ANNA BABA MANDIR – A BRIEF HISTORY
Anna Baba Mandir stands at Aishwarya Garden on the Poonamallee High Road between Mangadu and Thiruverkadu, Chennai, which today is popularly called as Baba Nagar. The Temple Tower stands imposingly and can be viewed even from a distance, closely resembling the temple tower at Pandaripur, as Baba has manifested himself in this Mandir as Lord Venkatswara (Krishna), the Shikara (tower) is a pyramidal structure. The statue of Anna Baba inside the mandir in the Meditation Hall is facing west. He sits here in a boon bestowing posture with his left leg crossed, right leg folded at the knee, right hand lifted with the Abhaya Mudra of benediction and the left hand resting on a marble bolster. This symbolic pose promises the devotee release from all sufferings. His eyes are filled with compassion as if assuring the devotee “Why fear when I am with You?”
Why this manifestation of Anna Baba ?
Let us travel down memory lane – The year 1995, the person Shri R.V. Kumar of Ashok Nagar, Chennai , a Music Director by profession happened to visit the Sai Baba Temple at Injambakkam, Chennai, because of his friends. While in the Mandir he placed his head on the Divine Padukas, and instantly heard a voice saying ‘I desire to unite all the people and uplift them spiritually. I need to use you as a tool to accomplish this. When will you come within my fold?’
It was Shirdi Baba himslef talking to him. However Shri R.V. Kumar did not take this too seriously and thought probably it was his imagination.A few months later he made another visit to the same temple. And lo and behold he heard the same voice this time loudly and quite distinctly. He could not possibly ignore the voice.
But there was a hitch. He was basically a devotee of Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai. And he also possessed the divine power of talking to her intimately. He pondered over this voice calling him to Baba’s fold. He decided to seek an answer to this at Madurai, at the holy shrine of Goddess Meenakshi.
When he sat meditating before the Sanctum Sanctorum, a six foot tall figure of Shirdi Baba walked out of the sanctum, and he visualised this in his deep meditation. He also heard the Mother’s divine voice telling him that Shirdi Baba was a Great Mahan who lived even after his Mahasamidhi. She further said that following Baba’s footsteps was the best path for him.
He was thus convinced, but he was perplexed and confused. but how was he to proceed?
Birth of BABA PRAYER CENTRE, Ashok Nagar, Chennai 83
As per Sri Sai Baba's advice, a Prayer center was commenced at Ashok Nagar which was called as Baba prayer Centre. Devotees started attending the Thursday meditation. Devotees who attended the prayer and meditation for six consecutive weeks had all their problems solved. Apart from this, Sri Kumar Baba also prayed for devotees who contacted him by phone, letters or email.
Baba then told him, ‘now that you have come within my fold, there is no action that you will perform independently. You will now be my tool and perform all that I wish and desire to do. You are at my behest and I will control all your deeds. I am Anna Baba and you shall henceforth be called Kumar Baba’.
Without any propaganda, the number of devotees increased from hundred to thousand. The Baba Prayer Centre needed a more spacious place to accommodate the devotees. With the blessings of Baba, and, due to the efforts of Guruji Sri Kumar Baba, this Anna Baba Mandir was born.
Our Guruji Sri Kumar Baba
Our Guruji Sri Kumar Baba was chosen by Shri Sai Baba himself to serve His true , loyal and faithful devotees to whom He had promised to take care of - birth after birth. He was born on 27-3-1947 to Sri Vedantam and Smt Kalyani at Madurai. Due to our merits in our previous birth , we are all lucky to be in the association of this divine personality, who has sacrificed his life for uplifting His devotees. He uses his powers for the benefit of mankind conferring both temporal benefits and spiritual benefits. He started the Baba Prayer centre in 1996 and even today conducts mass prayer for His devotees on Thursdays. Needless to say that the devotees request is fulfilled with the blessings of Shirdi Sai Baba. He says that he is an emissary of Shridi Sai Baba and acts according to His instructions only. The Anna Baba Mandir was constructed in a record time of ten months without any propaganda or publicity and with the contributions from 108 devotees called Sai Souls( a name given by Shirdi Sai) mostly belonging to the middle income group. Sri Kumar Baba does not prescribe any Homam or costly Parikaram for people who approach him with their problems. His method of advising the devotee is very unique –prayer and repetition of the Lords name with total surrender to Sai. In the last six years, 24 couples who had been childless for more than 15 years have been blessed with children. Shirdi Sai Baba has asked Sri Kumar Baba to give the towel he uses to wipe the Shridi Sai Moorthy on Thursdays to cancer patients, who have to place this towel under their pillow. Likewise fifteen cancer patients have been cured. Moreover every Thursdays Shri Kumar Baba conducts Mass Prayer. Sai fulfills the sincere request of the devotees who participate in this prayer for six weeks personally.
A unique Mandir for the Guru by His Disciple
In the year 2000, when Sri Kumar Baba went to Tirumala to have the darshan of Lord Venkateswara (Balaji), He heard the divine voice of the Lord saying “Shirdi Sai Baba and I are one and the same. Baba’s erstwhile Guru Venkusa was my manifestation”. When Venkusa died, he entreated his disciples not to bury his body, but to burn it and then dig the area. He foretold that they would find the statue of Lord Venkateswara, which the devotees did find and later built a temple for Him. The temple can still be seen at Selu, near Manmad. Thus Baba proved to Sri Kumar Baba that he was the manifestation of Lord Venkateswara.
We have heard of disciples building temples for the Guru, but here we come across the reverse. Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi was an ardent devotee of His Guru Venkusa and Venkusa is an incarnation of Lord Venkateswara of Tirumala. When Sri Kumar Baba started the Baba Prayer Centre in July 1996 at Ashok Nagar, it never struck him that he would build a Mandir for Baba , for he not only lacked the inclination but also the resources. On one Thursday, in the year 2000, when Sri Kumar Baba was in deep meditation he had a vision of Lord Venkateswara besieging him to build a Mandir for Baba and He assured Sri Kumar Baba that He would provide the necessary resources as and when he required. He further said that He (Lord Venkateswara) would also find a place in the Mandir. Thus the Guru was instrumental in providing a mandir for His most ardent devotee. This Mandir has also found space for not only Lord Venkateswara but also Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Krishna, Lord Rama ,Lord Shiva and Lord Maruthi as, Sri Sai Baba is the manifestation of all the Gods. Are there not instances in Sai Satcharita to vouch for these? Thus The Anna Baba Mandir has united the Saivaite and Vaishnavite sects in Hinduism.
The Kumbabhishekam of the Sri Anna Baba Mandir was performed on April 23, 2002 by H H Sri Sai Das Baba of Ujjain. The Mandir’s unique features are the daily ‘Anna Dhan’ at the Mandir, the Thursday Mass Prayer and the Guruvalam on Pournami (full moon day). Shri Kumar Baba, the founder of this Mandir, believed in constant prayer and meditation. He always emphasised in ‘Faith and patience’ the two upper-most qualities that Shirdi Baba requested of His devotees. When religion today has become fanatical, here was Baba preaching on humanity in religion.
Anbu-Amaidhi-Annadanam meaning Love-Peace and food for all is the tharakamantra of Sri Anna Baba Mandir, Chennai.
ANBU - Universal Love
If there is any quality that can rule this world- it can be only universal love as love binds the whole world. Love is the holiest of the Holy, says our scriptures. Love is the only thing that God expects from us, in return for all the boons we ask of him.
Where there is love, there is no fear and no tears. If there has been an avatar who has showered His all embracing uniform love to all His Bakthas, it is none other than Shirdi Sai Baba.
Anna Baba is none other than Shirdi Sai. In our mandir He is seated as Anna Baba in the posture of Dwarakamaye which means a place of prayer for people of all religions. He is an avatar who has come down to flood our hearts with love. Where there is love there is no falsehood. Shiridi Baba is the personification of Love which is necessary for our materialistic life in this world.
AMAIDHI – Universal Peace
A peaceful heart and a peaceful mind can bring forth creative and constructive thoughts. Anna Baba has shown us the path of peace through meditation. To lead a peaceful life, one has to purify the mind with prayer and meditation. Once the mind becomes calm and peaceful it becomes the abode of God.
Like a gentle breeze Anna Baba bestows peace on His devotees who throng to His Mandir with devotion and sincerity. Peace is bestowed not only on the individual who prays but on all his family and circle.
Like the flower that blossoms with the rays of the sun, the benign grace of Anna Baba blossoms our heart with love and peace.
Next to Love(Anbu) and Amaidhi(peace) the third and the most important quality pre-eminently necessary for a human being is the act of charity – particularly Anna dhan.
Anna Dhan is twice blessed. It blesses the giver and the receiver. All religious scriptures affirm that of all the charities like giving alms, land, cows and clothes to the poor and needy, Anna dhan or offering food to the hungry is the best.
While there is always a desire for more when monetary or other forms of charity are made, feeding a hungry being gives complete satisfaction to the receiver, and of course, the giver also.
Sathguru “Sai Baba” has taken the manifestation of Anna Baba in this ‘Mandir’ at Chennai, to bestow all graces on all devotees who participate in the ‘Anna Dhan’ – particularly to the ordinary mortals who are caught in the quick-sand of a mundane materialistic life.
Nine fold path of Guruji Sri Kumar Baba
Guruji Sri Kumar Baba also mentioned that Sri Shirdi Sai Baba has given him certain rules and regulations to observe and follow meticulously.