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Bhava Samadhi:  Protection for Devotees


Adivarapupeta:  Two Armed Gangs

Uppa Surya Rao and several others in Adivarapupeta confirm this incident involving a farmer from Mangalavarapeta
and two, armed gangs that converged on the Adivarapupeta ashram.
This happened some time shortly after Shivabalayogi completed his twelve-year tapas.

Hanuman Bhava

Hanuman bhava

People used to come to Adivarapupeta to create trouble because they did not understand trance.  People used to argue with Swamiji that the trance couldn’t be.  The only way Swamiji could prove it was to put them in trance.  Once they realized what trance was, they were sorry for what they had done.

There was an atheist named Prakasham who lived in Ramachandrapuram.  He came to visit Swamiji and have a look at what was happening.  He talked to Swamiji and then he went back to Ramachandrapuram convinced that Swamiji was using tricks to fool people, and that he was trying to convince people that he had done tapas, but it was all bogus.

Prakasham instigated some mechanics and other people to form a group and go to Adivarapupeta armed with crude weapons, like wrenches and whatever else was at hand.  They came and waited by the canal.  The people in Adivarapupeta were ready to defend Swamiji if required, and the people from Ramachandrapuram, seeing that the devotees were prepared to fight, decided not to enter the village.  They simply stayed by the canal.

On the same day, another group came from a village called Mangalavarapeta.  They were led by a farmer from that village who was active in atheist groups and argued against people who worshipped God.  This farmer was very ferocious and they were intent on creating trouble.  This group approached the ashram from the other side with sticks in their hands.

There were probably sixty to seventy people in each of the two groups, armed and prepared for trouble.  They shouted slogans, threats and taunts.  The situation was tense.  People in Adivarapupeta thought the two groups were going to get violent, and they were ready to protect Swamiji and themselves.

Some people were already in trance and the devotees knew that the trance swamis would not listen to ordinary advice.  They would probably start a fight.  If a man was in Hanuman trance, he did what Hanuman wanted to do.  The devotees wanted to avoid trouble, so they collected the people in trance and pushed them inside Swamiji’s room to prevent them from creating any trouble.  The only trance person they could not get inside was a man in Hanuman’s trance, Nagaraj by name, from the village of Chodavaram.  When they went to catch him, he climbed up a coconut tree and avoided being pushed into Swamiji’s room.

Swamiji sent a message to the people who had gathered to make trouble.  He asked them to send their leader, the farmer, to Swamiji’s room and the rest should all wait outside.

The devotees tried to get the farmer to go inside but he wouldn’t.  He was afraid of what might happen to him.  Swamiji told his devotees to use force and they pushed him in.

The various eyewitnesses who shared their memories of this incident said that they didn’t know what happened, but the moment the farmer was pushed inside the door of Swamiji’s room, he changed.  Something happened to his mind.  He suddenly fell at Swamiji’s feet.

Swamiji asked the devotees to dress the farmer in a loincloth (kaupina) and apply vibhuti all over him.  He was dressed and made to look like Shiva.

All this was going in inside the room.  The atheist group from Ramachandrapuram was still waiting by the canal.  They knew that the farmer from Mangalavarapeta had been taken into the room but they didn’t know what was happening to him.  They were afraid that he was being beaten up or something like that.  So the commotion was building up and some of them started throwing rocks.

Swamiji controlled the situation.  He asked the devotees to give the farmer some plates of prashad, and he asked the farmer to go outside and distribute the prashad (blessed food) to the people.

The farmer opened the door and started talking to the crowd, “No, no.  Don’t harm anybody.  Don’t create any nuisance here.  Be calm.  We don’t know exactly what he is doing.  I don’t understand him fully, but if you believe that there is something here, whatever you want to believe, it is here.  If you don’t want to believe it, then there is nothing here.”  Then the farmer distributed the prashad to the two groups and pacified the crowd.

Since that incident, this farmer has always worn vibhuti in three stripes on his forehead, like the devotees of Shiva do, and he always wears rudraksha seed beads around his neck.  Before that, he knew nothing about devotion and had no belief in God.   Since then he has become a great devotee of Shiva.  Even now when he travels on the road, by bike or car or whatever, he can be seen dressed like a devotee of Shiva.

Doddaballapur: Trouble with Mathdipathis

The first leg of Shivabalayogi’s first tour, in March and April of 1963, took him to Dodballapur, a small town north of Bangalore, where Swamiji’s second ashram was established.  In that area there were many “maths” — ashrams and organizations typically associated with caste communities and headed by religious leaders called a mathadipathi.  The people who ran those maths came to feel extremely jealous of Swamiji and the attention and crowds he was getting.  These mathadipathis felt more important that this simple village boy from the weaver’s community, and they resented the bhava samadhi.  They sent messengers to Swamiji and his devotees from Adivarapupeta threatening harm unless they left Mysore State

Krishnoji, Hanumato and Chikkanna were three friends in Doddaballapur who became devotees of Swamiji and helped organize the bhajans there.  One evening when the bhajans were going on at the Doddaballapur ashram, some people came to break up the function.  They came with sticks and there was big trouble all around the ashram.  That was when Krishnoji went into trance.  He stood there like a guard and said, “Let’s see who has the courage to come and break the drum or take the cymbals.”

The first day it started.  The second day it was a little more.  The third day it exploded.  One troublemaker, Shivanna, had links with the nearby maths and taken some large loans from one of them.  Shivanna went and started banging on the door at the back of Swamiji’s ashram, trying to break it open, accusing Swamiji of all kinds of things.  The three Doddballapur friends tried to stop him, but finally he broke down the door.

The moment the door broke open, a large flame emerged out of the room.  It was a very big light.  It turned out that only Shivanna and the three Doddballapur friends saw the flame.  Krishnoji got confident and told Shivanna, “Come on.  You’ve opened the door.  Now go inside and do whatever you want.”

Shivanna was afraid. “No, no, no. It’s dangerous to go inside.  There’s a lot of danger inside.  I cannot go inside.”  He himself closed the door and started telling the others to withdraw from the ashram because it was very dangerous.  “You cannot go inside.  Don’t try to go inside.”

By that time the police had arrived and they charged the crowd with lathi sticks, beating people who would not disperse.  The three friends thought they should guard Swamiji and the ashram, so they stood by the building.  The police warned them and tried to shout them off, but they wouldn’t move.  One policeman came at Krishnoji with a long stick about three fingers thick.  As he made to strike, Krishnoji protected himself with his right arm, snapping the stick in two.  Krishnoji wasn’t hurt and felt no pain.

The policeman, left holding a small piece of stick in his hand, threw it away.  He took off his leather belt and used it to whip Krishnoji three times, but each time Krishnoji felt nothing.  The police began to realize that the three were only standing guard and not giving any trouble, so they left them alone and turned their attention to what was left of the crowd.

The crowd started throwing stones at the ashram, stones about two or three inches in diameter.  The stones hit the ashram building wall and ricocheted to the ground.  The ground was littered with stones, about a truck load full, but none of them hit the three friends.  Finally the trouble subsided.

The next morning when he was having his bath, Krishnoji three black marks on his body, each three inches wide.  They were caused by the belt, but he felt pain.  That evening when he went to the ashram, Swamiji asked Krishnoji,  “What happened to you yesterday?  Were you hurt?”  Swamiji gave him some vibhuti and by the next morning, the marks were gone.

Bangalore: Trouble with Christians

Bhava Samadhi, Bannerghatta Road ashramWhen the bhajans first started at the Bangalore ashram, there were no loudspeakers or amplifiers.  But when people from Bangalore’s Cubbonpet district started coming, they decided, as is typical for any temple or ashram function throughout India, that they needed a loudspeaker,  They arranged for an amplifier, loudspeaker, and microphone.

The bhajans could be heard at a nearby Christian church and convent.  Those people objected to the music being broadcast on the loudspeakers.  The next Sunday when the bhajan was going on, at about nine p.m., a large group of Christians came to the ashram, all dressed in black and led by a priest.

Swamiji used to apply vibhuti on a few people with instructions to look after things, whether it was a small quarrel or taking care of people in trance.  When the group of Christians showed up, one such devotee, Rangayya by name, reported to Swamiji.  “Swamiji, these people are coming.  We don’t know what to do.”

Swamiji said, “Go and receive them properly.  Receive them with honor.  Find out why they are coming here.”

Rangayya and others spoke to the priest who said they objected to the bhajans on the loudspeaker so they had come to ask the devotees to stop doing the bhajans.  Rangayya was about to report back to Swamiji when the priest stood against the ashram wall and stretched his arms out.  He placed one foot over the other and his head hung to one side.  He remained like that for a long time.  The other people who had come with him started doing worship like Christians do, touching their forehead and shoulders.

Rangayya went inside and said, “Swamiji, this is what is happening to him.  He is standing like that in the form of a cross and these people are . . .”

Swamiji interrupted, “These people have come to fight with us.  They are Christians.  There is no difference between Christ and us.  We are all the same.  So if he is in bhava I cannot help it.  If you want, you apply vibhuti on him and bring him back to normal.”

The devotees waited until the end of the bhajans, applied vibhuti and the priest came out of bhava.  He was taken inside to see Swamiji.  As soon as he entered, he hugged Swamiji and kissed him.  He signed the cross and said,  “Swamiji, it’s my mistake.  Forgive me.  We were being troubled by this loudspeaker.”

Bangalore: Hired Thugs

Munivenkatappa was one of the devotees who took care of what was happening at the Bangalore ashram during bhajans.  One night he noticed some men offending the girls.  He tried to tell them nicely that the ashram was no place for such conduct and he took them to Swamiji who scolded them properly and sent them off.

The next Sunday night, Munivenkatappa was with another devotee named Krishna who used to go into the trance of Hanuman.  The two of them used to walk home together from the ashram.  That night before they left, Swamiji called and warned the two to be careful. He said that people were waiting to beat them up.  Trusting in Swamiji’s protection, they left the ashram.

At that time, there was still no development along Bannerghatta Road from the Dairy Circle to the ashram.  That stretch of one kilometer was dark, deserted countryside.  The area was well known to be frequented by robbers.  The two devotees were about halfway to Dairy Circle when they saw about twenty goondas (hired thugs) coming towards them.  They were not aware of anything that happened after that except that both received trance and their attackers were beaten up so badly that they all ran away in fright.  Munivenkatappa was ans Krishna came to their ordinary senses and returned safely to their respective homes.

Munivenkatappa felt tired and his body ached a little.  That night Swamiji came to him in a dream.  Just like devotees would massage Swamiji’s legs and body, in this dream Swamiji was massaging Munivenkatappa's body.

The next day he went to the ashram and when Swamiji saw him he started laughing.  “What happened last night?”

Munivenkatappa replied, “Swamiji, you know everything.  You warned that we would be attacked, but you were with us so we are all right.  Wherever we go you are with us.”

Swamiji told Munivenkatappa, “What happened last night was really good.  These guys will not bother the ashram again.”

After that incident, those goondas never returned to the ashram.  They told anyone who wanted to hire them that they would not touch anyone from the ashram because Swamiji would put the devotees in trance and beat up anyone trying to harm them.

The guys who had hired those goondas still wanted to get even, so they hired a goonda from another neighborhood near the ashram.  This goonda had a reputation as one of the toughest ruffians around.  They gave this goonda five hundred rupees to hire others and some liquor to get him pretty drunk.

The goondas were waiting at an intersection on Bannerghatta Road as Munivenkatappa and another devotee, Nagaraj, were walking from the ashram.  One of the goondas had been beaten up in the earlier incident.  He recognized the two as devotees from Swamiji’s ashram and fell at their feet, apologizing that he didn’t know that he had been hired to beat up Swamiji’s devotees.  He assured them that as devotees of Shivabalayogi, they were respected just like Swamiji, and that he could not cause any harm to them.

He asked the two to proceed along their way, assuring them that they would not be harmed.  Then the goonda turned on the guys who had hired him and beat them up.