My friend Mahadevan was responsible for my first trip to Mummidivaram. He kindled my dormant desire to have darshan of Bala Yogi. Having been there for Shivaratri darshan, he described his experience with great enthusiasm. “I’d like to go there for the next Shivaratri. Would you come with me?” I asked him.
“If you want, we can have his darshan even earlier,” replied my friend. I was surprised. “What do you mean? I thought Bala Yogi gave darshan only once a year, on the day following Shivaratri. How can we see him before that?” I asked.
“You are right. The public darshan is only once a yeat. But the members of the committee in charge of the arrangements meet the Yogi two months before Shivaratri and report to him the arrangements planned. At that meeting, Bala Yogi gives his own suggestions as well.”
I was intrigued. “Don’t tell me Bala Yogi speaks. I was given to understand that he seldom opens his mouth., or even his eyes, while giving darshan. What you say is news to me.”
Mahadevan smiled. “He does not speak as we do.” He speaks by signs and gestures. He opens his eyes only to look at the committee members. After his meeting with them, he grants darshan to those who have assembled outside the building. This darshan is not much publicized. If you can spare the time in December, we can go. On that day, the crowd will be in hundreds, not in lakhs, hence we will be able to have a comfortable darshan.
“When should we start?” I asked. “The committee darshan is on December 20th (1971). We will have to be at Mummidivaram by the 19th evening.
So the trip was fixed. Mahadevan would leave well in advance with his friends and be at Mummidivaram to receive on the 19th.