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Vishwarupa, Universal God


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Vishwarupa Universal God

The Vishwarupa is a vision of a universal God, the form in which Krishna revealed himself to Arjuna, as described in the Bhagavad Gita.  The vision is often depicted as a standing image of Krishna, and arrayed behind on either side of him are the standing images of countless gods, goddesses, rishis and other divine beings extending to infinity.

The Vision of Viswarupa during Initiation

After my husband saw Swamiji for the first time, he returned home with some blessed vibhuti and a photograph of Swamiji.  Seeing that photograph, I felt that Swamiji had blessed me and I had received his initiation.

My husband had several other opportunities to see Swamiji, and during that time I had visions of Swamiji.  After he came home I checked with him.  I described some aspect of Swamiji that I had seen in a vision and ask, “Is this how Swamiji was?”  My husband was surprised because my description was accurate.

“Yes, this is how Swamiji was. How did you know?”

“Well, he was here a few minutes back, before you came. I saw him here.”

It was three years later in Bangalore that I saw Swamiji for the first time.  That initiation was to me was like a formality.  We all sat in a line to take the initiation.  I heard the noise of Swamiji getting on his asana (seat).  A devotee put vibhuti on me and gave me the instructions.  I remember he also said something about seeing visions, but I didn’t understand.  We had to close our eyes.  For one hour Swamiji made us keep our eyes closed.

I had the vision of Swamiji standing in front of me.  He appeared to me in a huge (vikrant) form.  It was like when Krishna showed his Vishwarupa (universal form) to Arjuna.  Swamiji was so huge that I kept tilting my head backwards, trying to look at him.  I couldn’t.  I tilted my head fully up, but I couldn’t see Swamiji.  I tilted back so much that I was leaning on somebody behind me.  I felt like that person pushed me back from behind, but it was the spiritual current in me that pushed me like that.  There was light surrounding me.  Even though my eyes remained closed, my entire field of vision was filled with light and with Swamiji.  I could see that he was transmitting a lot of energy to me.  Continuously he was transmitting.  As I received that, slowly my head tilted back to the normal position.

Then I faintly heard someone walking back, and some shouting. I was not concerned with it.  Someone was telling us one by one to open our eyes.  I must have been the last one to open my eyes.  I had to be told again and again to open my eyes.  When I opened my eyes, someone put some vibhuti in my hand.  I could see Swamiji on the dais.  The rest of that evening I kept looking at Swamiji

Swamiji told me, “You do the meditation,” so I took initiation.

When I returned home, I continued the meditation and I saw many different pictures of Swamiji in the meditation.  I saw the Vishwarupa, the form which Krishna showed to Arjuna.  Swamiji was standing on the stairs in front of the meditation hall at the Bangalore ashram.  He was on the first stair, and all the gods and powers were entering his body from the right side and coming out his left side.  Every god like Brahma and Ganesha, and every power, every god, and every spirit (asura) was entering him like waves and coming out from his left side.  He showed me that in meditation and I cannot forget it.

Devoted to Vishnu

There are those who worship only Vishnu and are intolerant of the worship of Lord Shiva.  Some devotees of Lord Shiva are intolerant of Vishnu.  This division between Vaishnavites and Saivites, or any religious intolerance, is something which greatly angered Shivabalayogi.  Venkateshwara is an incarnation of God Vishnu, as is Rama.  Rama's greatest devotee is Lord Hanuman.  Hanuman carries a mace.  Lord Shiva carries a trident (trishula).

In my parents’ house, we used to pray to Lord Venkateshwara and worship him.  When I first read Swamiji’s name, Shivabalayogi Maharaj, I had a doubt in my mind because I was a devotee of Vishnu and Swamiji is a devotee of Shiva.

I went to see him but resisted the idea of taking initiation. How could I accept Swamiji as guru?  For two months I struggled with this doubt. 

I had purchased a small picture of Swamiji and placed it near my bed.  One night as I was going to sleep, Swamiji emerged from that picture and sat on my chest.  I actually saw Swamiji with my eyes wide open.

Swamiji had a trishula [trident] in his hand.  As I was watching him, the trishula changed into a mace and Swamiji changed into Hanuman.  Then Hanuman held me by the throat and asked, “Do you know who I am?”

I couldn’t respond because Hanuman’s left hand had me by the throat. I was terrified.  All I could do was think in my mind, “Swamiji, forgive me.  Tomorrow morning I will definitely come and take initiation from you.”

Then Swamiji in the form of Hanuman let go of my throat but remained sitting on my chest.  He told me, “Tomorrow morning if you come and get initiated, it is all right.  Otherwise tomorrow night I am again going to come to you.”

The next day, I rushed to the ashram and took initiation.  That was Thursday, March 19th, 1964.  That day I was able to sit for one and a half hours for my first meditation, and I had lots of experiences.

Swamiji held me by the hand and took me out of the body to all the rivers and sacred places in the country.  Swamiji showed me what I had been in earlier births.  If I could write down all that I was shown in that first meditation, it would fill a book.

On February 15th, 1965, I had a dream in which Swamiji was lying down on the ground wearing just a kaupina (loin cloth).  He called me forward. I had some fruit with me.  Some juice was made from it and I brought to Swamiji in a glass.  Swamiji drank half and he gave me the other half.  After I drank the juice, I saw Swamiji in the form of Vishwarupa.  I saw every form in Swamiji.  While I was watching, I could see a lamp glowing in each one of the forms in the Vishwarupa.

After the Vishwarupa darshan was over, Swamiji was transformed into Ramakrishna Paramahansa.  [Particularly in the early years, Swamiji would sometimes talk with close devotees about his prior incarnation as Ramakrishna.]  In dreams and in meditation, Swamiji has come to me in all forms: a young man, an old man.  Swamiji has taken me to all kinds of places in my meditation.  I have even had the darshan of Jesus Christ.