Nuzividu Ashrama on the 17th, Sri Swamiji visited Narayanapuram and
later Anaparthy, a small town and addressed a small gathering in
a community hall. Sri Swamiji arrived in Sri Pada Vallabha Datta
Anagha Kshetram in the pilgrim town of Peethapuram.
Peethapuram is famous for having one of the most important 18th Devi
temples called “Ashtadasha Shakti Peetha”. Here is the
idol of Puruhutika Devi in a small shrine in the temple complex of
Kukkuteshvara Shiva temple. The main temple is a crystal Shivalinga
called Kukkuteshvara. Another interesting feature of this Shiva temple
is that, in the northern wall of the shrine is the idol of Goddess “Huunkaarini”.
It is said that there is no other temples any where in India for this
Peethapuram is also famous as “Paada Gaya”. There are three
Gaya Kshetras in India. The first and most famous is Shiro Gaya in
Bihar, Naabhi Gaya in Orissa and Paada Gaya in Peethapuram, Andhra
Pradesh. The Gaya Kshetras is famous for offering Pujas to ancestors.
In Peethapuram, there is a big water pond in front of the temple complex
where people bathe and perform the rituals. In front of the Shiva temple
is the Vishnu Paada.
Another famous temple in this town is the Kunti Madhava Swamy built
before the 11 century by the Kings who ruled Peethapuram.
Peethapuram is also the birthplace of the renowned saint, Sri Pada
Vallabha of the 13th century fame. Peethapuram is a historic town with
many ancient temples and was ruled by a royal dynasty, which was proactive
in academic, cultural and religious fields.
Sri Swamiji had visited Peethapuram for the first time in 1985 to place
the Datta Darshanam book and seek Blessings. The visit was to seek
the Blessings for the production of the film “Datta Darshanam”.
It was not until 1997 that devotees of that town requested Sri Swamiji
to permit them to build a Datta temple. What started off in 1999
slowly gained momentum in the new millennium and Sri Swamiji performed
Kumbhabhishekam of the magnificent Dattatreya and Anagha Devi temple
on Feb 22, 2002. The Ashrama is located in the serene environs
in the outskirts of the town and is surrounded by calming and soothing
acres of densely green paddy fields. Along with the main shrine
of Dattatreya and Anagha Devi, there are shrines of Puruhutika
(the presiding deity of Peethapuram), Ganapathy, Sri Pada Vallabha
and Navagraha. Ashrama conducts regular medical camps, Satsangs,
Purnima Homas, and important festivals. The grandeur and marvel
of the temple is to be seen to be believed. Sri Swamiji in his
many speeches revealed that Peethapuram Datta Temple is a very
important Kshetra in the life and times of Swamiji.
On the day of arrival (17th), a welcome ceremony was given in the large
pandal (marquee or tent) where thousands of devotees had gathered.
The local MLA and the chairman of the municipal council lit the
lamp and Shri Ramana Murthy, I.P.S., the Dharma Kartha of the Kshetram
offered the welcome garland to Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji spoke and
expressed his happiness to be there. Sri Swamiji inaugurated
the newly constructed dining hall and kitchen facilities.
On 18th, Sri Swamiji performed Milk Abhishekam to Dattatreya and Anagha
Devi idols and later performed Sri Chakra Puja on the stage just
outside the shrine. Being a Purnima (full moon day), Pavamana Homa
was performed. A person approached Sri Swamiji for Blessings to
his son Aparoop (rare one). This five year old boy is hailed as
a child prodigy and walking encyclopedia. He has a good grasp on
general knowledge and Sri Swamiji question the boy by asking the
capital cities of France, Greece, Russia, Switzerland and Paraguay.
The boy answered all questions correctly and even chanted Datta
Stava and some Shlokas on Vishnu. Pleased, Sri Swamiji blessed
the boy. Evening Bhajans were in the sprawling animal fair grounds
just outside the Ashrama. Over 17 acres of land bathed in beautiful
lights and was full of people. Sri Swamiji gave a discourse and
sang Bhajans. (Click here for the
translated text of Sri Swamiji’s speech).
19th, Being a Sunday, thousands of devotees from surrounding villages
descended to witness the programs. Tailabhishekam was performed
to Lord Dattatreya and Sri Swamiji offered Arati later. Sri Chakra
Puja was performed in pandal. Sri Swamiji gave a brief discourse. (click
here for the translated text of Sri Swamiji's speech)
Sri Swamiji visited some houses of devotees in Peethapuram and Blessed
the families there. It was a moving experience to see Sri Swamiji going
through the bye alleys and ducking and going through the small doorways
to give Darshan and bless the families.
In the evening, Sri Swamiji arrived in the animal fair grounds at 6.30
PM. On the stage a cultural program called “Burra Katha” was
taking place. The performers were three children. Sri Swamiji ascended
the stage, walked to them and sat on the edge of the dias listening
to those three tiny ones belting away the story of Dattatreya.
Burra Katha is a very engaging form of story telling where the
performers dressed in tribal robes talk with each other while one
of them keeps questioning the speaker with various questions that
may come to the audience. Engrossingly performed, Sri Swamiji was
pleased with their performance and donated one hundred thousand
rupees for the children’s education and efforts to preserve
this folk art. The fund was given to the illustrious teacher Nittala
Shatrughna Rao a well-known proponent of this unique art. Sri Swamiji
started to speak on the need to preserve various art forms that
are unique to local regions; Sri Swamiji slowly walked in to the
audience and spoke for over one hour. Sri Swamiji’s speech
spanned many a themes. (Click
here for the translated text of Sri Swamiji’s speech).
Though 20th January was planned as a rest day for Sri Swamiji, it turned
out to be as usual. Visit to the bordering port town, Kakinada,
interviews, Pada Puja, speeches and Sri Chakra Puja. In the evening
the trust meeting was held.
Sri Swamiji left for Rajamundry on the 21st January 2003 at 6.30 AM.
Sri S.V.Ramana Murthy, I.P.S., Trustee and Dharma Kartha of Peethapuram
Temple welcomes Sri Swamiji with a rose garland
of Matru Mandali offer their annual report
Swamiji performs Arati prior to milk Abhisheka
Abhisheka (milk bath) to Datta Swami idol in Peethapuram Ashrama
Swamiji decorates turmeric paste
to Datta and Anagha
Swamiji enjoys the answer given by Master Aparoop, a child prodigy.
Sri Swamiji questioned him about country capitals
Swamiji listens to the Burra Katha story telling by children
Swamiji was presented with a flower crown and flower Shanku and Chakra.
This was dreamt by a devotee in Kakinada town, Mr.Chukkala Rama Rao.
Swamiji giving discourse amidst the large crowds in Peethapuram grounds.
The full moon shines above Sri Swamiji
Peethapuram Datta Kshetra
Chakra Puja in progress inside the temple hall