Back in 2002, our college celebrated the National Youth Day on January 12th. Swami Jagadatmanandaji was present there as the Chief Guest. In those days, we didn’t have good acoustics in the college. I sat somewhere in the last bench and closed my eyes to listen to what the Swamiji was expounding. I don’t recall anything he said that day but heard some wonderful words and when I came out, I felt refreshed and also felt that there is a lot of value and depth in the path that Swamiji has taken. I went to the Ponnampet Ashram, which was about 4 KMs from our college on couple of occasions then but couldn’t interact with the Swamiji. By that time I was reading Swami Vivekananda quite regularly. I went to Ashram many times to buy books but didn’t have an opportunity to meet and interact with him personally.
I guess in 2003, I really needed someone to guide me. I was taking up new challenges and was also not happy with few things. I needed someone of his stature to guide me. I met him one day and he gave me two volumes of his very famous work, “Badukalu Kaliyiri.” He asked me whether I can pay for it but I didn’t have money that day, I think. He asked me to read it and return it to him later. I really liked those books and one of the volumes I gave to a person who was doing cement work in our Hostel and when I told Swamiji about it, he said, “It’s alright. If someone is helped, that’s fine”
During those days I went to Ashram regularly. Three things that drew me to Ashram are 1) Sri Ramakrishna 2) Swami Vivekananda’s books 3) Swami Jagadatmanandaji. Whenever I look back upon my life, I find that these 3 have been very instrumental in me coming back to life and developing whatever little virtues that I have today.
When I told Swami Jagadatmanandaji that we have formed a group called, “Association of Indian Tigers”, he laughed at it and said it sounds like LTTE. Immediately we changed it to “Indian Revival Movement.” I used to go to meet him at odd hours when he was taking rest. A Brahmacharin Maharaj used to knock his door and inform him that somebody named Naveen has come to meet him. Swamiji would have me seated in the adjacent room and would meet me little later. I can’t forget the intensity with which he communicated. He was widely respected and honored and a very senior monk but was so kind to infuse so much of his good things to me. Once I told him that I liked the “Song of the Sanyasin” composed by Swami Vivekananda. He immediately took an Harmonium and sung that song exclusively for me! I have never come back from him disappointed. Every time I meet him, he infuses so much confidence, faith and energy into me. I have seen him talking to even little children with lot of love, and concern. Every individual who meets him comes back inspired! I have seen many such individuals who have met him and got inspired. It’s very much possible for a person like me to ignore or take very less notice and interest in people who are somewhat junior and not well established. But great people like Swami Jagadatmanandaji take interest in every individual. They literally carry into practice what Swami Vivekananda taught as “Each Soul is potentially divine” It’s amazing how some people like him are possessed with so much patriotism and love for the mankind. Surely, these people are the representatives of God.
Just like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Jagadatmanandaji is full of thoughts and concerns for the regeneration of India and the upcoming of our Youth. He is equally passionate about our religion. It’s so wonderful thinking of personalities like him. Had I not met him in life, I don’t know where would I be today.
Revered Swamiji still stays in Ponnampet Ashrama. If you get a chance to meet him, do meet him. It’s not often that we come across people like him. Ashrama website : www.rkmponnampet.org