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Once a month, Prema Pandurang, the renowned preacher of Hinduism, goes to the Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirupati. One day, while she was standing in the queue, she noticed that the chairman of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam was sitting in the VIP enclosure which is placed very near the Lord.
“I told myself, ‘You have to be a chairman to sit in that place,’” says Premaji.
“I am just a preacher.”
Ten minutes after the chairman left, suddenly a priest held Premaji’s hand, pulled her from the queue and made her sit exactly where the chairman had sat!
“It was a miracle,” she says.
“Lord Venkateswara had heard my thoughts.
I tell my devotees, ‘Send a SMS to the Lord and if you don’t get a reply, I will give up preaching.’
The Lord is not like a telephone operator busy with other lines.
At the temple, she says, one can experience powerful positive vibrations which grip you. “You forget your wife, husband, children, friends and relatives,” says Premaji.
“You are moving towards the Lord and you feel that He is pulling you towards Him.
This is the experience of everybody.”
When asked for a proof of God’s existence, Premaji says that once Mahatma Gandhi was questioned by a reporter about whether he believed in God.
When he replied in the affirmative, the reporter asked, “Can you prove His existence?” The Mahatma replied, “No, I cannot prove it.
But to me, He is more present in this room than you.”
Premaji smiles and continues. “Just ask God to give you evidence and he will do so.
But the thirst to know God should be there.
Soon you will see miracles taking place in your life.”
She recounts one such occurrence. On May 23, 1991, at Sriperumbadur, two days after Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had been assassinated, a Guruvayurappa temple was going to be inaugurated.
The Namboodiri priest had come all the way from Guruvayur to conduct the puja.
To begin the prayers he needed flowers.
“I said, ‘Swamiji, where can I get flowers now?’
There is a curfew in the city.
All the shops are closed.
The army is patrolling the streets.”
The priest said that he could not begin without flowers.
Suddenly, Premaji’s close friend, Krishnakumar Warrier of Ayurveda Pharmacy, said, “Why don’t you pray to the Lord?”
Premaji followed Krishnakumar’s advice and sat in front of an idol of Lord Krishna.
She told the Lord, “I am a very small person.
This is the first temple I have built.
Is there not a single flower that I can offer to you?”
A few minutes later, when Premaji stepped out of the puja room, a villager came up and said, “Amma, do you want flowers?”
Two staff members went with him in a jeep and returned with 500 lotuses.
The Namboodiri priest said, “I have not seen so many flowers in Guruvayur itself.”
Premaji pauses and says, “How can you not believe in God? In my speeches, I want people to realise that this mighty power is within us and yet we are not making use of it. You are not able to access God because you don’t desire it. You are running after worldly pleasures. There is nothing wrong with that but always remember that these are the gifts from God. People tend to focus on the gifts and not the giver.”
Premaji gives an example. “A mother buys a doll for her child,” she says.
“The daughter is so busy hugging the doll that she has forgotten to thank the mother for the gift.