“Humility is Superior than Service. To ease the knot of Ego, both humility and service is the best medicine.”
Narayan! Narayan! Narayan! Narayan!
“A glimpse of our Maharajshree,Swami Akhandanand Saraswatiji’s life”
Maa’s Reverend Gurudev
Our reverend Maharajshree was born on 25th July 1911 (Sravani Amavasya, pushya nakshatra). He was born in a small village named Maharai, not very far from the banks of Bhagavati Bhagirathi of Mahaitch Pargane which is a part of India’s most sacred Varanasi Mandal. Maharajshree was from a very well-known revered family amongst the Brahmins, the Saryuparayani Brahmins. His father and grandfather were the followers of Sanatana Dharma and were well known for their righteous conduct. They were well versed in scriptures and followed the vocation of priests and spiritual preceptors of fifty villages in the Maaich pargana (i.e.sub-division). They were well known for their precise righteous decisions and virtuous logical thinking.Thus they instilled into the mind of Maharajshree the tendencies as per their lineage of sanatana dharma. Thus the seeds of faith in the shashtras (scriptures) and dharma (righteousness) were sown from the very childhood.
Maharajshree lost his father at the tender age of seven. He did remember the fine feature of his father and his allurin sweet voice reciting the scriptures. He recited Sanskrit shlokas with great affection and read Ramayana with inspiring sentiments. After the death of his father the sole responsibility of nurturing the child fell upon the tender shoulders of his mother and grandfather. Whenever the mother recited Ramcharitmanas tears of love rolled down her eyes and the little child Shantanubihari‘s eyes either started watering or tried to recognize the alphabets. Thus with Ramcharita Manas started his study of alphabets. Many chopais and dohas (stanzas of Ramayana) were effortlessly memorized. The faculty of memory became so sharp, in the company of the students who came to study from his grandfather, that he immediately grasped whatever he heard. By the age of eight or nine he had already learnt the ‘Satyanarayan katha’, ‘Durga path’, and ‘Muhurtchintamani’.
The self-study of ‘Laghukaumudi’ (Sanskrit grammar) ‘Raghuvansh’,(great work of Kalidasa) ‘Tarksangraha’ (a subject well-versed in logical thinking) etc. was accomplished by the age of ten. Maharajshree’s elder brother had expired before his birth therefore his grandfather prayed to God Shantanubihari in Vrindavan for a grandson. The boon was granted and nine months thereafter exactly on the same day a child was born and named Shantanubihari and was called Shantanu. At a tender age of ten Maharajshree’s grandfather enthrowned him, put a tilak on his forehead (spot-mark on the fore-head) garlanded him and made recite the slokas of Srimad Bhagvatam, the greatest of the Puranas. Since then Srimad Bhagavatam accompanied him all throughout life as a most benevolent factor. It is the Bhagavatam that has nourished his life with the gift of the four pursuits of human life Dharma (righteousness), Artha (financial securities), Kama (pleasures), and Moksha (liberation). Maharajshree had assimilated the essence of Bhagavatam in his life. There now existed only a single identity-Bhagavatam and Maharajshree were both one and the same.
The gross school education of Maharajshree was only upto the class ‘B’. Now he says that the word ‘rishichool’ was transformed to school by dropping away ‘ri’ and class is the modification of the sanskrit word ‘calansh’. Maharajshree enjoyed narrating two incidents of his student life at the school.Once it so happened that, Maharajshree tucked a knife in his dhoti and forgot it. He searched for the knife elsewhere and approached the teacher saying that the knife was stolen. One of the classmates had seen Maharajshree tucking the knife in his dhoti. He immediately came to Maharajshree took out the knife from his dhoti and gave it to him. Maharajshree felt ashamed before the class. Later narrating this incident Maharajshree said the real thing is not lost. It is only a delusion of our mind which makes us feel that the real thing is lost. This self illusion is the cause of all sorrow and pains in us and in others. Once done away with this illusion the real indestructible self the ‘Atman’ ever exists.
On another incident, an examiner from outside had visited the school for inspection. The examiner approached the class and questioned Maharajshree. He wrote on the blackboard 6+8 and asked Maharajshree ‘ what is 6+8?’ Instead of 14 Maharajshree wrote 13. The class teacher abused him saying ‘who has taught you this?’ Later Maharajshree narrating this incident said ‘you need no teachers to teach you errors or mistakes, they occur automatically in life. One needs to be taught how to undo these errors or mistakes. Has anyone taught you about the ignorance of the true self? It is from times immortal that man is ignorant of his true nature. Now the question is how can we overcome this ignorance.This is possible only by obtaining the knowledge of reality through ‘Guru’, as prescribed by the Vedas.
Maharajshree’s teachers at the school were either his followers or the disciples of his father or grandfather. When Maharajshree came to the school they first bowed down to his feet and then started teaching him. At the time of the death of Maharajshree’s father many disciples were present. They all were a witness to the fact that Maharajshree’s father’s last breath came out of the body rupturing the skull. Such a death, as per our scriptures, indicates that the person who has expired has been a great YOGI. Many disciples of his father had extreme faith in Maharajshree, they thought they will be cured of all diseases merely by drinking the waters of his feet and so it also happened. This is not merely their faith but incidents have been narrated in our Puranas in the character sketch of Maharaj Shantanu.
While In Varanasi
While studying in Varanasi Maharajshree came into acquaintance of learned scholars who were all theists and devotees of GOD. Some of them are Pandit Rambhavanji great teacher of Vedic grammar, Pandit Kashinath a sincere believer of Vedanta, Pandit Ramparikshan Shashtri a numinous scholar of all schools of philosophy and Swami Manishanandji a renowned learned saint. By their satsang (discourses), by self-study (swadhyay) and by persuading the saints his mind and intellect became pious and sharp. Maharajshree’s routine, for six years, was as such, early morning he took bath in the holy waters of Gangaji. He then went for darshan of Maa Annapurna, Lord Vishwanath, and Ram mandir and then attended the sermons of Srimad Bhagavatam by Pandit Bhupnarayanji. He was not only a relative of Maharajshree but he was specially graceful towards him. In the afternoon in his resting hours also he unraveled the mystery of difficult/tough slokas of Srimad Bhagavatam. After six years his grandfather passed away hence Maharajshree had to give his studies and return home to look after the farms, family and to maintain traditional vocation of being the gurus of the innocent folks.
Seeds Of Renunciation
Grandfather of Maharajshree was himself a great astrologer and had faith in astrology and was in acquaintance with many other contemporary astrologers. All of them went into a detailed study of Maharajshree’s were much concerned. The horoscope said that the life span of Maharajshree was only upto nineteen years. After the death of his grandfather an imagination of death often aroused in his mind and at times the pangs of death tortured his mind. He often fled to Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Rishikesh and other places. Maharajshree met well known saints there and tried to enquire into the methods of rescue from the pangs of death. All the saints said that there is no way to evade the fate bound death but there are means which can relieve one from the clutches of the fears of death. They said “the Supreme Knowledge can alone rescue you from the fear of death,” and infact so it happened. The saints blessed him with absolute knowledge of the Brahman and poised his mind with the liquor of immortality. Alas! No more fear of death ever existed. In those days Maharajshree had darshan of great saints like Mangaldasji and others
Efforts Begin Towards The Goal
Four to five miles away from the village of Maharajshree on the banks of Ganga dwelt Swami Yogananda,a disciple of Paramhansa Ramkrishna. Maharajshree listened to his discourses on Srimad Bhagavatam and was overwhelmed with joy and decided to take diksha from him. Swami Yoganandji encouraged him to learn Vedanta. At that time Maharajshree repeated these lines of Ramayana
Bheri lochhna viloki avdhesa tab sunihhu nirgun updesa
This means first I would like to appreciate the Lord with my naked eyes and then go for the knowledge of the formless and attributeless Lord. Swami Yoganandji was very happy and made him do the Gaytri purashcharan that is twenty four lakh japas of Gaytri mantra (a method of doing japa in a fixed period of time according to the method prescribed in the scriptures is called purashcharan) After doing the purashcharan Swami Yoganandji gave him the mantra of Sri Krishna. This anushthana of Sri Krishna mantra brought about a drastic change in his life. Maharajshree pursued the worship of Sri Krishna with great devotion till he had darshana of Sri Krishna with his naked eyes. Lord Sri Krishna himself directed him towards the knowledge of the truth, that is self-realisation. By the time Maharajsshree came into acquaintance with various saints of Ganga belt and due to the blessings of Sri Krishna Maharajshree’s intellect had gained the required efficiency to unfold the real inherent meaning of each and every word pertaining to the spiritual world.The scriptures started disclosing the facts. The layers of veils enclosing the truth were in course naturally unveiled. Maharajshree said “the scriptures have revealed to me the naked truth. I believe that every word of the scriptures and dharma that is the practice of righteousness is appropriate, reasonable and only for the welfare of mankind”. He further went to say that “ every word, every sentence of the scriptures is invariably true”. This glory, the splendor of wisdom enlightening the mind of Maharajshree was only due to the grace of Lord Sri Krishna.
When Maharajshree was with Swami Yoganandji doing anushthana he had fled away from home without disclosing the whereabouts to anyone. He resided at karnavasa in Uttar Pradesh. He stayed in a temple of Radhakrishna serving his Guru Swami Yogananda. He washed clothes, cleaned the vessels and surroundings and along with all these activities he managed to do ten thousand mantra japam . Residing here he had a unique experience. Everytime he settled down to do japa his wife, mother etc. appeared before him. Their eyes were filled with tears and said ‘we are unhappy without you, please come back home as soon as possible.’ Maharajshree revealed this to the Guru Swami Yoganandji. Guruji said “this is a trick of the mind. To protect itself from the hardship of concentration involved in worshipping the mind represents itself before you in different forms and imaginations. They are all fine, you try to concentrate the mind and do bhajan, do not worry.” However discontented Maharajshree after a few days returned home. To his surprise they were all fine, happy and little concerned about him. They never expected that Maharajshree would ever go to take the shelter of some sadhu at the banks of Ganga. They imagined that he must have visited Bihar, Imamganj amongst their disciples and followers with the purpose of acquiring some goods like dress materials, finance etc. for the family. When the actual facts were revealed, they were unhappy and thought that Maharajshree had only wasted time all these days. This instance left a remarkable impression on his mind. He realized that the imagination of happiness and sorrow related to others, in our mind, is but biased. Oh! It is only our own imagination that makes life miserable thinking people are unhappy in our absence while, they are quite enjoying life. This infact only creates a barrier in our path of devotion. Every seeker should be very alert against such unfavorable obstructive thoughts.
Another striking incident of his childhood was also very impressive. When Maharajshree was eight or nine years old he visited a relative and met some gentleman there who showered excessive love on him. This love left behind a noticeable impression on his mind and this love preoccupied his mind for many long years. So one fine day he went in the quest of the gentleman and visited him but to his surprise the gentleman failed to recognize him. In a period of nine to ten years there was a remarkable change in the physical and mental make-up of both bodies. Maharajshree tried to remind him but it was all in vain, the gentleman failed to recollect. This was a second big blow to his mind. Maharajshree learnt a lesson from this incident that it is the nature of the mind to develop new relations, new loving entities, all great manifestation and entanglements which keeps one preoccupied in revolving in those imaginary realms. It is the nature of the mind to keep you involved in something or the other which hardly has any reference to the truth or the real facts indeed. These two instances only increased the intensity of renunciation.
At His Home
Maharajshree’s grandfather was a bit struck with fear after the death of his son and elder grand son. He himself was a learned astrologer. On viewing at the horoscope of Maharajshree he was worried seeing the possibility of encroaching early death. He was much concerned about the family heritage. The learned astrologers of Kashi also confirmed his forcast. Thus Maharajshree was married at an early age of twelve. Before he was nineteen a child was born. The grace of saints saved Maharajshree from death at the age of nineteen but Maharajshree had mentally given up all the attachments towards the family at this tender age. The family today is quite happy and doing fairly well. The author Swami Sri Premanand Dadaji says that he himself has visited them and they also sometimes visit the aashram in Vrindavan to seek the darshan of Maharajshree. Once or twice it so happened that when Maharajshree was on a pilgrim trip and the train happened to pass through the native place of Maharajshree, there was a crowd of almost twelve to fifteen thousand in the station waiting to have a glance at Maharajshree. He was given a warm welcome by the outstanding residents of the village. The poor folks were all very keen to have darshan of their most adorned Maharajshree. A sadhu gaining so much faith from such a mass gathering, in his own native place, is but rare.
During the days when Maharajshree was a bit scared of being entangled in his family ties, he came to meet a person named Kanungo.J.Singh. He was by birth indeed a gentleman. Maharajshree was greatly inspired by his anxiety, decent behavior and graceful character. Together they visited the saints and mutually discussed on yoga, worship, devotion ( that is bhakti) and Vedanta. Latre on Maharajshree intiated him with Gaytri mantra . He continued as a faithful disciple of Maharajshree all his life and practiced hard to imbibe the supreme knowledge of the Brahman. It is along with him that Maharajshree received the blessings and knowledge of some accomplished saints like Sri Baba of Mokalpur, Gulabdas Baba of Kashi, and Baba of Madhaipur all who had settled along of the banks of Ganga.
In Association Of Great Saints
The Baba of Mokalpur dwelt for more than fifty years in the beds of Maa Ganga. Maa Ganga appeared before him and as a boon provided an area to him amidst her flowing waters. He was gifted with a foresight to look into the past and future of everything whether evident or inevident. He could interpret the minds of the people, pour down showers of rain instantly, obstruct the storms and undo the disease of the people. Baba was a Kalpavriksha (a tree which can fulfill every desired) for the people living around. Maharajshree is himself a witness to all these charming powers vested in Baba. Some of his valuable teachings Maharajshree narrated are as follows. Baba said that “grass is converted into flesh and flesh is converted into grass, this is what is called the world. In the vast bed of the waters of delusion (called maya) the world keeps flowing to and fro on the banks of appearance and disappearance. God lies concealed in this world just watching everything keeping Himself aloof of it, because He is aware of the fact that the visual world is only a play of maya-a delusion and has no existence other than Himself.” On another occasion his advice was that “Guddu, by doing anything or involving into anything neither can you eradicate, nor evade or adhere to this world. Without doing anything, devoid of any effort ,the vast stretch of theworld lies before you. To get rid of this world and rise above it you need to be aware of the root cause of this world. Without the knowledge of the substratum, without the eradication of the ignorance and its borne manifestation the world cannot be averted.”
The Baba of Madhaipur was another accomplished saint. He sat in deep meditation for eleven years in a mountain cave at some distance from Katni. His diet was very limited, his speech was much restricted and had minimum transaction with people. Maharajshree frequently visited Baba forder satsang. Baba would teach him to meditate. He said “the life of a man is like a ‘rafe’ (that is the sign of half ‘r’ in Sanskrit a symbol marked on the head of an alphabet). Viewed from any point it only appears like ‘re’ (Sanskrit word for ‘r’). Thinking of oneself to be like a ‘rafe’ (which has no independent identity unless and until placed on some other’s head) drop away the thought of being an individual entity, the thought of belonging to any caste or language and the thought of righteousness i.e. dharma. Now, leave the thought of being like a ‘rafe’ (not evn a symbol finding resort in something) and, think yourself to be indeed by nature a formless perciever. After giving up the thought of all names, forms and actions that is giving up the objects of vision itself now what remains behind is the perciever, that is ‘Brahman itself.’
Maharajshree Becomes Well-Known Among Saints
Once Maharajshree, without informing anyone, left home for Chitrakoot with an intention to do bhajan in solitude in that forest area. He visited the very well-known Prabhudutt Brahmachariji at Jusi in Prayag. Prabhdutt Brahmachariji due to intense love he retained him. Maharajshree without thinking or any preplanning started observing ‘mauna’ i.e. stopped talking and observed silence. He gave up normal food and started fasting eating only fruits and vegetables. He stayed there for many months but no one could trace his name, his whereabouts, his education or his sadhana i.e. his spiritual practice . After some time Brahmachariji came to know that Maharajshree was a learned pundit so he slowly persuaded him to give discourses on Vishnupurana and Srimad Bhagavatam. Maharajshree started giving discourses but rest of the time he avoided speaking to anyone. It was here that Maharajshree first met Sri Udiyababaji Maharaj (Sri Poornanand Tirthji Vedanta Guru of Maharajshree) and they had many sessions of question answers on Vedanta. Sri Udiyababaji gave him a lot of love and affection and pursuaded him to invite saints from the banks of Ganga for satsang of Khandey. Here, at the banks of Ganga well-known Sri Vishweshwaraasramji, a dandi swami and a learned scholar of six Vedic philosophies, Sri Karpatriji Maharaj, Sri Harnamdasji Maharaj were to assemble together. From the point of view of spirituality these six to seven months of Prayagraj were very significant in fact because it is rare that a spiritual seeker finds an opportunity to stay with devotees, men of renunciation , great saints, mahamandaleshwars and saints striving with firm resolve for salvation(Brahmanishta), all together. If one looks from the angle of satsang one can understand the importance of such a situation. It was from here that Maharajshree went on a pilgrimage to Avadh along with the Brahmachariji and this journey always remained memorable in his life span. Maharajshree could meet Haribaba (at Bandh).It was with Baba that he could find an opportunity to attend the sankirtana (i.e. the chanting of the Lord’s name with instruments of music) which was to last continuously for one year. Maharajshree was also given an opportunity to deliver discourses on Srimad Bhagavatam there. Maharashree for about seven years worked for the editorial board of ‘Kalyan’ (a monthly spiritual magazine) published by Gita Press-Gorakhpur.During this period Maharajshree accomplished self-study of various scriptures, had an opportunity to attend the satsang of different schools of thought and diverse beliefs, and above all had an opportunity to obtain the love and affection of Hanuman Prasad Poddarji known as ‘bhaiji’. It is here that Maharajshree wrote a number of books and articles and accomplished the task of Hindi translation of Srimad Bhagwat Puranam and other scriptures. He went on a religious trip, in a special train, which covered all he nation wide spiritual places in India. Maharajshree often recollected those days and remembered the spiritual knowledge of Sri Jaidayal Goenkaji, the devotion of Sri Hanuman Prasad Poddarji and the profound erudition and magnanimity of Goswami Chimanlalji, at times even appreciated him. Through Kalyan and Geeta press Maharajshree gave to masses the divine nectar of his experience regarding devotion ‘bhakti’ and love and also unfolded the mysteries of the knowledge of self realization and put before the people the importance of the essential codes of righteous actions in human life. The curious aspirants of spirituality all over the world have benefited and will continue to benefit from his essential profound tips of spiritual development. While serving in the publication of Kalyan and even after that, he never accepted any financial or any other favour in appreciation for his service in the editing department.
Seth Sri Jaidayal Goenka
Swami Sri Atmanandji Maharaj of Pushkar once wrote an article and delivered it to Maharajshree. The contents of the letter revealed that if Sethji believed in Karmyoga (Karmyoga is belief that by selfless righteous actions one can attain salvation or liberation. This is the theory of actions) to be an independent means to salvation then why did he desire to listen to the mahavakyas, the ultimate words of wisdom, on his death bed? This proves that without the knowledge that the Atman, and the Brahman, the Absolute Pure Existence is one and the same there can be no salvation or liberation. Swamiji expected the consent of Maharajshree in the matter. The reply Maharajshree gave to this letter is narrated below here as it is.
Most Respected Sri Swamiji Maharaj,
With love OM NAMO NARAYANAY. Some days ago I received a letter from you. Today I have spare time to reply. I have been closely related to Seth Sri Jaidayal Goenkaji for eight to ten years. We had many sessions of question and answers together. I am putting forth some of them as per my memory.
Q.Maharajshree to Sethji- Sethji! Until there exists the delusion that the enjoyership is in the Atman, how can one perform selfless action?
Ans.- Sethji- When did I talk of total selflessness? What I say is people should perform desireless selfless actions, taking every action as their duty OR perform actions considering it to be an offering to God. Annihilation of the delusion of enjoyership, total selfless action and direct realization of the ultimate reality, all these events occur simultaneously.
Q. Maharajshree – Sethji! Anything can be acquired only by the means of knowledge and not action. By means of action we can only manifest things. Moksha or liberation or salvation, which is the very nature of the Atman is self evident, ever attained, only due the delusion we think it is unattained. How is it possible to attain it by blind inert actions or the fruits of actions?
Ans.Sethji- Punditji! I donot believe that actions or devotional worship of God can give us salvation or liberation. By good deeds and devotional worship we can please God and then with the grace of God we can acknowledge the absolute truth. Good deeds and devotional worship are only means of pleasing God not means of salvation or self realization. We call them means of spiritual practice but not direct means of knowledge. Knowledge is the only means for liberation. This has been said in the tenth chapter of Gita “ddami buddhi yogam tum yene mam upyantite’ meaning God says I give them the intellect by means of which one can reach Me. God further says ‘Gyandeepen bhasvta’meaning I shine in the form of luminous-lamp of knowledge.” I absolutely believe in the principle that knowledge alone is the means of liberation. There are two types of seekers one who give importance to ‘twam padarth’ i. e. self-enquiry ,enquiry about God within oneself and the other is ‘tat-padarth’ the other type of seeker is one who enquires about God in the universe (that which always exists in the form of objects of perception). The first type of seeker having controlled their mind, sense organs etc. listens to spiritual discourses, seriously ponders on what is heard to and by toiling hard on his own strength (by strenuous effort) tries to acknowledge the truth. The second type of seeker performs his duties well, devotionally worships God and by pleasing God acknowledges the truth by the grace of God. But by either way knowledge is indispensible for liberation.
Maharajshree says “Once I was on a journey with Sethji, Ghanshyamdas Jaalan and Swami Ramsukhdasji. Swami Ramsukhdasji was describing about the thoughts and attributes present in the inner instrument of a self realized soul. Ghanshyamdasji was giving his consent to it. I said –Swamiji! The self realized that you are describing has neither given up his mind and intellect nor nullified them. He is not a self realized soul; he is still ignorant because he has not yet abandoned his identity with the mind.”
Sethji started laughing and said “this is the truth.” He gave a glance towards Ghanshyamdasji and said, “no doubt the devotional worship of Swami Ramsukhdasji is tremendous and he has a hold on the subtle aspects of spirituality. But, from the point of view of one who is established with determination in Brahman-the only reality, the subtle body and their thoughts have no value.
Once while we were discussing I asked Sethji
Q. Maharajshree- Sethji! Can the mind in any condition be utterly devoid of the seeds of objectivity/perception?
Ans. Sethji- No, never even in Samadhi i.e. deep meditation, state of thoughtlessness, the seeds of objectivity/perception remain. When one awakens from that state of mind, Samadhi, he recollects his memory. Seed is nothing but the ignorance. Unless you dispell ignorance the seeds of objectivity cannot be destroyed. Your Samadhi i.e. deep state of thoughtlessness may be due to destiny but ignorance cannot vanish due to destiny.
Once during satsang we both had a mutual talk.
Q.-Maharajshree – Sethji! Among the five philosophers of Vedic literature whom do you consider to be the most valid?
Ans.-Sethji –I have regards for all of them, I try to assimilate their good thoughts but I believe 99% in the philosophy of Shankaracharyaji.
Q. Maharajshree-What is that 1% in which you disagree with that acharya?
Ans.-Sethji-One is that I do not agree with the interpretation of some of the slokas of Gita and the other is that I do not agree with him on the point that liberation is not possible without sanyasa.
Maharajshree said-Many of the masters of this Shankar philosophy like Mahatma Madhusudan Saraswatiji, Sridhar Swamiji, Shankaranandji have different views on the interpretation of some slokas of Gita. There is no harm in this. The point of sanyasa is that the moment you realize you enter the sanyas ashrama. Now tell me whether you agree with the ultimate principle of reality where oneness of the Atman and the Brahman is accepted as the ultimate truth, as considered by Shankaracharyaji?
Sethji- Of course I absolutely believe in it.
Then I said to myself, then not 99% but 100% you believe in Shankaracharyaji.
One day I asked him what is the difference between your Karmyoga and the Karmyoga of Lokmanya Tilak?
Sethji said-Lokmanyaji believes that even after self realization the practice of Karmyoga is a bound duty of the realized and I do not believe in this. Karmyoga is an indirect means for attaining salvation. After self realization he may practice or may not practice Karmyog , he is totally independent .
I have written all this to you to show Sethji’s determination and faith in the principle of Upanishads. When he was struggling for breath on the death bed he desired to listen to the mahavakyas, the final spells of wisdom of Vedas and did listen to it. He deserved it. He knew that without one perpetual flow of undivided knowledge there can be no ‘Kaivlya Mukti’or ultimate salvation. He once said that worship and devotion is the best means for God Realization whether ‘sagun-sakar’(God with form and attribute) or ‘sagun-nirakar’(God with attributes but formless). Brahmagyana (the Absolute knowledge of the Brahman) is the only means for Kaivlya-Mukti(mukti as defined by the non-dual advait Vedantins).
Sethji believed the Brahmavidvaristha (a full-fledged jnani) jnani Swami Sri Mangalnathji of Rishikesh to be his guru, you must be aware of this. Bhaiji Sri Hanuman Prasad Poddarji was by nature a devotee. He was not much interested in the philosophy of Vedanta. Once he told me that the mantra japa he does is that which is related to the philosophy of ‘duality in non-duality’ (dvaitadvait). So he asked me once “I pray to you that you may put forth your own thoughts which you think you would like to share with us but please avoid questioning thoughts of My Guru.’’
Hope your health must be fine.
On The Way To Sanyasa
While in Gorakhpur Maharajshree came to know much about the reputed Swami Sri Brahmanandji who resided in Varanasi. He principally practioned meditation in seclusion. People who visited him had to return at least four times and then one fine day could fortunately meet him. Sometimes even men of great prestige had to take to a retreat march. Swami Karpatriji after taking ‘Vidwat Sanyas’ (i.e. having understood the scriptures and being indeed passionless you take sanyasa by yourselves without any formal procedure) for some months took formal sanyasa danda (that means carrying stick as an emblem of God and follow some strict rigid rules) from Swami Sri Brahmanandji. By that time Swami Brahmanandji was not enthroned as a Shankaracharya of the Jyotish Vidya Peetham. (There are four places where ashrams for Advaita Shankar lineage have been established and learned masters of scriptures firmly resolved in the path of knowledge are assigned the post of Shankaracharyaji. These are at Dwarka, Jaggannathpuri, Jyotish Peetham of Badrinath and Shringeri) Maharajshree visited him and had his darshan. Thereafter Maharajshree often met Swamiji and most inquisitively listened to the narration of a renunciate’s meditative life from the very childhood. He also narrated some specific remarkable incidents of his life. Maharajshree told Swamiji that he was interested in taking ‘Dand sanyasa’ from him. Swamiji happily accepted his offer and instructed him to follow certain norms. After that Maharajshree went on a pilgrimage all over India. He travelled for two to three years and followed all the essential rules, as far as possible.
Once when Maharajshree came out after having a bath at the Treveni ghat in the holy waters of Ganga at Prayag , he saw before him a camp of Swami Sri Brahmanand Saraswatiji. By that time he was already assigned as a Shankaracharya. Maharajshree entered the camp and said –“Now I have arrived.” Swamiji replied-“Ok” and in 1941-42 in magh masa shukla ekadashi, according to the Hindu calendar, was decided date for initiation of sanyasa. In between Maharajshree went to Kashi to deliver discourses on Bhagavatam for Madanmohan Malviyaji.
Maharajshree, from childhood had great respect for Madanmohan Malviyaji. He had attended the Sanatan Sabha of Malviyaji, along with Rambhavan Upadhyayji, while he was studying the scriptures in Varanasi. Same year Vishnu Digamberji had performed the Gita jnan Yagna there (i.e.discourses on the knowledge of Gita). When Malviyaji started narrating the condition of the untouchables (by that time the name harijan was not yet introduced) tears rolled down his eyes. When Upadhyayji was opposed to his proposals he fell down on his feet catching his feet with both the hands. Maharjshree had seen that when Pandit Rampatalji Ramayani, who had a profound knowledge of Ramayana, gave discourses on Ramayana Malviyaji would humbly sit down on a normal jute bag and listen to it very attentively. Maharajhree also met him at the uninterrupted continuous kirtan (group singing of hymns to a deity) organized in Gorakhpur. Malviyaji listened to the Bhagavatam discourses of Maharajshree there and immediately commanded him “You to come to Kashi and deliver discourses on Bhagavatam for me.” The time was decided by Pandit Jeevanshankar Yagnik and three days before sanyasa a charming Krishna leela, (Krishna’s divine childish acts) where Sri Krishna was tied to a heavy big stone while still a child (ukhal-bandhan-leela); was described by Maharajshree for Malviyaji. Listening to the leela face of Malviyaji glowed with the changing colours of emotions, at times he was either thrilled or tears of joy rolled down his cheeks. At the end Malviyaji said, “You have provided me with an experience of overwhelming love and ecstasy.”
After returning to Prayag from Varanasi Maharajshree’s name was changed from Shantanubihari Dwivedi to Swami Akhandanand Saraswati. Maharajshree said “on the day of sanyasa I saw in my dream that I am sitting on an elevated thrown and my father and grandfather are conducting my abhisheka (the ceremony of consecration with the holy waters) reciting the holy mantras of the Vedas.”
A unique feature of his life was that people having mutually conflicting thoughts equally loved and revered him. For example a reputed Indian saint Karpatriji, and Malviyaji could never stand together on the same platform, they always existed difference of opinion between the two. They could never come together and solve the harijan problem but both of them listened to the Bhagavatam discourses with same interest and appreciation. They listened to the Ukhal-Bandhan leela of Sri Krishna in Rishikesh, in Vrindavan at the residence of Sri Radhakrishna Dhanukaji they together attended the sermons on Gopigeet and in Bombay on the occasion of the Laksha Chandi Yagya Karpatriji organized the discourses on Bhagavatam for twenty-three days. Karpatriji sometimes praised his wisdom and sometimes abused him for his nature of compromising and intermingling with people of different thoughts, but the relation of love amongs them remained throughout. This is because both of them were staunch believers that the Apaurushey (beyond human powers) Vedas and their statements pertaining to the nature of Brahman and Dharma (righteousness) are the ultimate evidence devoid of any controversy. There is unity amongst them regarding this one principle which shall continue to exist.
Maharajshree said “I never experienced any change or any distinguishing feature in my nature during the process of sanyasa or after sanyasa. This is because before sanyasa I had realized that my true nature is devoid of all uniqueness. I am a Brahmin, I am a human being, I am a householder or I am a sanyasi all these identities of a distinct entity were already nullified. Thus the identity of a householder was not replaced by the identity of a sanyasi. Yes, as long as this body is surviving its identity remains nullified (badhit) likewise the identity of sanyasa also remains invalid (badhit). This is just an object of interaction it has no spiritual value.”
Actually twelve years before sanyasa in the year 1930 Maharajshree was once residing in Kankhal in Hardwar. There he had given discourses on the 7th chapter, 11th chapter and on Raspunchadhyayi of Bhagavatam for Mahatma Shankaranandji. At the end of the discourses he took Maharajshree to a place of solitude and said-“Come I shall offer you some dakshina (something given in cash or kind or favour as a token of reverence against the sermons given) for your discourses.” There are some mantras which are said in a loud voice during the time of sanyasa called ‘Presh mantra’ Swami Sri Brahmanandji made Maharajshree repeat these words and said-“You are in reality Brahman itself; you are yourself the Sublime Bliss. You are indeed by nature the auspicious well-wisher. From now onwards wherever you live, whatever clothes you wear, whatever ashram you adopt, grihasth or sanyasa never consider yourself to be a finite jiva (individual soul). Never give acceptance to dualities of good and evil (pap-punya), happiness and sorrow, the realms of this world and realms beyond this world and any finite limitations. All this is the manifestation of ignorance. You are eternally liberated.” It is needless to state that henceforth Maharajshree never identified himself as a householder nor a sanyasin, as all these are jiva-dharma (nature of an individual soul). All these identities belong to one who clads oneself with the identity of a limited individual soul. Thus after accepting the danda of sanyasa the sole ultimate thought of Brahman alone constantly existed as it is, because after self realization i.e. Brahmajnana ego of distinct self identification ceases to exist.
After sanyasa Maharajshree retreated to the forests of Madhya Pradesh but his diksha Guru Jyotishpeethadishwar Swami Brahmanandji did not allow him to reside there for a long time. Swamiji with great affection insisted on him to reside along with him. Swamiji sometimes described his accomplishments and the attainment of the glory and pursuaded Maharajshree to take over his responsibilities. Swamiji often said –“you are the successor of this status of Shankaracharya.” In the gatherings of huge masses in Jabalpur Swamiji would declare – “Swami Karpatriji and Swami Akhandanandji are the two arms of my body.”Maharajshree accompanied Swamiji for many months in Kashi and Jabalpur; but due to his execessive affection Maharajshree was afraid of being burdened with the responsibility of the Peethadheshwar. For a person leading a carefree life, devoid of desires the discipline of peethadheshwar and the responsibility of a mahant is a great bondage. So Maharajshree decided to give up the danda, the prerequisite of a peethadeshwar. In Upanishads there are mantras for giving up the danda. In Vrindavan on the banks of Kalindi Maharajshree uttered the holy mantras and left the danda in the floating waters of Kalindi. After this Swami Brahmanada many a times asked him to take the danda and two times he also specified him with the danda but Maharajshree left the danda at his place and made way for his rescue.
In The Company Of Sri Udiyababaji
Maharajshree, while in family life, read the articles on ‘Sri Udiyababaji ke updesh’(spiritual instructions of Sri Udiyababaji Maharaj) in ‘Kalyan.’ Thus he had become a reverential devout of Baba. This was before taking sanyasa, while he was still serving the kalyan publications. While observing the anushthana of Sri Krishna mantra under the instructions of SwamiYoganandji he wished to visit Ramghat to meet Baba but Swamiji restricted him. This was due to the excessive affection of Swamiji. Swami Yoganandji was very cautious that when any anushthana, as prescribed by the scriptures, is in the process satsang of Vedanta may slacken the anxiety of the seeker. Infact it is true that when a seeker is involved in the emotional means of spiritual practice sometimes the instructions pertaining to discriminative intellect may develop a kind of toughness or rigidity in the mind of the seeker which would obstruct the emotional tender flow of the heart towards the Lord. Maharajshree paid heed to Swamiji’s precepts and did not go to Ramghat.
After this at Jusi in Prayag in the concluding ceremony of the incessant annual sankirtana (chanting of glorifying devotional songs) Maharajshree first met Baba. Maharajshree was delighted observing Baba’s spontaneous power of discrimination, the love and affection and above all the exceptional glory of an enlightened soul. Maharajshree could not resist the rays of love and attraction emitted and thus his mind was captured by Baba. After that in Ayodhya, Khandey, Karnvas and Vrindavan he visited several times. Maharajshree delivered discourses on Upanishads, Mandukya karika, Panchdasi, Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam and Baba would listen to them and Maharajshree would listen to the satsang of Baba and spent time with Baba for months together. Many a times he had an opportunity to attend satsang at HaribabaBandh. Maharajshree in his leisure time, while at service in Kalyan publications, visited Baba and resided with him. It was Baba’s intrinsic inspiration which attracted him towards sanyasa. Baba always inspired Brahmins to take sanyasa. Baba in gestures tried to draw attention of Maharajshree towards the reality and results of selfless service. He said “even actions done as selfless services do in their course of time create an attraction for activities and moreover it also develops within one affection and infatuation for all those gentlemen providing selfless service.” Baba gave an instance of a mahatma to make clear what he wanted to convey. Wherever the mahatma went he would say, ‘is there a graveyard? Grave-yard!’ One wise householder said, ‘is there a dead body? Dead-body!’ Mahatma, quiet like a dead body followed the gentleman to his residence and dwelt there. Later on one day thieves intruded into the house of the gentleman. Mahatma followed the thieves and got them arrested. The graveyard proved to be true and the dead body proved to be false. Maharajshree immediately understood the gesture of Baba. He took it as an inspiration to take sanyasa from the kalyan family. Maharajshree realized that bondage of attachment developed for the Kalyan family was more intense and exceeding than that of his own family. Thus Maharajshree started his journey towards sanyasa which was ultimately accomplished as stated above.
Having been initiated as a dandi swami Maharajshree accompanied Baba for many months, and all through the way satsang was provided and organized. Maharajshree after becoming a dandi swami first visited Haribaba Bandh in the ceremony. There, many well known accomplished mahatmas of India assembled together; some of them were Sri Udiyababaji, Sri Shashtranandji, Sri Haribaba and Sri Anandmayee Maa. Maharajshree before accepting the danda always bowed down and saluted all these mahatmas. Jyotishpeethadhishwar Shankaracharya had said, “You do not now bow down to all sadhus because except Brahmins none others are eligible for sanyasa as prescribed by the scriptures. Even in Brahmins bow down only to those who are dandi swamis, renunciates, learned and have done more chaturmasas (four months of monsoon when sadhus reside at a particular place and do penance and avoid travelling and moving to-and-fro) than you.” Due to these instructions Maharajshree’s mind was in a state of confusion. He met Baba alone in solitude and asked him, “In such a situation what must I do?” Baba said, “Remember the prerequisite of a Brahmin and a dandi swami is only when one desires diksha or spiritual instructions. But when the question arises of respectfully greeting others you must bow down and salute everyone. Paying reverence and saluting others is to be done with ‘bhagawat-budhi’ i.e. a mind set which sees only God within all and not thinking of them to be normal human beings. Bowing down with respect denotes humility, it is virtuous attribute. You continue respecting mahatmas as usual without giving any importance to their caste.” Maharajshree abided by the words of Baba and throughout life never hesitated in postrating at the feet of mahatmas. In the same ceremony Maharajshree came into acquaintance with Avadhoot Mahatma Krishnanandji M.A. and advocate Vipinchandraji Misr of Delhi.
Discourses On Srimad Bhagavatam
After the ceremony of Bandh, Baba commanded Maharajshree, “Go to Shankaracharyaji along with Shankarlalji, Nirmaldasji and Anjneya and get them initiated with the diksha of sanyasa and brahmacharya ashram.” During that period, Brahmachari Sri Padmanabhji of Andhra Pradesh was in service of Maharajshree. All of them left for Prayag, walking along the banks of Ganga right from the Bandh. On the way due to the insistance of a devotee they took to Prayag by train. After reaching there, they came to know that Shankaracharyaji was in Jabalpur. All of them started thinking, the way to Jabalpur from Prayag was through the forests and covering the vast distance on foot meant travelling for many days and possibly by the time Shankaracharyaji may leave for elsewhere. All of them arrived at Ganga to have bath and were trying to solve this problem. A Brahmin over heard them and hosted them at his residence, made arrangements for their lunch and onward journey to Jabalpur. On reaching Jabalpur Shankarlalji became Prabodhanand Saraswati, Nirmaldasji became Prakashanand Saraswati and Anjneya became brahmachari Shivananda. Maharajshree delivered discourses on Srimad Bhagavatam and thousands of people attended it. At this particular session and during all other visits to Jabalpur, Maharajshree was always greeted by a crowd of not less than fifteen to twenty thousand people. At no other place such a massive gathering was ever seen. Even if Maharajshree resided at Jabalpur for months together the crowd of people was never less than that stated above. All the well known gentlemen of the age like Sri Girijanand Dube, Dwarkaprasad Shashtri, Sunderlal Indukhya, Pranacharya Sunderlal, Vyohar Rajender singh, Neknarayan Singh, Gulabchandra Gupt, Loknath Shashtri and others attended the satsang of Maharajshree with great admiration. Almost five thousand people invariably attended Srimad Bhagavata saptah sitting four hours at a stretch. The author says that he is a witness to all these incidents. He was one among the audiences and since has throughout accompanied Maharajshree. Now brahmachari Padmanabh has become Swami Sachhidanandendre Saraswati in Andhra Pradesh. The chairman of the famous Ramrajya Parishad-Dandi Swami Sri Swaroopanand Saraswati Maharajji first met Maharajshree here in Jabalpur and henceforth accompanied Maharajshree for many years. The reputed eloquent speaker of Ramayana who had a profound knowledge of Ramayana Pundit Sri Ramkinkar Upadhyay first took mantra diksha here in Jabalpur and lived together with Maharajshree for several years. The public of Jabalpur has always adored Maharajshree and have immense faith in him. Whenever Maharajshree happened to pass through Jabalpur the platform of the station was crowded with people carrying garlands as a token of adoration and admiration for Maharajshree and the atmosphere was filled with rejoicing sounds of greetings.
Maharajshree spent his first monsoon known as chaturmas, after sanyasa, at the banks of Ganga in Karnvas. There in the shelter of Baba Maharajshree held sessions of satsang on Mandulya Karika. All well known learned masters of Vedanta assembled together to participate in the serious debates held on topics related to Vedanta. Brahmachari Pundit Jeevanduttji of Nervar, Mahamahopadhyay Pundit Giridharsharma Chaturvedi, Pundit Rampratap Shashtri from Byahar, the poet Pundit Akhilanandji and others would also attend and admire the eloquence of Maharajshree. Brahmachariji invited Maharajshree to Nervar. Pundit Rampratapji became a devotee of Maharajshree forever and kept visiting Vrindavan also. During those days Munilal, the famous translator of Sanskrit scriptures to Hindi, now known as Sanatandevji visited Karnvas. He had already accomplished the task of the translating Srimad Bhagavatam and was aware of the fact that Maharajshree had the most precise knowledge pertaining to Bhagavatam. He also knew that Maharajshree sometimes does Srimad Bhagavat suptah and Goswami Chimanlal of Ratangadh and Sri Hanumanprasad Poddarji have already listened to it. Sanatandevji resolved to organize Srimad Bhagavat suptah and the arrangements were made at the well-built coasts of Ganga and the ceremony was grandly performed. Sri Udiyababaji and Sri Nirmalanandji were among those who attended the discourses regularly. This saptah was marked by some astonishing incidents. Later on people said they had clearly noticed Sri Krishna as a child sitting on the thrown of the Bhagavatam. When the saptah discourses were reaching to an end, in the twelfth chapter, the first main preacher of Bhagavatam, Sri Shukdevji retires so he was given a farewell at that time Maharajshree suddenly became unconscious. Some of the devotees were very sad, while some experienced that the lovely little kid of Yashoda, the Sublime Bliss-Sri BalKrishna Mukunda is playing in the lap of Maharajshree. Maharajshree narrated hisexperience, “I infact felt it was Sri Shukdevji delivering the discourses not I. After giving him a farewell the body energy had diminished, the pace of the flow of the words was reduced. Since then whenever the saptah was organised, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the scriptures, Maharajshree experienced that some divine entity is delivering the discourses. This was obvious on certain occasions when Maharajshree said, “the speaker has not arrived” and “the speaker has left.” In fact the Truth prevails, in an incessant essence of the Self a speaker is just a guest who occasionally appears and disappears.
This has already been stated that, there has been an excessive intimate relation between Maharajshree and Srimad Bhagavatam. While leading a life of a householder and a member of ‘Kalyan Publications’ he had accomplished many Bhagavat saptahs and almost every day there were some preachings related to Bhagavatam. Wherever he resided this process continued. During this period Maharajshree had written an emotional version of Srimad Bhagavatam named ‘Bhagavatank’, which was later on published and added to the main Hindi translation of Srimad Bhagavatam by Geeta Press Gorakhpur. In Udiyababa’s ashram at Vrindavan delivering discourses on Srimad Bhagavatam was in the routine. Once Sri Haribabaji observed an anushthana of listening to Srimad Bhagavatam for one year in a stretch with the famous commentary of Sridhar Swami and so it was performed. Sri Maa Anandmayee once arranged for a Bhagavat saptah and on another occasions arranged the discourses for fifteen days and she herself attended it. Here in Kashi almost the whole lot of learned class were among the audiences some of them were Mahamahopadhyay Pundit Sri Gopinath ,the poet Pundit Mathuradas Dikshit, Pundit Jeevanprasadji Yagyik, and Dr. Pannalal. Sri Anandmayee Maa kept inviting Maharajshree very often and whenever she visited Vrindavan attended the discourses without fail.
A Divine Incident
Once, an astonishing incident occurred pertaining to Bhagavat saptah. In an area named Pachamba in Bihar a Marwari boy seventeen years old had expired. Fear was the cause of the death. The parents were very unhappy so they went to Badrinath to offer oblations for the boy at the Brahmakapali hill. After the oblations the boy entered the body of the mother and started narrating his miserable condition. He said “After my death I was in a state of unconsciousness. After you offered the oblations at Brahmakapali hill I have gained some strength and consciousness which, enables me to speak to you. Now if I listen to Srimad Bhagavat saptah I will be liberated.” He sent his father to Maharajshree in order to accomplish this task. Maharajshree until then never had performed Srimad Bhagavatam for householders. The main audiences were always the mahatmas but the soul of this boy had created such fascinating situation that Maharajshree had to go there. The boy told them about several specific rituals regarding this occasion. He made them prepare a special seat (asana) for himself. He forwarded some instructions relating to the day to day halts to be taken in Srimad Bhagavat saptah. In the end he said to Maharajshree, “Now I am liberated, I shall never again return to this world,” and went away. A boy who was born somewhere around Gaya and who was given the oblations at Brahmakapali, was liberated by accomplishment of Srimad Bhagavatam. This obviously shows the significance of Srimad Bhagavatam in human life. The author says on this occasion he was the one who did the Bhagavatam patham (i.e. read the whole Bhagavatam as it is in a fixed period of time as prescribed by the scriptures) and Maharajshree delivered the discourses.
The Revered Mother
Mother of Maharajshree was the daughter of Pundit Dinesh Misr of Dhanukapur. She had three brothers Padmanabh, Kamalnabh and Kanjnabh. She also had two sisters. She came from a family of purohits (family pundits) highly cultured and known for its righteous conduct. In 1918 her husband expired, with the permission of her father-in-law, she went on a piligrimage to the four prominent places of piligrimage in Himachal, Jagganathpuri, Rameshwaram and Dwarka. She was accompanied by twenty-six Brahmin families. She, with great love, sometimes narrated the memories of her journey. She had taught Maharajshree the identification of the alphabets through Ramayana of Sri Goswami Tulsidasji.
Maharajshree informed us that “When she read Ramayana she would shed tears. I was still a small child I thought all the words in the script are alike, they are all black so what is there in it which sometimes makes her weep and sometimes makes her smile? My mother held my finger placed it on the alphabets and taught me to identify the letters and read it. Without learning to write a single alphabet I started reading Ramayana.”
After becoming a widow her interest in observing dharma (righteous activities) increased to a great extent. Before the birth of Maharajshree his two elder brothers had expired. Despite of having only one son, she sent him to her sister’s house to learn Sanskrit.
When Maharajshree’s activities were intended more towards satsang and spiritual practices, wherever he went she followed him, somehow collecting the information of his whereabouts. She had attended the satsang of Swami Yoganandji, Baba of Mokalpur, Baba of Madhaipu,Khappdia Baba, Nakkatta Baba, Sri Udiyababa, Swami Shankaranandji, Sri Haribaba, Sri Anandmayee Maa and Sri Prabhudatt Brahmachari. She had taken diksha from the chairman of Hardev temple in Vrindavan Sri Ramanujacharya-Vithipathik Sri Ramanujdasji Maharaj. They belong to the philosophy of Vishishtadvait.
While worshipping she was quite introvert. Various visions appeared before her within when an became introvert for example snow clad Himalayas, the flow of Ganga in the sky, great saints and deities. Sometimes Maharajshree used to tease her whether she was concentrating or watching a movie! There was a glow, calmness and a divine light shinning on her face.
Few years after sanyasa when Maharajshree visited Varanasi to conjoin the koti Gaytri yagya of Sri Sri Maa Anandmayee, he gave discourses on Bhagavatam for fifteen days she renounced the house and family and took refuge of Maharajshree. Her savings were rupees nine hundred which she gave to her grandson and then almost whole life she accompanied Maharajshree. To avoid the possibility for a retreat march to home she put on orange robes. Her interest in Vedanta increased. When someone asked her, “what is all this?” She with the gesture of both her hands would show that, “All this is me alone, the Atman alone.”
Once Maharajshree asked her, “Where will you go after death?” She would reply, “Where is death? Where does exist the concept of going and coming?” Many people surrounded her and discussed on Vedanta for hours together. She did not like gossiping on worldly matters nor did she like appreciating or criticizing others. Her mind was free of all attractions and aversions. Till the last day she did her routine all by herself.
She left this world in a very simple and natural way. It was Udiyababa’s death anniversary. Lunch was provided to Sadhus and Brahmins in the ashram. Guests had left after lunch. She herself strolled around in the ashram, met each and everyone and then at one o’clock in the afternoon she returned to her room and shut the doors but did not put the latch on the door. While closing the door she told all the people around, “Now I am going to sleep, please do not open the door.” There was a person who was on duty filling the drinking water for her every day. She said to him, “You go now, from now onwards you need not fill the water anymore.” At three o’clock when the door was opened she had stopped breathing, she had left her body for the divine abode. No medicine no service, calm as she always was sleeping on the right side, one hand under the head the other on the waist as usual. Eyes were closed and the mouth was a bit open. At six in the evening the body was left in the floating waters of Yamuna. So that no one need do anything separate for her anniversary she chose the day of Baba’s death anniversary.
Organizing Several Weekly Bhagawat Discourses
Sri Udiyababaji and Sri Krishnanandji Maharaj of Mumbai both of them had twice listened to the saptah i.e. weekly discourses of Bhagavatam. During the discourses they would be seated listening with an unfluctuating temperament. Sri Haribabaji did not sit down but stood and waved a flywhisk `(chanvar)’.Sri Ram brahmachari was serving Maharajashree while Swami Sri Krishnanandji listened to the discourses. Later this brahmachari was declared the successor of Maharajshree’s guruji Shankaracharya Sri Brahmanandji of Jyotishpeetham i.e.Badrinath.Some other learned prestigious entities and saints of the time were among those for whom Maharajshree had delivered discourses on Bhagavatam Seth Sri Padmpati Singhaniya’s mother at Gangakuti in Kanpur, Raibahadur Babu Jyotiprasad in Vrindavan, Seth Sri Atmasingh, late Sri Narmada Prasad Misr in Jabalpur and Sri Hanuman Prasad Podar in Gorakhpur. Most of the time there were almost ten thousand people regularly listening to the discourses for six hours at a stretch all in great fascination, they experienced as if they were abode in some divine realms. The distinct feature of these discourses was that Maharajshree never accepted anything as dakshina (payment in cash or kind against the religious services delivered).People gazed standstill at Maharajshree without even a wink of an eye. There was an atmosphere of tranquility and happiness all around.
Love Of Sri Bhakt Kokill Sai
Maharajshree visited Vrindavan, two three years before taking sanyasa. In the gardens of Ramanreti late Sri Jaidayal Goenka, the establisher of Geetapress took some discourses. At that time Maharajshree was one of the members of the Kalyan family. Many devotees of Vrindavan and Raja Ramsingh of Seetamau were also present. Maharajshree, on the request of Goenkaji, delivered talks on Vrindavan’s intimate subjects like the glory of the name, the greatness of the places where the traces of divine play of the incarnated deities are found, the charm of divine flute and the pleasant nectar of the divine love of Sri Krishna and Sri Radha (yugalpremras).These talks were most pleasing and conducive to the hearing folks of Vrindavan. Sri Kokill Sai and his family of devotees were also present among the audiences. His mind was completely uploaded with the pious sentiments. After the discourses ended he told the devotees “I feel I know him from past many births. Ask him to accompany me at my place.”All of them pleaded before Maharajshree to come along with them but Maharajshree could not go as he had to leave for Ratangadh due to some important work regarding the publications of ‘Kalyan’. Bhakt Kokill Sai kept on discussing about Maharajshree amongst his followers.
Bhakt kokill Sai was from a village named Morepur, district Jekamabad in Sindh.He was well known there among the folks by the name Bhakt Sheetaldas and Bhakt Srikhanddas.At that time he was residing in Vrindavan under the divine inspiration of God and as per instructions of Sri Gurunanakji. Even today we can find thousands of his followers all over India.
When Maharajshree took sanyasa and called upon Sri Udiyababaji in Vrindavan, Sri Kokill Sai immediately recognized him. He often visited him and attended his sermons. He would sit with both the feet of Maharajshree in his lap gently moving his hands on them. He said, “I visualize my gurudev Sri Atmaramji in these feet.” After this Maharajshree very often visited him attending his satsang and thereby developed amongst them a relation of great intimacy. Maharajshree said, “His spiritual discourses stimulate in my mind enchanting divine sentiments and I experience from within an attitude of deep devotion.”There were intimately related for about five to seven years. They visited each other, commonly shared the discourses and spiritual rhymes and there prevailed an atmosphere of joy and pleasure in their company. Even today the followers of Kokill Sai have a great adoration for Maharajshree and try to meet him wherever possible. Maharajshree has written an autobiography on ‘Bhakt Kokill Sai’ which is full of love and devotion. The sat sang of Sai Maiya mostly deals with contents extracted from this autobiography.
Journey To Piligrims On Foot
From childhood Maharajshree was accustomed to walk and travel. He could easily cover a distance of twenty to twenty-five kilometers a day. Many a times he travelled to Kashi to and fro a distance of almost twenty to twenty-five kilometers. He visited Baba of Mokalpur every week for satsang; he covered a distance of fourteen kilometers and also returned. From Jaggannathpuri to Brahmapuram and from Gaya to Bhaktiyarpur and many other journeys were done without any vehicle or any other means.
After sanyasa he travelled with Sri Udiya Babaji on foot from Anupsahar to Vrindavan and from Vrindavan to Gwalior. Maharajshree, Swami Swaroopanand Saraswatiji, Swami Sanatandevji and (avadhoot) Swami Ganeshanandji together walked from Karnavas to Rishikesh and from Rishikesh to Vrindavan. His journey to Gangotri and Badrinath was in fact accomplished by walking along the whole way on foot. Many saints accompanied Maharajshree and walked a long way from Vrindavan to Prayagraj Kumbh. On their way, walking through different villages, people surrounded them .There were many celebrations, functions, meetings, whole hearted warm-welcome, discourses and sermons narrating parables were organized; words fall short in describing the pleasant atmosphere around. Swami Premanandji Maharaj in Auraiya within the Ittawa district gave a warm welcome and organized a grand satsang. The author Swami Premanand Dadaji says he was along with Maharajshree all the way. At some places there were arranged big bhandaras i.e. feast and at times they took bhiksha i.e. asking eatables as alms from people. They would walk twenty miles at a stretch and rest in the forest.
Interest In Going To The Holy Places
Gangaji is two miles and Kashi is twenty to twenty-five miles away from the native place of Maharajshree. His birth is closely related to his grandfather’s Vrindavan pilgrimage. If we think in this manner we will realize that there was certainly some link between the places of pilgrims and Maharajshree’s life. His mother went on a pilgrimage to the four holy places in Uttarakhand after the death of his father. He stayed back with his grandfather. When he insisted on meeting his mother the grandfather diverted his mind by narrating to him story of Puranas relating to the significance of the holy place the mother had landed. Maharajshree was unable to accompany his mother at that time but within him was sown the seed of keen desire for the holy places. When he was studying at Varanasi he regularly took a dip in the holy waters of Ganga and visited Lord Vishwanath and Maa Annapurna temples. Maharajshree’s maternal grandmother’s gurudev Dandi Swami Sri Manishanand Saraswatiji, a digamber (i.e. an unclothed sadhu) taught him a commentary on philosophy of Yoga. He instilled into him the samskara (impressions, tendencies) that “without Ishwara pranidhana i.e. without prostration and self-surrender to Ishwara- God no one can ever attain peace of mind.” A renowned learned pundit, who was always found seated on a wooden plank made of a medicinal plant, proficiently interpreted the hidden meaning of all the scriptures. Pundit Ramparikshan Shastri told Maharajshree that, “ without worship or devotion of Ishwara- God one cannot understand the real underlying mysteries of the scriptures.” The expert grammarian Pundit Sri Rambhavan Upadhyay visited the temple of Maa Annapurna everyday and offered Her a garland of fifty paisa. He said, “It is only the grace of Goddess Annapurna that I have acquired all the knowledge and progressed in my life.” Sri Hariharbabaji Maharaj, a well experienced saint known for his power of endurance dwelt in a boat in Varanasi. Maharajshree visited him; many gentlemen sat surrounding him reciting some prayers. They were reciting the prayers unconcerned about the pronunciation and perfection of the words. One pundit asked Baba, “Why don’t you stop those who are reciting incorrectly?” Baba laughed and replied “it is not the task of a sadhu to point out the faults of others.” Once Sri Haribaba of Bandh said “everything is happening before God, if He does not like He may stop it. A sage will look upon to God, why will he look at others and pollute his mind?” These wise saying left a deep impression on the subconscious of Maharajshree and made their way into his mind for the days awaiting.
Maharajshree sometimes visited Ayodhya. Once Maharajshree asked a question to Pundit Sri Ramvallabhsharanji Maharaj, “one cannot attain liberation without the knowledge of the Mahavakyas (i.e. Upanishad principles which directly denote the non-duality) on the other hand we say that by taking a dip in the holy waters of Saryu River one is liberated, what does this mean?” He replied, “it is necessary to arouse our consciousness towards the knowledge of liberation howsoever, whether it is by dying in Kashi, by taking a dip in the holy waters of Ganga in Prayag, by devotion and adoration of the deities, by uttering the name of the God. If this thought is generated by devotion and worship of God it gives you abode in the realms of your deity and it is through the Mahavakyas that will give you the ultimate liberation i.e.kaivlya mukti.” Maharajshree was very pleased with the interpretation which unfolded the unification of all diverse sayings. He further said, “Devotion is an independent means to acquisition of Brahman having attributes while in the acknowledgement of the attributeless Brahman the mahavakyas are the only evidence. Even the day to day routine conversation of the saints is only to confirm the welfare of mankind.” Initially Punditji was not an educated person. It was the grace of Hanumanji that conferred unto him mastery in all the scriptures, he said. Maharajshree told him, “Now I want to renounce everything and indulge in worshipping God.” He told Maharajshree “you have a mud house; you have three to four members in your family; you have simple dal roti for meals. Our ashram is well built; here thousands of sadhus reside and we have ladoos and puri for meals. What concept of renunciation do you find here?”
Maharajshree often travelled to Haridwar and Rishikesh and resided there for months together. He enjoyed his stay at the banks of Ganga, the seat of renunciation. There he happened to meet Swami Sri Mangalnathji, an ill and aged sadhu. He was an excellent saint well established in the knowledge of BRAHMAN. He said, “Experience and memory cannot coexist in the mind. That which is experienced is directly evident how can it be an object of memory? That which is an object of memory is not visible, is only implied how can it be experienced? Therefore when one has a direct apparent experience of the fact that the inner self is inseparable from the consciousness (i.e. the essence of BRAHMAN) the ignorance is discarded and he is just the eternal – glaring – apparent experience. Thus it keeps no expectation of any memory there. In fact who has conditioned the mind with the expectation of memory, Brahmakaravriti (i.e. the sole ultimate thought of Brahman alone to the exclusion of all other thoughts of any memory), nididhyasana (i.e. profound deep meditation), abhyasa (i.e. practice) and Samadhi (i.e. transcendental meditation) have not had the direct experience of the Brahman (i.e. self-realization).”During satsang on Vedanta Maharajshree occassionally recalled these memories with great pleasure.
Initially Maharajshree did not know anyone, so he would quietly enter and take seat for himself in the discourses of Goenkaji. In the beginning when Geonkaji met him in solitude he spoke to Maharajshree on the subject matter from a Vedanta book called Panchhadeshi. He said that sins occur due to destiny. This was indeed contradictory to his believes; he said this would have an adverse effect on the society. Maharajshree listened to him very attentively. This made him alert and provided him an opportunity to ponder upon the scriptures composed by ancient renowned saints with a more vigilant outlook. Afterwards when he was acquainted with the group of ‘Kalyan’ Maharajshree visited Swargaashram almost every summer and delivered discourses and did katha (narrating stories relating to puranas). People were astonished at the exclusive command of Maharajshree on the Bhagavatam and repeatedly enjoyed listening to the melodious extracts of the Radha -Madhav‘s (one of the names of Sri Krishna) sublime love. After initiating into sanyasa whenever he came there he delivered discourses at Geeta Bhavan, Parmarth niketan, Kalikamli-kshetra and Punjab-Sindh-kshetra. It was in his nature that every morning and evening he would go and land up at the banks of Gangaji, beside the rich flowing waters. Mahatmas from Kailash ashram, Rishikesh and the viraktas (i.e. the renunciates) residing amidst the trees gathered in huge crowds. Hundreds of householders interested in satsang also came in large numbers. Open sessions of question and answers were held and principles of Vedanta were ascertained. Through appropriate reasoning and genuine applications the approved valid principles of Vedanta became evident. They are ‘’Our Atman is indeed Brahman (the only ultimate Truth). Brahman is non-dual homogeneous consciousness. Despite of the perpetual attainment of pure consciousness the delusion of inacquisition persists due to ignorance. Except knowledge there is no other means to dispel ignorance. Knowledge requires no other means like actions, devotion or yoga. World, the illusory creation is always nonexistent. Once the ignorance is eradicated no duty remains to be performed. If any duty prevails to be performed then the illusion of the limited bounded individual doer still continues to exist, this is to be clearly understood.’’ While defining and determining these ancient principles new rational ideas flashed into his intellect. New innovative wits proved the brilliance naturally inherent in him by birth. Henceforth whenever he visited Rishikesh he not only held satsang sessions amongst the viraktas (renunciates) but was also hosted and invited at Parmarth Niketan, which was established by late Brahmaleen Mahamandaleshwar Swami Sri Shukdevanandji, to deliver spiritual discourses. Swamiji had converted the ashram into an abode of Heaven at the banks of river Ganga.
The Sacred Bliss Of Uttarakhand
Maharajshree visited Uttarkashi only after the initiation of sanyasa. At that time travelling along the Lalodi path to Massourie was a hazardous task. The path was covered with pine leaves and passing through gutters, caves and descending down the steep slopes they finally reached there after walking along way for three days. As soon as they reached Uttarkashi Brahmanishth (a person well established in the direct knowledge of Brahman) Swami Brahmaprakashji a renunciate saint, on being aware of their arrival, called upon them. Maharajshree was not acquainted to him it was the first meeting. Swamiji was a simple egoless entity; he calmly bowed down to Maharajshree and took a seat on the floor. In fact a very good satang was on the process. Someone came and interrupted in the middle and said, “Oh! This is Swami Brahmaprakashji.” Maharajshree after great insistence was able to shift him to his asana, a seat beside him and replied to a question-“Characteristics of completeness, consciousness, blissfulness, and non-duality – the real essence of Brahman, cannot be approved without the determination of the fact that the individual soul and Brahman are one and inseparable. Anything other than me is an object of perception or an imagination. If my existence is other than that of the Brahman or if the Brahman has an existence other than me then how will IT be complete and non-dual? Existence of another can also not be my most beloved. Thus knowledge of one – unity, devoid of all differences and divisions is the only genuine knowledge in fact
Next day Maharajshree visited Swami Brahmaprakashji. As a token of hostility Swamiji delivered a speech on Setumanadhikaran, a chapter of Brahma sutra. First Swamiji firmly ascertained the principles of the purvepakhi, (the school of thought in opposition to Vedanta). “The scriptures say that the individual soul is the one governed or disciplined and Brahman is the governor or the discipliner because it forms the link which abridges both of them. The individual soul is imagined to be the hundredth part of the tip of the hair while Brahman is all pervading like the open space, the sky- this is a kind of measurement scale. This individual soul unites with Brahman in the state of deep sleep- this is a relationship (between the two). The individual soul-jiva and Ishwara are two birds – this is the difference between the two. According to these quotations of the scriptures the difference between the individual soul jiva and Ishwara is logically justified.” Soon after he himself defined the principle of the scriptures as such. Here the meaning of the word bridge linking the two is the earthen boundary (formally created in the fields for irrigation purposes). Similarly Brahman is the establisher of the discipline of the caste-system in the society. Prior to Brahmajnana- self realization, we do believe in the assumed difference of jiva and Ishwara. Thus the conceptual attitude of the governed and governor is only limited to the behavioral code of the society. Jiva – the individual soul is said to be a minute fragment and Ishwara-God is considered to be all-pervasive only to resolve the equation of jiva and Ishwara, for the refinement of the two concepts the individual soul and the cosmic soul. For Brahmajnana-self realization it is considered that maya (the illusory power of the universe veiling the absolute reality) is composed of three states (waking state, dream-state, and deep sleep state) and Brahman is the fourth turiya state(the state where one Brahman existence pervades all the three stages- the real self) and in another process the universe constitutes one step and the divine nectar constitutes the three steps of spirituality; similarly the above measures are considered as to solve the equation of the two the jiva and Ishwara, nevertheless knowledge of oneness, unity, non-dual fact is not possible. The concepts of relation and differences are like, the variation in the intensity of light emitted due to the varying size of the holes. This is mere super imposition. On pondering upon the scriptures, aphorisms, the works of learned sages, through skillful stratagems and logical reasoning, the inferences arrived to is – the oneness of Atman and Brahman – devoid of all differences and divisions and this is the only ultimate accomplished eternal principle.
So long as Maharajshree resided in Uttarkashi they frequently met and held sessions of satsang. Henceforth whenever Maharajshree happened to visit Rishikesh and Swargashram they met several times. Swami Brahmaprakashji had extreme love for Maharajshree. The philosophical outlook he adopted was refuteless, unopposed. He in his life always appreciated others and never involved in the critical assessment of others.
In Uttarkashi dwelt an age old saint named Swami Devgiriji. Maharajshree often visited him. He disliked descending down from Uttarkashi to the plains. Once, after great insistence he was pursuaded to go to Kashi to attend Maa Anandmayee’s ceremonial gathering. On the way he refused to pass through Massourie. He said, “This is the land of passionate enjoyments”. Swamiji recited the slokas (verses) of Ashtavakragita in Uttarkashi and said that the Atman is Complete Absolute Brahman. There is nothing in it to be renounced, acquired or dissolute. If one keeps sleeping there is no harm and if one is toiling hard there is no reward of accomplishment. “Oh baba! I am the one who is liberated from the struggles of dualities like destruction and splendor, regress and progress. I am established in my true self”. He was a mahatma of great determination. Maharajshree was much impressed by his life-style and ever green delightful nature.
Maharajshree had an opportunity to listen to the discourses of Swami Tapovanji Maharaj. He still recollects Swamiji’s simplicity, courtesy and friendly nature. He also accompanied Maharajshree on a journey to Gangotri. He would tell Maharajshree-“Akhandanandji! Come and settle down in Uttarkashi. The age old saints of Uttarkashi are all on the way to their final abode. There is no one to replace their vacant space. If you come to Uttarkashi the aspirants and the curious seekers will extremely benefit from it. Take an oath never to descend to the plains below Rishikesh.” He was a soft heartened mahatma. Through his speech, normal day-to-day activities delightful fascinations were disseminated. All these mahatmas of Uttarkashi assembled together at the Vishvanath temple every Monday and discussed on Vedanta. They were all overwhelmed with happiness listening to maharajshree’s exposition of the ultimate facts of Vedanta.
At Gangotri he had an opportunity to meet Sri Krishnanandji maharaj and at Joshimath his sanyasa guru Jyoteeshpeethedhishwar Shankaracharya Sri Brahmanandji. Once on his journey from Badrinath to Rishikesh he accompanied the Dwarkapeethadhishwar Shankaracharya Swami Sri Abhinav Sachhidanand Tirthji Maharaj. While on the way, Sri Shankaracharyaji took care of his daily routine, tried to relax him at times, and was much concerned of his food habits and medicine. Shankaracharyaji’s simplicity and courtesy is worth admiring. In fact he was an egoless entity.
Piligrims Of South-India
Maharajshree visited south India several times. Before being initiated into sanyasa he travelled in a special train of Gita press, from Prayag to Dwarka and from south India to Calcutta. Due to the presence of Sri Munnilalji (who later took sanyasa and was named Sri Sanatandevji), Sri Ramakantji Tripathi and Sri Ramnarayan Shashtriji the journey had become very delightful. Seth Sri Jaydayalji Kasera of Calcutta attended Maharajshree and took charge of managing all his comforts throughout the journey. He was a generous and a joyous cheerful person by nature. Despite financial insufficiency he dared to incur expenses with a free hand. He addressed his physical body as a horse or a covering sheath. He through his learning had developed and maintained an insight that the attachment of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ attachments to the objects of perception is ignorance and this notion is discarded only by the knowledge of the reality. His presence accompanied with satsang of Goenkaji had made the journey very pleasant. The pious love of Vrindavan which Maharajshree showered at different places drenched the hearts of the people with the nectar of the sacred bliss. During this journey Maharajshree realized the presence of unity all over India in the fields of spirituality, celestial beings, righteousness and culture.
During this journey Maharajshree visited the Aurobindo Ashram at Pondichery and also had an opportunity to do satsang with Raman Maharshi at Tiruvannamalai. The Aurobindo ashram was set on the modern pattern. Maharajshree was unable to meet Sri Aurobindo as he did not reach during the visiting hours. He however could meet Mataji. He along with other seekers participated in the meditation class at night. In a dim light Mataji clad like a goddess stood on the stairs. There he happened to meet Nalinikant Gupt, Dilip Kumar Rai, Ambalal Purani and others. All of them together discussed on certain topics like – when the world would become divine what would be its layout, how the passion for activities be transformed or moulded. It need not be mentioned that the Vedic prenatal tendencies regarding the rituals as per Sanatan dharma were so firmly fixed in his mind that Maharajshree could not tolerate any sarcastic remark on it. After some discussion Sri Anilvaranrai said- “there will be no change in the objects and the activities of the world, only the attitude and the outlook of the human beings will be reformed.” Maharajshree said- “this is alright, but everything is possible through spiritual pursuit performed with reverential belief. One’s confidence on the grace bestowed by the Guru is the chief factor for evolution in the field of spiritual practice.”
Maharajshree visited Raman Maharshi’s ashram twice. Generally Maharshi pointed out towards the scriptures when people put forth any question but to Maharajshree’s question he replied in detail. The summary of his answers is thus –“One who has a desire to know, if he acknowledges his own self then he will realize that he himself is the Brahman. One who has a desire bears the ignorance. If the desire is in you then you are ignorant. Do not ask who is ignorant just know the self. Thus the ignorance will itself be discarded.” When asked about meditation he said, “We should meditate on ourselves. Meditate on ‘who am I’. When ‘I’ is isolated from ‘this’ (all that is denoted by this) no factor limiting the ‘I’ ever exists.” Maharajshree dined together with Maharshi. He led a very simple life. There was no trace of hypocrisy in his life. He even performed very simple activities like slicing vegetables. The charm of a distinguished jeevan mukta-a liberated soul was obvious in his life. The people residing along with him can be classified into two categories-1) those who were engaged in the self enquiry of ‘who am I’2) those who believed that Maharshi was indeed God himself and thus were engaged in worshipping and serving him. Maharajshree was very pleased with Raman Maharshi and liked him very much.
After sanyasa Maharajshree travelled twice all over India in a special train arranged by the Daivisampad Mandal, each trip was for three months. Each time the journey commenced and ended at Delhi. On the first journey renunciate mahatma Sri Mangalgiriji accompanied him, while in the second trip a saint aged more than hundred years Sri Hiranandji was present along with him. During both the trips Swami Sri Bhajananandji and Sadanandji took up the task of looking after the cares and comforts of all. The entire passenger folks favoured satsang. Due to the presence of Mahamandaleshwar Swami Sri Shukdevanandji the prayers and satsang sessions were grandly performed. In big cities and eminent spiritual places they halted for two to three days and speeches and sermons expounding spiritual topics were held. Local translators were arranged to translate for those who could not follow Hindi. They received a warm welcome in South India and massive discourses were organized. This in itself forms another vast topic.
In Vishnukanchi they had an opportunity to listen to the satsang of Kanchikamkotipeethadhipati Shankaracharya. When we visited him he was seated on a simple mattress. He was clad in a single cloth as the under garments called lanogti or kopin by sadhus. The forehead was covered with bhasma –the sacred ash. Despite of not being questioned he started with his instructions as follows- “The description to observe Atman as explained by the Upanishads only means that we should avoid observing annatman i.e.that which is other than the self. If summarized it only means that one should not perceive non-self annatman because the observation of annatman is futile worthless acknowledgement. In fact the reality is that, all that exists is nothing but the Atman – the Self alone. There is no division of the observed and the observer or the perceived and the perceiver.”
Both of these journeys were much enjoyed. In all the states people in huge crowds were present to give them a warm welcome. At some places the governor, the chief minister and the mayor awaited to welcome the people on the journey. On the first trip the chairman of the Lok Sabha late Sri Mavlankarji and on the second trip Sri Nandji attended them. It was rather impossible to count the number of gatherings, the discourses delivered and the processions organized. The detailed accounts of these journeys were published by the Daivisampad Mandal. It was during this journey that while in Omkarmandhata Maharajshree along with Sri Bhajananandji and other four mahatmas, consecrated Swami Sri Shukdevanandji Maharaj with the title of mahamandaleshwar while taking bath in the sacred waters of Narmda. After a few days the dasnami sanyasis indeed accepted him as a mahamandaleshwar.
Vrindavan and the Trust
Prior to these journey, in the presences of Sri Udiya babaji maharaj and even after him Maharajshree resided for most of the time in Vrindavan. Sometimes he left for other places for two to four months and returned. The time period amid 1947 and 1957 was mostly elapsed in Vrindavan. There existed an atmosphere of love devotion and satsang, in its full glory, in the presence of Sri Udiya babaji and Bhakt Sri Kokill Sai. Maharajshree’s mind was never ready to leave such a pleasant atmosphere and move elsewhere. Every morning and evening spiritual discourses and satsang sessions were in the routine. One was hardly aware how years passed away. After Sri Udiya babaji passed away many people especially Sri Haribabaji maharaj appointed Maharajshree as the chief trustee of the ashram. Maharajshree accepted it on a condition that he will not be loaded with the responsibility of managing or any other arrangements of the ashram. He continued to remain as a trustee throughout. He was a trustee of also the Mathura Krishna Janmabhumi (the birth place of Lord Krishna), Swargashram of Rishikesh, and the satsang set-ups at Jodhpur and Patna. However he never accepted the responsibility of management or arrangement of finance. Sri Haribabji maharaj spent most of the time at the Vrindavan ashram. Katha and kirtans (conversations on parables and tales of the Lord and recitations of the holy name, fame and glory of the Almighty) were daily conducted. Devotees in vast numbers attended and benefitted from it. When Maharajshree was present early he delivered discourses on Vedanta early morning and the even satsang was on devotion.
Besides these Maharajshree himself established three trusts and was the chief trustee of them. They were as follows 1)The Anand Vrindavan Charitable Trust 2)Janata Janardan Seva Trust 3)Sat Sahitya Prakashan Trust. The editing and publication of Maharajshree’s discourses was performed through this trust. With the cooperation and enthusiasm of the well-known prestigious, prosperous and social members, this trust has been able to publish many books and a monthly sacred magazine named ‘Chintamani’.
Maharajshree was also the chief trustee of the Oriya-Ittava situated Premanand Trust. Governor of Bihar Sri Anantshayanam Ayenger was the chairman of the Sri Krishna Janma Bhumi Trust (Mathura). Maharajshree and Hanuman Prasad Poddar both were the deputy chairman of the trust. Birla, Dalmiya, Goenka and others were also the members of the trust. In the Sri Krishna Janma Bhumi they have under taken the task of constructing a huge marble hall named ‘Bhagawat Bhavan’ in which are embedded all the verses of Srimad Bhagawatam. They look after the management of the pharmacy, the dahrmasala (a rest house for travellers and pilgrims) and the temple. In the restoration of the Sri Krishna Janma Bhumi the endeavour of this trust is praiseworthy.
Harmony Between Vedantins And Pious Devouts
One distinguishing feature of Maharajshree was that while ascertaining and expounding the Nirguna Brahman (Brahman devoid of attributes) his instructed in terms of pure Vedanta and while describing and expounding the Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes) his instructions were loaded with pure devotional inclinations. He never mixed devotional sentiments with knowledge and knowledge with devotional sentiments. Thus a staunch vedantin could discard the demarcation of ignorance by his satsang and a pious devout of Vrindavan was compelety engrossed relishing the nectar of bliss which was showered by the narration of the divine love of the Radha Krishna. When Maharajshree described Lord Krishna addressing Him Vrindavan Vihari (sportive Krishna of Vrindavan), Muralimanohar ( the one drawing the minds of all by his flute)Pitamberdhari (Sri Krishna clad in yellow robes) Savare Salone Vrajrajkumar (dark complexed attractive Prince of Vrindavan) the devouts listening to it could visualise Lord Sri Krishna as described just standing in front of their eyes. The pious devouts with a longing desire, pleaded before Maharajshree, for a glimpse of their beloved Krishna. While commenting on divine love Maharajshree said that the superior form of love is one which has a harmonious flow. The one sided love is only a previous condition of love; because in it lies anxiety, a void, an absence and there is no attraction from the other side. The monsoon bird, the pied cuckoo (chatak), a type of partridge who lives on moon beams (chakor), fish, water- lily and lotus all exhibit this type of one sided love. They do not exhibit complete wholesome picture of love. The love in the crane (sarus) lacks the tragedy of separation in love, the love of the ruddy sheldrake (chakrava) is devoid of the love in expreinced in the union (combination) thus they are all examples of incomplete love. The eternal love of Radha Krishna alone exhibits the complete wholesome picture of love. In the lover’s meeting and in the masquerade (pretence) also there is a gap of time and space. Thus the love conditioned by time and space cannot be the love – wholesome and complete, it can be the means of acquiring this completeness. Both the meeting of lovers and the pretence directly depict a gap of separation. The coexistence of meeting and separation together in the mind denotes a contradiction, despite this being a distinguishing feature of love yet it is not the real essence of love. Love fluctuating (increases or decreases) with the state of meeting and separation is no love at all. The factor of time and space has no effect on love. Delusion however caused either by ignorance or love is but the cause of sorrow alone and it does not interpret the wholesome sublime essence of love. The sentiments of love in the mind keep changing. Though momentary, the superimposition of weaknesses – limitations in the beloved becomes the cause of immediate misery. Thus the harmonious love of Radha Krishna alone is the most superior form of love. In the constant flow of love Radha takes the form of Krishna and Krishna replaces Radha alternatively. This is not the essence of the nirguna dormant inactive Brahman but the saguna active, divine, throbbing Brahman. Thus in love there is no room for any type of division. Its indescriptive and indefinable nature is also self effulgent and can be realized by experience alone. Thus it is known as non-dual love (premadvaita) or non-dual delightful nectar (rasadvaita). This is not the strength or effect or agitation of the Brahman but it is Brahman itself in a specified character.
The elegant devouts of Vrindavan not only listened to these expounding discourses of Maharajshree but also well understood it. The great acharyas (teachers) of various traditions like the Goswamis of Vallabh Sampradai (tradition), Sri Radha Raman, Sri Nimbark, and Sri Ramanuj invited Maharajshree with great regards and love, at special occasions of their ceremonies and listened to his unique way of defining the principles of their respective tradition, the spiritual practices and the method of awakening interest in it. Many elegant devouts of Vrindavan met him in solitude and narrated their personal experiences and sought his instructions regarding their spiritual pursuit and continued the practice under his guidance. Maharajshree equally appreciated the sentiments of all the traditions, respected them and loved them. While describing the devotional spiritual traditions if any one raised question regarding the Shankar Vedanta tradition Maharajshree immediately replied to it in the same Vedanta method and returned to his usual discourse, similarly while he is expounding the principles of Vedanta if a doubt arises regarding the devotional tradition he would reply to it in no time in their corresponding traditional method and return to Vedanta. He never considered the intrusion of other tradition to be a disturbance and also would not give up his course of discussion. During the course of question- answers this situation constantly kept arising.
Swamishree In The Satsang Of Prempuriji Maharaj
Maharajshree visited Bombay since 1934 while he was serving the ‘Kalyan’ family. He delivered discourses on Srimad Bhagawatam (saptah-discorses organized for a week), other sacred legends and gave commentaries on other spiritual aspects. After sanyasa Maharajshree visited Bombay to attend the Laksha-Chandi-Yagya. At this occasion thousands of audiences relished the stream of nectar flowing in the form of discourses of Bhagawatam. Maharajshree’s visit to Bombay happened to be indeed a strange coincidence. While on his first pilgrimage in a special train, organized by the Daivi-Sampad-Mandal, he happened to visit Bombay. Vedant satsang mandal invited Maharajshree to Premkutir for sermons (pravachan). Having abandoned the status of mahamandaleshwar of Kailash Swami Shri Prempuriji Maharaj resided in Bombay doing satsang and swadhyay-(delivering discourses and doing self-study) and thereby purifying the minds of the people and infusing into it the knowledge of Truth. Maharajshree had several times before met him but now the two were indeed associated. In his presence Maharajshree delivered two-three discourses on Vedanta. The language of interpretation was simple, the method extinguishing and the consistency and pace was remarkable. “The ultimate achievement of every endeavour culminates in the form of experience only, be it physical action-karma, subtle devotion-upasana or yoga-spiritual practice. The experience of a limited finite object will only reinstigate passions, latent tendencies and this in course will lead to activities. On the other hand the experience of an unlimited infinite thing will always remain aparoksha (as a direct experience). At the same time the passions and latent tendencies are nullified or falsified. No duties abide him anymore. Swami Sri Prempuriji Maharaj was impressed by his specific expounding skill, which was most appropriate, reasonable and effective enough in tearing apart the veils of ignorance. Amidst a huge gathering Prempuriji Maharaj appreciated him and also refuted the opinion that duties continue to abide a human being even after self-realization. Thus was established a relation of mutual attraction.
After this, under the guidance of Swami Prempuriji Maharaj, a great conference on philosophy of Vedanta was organized. All sanyasis, udasis (a spiritual tradition followers), mahants (chief of an aashram), mandaleshwars and other spokesmen of Vedanta were present on this event. Swamiji sent a couple named Pravin and Veena to Vrindavan to call upon Maharajshree to attend the event. At this occassiom Maharajshree delivered several discourses. Some of the topics were ‘what Vedanta teaches us?’ ‘Nature of Vedanta in our day-to-day transactions’. His speeches were very impressive, effective, in accordance to the inferences of the scriptures, resplendent, clear and profound. People around twenty to thirty thousand, hundreds of saints and mahants, the masters of various schools of thought, political leaders and ministers were all fascinated and enchanted listening to the eloquent speeches. Ecstasy of Swami Prempuri Maharaj knew no bounds. At this occasion the planning minister of the time and ex-home minister Sri Guljarilal Nanda came up with a proposal of organizing an association of sadhus. All the saints returned but Swami Prempuriji detained Maharajshree and commenced his daily discourses on Vedanta in Premkutir and evening lectures on Bhagwatam at the residence of Seth Matrumal Bijoria. Whoever attended both lectures in the morning and evening session were astonished. They could not even imagine how an entity interpreting the explicit and profound texture of Substratum (adhishthana) and super-imposition (adhyasta) in the morning, could engross himself and the audience in the love of Sri Krishna through the equally profound narration of the affectionate, devotional, melodious tales of Yashodanandana (little son of Yashoda), Manmohana and Shyamsundera (all different addresses to Lord Krishna). Even this time Maharajshree could stay only for few days as he had to go and attend the first assembly meeting of Bharat Sadhu Samaj.
Swami Prempuri Maharaj derived excessive happiness from the discourses of Maharajshree and longed that they should ever reside together. At Prem Kutir in Bombay there was a generally accepted regulation that only Vedanta discourses will be delivered in the morning but Swamiji arranged for the discourses of Gopigeet for Maharajshree. Each and every audience of Prem Kutir is standing evidence to the fact that Maharajshree through the discourses on Mandukya Karika and Srimad Bhagawatam drenched all of them in the flow of knowledge and devotional ecstasy. Swami Prempuri Maharaj said-“I am a sadhu since fifty –five years and have attended the satsang of big renowned sadhus but it is now that I am relishing the nectar of satsang.” While listening to the sermons the changing colours of emotions or sentiments seen on Swamiji’s face can rarely be seen elsewhere. Maharajshree kept on moving to Vrindavan and Swamiji kept on drawing him back to Bombay. When the farewell time approached Swamiji’s eyes would always be wet with tears, this also made others around emotional so that they also shed tears. He said to Maharajshree “let Bombay be saturated with the glowing colours of satsang”. Swamiji wished to make an arrangement for permanent sat sang in Bombay but was unable to do so. In the presence of Swamiji and even after he passed away Maharajshree conducted many Bhagawat saptahs at Mumbadevi grounds, Cross maidan, Sunderbai Hall in Mumbai and almost ten thousand audiences enjoyed hearing him. We need not say much about him in Bombay because he spent much time here. Here in various auditoriums and pavilions he delivered discourses, sermons and satsang for months together and the Vedant Satsang Mandal and Sat Sahitya Prakashan Trust with great love managed all the arrangements.
As The President Of Bharat Sadhu Samaj
Maharajshree was not only honoured and respected amongst the dispassionate personalities and experienced eminent sadhus but was also the sadhus, mahants (chief manager of the ashram) and mahamandaleshwars of various traditions loved and respected him. Thus when any association of sadhus was established Maharajshree was given much importance. When the universal sadhu committee was established Maharajshree was appointed as the president at the inauguration ceremony in Kanpur. Sri Karpatriji Maharaj in Prayag Kumbh formed a sadhu society in which Ved Bhagwan was honoured as the president and Maharajshree was honoured as the vice president. Similarly at the gathering of the sadhu samaj in Delhi Maharajshree was appointed to the post of vice president. Later on he became the working president of it. Henceforth he continued as president for three successive years despite of the fact that this post was allotted only for a year. Maharajshree gave his resignation after one year but the working committee did not accept it on the grounds that this would cause a great damage to the Sadhu samaj. This has been notified in its official files.
From the very childhood Maharajshree was engaged in his spiritual practices and also gave encouragement to it. He believed that purity of heart is the purity of society. He spent most of his time amongst the dispassionate folks and considered sacrifice, absence of desire, devotion and adoration and being established in the direct knowledge of the Brahman as the most eminent virtues of a sadhu. The party politics of associations and other organizations caused agitation and thus he tried to keep away from them. Maharajshree had the with him the experience of Malviyaji’s Sanatandharm Sabha, the conference of Brahmins of Kashi, the learned scholar pundit Lakshman Shastri Dravid’s Varnasharam Swaraj Sangh and the agitation of Congress from 1930 to 1941. Generally due to the predominance of the party politics corruption makes its way into the organizations. Hence, he prefered that, a seeker should not involve in such organizations at the cost of his spiritual evolution. In case a seeker ought to get involved with the associations it should be with complete detachment. He should serve the organization as per his strength and mental capacity and during the hours of spiritual practice keep aloof from all such matters.
From this point of view Maharajshree’s contribution to the sadhu samaj is marked in its history as a enchanting event. His lecture at the Bharat sadhu samaj exhibition in Jaipur is a speech on the principles of morality. At Patna exhibition the speech given and the efforts put in, with his lean ailing body were to protect the organization from distress and set it on a progressive track. If all the sadhus cooperate certainly the organization will have a bright future.
Sat Sahitya Prakashan Trust
Maharajshree‘s competence in the literary work was obvious from his early teenage. He was only twelve years when his first article was published in the weekly magazine ‘Surya’ at Kashi. The second article was published here in the magazine called ‘Aaryamahila’. After having linked with the ‘Kalyan-family’ thousands of pages were written. ‘Sreya’ ‘Sankirtan’ ‘Parmarth’ such articles remain unaccounted. Small pamphlet type booklets were also published from Gorakhpur, Jabalpur, Vrindavan, Bombay and other places. In 1961 when the commentary on ‘Mandukya’ Upanishad was published the curious spiritual seekers evaluated the significance and requirement of these incredible commentaries and thus was decided that a publication association be established to accomplish such a great task. The prestigious and prosperous folks of Bombay were only waiting for the matter to be decided; hence with their cooperation in 1961 Sat Sahitya Prakashan Trust was registered. Thus Devidayal Steelman, Mariwala, Kamdar, Khatau, Kishanchand Chellaram and others became its members. Within six years it had published in various languages thirty books and ‘Anandvani’ in ten parts. They then resolved to publish a huge epic of Srimad Bhagawatam. Arrangements for vast splendid discourses were under taken with great enthusiasm, some of which are as follows- the Bhagawat saptah at Cross-maidan, chapter eleven of Srimad Bhagawatam at K.C.College, Valmiki Ramayan at Lady North Court and Vishnu purana. The future of this publication is of great significance. Hopefully this trust will put in its endeavour to propagate and spread to a vast extent the awareness towards righteousness, worship of God and knowledge of the factual truth.
The Sentiments Of Shashtrji
A common friend of the author and Maharajshree Sri Dwarkaprasad Shashtri resided with Maharajshree for many years and performed his spiritual practices and spiritual study under his instructions. He has put down on papers some of his memories as follows.
Maharajshree was an unbiased acharya (teacher). While expounding the codes of righteous conduct he never uphold any particular ideology nor accepted propositions laid down by a specific community. He was a saint indeed. His teaching faculty was endowed with all the virtuous codes of behavior and various trends of reasoning required for the utmost evolution of humanity. There is a saying of Maharshi Vyas which unfolds the essential nature of a Saint.
‘Vad-vadans-tyjet tarkan paksham cum ch ne sansreyet’ – this was clearly noticed in Maharajshree. He never indulged in the activities of criticism or demarcations amongst the other folks nor himself became an object of discussion among the opponents nor became a subject of controversial argument; this is because his essential nature is universally non- opposing (avirodhi), non-dual absolute existence to which he is adhered with determination. The non-dual spiritual truth is perpetually expressed through his actions, speech and sentiments and thoughts.
Maharajshree is an incarnation directly personifying The Absolute Bliss and conferring ecstasy and joy. Whosoever has come into close acquaintance with him is certainly immersed into the sacred flowing current of overwhelming love of Radha Krishna. The unique coordination of profound meditation (Samadhi), knowledge or awareness and absolute bliss is evident in his life.
Such a childish carefree life is hardly observed. He was usually wrapped in a loose loin cloth around his waist and sometimes took a chhaddar (a simple shawl) to cover the upper portion of the body, even as a child and while a house-holder his attire was very simple. A khadi kurta (a loose pure cotton dress covering the upper portion) and a dhoti (a cloth around the waist) were his clothings. He, most of the time, walked bare-footed and rarely wore slippers or shoes. He was never interested in applying soap and oil. Shashtriji has narrated an incidence revealing his soft heartedness and compassionate nature which has left on his mind an ineradicable impression.
There dwelt four to five scheduled caste families somewhere near Maharajshree’s village. During those days they were considered untouchables and thus were to reside in the outskirts of the village. Once, a harijan’s house was on fire. None of the other scheduled caste families came to their rescue. Little Shantanu’s tender heart was unable to resist the urge for assistance. Bereft of any concern of the social protest he plunged through the fire, struggled hard and rescued the household ladies, children and some of their belongings. Observing his irrepressible zeal and courage the other residents also offered assistance and praised Maharajshree’s effort.
All who came into his close contact were rewarded with something concerning empirical world or heavenly abode, spirituality or customary usage. The curious inquisitive spiritual aspirants found in him solutions to their doubts and the devotional worshippers were enriched by the glimpses of their particular beloved deities like (vkuUneqdqUn] enueksgu] ihrkEcj/kkjh] “;kelqUnj] n”kjFkru; dks”kyjkt&dqekj jk?kosUnz jkeHknz vFkok vk”kqrks’k vo
One Alone Exists In And Out
The author Swami Premanand Saraswati’s colleague Swami Prabhudhanand Saraswatiji once asked Maharajshree- “you extremely love everyone can I know the reason behind it?”
Maharajshree replied- “Bhai! (Brother) I never feel that I dwell inside this body and someone else exists outside it. If anything does exist then it is all ‘me, myself’ and if at all it does not exist then just as ‘me myself’ does exist similarly this body and mind, with whom you identify yourself also does not exist. In fact except Atman (Self) none other exists. Nothing other than the Atman (Self) ever exists. Due to the ignorance of one universal absolute existence – ‘Brahman’ the delusion that another exists occurs and undoing this delusion should be the only aim of a curious aspirant.”
The brahmachari disciple further quotes-“thus it is directly obvious from the life of Maharajshree that he equally loved everyone irrespective of one being a fool or a learned, woman or man, poor or rich, child or aged. His love equally embraced a theist, an atheist and an aspirant with a burning desire for liberation. Who ever happened to come into his divine acquaintance even once becomes his beloved forever. He feels Maharajshree has been his friend and God-father in the path of spirituality since ages. One who has an opportunity to listen to his spiritual discourses even once becomes a fine audience of his sermons forever. A particular feature of his discourses was that it was a collection of audience with the majority of gentlemen compared to the ladies folk. Amongst them a large crowd of teenagers and youth folks were traced listening to him.
Maharajshree was a great devout amongst the devotees of God and wisest amidst the wise. Those who believed in karma-actions found in him a most industrious entity and for yogis he was an embodiment of simplicity, peace, patience, profundity and seriousness all inculcated in him by nature. For the ardent seekers of liberation he was the essence of everything, one in all. His technique of explanation is very simple, reasonable, rational and logical which touched the heart of everyone from the core. The deep reasoning power, the profound meditating mind and the loving heart noticed in his life is worth observing. Those observing Maharajshree from certain distance feel that he is one living in plenty and luxury, but those who have watched him at close quarters know about his simplicity and straightforwardness. One in proximity with him for a prolonged period of time is more and more thrilled and surprised observing him. For him Maharajshree was a personified image or a living picture of wisdom renunciation and divine bliss. In fact every particle, every nerve and pore in his body was over flowing with the spiritual love for universal welfare, divine love for God and the wisdom of oneness of the Brahman and the Atman, all in the complete perfection. What more can be said, his life is a life of Brahman. It was so fearless, carefree and liberal that when one mentally ponders upon it he seems to immerse into the ocean of astonishment.
Maharajshree laid down two principles to be followed by every spiritual seeker for success and complete perfection in his life.
1) Purity-means a life devoid of lust and anger along with attributes like good conduct, self control and various other virtues.
2) Poverty- means simplicity- to lead a life with minimum requirements.
Maharajshree believed that if these two principles are followed then a seeker will certainly attain proximity with Ishwara.
Purity And Knowledge
Maharajshree says – 1) one should serve and put in efforts through the physical body
2) One should restraint the sense organs
3) One’s mind should be uploaded with good-feelings and good will
4) One should have a discriminating intellect
5) One should be egoless
All these qualities make a seeker access the highest state of spiritual development.
The accomplished real fact is not a resultant consequent of any spiritual practice. After eradicating the defects of mind that is – mala (the impurities of the mind) and vikshepa (the projecting, manipulating power of the mind causing movement and superimpositions) the avarna-the veil of ignorance is eradicated only through charmavriti (the final supreme modification of the mind) created by ‘Tatvamasi’ (thou art that) and other mahavakyas (great sentences of the Upanishads expressing the ultimate reality). The Parmatman-the Almighty God present now, here as our own Self-Atman seems unattained due to ignorance and eradication of this ignorance is possible only by Brahmatmikyagyana-the knowledge of oneness of the Atman and the Brahman (one consciousness underlying the individual and universal consciousness). The legacies of external and internal spiritual practices are worth adopting as they provide a ground for the ascent/advent of this knowledge. Through spiritual practice the elevation of individual touches its highest peak. And after realization of the Truth, the finite-limited individuality and its universal concept, its very roots, the unmanifested factor and the reflections in it are all nullified, falsified or stand invalid. This is because the presence and absence of all that is finite and limited only denote that Brahman is our own self The Atman.This knowledge of oneness is called Brahmagyana-Self Realization.
Sand Is Brahman
Maharajshree, during satsang, in a delightful mood, would quote the words of Sri Udiya Babaji. Once he was with Baba at Karnavas sitting in the sand at the banks of Ganga. Satsang was on the process. Babaji took sand in both the hands and said-“Shantanu! As long as this sand is not obviously to you as Brahman consider your knowledge of Brahman to be imperfect-incomplete. After Brahmabodha-self realization not even a blade of grass or a smallest particle exists apart from Brahman. While discriminating we behold Brahman to be distinct from the physical, subtle and casual body, this has been said; but after brahmabodha-self realization except one non dual self neither Ishwara nor the world exist. Distinct identity of Ishwara, reality of the world and the limitedness of Atman, all the three stand invalid after self realization.” Thus Maharajshree often repeated that-“all that appears is Sachhidanandghan Brahman (solid impenetrable absolute existence, absolute consciousness and bliss absolute) alone. The entire universe is Vrindavan. The entire feminine factor in it is Radha and the entire male factor in it is Sri Krishna. On the vast auditorium of this creation wherever you look around the pair of Lord Radha Krishna is pleasantly wandering around.
Divert The Mind
Maharajshree addressed both types of spiritual seekers the devotional and the spiritual thinkers and said-“Oh brother! Whether you adopt the devotional emotional factor or the thinking factor but in your heart establish Parmatman-the Almighty God alone.
Whenever any seeker was anxious to know something related to the attainment of Ishwara-God then Maharajshree would say-“Oh brother! Just listen to me, divert your mind from all the objects which you feel is not God. In this manner when you keep on withdrawing your mind you will reach a point from where you are unable to give up or withdraw your mind, that which you are unable to abandon is Ishwara-God. The world is that which we try to seize and inpite of all our efforts we cannot capture it, it just slips away, and gets released from our hands. That which we wish to give up yet are unable to give up is ISHWARA-GOD.
Ishwara Solid Ishwara–God
Maharajshree, with appropriate reasoning would explain that every creature only desires Ishwara-God. Actually the atheist also desires for Ishwara God alone, but he does not realize that he indeed wishes for Ishwara alone. Ishwara is not only an object of emotion or imagination, but is eternally coarse or solid. That which eternally exists in all forms everywhere, which is immortal, the very essence of knowledge and blissful factor is called Ishwara by the scriptures. Nowadays people who get irritated on hearing the word Ishwara are unaware of the actual meaning of the word Ishwara. If they know the real meaning of the word Ishwara they will realize that Ishwara alone is desired by everyone.
In whatever state, condition or place a seeker stands, Maharajshree would make him visualize Ishwara; because from his point of view the whole creation as it is, is indeed nirvikar Sachhidanandghan (unpolluted solid absolute truth absolute consciousness and absolute bliss). Maharajshree says that-“the unknown Atman (Self) is named Brahman and the known Brahman is Atman itself.” We repeatedly bow down unto thy feet Oh Gurudev! The sarvadhisthan (substratum of all), sarvavbhasak (that which is apparent in all forms), swayamprakash (that which is self effulgent), Sachhidanandghan, atmaswaroop (essence of the self) anugraha-vigraha (the idol of grace).
Determination In Observing Self Imposed Rules And Regulations
Maharajshree was very firm in observing the self imposed rules and regulations. He believed that one should observe the rules and regulations enduring all the difficulties and inconveniences. He himself never broke his commitment of delivering discourses. During chaturmasya (four months of monsoon) etc .once haven taken the commitment to deliver discourses irrespective of enfeeblement and fatigue or high blood pressure and fever Maharajshree never gave up his own commitments. It has been noticed that once he was suffering from chronic diarrhea he still continued with the same routine schedule punctually and delivered discourses for an hour. He says that when a person is determined to reinforce the self imposed regulations all the hindrances are naturally eliminated. Once, Sri Haribabji decided to listen to his discourses on Bhagavatam, in Vrindavan twice a day, in the morning and evening, for one year at a stretch. He believed in listening at the same fixed time as decided. Maharajshree delivered discourses without being late even for a minute for the prolonged period of one year regularly.
It is indeed a fact that firm commitment to observation of ones self imposed rules and regulations have a tremendous strength to eradicate all obstructions.
Forgetting The Greatness
Egolessness is Maharajshree’s in born nature. Bereft of any thought about his greatness he met people irrespective of they being big and small, rich and poor, tidy and untidy, educated and uneducated, Brahmin and shudra (higher and lower caste) and extended his love to them. He never hesitated in visiting the premises of the poor nor was reluctant to take a seat on a higher or a lower platform. The author narrates that he had himself once noticed that a poor man once came to meet him. It was at eleven o’clock in hot summer days. His body was wet with perspiration. As soon as he bowed down to his feet he just raised him up with both the arms and embraced him. (At that time it appeared as if the poor man was hesitating and he was forcibly drawing him towards himself). Afterwards the author asked Maharajshree –“I do not understand how can you ever embrace a person drenched in perspiration?” Maharajshree replied-“Oh brother! This thought has just struck my mind now when you have informed me. My mind was busy noticing his love for me; see the pains he has taken to meet me in the hot summer days this afternoon.” One who perceives the blissful loving Mukunda (one of the many names of Sri Krishna) in every heart such a behavior is but natural.
Vision Focused Only On Love
Many years ago, in Vrindavan near the ashram at Davanalkund, in a cave, resided a dispassionate pious devout Raidas (a shoe mender). Observing silence (mauna), begging food in alms and sleeping in the forest was his daily routine in life. Meanwhile he came in acquaintance with Maharajshree and became so fond of him that he would enter the ashram by night when all are asleep and try to serve him by pressing his legs (he was not allowed to enter during the day time). He had a hand written book of Mahatma Raidas which he secretly hid amongst his mass twisted hair on the head and never showed it to anyone. Sometimes he would ask Maharajshree to read it for him. Whenever the brahmacharis who accompanied Maharajshree noticed his presence they would angrily rebuke him and sometimes even forcefully throw him out of the room. Despite the insult the devout undisturbed by the humiliation visited him again and again, as soon as he found an opportunity. At some occasions he would place his head on Maharajshree’s chest; Maharajshree never said anything to him; on the contrary he would extend his motiveless loving hand to him. Due to this nature of the visitor the companions were sometimes displeased with him. How can a common man ever read the divinity of the heart of a mahatma who has risen above all realms of human abode?
Anger-Absence Of Anger
Maharajshree was a personality untouched by anger. Anger kept away from him and he kept away from anger. He said-“how can the heart charred with the furnace of anger form a seat of Lord Vishnu who resides in the ocean of milk, or give way to Lord Shiva whose abode is in the Himalayas.” He himself was never caught in the pangs of anger and if someone was angry with someone else in his presence his body unable to tolerate it would burn with fever. Years ago there was a close friend of Maharajshree. He was a man of aggressive nature. He was always involved in some complication with people around. Due to this nature there was a threat that it may result in the breakage of friendship thus Maharajshree said-“Just be cautious, when you desire to break our friendship you may get annoyed in my presence and not otherwise.” He was unable to tolerate anyone’s anger. However there is one incidence of his anger. It is a very exciting incidence. Once Dadaji, his disciple lost something. Despite of all the efforts when he could not find it he took an oath to offer Hanumanji a prasad of rupees five. The object was found. Afterwards Maharajshree came to know about it. He told Dadaji, “Why did you take an oath in which finance is involved?” He was of an opinion that sadhus should take an oath in which money is concerned. If a sadhu wishes to take an oath he must find alternatives of austerities such as japa, prayer, fasting, pooja etc. However Dadaji was unable to understand this and thought Maharajshree was denying financial expenditure. Thus he rushed to a dharmasala (rest house for the travelers and pilgrims) which was under construction in the ashram. He thought he will break apart the bricks and with the wages offer prasad to Hanumanji. At that time Maharajshree was very angry-he caught Dadaji by his neck and said-“Don’t you dare do that, if you did so I shall kill you. Fool! I was not restraining you because of the expenditure. Sadhu should never do that work in which finance is involved so I stopped you.” Dadaji now calmed down and as for Maharajshree he was always calm. Within a short period of time Maharajshree showered so much love and affection that Dadaji even today is emotionally aroused recollecting the incidence. Even the anger of a mahatma has a beneficiary factor.
Keeping Accounts Of Every Penny And Paisa
Maharajshree was very firm in maintaining proper financial accounts. Despite of this nature he was unaware about the where about of the income of the ashram; however whatever money matters present before him were tackled with great alertness, not a paisa was allowed to be left unaccounted. He did not ever keep even a paisa of the people around him. There is an incident where he had to make a payment of some bill. Apart from the rupees some paisa had to be given, the party did not have enough change so gave a rupee, but he did not accept the rupee. He himself had no change but he collected from here and there and returned the change. He says, “Clarity of accounts also infuses clarity and purity in the life and mind of a person.
Abandoned-Acceptance Of Anything
Maharajshree at the age of nine or ten years along with his grandfather and his disciples performed Durga patha (reading the sacred text of the mother deity Durga) and anushthanas (a systematic observance of a rite in worshiping a deity). He was an expert in astronomy and karma-kanda (that part of Veda which relates to ceremonial acts and sacrificial rites). After the death of his grandfather he along with many of his disciples visited Vindhyachal to perform some patha. While performing patha a thought aroused in his mind- ‘the rites and practices we undertake to perform for the welfare of others, why not perform them for one’s own welfare?’ Immediately he firmly resolved that from now onwards we will not perform any anushthana with the motive of receiving any benefits against it or for the welfare of others.
Maharajshree abandoned the offerings he received from the disciples of their heritage while still at home leading a life of a house-holder. It so happened that a close friend of Maharajshree, Sir Kanungo, Sri Jagrusingh received rupees two from each of the thirty-eight patwaris (registrar of village land accounts) every month. On the advent of the thought of renunciation in their mind, they started feeling guilty thinking this is illegal and an act of bribery. They immediately stopped receiving the amount. Maharajshree was much impressed by this incident and he himself abandoned the offerings sacrificed at his feet. If anyone offered any gift to the family members he did not restrain them from doing so. He would have stopped them if he was attached to them or if he had any importance of relationship. Such entanglements were left far behind. He would say-“Who am I to restrain them from their benefits?” These offering amounted to thousand rupees a year, so the annual income now was reduced by that amount. He had decided from childhood that whatever be the situation he will never take loan from anyone. Due to these two resolutions he sometimes had to confront financial crisis but Maharajshree endured all the difficult situations undisturbed and remained firmly committed to his resolutions. The family members were mentally uncomfortable but somehow managed the livelihood from the income incurred through farming. Once, Swami Yoganandji asked him to get a chauki (a wooden seat) for him. Maharajshree had no money. He frankly told Swamiji-“Right now I do not have the required amount and I never take debt from anyone so at present I am unable to get the wooden seat”. In a seeker’s life money should not be given any importance.
Done A Great Job-Bereft Of Any Salary
Maharajshree visited Gorakhpur on the occasion of ‘akhand-sankirtana’ (constant uninterrupted recitation of the Lord’s name and glory) and started working with the publication department of ‘Kalyan’, a monthly spiritual magazine. He served them constantly for seven years and accepted nothing in the form reward for his service although great tasks were performed. Whenever he happened to go out of station for their purpose they would keep one or two hundred rupees along with his luggage and on returning he would give up the left over amount. He did not maintain any account of the expenditure incurred. The reason behind this was that he was confident of his appropriateness in the matters of expenditure.
A Divine Incident
Maharajshree sometimes narrated this incidence- “After completing the journey of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh walking on foot I and Sudarshan Singh ‘Chakra’ were wandering in Bihar. From Tapovan we came to Rajgiri. We started our journey from there early in the morning and walked upto Biharsharif by afternoon and had our lunch. We had no provisions of food along with us, but there, a friend of the hostel, the grammarian Shahiji suddenly met us on the way and with great love made all the arrangements for us. When we started our journey after noon we were unable fetch any place where we could halt and rest. People did not allow us to rest under the trees on the road-side. In the village we were transferred from temple to dharmasala (a rest-house for travelers and pilgrims) and from dharmsala to police station. At last at eleven o’clock in the night we reached some wayside railway station in Bihar. All the trains had passed through. There were no shops or buildings nearby. Upto miles there were no human inhabitations. This is an event of 1930-1931. They were too tired. There were no means of procuring any nourishment, all were asleep. We stretched out the bed- sheet in the waiting room and were just lying down when two young boys approached them. They were fair and dressed neat and tidy. In the darkness of the night their bodies were shinning with radiant light. They asked-“Will you eat something?” We said-“What can we get here?” In five minutes they returned with two packets of khoaa (thickened milk). We asked them-“Where do both of you reside?” They replied-“somewhere here”. They disappeared within a moment. Next day early morning we tried to enquire about them, but for a distance of several miles there were neither any families inhabiting there nor any such cute young boys ever known. What else can be estimated about such an incident other than the miracle of Ishwara-God?
Vision Of The Lord-Krishna
Maharajshree first approached Swami Yoganandji when his interest in spirituality intensified. He first made him perform the Gaytri anushathana (systematic japa of Goddess Gaytri as prescribed by the scriptures) and then on one auspicious day initiated him with the Krishna mantra named ‘Gopijanvallabh’ mantra as traditionally prescribed. In the end he placed his hand on the head of Maharajshree and repeated the mantra hundred and eight times and said-“Now you are liberated from all the fastening clutches of the world. Repeat the holy name of God for bhajananand (the divine bliss of worship). Maharajshree started performing japa (repetition of the Lord’s name) with a longing desire for the vision of God. During this process of japa Paramhansji approached him and made some amendments in the method of japa which has been published in the small booklet named ‘Attainment of Lord Krishna with the utterance of the name Krishna! – Krishna!’
On the completion of the anushthana he had been to Gangaji to have bath, there a crow came and picked up his mala (string of beads used to count the repeated name of Lord) and went away. The efforts to renounce the family were unsuccessful. He was seated in a room, restless, with a guilty conscience and thinking –“Alas! I have not been able to have even a glimpse of my Lord with this body till now and neither will I be able to do so in the future. This body is of no use.”Immediately, at the very moment, the room which was closed and dark was completely illuminated with light. Maharajshree rubbed his eyes and verified that he was awake and sitting on his bed. At the same time a divine young boy appeared slightly above the ground level. He had a smile on his face, love in his eyes and had a flute placed on his lips. The body was not covered with any garments. It was covered with flower garlands instead of garments and ornaments. The crown and the anklets were also made of flowers. The body was decorated with flowers in such a way that the upper part seemed to be covered with the pitamber (a yellow cloth) and the lower part with the under-garments. The little young boy sometimes appeared to the left, sometimes to the right and sometimes stood before him with a pleasant smile on his face.
Maharajshree tried to prostrate at His feet and greet Him but the body was not ready to move. He neither bowed down the head, nor joined hands and was unable to speak out anything. He was observing Him and the child was smiling at him. At last the young divine child said-“Everything is Me alone. The apparent world seen is also nothing but Me. I and you are not two entities but we are one. I am you and you are ‘I’. The ties of separation and union never exist between us. There exists only union –eternal and homogeneous.” The young divine child disappeared and the surrounding brightness vanished along with Him.
Maharajshree came out of the room after a lapse of some time. His mother and Pundit Akshay Bhatt were sitting in the verandah. Maharajshree was engrossed in the splendor of Supreme Bliss; every pore of the body was overflowing with the unbroken stream of bliss. It was explicit that the graceful vision of the Almighty God has dawned on him.
It was only after this that Maharajshree took to the thorough study of the scriptures of Vedanta and Vedanta started revealing its inherent meaning of Vedanta tearing apart all the veils.
Dakshina Of Srimad Bhagawat Saptah
(The offerings made for delivering discourses on Srimad Bhagawatam for a week)
Maharajshree conducted numerous Bhagavat saptahs, but he never accepted any offerings against it from anyone in any form; despite the fact that several well-known prestigious millionaires were among the audiences who desired to offer him something, he never gave up his oath ( that never to accept anything as an offering on performing Srimad Bhagavatam Saptah). Inspite of being very strict in the observance of his self imposed principles yet before love on the insistence of Swami Prempuriji Maharaj, he once gave up his pledge in order to please him. With the purpose of establishing an auditorium for Vedanta satsang, grand arrangements were made at Mumbadevi maidan (name of a place, maidan means an open ground) for a Bhagavat Saptah and an announcement was made that the offerings on this particular occasion would be utilized for the construction of Vedanta Satsang Bhavan by the Satsang Mandal. The Saptah was grandly performed and an amount of rupees fifty to sixty thousand was collected and it was forwarded to the Satsang Mandal as it is. But alas! It is a matter of great regret that the Satsang Mandal could not work out the plan in the life span of Swami Prempuri Maharajji. After his final abode the members of the mandal returned maximum amount to the donors and the residue is in their custody. Maharajshree is in no way related to the money left over. Due to the excessive love of Swami Prempuri Maharaj once and only once Maharajshree had broken his oath of not accepting any offerings in a Bhagavat Saptah.
There are several examples of the Saptah where the offerings were not entertained. Once a Saptah was arranged by the Khatau Family at Sunderbai Hall, someone unaware of the regulations made some offerings, immediately an announcement was made on the microphone and the offerings were returned. Because of this oath of Maharajshree, once in Vrindavan when a Bhagavat Saptah was on the process some person offered hundred rupees on the Bhagavatam, Sri Udiya babaji just took it and threw it away amidst a huge gathering. Similarly in Kishanpur (Dehradun) someone offered rupees one hundred and twenty-five, Maa Anandmayi immediately distributed the amount amongst the poor folks.
In the form of offerings Maharajshree accepted from the audience certain things as per his free will which are as follows:-
1) Spare at least five minutes in the name of GOD daily.
2) Turn at least two rounds of the holy rosary repeating the name of GOD.
3) Provide a handful of space to God in your house.
4) Offer at least one paisa unto the feet of the Lord and give it to the poor.
5) Serve the Lord personally with flowers, some offerings as sweet –dish, fruits or applying sandalwood paste etc regularly.
Maharajshree with great pride addressed the audiences that- “I do not wish for anything other than this from anyone. Whoever desires to offer me something may provide me with what I have asked for, these offerings are sufficient for me.”
Much Attention Paid Towards The Happiness Of Others
One feature obvious in the characteristics of Maharajshree was that he was always very cautious not to hurt anyone while performing activities in life; though he may have to endure any amount of distress in the process. On perceiving his daily routine attentively this factor is easily revealed. For example if any person is asleep besides him he without switching on the lights wakes up very gently, so that the other person who is asleep does not wake up with the sound of his steps.
During lunch hours, even if he does not like to eat or even if he is not comfortable with it he would have it so that the person serving does not get hurt or feel offended, such was his attitude while eating. Sometimes visitors arrived every fifteen to twenty minutes and offered him something or the other, despite being aware that this would only upset his stomach, adversely affect his health, even forbearing the displeasure of Dadaji he would have it; only to please others.
He may be tired, suffering from hypertension, rest is the requirement of the hour or he may be asleep but if someone approaches him he will certainly meet.
If he ever has any problem physically or mentally, unless indispensible he would never reveal it to others; he himself endured it. Once he had been to a pilgrimage to Badrinath. He had go out of the halting place on a peak to answer to the call of the nature, a heavy stone rolled down and fell on his leg. The bone of the leg was injured but he did not disclose it to anyone. Almost seven to eight people were along to serve him, only after returning to Vrindavan from the pilgrimage he disclosed it. Even after fourteen years a tumor like lump still prevails on the leg.
Delivering Bhagavat Saptah is indeed a task involving great difficulties, but when someone approached him with this intention he could not deny, he certainly accepted the offer. The stress caused during the Saptah was obvious but even after that it took months together to regain the energy.
Maharajshree was so soft at heart that he was unable to bear the problems of others. There is an incidence of his early age, someone revealed to him his sorrow. After having listened to it, he was so concerned about it that the mental strain in solving this problem was so severe that his black hair were replaced with grey hair at the same time. This incident certainly was the hardest blow he had to endure in his life
Many a times it happened that, people would come and narrate to him his own preaching as their thinking. On such an occasion he would listen to them with the same anxiety as to a new idea. He never would say it is his own matter, on the contrary praised the memory of the person who had listened to him. The purpose behind this was that he wanted to protect others from the pains of disrespect and humiliation.
Once a lady came to him and offered him some silver vessels which were accepted. After she left he came to know that she was insane. Now it became a matter of concern-how to return the vessels. Fortunately her husband reached the ashram. He returned all the vessels and asked him not to inform his wife that the vessels were returned because this would make her unhappy. This is an incidence of the past. Now she has become normal both wife and husband visit Maharajshree.
The person who is so much concerned about others is completely innocent regarding his own personal matters. He is not at all self caring, most unconcerned about the nourishment of the body, clothes and medicines. He never remembers whether he has eaten or drunk sufficient water and taken his medicines. He is so forgetful regarding one’s own care that even after taking medicine and drinking water he asks for it the second time. Once Dadaji was away and a new barber came to shave him. The things required for shaving were given to him. Maharajshree did not see what has been provided; instead of shaving cream he began to use tooth paste for shaving. After sometime he began to feel a burning sensation when the reason behind it was sought to, it was discovered what had happened. Such a combination of erudition and innocence is but a rare sight.
When it comes to illustrating his love for mankind it becomes impossible to narrate it. How can one ever appropriately describe it!
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Gera anayan nayan binu pani
It means eyes have seen, they are the witness but they cannot speak. Eyes are dumb; they cannot reveal what they see. Mouth-tongue can reveal, can speak but it is blind; it cannot see therefore he cannot be described, that is words cannot reveal the love inherent in his every breath. It is only to be observed. If someone visits the ashram to reside with him he would be given a warm welcome. He personally took interest in providing all the facilities to make the visitor most comfortable and tried to develop an atmosphere conducive to him. Once, a foreigner visited him at Vrindavan. It was in the month of May. He himself was residing there in the hot summer. No one had told him anything but to make the visitor cool and comfortable he laid down ice slabs around the room where the visitor was to reside and thereby converted it into a cool air- conditioned room. Oh see the extent of concern for the visitors! He always tried to provide an atmosphere to which a person is accustomed. Likewise he was equally concerned about the wellbeing of the people serving him and his devotees. Now one of the servers was ill, he was very anxious about his treatment and wellbeing. Though he was himself not well, he kept him under his observation and treated him. He himself took care of his nutrition, provided him bed to sleep beside him and many a times visited the doctor along with him. Owing to the tender care he is completely healthy now. Hardly ever can a mother look after her child in this manner.
When someone is sick, to please him, he would pay a visit to his home and even visit the hospital. When Maharajshree noticed the patient in pain he became uneasy. Despite this, if he realized that his presence boosts the spirit of the patient and encourages him then irrespective of all the troubles he certainly visited him for his pleasure.
It is indeed impossible to know what is endowed in him that makes him capable of converting an unhappy person into a happy joyous being. A man however unhappy if he comes to him certainly returns with happiness. He always departed every person with a gift of happiness.
One distinguishing feature of his character was that one’s he accepts anyone as his own person then he continues to remain his own-personal forever. In the advent of the most adverse circumstances he never abandoned him irrespective of the abuses and criticism of the society. Maharajshree never resorted to escapism due to the threat of criticism nor cherished temptations for lavish praise. He always resorted to that, which is appropriate. He was a well wisher of even those indulged in his defamation. There were some people who desired to harm him but he always adopted a strategy of their beneficence. It is impossible for anyone to explore his virtuous decent nature. He was an embodiment of the eternal infinitude of the Brahman and the profound intensity of Ishwara-God. He is endorsed with the uninhibited sweetness of the nectar of the ocean, he is as lovable as the sweetness, and his love personifies the delightful moon and has embraced within him the calmness of hundred of moons. Ultimately it can only be said that expounding his profound nature is like exposing lamp to the sun. The author in the end says that one can only pray that may he lead a happy healthy life and live for eras to come.
The Author’s Own Revelations
From my past life (life before sanyasa) I was endowed with an instinct for bhakti (devotional worship) but had no idea of satsang. When Maharajshree first visited Jabalpur, persisted by the people I attended his spiritual discourses. The affection I received in the first meeting drew me towards him again and again. As soon as I arrived from the office I would run to Maharajshree. He lies down on the green mattress of grass in the garden. I would go and lie down with my head on his stomach and he would pat me with his caressing hands. I relished this fondle and affection for hours together. My mind started being alienated from the routine life and desired more and more of his company. I was serving in the military and according to its regulations I was bound to it for seven years. When Maharajshree was ready to depart I could not stop myself and was in tears. Maharajshree, moved by my tears gave me the permission to accompany him. The station was excessively crowded. I entered Maharajshree’s compartment and hid myself under his seat. My relatives and those in my acquaintance tried hard to locate me (they searched me even in that compartment). They asked Maharajshree who replied-“He was just here now, do search him.” (Maharajshree knew that I am leaving by the same train but he was not aware that I have thrust myself into the same compartment). This is how I broke the binding chains of my family and successfully fled away.
Afterwards an arrest warrant was declared on my name, which was but a natural course to be followed. I informed Maharajshree about it but he was not afraid. The Britishers were in the police and military at the time. The nation was facing the struggle of independence. World war was declared. I was a bit scared of my arrest but Maharajshee was completely fearless. He had already been in contact with the congress from 1930 to 1932. He never hesitated even when he observed the police and military men near around the ashram. Police would come and return. Afterwards I was sent to the kingdom of Bikaner along with revered Bhaiji Sri Hanuman Podarji for four to five months. Ever since then I have been in proximity with Maharajshree. I have observed him completely fearless on several occasions. Once at Aligarh station a brahmachari who was along with us missed the train, Maharajshree pulled the chain and the guard collected the ticket from us. He was not afraid at all that we have no money how we will pay the penalty. Afterwards, the guard much impressed by his fearlessness handed over the ticket without a word. On the same day many occasions occurred exhibiting his fearlessness which was all dealt with, in a surge of ecstasy. All the events are narrated in the book ‘Anandvani’ number six.
Once while travelling to Jabalpur we missed the train via Bina so we had to go via Itarasi. My associate Choteji brahmachari shifted from the servant compartment to Maharajshree’s first class compartment. The ticket checker asked Maharajshree to pay the extra amount for both the offences. During those days we did not keep money with us so the amount asked for was out of our reach. The ticket checker asked us to alight at Itarasi and distressed us very much. After some time Maharajshree told him-“Oh brother! It makes no difference to us; you may feed us and pay the amount yourself on our behalf.”The ticket checker was quite influenced by his delightful fearless nature and thus he himself made us aboard the train again.
In this manner, I have within me embeded several different forms of his affection and compassion in my life. His caressing motherly nature and the affection became obvious when I was suffering from a chronic kidney disease. He helped me to and fro to the bathroom and toilet repeatedly, provided medicines and when I was in a frenzy state he put in all the efforts in handling me. He also took care of my associate late Brahmachari Madhukarji when he was sick and Madhavji who was, just recently, very ill. The mental strain he had to endure in reviving their health is inexplicable.
Maharajshree on one hand has attained the realization of the Supreme Truth while on the other hand is an embodiment of virtues like sharp intelligence, humbleness devoid of any pride, the tactfulness to undo the miseries of the distressed folks, courtesy, self-control, punctuality and is diplomatic in practical affairs of life. All these attributes are indicated in his daily routine activities. In Vrindavan I have been closely associated with him and experienced that when he faces the hungry, naked, humble, wretched folks his compassionate heart just does all possible to the best relieve them. Many youths came to his refuge and after education returned with the competency of leading a self-sufficient life. The anxiety of nurturing and maintaining many a family has made him restless and uneasy. The nature of mother earth is to return in abundance against the handful sowed. Maharajshree has tried to the utmost to compensate for the excessive love and affection of the age old revered mother who was provided with the fruit of a son after great penance. The way he paid reverence to this mother is indeed indefinable in words. He became so helpless due to his overwhelming love for her that he did what she desired and resided wherever she took him as per her desire, like an infant. Her affection and Maharajshree’s self surrender remain as an indescribable reminiscence.
Sri Udiyababaji fed the hungry folks. I have also observed that on some occasions Maharajshree himself used to serve food without differentiating between haves and have-nots, and the devotees with great love and reverential faith relished the Prasad (anything provided by the Gurus is Prasad). Maharajshree’s benevolence, his jovial nature and his tendency of getting along with everyone is practically observed.
His lotus like tender heart, as soft as butter is perpetually filled with compassion. He becomes very anxious even if one of the regular visitors fails to reach him and enquires about their wellbeing. If someone is ill he will collect information of his health several times. His tender heart is in distress on observing the diseased in pain and often he himself suffers from the same disease; thus I restrain him from visiting the hospital. I have often heard him say that-“When I visit a diseased and see him in pain I feel – may I endure his disease and thereby relieve him from pain”.
Amongst those observing Mauna (silence) he bears the attribute of Mauna and amongst those who speak, Maharajshree stands as a mature spokes- person. We have also observed him in the similar freaks as that of a child when he is amidst the children. When confronted with the practitioners of meditation he is found in meditation for hours together. On the banks of Ganga he is seen to have been in the intoxication of renunciation, while with ascetics who have discarded everything, he is found to be most carefree. Various virtues find exposition from time to time. There is harmony in his life be it worldly transactions or spirituality. My intellect is but minute scale of measurement to behold the dignity or the prestige of his virtues. In fact the reality is that in an association of about twenty-five years we have so intermingled and united together as one that I am rather unable to pass any judgment regarding his virtues and vices, I only find all his qualities to be virtuous. When he shouts and scolds me on the behalf of others I am in fret and fumes and afterwards I realize how verily he belongs to me! I am incapable of becoming a part of his own self so he himself drew me close to himself.
This is a small introduction of Maharajshree, which I was able to put in words due to his grace, and my little understanding, which is again his gift and with the coordination of my other associates.