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Veerabhadraiah, standing, with (L to R) Mataji, Shivabalayogi and Ramakrishna Rao.  About 1966.

Veerabhadraiah, standing behind Swamiji's mother who is sitting at Shivabalayogi's feet.  Pada puja (worship of the feet) in Mysore, December of 1965.

K. S. Veerabhadraiah

The names Veerabhadraiah and Adinarayana frequently come up when talking with devotees about the first decades of Shivabalayogi’s work in India.  They were the ones who organized the first regular programs of mass meditation at public halls in Bangalore and Mysore.

K. S. Veerabhadraiah served and protected Swamiji continuously for nearly twenty-five years, beginning in the early years before Swamiji became well known.  He stayed with Swamiji, traveled with him, and served his devotees.  He was the master of the dholak (double sided drum), would lead bhajans, and was famous for his beautiful voice.

Mentally Deranged, He Is Brought to Shivabalayogi

Veerabhadraiah was a successful silk merchant, purchasing raw silk from the producers and selling it to weavers and mills.  As his silk business grew, he also invested in a lumber mill and purchased some busses.  His businesses were prospering so much that he was unable to manage them all by himself, so he brought in two brothers and a brother-in-law.  They proceeded to embezzle money and steal the businesses.  Veerabhadraiah had placed the busses in the name of his brother-in-law to avoid taxes.  His brother-in-law simply acted as if they belonged to him.  Veerabhadraiah lost everything.

He became mentally deranged.  He used to wander the streets and people thought he was a mental case.  He spent a few months like this.  His wife and children tried hospitals and doctors and everything, but nothing much could be done about his mental condition.  Finally friends suggested that there was a powerful swamiji in Bangalore and that they should bring Veerabhadraiah to him.

When Veerabhadraiah was brought into Shivabalayogi’s presence, Swamiji was delighted, suggesting that a long-awaited devotee had come at last.  He put his hand on Veerabhadraiah’s head for a few seconds.  Veerabhadraiah told his family that for an instant, the whole world was whirling around and he became unconscious.  When he got up he found himself a normal person.  He remained with Swamiji for the next six to seven years.

Veerabhadraiah had pawned his lumber mill. Swamiji helped him get it released.  But Veerabhadraiah wouldn’t bother with his businesses, or what was happening at the house, or any family problems; nothing.  His sons, particularly the eldest, Balu, had to take care of the family.  With Swamiji’s blessings, the family prospered while Veerabhadraiah traveled with Swamiji wherever he went.  All Veerabhadraiah would do is telephone the house.  If his family complained about any problem, he just told them to pray to Swamiji and things would be all right.  His family would often visit the Bangalore ashram, and it seemed as if they spent most of their time in the ashram rather than their own house.

Veerabhadraiah started returning home after six or seven years, but even then he would always say that he had to be with Swamiji.  He would say that his biggest property was to do service to Swamiji.

When his last daughter, Lathai, was born, Swamiji’s mother visited their house in Kolegal (about 100 km. from Bangalore) and assured the family that they had Swamiji’s blessings so they need not worry about anything.  Veerabhadriah’s wife, also named Parvatamma, had a lot of trouble with that last pregnancy.  The doctors predicted a very difficult birth, but as soon as she saw Swamiji’s mother, she was all right.  She delivered without any problem.

Public Programs

Adinarayana (L) and Veerabhadraiah (R) with Swamiji, around 1966.

In 1963, when Shivabalayogi first began traveling around India, he didn’t give public meditation class.  People came to Swamiji and talked with him.  If they asked for initiation, then Swamiji himself would initiate them with his left hand.  The mass meditation programs started after Swamiji’s first North India trip in 1966, when he went to Dehradun at the invitation of B. S. Lamba.  After Swamiji returned to Bangalore, Adinarayana and Veerabhadraiah started organizing mass meditation programs at the Bannerghatta Road ashram and in public halls in Bangalore and nearby Mysore.

 

Veerabhadraiah (left) with Swamiji's mother and Swamiji on August 7, 1969, the day Swamiji completed one-year tapas at the Bannerghatta Road ashram in Bangalore.

Meditation and bhajan programs became public.  Whenever Swamiji visited places around Bangalore, like Mysore or other towns and villages, he insisted that meditation programs be conducted.  Notices and advertisements about Swamiji’s programs were posted.  Swamiji gave power to Adinarayana, Veerabhadraiah, then others to give Swamiji’s initiation.  That was how it started.

When Shivabalayogi sat for his one-year tapas at the Bannerghatta Road ashram, the front door to Swamiji’s room was locked.  There was a side door where only Veerabhadraiah had permission to enter.  He gave Swamiji a daily glass of milk, and he was the one who arranged for Swamiji’s bathing water.

Veerabhadraiah passed away around 1988, survived by his wife, four sons and six daughters.  From the time he died through his funeral procession and until his body was buried, Swamiji was with his family, in trance upon Anasuya, one of his daughters.  Family and friends did bhajans throughout the night and Swamiji in trance accompanied the funeral procession to the burial ground and was there until everything was done.

 

 

 

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