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Spiritual Ministration

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Shri Shri Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj Life & Spiritual Ministration
6.
Some Tapasvins

 

Whereas a Guru can show the path leading to liberation, attainment in the spiritual realm is directly dependent on the earnestness and resolution with which the disciple carries out the instructions of the Guru, and to the extent to which he exerts himself to attain Realisation. It is true that success on the spiritual path depends on the Grace of the Guru, but this Grace is ever present and ever-flowing; it is for the disciple to make himself worthy of receiving this grace and this is done through ‘sadhana’ (spiritual practice); the more sincerely and earnestly a disciple strives, the more strongly will the Guru’s Grace manifest itself and carry him forward. Therefore, though Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj has initiated lakhs of people into dhyana, what each one attains is dependent on how each one of them strives. That the Grace of Sri Swamiji enables a sincere sadhaka to attain the goal of his Sadhana is beyond doubt; this is amply illustrated by the lives and strivings of some of Sri Swamiji’s Tapaswin disciples; these lives are briefly narrated in this chapter.

Bikkini Saraswatiamma

Bikkini Saraswatiamma is the daughter of Bikkini Venkat Ratnam, a resident of Singurukshan Village in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. Her father used to come regularly to Advivarapupeta and participate in the kirtan at Sri Swamiji’s Ashram. On one such occasion, Saraswatiamma requested her father to take her along for Sri Swamiji’s darshan and the father readily agreed. This initial darshan of Sri Swamiji had a profound effect upon the girl. Immediately following the darshan, both the father and the daughter participated in the kirtan that was going on at the Ashram. During the course of the kirtan, Saraswatiamma got ‘Hanuman Bhava’ and slowly passed into deep ‘Bhava Samadhi’. From that day onwards, Saraswatiamma used to be in a state of continuous ‘Bhava’ all the twenty four hours of the day.

The continuous state of Bhava being experienced by Sarswatiamma was an indication of her spiritual propensity and so Sri Swamiji decided to initiate her into dhyana with a view to making her sit for Tapas. On the 19th May 1962, Sri Swamiji initiated Saraswatiamma and directed her to go to Singurukshan, her native village, and to sit there for Tapas. At the time of her initiation, Saraswatiamma was approximately 14 years old. In accordance with Sri Swamiji’s instructions, Saraswatiamma returned to her native village and sat there for Tapas. By the Grace of her Guru, she soon reached the samadhi stage. She completed twelve years of Tapas on 19th May, 1974.

Pichiya

Pichiya, a young man of approximately 20 years of age, belonged to Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. He had made it a regular practice to walk from Guntur to Adivarapupeta every year, a distance of approximately 200 miles, reaching Adivarapupeta about one month prior to Maha Shivaratri. He used to then white-wash the Dhyana Mandir and get it ready for the annual Shivaratri celebrations. One month after Shivaratri, he used to walk back to Guntur. He repeated this routine for a number of years.

In 1966, during his annual visit to Adivarapupeta, Pichiya requested for a private audience with Sri Swamiji. Accordingly, at 10 p.m. one night, he was allowed a special darshan. During this audience Pichiya requested Sri Swamiji to make him sit for Tapas. Though his eagerness was quite evident, Sri Swamiji wanted to make certain that he also had the spiritual potential for such an undertaking. Consequently, he made him to sit in his presence for dhyana to test his fitness. Pichiya apparently passed this test because Sri Swamiji approved of his undertaking Tapas. Soon thereafter, Sri Swamiji initiated Pichiya into Tapas; he then directed him to go back to his home at Guntur and sit for Tapas there.

Pichiya left for Guntur next day and as he walked along, he found to his joy and wonder that he was being preceded by a Jyothi (light); he continued to experience this phenomenon throughout his journey to Guntur. On reaching a place called Sangargunta, which lies within the Municipal Area of Guntur, Pichiya observed that the Jyothi which had preceded him all the way from Adivarapupeta, had stabilised at a particular spot in this area. Taking this to be a Divine direction, Pichiya decided to sit for Tapas at that very spot. By the Grace and Blessings of Sri Swamiji, Pichiya made rapid progress and was soon absorbed in continuous samadhi for twenty hours a day.

This sudden transformation in Pichiya naturally aroused wonder, not unmixed with disbelief, among the local residents. Those who knew Pichiya, had always regarded him as a very ordinary youngster; nor had he shown any spiritual propensity so far which could be interpreted as marking him out for a life of intense spiritual striving, or for the Tapas on which he was now engaged. Therefore, it is no wonder that many regarded Pichiya’s Tapas as an inspired act of gimmickry. Some of these disbelievers, in a foolish attempt to test the genuineness of his spirituality, decided to poison the milk he used to take for his daily nourishment. This happened not once, but on a number of occasions, but each time Sri Swamiji came to know of it and by his Grace, Pichiya was saved from the fatal consequences of the poison. Unfortunately, in 1968, when Sri Swamiji had sat for his one year Tapas, Pichiya was once again poisoned. This time Sri Swamiji himself was in Samadhi and so the information that Pichiya had been poisoned could not be conveyed to him. Consequently, the poor boy died, a victim of the stupidity and malice of some misguided people.

Rajmata Rewati Devi

On the demise of her husband the Maharaja of Patiala, Rajmata Rewati Devi of the erstwhile Patiala State had moved to Dehra Dun and had become a permanent resident of this town. Her step-daughter, Maharani Kailash Kumari Devi of Patna, used to speak to her about Sri Swamiji in glowing terms, as a result of which she felt greatly attracted towards him. When Sri Swamiji visited Dehra Dun, in the month of June 1966, Rajmata Rewati Devi went for his darshan and also took dhyana diksha from him. Thereafter, she would go daily for darshan and sit for dhyana in Sri Swamiji’s presence. One day she got the ‘Nagendra Bhava’* and this Bhava became continuous, for the entire twenty four hours of the day. This was a clear indicator of her spiritual potential and as the Rajmata was keen to pursue spiritual practices seriously, Sri Swamiji initiated her into Tapas in November 1966. From then on, she came to be known by the name or Nagendra Swami.

*  [Nagendra Bhava: Bhava of the Naag which remains coiled like a garland round the neck of Shiva;
also see Chapter 8 for elucidation of ‘Bhava’.
]

As a result of the continuous Nagendra Bhava that she experienced, Nagendra Swami soon developed the power of being able to read the mind and thoughts of any person who came before her, like an open book. Again, because she remained constantly under the influence of this Bhava, she could not control or restrain her speech. When she met anyone, she would rattle out whatsoever she saw, by the power of her intuition, about that person’s character, habits, thoughts and activities. This soon started become extremely embarrassing for the people concerned, particularly for her relatives, because they found her blurting out in public some of their most personal and closely guarded secrets, as also many of their unsavoury private affairs. Therefore, in order to cloak their own exposure and consequent embarassment, they spread word around that Rajmata Rewati Devi had become mentally deranged.

On one occasion, some relatives of Nagendra Swami requested Ananda Mai Ma to “cure” the Rajmata of her seeming aberration and took her to the residence of Nagendra Swami for this purpose. As Ananda Mai Ma got down from her car, one of the devotees of Sri Swamiji standing nearby got the ‘Nataraja Bhava’ and in that Bhava he drew a line across the entrance to the house. By this act an invisible barrier appears to have been raised which Ananda Mai Ma was unwilling or unable to cross. As she herself could not enter the house, she called out to Nagendra Swami to come out to where she was standing. Nagendra Swami replied that she was in Nagendra Bhava and hence was unable to get up from her seat. She told Ananda Mai Ma: “You are known as Jagat Mata; if truly you are Jagat Mata then why don’t you come in and take me out of the Nagendra Bhava?” But Ananda Mai Ma remained where she was. Quite obviously, she was unable to enter the house let alone remove the Rajmata’s Bhava. Finding herself powerless to intervene in the matter, Ananda Mai Ma returned to her own Ashrama.

The following year, when Sri Swamiji came again to Dehra Dun, he was informed about the power that Nagendra Swami had developed and the embarrassment she was causing to people by openly proclaiming what she intuitively read of their minds and character. In order to put a stop to this, Sri Swamiji directed Nagendra Swami to observe ‘Mowna’ (silence). After a year or so of the observance of this Mowna Sri Swamiji permitted Nagendra Swami to speak again but Nagendra Swami found the observance of Mowna so beneficial to her ‘sadhana’ (spiritual practices), that she decided to continue observing it indefinitely.

When Sri Swamiji initiated Nagendra Swami into Tapas, he had prescribed for her a rigorous schedule of sadhana. By assiduously following these directions, and as a result of her other spiritual practices, she became totally transformed. Whereas earlier she had been known and feared for her quick temper and sharp tongue, she now exuded an aura of peace. Those who had known her in the days preceding her Tapas, could hardly recognise the former Rajmata in the saintly and affectionate Nagendra Swami.

Her spiritual development proceeded apace, and she was well set to complete the prescribed twelve years of Tapas when suddenly, a tragedy struck. On 9th January, 1975, word was received at the Sri Shivabalayogi Ashram at Dehra Dun that Nagendra Swami had been murdered that morning, by an unknown assailant. Sri Swamiji had just returned from a tour of Sri Lanka and was at that time in Bangalore, when this sad and shocking information was relayed to him. The news of this gruesome murder came as a shock and surprise to all those who heard it. It appeared to be the handiwork of some demented or mentally deranged person, because it was unthinkable that anyone in his right senses would undertake the cold-blooded murder of an old lady, who had by now become universally recognised as a saint. The police were unable to trace the murderer and this heinous crime remains unsolved even to this day. Inscrutable is the play of Fate.

Satya Shivabalayogi

Satya Narain is a resident of Kondangi Village in the Krishna District of Andra Pradesh. In early 1965, he came to the Bangalore Ashram for darshan of Sri Swamiji and took Dhyana diksha. He was deeply impressed by this first contact and requested to be allowed to stay on in the Ashram. His request was granted by Sri Swamiji and so he stayed on, doing odd jobs in the Ashram and regularly attending the dhyana classes. By dint of unswerving practice, he started making good progress in dhyana.

After practising this for 6 months, Satya Narain requested Sri Swamiji to initiate him into Tapas. Sri Swamiji had been watching his progress and seeing that he was fit to undertake serious sadhana, Sri Swamiji initiated Satya Narain into Tapas on 7th August 1965. He then directed him to go back to his village and to carry on his ‘sadhana’ there. Satya Narain, who is now known as Satya Shivabalayogi, soon attained the samadhi state and was able to proceed with his Tapas undisturbed. By the Grace of Sri Swamiji, he successfully completed twelve years of Tapas on 7th August 1977. He was raised from Tapas by Sri Swamiji on 5th September 1977 and is now doing Prachara in accordance with the directions given by Sri Swamiji.

Conclusion

Though only a thumb sketch of the lives of the Tapasvin Disciples of Sri Swamiji has been given in this chapter, these lives adequately exemplify the spiritual benefits that are to be gained by obtaining the diksha and Grace of Sri Swamiji. It will be a source of solace and joy for all serious aspirants on the spiritual path to know that, in Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj, they have access to a Sad-Guru who is munificent in bestowing his blessings, and who can ferry them to the farther shore of this misery filled ocean of ‘samsara’ (the cycle of birth and death).

 

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