When I was in Virakth Ashram, all the things happened in my life. All the gurus of different disciplines came to Rishikesh for a brief period of time initiated me into these disciplines. I was initiated into Mantra shastra by Sri Raghu Rama Sharma of Guntur, Andra Pradesh, in Tantra by Sri Rama Bhatta of Kasargode Kerala, Sri Srinivasa Tathacharya of Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu.
After going to the Maha Kumba in Allahabad in 1999-2000, I found many a sadhus, for that matter the pontiffs of the ashrams ranking from a simple Mahant to Maha Mandaleshwara were involved in only worldly activities and giving lectures in a cultivated voice (There was one who was speaking like Osho, imitating even the long breaths which osho takes because of some lung problem, which I had listened to long back). This attitude of some and the many others who were doing rigorous austerities made me thing about the mantras I have been inititated and of which I am only using very little.
So, after coming from Allahabad, I started to do Purascharanas of different mantras. The first among my many purascharanas was of Ganapathi. Purascharana means chanting the mantras for a particular number of times daily for a period of time to complete a particular number of repetition (generally 1 lakh per character in the mantra), followed by 1/10 th tarpana, 1/10 of it homa and finally 1/10 of the previous brahmana bojana (feeding the pious). If one is not able to do any one of the last three he can compensate it by chanting of mantras twice the number specified. During the chanting of the mantra one should worship the deity in a form or yantra.
When I started this japa, the inmates of Virakth Ashram during that period were very helpful (majority of them were Marathis, except for two, one Swami Ranganatha of Karnataka (around 65) and the other Swami Baskara (around 90) of Kerela). Once during some discussion the marathis said, they worship the White Arka trees root, which takes a natural form of Ganapathi (This is common in Tamilnadu also, though normally they carve the form in the root). And also said it is very difficult to get this kind of form. And pointed out to a place where they had dug a tree for its root, and came up with nothing, after days of hardwork
I did the japa and other portions of the purascharana and during the penultimate day (the day before the one on which I had decided to perform the home, I had substituted japa for feeding pious men, it being a very expensive ritual), I had a darshan of Ganapathi winking his right eye at me.this time around I was not afraid. It was strange, the form of ganapathi was a peculiar one in bright golden color which I had not seen before in any photo. In the evening I had gone to the market to buy the necessary materials for the homa. I met with this old Brahmin from Mithila, Bihar, which is a place of learned Brahmins (Sri Vachaspati Mishra is from this area), whom I had met in Kumbha mela. In the Kumbha mela, I was staying in a ashram and this old man was staying in the same ashram tent. I used to do my Sandhya vandana in the open under a tree. One day (the day i had tonsured), I had to change the Sacred thread, so, after my bath, I sat in this place doing the necessary rituals for the thread changing. At the end of the ritual, I just threw my old sacred thread in a corner. Seeing this, this old man asked permission to ask some questions (as this is the proper way to do), maharaj I am happy to see you do the rituals very strictly, but today after the ritual you threw the sacred thread in the corner, we throw it in the river, even though the river is only close by, why did you do like this. I told him, the thread I was wearing on my body is the sacred thread, and once it is removed it looses it’s status and just becomes a normal thread.
So, this gentle man I again after a long gap meet in Rishikesh. He asked me what am I doing in the market. I told him about the homa on the next day and surprise he took a photo of Ganapathy from his bag and gave it to me. It was the same form which I had darshan of.
After the homa, during this period when I used to go to the class or biksha on this route, I had a peculiar feeling of someone calling me. It came from the direction where there was one arka tree. After a few days of this repeated experience I asked my neighbours to help me to dig this place. They were not ready to do this strainous job, for which the result is not a sure one. So I dropped this plan and route and used to take a new route for some period. One day due to urgency to go to biksha I took this old route, and again I felt the calling, but when I turned there was no tree but a small building in its place and a tree is kept upside down. I asked the people whether this is a arka tree, they didn’t understand and said it is a madhar tree. I didn’t know a madhar tree. So, I left that place, after a few steps, ther was this small tree of Arka, and pointin out to it I was about to ask them, but before this, their voice in unison said, it is the tre. I told them to keep it and in my return I will take it. After I came from biksha, I had picked it up, and after the proper cleaning, with milk, water, vermillon, turmeric, sandalwood paste mix, what I say is a wonder, Ganapathi form with a similar one eye closed state.