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A Physician’s Desperations Dissolve in Darshan

ShivabalayogiSome of my friends in Bangalore had told me that I should go to Swamiji to get my wife cured.  She had a chronic illness for several years and whatever I had tried as a physician did not cure her.  I was thinking that I might go to Bangalore and have Swamiji’s darshan.  But it was not possible.  I couldn’t go there.

In the meantime, my son sat for the tenth class public examination and failed.  That night he tried to commit suicide by drinking some rat poison called Endrin.  Here I was, a physician with a scientific attitude who mistrusted God-men, but my wife was sick and my son tried suicide.  Swamiji again came to my mind.  I thought, “Swamiji, they say that you are a yogi, that you are a great man and you have done tapas.  If that is true, then with your blessings my son should survive this suicide attempt and he should live again.”  This happened on the night before Swamiji came to this town.  That was on the 4th of September, 1975.  That’s the night my son drank Endrin and I prayed for Swamiji’s blessings that my son might live.

Actually, when I was praying in desperation, I had no idea that Swamiji would be coming here, much less that he was coming the very next day.  My son lived through the night so by morning we knew that he would be all right.  It was that morning when I learned that Swamiji was coming to Tadpatri.  I thought, “How wonderful!  The same person whom I had been thinking of going and seeing, he himself comes to town.  And my son is not well.”  I went to see the swamiji.  There was such a big crowd there that I couldn’t get close, so I asked some police officers for help.  Because I had a good name here being a doctor, the police helped and took me directly to Swamiji’s dais.

When I saw Swamiji, I was totally shocked by the way he appeared to me.  Swamiji had such a divine form, extremely divine, that pleased me so much that I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  For about one and a half hours I just stood there, facing Swamiji and gazing at him. I couldn’t move.  I didn’t want to move.

After a long while, Swamiji called me closer and asked, “Is there anything you want to ask me?”

“I don’t need anything.  I just want your blessings.”  I had gone there to ask for help for my son and wife, but I had completely forgotten all about that.  I was in such a state at that time that I couldn’t have talked about my problems to Swamiji.  I just asked for blessings and Swamiji just smiled.

Tears of Recognition — Shivabalayogi Is the Vision

My bother told me about a lecture on meditation which he had attended.  The lecturer had said that to attain samadhi and realize God, one needed a guru and one had to meditate.  To find the guru, one must pray to the sky, and for God’s darshan, one must meditate and obtain a guru.

I decided that maybe I needed a guru and had to meditate.  Since I was eight years old, I had a strong desire for darshan of Lord Nataraja [Shiva in the form of the Lord of Dance].  I loved the worship rituals as I was growing up and I developed a strong desire to have the physical darshan of Nataraja.  I had seen Nataraja in my dreams, but that did not satisfy me.  I wanted to physically see Lord Nataraja.

That night I was alone in my bedroom with the door bolted from the inside.  I thought I would give meditation a try, so I prayed to the sky that I find my guru.  Some time around midnight I sat for meditation.  I had no idea what meditation was, but I knew enough to close my eyes.  I was overcome by an intense spiritual experience that lasted for about two or two and a half hours.  I cannot tell you what all happened because I was told to keep it a secret.  Throughout the meditation I felt great bliss as if I was in the presence of Lord Nataraja.

As the experience passed, I had a feeling there was someone else with me.  I opened my eyes and it was 2:30 a.m.  I looked up and there standing before me was a sadhu, a yogi.  He was wearing nothing but a dhoti (loincloth).  He had long, black jata (matted hair) down beyond his waist, and a great big belly.  The jata was unusual because there were very few Shiva sadhus in Sri Lanka.  [Ascetics who are devoted to Lord Shiva often adopt the god’s dress and allow their hair to grow long and matted, which they usually coil on top of the head.]

The yogi put his hand on my head and told me that I should stay on the path of meditation.  I had no idea who this man was.  The yogi told me not to tell anyone what I had seen in my spiritual experience, and then he touched me on the head.  I only saw him for a few minutes.

I needed to go to the bathroom, so I got up, unlocked the door, and went out.  Only then did it occur to me how unusual it was that a strange man could be in my room, especially since I had bolted it from the inside.

Dehradun AsanaSome time later my mother, brother and I joined the lecturer's tour to visit many holy sites in South India as well as several saints, about which I was less than enthusiastic because of my family’s tradition of mistrusting so-called holy men.  The lecturer took us to Bangalore for Shivabalayogi's darshan, but Swamiji was in Dehradun.  Arrangements were made for us to travel by train to Dehradun in the foothills of the Himalayas, a long journey that takes three days to Delhi, then another day to reach Dehradun.  All this was just to see a sadhu.  I was very upset because I thought it was a waste of time to see holy men.  I was interested in temples.  I was quite angry, but I had no choice.

Our group got to the Dehradun ashram and we were told to bathe and dress because Shivabalayogi would be giving public darshan that evening.  In those days, Swamiji would come out and be in samadhi from about five o’clock to eight in the evening during meditation and the bhajans which followed.  I was slow and unenthusiastic about getting ready, and I remember I was the last one to take a bath.  By the time I went to the hall, Swamiji was already sitting on his dais in samadhi.

When I saw Swamiji, I began to cry.  It was not a matter of devotion or prayers.  I just could not help but cry.  The next two nights, the same thing happened.  I would see Swamiji in samadhi and I could not help but cry.  Only on the fourth night did I go to the hall early enough to see Swamiji walk in the room and take his seat on the asana.  Only then did I see his body standing and recognize the great belly and long matted hair.  Only then did I recognize Shivabalayogi as the yogi who had appeared in my room.