Moved by the Spirit

HIS TREASURE Experiences


Parvatamma, Swamiji's Mother

Garaga N. Murthy, first devotee

Tapaswiji Maharaj

Yashoda, born to serve Swamiji

Kaleakanda Bhadra Rao, playmate

Ramakrishna Rao, companion

Hindi Master, bhajan leader

Kodandam, companion

Annapurna, Mandapeta

Vittal G. Tambre and his army

Adinarayana, Trust Secretary

K. S. Veerabhadraiah

Mataji, Swamiji's Second Mother

Nagendra Swami, tapaswin

S. Veereshaiah, Bombay

D. Baurai, Postmasterji

K. L. Ghai, Sambhar Lake

K. Gopanna, Kakinada

Gen. Hanut Singh, Dehradun

R. C. Nanda, Jhansi

R. Thippanna, Anantapur Ratnagiri

Guru Sisters

Hosting Swamiji in the West

Azul's Om Shiva


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His Samadhi, Successors








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Adinarayana with ShivabalayogiAdinarayana

When devotees reminisce about Swamiji in the early decades, invariably the name Adinarayana is mentioned.  He is the devotee who greeted them at the Bannerghatta Road ashram in Bangalore, who transmitted Swamiji’s initiation and stood by Swamiji’s asana during programs, often translating for him, and the one who took care of Swamiji’s travel arrangements.  Adinarayana was one of the giants who attended upon Shivabalayogi and his devotees from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.

Adinarayana served as the Secretary and manager of the Bangalore ashram and its office, although there never really was much of a functioning office.  He was open hearted, warmly greeting and receiving devotees when they arrived at the ashram.  He had the privilege of entering Swamiji’s room whenever he wanted, and he also took a lot of shouting from Swamiji!

Many devotees liked and respected Adinarayana for his social nature.  He was more outgoing and engaging than some of the other devotees who served Swamiji personally.  He was good at networking and was familiar with most of the VIP’s who were Swamiji’s devotees during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Other close devotees spent time massaging, bathing, clothing and feeding Swamiji.  By comparison, Adinarayana mingled with devotees, collected their contact details, and took care of organizing programs and travel arrangements.  When programs first started in Bangalore, before Swamiji trained his own devotees to lead bhajans, Adinarayana organized the bhajan troupe.  He paid them some money and arranged for an ox cart to bring them to the ashram.  Even the mat on which they sat was rented because nothing was available at the ashram.

Adinarayana kneeling at Shivabalayogi’s feet.
Photo taken on the deck of the Dehradun ashram.

It was likely that among those living at the ashram in those days, Adinarayana was the only one who could speak, read and write English.  Moreover, he could speak Kannada, Telugu and Hindi.  Naturally, he became the ashram contact for most of the devotees.  He would read out letters for Swamiji ,then write or type out correspondence in reply.  He also managed the sales of pictures and books and the procurement of vibhuti that Swamiji would bless and distribute.

Swamiji himself used to tell the story of how Adinarayana came to him.

Adinarayana was from a well to do family in Bangalore.  By the time Swamiji first arrived in Bangalore in 1963, Adinarayana was a young married man with children.  It was his wife who first came to Swamiji and she used to visit him regularly at the old ashram on Bannerghatta Road.  She used to complain to Swamiji that she tried to bring her husband to have Swamiji’s darshan but he would not, as he had no devotion and was not interested in anything spiritual.  She would also complain that he never took interest in taking care of his family business or his family, but spent most of his time with his friends playing football.

Swamiji warned her that if her husband had his darshan, even once, she would end up complaining that her husband was too attached to Swamiji, so attached that he never leaves the ashram to go home.  Swamiji’s warning came true.

Adinarayana with Swamiji
Bombay c. 1965.

On the road between Dehradun and Delhi.  Four people were in the van, Swamiji in back, when a tire blew out.  Swamiji explained that the two in back thought the two in front had been killed, and the two in front thought the same about those in back.  Swamiji had to break the van window to get out, and he showed the scar on his hand from the cut he got.

Adinarayana’s wife finally managed to persuade him to visit the ashram and have Swamiji’s darshan.  As Swamiji predicted, Adinarayana was so attracted by that first darshan that he left his family, his friends, and football and moved into the ashram.  Life at the old ashram in those early years was tougher than at the new ashram in the 1980’s.  Adinarayana, used to the comforts of hot water in his own home, had to wash himself with cold water under the tap in the open compound in the chill Bangalore winters.  Food at the ashram was also basic.

Eventually, Adinarayana’s wife complained to Swamiji that her husband was staying at the ashram and would never come home, not even to visit.  Swamiji shouted at her, “Swamiji warned you.  You wouldn’t listen.  Go ahead and take him away.  Swamiji has not tied him up at the ashram.  You are free to take him home whenever you want.”

Adinarayana refused to go home. Consequently, his wife developed an enmity towards Swamiji and stopped visiting the ashram.  She never visited the ashram, even when Adinarayana passed away in 1988.  Over this time, none of Adinarayana’s children or relatives expressed any devotion towards Swamiji.

Adinarayana was Swamiji’s driver for almost three decades and he took immense pride in that job.  He travelled with Swamiji across the length and breadth of India several times over.  Swamiji would refer to him as the equivalent of Nandi the bull, the celestial vehicle of Lord Shiva.

Driving Swamiji all over India, Adinarayana often drove for twenty-four or more hours at a stretch.  On one occasion, he had been driving for over forty-eight hours when he feel asleep at the wheel.  Swamiji, sitting in back as usual, tapped him on the shoulder but Adinarayana didn’t wake up.  This was one of several times Swamiji had to grab the steering wheel to prevent the car from colliding with something.

Adinarayana never bothered about what was coming behind him.  He would just apply the brakes.  He was driving Swamiji’s car and Swamiji’s nephew, Bheemaraju, was driving the jeep that was following.  Suddenly Adinarayana applied the brakes and the car stopped.  They were traveling at a good speed, so Bheemaraju had to brake hard and swerve to avoid hitting Swamiji’s car.  This happened more than once when Adinarayana was driving.

In the early 1980s, Shiladitya came to live at the Bangalore ashram.  He used to stay in Adinarayana’s room, which was also the ‘Office Room’ in those days.

Shiladitya observed that Adinarayana never did any meditation, even though Swamiji often used him to give initiation to devotees.  Shiladitya once asked Adinarayana, “You have been close to Swamiji for so long.  How come you don’t meditate?”

Adinarayana replied, “Why should I meditate?  Swamiji meditates on my behalf.”

Shiladitya could not believe that.  He believed that every devotee should meditate for himself or herself.  He used the next opportunity to relate this incident to Swamiji in private.  To Shiladitya’s utter surprise, Swamiji responded, “Yes, Swamiji meditates on behalf of Adinarayana.”

Above: Adinarayana, on the left, standing by Shivabalayogi sitting on his asana.
Below: Adinarayana, on the left, traveling with Swamiji.

Adinarayana, holding Swamiji's right shoulder, bathing near Dharmasthala, in South India.

Adinarayana had immense faith in Swamiji, to the extent that it made him appear foolish or silly.  An example is the Ramakrishna Mission down the street from Swamiji’s ashram in Dehradun.  Adinarayana visited the Mission to tell the Ramakrishna devotees that their master had reincarnated as Shivabalayogi.  He expected them to come see Swamiji, but they ignored him.  When he complained to Swamiji, Swamiji scolded him for trying.

Devotees like Adinarayana are rare.  He actually believed that Swamiji was God and that Swamiji was responsible for every minute detail in the entire universe, every event whether bad or good.  When he read in the newspaper about a natural calamity that claimed several lives, he would exclaim, “I know Swamiji is doing all this, but who can understand why?”

Adinarayana believed that Swamiji’s mission would grow immensely and spread all over the world.  When Swamiji did not take him on his first trip to the UK in 1987, he was disappointed.  When Swamiji’s next trip to Sri Lanka was being planned for 1988, he told Swamiji that he would accompany Swamiji.

Adinarayana’s ticket was booked and he went by train to Madras (now Chennai) where he joined Swamiji who had flown there from Bangalore.  They were staying at a hotel, probably the Palm Grove, before they were scheduled to take a flight to Colombo the next morning.

That night, Adinarayana was with Swamiji.  Adinarayana suddenly complained about severe pain in his chest. Swamiji blessed some vibhuti which was mixed with water and given to him.  He drank the vibhuti and died within the next few minutes, in the physical presence of Swamiji in the same room.  Apparently, he had a heart attack.  Adinarayana was very fortunate even in death!

Yashoda, who was also traveling to Sri Lanka with Swamiji, thought that he would cancel the trip and return to Bangalore.  What Swamiji did instead shocked Yashoda.  Swamiji summoned R. B. Singh who had traveled from Sriharikota to Madras to send off Swamiji.  Swamiji asked R. B. Singh to take Adinarayana’s body to Bangalore.  Swamiji then proceeded to Colombo as scheduled along with the rest of the entourage.

Devotees at the Bangalore ashram were shocked to get an early morning telephone call informing them that Adinarayana had passed away and that his body was being brought to Bangalore.  Adinarayana’s family and all other devotees who had telephones were also informed.  The bhajan group came over to the ashram.  When the body arrived at the ashram, they performed bhajans for a while, then the body was taken to Adinarayana’s house so his family could to perform the last rites.

Later, when Swamiji and Yashoda returned to Bangalore, Yashoda expressed her shock.  Swamiji responded, “Haven’t I told you all that this (the mission) is a war?  If we sit mourning around fellow warriors who die, the enemy will kill us too.  During war, we must ignore the dead and move on.”

During the last years before Adinarayana’s death, Swamiji made other devotees gradually take over the duties he had been carrying out.  Ramaradhya took over the office work and correspondence.  Shiladitya or Bhadra Rao drove Swamiji more often.  Yashoda took over the kitchen and store management.  To most of ashram insiders, it appeared as though Adinarayana was falling out of Swamiji’s favor.  It was obvious to them that Adinarayana was pained by his loss of control.

Only after Swamiji returned from Sri Lanka did he explain, “Do you understand now why Swamiji gradually withdrew Adinarayana from the ashram management over the years and let others take over?”  Swamiji had already known about Adinarayana’s heart condition.

Shivabalayogi got a big picture of Adinarayana, had it framed, and instructed devotees to put it up in the southwest corner of the meditation hall, in line with Swamiji’s own pictures.  Adinarayana was greatly missed.  No one could effectively take over his work and the various roles he had served for over two decades.

Much later, Swamiji said that Adinarayana had been reborn as a son in a family of devotees.  The mother brought this boy to the ashram to have Swamiji’s darshan.  He must be in his teens now.