Kumbha-Abhishekam, the consecration ceremony according to Hindu rites of the temple built over the remains of Maharshi’s mother, known as Mathrubhuteswara, which started on the 14th., has ended today. Humanity, masses of it, started pouring into the Ashram since the 13th. from all over India especially from the neighbouring villages.
The Yagna ceremony began on the fourteenth at 8-30 p.m., when Sri Maharshi sat on an armchair and not very far from his left foot, on the floor, sat Sri Shankaracharya of Puri, who had arrived that morning for the purpose. All round him sat a large number of devotees, visitors and a huge crowd. The brief ceremony was over by 9 p.m., when Maharshi was taken to open the new big Hall attached to the temple. Being too weak to turn the colossal key of the door, the young stapati turned it for him. He was taken directly to the inner temple and helped over the short flight of steps and made to touch the stone Sri Chakra, which stands immediately behind the lingam, as the symbol of the Creative Power latent in the Formless Spirit (Chit). He was then taken out and made to sit for the first time on the stone couch in the new temple Hall, which was covered with red velvet cushions. People began to prostrate before him half a dozen at a time. After a while he was taken out and lifted into the Yagasala, opposite the Hall, where a brief ceremony was performed. By then Maharshi showed signs of exhaustion and had therefore to be taken immediately to bed for the night’s rest at about 10 p.m.
On the 15th. morning the crowd swelled to over 10,000. Sri Maharshi’s couch was placed on the North verandah of the new Hall. Musicians with flutes, violins and tablas played by his side. Yagna ceremony went on at top strength in all the three yagasalas erected for the purpose. Flames leapt from dozens of specially-constructed fire pits, fed by pure ghee and a special kind of sticks. Flame and smoke rose sky-high to the loud chanting of more than a hundred priests. But all this was drowned by thousands of voices from the crowd. The sight was impressive. The most silent man in this huge din was Sri Bhagavan himself, who was fully indrawn and totally unconcerned on the surface. But his disciples knew his joy at the fulfilment of a ten-year old desire to leave for posterity a spiritual heritage of priceless value, a desire not of his own, but of a man, the Sarvadhikari, who thought himself an instrument of Sri Bhagavan’s divine will, conveyed to him not by word of mouth, but by mere thought. The value of this temple consists in its treasuring in its bosom the body of the mother of one of the greatest Saints and Sages that have ever lived, also in its being built stone by stone under the very eyes of the Maharshi and in its most sacred portions being hallowed by his personal visits and touch. The dream has now taken shape. Ten years of tireless efforts have come to an end.
The 15th. and the 16th. saw the crowd increasing by the hour. Such was the influx of the visitors from the mofussil that by the 16th. evening, when the brass vessels – the kumbhas – about six in number, were taken to the top of the gopurams (towers), the total was estimated to be over 15,000.
The grand climax came on the 17th. morning. From the Morvi Guest House to the north wall of the Ashram, there was one compact mass of human heads. Although it was an orderly crowd, movements were impeded, despite all the efforts of the volunteers to keep a way open. The Chief
Minister of Madras State, Sri Omandur Ramaswamy Reddiar, was expected. All the highest officials of the District and many magnates from Madras came by cars. At 11 a.m. Sri Maharshi was taken out to give the special signal to the priests on the gopurams (temple towers) to start the abhishekam. He gently raised his hand and the bathing ceremony on the top of the temple started. Then he was taken to the inner temple and made to place his hand on the lingam just then installed in front of Sri Chakra. The lingam was soldered to its stone platform with twenty tolas of gold (8 ounces) contributed by devotees. Then he returned to the new Hall and sat on the stone couch over which stretched a white silk canopy embroidered with silver presented by the Maharaja of Darampur. Then the Sarvadhikari, Sri Niranjanananda Swami, was called and made to sit opposite the Maharshi, when Mrs. Taleyarkhan read a short speech in English in his praise, for his earnestness, his sincerity and his unremitting efforts in building up the Ashram and the temple, and garlanded him. The speech was immediately translated into Tamil, sentence by sentence, which pleased him considerably.
The day ended with music and songs given by aristocratic young ladies from Madras, followed by temple music, which continued till about midnight, when Sri Maharshi went to bed; thus closing the Kumbha Abhishekam series of ceremonies and functions for the time.