for constructing Mandir, and pooja was carried on with photos of Sri Ram and Sri Maharaj, and Sri Sadguru Padaka.
Then, on 13-6-49, the marble idols of Sri Ram, Lakshman, Seetha, Maruthi and Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj, were installed in the divine presence of Sri Tatya Saheb Ketkar Maharaj, and Sri Kundagol Narayanappa Maharaj.
Since then Anusthan is being carried on. In early days, with a view of Annadaan, Mandir provided weekly Meals ( vaaraanna) for different students, hailing from different places, studying in Chintamani. His desire of starting a Vidyaarthi Nilaya (Student’s Hostel) was carried out in 1966, by his youngest brother Sri G. Honnappa..
He left his mortal coil on 13-4-1969.

He led a saintly life that inspired many to take up Ram-nam.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Foreword to the PRAVACHANS by Prof.K.V.Belsare


Learned persons delivering discourses on spiritual matters are quite popular in Maharashtra. There are three types among them. The first type consists of liberated souls or persons who have attained self-realization; the second consists of seekers, studying the spiritual sciences on their path to attain self-realization and the third includes professionals in this field. Shri Maharaj belonged to the first type. These discourses have been delivered by Shri Maharaj for the benefit of those who were keen to lead a spiritually rich life, full of internal happiness and contentment, therein explaining what is a spiritually rich life and simple ways of attaining the same.
We take immediate care of our body if it suffers from any disease. In fact we are dwelling in this body. Our mind is closer to ourselves than the body. The mind usually suffers due to sorrow, worry, fear and temptation. As a result, we lose mental peace and happiness. In spite of this, we do not care for the health of our mind. Observing that we do not even try to find- a way for a healthy mental life, Shri Maharaj felt compassion. It is this compassion which gave birth to these discourses. Just as diseases damage the physical body, the human mind is devitalized by desires, anger, avarice, hatred, envy, worldly fame, selfishness, suspicion and perverse thinking and one becomes restless or perturbed. Shri Maharaj has explained through .these discourses in extremely simple language, how to purify our mind from these undesirable factors and make it healthy to lead a relaxed, peaceful and benevolent life. Externally medicines' and internally life-force are needed for the cure of body diseases. For the cure of diseases of the mind, a constant remembrance of God and a profound internal faith in God or sadguru are required.
The name of God stores in itself remembrance of Him. The confluence of name of God and faith in Him gives rise to devotion to God. Devotion means fondness for God and fondness means intense love. The intense love to God or sadguru is an elixir which is a storehouse of great energy. This elixir of intense love reaches the bottom of the mind and by destroying the layer of ignorance existing there, embraces the pure self. It removes all the obstacles on the path of God-realization. These discourses contain extremely clear and dependable guidelines for achieving that intense divine love.
Shri Maharaj used to say that in the heart of every human being is hidden a spot of mystic beauty, the lustre of which never withers, the flavour of which is never spoiled. With the help of God's name human being can reach it. The joy arising out of its vision gives divine light. The person then reaches the timeless stage. Death, ignorance, sorrow find no place in his life. There is no limitation or dependence for him. Shri Maharaj used to stress that everyone has a right to

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gondavale (Budruk) of Sri Maharaj


Gondavale (Budruk) is a small town with a population of about 6,000, in Satara District in Maharashtra, about 64 kilometres from Satara, on Satara­Pandharpur road.
The nearest International airport is at Bombay, and the nearest National airport is at Pune. The distance from Bombay to Gondavale by road, via Pune, is approximately 340 km, Pune being about 160 km away from Gondavale. There are a number of daily bus services operated by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation from Pune to Gondavale or beyond. The journey takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes. It is possible to make a one day return journey from Pune. Bus services are also available from Bombay, Sangli, Solapur, Pandharpur, Karad, Thane, Satara etc. There is no rail connection direct to Gondavale, The nearest railway station is Koregaon on Pune-Miraj line, which is 47 km away from Gondavale.
The Samadhi Mandir of Shri Maharaj, the place where he was cremated, is about 200 meters from the bus stand of Gondavale. The sacred Samadhi is in the basement, and on the floor above it, the idol of Shri Gopalkrishna is installed, symbolising that the place was originally a stable of cows. Shri Maharaj was very much devoted to cows and had expressed his wish to rest there. In this campus surrounding the Samadhi Mandir, are the temple of Shri Aaisaheb, the second consort of Shri Maharaj, meditation halls, stable of cows, kitchen hall, book-shop, etc.
The daily programme in the Samadhi Mandir begins at 4-45 am. with prayers, and continues almost throughout the day with a variety of prayers, recitations and periods of nama-smarana, till about 9-45 pm.
Besides the daily routine, special celebrations are held on the following occasions - (Month and date as observed at Pandharpur)-­
(1) Shri Rama navami-Chaitra Shuddha 1 to 9 (Approx - March-April).
(2) Shri Guru Pournima- Vyasa Puja-Ashadha Shuddha 8 to 15 (Approx.
(3) Janmashtami. - Gokul Ashtami - Shravana Vadya Krishna Bahula 1 to 8 (Approx. August- Sept.).
(4) Shri Maharaj Punyatithi - Departure Day Anniversary. Margashirsha
Vadya Krishna - Bahula 1 to 10 (Approx, December - January)
There is usually a very large turn out of devotees during the above festivals, especially, Guru Pournima and Shri Maharaj Punyatithi. There are frequent and regular visitors on each Thursday and Pournima (full moon) day.
The devotees belong to all strata of society and they are from all castes and other religions also.
Nearby, in the town, is the house where Shri Maharaj was born and lived. The idols of Shri Rama, Laxman and Seeta were installed by Shri Maharaj himself, and were a part of his residence, and the place is called 'Elder' Ram Mandir. It completed hundred years of its existence in 1992 and the temple has been beautifully renovated on the occasion. Shri Maharaj had great devotion and love for these idols. He had the firm conviction and faith that they were not idols but God Himself. He always used to earnestly urge everybody to see 'his' Rama first on a visit to Gondavale.
In addition to the above, the town has other three temples established by Shri Maharaj, like the 'Younger' Ram Mandir, Shri Datta Mandir, Shri Shani Mandir. The idols of Shri Vitthal-Rakhumai, the deity of Pandharpur, found by the grand- father of Shri Maharaj by the grace of God through a vision, are also in the same campus around the 'Elder' Rama Mandir.
Shri Maharaj had made his will for the management and maintenance of these sacred places. According to this the Board of Trustees is looking after these places.
Shri Maharaj was very particular during his life time, not to demand, not even to expect anything from the visiting devotees or for that matter from anyone. On the contrary, he saw to it that everybody visiting him was fed properly without any distinction. His only expectation from the visitors was that they pick up and adhere to chanting of nama. By the grace of Shri Maharaj, this tradition has been maintained till today. Strict punctuality in the programmes, voluntary services of all kinds by the devotees and the overall discipline based on mutual respect, love and understanding are some unique features of Gondavale.
The climate of Gondavale is hot in the summer months and moderate in most part of the remaining months. However, during December- January it is quite cold and woolens are required. Rains are scanty and usually occur in August-September.

Discourses, by Shri Sadguru Brahmachaithanya Maharaj (Gondavalekaar)

By the Grace of Sri Maharaj, all the day to day Pravachans have been posted.
Any reader can now go to the Pravachan of the Day by clicking on the Sri Brahmacaithanya Pravachans on the left top. Also, there is a Sri Brahmachaithanya Grid, which also enables the reader to go to the Pravachan of any day by clicking on the date of the callendar.
I wish to thank Sri G.S. Gokhale for compiling Sri Maharaj's Pravachans in to a book form. The Pravachans given in this blog are only copy of the Book 'Discoursses by Shri Sadguru Brahmachaitanya Maharaj (Gondavalekar) compliled by Shri G.S.Gokhale with a foreword by Prof.K.V.Belsare. English rendering done by : Shri V.C.Kelkar, Shri N.S.Jamadagni, Shri S.C. Marathe and Shri V.T. Jumde.

The Preface by the author is also posted here.


With great good fortune, I got access to the notes, made by some devotees, of the discourses of Shri Maharaj delivered in Marathi. I was charmed by the simplicity of language, the depth of thought, the straightforwardness arising from pure selflessness and direct experience, the skill of explaining abstruse propositions with the use of easy but appropriate illustrations, and words overflowing with love of God. I felt sure that this invaluable treasure would provide guidance to everyone, and so I found myself compiling these notes. In this undertaking, I received encouragement of revered Shri Tatyasaheb Ketkar, my respected father Shri Panditrao Gokhale, and some brother devotees. It took the present form of a page for daily reading, and saw the light of day in 1966.
Readers favorably responded to these Discourses, due to the simple, practical approach and the relief they bestowed on the mind in the turmoil and confusion caused by individual problems. In many cases, the life-style of readers slowly changed in approach, and took a different turn altogether. According to individual nature and circumstances, the readers discovered guidance, and a sense of peace and contentment. Many readers were drawn towards chanting nama which they could easily do while outwardly continuing their worldly activity. This could be easily gauged from the increasing number of devotees coming to Gondavale. The true mark of having visited a holy place consists of an increased love for God, that is, more frequent remembrance of Him, and an increased desire to chant nama. Many sadhakas have testified that a visit to Gondavale creates, and eventually stimulates, the desire to chant nama. .
All the first five editions of this book, totalling 45,000 copies, have been welcomed by readers and read with avidity. The book has since been translated and made available to readers in Hindi, Kannada, and Gujarati; the Discourses are therefore popularly read also outside Maharashtra. After the first five editions, the complete rights of this compilation were handed over to the Trustees of Gondavale Sansthan. The trustees accepted the rights, and decided to make the book available to the public In excellent quality at a rock-bottom price. A total of almost one and a quarter lakh copies of this compilation in Marathi have so far been sold out and the demand is growing continuously.
Judging by the wholesome effect of the direction by Shri Maharaj, as propounded in the Discourses, there grew an increasing desire among certain people for a version In English, a language known widely to the educated in this country, to those born and bred in English-speaking countries, etc. A concrete shape was given to this desire by the late Shri V.C. Kelkar of Sangli, then ninety years old, in the form of a type-written translation of the original. Another such complete translation was later presented by the late Prof. N.S. Jamadagni, the
widely-known Professor of English and Principal of Abasaheb Garware College of Pune. The present publication is an attempt, by Shri S.C. Marathe, at co-ordination of both these, blending his own flavour. Shri V.T. Jumde also rendered valuable assistance in the present publication.
I consider it my duty to thank my brother devotees, in particular, Prof. P. N. Wartikar of Ahmedabad, for the affectionate help in the original compilation; and also to the late Shri Anantrao Vaidya, who published the first five editions. Subsequent to the initial publication of this compilation, many devotees and well wishes had 'suggested some modifications in the presentation. At the time of the first publication by the trustees of Gondavale, they entrusted the task of revision based on these suggestions to three devotees: Shri N.V. Atre, Shri P.V. Patankar and Shri S.C. Marathe. In executing their onerous task, they took care to see that there is a minimum disturbance of the text, that not a word not uttered by Shri Maharaj enters in the text, and that no utterance is cited out of proper context. It is this slightly revised Marathi edition which has been used as the basis for the present English version. I thank Shri Rantnakar Joshi of K. Joshi, Block Makers, for their co-operation in printing this edition.
Those who had the opportunity to listen to the original discourses were indeed fortunate. We are immeasurably indebted to those who preserved them in the form of the notes, which are available to present-day readers as Discourses in Marathi.
It is sincerely hoped that this English rendering will be found useful by readers and seekers who could not avail of the contents due to language barrier. One can achieve uplift and contentment by reading even a single discourse of Shri Maharaj, and practising it with faith and sincerity. What loving compassion and sincere urge with which Shri Maharaj has tried to impress upon us the prime importance of chanting nama! He spent his whole life creating amongst people the love for nama. On the basis of his own varied and meaningful experience, he holds out an unfailing promise that if one practises the easy path of chanting of nama and thus remembers God continuously, one will definitely experience that God comes to without taking the trouble of searching for Him. "Whatever has fallen to your lot, perform your duty honestly, and ever remain in the company of nama. Assign all doership to Rama. Whatever be the difficulties do not forget nama. Do not forget till the last breath that God will certainly confer His grace on him who recites nama." This is the essence of these Discourses.
I pray very humbly at the feet of Shri Maharaj that whatever strength, blessings, and grace, he showered on me during the compilation of these Discourses, may continue till my last breath. Let nama be on my lips continuously till the end of my life. I earnestly and sincerely hope that those who read these discourses would feel attached to the chanting of nama, and thereby obtain peace of mind in worldly life.

Gondavale Govind Sitaram Gokhale
7th January 1994 Compiler