“All the pain and suffering that one has to undergo is a test. God tests. If one passes these tests then one can reach God.”

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Tapaswiji Maharaj

Tapaswiji Maharaj (1770-1955).  For more information, see the Tapaswiji page in Soul Connections.

Shivabalayogi on samadhi.

Shivabalayogi on his tapas.

Tapas Photos slide show.

"Had the ants, rodents and fishes eaten his body away, Swamiji wouldn't be able to serve you now.  He had become very lean at that time.  Swamiji himself was not interested in doing the penance.  God had made him sit by force.  So He had him put through all sorts of tests.  He passed all those tests and now he is serving you.  So whether Swamiji has his body now or not, he can still serve you."

Obstacles

The villagers thought he was acting, and those who disliked him forcibly tried to expose him.  They pulled at his legs.  They hit him.  They poured sugar water on him so the ants would bite.  One fellow soaked a rag in gasoline, lit it, and threw it on the boy.

In spite of his suffering, no one ever heard Swamiji utter a single word of complaint or let out a cry of pain, not even when he was in ordinary consciousness. He never complained or expressed anger at anyone.

It was not just abuse.  Sitting motionless for such long periods, insects and rodents nibbled at his flesh, and several cobras bit him.  By one count, he was bitten by cobras seven times.

While in samadhi, he was unaware of the pain, but he returned to ordinary consciousness each midnight for about an hour.  Then he suffered the torment of his body.

He would drag himself to the Godavari canal to wash himself.  Even the fish would nibble at his flesh.  He would return to his asana, his meditation seat and resume his meditation.  His hands clasped together for twenty-three hours at a time, the wounds grew together.  Only with difficulty could he separate his hands, and by the first year, his body was almost paralyzed from stiffness.

Early Devotees

He became known as the balayogi (“boy-yogi”) of Adivarapupeta.  Some of the villagers took sympathy on the young boy and erected a simple shelter of sticks and palm leaves.

Swamiji's mother, Parvatamma, was inconsolable until the Trimurthy (the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) physically appeared to her to give encouragement.  It was Parvatamma who took care of Swamiji throughout his tapas.

Upon instructions from Trimurthy, Swamiji meditated underneath a bodhi tree by the canal, but at night when he was left alone, trouble-makers caused him so many difficulties that the young yogi moved to a nearby field that served as the village graveyard for small children.  Most villagers were afraid of graveyards at night, but Sathyaraju had always been fearless.

Garaga Narasimha Murthy came to see Adivarapupeta Balayogi and, with the help of the landowner and some other local officials, constructed a small, twelve foot square Dhyana Mandir, meditation temple, where the Balayogi could be protected.  Swamiji's mother kept the key.

Tapaswiji Maharaj also heard of the boy sitting in tapas and came to visit Adivarapupeta in January of 1951.  By this time, Adivarapupeta Balayogi was paralyzed from stiffness and was near starvation.  Tapaswiji used his knowledge of kaya kalpa medicine to restore some flexibility to the young yogi's body, and arranged for Parvatamma to give him a glass of milk each day.

Some time in 1953, Swamiji's divine guru, Lord Shiva, healed the young yogi's body --all except the hands.  They had stiffened into the position in which he clasped than over months and years.  Shiva said he would also heal the hands if Swamiji asked, but Swamiji never asked.

"Swamiji has given his body as food to all the beings around him.  Now he has come to serve you."

"To be able to do all this he is doing now, Tapaswiji Maharaj has helped him a lot.  Tapaswiji Maharaj helped him and also his Guru [Shiva] helped him.  His mother [Parvatamma Allaka] also used to take good care of him.  [Narasimha Rao] used to serve him a lot.  That's the reason his is now able to serve you."

 

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