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The revealing story of Shiv Yogi Maharaj - 1
It was by coincidence that I came to know about a certain Shiv Yogi Maharaj. But as I have repeatedly realized, nothing in life is ever a coincidence. What piqued my interest in this saint is the association he shared with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, our beloved Swami. The story that I was blessed to hear is so beautiful and sweet that it must be shared with one and all to partake.
The story has a kind of funny beginning if I may say so. For more than a year, when Swami was granting darshan in His physical frame, there was a person who used to offer a chocolate to me with a smiling “Sairam”. This happened almost every time I met him after the session in the mandir. I did not know who this person was, but I used to enjoy his ‘sweet’ treatment. The acquaintance grew into a warm friendship and one day he told me that I should visit his house. It was only then that I came to know that his name was Sarvajyoti Arora.
I visited his home and was at once struck by the many pictures of Swami from which vibhuti was flowing out. Amidst all these pictures was a picture of a saint who looked like some Sikh guru. There was vibhuti coming from that picture too. There was another picture of the same saint on which was written the word, “Sairam”. I asked Sarvajyoti as to who wrote that word.
“Maharaj wrote that when I asked him to sign a photograph for me. He said that there is no name better than that for him to write. Shiv Yogi Maharaj is my guru who led me to Swami.”
That was what ignited me to probe more into the story of this Maharaj and what Sarvajyoti told me, simply took my breath away. I wanted to write about the story long ago but I felt that maybe it was not appropriate. However, during this recent trip to the Himalayas, we visited a friend’s home in Delhi. While having lunch, I once again saw the picture of this saint, framed and hanging on the wall. My enquiries revealed a few more details about him. Now, I felt compelled to write the story and that is the first thing I am doing after returning from the trip.
In an interview at Brindavan, the ashram in Whitefield, Bangalore, Swami asked a lady as to what her plans were. This was in the summer in the mid 1990s. She replied that she would be visiting Delhi.
“And what will you do there?”
“Swami I plan to visit some relatives, do some sight-seeing and do some shopping.”
“Ah yes! I also plan to visit a certain Shiv Yogi Maharaj, Swami.”
“Ask him why he has not come to meet me yet!”
That was duly conveyed to Maharaj and he immediately set about planning a trip to see Swami. He said,
“It is not right that we keep the Lord waiting.”
Thus, in the same summer of 1993 he landed in Bangalore with a few of his chelas (disciples). One Thursday, his entourage visited Whitefield, Brindavan where Swami was granting darshan. Entering the grounds, Maharaj simply walked into the rows of devotees and sat there. His chelas wanted to procure a special seating for him but he simply refused saying,
“Everyone is equal in the home of the Lord.”
The gentle smile on Maharaj’s face seemed to spread a glow and carry a halo about it. The Sevadal volunteers simply called him aside and let him in first into the Sai Ramesh hall. Soon, the darshan music began and with that, an amazing story of Love, Grace and Divinity too had its beginning!
As soon as Swami came into the hall, He asked for a chair to be placed for the saint to sit on. This was a ‘VIP treatment’ that not many are accorded. After the session, Swami ensured that a special place was allocated to Maharaj to stay just behind His residence in Trayee Brindavan. Thus it was that Maharaj became a guest of Swami. Days passed this way and two students were allocated to even take care of Maharaj’s dietary and other needs.
One day, Maharaj told his chela,
“We devotees have to serve the Lord. Instead, we are here simply enjoying His hospitality. This does not seem right. Let us take permission and leave.”
Within 15 minutes of Maharaj saying that, there was a knock on the door. It was a student who had come with a message from Swami.
“Swami says that you should not make any plans to leave. Swami will see you tomorrow.”
That was all the answer that was needed and the party stayed on. The next day, as He had promised, Swami called the Maharaj for an interview. There was a foreigners’ group also that had been called in. Swami told an elderly person from the foreigners’ group to sit at one end of a long sofa. At the other end, which was close to His chair, Swami wanted Maharaj to sit. That was done and the memorable interview began.
Swami was speaking to the international group in English but in between He would turn to the saint and speak to him in Hindi. Looking lovingly and compassionately into his eyes, Swami said,
“I am so happy today. I have been waiting to see you from so long. Why did you take such a long time to come?”
“Lord! As soon as you called, I came. It is all your mercy!”
The interaction was reminiscent of the one between Lord Krishna and his dear friend Sudama. Swami then turned to the group and continued speaking in English. After a while, He turned to Maharaj and pointed to his neck.
“What is it that you are wearing there?”
It was a Rudraksha bead that Maharaj always wore. When it was exposed and shown to Swami, He said,
“Why do you wear that? That is needed only for the spiritual aspirants. You are beyond all that. You need not wear this. Take it out.”
The chela helped Maharaj take out the Rudraksha bead as Swami continued to talk to the Westerners. The next time He looked at Maharaj, He asked with all love,
“I will give you a watch. Will you wear it?”
To this Maharaj said that he usually did not wear anything on his wrists. Swami smiled and then drew back both the cuffs of His robe. He said sweetly,
“See! I too don’t wear anything on my wrists! Watches are only for those that are bound by time. They are not for those that have transcended it!”
Saying that, Swami waved His hand and materialized a watch nevertheless. He gifted the same to the elderly person sitting at the other end of the sofa. Swami was very happy and two more times mentioned to the saint as to how happy He was to see him. It was then time for the personal interview. One by one, the devotees were called into the inner interview room. When Maharaj was called in, Swami asked for another chair to be brought in. The small room had only one sofa and Swami almost picked up a chair by Himself. It was at this time that the chelasof the saint carried in the chair. Swami wanted the chair to be placed by His side.
Swami slid His hand into the hand of the saint. The fingers of the hand had been bent permanently. This had happened because the saint had incessantly done Namajapa or chanting the divine name with a rosary for more than 21 years! Swami was full of love and concern and He said,
“Why did you have to do this? Not needed at all. Not needed for you at all.”
With that, Swami slowly massaged his hands and straightened them in a trice! If the bent hands were proof of the devotee’s intense sadhana and incessant chanting of the Lord’s name, the now straightened hands heralded the Lord’s love for the devotee. There is a famous song that states that the Lord is the servitor of His devotee and Swami gave a new dimension to that aspect.
What else happened in that loving interaction is not known, but as the interview concluded and all came out, Swami asked Maharaj,
“Will you wear orange robe?”
Maharaj used to wear a pink robe with a pink dhoti and a pink turban. He said that he was ready to do anything that pleased Swami. Swami gave him a robe and a dhoti. Smiling He further said,
“Get an orange turban made for yourself!”
Thus concluded the interview. Maharaj was back into the special quarters that had been allocated to him. The special treatment continued and again, after a few days, Maharaj said,
“It is now time to leave. We have enjoyed the Lord’s hospitality for so long.”
And once again, within 15 minutes of stating that, there was a knock on the door. It was a student with a message from Swami.
“Swami is leaving for Puttaparthi tomorrow. He would like that you accompany Him to Parthi. Would you be ready?”
“Definitely! The Lord’s wish is my command. It is my pleasure to accompany Swamiji to Puttaparthi.”
“Swami has said that He would send a car for you. He says that you can travel with yourchelain the back seat.”
This was fixed but a new situation arose now. There was another chela of Maharaj who was a bit upset at being kept away from the thick of the action till now. He said that he too would sit along with Maharaj in the car. Maharaj’s response was straight and simple,
“See, when the Lord says, we have to listen. This is not some taxi. He has said that the two of us should sit in the back seat and it does not bode well to add another passenger to the back seat.”
The pride-hit chela was adamant. He said that he would sit in the front seat then. There was no way that he would let go of an opportunity to sit in the Lord’s car. Maharaj meekly agreed and that was settled upon.
The next day however, there was a little surprise. Swami sent His car, no doubt, but there was a passenger in the front seat too. The student in the front seat said that Swami had instructed him to accompany Maharaj. The adamant chela had no choice but to let go of his desire. The journey began and Swami had instructed that Maharaj’s car should go in front of His own. As the cars proceeded, Maharaj’s car came to a halt in front of the Gokulam complex. This complex is about a kilometre from the Brindavan Ashram. At this point, another beautiful play of the Lord unravelled.
The student, who was seated in the front seat, got down. Bowing to the saint he said that Swami had instructed him to travel till that point and then get off! The car then proceeded without him. So, the student travelling in the front seat was a small and neat drama that Swami had planned in His omniscience to deter the adamant chela!
Swami was expected to make a stop at Muddenahalli along the way to Parthi. Muddenahalli is home to Swami’s school and is very close to the town of Chikaballapur. A message was sent to the people at Muddenahalli that Swami was coming with a very special guest and appropriate arrangements should be made for his stay too. Soon, Swami’s entourage moved into the school at Muddenahalli at Chikaballapur.
Now you are raring to go to part 2 right? Click on the link below:
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