After visiting the Samadhi place of Avadhoota Rane Maharaj, we were very pleasantly guided to move further into Malvan. Unplanned, without a second thought we move towards a place called Ozhar in Malvan, which falls in Sindhadurg distract of Maharastra.
It was a very serene place and the vibes were divine. It seemed to have been the tapobhoomi of the great Avadhoota. But then a pleasant surprise awaited me here. You will see in the video that as soon as i reached the samadhi of the Avadhoota the video i zoomed on fell on a photo of Bhagwan Nityananda! i am always at great surprise to find Bhagwan at the rarest places where i would expect him. i very enthusiastically asked a sadhu who was serving that place and he only said, “Yes that is Nityanand Baba’s photo. Then he was quiet. i was very curious and kept asking him about how Bhagwan was related to this place, to which he got angered and sternly said, “If you have come here, don’t ask all these questions of who and where….” i apologised. We sat for meditation there. i was somehow not very convinced as to what is there to not speak about Avadhoota Brahmanand Swami’s connection with Bhagwan Nityananda. especially when there was a photo kept there. i decided to ask in meditation itself. The area was very divine and the waters below were asked to be kept off, so as to not be soiled by visitors. This natural water body was the water that was used by the Avadhoota himself. We soon left the place and while leaving i happened to encounter the angered sadhu and we glanced at each other, but all that we both could exchange was smiles and love. He went away and i was still not convinced about that silence. Anyways, the answers unwinded as the trip unwinded.
I had seen a tunnel next to the cave and soon learnt that this tunnel was a secret passage that connected to Shivaji Maharaj’s fort in Malvan island. I recollected that while in Kolhapur Mahalaxmi temple, I had read there how Shivaji Maharaj was given the sword by Ma Tulja Bhavani to restore Dharma and also got to know that this sword was preserved in the Sindhdurg Fort in Malvan. I had a desire to see it but had wondered where this fort was. So here I was very pleasantly surprise yo know this fort was just few kilometres from here. Not everyone was interested to visit the fort so I dropped the idea. But then there were many things to unfold by itself.
We were planning what to do next when we got to know of another samadhi of a mother saint named Natekar Ajji (Ajji in Marathi means grandmother) in a village called Kolumb. All these villages are only few kilometres apart. IWe set out. It was almost getting dark and we wondered what would we do now. We had planned actually just for a one day visit to only Avadhoot Rane Maharaj’ssmadhi and to return back to Goa the same day but now it was almost dark and we were still miles away in Malvan. Anyways, without much thought we proceeded to whatever was unfolding.
i must tell you that this Ajji’s samadhi was one of the powerful one I experienced in this visit. There was noone around and hence we were clueless about who Ajji was. As i walked into the compound, there was absolutely noone around and it seemed to be a calm and silent place. We saw the room of Ajji and pushed the door open and prostrated at the padukas kept there on the bed supposedly used by Ajji. Noone was around. We then walked out to find a larger room and in that we found the Samadhi of Natekar Ajji above which was placed her idol. There was not a soul around and i wondered who was taking care of this place that is all open and not anyone around. We closed the door and sat for meditation. I was hoping to quickly finish meditation and leave but somehow the energies were so intense that we fell into deep meditation for quite a while. When i got up, i was amazed at the powerful vibes of this place. Bowing to the divine mother we left the place, and still there was no one around.
Our car was parked outside on the road outside this huge compound. As i walked towards the exit of the compound i found a house in which there seemed to be someone. i gently called out if anyone was there and a man came out. i told him about our purpose of visiting Ajji’s samadhi and asked if we could know anything about her. The gentleman was kind to mention about Ajji and he quickly invited us in. We told him that we had a long journey to cover and so we stood talking outside. At that moment, a very old lady with her back completely bent, walked slowly towards the house of the gentleman. The man happily said that we had to come in now, because we were destined to meet this old lady (maybe in her 90s) who was none other than the devotee who served Ajji full time! The man said that the old mother would come every evening to watch TV in his house. The old lady looked at us, smiled and entered the house of the gentleman. He insisted we come in and how could we deny. We were soon offered chairs and the lady of the house said she would be quickly making tea for us, which we agreed to take as prasad. The gentleman revealed that this whole house members were the devotees of Ajji. He began speaking of the greatness of Ajji and the miracles that happened around here while she lived there. Meanwhile, the old lady (Ajji’s disciple) was sitting in the next room listening to us. The man then revealed something which startled us. He said that Natekar Ajji was the disciple of Avadhoota Brahmanand Swami Maharaj, whose Jeeva Samadhi we had just visited at Ozhar caves!
He shared with us that Natekar Ajji was originally from Sawantwadi and she had taken sanyas after her in law’s troubled her badly. She was a married woman with children, but one day complete vairagya (renunciation) set in as the result of her previous life proceedings and she simply walked out of her home and wandered in many places completely alone. She did tapasya for about 15 years She then reached this place and met Avadhoota Brahmanand Swami Maharaj, who took her as his disciple. She then served her Guru at the caves, and lived like a bairagi (sanyasin or renunciate) in the caves in Ozhar. Later, after the Avadhoota took samadhi, she continued living alone in the caves. That is when the devotees of the Avadhoota and Ajji, got together and decided that they must give her a good place. That is how this place was donated by one of the devotee, who then took complete care of Ajji till she lived in her body. All this was very eagerly and lovingly shared with us by the gentleman. He then went in and brought me two books written in Marathi. The books were very old and he said it was the final copy he had but he was somehow feeling that i should have it. I very lovingly and whole-heartedly took it from him as a prasad from Ajji herself. He was constantly telling of the grace of Ajji and the miracles that happened for all his family and other devotees. At that moment, i asked the gentleman on how to proceed further towards Goa. To that, he simply said, “I would suggest you not to return today. You can stay in Malvan itself for the night and you will get a room easily.” The gentleman then told us that the whole villages would get together and take the procession of Shiva (known there as Rameshwar) from this village to the Tulja Bhavani temple inside the Sindhdurg fort. He asked us to partake in this occasion reminding us that we had come at a very auspicious time, and as this day came once in three years. He said devotees from all over Maharastra would come. That is when we decided that we would stay back and visit the fort next day to be a part of the event. I was happy that the fort visit finally was “instructed” itself by someone from here. This was like a divine invitation. Devi is taken from this village itself to the Sindhdurg fort of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and installed there in the fort, in the shakti temple there. Thousands of devotees from Maharastra and neighbouring states would be there.” We were little hesitant for being a part of a crowded festival and were wondering what next.
By that time, we were asked to meet the old woman devotee of Ajji was sitting in the next room and we went to talk her blessings. She very fondly touched each of us and blessed graciously and also added that we must not go tonight to Goa.
Before sleeping, i looked at the two Marathi books the gentleman had given. One book was on Natekar Ajji’s life history and the other book was on the life history of Avadhoot Brahmananda Swami. i just flipped a page or two and was surprised to see the photo of Bhagwan Nityananda in the very first chapter of the book. The book was the mysterious answer to my prayers! The question which the sadhu there had not angrily replied to, was now answered through this book of what was Avadhoota Brahmanand Swami’s connection with Bhagwan Nityananda!
(However, i have still not read the book as it is completely in Marathi and i would get it read by someone fluent in Marathi, for i understand and speak Marathi fluently but am poor in reading and writing it. To ensure the books were safe (since they were the last copies as mentioned by the gentleman who gave it) i eagerly gifted the books to Swami Vijayananda of Nityananda Ashram, Bevinkoppa, Belgaum.)
Next day, we got up early and left for the Sidhudurg fort that stands on a small island in Malvan for which boat is the only mode of transport, to and fro. On reaching the fort i learnt that Shivaji Maharaj had built secret tunnels from this fort which was supposed to be escape route in case of an attack on the fort. So it was clear that the tunnel at Ozhar caves, the Jeeva Samadhi of Avadhoota Brahmanand Swami was connected here! I was amazed at how this whole trip unfolded. Plus my dream of visiting the Sindhdurg fort back in Kolhapur a few months ago, had manifested this way! i had wanted to have a glimpse of the sword that was supposedly given by the Divine Mother to Shivaji Maharaj to protect and restore dharma. i got to see the sword that is kept in this fort.
We reached early and managed to get a boat to cross the sea and enter the fort that was looking all festive. We straight went to the Ma Tulja Bhavani temple and meditated there and left early before the crowds came in.
From here we proceeded towards Goa and haled at Pinguli to meet Avadhoota Anna Maharaj. This was a very divine and mystical part of our divine trip. Only when we met him did we realize he was aware of all our moves.
You may read it in Part 3 – Total unplanned 3 visits Anna Maharaj