South India Tour Feb/March 2016 - Photos
Our most beloved Babaji's life only has one Mission – to take Swamiji's teachings to each and every corner of the Universe. Baba never gets tired talking about Swamiji and spreading Swamiji's Mission. He has made His life a Mission, a Mission to live for His Guru. He travels constantly around India and outside India. Sometimes it amazes His devotees how Baba can travel tirelessly to the entire world.
Every year His travelling starts from central India, goes to Indore, Jhansi, and Alipura. When Swamiji was physically present a group of devotees in Indore used to conduct monthly kirtans and annadanam (bhandara, mass feeding). The practice was stopped for a few years after Swamiji dropped His physical body. Then one devotee, who used to earlier conduct kirtans in his house, got inspired. Mr Dileep Singh and his wife Bhuvaneswari Devi wanted to revive the Indore kirtans but people were not taking much interest. They spoke to Baba about that and requested that if Baba comes to Indore people might start coming back for Swamiji's kirtan. Baba immediately agreed and for the past several years Baba has been going to Indore every January. The group has revived and they have started conducting regular Swamiji's kirtan again. Mr Dileep Singh and Bhuvaneswari Devi are very kind hosts, sincerely wanting to restart the practice of regular kirtans, which are going very well since Baba has started going to Indore and inspiring people. Babaji conducts two days of programs in Indore where He talks about Swamiji's life, Swamiji's Tapas and teachings. Babaji's talks inspire people which makes people regularly gather and conduct Swamiji's programs. Babaji gives Dhyanadiksha and makes people sit for meditation. Every year many new people also get inspired and now the Mission is really growing and people wait the entire year for Baba's next visit.
Similarly Babaji visits Jhansi and Alipura. Mr Sunil Shrivastava and his wife, host Baba every year in Jhansi and conduct regular programs of Swamiji.
Raja Manvendra Singh, who is at present an MLA from Alipura, is Swamiji's devotee since childhood, his parents were related to Mataji Kalash Kumari Devi. He and his wife are very kind hosts and invite Babaji every year to their palace in Alipura. The palace gates are open for all the villagers to come, have Babaji's Darshan and listen to the stories of Swamiji's life and Tapas directly from Babaji. The entire village have all been initiated into Swamiji's meditation technique and most of the villagers now can sing Swamiji's bhajans and Arathi. Some of the older people of the Alipura village have seen Swamiji in physical presence. They get really inspired and excited when they see Babaji and they share their stories of Swamiji's Darshan in Agra.
This is how Babaji's year starts, carrying on Swamiji's Mission. February and March are the months we all know Shivaratri falls. Sometimes it is end of February, sometimes beginning of March. But every year Baba's travels start by mid-February. Each year Babaji goes to Hyderabad. In Hyderabad one of Swamiji's oldest devotees, Uncle Gopanna's sons and daughter lives. Every year Uncle Gopanna's daughter invites Babaji to Hyderabad and conduct beautiful two days of programs, just like earlier they used to invite Swamiji and do programs in the same manner they are carrying on Swamiji's Mission and inviting Baba. Swamiji had established a Hyderabad Ashram. Babaji visited the Ashram, conducted a meditation and gave a discourse about the devotional path. As He spoke so the hall filled with more and more people, especially a group of youngsters who had been visiting a Temple close by, heard His voice and were drawn towards it. Suddenly the entire hall was full of a new, young generation who may in the future carry Swamiji's Mission in different directions. Mrs Satyavani, who is the President of the Hyderabad Ashram, spoke very highly about Babaji in the gathering, that Babaji is like Swami Vivekananda, taking Swamiji's Mission to all directions. In the same breathe she requested Baba to come for next year's visit.
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A group of Trustees of the Bangalore Ashram drove all the way to Hyderabad to honor their new Chairman Shri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj, who is our beloved Babaji. Mr D Rambabu, the working Chairman, accompanied by Trustees Mr Mohan, Mr Madhu and Mr Shrinivas Reddy were very happy to participate in the two days of programs of Babaji. They had a brief meeting also on how to inspire a new generation to take up the path of spirituality.
Then to Chennai (Madras) where Babaji conducted two meditation programs. The first was at a special home run by a very devoted and kind-hearted gentleman, Mr. Vidyaakar. He set up this orphanage and now also looks after many destitute women. There a homa (fire ceremony) was conducted by Sri Haridass, Baba's Malaysian Mission leader. Babaji spoke to the children about His Guru's Tapas, and how, at the age of fourteen His Guru, who also came from a very poor background and did not have even a basic academic education, by His strong willpower, determination and honest nature rose to the height of Godhood and achieved the ultimate of human birth. Baba spoke that devotion brings humility in a person's life. Then fruits, sweets and chocolates were distributed to all the children. Baba offered some donation to the Institute.
The second program was a talk on 'Realization for householders'. This has become a popular, annual event and again many interesting questions were asked by those wanting to hear the Truth from someone who achieved Realization Himself. Babaji spoke about meditation and also about how the very serious flooding in Chennai only a few months back had caused a lot of suffering and hardship. Large numbers had no food and all had to queue up for help, no matter if they were rich or poor, whatever religion or class, they all found themselves equally in need. Babaji spoke about how everyone worked together, helped each other, shared what they had, were considerate to others – such tragic situations can also bring out people's best qualities. Baba spoke about how humanity has to learn to live for each other, love and compassion can win over any situation. Householders have bigger responsibilities in the society; in the mundane everyday life if they offer everything at the feet of the Divine they can achieve Self Realization.
From Chennai Baba, with His entourage of forty people, reached Kakinada. This is Uncle Gopanna's home town. He is like a Grandfather to all Swamiji's devotees and also Secretary of Adivarapupeta's Ashram for twenty two years. Uncle Gopanna and Auntie Choodamani with their very affectionate family, make their home open to each and every devotee of Swamiji, whoever passes through Kakinada are welcome to their home. Serving Swamiji's devotees is the most satisfying thing for Uncle Gopanna's family. They not only look after and feed Swamiji's devotees, they want to make sure each and every devotee should be comfortable. They are such an inspiration for all devotees of Swamiji that if you want to serve your Guru there are so many ways and the biggest is unconditional love and affection to the Guru's extended family all over the world, without any discrimination and judgement.
After having a hearty breakfast meal at Uncle Gopanna's home Baba and the devotees reached Adivarapupeta. The Adivarapupeta Ashram Trust made a large decorated archway at the entrance of the Adivarapupeta village and they were waiting for Babaji there. Babaji inaugurated the archway and the entire village with Babaji and devotees proceeded towards the Ashram. On the way to the Ashram Babaji stopped at the most sacred home where Swamiji was born and did Arathi to Swamiji.
Then He went to Adivarapupeta Ashram, where Swamiji had sat for twelve years in Tapas, attaining Realization. His Mahasamadhi is there, so it is a very special, sacred place of pilgrimage for all Swamiji's devotees. A beautiful Samadhi Temple is being constructed there. Babaji was warmly greeted by Yashoda Akka who is the sole life-current of the Ashram. All the people came to welcome Babaji. Babaji went straight to Swamiji's Mahasamadhi, paid His tributes and Arathi to His Divine Guru and went to the Temple where Swamiji had installed a Shivalingam and Holy Mother's Statue. Baba offered flowers and Arathi and did His pranams, then greeted everyone who came to welcome Him.
Babaji also visited several villages in the surrounding area, spreading His beloved Guru's message, telling them about Swamiji's life and Tapas and the devotional path. The last two days were spent in the Ashram in Adivarapupeta. On the 6th March, on the eve of Shivaratri, Sri Haridass conducted a homa for world peace, led by Babaji. Maha Shivaratri on the 7th March was celebrated with great fire ceremonies and special pujas (ceremonial acts of worship). Where Swamiji did His twelve years of Tapas a Shivalingam and Goddess Parvati statue has been installed and it has become a beautiful Temple now. A ceremony called Abhishekham was conducted there by Babaji in front of thousands. Babaji was present to watch the ceremony of Shiva and Parvati's wedding. Shivaratri means the night of Shiva and Parvati's wedding. The whole concept of Shiva and Paravati's wedding is consciousness becoming one with the energy. This world is made up of consciousness and energy, together consciousness and energy makes the creation absolute. They are not complete without each other. Babaji explains beautifully the concept of Shiva and Shakti. In Sanskrit the word Shiva means your existence in total thoughtlessness state. Shakti is the inseparable supreme energy present with Shiva. Both together are Ardanarishwara. Our beloved Swamiji was the form of Ardanarishwara for His devotees.
All the devotees in the Divine presence of Shri Swamiji and Babaji experienced a state of ecstasy and bliss. The whole night people were singing bhajans, it is not a night to go to bed and sleep. Shivaratri night is for meditation, contemplation and devotion and to get oneself immersed into the ecstasy of the Divine Consciousness.
In the morning at 5 am all the devotees conducted mangala Arathi for Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati and Arathi to Swamiji. With the prasad distribution everyone went to their rooms to get ready for the next travel.
Words cannot explain the whole experience of travelling with Babaji because there is so much happening that it is a great learning process. One can only witness.