MANATEE -- He is known among Hindus as His Holiness Tridandi Chinna Srimannarayana Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji.
But reducing it to Jeeyar Swamiji is OK, too, say the followers of this spiritual teacher, who number in the millions in India and in the thousands in the Tampa Bay and Bradenton-Sarasota area combined.
Roughly 500 of the guru’s Florida devotees and others just curious to meet him, are expected to attend Jeeyar Swamiji’s “Exposition on Ascension” from 6:45-9:30 p.m. Saturday at Unity Church of Sarasota at 3023 Proctor Road, Sarasota.
There is a suggested donation of $10 at the door.
Talking to Gopi and Neela Chari of Bradenton, who have helped organize the event, it is hard to tell if they are more excited about their 11th visit in person with Jeeyar Swamiji or about seeing others get their first visit Saturday.
It is probably a bit of both.
The Charis, who are founders of the Mitreya Center for spiritual growth in Manatee County, say when they are within a few feet of Jeeyar Swamiji they feel his divine presence as steady and beautiful vibrations from a higher plain.
They say those vibrations give off overpowering feelings of calmness, love, beauty, nature and, of God.
It does sound a bit mysterious, but Neela Chari has a way of describing it to make it more understandable.
“The world keeps us all like liquid in a bottle,” Neela Chari said. “Jeeyar Swamiji is also a being like us, but he has found a way to become steam and escape from the bottle so he can occupy the whole room.”
God is the heat source for turning the liquid into steam, Neela Gopi said.
By studying scriptures and chanting daily over his 48 years, Jeeyar Swamiji, who is said to be able to make a region more peaceful just by being there, has become one with God, the couple say.
“You feel peace and love when you are near him,” Neela Gopi said. “All your troubles seem gone and you feel elevated and it gives you energy and a new view.”
“For some, it has a lifelong effect,” Gopi Chari said.
Interestingly, it is uncomfortable for the guru to be touched by a human hand although he can be touched by a human heart, Gopi Chari said.
“He can’t touch people after the event,” Gopi Chari said of this teacher and gurus in general. “They are so pure. They have to come down to us. We take away their energy. Their vibrations are high. Our vibrations are low. They are always in penitence. They never cease to be with God, day and night. Swamiji never says ‘I.’ He always says, ‘We.’ I doesn’t exist to him.”
“But you feel very peaceful being around him,” Neela Chari said. “His presence heals.”
Jeeyar Swamiji will speak for one hour about how we all can ascend toward God during Saturday’s event.
“People who attend can expect to hear how he arrived and how he stays in such a state,” Gopi Chari said.
Perhaps what makes this presentation unique is that the 500 who attend will feel the divine vibrations the guru emits as much as learn from his words, the Charis said.
“He has come to teach us,” Gopi Chari said.
The night begins with Jeeyar Swamiji, dressed in his monk’s robes, walking onto the stage at the church along with students he has brought with him from India on this trip to the U.S.
Meditative music by David Gittens and Linda Maree will begin followed by introductions.
There will be more music and chanting followed by Swamiji’s presentation.
“After he speaks, there will be a half hour of questions and answers,” Gopi Chari said.
Those who attend may go up and speak to the guru, avoiding trying to shake his hand, the Charis said.
If learning about God from a Godly man is not enough, everyone who attends can pick up a small vegetarian dinner in a box on their way out of the church, the Charis said.
For more information on Jeeyar Swamiji, consult his website, www.jetusa.com.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 748-0411, ext. 6686.