Here’s a wonderful recording of Guru Sri Subramanium describing how Skanda Vale was established. Guru talks at great length (and with boundless passion) about how the Divine Mother came to him as a personalised manifestation of the Universal Maha Shakti. Extraordinary stuff!
Devotee: I wonder if you might be kind enough to explain the title ‘Subramanium’ – what it means, and how you became involved with the Divine Mother, and how you see your role? In less than 10,000 words![laughter]
Guru: How I became involved?
Devotee: Well, how she became involved in you?
Guru: When I was seven years old, I knew I had a task in life. And that was to establish dharma in the West. And I had a nanny, and she used to look after me. She used to say “What are you going to do, when you are grown up?” Because my father was the head of medicine, and I said, “Well, I have a job to do – I’ve come to do a job.”
She said “No, no, no I want you to have a job and get married – you’ve come from such a nice family, it would be nice to have a successful home life. You can’t understand what I’m telling you, but one day you will.”
And then the Lord said “I don’t want you to use your name. I want you to use My Name” And there began the enormous interaction between Lord Subramanium and myself. This interaction was so close that nothing happened, or nothing was done, without the total involvement of the Lord.
And when I came to the West, I came really with a mandate from the Lord himself – to build a temple, to structure it as a monastery, and return to ashrams as they were known in ancient times. And have power and grace from the Lord to run the ashram.
I was 101% devotee of Lord Subramanium. All the other aspects that came my way were just various facets for me. I remember, after some time, it was my birthday and there were a lot of devotees come to see me. I was meditating and Lord Shiva came and sat in front of me (I had started meditation classes) and it was the most amazing experience I ever had.
And I could feel and see, even now, an amazing head of hair, whirling through the heavens. I was shaking. I said to the Lord “Why me?” And he said “I am your father. You need me now.” And saying that He merged into me. That was the most dramatic experience ever.
And this carried on… all my activities and the work… and so much happened while I was in London.
I have never, ever taken any money from anybody. I earned that money, went shopping, came back home, cooked a meal and fed my devotees. For 25 years. And those 25 years were my happiest moments. Because I worked round the clock, and I mean round the clock – it was working all the time.
I used to wake up at about 3.30 or 4 in the morning, go to Covent Garden, buy flowers, go to the shop, put the flowers in water, come back home, have my breakfast. Then go back to the shop, put out all the flowers and arrange them, and then see devotees, in between serving customers in the shop.
And this was round the clock until literally 7 o’clock in the evening when I shut the shop. On my way home (I had done my shopping) and I would come home, cooked a meal and by about 9 o’clock I would feed all the people there, and then teach until one or two in the morning. Now I did that for 25 years.
And people used to ask me, how are you going to build an ashram? How are you going to build a temple, without taking money? I said “My boss upstairs has got all the funds. It’s not my business! When it is time for the boss to give me an ashram, or get me some facility to start the ashram then He will do so.”
And it came about that this particular flat in Earls Court… where the temple was for nearly 15 years… well the owners wanted the whole building. They literally evicted everybody else except me. They asked me also.
I had no money. But I went looking for a place. I saw 32 places – literally throughout England and Scotland, until I saw an advert for the place in Wales. And I went to see it and I found it. When I said I was going to buy that place, I did not have a bank balance. No bank account. I had no money. But I rang up my solicitor and I said “I want to buy this place.” He said (laughing) “Guruji… with what? You can’t sign a contract without having money!”
I said “But my boss has money! That’s all that matters!” … I’m sorry I’m a little long-winded about this, but before I come to Mother, it’s very important that I explain this.
I have a vision of the Lord, all the time, in my head. I can see the Lord. Not just Lord Subramanium. I was very, very close to Lord Vishnu. When I close my eyes I can see Him, and I enjoy the anandam and the darshan of the Lord. And this I have inside me, all the time.
And of course, having found the place, I now needed the money. And when I went back to London I said to the solicitor “Can you arrange a meeting between myself and the board of directors who own this property?” [Guru’s Earls’ Court flat] And he said “But you have to go!” I said “You know, I’m a very polite person, I always like to say goodbye, even to the people who are chucking me out!”
So he made an arrangement, and I went to Kensington high street, a beautiful office there, to say goodbye to these people. And the man said “Have you found a place, Guruji?” I said “Yes” “How much is it?” I said “£19,000.” “When are you planning to move?” I said “Any time… when I find the money”
I said to him “I know you are making half a million pounds profit on paper, transferred into your pocket from this.” “How do you know that?” I said, “I’m not going to hold a gun to your head. The Lord says that I must leave, and I’m not making a fuss about it. But how about helping us to start this community? And help us on our journey to spirituality?”
And the man looked at me very quizzically, and he said to me “Guruji, what have you in mind?” So I said, “Well, if I can have a donation from you, I can start our movement.” He said “How much do you have in mind?” So I said “Well, if you give me £10,000 as a donation, I will raise the balance on the security of the property.”
And all the five directors looked at each other, smiled and said “Well when do you want to know about this?” So I said “As soon as possible, because then I can finalise the purchase of the land” He said, “Well it is now 1 o’clock, when do you want to know?” I said, “If you gentlemen can get together, and decide by about 4 o’clock, then I can ring the owner up and say so.”
And that is exactly what happened. I had a call at 4 o’clock in the afternoon from the board of directors saying “You can have £10,000 as a donation.” I promise you – it was the most amusing thing I have ever done in my life.
And I then said to him, “Look, you know my flat – I have put some of the most expensive things in there. How about buying those also, because I don’t want to go around pulling everything off the walls, in order to leave here.” He said “Don’t worry… how much do you want?” I said “£250” – which was a very small sum. And he agreed; so I got from them £10,250 to start the ashram. And that was the beginning of Skanda Vale.
And ever since then, many a miracle has occurred. The Lord has provided funds, not only to pay for the balance of £9000, but also provided funds to buy the top farm, which was £52,000. Ever since that, we’ve had every conceivable help from the Divine to run Skanda Vale, without charging. Providing facilities for people to rehabilitate, to help them on their spiritual journey.
The Divine Mother
And one fine day, as I was travelling to the top farm with Swami, I said, “Swami, I can see the Divine Mother riding a tiger, following my Land Rover.” And she used to follow the Land Rover right along, until she came to the house, and then she would stop.
And this went on for three weeks. On the third week Mother came and sat on my bed, in the night, and put her knee in the small of my back. My whole body was vibrating, and vibrating, and vibrating. And I didn’t who she was, or what it was, that was responsible.
I was terrified, to be honest with you, because I thought some terrible demonic force was trying to enter into my body. So I turned to my shrine and I said “Lord, will you show me who this individual is, who is causing me these enormous ripples in my body?”
And then Mother came round, literally shaking her head. Her hair was outstretched, and each of the strands of hair were like tentacles wrapping round. Shaking her head, and she came and thrust her hair straight in my face.
By this time I didn’t know if it was Easter or Christmas! And if anyone tells you they’ve got a calm disposition when things like that happen… well, I most certainly had none.
And I still didn’t know who it was. And I said “Who are you?” She turned in the most stern way, like an old woman, and looked straight at me. And while she looked, her whole face slowly changed, to become the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life.
Now, from that moment onwards I was experiencing her darshan almost every time I went to my room. Later on she used to come in front, giving me shakti, and the whole body was rippling, and it was a complete renunciation.
Every night she used to disintegrate me, and reassemble me… reconstitute me. And then I used to say to her – “Mother – I’m a human being! I can’t cope with what you’re doing!” And she just roared with laughter and said “I made you! I know you.”
And like this it went on, until I told Swami… I said “Swami, I’ve got the Divine Mother coming every day, every night, playing with me.” And then Swami said, “Oh, but I don’t think it’s her you’re experiencing?” I said “But you won’t know it, until you come and stay in my room.” So Swami moved from his room, moved his mattress, put it down by my bed, and now nearly 5 or 6 years with me, sleeping every night at my bedside.
Living with Mother is an experience. Living with her shakti and energy is an experience. For when she comes, you hear the sound of the Ganga… the river waters. And she’s very exacting. And so I appeal to her, so many times, I say “Mother – people don’t believe that you exist. They think you’re a figment of some imagination, or some creation of the mind. You give me shakti, you give me power, what can I do to teach these people about your Divine Presence?” And then she gave me shakti.
At any given moment Mother occupies me. All the time. She lives in me. You tell me your problems… you don’t tell me, you tell her. Her shakti is pulsating in my body. It is there living all the time, I enjoy her grace and anandam. That is how we have built the shakti temple, and made improvements to the temple… growing each year.
Mother is the Universal energy – Maha Shakti.
The Lord is not complete without Shakti. Shakti is a part of the nature of the Lord; one half of the Lord is male, and the other half is female. So are you! You are not completely man or woman. So am I. That balance makes us more loving, compassionate, understanding… serving humanity. The creativity of the Divine Mother. You call it her Nature; she exists throughout the whole Universe.
I do not know anything except what Mother tells me. I have no knowledge of books – I am not a pundit. I have only read one book in my life. You ask me questions, and the Lord answers that question, through me. I am the instrument of the Lord.
Devotee: Can you tickle carburettors?
Tickling carburettors is my job! To entice people to spirituality. Where there is no love, I give love. Where there is no sense of direction, or sense of purpose – I show them the way. That is my job. My job is to enrich people spiritually. For them to return back to dharma, and to the basics of spirituality, that now have been devalued by materialism.
Attachment to materialism… have wealth, but it must not possess you. Definitely. If you are possessed by the wealth that surrounds you in your life – the tinsel and trash that attracts your mind, then you will find it more and more difficult to entice the Lord to you.
For the Lord watches how much of you you surrender to him. And he will test you again, and again, and again, and again. Even gurus are tested, even swamis are tested, even yogis are tested. Every time of their lives… to find out how much of their minds are totally surrendered to the Lord.
Even when I go to bed Mother is there dictating to me… that is there, that is missing, go and take Brother Peter… If you were in my body, you would find it the most amusing drama! I am a puppet. Mother pulls the strings.
If you enjoyed this, you might also like the Story of Lord Shanmukha