A wonderful phenomenon
Location: Kumbakonam ( Feb 1893)
In the said village lives a man of the Chetty caste, generally passing for an astrologer. I, with two other young men, went to see him. He was said to tell about anything a man thinks of. So, I wanted to put him to the test. Two months ago, I dreamt that my mother was dead and I was very anxious to know about her. My second was whether what my Guru had told me was right. The third was a test-question—a part of the Buddhistic mantra, in Tibetan tongue. These questions I determined upon, two days before going to this Govinda Chetty. Another young man had one of his sisters-in-law given poison to, by some unknown hand, from which she recovered. But he wanted to know the author of that delivery.
When we first saw him, the fellow was almost ferocious. He said that some Europeans came to see [him] with the Dewan of Mysore and that since then through their ‘Dristee Dosham’ he had got fever and that he could not give us a seance then and only if we paid him 10 Rs., he would consent to tell us our ‘prasnas’. The young men with me of course were ready to pay down his fees. But he goes to his private room and immediately comes back and says to me that if I gave him some ashes to cure him of his fever he would consent to give us a seance. Of course I told him that I do not boast of any power of curing diseases but he said, ‘That does not matter, only I want [the ash]’. So, I consented and he took us to the private room and, taking a sheet of paper, wrote something upon it and gave it over to one of us and made me sign it and keep it into the pocket of one of my companions. Then he told me point blank, ‘Why you, a Sannyasi, are thinking upon your mother?’ I answered that even the great Shankaracharya would take care of his mother; and he said ‘She is all right and I have written her name in that paper in the possession of your friend’ and then went on saying, ‘Your Guru is dead. Whatever he has told you, you must believe, for he was a very very great man,’ and went on giving me a description of my Guru which was most wonderful and then he said ‘What more you want to know about your Guru?’ I told him ‘If you can give me his name I would be satisfied’, and he said, ‘Which name? A Sannyasi gets different sorts of names’. I answered, ‘The name by which he was known to the public’, and says, ‘The wonderful name, I have already written that. And you wanted to know about a mantra in Tibetan, that is also written in that paper.’ And, he then told me to think of anything in any language and tell him, I told him ‘Om Namo BhagavateVasudevaya’, and he said, ‘That is also written in the paper in possession of your friend. Now take it out and see’. And Lo! Wonder! They were all there as he said and even my mother’s name was there!! It began thus—your mother of such and such name is all right. She is very holy and good, but she is feeling your separation like death and within two years she shall die; so if you want to see her, it must be within two years.
Next it was written—your Guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is dead but he lives in Sukshma, i.e., ethereal body, and is watching over you, etc. and then it was written ‘Lamala capsechua’, in Tibetan, and then at last was written ‘In conformation to what I have written, I give you also this mantra which you would give me after one hour after my writing; ‘Om Namo Bhagavate etc.’; and so he was equally successful with my friends. Then I saw people coming from distant villages and as soon as he sees them he says—‘Your name is such and such and you come from such and such village for this purpose’. By the time he was reading me, he toned down very much and said—‘I won’t take money from you. On the other hand, you must take some “seva” from me’. And I took some milk at his house and he brought over his whole family to bow down to me and I touched some ‘vibhutee’ brought by him and then I asked him the source of his wonderful powers. First he would not say, but after a while he came to me [and] said—‘Maharaj, it is “siddhi of mantras” through the “sahaya” of “Devi”.’ Verily, there are more things on heaven and earth Horatio than your philosophy ever dreamt of—Shakespeare.
(From a letter by Vivekananda dated Feb 15 1893 to the Maharaja of Khetri)
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.