It was divine grace that my mother was born with a melodious voice and received encouragement from pious, blessed parents to develop a deep love for devotional music from an early age. She went on to receive a strong foundation in classical Carnatic music from Akashvani’s (a music station) senior musician late Majulabai who cultured her voice for the devotional work that she would dedicate herself to in the future.
It was when she was introduced to māté or mother Anantalakshmi Natarajan, traditional and orthodox follower of scriptures and a great teacher of Sanskrit and chanting, that Saroja blossomed into a fragrant flower. She received divyadarśana or great insight into this ocean of knowledge, became her favorite student and dedicated 20 years of séva or service in the path of bhakti to her guru. During this time she received initiation into – LalitāSahasranāma, Soundarya Lahari, Śivānandalahari, Viśnu Sahasranāma, Durgā Saptaśati, Raghuviragadya, Devaranāma (Divine names), Dāsarapada (Songs of wandering saints), classical kirtans and Bhāva Gita (sonnets).
I believe my great fortune of studying with amazing teachers is a direct result of my mother’s tireless sādhana. My work is entirely dedicated to her memory.
Chanting in our family home continues, with the first Friday of each month dedicated to creating space for my mother’s students and friends to come together. This is the 6th year of the monthly event running, organised diligently by my father.
There are occasionally special events organised in my home in Brussels to honour my mother’s memory. We come together to recite the Lalitā Sahasranāma. You will find the event details on the calendar and everyone is welcome to participate. You don’t need to know the mantra, you just need to bring your energy for the 1.5hr recitation. It is said that great blessings come upon those who are able to recite the entire Lalitā Sahasranāma even once in their lives!