Warm showers descended from the skies on the eve of 23rd August, 2010, heralding the entry of Param Pujya Swami Tejomayanandaji into the island of Trinidad. Greeted by an entourage headed by Resident Acarya, Swami Prakashanandaji and our President, Mr. Rooplal Beharry at Piarco International Airport, Guruji was eventually whisked away to our Calcutta Ashram.
At approximately 12:30 a.m., he gingerly alighted from the vehicle, and after the traditional Purna Kumbha was performed, retreated to the porch of Acarya Kutir. Those present eagerly gathered to bask in his smiles and waited with baited breath to imbibe all that he was about to utter. After brief introductions, it was time for a much needed rest for a still fresh looking but undoubtedly tired Pujya Guruji. Six nights of discourses were to follow.
The Trinidad centre had been ardently and meticulously planning for the arrival of our International Spiritual Head, Param Pujya Guruji for just over a year. Swami Prakashanandaji returned with the news from the 16th Mahasamadhi Camp in 2009 that our beloved Pujya Guruji would be visiting in August 2010. Accompanying him would also be Swamini Umanandaji of France, Brahmacharini Aparna Chaitanya and other international guests. Preparations commenced without delay. The CHYK (Youth Arm) of the Mission, in foresight, drew up an Implementation plan which detailed the necessary modus operandi for all facets of Guruji's visit from advertising and promotion, to guest accommodations and yagna preparations. Chinmaya Mission, Trinidad and Tobago (CMTT) was given a major facelift, its most comprehensive, since its inauguration in 2002.
The mere presence of this great Mahatma brought many from near and far to CMTT. Visitors arrived from Japan, London, the United States, Canada and even from neighbouring Guyana. The Ashram had been teeming and abuzz with activity prior to Guruji's arrival but reached a crescendo during those six days of his stay.
Sometimes it's as if the inner wishes of the disciples are fulfilled in the presence of the Guru. This was witnessed within those six days. Initial plans catered for Pujya Guruji interacting as little as possible with the public and staying within the confines of the Ashram due to his recent surgery. However, we were all astounded as to what followed. Each day there were three bhikshas for Pujya Guruji at Acarya Kutir, to which more than one family was privileged to attend. Pujya Guruji also toured the Ashram by foot during the day as well as on evenings. Visits were made to two of our branches of Chinmaya Vidyalaya – Gasparillo and Debe – a mere thirty minute drive from our Calcutta Ashram. He also met with students and staff of Chinmaya Vidyalaya High School, Pre School and Primary School of the Couva branch and was able to observe the functioning of a typical day of Chinmaya Vidyalaya. Our 2010 Graduating Class of the Chinmaya Vidyalaya High School was indeed the most fortunate of the lot thus far. Pujya Guruji blessed and addressed the Graduating Class with pertinent and apt guidance for life ahead and even sang one of his sanskrit graduation compositions. It is not certain when this fortuitous opportunity would present itself once more. Apart from these activities, there were two auspicious ceremonies that were blessed by Pujya Guruji – the inauguration and installation of the Shri Radha Krishna Mandir and Bhoomi Puja for construction of the Lord Shiva Shrine.
Indeed the paramount purpose of Pujya Guruji's visit was nightly pravachan. The supreme nectar and mahima of Pujya Guruji were experienced by scores of guests during 7:30p.m to 8:30p.m each night. He expounded on Chapter Four of the Bhagavad Gita, the theme being, "Timeless Essentials of Hinduism". As early as 5:30p.m each day, guests started arriving with the hope of getting upfront seats in our soon to be packed Vidya Mandir. At 7:00p.m, invocation mantras and chants were done. Promptly at 7:30p.m., Pujya Guruji began his pravachan. The audience listened with rapt awe and undivided attention to the soul stirring words from the lips of this Saint, Param Pujya Swami Tejomayanandaji. First time visitors to the Ashram, curious to hear what this Mahatma had to offer, were amazed at his prowess in rendering these complex sanskrit verses in a form that was simple but resounding with philosophical applicability to their lives. Those who were unable to attend had the opportunity to listen to live radio broadcasts as well as view live streaming of the nightly discourses. Delicious meals and prasad were prepared each night by generous sponsors. There was also an immense variety of CCMT publications on sale. Books, CDs, DVDs, memorabilia and live video and audio recordings of each night's discourse were available at the CMTT Bookshop which was conveniently located within a few footsteps of the yagnashala.
Other activities that filled the day included a morning practicum on "Meditation" with Swami Prakashanandaji and Swamini Umanandaji. Fun and leisure pastimes were also part of the six day stay at the Ashram. Our International Guests were treated to local island tours, shopping and an eclectic variety of local mouth watering cuisine.
The six days spent in the company of Param Pujya Swami Tejomayanandaji and our wonderful guests have left ineffaceable memories. We will treasure them forever. Pujya Guruji's resplendence, vivacity, wittiness, simplicity and humility captured the hearts of hundreds in Trinidad and even brought smiles to babes. He left Trinidad in the early hours of the morning of the 30th August, 2010 as quietly and unassumingly as he had arrived. In the days following his departure, the Ashram seemed forlorn, bereft of his gentle but dynamic presence. CMTT wishes our beloved Guruji a speedy return to Trinidad. Jai Gurudev!