Those who have been to Ahobilam knows how beautiful it is, with its serene plus nature mixed with somewhat fearsome places, how it attracts people. More so, one may feel like staying there forever, thinking of Lord Narayana and spend till the end of life.
In such a holy place, as I was holding on to the sthamba of Lord Narasimha tightly, Lord Narasimha has saved me from the wolf, I thought. At the same time, I was a little ashamed as to how I was roaming around in places with the Jeeva Nadi in hand all alone, and where am I to get so scared to the sound of a wolf. The way I was scared so much, that I did not even care to look at the Nadi and had started to come down, the old man who pointed me to it, all these appeared very strange.
He could have said, “here take those Nadi leaves” but he had said, “you have to read the Nadi here” – which made me think. He cannot be an ordinary person. I prostrated to him within my mind. As it was dark and there weren’t anyone to go down from the hill, I wanted somebody to accompany me downwards. Eventhough Agastya Muni’s Jeeva Nadi was in my hands, I am a normal human and so the fear had not gone totally.
“I shall come along. But if a crowd comes in between, join them as I have an important work in the hill” – a person said this repeatedly and was accompanying me. He was well built and robust. I kept looking at him from head to toe from time to time, without anyone knowing.
Thick and strong hair that touched the shoulders, very strong built, as though exercising regularly, a shining skin without a shrink, beard and mustache that is of white and black, penetrating eyes, a dhoti as white as the Thumbai flower.
He had set the hair was free flowing which must have been coiled down, sacred thread in the chest, finger nails of abnormal length. His voice was majestic, innumerable courage and vigor, but he seldom did a chit-chat. He must have been of 50 years old.
He did not speak for sometime, but started to talk slowly.
“Is that Jeeva Nadi bundle?”
“You read that beneath the sthamba..what came in it?”
He asked as though he knew everything.
“There were many that came.”
“About the comet that appeared in the sky last night.”
“What? Comet? That appeared yesterday?”
“Yes, it has come in all papers today.”
“What did Agastya say?”
I stood still for a moment. He who sped stood as well.
“Who are you? Tell me that first please.”
“I am a relative of the priest. I work as a cook in the temple kitchen. Name is Malola Narasimhachari.”
“No. You are hiding something. You are not Malola Narasimhachari truly.”
“That you have to tell…” – I sounded like pleading, with fear and a little anticipation.
“You are new to this place. Ask anyone here about me. When you say Malola Narasimhan, they’ll tell you “the Iyengar of the temple kitchen.”
“How did a cook in the temple kitchen know that what’s in my hand is Agastya’s Jeeva Nadi, this is one, another, you had asked me to read the Nadi beneath the Ugra Narasimha’s Sthamba. How was that? I only knew this secret. How did you come to know of it?” – I felt I have cornered him.
He laughed aloud.
“I am not a big man eh! Must have told, ‘here take the palm leaves’ but I must have said something else.” – he paused.
“Still, how did you say that this palm leaves is that of Agastya Muni?” – I cross questioned.
“Ho! You! I had visited TamilNadu a few months ago. Been to Vaideeswaran temple as well. Wherever I turned, I saw ‘Agastya Olai Suvadi’ boards. I presumed this is one among them, hence I said so.” – he said and pointed, “There, a group descending, go join them” – he turned and started climbing upwards, not to be seen a while later.
I came down with so many thoughts and was very hungry. When I came near Prahladha Narasimha Swamy shrine, a person appearing like a temple staff came along, covering a plate with banana leaf, placing his right hand on top of it to save it from flying away.
“You…?” – he first asked in Telugu and then said, “You are a Tamilian right?” in Tamil. “Are you coming from Madras?”
The next moment, “It is an order to give this only to you.” – he said happily and handed the plate over to me. I opened the plate. It had sweet pongal with lots of roasted cashew nuts, along with it was a very Andhra style spicy puliogere rice with great aroma, dry grapes, grapes mixed curd rice.
I felt that the Almighty Himself had sent this to me, at that hunger that I did not even feel like asking who gave it for me. I thanked within for a thousand times and ate it in few gulps. It tasted like nectar, sure!
I washed my hands and the plate in the nearby plate and turned around.
The person who stood there all along was not to be seen. Who was he? Why did he search for me and handed over the food? Who sent this? I do not know till date. Was it intended for someone else? Then why should he ask my name as though confirming? I began to think only then. There is a reason for everything. Ok, we’ve had good darshan. There was still one
more day. We should climb up the hill again to have another good darshan and come down, I decided. Due to the great food and the tiredness of climbing the hill, I slept off in one of the temple’s room. Somehow I woke up around 4 in the morning. As usual, I cleansed the body and mind in Brahma Muhurtha and opened the Nadi.
Now I did not feel like asking about the comet. Why did the wolf come there to scare me off? Who was the old man who gave me courage? How was I quenched off my hunger when I came down? Who gave me that Prasadha? This is all I wanted to ask. I asked.
“Should have visited Ahobila Mountain with sincere devotion. You did not come so. What happened in Thirumala, what you said to the in-charge there, you ignored. You had pledged that you will conduct your sisters’ marriage in Tirupathi Ahobila Mutt, but due to circumstances, you forgot.
Only to remind you of the promise you gave Him, Lord Lakshmi Narasimha scared you off with the voice of a wild animal up in the hill. Without sincere devotion, if stepped on the Ahobila Hill, one’s wish will not come true. Neither will you obtain the grace of God or of Agastya’s. This is not only for you. This is a warning given to anyone who could come here.
Second, you grabbed the sthamba and screamed, “O Lakshmi Narasimha! Save me!” with a fear of life, after throwing away the Nadi, surrendering totally. This is the philosophy of total surrender. You had not experienced this before. Only yesterday. This again is the divine play of Lakshmi Narasimha Himself. Without understanding all these, you had called upon the help of that old man to accompany you, compare that person’s form in the form of Lakshmi Narasimha in a sitting posture, you shall know!!” – the Maha Muni paused for a moment. I felt like I am being whipped by thousands.
Truly, I recalled how I lied to my family members when I started off to Ahobilam, how I boasted about myself in the train etc. I did not pray to Lord Lakshmi Narasimha earnestly through my heart, even for a moment. I felt like it was a punishment given by the Lord and Agastya Muni for me. I opened the Nadi again, but do not know why, Agastya Muni did not appear.
~ to be continued…!