An Historic Inauguration of a Mighty New Ashram

Devarayasamudra Ashram

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Swamiji's new statue in the main hall before the inauguration.


As many small streams converge to form a mighty river, so people from all parts of the world set off in small groups and formed a mighty flow of devotion into the village in South India that has become the blessed site for a brand new Ashram.

This Ashram came up so quickly – an offer of land transformed into a design and built so swiftly it was amazing for those who witnessed its rapid creation. It is testament to the dedication and hard work of all those involved that it not only came so speedily but to such a high quality.

In a fitting sense of completeness, the village that now plays host to the Ashram is Babaji’s ancestral village – home to His family for at least fourteen generations, and even more auspiciously, it is the site of ‘Garudachayana’ – a special spiritual ritual performed for many days by Babaji’s great great great grandparents in 1849, and further similar rituals by later generations in 1892 and 1931. It was therefore with great happiness the villagers welcomed a Realized Yogi from such a highly regarded and respected family for such a great spiritual endeavor.

Mothers to the two great Yogis

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The events started on Friday 25th November with the instillation of the statues to the two great Mothers – Holy Mother Parvathamma and Holy Mother Sharadamba, Mothers to the two great Yogis, Shri Shivabalayogi and Shri Shivarudra Balayogi respectively. His Holiness Shri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj inaugurated and consecrated this temple with rituals performed by priests and devotees. The temple to the Holy Mothers is in a compound beside the Ashram, dedicated to those two great examples of service and devotion who gave their sons for the benefit of the world. It was seen by the many hundreds who witnessed this moving scene as such a suitable way to commence the proceedings, by honoring the Mothers who gave so much, quietly and humbly.

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In the evening of the same day everyone gathered on the upper floor terrace of the Ashram which itself is large enough to seat hundreds. Here one gets a wonderful view on the looming presence of the mountain that sits immediately in front of the Ashram. There in the cooling breeze afforded by the elevated open space and in the presence of Shri Babaji, His First Disciple, Maa Ambaji, captured the spirit of the moment when she spoke that we are all one family as we all share and work together collectively. In that sense of unity bhajans were sung together, voices from around the world merged in harmony as we gazed upon Babaji’s tranquil countenance before us.

Homa (fire ceremony)

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The Saturday 26th November started with a large crowd gathered for a homa (fire ceremony) in the Ashram grounds in front of the Hall, as smoke and chants filled the air, encompassing everyone and graced by the presence of Shri Babaji. This was then followed by one of several mass feedings as the large numbers gathered were all fed. In the afternoon everyone visited a large monument a few minutes’ walk away, built in the form of an eagle by Babaji’s great, great, great grandparents in 1849 over a period of forty-one days of chanting, prayer, spiritual observances and devoted labor as they built the monument with their own bare hands. History and spirituality combined to create a great impression as we looked at the fruits of their devotion one hundred and sixty-seven years before. The link across the generations seemed so powerful.

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In the evening everyone gathered in the large, beautiful, gleaming new Hall as Babaji sat serenely. His smile and sparkling eyes mirrored in the many happy faces of devotees as they gazed in awe at these wonderful surroundings. Babaji welcomed and blessed all who had gathered from near and far before Maa Ambaji led proceedings in singing bhajans, inducing a deeply felt sense of spiritual harmony amongst us all. The priests then offered respects and surrender at His Lotus Feet before commencing the initial rituals. As the bhajans ended everyone joyously sang the Arathis to the two Great Yogis filling the large hall with their devotion and love.

Great day begins with an auspicious Homa

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The culmination of these historic events was on the Sunday 27th November, starting at dawn as the sun slowly spread its light and warmth across the ground and all those gathered there. A homa was conducted by the many local priests who continued their chants for several hours, providing the day with an auspicious start and setting the mood of spiritual awareness on us all. Shri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj was escorted with great pomp and ceremony, accompanied with many fanfares on trumpets and drums as the priests chanted many auspicious mantras and led Shri Babaji into the Hall. Before the day began the priests, as is correct and respectful custom, had covered the eyes on Shri Swamiji’s statue and placed a screen across in front so no devotee could view it at this stage. Only Shri Babaji was escorted inside before being led outside again to the place where a homa was to be done. Before the homa His Holiness consecrated Shri Swamiji’s Panchaloha Vigraham (statue made in metal) and installed it before the homa pit. Babaji then offered His prayers and initiated the rituals.

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Once the homa was completed Shri Babaji chanted mantras to invoke blessings to all the people in all the worlds and performed Arathi to the homa. A milk-yielding cow was then donated to a local farmer and Babaji was then was led to consecrate the great statue of Swamiji in the hall. As part of the ritual, a mirror was kept outside the Hall in such a way to reflect the statue so that, as soon as the cloth covering the eye and the curtain was removed from Shri Swamiji’s statue, the reflection of the statue is seen by itself. When one of the disciples asked Shri Babaji the significance of this ritual, Shri Babaji said it resembles that as soon as the inner eye is opened through Realization the mind loses its imagination and sees the Self by turning inward. Closing the eye with a cloth resembles turning the mind inwards by closing the mind from all distractions and removal of the curtain means that as soon as the curtain of ignorance is removed from the mind, the ever-gracious Self is evidently visible. It is so typical to have Babaji provide clear explanation for the spiritual significance of things that can otherwise be misinterpreted or not respected through lack of appreciation and understanding.

Revealing the Great Yogi

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So the climax of the whole event was reached, with great ceremony and reverential atmosphere the screen in front of Swamiji’s magnificent statue was slowly removed by Babaji to see the reflection in the mirror first, as is the respectful custom, before then gazing lovingly at this most awe-inspiring monument. In front of the large gathering, held in spellbound silence by the gracious event unfolding before their eyes, Shri Babaji performed Arathi to the statue of His Beloved Guru. The statue to Swamiji is much larger than life-size, highly polished, gleaming and sparkling in white, sat on a lotus flower and encompassed by a huge, beautifully carved wooden surround. It is, as Babaji explained later, how He saw His beloved Guru the very first time, so many years ago.

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Honoring the Guru

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Finally, Shri Babaji sat upon His Dais and, blessing all who were gathered, addressed us all, all those many hundreds in the large Hall and the many more outside as the huge crowd gathered. He spoke about the importance of the tradition of honoring Mother, Father, Guru and God, of the importance of the Guru and the greatness of Shri Swamiji and His teachings. He said that Shri Swamiji’s Lotus Feet were His native place for His soul. Finally He reminded everyone of Swamiji’s oft-stated teaching, “Meditate and know your Self, that is the most important thing, Human life is the rarest of gems.”

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With those great words of the Mighty Guru of the epoch ringing in our ears respects were paid to the many involved in this great enterprise as we all appreciated the privilege of witnessing such an historic occasion.

This magnificent edifice will be our source of Spiritual Truth, from local villager to world traveller, all brought together by the two Great Yogis who are the inspiration and guidance for us all and for the many more generations to come.

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Mass feeding

Throughout all the events the Ashram ensured that all the visitors were provided with food.

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Devarayasamudra Ashram

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