27th November,2017, will go down as one of the most memorable days in my life. The day I had the privilege of having a full 30 minutes ( 1800 seconds) darshan of my favourite Lord (Ishta Deivam) at his original abode in Tirupathy. For a person who is used to be satisfied with the 20 to 30 seconds darshan that the Lord has given me in all these years, this was a feast for the eyes & soul. I was a part of a privileged group who had paid for the `Archana Seva`, seated inside the sanctum sanctorum, witnessing the special Pooja followed by an opportunity to go closer to the deity to receive the` Chadari` from the Priest. Needless to say I was in cloud nine. Excited, exhilarated, … any number of adjectives cannot describe my true feelings. I even shed a few tears ( Ananda Kanneer) and thanked the Lord for deciding to grant me such a privileged darshan.
I have been a regular visitor to Tirumala since April,1962 when I visited the temple for the first time as an adult and got hooked to the Lord for life. I have been visiting the temple at least once a year, if not more, for the last 55 years. Total surrender to this Lord has seen me coming out of many challenges I faced in my life with my head high. I have shared my experiences with the Lord in my autobiography under the chapter titled `My Tryst with God`.
I have had the pleasure of standing in a corner and having the darshan of the Lord for 4 to 5 minutes by bribing the volunteers inside the sanctum sanctorum in the past ( in the 70s when the administration of the crowd was slack and corruption was rampant). I was even smuggled into a VIP queue by brokers for a small fee. But the experience on 27th November when I had the legitimate Archana Seva was unparalleled in my life.
For this I must thank my good friend Sridharan Chettiar, a good Samaritan with a generous heart who decided to include me in his family group to have the Archana Seva for which he had made bookings eight years ago. This special seva is held between 4.30 & 5.00 am every day immediately after Thomala Seva. About 20 families ( hundred people) who have valid tickets are allowed to participate in the Seva. I am told all these special sevas are booked for the next 15 years. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to witness the special seva this year
Thank you Sridharan for your kindness. I consider this darshan as the best 75th birthday gift I have received this year and thank you Lord for your divine grace. I get goose pimples thinking about the Seva even 10 days after I had the darshan! Govinda.. GOOvinda!